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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Red of Tooth Is Here...

Today we released Red of Tooth, our game of rabbits and survival loosely based on Watership Down but also Bambi (a remarkably dark children's movie) and maybe Farthing Wood (for those of you from the other side of the pond).  It's a digital title right now, but coming in hardcover very soon.  Intelligent rabbits may not be your thing, but maybe you'll find its imagined universe to your liking and give the rules a try...

So first off, it's a rules-lite game; and those of you already familiar with our stuff should understand and even recognize our typical flourishes.  But for everyone else (and you, our dear regulars), here's what it's all about.  Yes, it's a rules-lite game, and also a d6-based system.  We love d6 stuff because it's so easy (check those kitchen drawers, chances are you'll find a pair) and because there's something special and definitively "pre-gaming as industry" about them, especially in a game where player choices matter more. 

Once again, the characters are intelligent rabbits possessing the Spark; that Prize of Understanding granted to their kind and a few others.  But intelligence aside, they still lack hands and opposable thumbs.  That means no armor, no weapons and no inventories, making most forms of resource management out of the question.  Moreover, despite their intellectual prowess, they are otherwise just rabbits.  Simple laporidae...  

  
And rabbits aren't exactly cutting a swath of destruction across the countryside.  No, your characters won't be killing the farmer's dog or mounting a retaliatory strike against the hunters who took out their friends.  This isn't a game where you kill for experience, but one where enemies are to be avoided because that dog will tear your rabbit to bloody rags in short order.  Intelligence aside, Red of Tooth strives for a sort of naturalistic realism, and the ferocity of predators (and humanity with its firearms) is pretty hard to ignore.

Combat, even among rabbits, is fast, furious, and often lethal, although the ability to flee hostilities (or avoid them through camouflage) is strongly emphasized.

But it's not all bad news.  Characters have a class (phylum), whether stealthy Foragers, brave Scouts, or prophetic Witch Hares.  And while it doesn't make sense to give them ability scores, they are nonetheless rated in their five senses, each one granting unique and life-saving abilities.  Rabbits, like many animals, enjoy superior hearing and smell, among other things, and rely on these in ways humans can't.  Useful stuff for sure, but still only as good as the choices and decisions of the players (which is the real value of intelligence)...

So it's game of survival against long odds; but one standout aspect of the rules is their emphasis on role-playing.  We've flirted with this before, with experience bonuses for superior role-play per Barons of Braunstein, Blood of Pangea, and Diceless Dungeons, among our favorites; and it's here as well.  But this rulebook goes one step further and allows the players to choose (or roll) two personality traits to guide their advancement, noting that much of the game's underlying tension comes from it's cast of all-too-human animals.  

If this sounds like your thing, Red of Tooth delivers.  And if your rabbits survive their adventures, they can establish their own warren and sire offspring who just might take their place when death inevitably comes.  Mortal heroes fought dragons and giants, but the rabbits, tiny heroes of the natural world, fight them for real.  Only now the rabbits are you...

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