Starship Down

It's a take on Watership Down; Bunnies and Burrows except based off the Exigency system and with a sci-fi twist. Everything here is paraphrased and quite probably misremembered from the works of Georgia Higgs:

While the eponymous Starship crashed on the setting's planet, it's mostly an element to explain the presence of technology without the presence of people: the machines farm and dig and build roads, all without any apparent supervision. Whether the ship was meant to be sent here and who sent it are all questions that are left unanswered.

The end result is a planet very much like ours (a background Infinitum also employs) except that in this instance the farms and meadows and mines were all developed by robots; automated vehicles such as tractors and dozers. The rest of the world is truly wild, great expanses of untouched forest and jungle.

Georgia's main goal was to port B&B to the Exigency system: so rabbits can't wield weapons or equipment. Combat stats are largely irrelevant except for bunny-on-bunny fights. In short, combat is strongly downplayed because you're a goddamn rabbit.

Starship Down takes the Exigency attributes and aspects and cuts out specialities entirely. The VSAFWI stats become Vigour, Combat, Speed, Awareness, Thought and Will. Each has 0-10 pips, and each is depletable just as in the first release of Exigency. For the only campaign I can recall being mentioned, the players were given 18 pips to assign, with every pip above four costing double and every aspect costing 3 pips for the first and 6 for the second.

Damage is even more abstract than in the original system, because so many threats to a rabbit will kill them outright. Vigour is drained every time a rabbit makes a difficult physical check, and Will is drained every time they make a difficult mental check. Speed and Awareness are essential, as reaction times are one of the few things that bunnies have in their favour, but a high Speed won't help much if you can only run away once before becoming an exhausted shivering heap of tasty fur-covered meat. Losing all their Vigour or Will pacifies a rabbit and makes them an easy target.

Combat, again, is only really useful for rabbit duels which is supposedly why it was rattled down into a single attribute. It does however help a rabbit to survive the general chaos of the melee when a predator (or predators) close in. Every little helps!

While concentration was an element of Focus in Exigency, in Starship Down such checks are part of Thought. Thought influences intuition and allows a rabbit to act on something other than instinct when said instinct would actually get them killed.

Without specialities, "special skills" are limited to class-like aspects. The Seer aspect (think Fiver from WD) grants transcendent Awareness-based abilities that border on the psionic or magical. Weirds (think Blackberry from WD) rely on Thought and have an understanding of simple concepts that are utterly alien to to the vast majority of rabbits. Storyteller (Dandelion) is the closest thing the system has to a Social ability, and also allows insight into the history and myths of the rabbit peoples (some of which are frighteningly relevant).

And for anyone that's curious, Georgia hypothesised that a Starship Down rabbit could be converted into a standard Exigency character with 1/10 of their usual statistics (i.e., that a supragenius rabbit with 10 in Thought was broadly analogous to a human with 1 point of Intellect). Which also raises the interesting idea that with a good critical hit, a Combat 10 rabbit could probably take down a human…

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