Bunnies and Burrows
Bunnies and Burrows Capsule Review by Jason Morningstar on 08/07/01
Style: 2 (Needs Work)
Substance: 5 (Excellent!)
PCs as rabbits. An innovative and prescient game. Can you believe they wrote this in *1976*?
Product: Bunnies and Burrows
Author: B. Dennis Sustare and Scott Robinson
Company/Publisher: Fantasy Games Unlimited
Cost: Out of Print
Page count: 75
Year published: 1976
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by Jason Morningstar on 08/07/01
Genre tags: Fantasy Other
Bunnies and Burrows was the second RPG I encountered, shortly after discovering the whole hobby with white box D&D. It was a revelation -- here was a game that turned convention (such as it was in the late seventies)on its head. PCs were at the *bottom* of the food chain, and cats and foxes were deadly enemies rather than nuisances! The game forced me to reevaluate everything I thought I understood about roleplaying, and I was a better gamer for it.
In Bunnies and Burrows, one takes the role of a rabbit, usually attached to a warren. Like a certain RPG also popular in 1976, Bunnies and Burrows has character classes (fighter, runner, herbalist, scout, empath, seer, maverick, storyteller) and levels. B&B was the first game to allow characters to develop levels in various attributes independently, one of many innovations the rules present. The combat system is quite sophisticated (although not without problems), also a departure from its contemporaries.
The rules cover everything central to rabbit-style adventuring -- predators, traps, the use of medical and near-magical herbs, food, and of course section 9.3: "reproductive success". There is ample discussion of roleplaying as an activity and a lot of advice for GMs within the book's scant 75 pages. It is, for its time, a remarkably cohesive package. The design is light years ahead of original D&D.
Of course, to appreciate these things you have to get past the poor production values. The art is sketchy and generally dreadful, and the entire manuscript appears to have been typewritten. But in an infant hobby, these were small hurdles to leap. We've come a long way.
For anyone with an appreciation of the history of roleplaying, finding a copy of the original Bunnies and Burrows is a real score. If you are interested in the genre, I'd urge you to locate a copy of Steffan O'Sullivan's GURPS port of B&B instead -- it is much cleaner, more user-friendly, better organized, and easier to find.