Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What the Heck?

I'm breaking one of my rules by writing a whole other way to play Risus. I'm sure it can be applied to FATE or d6. In the  RAW we have our various cliches and the target numbers for said cliches vary according to how appropriate they are to the task at hand. That's great when you have to roll a task number. Not so great when you have combat or a SAC. In the latter two cases we have to either rule the cliche inappropriate or give the character the everyman cliche (2) and bump the appropriate cliches of other characters up by 2 dice.

As a whole other can or worms I thought of the following:
Characters take 10 (more or less traits.) Traits are similar to their definition in Risus i.e. they are part of a cliche. When you have a situation that comes up you use your traits to build a cliche on the spot. As an exercise in over thinking I wrote down the following traits in six groups of six because d66 tables for NPCs are fun. This is a SF set of traits:

Area of Enterprise - 1) Religious, 2) Military, 3) Commercial, 4) Criminal, 5) Scientific, 6) Government

Physical Training- 1) Strength, 2) Nimble, 3) Endurance, 4) Martial Arts, 5) Zero-G, 6) Alertness

Occupation- 1) Tech, 2) Pilot, 3) Scientist, 4) Media, 5) Services, 6) Trooper

Academic Study- 1) Science, 2) Medicine, 3) Command, 4) Survival, 5) Engineering, 6) Communications

Personality- 1) Stoic, 2) Emotive, 3) Patient, 4) Reckless, 5) Introverted, 6) Extroverted

Socio-Economic Status- 1) Hell Worlder (someone who thinks the Amazon Basin or Ghobi Desert is a vacation spot), 2) Settler, 3) Drifter, 4) Core World, 5) Spacer,   6) Nobility

Specials- Cybernetics, Psi, Robot, Implants, Archaic Knowledge (i.e. Questing Dice, Lucky Shots, Shield Mates, Double Pump funky cliches etc.) 

So say your character was built as:
Tech, Engineering, Drifter, Alertness, Nimble, Commercial, Reckless, Lucky Shots (3), Repair Bot (3), Questing Dice (5) for jury-rigging quick repairs. (Note the Repair Bot has the single cliche, Repair Bot. NPCs don't get traits and what have you.) 

If you engaged in a plain vanilla fire fight the GM might say that the following traits had some use: Drifter (you move around on your own you have to know how to defend yourself), Reckless (Who cares about the odds! I start shooting!) and Alert (you know what's going down around you.) These traits combine to give you: Reckless and Alert Drifter (3)! One de per trait. 

The GM can customize a trait list by setting of course and can decide how many choices you make from each group. For example due to the length of time spent studying to be a doctor (especially if you deal with aliens too) he may only allow that Academic Study choice. He might also require some traits for some occupations. For example a Pilot must possess the Nimble trait. he could also farm the chore of creating different trait lists for different regions, species and cultures onto the players. Just remind them that you can se the lists they make for NPC opponents. Optionally you can have a player suggest new traits for their character. Just make sure you nail them down on when the trait is useful first.

Final thought: have some tasks or situations written down with the traits appropriate for them. If Reckless is good for a firefight one session it should be good the next time a similar situation comes up. 

A final example: our Alert and some what disreputable engineer is onboard a merchant cruiser that is attacked by pirates! A lucky hit by the pirate scum takes the main generator offline and the engineer must fix it! He comes up with the following traits he thinks are useful before adding in Lucky Shots and Questing dice or teaming with the robot: Tech, Engineering, Nimble, and Commercial. The GM wants to disallow Nimble and Commercial but the player insists he is quite familiar with most commercial ship designs. The GM adds it in but sees no benefit to Nimble and the player doesn't want to push his luck. They come up with the trait: Merchant Engineer (3) which he then rolls against a target number of 20 (I didn't say it was an easy roll, besides he has a robot to help and those Questing Dice.)