Sunday, August 14, 2011


The Koni (both singular and plural) are a diminutive race of nonhumans who live (primarily) in the hilly country of a peninsula to the west of Payn, known as Konikula. They resemble nothing so much as bipedal rabbits about half the height of a man, though their eyes are forward facing like a dog's. They live in clans, consisting of from about 10 up to 100 or so Koni all living in a single underground complex, called a "Warren". Small warrens will have about 5 times as many entrances as inhabitants, while larger warrens get that ratio down to about 1:1. There are usually numerous smaller tunnels, called "Bolt Holes", surrounding the main warren, up to a mile or so away. Koni like to dig, but only so long as it is purposeful. When the warren gets as large as it needs to be, something that the Koni will instinctively feel, they simply don't dig any more.

Koni warrens typically have a King, who rules with an iron hand. His Queen, in turn, rules him by subtler means. Male Koni are expected to act with deference, and in most warrens are subject to being beaten if they show insolence to the King. The King, in the larger warrens, will have advisers to help him formulate policy. The personalities of the King and Queen are reflected through the whole warren, though not always directly.

The warren usually includes several institutions particular to the Koni way of life, notably the Warreners and the Hoplites. The Warreners are a troop of warriors dedicated to the safety of the warren. The Hoplites, on the other hand, are scouts and messengers, skilled in avoiding notice and moving quickly. A few Koni are unable to find a place for themselves in warren life, and become Mavericks, usually forming into small bands living outside of the warrens, but forming a sort of informal border patrol. This is an essential service to the Koni community, as the little people are fairly territorial, at least with other Koni, and do not much like strangers coming around. Koni from other warrens are seen as odd or even slightly sinister in various ways, and Koni from distant areas are felt to be intruders.

Mavericks, however, crave society (even if they see themselves as "misanthropic"), and are generally susceptible to good treatment, no matter who it comes from.

The ideal Koni life is one of leisure and abundant food, with a mate for the mating season (Koni are not even capable of sexual activity outside of that season, but are very amorous during it). They idealize trickery, so long as it is directed outside of the warren, and generally are known for a sly, sarcastic sense of humor.

Some Koni become herbalists and healers, or even (on rare occasion) magicians. Magician Koni are seen as somewhat "off", and may even be slightly insane due to their traffic with magical powers and spirits. Usually, there will not be more than one magician for every several warrens, and the magician will live like a Maverick, though in a permanent bolt hole, with individual Koni visiting in time of need.

Storytelling is the main Koni pastime. They love stories about heroic Koni, the more tricky the better. Many of their stories bear a striking resemblance to Br'er Rabbit and Jack tales or even Bugs Bunny stories from our world (the famous "Wabbit season! Duck season!" exchange has a close parallel in the story of "Agabar in the Home of the Black Sun Koni", Agabar being a typically trickster-ish Koni hero).

Koni religion is fairly simple, mainly consisting of the above-mentioned storytelling and the perception of various activities and objects as having more or less luck of good or bad variety. Avoiding bad luck and looking for good luck is their main religious preoccupation, so that (for instance) one will see a Koni invariably knock on the post at a gate in a fence or wall, but only if he means to pass through the gate. When in groups, only the first Koni will knock (the luck being seen as traveling through the whole group). Similarly, Koni are frequently seen wearing a leek pinned to their shirt, since leeks are considered to be one of the luckiest of vegetables. Wealthy Koni might wear a truffle instead, as it has the greatest luck of all the foodstuffs, but truffles are expensive and such outlandish frippery might cause ill-feeling if the Koni is not otherwise very well-liked. There are Koni gods and heroes, talked about in their stories (and frequently emulated in deed), but worship consists almost entirely of the obsession with luck or the telling of stories.

(As should be obvious, this is the "hobbit" or "halfling" of the world I'm building. Mechanically, they will probably be very similar, or even identical, to halflings in S&W Whitebox, though I'll probably add the higher level stuff from Brave Halfling Publishing's Halfling Adventurer, up to 8th level.)


  1. Ahh, coney! It took a while, but I got the connection in the end. Really like what you've done here. I'd play a koni given half a chance ;)

  2. Did you catch the "Warrener" and "Hoplite" puns? I admit, though, that those two I took from GURPS Bunnies & Burrows. I only wish I were that accomplished a punster.