B&B to GURPS
Introduction and Copyright Notice
These rules are written to translate Bunnies and Burrows (B&B) to GURPS. Both games are needed to understand the rules. B&B is one of the finest game-worlds on the market. GURPS is one of the finest game systems on the market. The marriage of these two games is a happy combination that will delight many gamers. In general, it is assumed that the GM has read both books. Charts with numbers, such as 5.4, refer to B&B. All rules and page references to GURPS are to the Third Edition.
At this time (November, 1988), Steve Jackson Games is in negotiation with Dennis Sustare to secure a license to issue an official GURPS B&B. If that happens, I hope to be the author of such a translation, and this system will be the nucleus of it. Until such time, however, this manuscript is copyright by Steffan O'Sullivan, and may not be reproduced without his consent. Dennis Sustare and Scott Robinson hold the copyright to B&B, while Steve Jackson Games Incorporated is the copyright holder of GURPS.
– Steffan O'Sullivan, P.O. Box 465, Plymouth, NH 03264
(Editor's note: In 1992, Steffan got his wish, and GURPS B&B was released – and he was the author! But this remains an interesting article, so we left it on Illuminati.)
Character Creation is basically the same as in the GURPS Basic Set, Third Edition. In B&B. however, Rabbits are the standard that all other creatures deviate from (i.e., an average Rabbit has ST 10, DX 10, IQ 10, HT 10). Human stats are dealt with in the Creature section.
The cost to purchase an attribute at any particular level is the same as in the Basic Set – e.g., ST 14 costs 45 points. Advantages, Disadvantages and Skills are handled as usual with exceptions noted in the following sections.
All of the normal GURPS advantages may be used with the following exceptions and changes:
No: Lightning Calculator, Literacy, Mathematical Ability, or Wealth. Also, Clerical Investment, Magical Aptitude, Magic Resistance and Shapeshifting are up to the GM – see the note, below.
Change: Animal Empathy to mean Other-Species Empathy. Empathy is expanded to include new potentials: see New Skills.
Psionics: see Seers and Empaths, below.
(NOTE: B&B as originally written has no magic rules. In a private correspondence, one of the authors urged me to experiment with magic rules if I so desired. I don't, but will pass on those urgings to any of you who so desire!)
All of the normal GURPS Disadvantages may be used with the following exceptions and changes:
No: Alcoholism, Illiteracy, Legless, One-Legged, Poverty, Pyromania, or the Phobia of #13 (they can't count over 4!). The GM may prohibit Phobia of Magic.
Change: Phobia of Crowds goes into effect at 5 Rabbits! Youth: read "months" for "years", (but 18 years = 12 months). Age: read "months" for "years", 50 years = 50 months. One-Armed = only one forepaw.
Adjustment of Point Values
Acute Smell/Taste: this is more valuable for a Rabbit than a Human. Up to +2 bonus: 2 pts. each; 3rd & 4th bonus: 4 pts. each; 5th and any further bonuses: 8 pts. each level.
No Smell/Taste: This is likewise more serious: -15 pts.
Colorblindness: in real life Rabbits cannot see colors, in B&B they can. This disadvantage is only a problem for Herbalists ("I'll just take this Redberry and catch up to you."). -5 points.
Berserk: A Berserker Bunny sounds like a dead bunny ("Wolves! Kill them all!"): -25 pts. A GM may allow a Rabbit that only berserks against other Rabbits: this is worth -10 pts. for species-specific.
Inherent Advantages and Disadvantages
All Rabbits must buy Peripheral Vision unless they have the One-Eye or Blindness disadvantage.
They may or may not have various Phobias at GM's ruling. (Fear of Loud Noises, Monsters and Oceans come to mind immediately!) The PC should get the point value of these Disadvantages, though they do not count against the -40 limit. These Phobias may also be taken in the severe form for extra Disadvantage points. These extra points do count against the -40 limit. Inherent Phobias may also be bought off as Advantages: Immunity to Loud Noises, etc. The cost would be the inverse of the value of Disadvantage, +5. Thus, if the GM has ruled that all rabbits are afraid of Monsters (any sizable creature never encountered before!), it would be a 20 point Advantage to be unaffected by meeting a monster.
Although Rabbits have other Advantages and Disadvantages compared to Humans, this is handled by adjusting the Humans' stats appropriately. This allows for variation among Rabbits.
The GM may prohibit any Advantage or Disadvantage as he sees fit, depending on how close to the original game or Watership Down he wishes to play.
Speed and Move
Due to the shift in scale and relative speed differences between Rabbits and Humans, it is impossible to produce an accurate movement and distance scale that is familiar to GURPS players. For playability, continue to use 1-yard hexes as the standard and determine Basic Speed as usual, but add +1 to the Basic speed of all Rabbits to represent that they are so much faster than most other creatures. Basic Speed = [(DX + HT)/4]+1. Other animals will have a Speed assigned to them – see Creatures. Jumping is handled by B&B rules, with GURPS Jumping skill substitution allowed – see p. B88.
Encumbrance levels are handled normally by the invention of "Rabbit pounds" (R#'s). 40 R#'s = 1 pound; 5 R#'s = 2 ounces. Thus, an apple that weighs 1/2 lb. weighs 20 R#'s, meaning a rabbit of average ST is lightly encumbered carrying an apple, but a stronger Rabbit is not.
The average Rabbit is 15" long stretched out; add or subtract 1" per ST. Females are larger than males in tame Rabbits, but the same size in wild Rabbits.
The following GURPS skills can be used in B&B with changes as noted by an asterisk (*). Note that there are some new skills in later sections. Skills are of the same difficulty as in the Basic Set except as noted.
Acrobatics Engineering/TLR Psychology Acting Escape Running Administration Fast Talk Savoir-Faire Animal Handling *1 First Aid Scrounging *9 Anthropology *2 Gambling Sex Appeal Architecture/TLR Gesture Sleight of Paw Area Knowledge History Sports Artist Interrogation Stealth *10 Astrology Jumping Strategy Bard *3 Languages Streetwise *11 Botany Leadership Survival *10 Brawling Leatherworking *7 Swimming *6 Camouflage *4 Linguistics Tactics "Carpentry"*5 Literature Teaching Carousing Mechanic/TLR Theology Climbing *6 Merchant Throwing Dancing Meteorology/TLR Tracking *12 Detect Lies Naturalist Traps *13 Diagnosis Performance Ventriloquism Diplomacy Physician *8 Veterinary *14 Disguise Poetry Zoology Ecology Poisons *8
NOTES to Skill List
/TLR: Tech Level Rabbit, of course. For Architecture this means knowledge of all types of burrows, not human buildings. For Meteorology it means Weather-sense. For Engineering this refers to primitive ("stone-age") machines and constructions as well as figuring out simpler human artifacts. For Mechanic it means the use and repair of such machines and artifacts. Generally, the GM will require an Engineering roll to figure out how to accomplish a task, and a Mechanic roll to actually do it. There may be minuses to either or both of these rolls, sometimes severe. The simpler the machine, the lower the minus.
Skill Expansion: Bardic Enthrallment
Rabbits are so fond of storytelling there is a chance they will become Enthralled, a term used to describe a state similar to a Loyalty Spell in GURPS Fantasy. In short, this means that the enthralled rabbit will follow any order given by the Bard. In the absence of direct orders, he will act in the Bard's best interest as he understands it. The Enthrallment is immediately broken if the Bard attacks the victim. If the subject is told to do something very hazardous or against his normal code of behavior (GM's decision), he gets an IQ roll to break the enthrallment. The enthrallment lasts for 1 hour.
To Enthrall, a Bard must make a deliberate attempt and spend at least 1/2 hour (game time, not real time) telling a story. Three skill rolls are needed vs Bard skill: the first at no minuses, the second at -2, and the third at -4. If the second or third roll fail by 1 or 2, the Bard may continue the story another 10 minutes and try once more at an additional -1. The audience makes a resistance roll vs IQ, which is compared to the average success of the Bard's three skill rolls, rounded down. Example: a Bard of skill 16 rolls a 9, 13, and 10. He made his rolls by 7, 1, and 2, respectively. This means he made his roll by an average of 3.3 ([7+1+2]/3), which rounds down to 3. A listener would have to make his IQ roll by at least 3 to avoid being Enthralled. A Maverick (a Rabbit who lives alone) is more susceptible to Enthrallment: he resists at -3. Normal storytelling without any attempt to Enthrall is made as usual vs Bard skill.
Herbary (M/VH, defaults to IQ-7. Prerequisite: Botany) (The base for this Skill is IQ + Acute Smell level.) Herbary is the correct name for the study of herbs. The term has been out of use for centuries, but is more accurate than coining a new word such as Herbology – which the GM is free to use if he prefers the sound of it. Regardless of what it is called, this is an important skill in B&B. All of the herbs in section 5.6 are available, plus any the GM wishes to add. Some herbs that may be added might include modifications of the GURPS Fantasy Alchemical potions, or even herbs that temporarily grant Advantages or Disadvantages. The effects of the herbs in chart 5.6 are all treated as given. (Exceptions: read "Dodge" for "Defense Class;" and the effect of Wildroot is to bestow the Berserker disadvantage for 30 minutes.) Up to three separate skill rolls are needed to produce an herb ready for use:
A failure of any of these rolls still produces an end-product ready for use . . . just not the use the Herbalist had in mind! The GM makes all rolls in secret, and (except for critical successes and failures) gives only vague information about the herb. Trial and error is the way Herbalists learn! Please note the advice in section 5.5 of B&B about changing the names of the herbs. This is an excellent suggestion if any of your players own a copy of the book.
Identification of the use of the herb: If possible, the GM should describe each herb to the Herbalist. If the Herbalist later comes across an herb he already knows, and does not recognize it from the description, then treat it as an unknown herb – though this assumes a GM who is accurate and fair in his descriptions. Alternately, the GM can simply say the Herbalist recognizes the herb on a successful Herbalist roll with no minuses. To identify correctly the use of an unknown herb, consult B&B chart 5.7. Herbs listed there by Smell Type and Clarity. The GM makes an Herbary skill roll at the following penalties:
Smell Type Skill Minus Smell Clarity Sweet . . . . . . . . . . -0 . . . . . . . . . Clear Sour . . . . . . . . . .. -1 . . . . . . . . . Cloudy Acrid . . . . . . . . . . -3 . . . . . . . . . Murky Pungent . . . . . . .. -5 . . . . . . . . . Dense
These penalties are cumulative: i.e., a sour, murky herb (such as Redberry) is at -4 to identify. Other examples: Snuffball: -0; Dodgeweed: -5; Heroflower: -10!
If the roll is made, the Herbalist has correctly identified the plant, either from a description or actual sample his teacher once gave him. This does not necessarily give him the name of the plant or even an exact explanation of what it is good for. This simply means that the character has some idea of whether this is a harmful herb, or beneficial, or affects DX rather than HT, etc. The better the roll, the more information that is given. In case of critical success, the GM should be very precise in his information: name of the herb, benefits, duration of effects, etc. Note that the Herbalist should not even know how difficult the roll is!
If the roll is failed, the GM will probably tell the player that his character has no idea what the herb does. In case of critical failure, the GM will lie to the player!
Identification of the proper part of the herb to use: this second roll against Herbary skill is made with no minuses, again referring to B&B chart 5.7. Note that some herbs have more than one correct part. If the player decides to experiment with a certain part, no skill roll is needed. On a successful roll, the GM tells the Herbalist that a certain (correct) part of the herb smells stronger than any other.
On a failed roll, the PC is unable to distinguish any part as more potent than any other. In this case, the player will have to experiment with the plant, telling the GM which parts he is using. The GM should refer to chart 5.8 when the character uses the wrong part.
On a critically failed roll, the GM lies about the correct part.
Preparation of the herb: Chart 5.6 shows how to properly prepare each herb, as well as the results of a successful preparation. Assess a minus to the Herbary roll for preparation as follows:
Lick -0 Remove Dirt -5 Wet -1 Chew -6 Dry -2 Pick off Bugs -7 Crumble -3 Treat with Another Herb -8. Squeeze -4
Make the roll appropriately. There is only one minus per herb on this third roll – knowing what to do and doing it are included in the one roll. If the Herbalist decides to prepare the herb in a certain way himself, roll vs. Herbary with only half the minus for properly carrying out the preparation – round in his favor. Of course, he may have chosen wrong, so even if that roll is successful, the result may still be Poisonweed!
Chart 5.8 shows some possible results of improper preparation; the GM is free to make up his own!
Seers: Psychic Ability
A Seer is a Rabbit with either ESP or Telepathy ability, or both. Psychic ability (Psi) is an inborn talent that the Seer gradually learns to control throughout childhood. Because Psi is uncontrollable at first, it is very draining to the young Seer – he or she never develops physically as fully as other Rabbits. Consequently, a Seer may never have a ST over 10. Since they also tend to be very introverted, the GM should not allow a Seer to know Brawling, and may even assess a minus to DX for attack. The GM may also assess a -1 to all social skills for Seers for their introversion.
Psionics are covered in Chapter 20 of the GURPS Basic Set, Third Edition, and all limitations and rules listed there apply. No Rabbit may have any power or skills in Psychokinesis, Teleportation, or Anti-Psi. They may spend points in Psionic Healing only if they are also Empaths – see below. The GM may allow these other Psionic skills at his option, but they are not inherent in the genre.
In addition, there are some slight limitations and changes to the Telepathy power. A Seer may have any of the following:
A Rabbit may take Telepathy power with a single skill of Mind Shield and not be restricted by the normal Seer limitations – i.e., he may have a ST higher than 10, and know combat skills. He is not considered a Seer.
An Empath is a Rabbit with the Empathy advantage and Psionic Healing abilities. An Empath may not attack other Rabbits – the nature of their ability is such that wounds to Rabbits pain them too much to fight them. They may attack other species, however.
A Rabbit may be both an Empath and a Seer, but the limitations of both types must be met (may not attack Rabbits, maximum ST 10, etc.). The Psionic Healing skill, as outlined on pp. B175-176, is used by an Empath to heal other Rabbits. There are two differences in B&B GURPS, though:
The Empath may not heal other species through Empathic Healing. The Animal Empathy advantage does not grant corresponding healing ability to other species, at least not at the current cost. The GM may permit a 15-point version of Animal Empathy to allow Healing with other species. In such a case, the Empath would be unable to attack even a fox that leapt on him! Healing power should be limited to level 20.
The GURPS Fright Check rules work perfectly in B&B, and should be used whenever the B&B rules call for "shock."
Combat is as in the Basic Set, with the following modifications:
Skills: all Rabbits have a native combat ability equal to their DX. There are only three combat skills beyond that – Brawling, Throwing and the new skill, Bunny-lash. If GMs wish to experiment with weapon skills for Rabbits, that's up to them!
Defense: there is no parrying or blocking, not even with Brawling skill. Rabbits have 0 PD unless they have Toughness or have somehow made themselves armor. Dodge = Move or Move + Skill Bonus or 1/2 DX, whichever is greatest. The "Acrobatics Dodge" and "Dodge and Retreat" options are both allowed – see p. B108. Likewise, Combat Reflexes grants a +1 to Dodge.
Attacking: there are several modes of attack, and Brawling and Bunny-lash give bonuses to some of these modes.
Brawling (P/E): Dodge = Move +1. 1/10th Brawling Skill (round down) is added to basic damage. The Dodge bonus is always in effect; the damage bonus only affects Clawing, Kicking and Ripping – not biting.
Bunny-lash (P/H): new skill. Prerequisites: Brawling and Acrobatics at 13+. Dodge = Move +2. 1/5 Bunny-lash skill (round down) is added to basic damage. The Dodge bonus is always in effect, but is not cumulative with the Brawling bonus. The damage bonus only affects Clawing, Kicking and Ripping – not biting. A Bunny-lash skill roll may be substituted for a DX or ST roll at any time during close combat. A Bunny-lasher is at +2 in any attempt to pin or be pinned. The GM may restrict this skill to members of the Owsla, in which case they may need to buy the Military Rank or Law Enforcement advantage, or may need to take a Duty to Warren disadvantage.
Throwing (P/H): the GM should usually require a Throwing skill roll if a miss would cause problems – throwing a snuffball at a charging predator is a good example. In general, of course, a Rabbit's paws are not made for grasping and the GM is the ultimate authority on what may and may not be thrown. Treat a Rabbit's ST as being only 1/4 of what it is for range purposes. Do not round the divided ST off, but round the distance to the nearest yard after calculating range, with halves going up. (In other words, a ST 11 Rabbit is treated as having ST 2.75. Multiplying that by 3.5 for throwing a stone gives a maximum range of 10 yards.) Treat the target's range as being four times as far away as it is and four times as large as it is when referring to the table on p. B201. E.g., a ST 13 Rabbit can throw a rock a maximum of 11 yards, not 45 yards. A two-foot long fox counts as an eight-foot target (+1 to hit), but if it's 4 yards away, treat it as 16 yards (-6 to hit). The ambitious GM should make a translated chart for ease of use.
There are six attack modes possible for Rabbits that are treated specially. Other modes (such as pinning or a slam attack) are treated normally, use common sense when in doubt.
Biting: Rabbits bite at DX or combat skill minus any hit location penalties. A Rabbit's bite does damage equal to Basic Swing-2. This damage is Cutting when the opponent is smaller than or equal to a medium sized dog. For larger animals, a Rabbit bite does only Crushing damage. There is no combat skill bonus for Biting attacks.
Clawing: Rabbits claw at DX or combat skill level. Clawing does impaling damage equal to Basic Thrust-2 (plus any bonus). Clawing an animal larger than a medium sized dog does only crushing damage, unless targeted to a very sensitive spot, such as a dog's nose, in which case it does cutting damage. A claw attack may thrust for the vital organs only for animals smaller than a medium dog, and only if the Rabbit knows the Bunny-lash skill.
Kicking: this is treated like Kicking in the Basic Set, except that the damage (Basic Thrust plus any Combat Skill bonus) is always cutting damage - Rabbits do a raking kick. A DX or combat skill roll is necessary to maintain balance after an unsuccessful kick.
Ripping: this is a special type of Kick done while grappling or being grappled. Grappling in Rabbit fights is usually done by Biting or Pinning. For a Biting grapple, a successful attack must first be made. Damage is inflicted as normal. The attacker then announces he is grappling, and the defender may attempt to break free, or claw or bite normally. The defender may not Rip the attacker the first turn after being grappled, but may any turn thereafter. Breaking free of a bite is done by the Basic Set rules except that the defender takes damage equal to the initial bite if he breaks free. If the grapple is not broken, the attacker may attempt to Rip on his next turn. Roll against DX or combat skill; no aimed shots are possible. The defender is at 1/2 Dodge. Damage is the same as Kicking except there is a 1/3 chance of doing impaling damage to the vital organs. Any other damage affects the general body. On the defender's next turn, he may elect to Rip the attacker. If so, the attacker is at 1/2 Dodge unless he elects to let go of the grapple (no extra damage for voluntarily releasing a bite) in which case he is at full Dodge.
Butting: is treated as a Slam attack in the Basic Set; no damage is done. A successfully butted animal will take two turns to rise to its feet, however. (Normal rising time is one second for most 4-legged animals that a Rabbit will be fighting.) This attack is not useful against anything larger than about ST 16-18, GM's discretion.
Cuffing: this non-hostile attack is done at DX and does 1-5 crushing damage. Do not use any skill modifiers, or even a combat skill itself for this attack mode.
CreaturesThe creature statistics listed here are a composite of my own research and B&B statistics. In general, I have kept to B&B proportions whenever possible by analyzing the statistics in depth. I have left Mongooses as they are in B&B rather than trying to match their statistics to reality, for example. This is obviously a fantasy game, so the need to be totally realistic is superseded by the need to enjoy the game! When I had to invent new statistics to fit the GURPS mode, I tried to go by reality as much as possible. There is a special section on Humans following the list of other creatures.
Note that only potential predators and menaces are presented here – the GM is on his own to figure out the stats of neutral animals, should the situation ever arise where they are needed.
Damage shown is for biting, usually. Clawing is the same, but cutting. Damage for raptors is for striking from a swoop – reduce it for hovering or on the ground. Poison damage is by type, with damage – see the Bestiary. Swarm rules are also possible, but the damage is slightly higher for Rabbits.
Creature ST DX IQ HT Move PD/DR Dodge Damage -------- ----- ----- ---- ----- ---- ----- ----- ------ Wild Dog 20-24 10-13 8-11 13/25 5 1/1 6 1d+1 i Fox 20-24 11-14 9-12 12/22 5 1/1 7 1d+1 i Coyote 24-28 11-14 9-12 14/26 5 1/1 7 1d+2 i Wolf 35-40 9-12 9-12 14/35 5-6 1/1 6 2d i Large Dog 30-35 9-12 8-12 13/30 3-5 1/1 6 2d-1 i Medium Dog 20-25 10-13 8-11 13/24 3-6 1/1 7 1d+1 i Small Dog 11-15 10-13 8-11 11-15 3-4 1/1 7 1d-1 cu Farm Cat 11-15 12-15 9-12 11-15 4 1/0 8 1d-1 cu Bobcat 30-35 11-14 9-12 14/30 4 1/1 8 2d-1 i Cougar 50-60 11-14 9-12 14/55 5-6 1/1 7 3d i Weasel 11-15 10-13 9-12 9-13 3 0/0 8 1d-1 cu Ferret 18-24 12-15 8-11 11-15 3 0/0 8 1d cu Badger 30-35 8-11 8-11 15/26 3 2/1 5 2d-1 cr Wolverine 40-45 10-13 10-14 14/40 3 2/2 5 2d+1 cu Grizzly Bear 80+ 8-11 7-11 15/80 4 3/2 5 4d+1 cr Black Bear 65-75 8-11 8-11 15/70 3 2/2 5 3d+1 cr Mongoose 8-11 11-14 11-15 11-15 4 1/0 8 1d-2 cu Flying Wolf 8-11 9-12 8-11 12-16 6 0/0 8 1d-2 cu Raven 10-12 9-12 9-12 12-16 12 1/1 9 1d-1 i Crow 7-10 8-11 8-11 8-10 13 0/0 9 1d-2 cr Falcon 10-12 11-14 9-12 11-15 16 0/0 9 1d i Rough Leg Hawk 14-18 11-14 9-12 12-16 15 0/0 9 1d+2 i Red Tail Hawk 24-28 11-14 9-12 14/18 14 1/1 9 2d+1 i Burrowing Owl 11-13 11-14 9-12 12-16 11 1/1 8 1d-1 cu Great Horn Owl 24-28 11-14 8-11 13/22 11 1/1 8 1d+1 i Eagle 35-40 10-13 9-12 14/30 14 2/1 8 3d i Snapping Turtle 11-14 8-10 6-8 14-18 2 2/5 3 1d cu Rattlesnake 12-16 10-14 6-8 12/20 4 2/1 9 A, 3d Cottonmouth 10 10-13 6-8 11/16 4 1/1 8 A, 2d Scorpion 3 10-13 4-6 14/3 2 3/3 6 0 or C Bl Widow Spider 1 9-11 4-6 12/1 2 2/0 4 C, 2d Water Spider 2 9-11 4-6 12/1 2 2/0 4 0 or C Tarantula 3 10-13 4-6 12/2 3 2/0 4 C, 1d-1 Wasp 3 14 4-6 13/2 12 3/1 10 1d-2 cr
Human stats are very hard to figure and not really necessary, anyway. If you have to have something to go on, figure ST 40, DX 7, IQ 30+, HT 10/40, Move 3, PD/DR 0/0 (clothing might provide some, though), Dodge 4, Damage 2d cr. Guns do damage as listed in the Basic Set, plus 1d.
Most humans have Combat Paralysis compared to most wild animals, though there are exceptions, such as hunters. Humans will also have a very high DX for manipulating things with their hands; the DX given above is for unarmed combat purposes. Even that is hard to figure, since humans can strike with their hands as fast as snakes can strike with their heads . . . strange creatures, humans, very hard to understand.
Basically, the GM should play them as totally alien creatures whose motives are completely beyond the comprehension of any Rabbit. Only a Seer may get an occasional inkling of why humans do what they do. Even a successful Anthropology roll won't give any hint of motives, though it may reveal what a human will do in a given situation. A successful Anthropology roll would tell a Rabbit that just sitting by the side of a road means he isn't in much danger of being run over, for example. It won't reveal why the humans don't stop or swerve to kill it, when they hunt Rabbits and set traps for them at other times.