Toonaria started with this little guy called a snugglebunny, way back in 1977. Just a silly critter? Well, yes, but I knew they had huge potential even back then, and couldn’t stop thinking about them. The sketch above is from around 1983, shortly after I graduated from high school. I was so enamored with the creature that it made its way onto my first business card, a few of my board games, dozens of greeting cards, posters, a few appearances in a San Antonio magazine, comic strips, and of course in my fiction and Cosmothea Roleplaying Game sessions as well.
Speaking of fiction, before I wrote my first Cosmoverse tale, I wrote stories snugglebunnies and my other Toonarian critters. My first board game, Minotaur Madness, showcased them. It hinted at their unusual abilities and exuberant personality, and included several short stories. Snugs even became the mascot for The Drama Guild, an acting guild I formed back in 2001 to produce, direct and act in my plays and skits both in Las Vegas and eventually, abroad. While the snugglebunny never featured in any of my dramatic presentations, it remained a regular part of my life and a welcome diversion.
Over the years, I’ve developed a big backstory for the creatures and have been expanding their universe, which eventually came to be known as Toonaria. As with the top picture on this post, snugglebunnies are often depicted around mushrooms. One of my Minotaur Madness game board prototypes was three dimensional. It included a mushroom forest where the snugglebunnies lived.
Later, I started developing the Snuggleland board game. With each appearance, their story grew bigger and more exciting. Most snugglebunnies live on the Arcasia layer of their sky ark, a realm filled with other adorable “monster” friends. Snugglebunnies are quick to make friends and are equally quick to forgive (and forget.) In fact, they are extremely forgetful. They are also incredibly resilient and powerful, though they don’t realize it.
Fortunately, they never tap their full potential, because while they are very good-natured, they are not “with it” enough to safely wield such power, and are somewhat naive. As such, at times other creatures have been placed in their paths to help guide them. Sometimes when a snugglebunny feels threatened, it turns whatever’s scaring it into a giant mushroom, and then hops away completely oblivious to what happened. Why? Well now, that’s a big Toonarian secret (that backstory I was telling you about? Yep, it’s in there!)
I’ll reveal that secret one of these days—likely when I release the creature-filled Epic Destinies Roleplaying Game and Toonaria Campaign Setting source books! If you’re uber nice, I “might” reveal it sooner. We’ll see.
(Some of the pics above like the one with the minotaur were done pre-computer. That is, I didn’t own a computer until around 1992—the year I got married and entered the “real world”! Yeah, these are very old pics, but I thought you might enjoy seeing the snugglebunny through the years.
The stats and such in that pic are from my original Minotaur Madness board game and were done with pen and markers.) Oh, and those bold words, numbers and lines in the chart? They were all done at a snail’s pace using Dry Transfer sheets (you align the letter/number or line over your artwork where you want it, and then rub down the letter until it transferred to your artwork. (Yes, I’m aware that means I’m old, but my mind is still young, and actually, those sheets are still sold in some stores. Thankfully, I have a computer for that sort of stuff these days.)
As for the gooey stuff on the ground below the minotaur—those are fallen pies—one of the weapons used in Minotaur Madness. As with all of Toonaria, there are moments of silliness and humor as well as moments that make you think, and wonder and dream.
Toonaria is the sort of place like in the old Andy Griffith show where most everyone gets along and are friendly, but misunderstandings and questionable outside influences inevitably stir up trouble. Just as The Wizard of Oz had their sweet munchkins and Glinda the Good Witch, there was also the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys. Snugglebunnies, like much of Toonaria, harken back to a more innocent time, but make no mistake, there’s plenty of conflict and even thought-provoking, meaningful things going on—just not always. 🙂
Snugglebunnies play a very interesting role in my Cosmoverse as well. They’ve made a few appearances in our gaming sessions over the years, but have also appeared in some hard-hitting stories in recent years, so there’s far more to them than meets the eye. Read my novella, Voices, from Arcane Synthesis, for a sampling on where I’m heading with them in that universe! (you can even read an exciting, FREE excerpt by following that link, though the more significant inclusions appear later in the gripping story.) Speaking of Arcane Synthesis, don’t miss great fiction and more on Toonaria and our other projects by joining our newsletter (doing so will also earn you a FREE Cosmoverse novella!)
I am currently revamping and expanding the Toonaria universe of the snugglebunnies. I have created hundreds of lil creatures over the past three decades plus (at least I think hundreds—I’ve never actually counted them all, but I have piles of sketches and keep turning up more and more adorable—and not so adorable—Toonarian critters every time I open a box in my office. And I have lots of boxes of my creations.)
I’ve been encouraged to create some cartoons based on the snugglebunnies and other Toonarian critters. I do hope to do just that one of these days (reboot the comic strips, if nothing else, but I’d love to go to the next level with them.) We’ll just have to wait and see. My plate is full currently. Your showing enthusiasm over what QT Games is putting together would go a long way to getting things on the market. Just sayin’.
Well, that wraps up my creature spotlight. When Epic Destinies is finished, I’ll probably post the snugglebunny’s RPG stats, if not sooner.
As any snugglebunny can tell you, sometimes all you need is a hug or a gentle ear. Me? I’m all ears! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this blog, our current and upcoming projects and more! Time is limited if I’m ever going to get Toonarian goodies to market, but I can also chat on some other topics as well. Let’s raise the mark and enjoy some positive, encouraging discussions here and/or on our QT Games forums. Till next week, friends . . . every day’s a gift! Appreciate what’s working in your life and never give up! Cheers!