Bunnies & Burrows

Infobox RPG
title= Bunnies & Burrows


caption= Original "Bunnies & Burrows" cover
designer= B. Dennis Sustare, Scott Robinson
publisher= Fantasy Games Unlimited
date= 1976
genre= Animal fantasy
system= Original
footnotes=

Infobox RPG
title= GURPS Bunnies & Burrows


caption= "GURPS Bunnies & Burrows" cover
designer= Steffan O'Sullivan
publisher= Steve Jackson Games
date= 1992
genre= Animal fantasy
system= "GURPS"
footnotes=

"Bunnies & Burrows" ("B&B") is a role-playing game (RPG) inspired by the novel "Watership Down"."GURPS Bunnies & Burrows" (1992), Steve Jackson Games, ISBN 9781556342370] Published by Fantasy Games Unlimited in 1976, the game centered around talking rabbits. It introduced several innovations to role-playing game design, being the first game to allow players to have non-humanoid roles, and the first to have detailed martial arts and skill systems. Fantasy Games Unlimited published a second edition of the game in 1982, and the game was modified and republished by Steve Jackson Games as an official "GURPS" supplement in 1992.

As rabbits, player characters are faced with dangers mirroring those in the real world. The only true "monsters" in the game are humans, but there are many predators and natural hazards. The characters' position in the food chain promotes an emphasis on role-playing and problem solving over combat.

History

Originally published by Fantasy Games Unlimited in 1976, only two years after the first role-playing game "Dungeons & Dragons" was published, this edition is now long out of print. The game was inspired by Richard Adams' fantasy novel "Watership Down", [cite book | last = Magill | first = Frank Northen | year = 1983 | title = Survey of Modern Fantasy Literature | publisher = Salem Press | isbn = 0893564508 ] and the players were given the opportunity to take on the role of rabbits. As such, the game emphasized role-playing over combat for, according to Steffan O'Sullivan, "You're playing a rabbit, after all – how much combat do you want to do?" The poor production values provided a barrier to the acceptance of the game. The art, illustrated by Charles Loving, was "sketchy and of poor quality", while the document as a whole gave the appearance of having been typewritten.cite web |url=http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_4598.html |title=Bunnies and Burrows |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author=Jason Morningstar |date=2001-08-07 |work= |publisher=RPGnet]

Building on this first edition, in 1979, B. Dennis Sustare wrote "Different Worlds Present the World of Druid's Valley: A Bunnies & Burrows Campaign" in "Different Worlds", a magazine published by Chaosium. [cite web |url=http://www.nobleknight.com/ProductDetailSearch.asp_Q_ProductID_E_4939_A_InventoryID_E_2147574686_A_ProductLineID_E__A_ManufacturerID_E__A_CategoryID_E__A_GenreID_E_ |title= #3 "Blackmoor, Bunnies & Burrows Campaign"|accessdate=2008-09-03 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Noble Knight Games] It detailed how to combine the world of "Bunnies & Burrows" with other fantasy worlds. [cite journal |last=Sustare |first=B. Dennis |authorlink= |coauthors= |year=1979 |month=June/July |title=Different Worlds Present the World of Druid's Valley: A Bunnies & Burrows Campaign |journal=Different Worlds |volume=1 |issue=3 |pages= |id= |url= |accessdate=2008-09-03 |publisher=Chaosium ] This was followed by the mini-adventure "The Jackrabbits' Lair", written by Daniel J. Maxfield, in "Pegasus", a magazine published by Judges Guild. [cite web |url=http://www.nobleknight.com/ProductDetailSearch.asp_Q_ProductID_E_3549_A_InventoryID_E_2147508749_A_ProductLineID_E__A_ManufacturerID_E__A_CategoryID_E__A_GenreID_E_ |title= #6 "Traveller - Beastmaster Safari Ship, Gorean Chess"|accessdate=2008-09-03 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Noble Knight Games]

A second edition of "Bunnies & Burrows" was printed in 1982 by Fantasy Games Unlimited,cite web |url=http://www.pen-paper.net/rpgdb.php?op=showbook&bookid=2217 |title=Bunnies & Burrows, 2nd Ed. (1982) |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Pen & Paper] although the continuing popularity of the first edition is evidenced by how it was still being actively played in 2008.cite web |url=http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=385223|title=(B&B 1st edition) - Hoppin' Mad! |accessdate=2008-09-02 |author= |date=2008-03-19 |work= |publisher=RPGnet]

During a rise of "retro" games in the late 1980s and early 1990s,cite web |url=http://ptgptb.org/0009/hist9.html |title=The History of Roleplaying |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author=Steve Darlington |date= |work= |publisher=Places to Go, People to Be (Issue 9, August 1999)] Steve Jackson Games entered negotiations with Dennis Sustare and Scott Robinson, the current owners of the "Bunnies & Burrows" copyright, to publish an official "GURPS" supplement.cite web |url=http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/articles/BnB.to.GURPS.html |title=B&B to GURPS |accessdate=2008-09-02 |author=Steffan O'Sullivan |date=1988-11-30 |work= |publisher=Steve Jackson Games] In 1988, Steffan O'Sullivan wrote an unofficial conversion of "Bunnies & Burrows" to "GURPS" while the negotiations continued. He indicated that he hoped to one day work on the official supplement.

"GURPS Bunnies & Burrows" was published in 1992. It was written by Steffan O'Sullivan with interior art by Jim Groat. The book is now out of print, but (as of September 2008) is still available via digital download.cite web |url=http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/bunnies/ |title=GURPS Bunnies & Burrows |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Steve Jackson Games] Loyd Blankenship, [cite web |url=http://www.etext.org/CuD/Papers/sj-resp |title=STEVE JACKSON GAMES INCORPORATED v. UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE |accessdate=2007-09-17 |author= |date=1991-10-02 |work= |publisher=The ETEXT Archives] the managing editor of Steve Jackson Games' former "Illuminati BBS" acknowledged that Steffan received his wish, and kept the original conversion article online. Steve Jackson Games continues to support the game, releasing an updated errata sheet in 2007.cite web |url=http://www.sjgames.com/errata/gurps/bunnies.html|title=ERRATA - GURPS Bunnies & Burrows |accessdate=2008-09-02 |author= |date=2007-01-04 |work= |publisher=Steve Jackson Games]

The setting also had an unofficial conversion in 2004 to be used in "" by Boyd Mayberrycite web |url=http://mywebpages.comcast.net/boydmayberry/Bunnies.html |title=Risus Bunnies & Burrows |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author=Boyd Mayberry |date=2004-04-09 |work= |publisher=] under their "Rules for Free Fan-Supplements and Articles".cite web |url=http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus-usage.htm |title=Legal Usage: Risus Fan-Material Policies |accessdate=2008-09-02 |author= |date=2007-01-24 |work= |publisher=Cumberland Games & Diversions]

Gameplay

"Bunnies & Burrows" was the first role-playing game to allow for non-humanoid play.cite web |url=http://www.panix.com/~sos/rpg/bunny.html|title=Bunnies & Burrows|accessdate=2007-09-11|author=Steffan O'Sullivan|date=1998-06-20|publisher=SOS' Gameviews] cite web |url=http://ptgptb.org/0003/news3.html |title=RPG News |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author= |date=Issue 3, June 1998 |work= |publisher=Places to Go, People to Be] In addition, it was also the first role-playing game to have detailed martial arts rules (known as "Bun Fu")cite web |url=http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/12/12907.phtml |title=Review of GURPS Bunnies & Burrows |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author=Lev Lafayette |date=2007-04-16 |work= |publisher=RPGnet] and the first attempt at a skill system. Finally, it is the first role-playing game to appeal equally to women as well as men. For its time, the game was considered "light years" ahead of the Original "Dungeons & Dragons".

Players of "Bunnies & Burrows" take the role of rabbits as their player characters. Interaction with many different animal species is part of normal gameplay. Humans, whose thought processes and motivations are completely alien, are the only monster to be encountered.cite web |url=http://translate.google.com/translate?sourceid=navclient&hl=en&u=http%3a%2f%2fwww%2eroliste%2ecom%2fdetail%2ejsp%3fid%3d8166 |title=Bunnies & Burrows (French) |accessdate=2007-09-11 |author= |date= |work= |publisher=Rollsite]

"Bunnies & Burrows" has the advantage of offering players an intuitive grasp of relative dangers and appropriate actions not possible in game worlds that are substantially fictional. For example, a player is told their character is confronted with a fox. There is an immediate intuition on the amount of peril a rabbit is facing. Although player characters are substantially weaker than many of the dangers they face, the game is one of the first to encourage problem solving and outwitting obstacles, rather than out-fighting them.

The mechanics of the role-playing game system were created specifically for "Bunnies & Burrows", common at the time of its original publishing. It features eight abilities and eight classes. The task resolution system is based on rolls of percentile dice. Although newer systems have updated game mechanics significantly, the ideas presented in "Bunnies & Burrows" created the framework for modern role-playing games.

"GURPS Bunnies & Burrows" uses the "GURPS" system common in all "GURPS" products.

Reception

Although the game had "incredible role-playing potential", the concept of role-playing rabbits can be viewed as bizarre, and as such at least one commentator believes that "most people thought it was stupid" when it was first released.cite journal | author = Astinus | url = http://ptgptb.org/0003/hist3.html | title = The History of Roleplaying | accessdate = 2008-09-12 | date = June, 1998 |work = Places to Go, People to Be | issue = 3 ] This view is mirrored by Lev Lafayette, who, when describing his first exposure to the game, says "Oh, how we laughed. 'Who on earth would want to roleplay a rabbit?', we mocked. 'What's the point? You can't do anything!'". In spite of these first impressions, the game has generally received positive reviews: Lafayette, for example, goes on to say that it is "really hard to fault "GURPS Bunnies & Burrows", as it is educational, realistic, whimsical and clever, while the game has also been described as a "work of genius".

Publications

Books

*"Bunnies & Burrows" (1976), Fantasy Games Unlimited
*"Bunnies & Burrows" (Second edition) (1982), Fantasy Games Unlimited
*"GURPS Bunnies & Burrows" (1992), Steve Jackson Games, ISBN 9781556342370

Articles

*"Different Worlds Present the World of Druid's Valley: A Bunnies & Burrows Campaign" (B. Dennis Sustare, 1979). "Different Worlds", Chaosium
*"The Jackrabbits' Lair" (Daniel J. Maxfield). Pegasus, Judges Guild

ee also

*"GURPS"
*List of "GURPS" books
*"Watership Down"

References


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