Bunnies and Burrows is an RPG written in the 1970’s, one of the first RPGs to get away from heroic fantasy and into something non-human. In it, you play a rabbit, as if in Watership Down, and your role is to protect, defend, and help your warren.
One of our players (Tara) had her GMing debut last night, and chose to run a Bunnies and Burrows game. She had read the setting and came up with a plot, but hadn’t bought the game system, so couldn’t run it by the rules.
Thankfully, because of our Wild Side games, our whole group is familiar with the Fate Accelerate Edition rules. And even though I didn’t have my Fate dice with me (this will be rectified– I won’t walk to game night without 4dF again…. or I might just leave some at her house for the future), I did have the rulebook on my Nook, which was in my backpack. We improvised the dice by rolling 2d6 and subtracting one of the dice from the other, then adding our relevant Approach.
Tara’s plot was to start us in Sunset Park, which is a local park that has a desert preservation area called Sunset Dunes (I run there a few times a week, March through October– it’s one of my favorite places in Vegas). Sunset Dunes is crawling with bunnies in the real world, so it was a natural fit for our game.
Brian played Chunk, a released hutch bunny whose description was “The fattest rabbit you’ve ever seen.” Chunk was also “like a rock” in both his immovability and his cleverness. He is looking for a new mom (Shadow) and ridiculously loyal to Twitchy. Good at Foreceful, Mediocre at Clever.
LeeAnn played Twitchy-Whiskers, an OCD rabbit who was voted “Most Likely to Die of Fright.” Good at Careful, Mediocre at Forceful.
I played Shadow, a motherly sort who had had 23 offspring, only 3 of whom were currently living (one of which is Twitchy). Shadow believes she can do magic, and there was some discussion that her spells always seem to require one of her offspring to die (also: Shadow cannot actually do magic… we determined there is no magic in this world). Oh, well– she’s a rabbit, right? She and Chunk had kind of a “thing” a while back, but since all the offspring from that litter are gone, she’s kind of annoyed by how clingy he’s gotten. Good at Sneak, Mediocre at Quick.
So, our adventure starts when a large hawk shows up to decide who to eat today, and Twitchy takes off in one direction, Chunk bolts towards and into a large black labrador, and Shadow hides and burrows down into what is not her warren. Chunk gets into a tangle with the dog and the hawk veers off after Twitchy. Twitchy barely outruns it and ducks into our home warren. Shadow…. fell into the enemy warren!
Twitchy and Chunk: Challenge for Quick to outrun the hawk. Shadow: Combo challenge for Sneak and Careful– she succeeded at Careful, but failed to sneak, which is why she landed on top of an enemy warren bunny.
The enemy, Shadow knows, is dominated by a deranged “queen” rabbit who demands the death of any female in her domain. She lands on top of a male bunny and, somewhat startled, says “Uh… hey, I’m just dropping in. The queen would never know if you and I, uh… y’know…” She shakes her bunny-maker.
Cue Barry White music.
After he falls asleep in a post-coital daze, Shadow uses his body to leap up out of the burrow and head home, carefully and with some stealth. This is described as the Hop of Shame.
Shadow rolled a static Clever check to “seduce” him, and I argued to tap an aspect on this NPC that he has to be pretty sexually frustrated.
Meanwhile, Chunk has finished with the dogs and is now looking for a place to hide, himself. Home is all the way over there, and Chunk doesn’t like to run. He drops into the recently-vacated hole and finds himself whiskers-to-whiskers with the enemy burrow!
Chunk self-compelled to stop running, because one of his aspects is “What do you mean, ‘Run’?” So he had a Forceful challenge with the black lab, and then a second yippy dog, both of which he won. Basically, he back-kicked the dogs in the face, to their severe detriment.
After some chest-thumping and pushing around, Chunk is cornered and yells “oh, yeah? Well… I claim this part of the warren, right here!” And he plops himself down to be all territorial.
This was a Forceful contest of wills against the lead enemy-warren bunny, and he tied so he succeeded with a cost. The cost was that he was cornered. OK, fine. But he won the social challenge, so he was able to stake a claim to that part of their warren.
Bewildered, the other warren bunnies send a scout to our warren (who happens to be Cottontail, Shadow’s most recent paramour) to claim a 2 foot section of that warren.
Cottontail shows up and tries to stake a claim, but Twitchy is having none of this. She cries the alarm!
Twitchy uses Careful to alert the rest of the warren. It’s a static roll, and she gets a very high result (succeed with style), which means she has a bunch of loyal bunnies willing to listen to her.
At this point, Tara realizes her plot has completely gotten away from her and is at a loss. Out of character, we discuss some things about warrens and, in particular, Sunset Park, which uses cannons to destroy gophers and gopher holes. Tara decides she likes this idea, but turns it into a bulldozer impending doom on our warren. Mostly, she wants to mow down some bunnies.
Shadow is still heading home when she sees the bulldozer, which has started up. Frightened, she “casts a spell” (if we’d been thinking more bunny-ish, this might have included pooping and eating it or something, but instead we just handwaved and said “this is probably going to kill one of her remaining children”) and then bolts back to the enemy warren, which she thinks she can probably convert over to her side. Shadow drops in, says hello to Chunk, and tells the remaining bunnies that she’d like to be their queen, and asks who wants to have an orgy.
We don’t have mechanics for magic in this system, so there’s no roll for casting a spell. Because it’s not actually going to do anything, right? Similarly, offering an orgy to bunnies is a no-brainer.
The bulldozer is imminent. Chunk asks Shadow where Twitchy is. “Oh, back at the warren,” she says nonchalantly. Chunk takes off, because his aspect is ridiculously loyal to Twitchy. He finds Twitchy and saves her from the collapsing warren and they bolt across the field towards the new warren.
Self-compelled, Chunk risks his own life to go to the old warren, which now has the aspects of “collapsing” and “chaos/scared bunnies!” He finds Twitchy, who is overwhelmed and nearly catatonic (self-compelling her fear trouble). He carries her (I think this was a Careful roll, but I’m not sure) out of the warren, and the fresh air reminds her to RUN. They run.
The hawk returns, seeing so many prey to choose from. Shadow’s spell “goes off” and only two rabbits are caught by the hawk– both of her remaining children (besides Twitchy).
I spend a fate point retroactively for my “cast a spell” to be effective, killing the offspring and letting most of the rest of the warren escape to the new warren.
The bunnies from the old warren join the new warren, and Chunk heads off to kill the queen. The females of the old warren are very popular and many bunnies are made.
Forceful contest for Chunk. We tag every aspect we can, from the sexually frustrated warren bunnies, to the presence of a lot more estrogen in the burrows, to “my mom said I should do this” for Chunk (who is affectionate towards Shadow cause he sees her as a surrogate mother).
nuclear bombsrocks fall and everyone dies.
Tara wasn’t satisfied with only 3 official bunny deaths and decided that a true bunnycalypse was needed. So we ended with “and then the world ended, because reasons.”
Tara’s first game went really well. We were ridiculous and freeform and made a lot of jokes and puns.
Update: I forgot to mention when I wrote this originally. This is the kind of night it was. We ordered pizza and wings and such. I put special instructions to “draw a bunny” on the box. Pizza Hut delivered, both the pizza, and a drawing! I’ll try to get a picture of it before the box goes into the trash tonight. The only way the night could have been more gamery is if I’d woken up with a Mountain Dew hangover this morning.