Storytelling and Enthralment in Fudge Bunnies

Storytelling and Enthralment are two of the interesting features that distinguishes a Bunnies & Burrows (B&B) game from reality. My problem is there is no one place to find the Storytelling and Enthralment rules for Fudge Bunnies. So I have pieced together bits from VG Fudge Bunnies (specifically Raspberry who is a storyteller), Gurps B&B, and some stuff I’ve made up.

Storytelling

Bunnies, like preindustrial human societies, like a good story. With no TV and no books storytelling helps pass the winter months when the bunnies are more or less confined to their burrows. Great storytelling can help a character earn status, impress members of the opposite sex, and possibly gain truffles.

In addition some great storytellers have an mesmeric power to influence their audience. These extraordinary storytellers are “Enthrallingly Charismatic” in Fudge Bunnies.

Bunny Storytelling

Bunny Storytelling

Storytelling process

In most gaming situations a character tells a story and it doesn’t really matter how good it was. But if the outcome does matter then the storytelling process has two or three steps. The storyteller:

  1. Chooses the story using Knowledge of Stories or Knowledge of Warren History, or decide to improvise
  2. Tells the story using Storytelling
  3. Optionally attempts Enthralment, but only if the storyteller is Enthrallingly Charismatic and the Storytelling succeeded on a Great or better

Step 1. Identify/choose the story

It helps to choose a story that fits the context. The Knowledge of Stories skill represents the character’s repertoire. The higher the skill level the more stories the storyteller knows and the more likely they are to know the specific type of story appropriate to a specific situation.

An unopposed Knowledge of Stories roll of Fair or better means the Character knows an appropriate story and can recall the essential elements of the story.

Modifiers:

  • -1 to Knowledge of Stories if the context demands an obscure story

If the story in question is one from history then use the skill Knowledge of Warren History instead.

If you don’t want to bother with this step then you can always choose to improvise.

Step 2. Tell the story

Any bunny can tell a story but to do it well requires skill. The Storytelling skill determines how well the tale is told.

Modifiers to Storytelling roll:

  • +1 if the player tells a good story as part of the role playing
  • +1 if the character has the Beautiful Voice gift
  • +1 if the associated Knowledge of Stories roll was Great or better
  • -1 if the associated Knowledge of Stories roll was Mediocre or worse
  • -1 if chose to improvise a story

Step 3. Attempt Enthralment

Although storytelling is a form of entertainment for bunnies, it is also a form of religious-psychological fulfilment (at least according to Gurps B&B). That gives some storytellers the possibility to Enthral an audience through a particularly well-told story. B&B uses the term Enthralment when a listener is lost in the magic of a tale and also for when the storyteller tries to manipulate or control listeners. The latter is a type of mesmerism akin to hypnosis (and is not psionics or magic).

Only characters with the Supernormal Power: Enthrallingly Charismatic can Enthral members of their audience. This Supernormal Power enables the character to learn and use four additional skills – the Enthralment skills

Enthralment skills

The four Enthralment skills are: Persuade, Sway Emotion, Suggest and Captivate. Like other skills based on a Supernormal Power in Fudge these skills do not have a default.

To use any of the Enthralment skills the character must first succeed with the Storytelling skill at Great or better. And we’re talking VG Fudge here so a Very Good result doesn’t cut the mustard.

The following table summaries the Enthralment skills. For each Enthralment skill the table lists the minutes of storytelling required to get a skill roll, and duration of the control, and the effect:

Skill Story Telling Time Effect Duration of effect
Persuade 1 min -1 to subject’s Pluck to resist an argument by the storyteller 1 min
Sway Emotion 5 min Changes the subject’s emotion, e.g. create fear 1 hour
Suggest 10 min Plants a subconscious impulse. Phrase the impulse as a simple sentence with only a subject, verb, object and at most two modifiers, e.g. “Kill Romeo”, “Bring me truffles” 10 min
Captivate 15 min Subject becomes intensely loyal to the Storyteller, will generally act in the storyteller’s best interest (as they understand it), and will follow any direct order Until either
1. the subject or storyteller go unconscious (including sleep) or
2. the storyteller attacks the subject or
3. the subject is Very Hurt or worse
4. the subject is told to do something very hazardous or against his normal code of behaviour (GM’s decision) and makes a Good Pluck roll

Any Enthralment attempt is an opposed action with the Enthralment skill versus the Pluck of each target.

Modifiers:

  • +1 to storyteller’s Enthralment skill if the player tells a good story as part of the role playing
  • -1 to storyteller’s Enthralment skill if there are 2-4 subjects
  • -3 to storyteller’s Enthralment skill if there are lots of subjects. Remember anything more than 4 is “lots” to a bunny. The effective upper limit is 25 which might only be a proportion of the audience.
  • +1 to subject’s Pluck if the subject suspects the storyteller is trying to control or manipulate them and is actively resisting. Regardless of any Enthralment attempt the subject will not enjoy the story for its entertainment value. (Really suspicious characters won’t turn up for a storytelling events but then they also never get to hear great stories)
  • -1 to subject’s Pluck if they are a Maverick, or any bunny that lives alone for over half a year, because they are desperate to hear a good story
  • Suggest skill only: +1 to subject’s Pluck when the Suggestion goes against their beliefs, convictions or knowledge
  • Suggest and Captivate skills only: +2 to subject’s Pluck when the Enthralment puts them at personal risk

Although the Beautiful Voice gift helps with the Storytelling skill it does not help with the Enthralment skills.

Who is enthralled

By default there is only one subject of an Enthralment attempt. The storyteller can try to Enthral more subjects, but does so with a negative modifier for all.

The storyteller can choose the specific members of the audience to be subjects of the Enthralment attempt. If they don’t then the game master decides – the closest animals and Mavericks are good candidates.

Fatigue

Using the Enthralment skills is fatiguing because the storyteller has to be on the top of their performance. There are no specific game mechanisms to cover this – just fudge it.

Enthralling non-bunnies

In order to Enthral an animal the storyteller must be speaking the subject’s own racial language. Speaking the animal’s pidgin language isn’t enough.

Storyteller Character Creation

The Storytelling skill is a normal skill that defaults to Poor.

Enthrallingly Charismatic is a Supernormal Power and costs the equivalent of two Gifts at character creation.

The Enthralment skills (Persuade, Sway Emotion, Suggest and Captivate) default to non-existent. Enthrallingly Charismatic characters can buy these skills individually, starting at Poor.

There are some other skills that although they don’t have a direct bearing on Storytelling but do seem complementary. As it happens Raspberry, one of the VG Fudge Bunnies, has most of these:

  • Pretence/Lies
  • Mimic Bunny
  • Mimic Non-Bunny
  • Throw Voice

Differences from Gurps

The terms for things have all changed:

Gurps B&B Fudge Bunnies
Charisma advantage Supernormal Power: Enthrallingly Charismatic
Bard skill Storytelling skill
Oral Literature skill Knowledge of Stories skill
History skill Knowledge of Warren History skill
Voice advantage Beautiful Voice gift
Will secondary characteristic Pluck attribute

In Gurps a Storyteller that wishes to Enthral an audience takes the Charisma advantage. Like all Gurps advantages it can be taken in levels, however, for Charisma the level impacts how many listeners are affected (Number of Subjects = Charisma squared). In Fudge the Charisma advantage is replaced by the the Super Power Enthrallingly Charismatic which can’t be taken in levels so there is an alternative way to assess numbers affected.

Rather than specific fatigue mechanics I suggest you just fudge it.

References

O’Sullivan, S. (1992a). Gurps: Bunnies & Burrows. Steve Jackson Games.

O’Sullivan, S. (2010). Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition. Grey Ghost.

O’Sullivan, S. (2011). VG Fudge Bunnies.

O’Sullivan, S. (2011). VG Fudge Bunnies Blank.

Leave a Reply