The Spooktober festivities continue! Following up on our conversion of the black-eyed child, we’re tackling another of the creatures from our 2022 5e horror sourcebook, Under The Harvest Moons, to the Cypher System—the dreadful and cursed bunny man.
Loosely based on the Appalachian urban legend and created initially for traditional fantasy campaigns and worlds, the bunny man can be included in any setting where unseely fey have a presence. Although GMs could just as easily make their curse the result of something more fitting to the world that they have in mind for their campaigns.
“Ragged are their clothes, and ragged are their souls, for they know no rest. They are revenants seeking themselves. Tasked to roam the unhallowed woods, forever seeking their own kin.”
– Egress Varn, High Priest of the Eternal Ember Temple
Bunny Man 5 (15)
Tales of what punishments befall mortals who break the sanctity of enchanted lands are plentiful. Hunters who mark a sacred beast as their prey. Woodsmen who fell the wrong tree in a grove. Guardians of the earthen realms who fail their lords in their solemn duties. All must pay a price in order to prevent future transgressions from their kind. But none have paid so heavily as the ones they call the bunny men.
Bunny men are hulking, malevolent creatures, cursed by fey or similar otherworldly beings for perceived trespasses against the flora and fauna within their domains. A cruel amalgam of hare and humanoid, bunny men are stripped of any mercy, benevolence, or reason that they once possessed and doomed to act as guardians in the lands that they offended, hunting down and eliminating anyone foolish or careless enough to wander into the territories they’ve been loosed upon.
Typically cursed and created by evil fey, bunny men are highly valued by deep woods hags and their adjacent ilk for both their bloodthirsty natures and ceaseless capabilities. Along with any thread of goodness that once remained in the wretched creatures, bunny men are deprived of their ability to sleep or rest, instead tasked with endlessly searching and surveying the lands of their masters for any potential threats or victims they might find there. A fell combination of finely-honed skill and bequeathed magics, bunny men are master hunters. Perfectly suited to force their way through any obstacle or hindrance set before them, once a bunny man has sighted their prey, they cannot stop their pursuit until either they or their target has been returned to the dark soil.
The bunny men’s tool of choice for their grim business is the same no matter what their long-forgotten origins may have been—a woodsmen’s axe, larger and sharper than any that they would have wielded in their past life and dripping with steady rivulets of blood that seep from the head of the weapon itself. It’s said that with every drop of blood that falls from their axe, another piece of who they once were is lost to the ether. Whether or not that is true, in the rare moments that a bunny man gains some small semblance of lucidity, it comes as more curse than blessing.
When a bunny man has achieved their singular goal, their axe slick with blood brought from outside of the woods they are forsaken to protect, they’re allowed a brief moment of bittersweet rest. Standing among the remains of the lives they snuffed out, their muscles go slack, their mind slows, and they lose themselves to whatever place these tortured and tortuous creatures go in these scarce moments. In this trance-like state, the bunny man remembers. Remembers who they once were, what events led them to their cursed shape, and the many wicked things they have been charged to do since then. And, in the face of the infinite sadness of that tiny moment, they remember how to scream.
It’s during this time that truly vicious and vengeful creators might visit their inconsolable warden, making promises of an eventual release from their curse and reinstatement of the life they lost before committing their terrible crimes against the earthen realm. These are, of course, lies and further cruelties that the bunny man will forget by sunrise. On the rare occasion that a bunny man has outlived their usefulness to their master, they are turned wholly into a hare. Fulfilling the fey’s darkest sense of humor and finally making the full transformation from predator to prey.
Motive: Protect their master’s domain, hunt down trespassers
Environment: Enchanted forests and other fey-controlled areas, alone
Damage inflicted: 6
Modifications: Might defense as level 6; tasks related to survival, tracking, and jumping as level 7; All movement tasks through their master’s domain are considered routine
Combat: A bunny man uses its enchanted bleeding axe to attack characters. They may make two axe attacks as a part of the same action.
After or before making an attack against a target with their axe, the bunny man can jump a short distance in any direction.
As an action, the bunny man swings his axe in a vicious circle, targeting all creatures within immediate range. Creatures struck by this attack must succeed on a Might defense roll or be knocked 10 feet (3 m) away and left prone.
Each day at dawn, the bunny man regains all lost points of health.
Interaction: Bunny men have had the ability to speak and reason removed by their masters, making communication with them impossible.
Use: The characters lose their way and find themselves lost in a forest guarded by a bunny man. A grieving family sends the characters deep into the woods to find their lost father.
Loot: They only leave behind their cursed woodsman’s axe.
GM Intrusion: The bunny man’s unseely master arrives on the scene to confront the characters.
You can download our 5e horror sourcebook Under The Harvest Moons on DriveThruRPG. If you’d like monthly Cypher materials and access to our developing settings, you can support us on Patreon!
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This product is an independent production and is not affiliated with Monte Cook Games, LLC. It is published under the Cypher System Open License, found at http://csol.montecookgames.com.
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