Friday, May 15, 2020

Bunnies and Burrows: Risus Edition

Bunnies and Burrows was a game that came out in the 80's from Fantasy Flight Games and was actually revolutionary for its time. It was one of the first games to have a skill system. Anyway, I did a conversion of it using Risus awhile back and I figured I would share.

Character Creation

Standard Character Creation: 10 dice per core rules

Special Character Creation Bonus: Due to the very fortunate nature of rabbits, they all begin play with three Lucky Shots at no cost.

New Clichés:

  • Warren Watch (being big and tough, protecting the Warren)
  • Hoplite (being Swift, scouting ahead)
  • Engineer (inventing simple contraptions, understanding human machinery)
  • Seer* (using ESP, having scary dreams)
  • Empathetic Healer* (healing other rabbits wounds)
  • Herbalist* (identifying plants, preparing snuffballs)
  • Storyteller* (telling entertaining tales, enthralling whoever is listening)
  • Bun Fu Martial Artist* (doing cool moves, beating up enemies)
  • Maverick (living alone, wondering around)
  • Bunny King (ruling all other rabbits, eating a lot of food)
  • General (head of the Efrafa, militant, strong)
  • Captain ( answers only to the General of the Efrafa, brave, loyal)
  • Rabbit (being fast, skittish, and generally rabbit like)
* Can be Double Bumped


Wondering Encounters: The wilderness is a scary place and other animals besides rabbits occupy it. When a rabbit(s) is outside, above ground, and unhidden wondering encounters are more frequent and could possibly be encounters with predators. When a rabbit(s) is concealed and above ground encounters happen less frequent and when the rabbit(s) are safely tucked in their burrows at night wondering encounters are very rare. The GM makes the roll in secret and the implements the effects in game. (This is a GM tool and can be used as needed). This is accomplished in the following order;

Occupant Encounters As rabbits explore the world they come across traps, manmade structures, and other environmental features. As rabbits go exploring the GM can make a roll on the following table to cause a random environmental encounter of some kind (again, this is an optional GM tool). The GM rolls secretly the following table;

The Predatory Critters All predatory critters should have something along these stat lines.

Random Predator

- Random Predator Name [1-6]

- Secondary Cliché [1-4] (Optional)

- Third Cliché [1-3] (Optional)

Random Predator Swarms/Packs

- Random Predator Swarms/Pack Name [1-12]

- Secondary Cliché [1-6] (Optional)

- Third Cliché [1-4] (Optional)

Examples of Predators: Wild Dogs, Fox, Coyote, Dog, Wolf, House Cat, Bobcat, Cougar, Weasel, Ferret, Badger, Wolverine, Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Mongoose, Flying Wolves, Crow, Raven, Falcon, Harrier, Rough-Legged Hawk, Red-Tailed Hawk, Burrowing Owl, Great Horned Howl, Eagle, Rattlesnake, Cottonmouth, Snapping Turtle, Scorpion, Tarantula, Black Widow, Water Spider, and Wasp Nest.

The Neutral Critters: The Neutral Critters follow the same rules as Predatory creatures except these creatures are not going to try to automatically harm the rabbits.
Examples of Neutral Animals: Vulture, Pheasant, Pigeon, Robin, Sparrow, Killdeer, Blackbird, Squirrel, Cow, Horse, Jackrabbit, Marmot, Armadillo, Mole, Garter Snake, Hog-Noses Snake, Tortoise, Lizard, Grasshopper, Beetle, Butterfly, Ant Nest, Dragonfly, Earthworm, Blue Jay, Grouse, Starling, Deer Mouse, Quail, Pack Rat, Porcupine, Opossum, Raccoon, Skunk, Salamander, Cicada, Moth/Caterpillar, Termite Nest, Honey Bee, Earthworm, Wild Pig, Centipede, Spider, Cockroach, Goose, Sea Gull, Heron, Duck, Beaver, Bull Frog, and Elk.

The Humans: Humans are usually big and scary and rabbits really do not understand them. Human stats should be tailored around the following example;

Farmer John

This human owns a lot of land and farms produce as well as own cows as well as chickens. He carries around a gun for foxes and other predators but has a soft spot for the rabbits as long as they stay out of the miss’s garden.

- Human [1-6]

- Old Quirky Farmer [1-5]

- Rusty Tractor Maker/Fixer [1-4]

Advanced Options

With these options in play, players can spend their character creation on something other than Clichés. Players can receive 3 Lucky Dice or 5 Questing Dice per 1 die of character creation die spent. Due to the lucky nature of rabbits, only one character creation dice can be spent on Lucky Shots, for a Maximum of 6.

Lucky Shot: Using a Lucky Shot boosts one of your Clichés by one die per Lucky Shot used. This can give you just the amount of edge or the “luck” on an important roll. Your Lucky Shots recharge between game sessions but cannot be hoarded.

Questing Dice: Questing Dice are Lucky Shots with a focus. They are less flexible because they are tired to a character personal quest, a specific mission, a burning passion or hatred, and a love that defines them. Characters that are not on a specific quest should not be allowed to use questing dice and cannot be used for something broad. They can only be used to boost in anything standing in the way to the characters personal quest.

With Hooks and Tales in play, the player can bargain with the GM for extra character creation dice after giving his character a Hook and/or a Tale.

Hooks: A hook is some significant character flaw - an obsession, a weakness, a sworn vow, a permanent crippling injury - that the GM finds so juicy and will use it to make the characters life more interesting or more difficult. This is worth one extra die.

Tales: A “tale” is a written biography describing his/her life before the events of the start of the game. The tale does not need to be long, a few pages or so. This is worth one extra die.

Lupine Glossrry

Bob-Stones: A traditional game among rabbits.
The Crixa: The center of Efrafa, at the crossing point of two bridle paths
Efrafa: The name of the warren founded by General Woundwort
El-Ahrairah: The rabbit folk hero. The name (Elil-hrair-rah) means “Enemies-Thousand-Prince” = The Prince of a Thousand Enemies.
Elil: Enemies of Rabbits
Embleer: Stinking (Ex. The smell of fox)
Flay: Food (Ex. Grass or other fodder)
Flayrah: Usually good food such a lettuce or carrots.
Frith: The sun, personified as a God by rabbits. Frithrah! = The Lord Sun, used as an exclamation.
Fu Inle: After Moonrise
Hlao: Any dimple or depression in the glass, such that as that formed by a daisy plant or thistle, which can also hold moisture. Also the name of a rabbit.
Hlao-roo: “Little Hlao”. An affectionate diminutive of the name Hlao.
Hlessi: A rabbit living above ground, without a regular hole or warren. A wondering rabbit living in the open. (Plural, Hlessil).
Homba: A fox. (Plural, hombil).
Hrair: A great many, an uncountable number, any number above 4. U Hrair = The Thousand Enemies.
Hrairoo: “Little Thousand”. The name of Fiver in Lapine
Hraka: Droppings, excreta
Hrududu: A tractor, car, or any other motor vehicle.
Hyzenthlay: Literally, “Shine-dew-fur” = fur shining like dew. The name of a doe.
Inle: Literally, the moon; also moonrise. But a second meaning carries the idea of darkness, fear, and death.
Lendri: A Badger
Marli: A doe, also carries the meaning mother.
M’saion: “We meet them”
Narn: Nice, pleasant (to eat).
Ni-Frith: Noon.
Nildro-hain: “Blackbirds Song.” A name of a doe.
Owsla: The strongest rabbits in the warren, the ruling cliché.
Owslafa: The council police. (A word found only in the Efrafa).
Pfeffa: A cat.
Rah: A prince, leader, or chief rabbit. Usually used as a suffix. (Ex. Threarah = Lord Threar).
Roo: Used as a suffix to donate diminutive. (Ex. Hrairoo).
Sayn: Groundsel
Silf: Outside, that is, not underground.
Silflay: To go above ground and feed. Literally, to feed outside. Also used as a noun.
Tharn: Stupefied, distraught, hypnotized with fear. But can also, in certain contexts, mean “looking foolish” or again “heart-broken” or forlorn.
Thethuthinnang: “Movement of Leaves”. The name of a doe.
Thlay: Fur.
Thlayli: “Fur-headed”. A nick name.
Threar: A rowan tree, or mountain ash.
Vair: To excrete, pass droppings.
Yona: A hedgehog.
Zorn: Destroyed, murdered. Denotes a catastrophe.


  • Rabbits can only count to 4, anything higher than that is simply “a lot”.
  • Rabbits hands are different than yours and mine.
  • Rabbits have a lot of enemies and they all should have a lot of dice.
  • Rabbits cannot understand human language. 
  • Rabbits can make small backpacks or “side” bags to hold small items in.

This also includes tables (for GM and Player use), sample characters, and cliche descriptions.

Some additional resources and references;

  1. The Original Fantasy Flight Games Bunnies and Burrows
  2. Bunnies and Burrows GURPS
  3. Third Edition of Bunnies and Burrows (This looks really amazing but I do not know anything about it). There is also a "lite" version.
  4. Red of Tooth (A rules lite bunnies game)
  5. The Warren (A powered by the apocalypse bunnies game)
I cannot forget to mention that these games were probably inspired by Watership Down by Richard Adams and this is basically required reading for anyone wanting to run a game like Bunnies and Burrows. To be honest, it is a great book in general and well worth a read regardless of your gaming preferences.

I will also recommend reading Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams. This book does a great job at depicting the world of cats (all the characters are cats, etc.) and would help with the mindset of a Bunnies ans Burrows style of game.

1 comment:

  1. The first edition came out in 1976! I have it right here.

    The PDF for sale is actually the much later second edition.

    First edition had a cover of a mass gatherine of rabbits, single column layout (which I like much better) plus two copies of a card reference sheet.