Happy GURPSDay everyone!
It has been a crazy holiday week, and I’m under a pile of to-dos, so I would like to share with you, apropos of nothing, one of my favorite gaming anecdotes… the Bunny Story.
I think most gamers, at some time or another, have forgotten just how completely foreign to most people’s experiences tabletop RPGs really are. You can explain them, describe them, talk to death about them, but until a person actually plays a game, it can be a difficult thing to truly grok.
With that in mind… In my early 20s, I used to work at a group home on the overnight shift. I worked almost exclusively with two other overnighters who, though they didn’t game themselves, had heard me talk about gaming so much for so long that they kind of knew what it was all about.
Then there was Mickey, one of the morning shift staff. Mickey was, if we must put him in a box, a “musclehead.” A body builder, a jock. A squat, barrel-chested man who clearly had Dwarven blood far back on the family tree. He was a pleasant enough fellow, but we didn’t chat much during the shift changes because, apart from both being carbon-based lifeforms, we had nothing whatsoever in common.
One night, Mickey worked an overnight to cover a call out from my usual work buddy. We didn’t really interact much for the first couple hours, but eventually we started trying to force a chat just to pass the time. He told me about macrobiotics, steroids, cardio exercises, Russian bodybuilding exercises, and BMI. Total white noise.
When he asked me about my weekend, I told him I had “played a game with some friends.” When he pressed for details, I began telling him all about the wonder of role-playing games — the getting together with friends to roll dice, tell a tale, live the life of a hero, that sort of thing. He was clearly having trouble really processing the whole thing, but he seemed genuinely interested and kept asking questions, so I kept talking.
I told him about the past weekend’s game. It wasn’t D&D, which he had at least heard of, but “GURPS: Bunnies & Burrows.” In the adventure, our group of bunnies had been tasked by the rabbit king with the critical task of finding a suitable area for a new warren, as the food around ours had become scarce.
The conversation eventually moved on to movies, and television, and other mundanities, and finally it was morning and we went our separate ways.
The following morning I ran into the house supervisor, Mark. Despite our paths almost never crossing, he and I were on fairly friendly terms simply due to both being affable, jovial fellows. (This was a very good thing, as this story could have easily gone very differently had he any axes to grind.)
“I hear you had quite the weekend.” Mark mentioned with a mischievous smile.
I wasn’t really sure where he was going with this, so I just mumbled something like, “Uh, yeah, pretty good. You?”
“Oh, it wasn’t bad.” He started laughing. “Probably not as fun as running around in the woods in a rabbit costume.”
That’s right, Mickey wasn’t quite able to grasp the finer nuances of TTRPGs. In his mind, what I had described to him translated to, “Mook and his friends spent the weekend running around in the woods wearing bunny costumes.” Mark and I had a grand laugh at the whole thing, mostly at Mickey’s expense and not my own, though I admit the imagined visual of me in a giant rabbit costume gamboling through the forest has been forever etched into my brain.
I think Mickey finally understood how we play our games after my numerous attempts to enlighten him. At least, he never mentioned bunny suits to anyone again. But, naturally, all the staff got quite a chuckle out of it, and I had to endure a few years of (good-natured) rabbit jokes.
Mickey, IQ check — CRITICAL FAILURE.
And that, my friends… is the Bunny Story.
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