Thursday, February 20, 2014

Risus Supers

In addition to d6 and Mongoose Traveller I like the Risus system. The strength and appeal of the system is its adherence to the KISS principle. The new edition of Risus, for example pared the rules from 8 pages down to 4! Not that I mind reading anything S. Jon Ross writes. He is awesome. But it's great he writes well and get me into the game. The only minor problem I have is that he really doesn't do super hero settings. So you have to do your own and tweak the rules to fit it. That's what I'm doing today so Risus fans brace yourselves. If you aren't a fan yet ... give it a try. It's only 4 pages. I'll wait.

The Basics
Fighting super-humans is hard for normals! A single ordinary person (even a policeman, soldier or thug) has no appropriate cliches to engage a super-human. Ducking the guard or trashing him is a single action conflict and often a cinch. A squad of ordinary humans is handled under When Somebody can't Participate. They get two brevet dice and the super fighting increases their cliche by two for that fight. An elite squad could have two or three dice in an appropriate cliche to fight a super-human. Anyone more competent than this is a super-human in their own right! Play an extended conflict out!

So the Blue Crusher needs to raise some capital. He walks into a small bank and clocks the guard (Cinch: 5.) While he piles the money from the teller cages into his loot bags a bunch of police show up. He has Super Thug (3.) The cops are normal humans and have no appropriate cliches for a super showdown. The referee awards them two brevet dice and adds two to Blue Crusher's Super Thug cliche raising it to 5 dice. The cops get trashed in two rounds by the Crusher who continues to grab money (he has Buy a Clue 1d.) While he does this a SWAT team shows up (Fighting Supers 2d.)
The Crusher has to fight these as an extended conflict.

You might want to add First Tier Supers. These characters are a cut above ordinary characters and are made with 15 dice. They have a five die cliche limit. DC Comics has a lot of these guys. If a character makes you think, how do fights with him last beyond the first panel he's probably a FTS.

Characters can be powered or non-powered. Non-powered characters are just that. They still get treated like supers when dealing with normal humans (their powers are their skills and gadgets.) They can fight powered supers normally since most have some device designed to capitalize on their foe (or friend's) weakness. More on that below.

Any super might have an inappropriate cliche for a fight. Remember the aggressor gets to choose the nature of the combat. If the Spoilsport decides to have a Judo contest with Hypertrophied Man his Strength of a Monorail (5) cliche is not appropriate since he is being subjected to a sneaky Judo throw. He could use it to open a fissure under Spoilsport by stomping the ground or come up with some other explanation to let him use it. ("I throw a rock at him! ... It's a very big rock!)

Lucky Shots and Questing Dice
Characters can start with both Lucky Shots and Questing dice at the usual rates. These dice are replenished at the start of every session. In addition they may be awarded temporary Lucky Shots and Questing Dice each session if they jump sufficiently high for the referee.

If the referee wants a villain to get away or have a hero's results dictated by story needs (and truly this should not happen that often) or just generally ask a player to put up with being hosed then he should reward that player with a Lucky Shot or Questing Die. Generally if he uses a Hook it's a Questing Die and if it's Background related it's a Lucky Die. So yes, Neonite does render Hypertrophied Man powerless and he'd really be a dope to open that lead lined box given to him by the mysterious stranger. OTOH he really needs a couple Questing Dice so he does open it. Letting the villain finish his monologue or throw you in a death trap should be good for a Questing Die or Lucky shot too.

Backstory and Hooks
Characters should all have Backstories. Actually running the origin as a solo session is great fun btw. They can have as many as three Hooks if they want. You don't get any extra dice for these attributes but can get temporary Lucky Shots or Questing Dice as listed above. A Hook can be a weakness: for example Hypertrophied Man is powerless against magic. Important: the referee decides how the weakness will affect you. He may decide H-Man gets only two brevet dice ins a magical combat. A magical sword might halve H-Man's cliche or render it inappropriate. It depends on the situation. The type of award for dealing with a weakness is usually a Questing Die. This can also represent a gadgeteer who tweaks his gear to deal with a menace after being defeated.

Tying a situation into your backstory is worth a Lucky Shot. finding out that villain is your long lost uncle or that you are your own second cousin etc. Write a good Backstory.

Tools of the Trade
Heroes have tools of the trade like anyone else. In some cases this may be a power source. For example Hypertrophied Man draws energy from life energy around him. Going to Antarctica to battle the Killer Penguin he discovered the nearly lifeless surroundings cause his power related cliches to be halved. In some situations heroes may need to perform a mission to get the tools needed for a special job. Glowing purple meteors or pages from the Nuclearnomicon are not always available. At the very least the referee might make a hero roll against his relevant cliche to see if he has the required tool.

More on setting and a few characters next time