Category Archives: Risus

Free Stuff Friday: Risus

It’s Friday and it’s time to give you some more free stuff!

This weeks Free Stuff is: Risus
Looking for a quick and easy rules light RPG to play? Look no further than Risus.

On the Risus Website they wrote this stuff up
: Risus is a complete Role Playing Game (RPG) designed to provide an “RPG Lite” for those nights when the brain is too tired for exacting detail. Risus is especially valuable to GMs assembling a quick convention game, or any late-night beer-and-pretzels outing. While it is essentially a Universal Comedy System, it works just as well for serious play (if you insist!). Best of all, a Risus character takes about 20 seconds to create!

So please check out the site and start downloading your copy of Risus. After you finishing your first amazing game of Risus email the guys over at Cumberland Games and thank them for their free stuff!

Bonus Download: For those of you enjoy the Serenity downloads from last week you might be stoked to know that there is a Firefly conversion available for Risus.

When in doubt, use RISUS

RISUS - The Anything RPG

RISUS - The Anything RPG by S. John Ross

During the creation of my one-page dungeon “The Horror of Leatherbury House” I thought about easy ways to provide stats for the different NPCs without using a specific set of rules. One idea that kept coming up was just using RISUS instead of going system-less.

As you all know, I didn’t include any game statistics in my final version of the dungeon (mostly because I ran out of space and the rules specifically said that the dungeon should be in a system-less format), but I still like the idea.

So, how does RISUS work? Let me quote from the rulebook:

Characters are defined by Clichés (sometimes several of them). Clichés are a shorthand which describe what a character knows how to do. The “character classes” of the Neolithic Period of RPGs were Clichés: Fighter and Magic-User, Space Marine and Star Merchant. You can take Clichés like that, or choose a more contemporary one, such as Biker, Spy, Computer Nerd, Supermodel, or William Shatner (formerly an actor – now just a Cliché). Which Clichés are permitted are up to the GM.
Clichés are defined in terms of Dice (by which we mean the ordinary six-sided kind you can scavenge from your old Yahtzee set). This is the number of dice that you roll whenever your skill as a Fighter, Supermodel, or William Shatner (for instance) is challenged. See “Game System,” below. Three dice is professional. Six dice is mastery. One die is a putz.

Characters are defined by Clichés (sometimes several of them). Clichés are a shorthand which describe what a character knows how to do. The “character classes” of the Neolithic Period of RPGs were Clichés: Fighter and Magic-User, Space Marine and Star Merchant. You can take Clichés like that, or choose a more contemporary one, such as Biker, Spy, Computer Nerd, Supermodel, or William Shatner (formerly an actor – now just a Cliché). Which Clichés are permitted are up to the GM.

Clichés are defined in terms of Dice (by which we mean the ordinary six-sided kind you can scavenge from your old Yahtzee set). This is the number of dice that you roll whenever your skill as a Fighter, Supermodel, or William Shatner (for instance) is challenged. See “Game System,” below. Three dice is professional. Six dice is mastery. One die is a putz.

The cool thing is that you don’t even have to understand more than that about RISUS to understand what a RISUS character is about, when you read something like that: Grolfnar Vainsson the Viking; Viking (4), Womanizer (2), Gambler (3), Poet (1).

Don’t you think this could come in handy when creating an adventure or even a complete campaign, but you’re unsure what system you want to use? Now imagine, you want to use Grolfnar in your D&D campaign. Let’s look at the most defining cliché: Viking. There’s no Viking class, but Fighter or Barbarian may fit, so let’s use this. If you play 4th Edition D&D, Womanizer, Gambler and Poet won’t be reflected in the stats that much, but you should keep those clichés in the back of your head when you roleplay the character. In other systems, those Clichés may be represented by certain skills, edges, drawbacks, et cetera. In most cases you probably won’t need any detailed statistics (for example when you don’t intend the players to fight that NPC), so the Clichés serve as a reminder on how to play that character.

And there’s another advantage to using RISUS: your adventure or campaign can easily be played as a RISUS game. So, if you want to run an adventure you’ve written at a game convention for example, you don’t have to take your heavy D&D books with you. Just print out a copy of RISUS (which fits on three sheets of paper) and you’re done.

What do you think? Is using RISUS for your “system-less stuff” a good alternative?

Roleplaying in the world of “On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness”

On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness” is an episodic adventure RPG for PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 set into a pseudo-victorian world where lovecraftian horror, pulp adventures and the twisted humor of Penny Arcade mix.
In the video game the player joins Tycho Brahe and Jonathan Gabriel from Startling Developments Detective Agency, fight everything from robotic fruitfuckers to a cult of mimes (I always knew that mines are evil!) that want to summon the evil god Yog Sethis.

In my opinion the world of “On the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness” makes a perfect background for a tongue-in-cheek steampunk-horror-comedy roleplaying game using some rules-light system like Risus or PDQ. In order to give you a feel for the world I have recreated the protagonists from the game using Risus: The Anything RPG (created by S. John Ross) and even included my alter ego from the game. Enjoy! Please note that I’ve taken Tycho’s and Gabe’s character bios from the game itself.

John GabrielJohnathan “Gabe” Gabriel
Bio: Believing that “all famous people start out as as orphans”, Jonathan Gabriel left home at an early age. learning to fight on the mean streets of New Arcadia, this path would ultimately take him to the top of the prizefight circuit. Everything was going great – that is, until he fought the devil. Since then, he has punched over threethousand supernatural creatures. He has even punched several ghosts, which is very hard to do.

Clichés: Pugilist (4), Self-Proclaimed Orphan (2), Ghostbuster (3), Expert in Making Things Up (1)

TychoTycho Erasmus Brahe
Bio: Upon graduating from New Arcadia’s Old Academy with a Doctorate in Apocalyptics, Tycho Erasmus Brahe founded the Startling Developments Detective Agency. With its charter to “Tread, without fear, in the whispering dark”, he and partner Jonathan Gabriel take on those cases too startling for theri contemporaries. His recent encounter with the God of Silence Yog Sethis has made him anxious. Perhaps we should say more anxious.

Clichés: Doctor of Apocalyptic Studies (3), Man With A Tommy Gun (3), Supernatural Investigator (2), Living Thesaurus (2)

MichaelMichael “Stargazer” Wolf
Bio: Before a 30-feet fruitfucker destroyed his house, Michael Wolf was the writer for a hobbyist magazine and an avid gardener with a keen interest in Astronomy. He then joined the Startling Developments Detective Agency in order to find out who was responsible for the destruction of his home. He’s also looking for a place to stay…
And it’s remarkable that a simple Joe Schmo like he was hasn’t been driven totally mad by the events that have transpired while he was trying to find the destroyer of his home.

Clichés: Journalist (3), Avid Gardener (4), Amateur Astronomist (2), Temporary Homeless (1)

The city of New Arcadia is a strange and dangerous place, especially when you meddle in the affairs of old and evil gods, especially when they have such a weird and twisted humor like Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins!

Note:  This post is my contribution to this month’s blog carnival hosted by “A Butterfly Dreaming“. It also is my answer on Vulcan Stev’s proposed internet meme where all RPG bloggers create superhero version of themselves. And the character above is based on me (although I don’t do any gardening in real life) and he’s a superhero alright. Who else could take on a god and live to tell the tale?
As always I am interested in your comments! Have you played the Penny Arcade adventure RPGs and would you like to play a roleplaying campaign in New Arcadia, too?