Showing posts from March, 2014

The Only Sci Fi Cliches You'll Ever Need Pt. 1

First check out this post on Did you read the whole thread? My hat is off to the OP. All right let's go. Starting from the Upper Left Corner of Space: The only SF Cliches You'll Ever Need (more or less) Catgirl (driving men and many women to distraction, moving silently, fast reflexes, landing on your feet, having ridiculous luck [nine lives], seeing in near darkness) High Tech Elf (identifying ancient artifacts better left alone, making your surroundings aesthetically pleasing, being aesthetically pleasing, repairing biotech, seeing in the dark, knowing a bit of ancient lore from many lifetimes ago, knowing people almost anywhere) Space Bureaucrat (running background checks, dealing with byzantine administration, setting up byzantine administrations, finding a loophole, always having the right form ready, inundating computers with enough data to drive the

There's Always a Hook Attached Pt. 2

Oops I did it again. The first rule of risus is there is no wrong way to play.  However, when tweaking Risus I keep another rule close to my heart or try to: Keep it simple. I've messed that up with my idea of cliche hooks. I trotted all kinds of ramblings about negative cliches. Not simple. Cliches help you do things. The higher the rating the better you do those things. Period. A person should not have to engage in combat against his own cliches.  So forget all that stuff. What I meant is this: A hook cliche is used to resist some addiction or compulsion etc. It works with the hook. If your hook is Alcoholic, your cliche would be something like On the Wagon (3). Hook cliches all start at 3. You don't pay anything for them. You receive an extra die for the hook as usual. Another, more extreme example might be Hook Womanizer and the cliche Celibate. The cliche is used to make rolls to resist the Hook. The GM sets the TN for the roll (10 being about average temptatio

There's Always a Hook Attached

Everyone likes hooks in Risus (I think.) They give you an extra die and are an easy way for the GM to introduce some role play to your character. Hey, want a gorgeous significant other? Set it up as a hook. You have to pay attention to your lover, remember birthdays, anniversaries etc. What if you take a personal failing as a Hook: Coward, Drunkard, Grabby Guy, Addict, various OCDs etc? One answer is a representing it with a disadvantageous cliche. I'd suggest they all be 3 dice in strength. Note that you get one free die for the hook as always and you do not pay anything for this stinker of a cliche. Then when your pet peeve rears its ugly head you have some options. For one thing you have something to roll to resist temptation. If you take Greedy So and So (3) passing up a $20 bill on the street might be  TN 5, returning a wallet bulging with bills TN 10, finding the owner of a white gold Rolex TN 15 etc, stealing that magic artifact from your party members might be TN 20 or 25

Generic Non Copy Right Character SMASH

I decided to write up the Hulk for Risus (braces for a storm of controversy.) I'm trying him as a player character so the goal is to bend a few rules, but not break them and end up with a combat machine who'd still be fun to play. Also getting some ideas for upcoming posts would be nice. The Hulk is first and foremost a combat machine for rules purposes. For those unfamiliar with him, the angrier he gets the stronger he gets with no potential limit. He can regularly lift over 100 tons and in full out pissed off prowess has been known to lift buildings and even a mountain (Secret Wars.) He once threw a loaded freight train at Thor. It hurt. Normal Risus Combat Non-Lethal: The Hulk is very difficult to pin down. Stick him in a dead end and he’ll make a door (most likely through your most important machinery, art collection, explosives store room etc.) Also a part of losing a non-lethal conflict in Risus is the real possibility of taken serious damage. Lose the fight a

Ignorance Is Bliss But Idiot Is a Cliche

Let's talk sidekicks. I'm not referring to junior partners to heroes like the original Teen Titans. I'm talking about people who are not only drawn stupid but act that way too. National Comics (later DC) practically cornered the market on them in the 40's. The Green Lantern had Doiby (Derby) Dickles, the Justice Society of America had 'Ma' (Red Tornado) Hunkle as a 'mascot', and Wonder Woman had Etta Candy. For a while it seems the government issued a short, feisty, funny looking little scrapper to watch every hero's back and boost the War effort. In spite of atrocious grammar, a short fuse, over confidence, a complete lack of common sense and little knowledge of the laws of physics each sidekick had one amazing power: they could move a story forward. I think sidekicks would work best as the main character's cliche (Idiot, Comic Relief, Man Friday etc.) The cliche could be used in most conflict situations. Stuck in court? Let Marty the Janitor

A Cat, a Reverend, a Doctor and a Vagrant Walk Into a Bar

Let me tell you about the world in the pages of Cat-Man #1 (Publisher Holyoke, May, 1941 The issue has a bunch of larger than life characters: ace reporters, heroic firefighters, and even a cowboy. I'm going to touch on four of them: the Cat-Man, Dr. Diamond, the Deacon, and the Rag Man. David Merrywhether was traveling in Burma as a child with his parents when they were ambushed by bandits. His parents killed Peter was taken in by a tigress who raised the boy. This association gave Peter strength, speed, and other cat like powers. Furthermore the tigress would appear as a spirit when Cat-Man was badly injured to heal him (the nine lives of a cat.) The Deacon started out as an unnamed criminal. After informing the police of a robbery that involved murder he was caught in a shoot out between the gang and the cops. Wounded in the arm he fled to a deserted church and found a deacon's suit which he put on. The other members of his gang co

Quick Combat Resolution

You say you love Risus' Unholy Trinity but combat takes a little too long? You say you want to pound people for more than one die of damage an exchange? Read on! We're all familiar with combat now. You roll, the other guy/gal rolls and one of you loses one or three dice from a cliche (remember what inappropriate cliches do?) Since I've gotten into Risus some folks have wanted a mechanic to drop the other guy faster (they don't seem to consider the possibility of being dropped faster themselves.) I thought of the following today. Both sides roll their dice as always. They then compare individual die rolls. Every tie goes to the guy who rolled less dice. Compare the dice left greatest number to least for both guys. Each pairing a player lost loses him a rank from his cliche. For every die left over the guy who rolled less dice loses one die unless he won all exchanges. Example: Catman rolls his cliche Public Domain Super Hero (4) against a generic evil robot. He ge

Usual Suspects Redone

This is the last time I write a post at work with a head cold and fever. As I have written about Risus I've tried to keep to the RAW (I'm most proud of my piece on equipment in this regard.) Well this time I got a little full of myself and started making stuff up and renaming stuff unnecessarily. So allow me to present this rewrite of the rules part of my last blog. Let's talk Shield Mates. Using the Risus Companion we can create companions in Risus. Ta-dah! I find creating a companion has many of the same pitfalls of creating an exceptional piece of equipment in that it makes the main character's cliches less important. Want to play a nerdy academic but don't want to be the target if swirlies or wedgies? Create a shield mate who is Big Dumb Jock (3). Want to solve mysteries but hate looking for clues? Make up a pal who's a genius but hangs with you to avoid big dumb jocks giving him swirlies and wedgies. A companion's cliches are less unbalancing tha

The Usual Suspects

Let's talk Shield Mates. Using the Risus Companion we can create companions in Risus. Ta-dah! I find creating a companion has many of the same pitfalls of creating an exceptional piece of equipment in that it makes the main character's cliches less important. Want to play a nerdy academic but don't want to be the target if swirlies or wedgies? Create a shield mate who is Big Dumb Jock (3). Want to solve mysteries but hate looking for clues? Make up a pal who's a genius but hangs with you to avoid big dumb jocks giving him swirlies and wedgies. A companion's cliches are less unbalancing than those of equipment. Equipment is at your constant beck and call while humans have their own lives and might fail to appear or run at the first sign of trouble or just get instructions wrong. They also require proper treatment. Your big dumb body guard might want a couple beers now and then. Your genius pal might need help with some bullies, not to mention birthdays, holidays, c

Let's Talk About Equipment

Let's talk about equipment and Risus. Equipment in most roleplaying games fall into the following categories: shit you have to lug around and shit you'd never leave behind. The stuff you have to carry around are what encumbrance rules were made for (in other games at least.) In Risus this stuff is simply tools of the trade. You're a detective, you have a magnifying glass, fingerprint kit and revolver. Your barbarian has some patchy armor, a big sword and a big wineskin. It's basic stuff you need to function and stay alive. The other stuff is what has given referees trouble long before Risus was a gleam in S. John's intellect. It's stuff that increases a character's abilities. On one end of the spectrum we have a (relatively) reasonable magic sword allowing a character to attack magical creatures invulnerable to normal weapons like Flying Acid Monkeys. On the other side of the curve we have the Spleen of Poont giving its sucker ... master the power of a soc

Age and Treachery vs. Youth and Superstrength

We've all seen this: Hypertrophied Man decides to throw down with Crossbow. The fight takes place on a crowded street. Hypertrophied Man decides to use his Infinitely Muscled (4) cliche. The type of combat he choses is Power based. Crossbow's best cliche is Baron of Broadpoints (4). H-Man has a Power Cliche and Crossbow's is Movement/Skill. Using my diagram from 'A Good Cliche Is Never Inappropriate' we find Crossbow is screwed since his cliche is inappropriate against H-Man's. H-Man might just have to beat him in one exchange or just exceed a target number to haul the master of Archaic Archery in. This makes some sense as a steel tipped bolt won't bother a man who survives a tac-nuke going off in his hand. What can we do to remedy this unwanted realism? Without too big a Risus hack? Off the bat Crossbow could sacrifice one or more Lucky Shot dice to change the nature of the combat to Movement/Skill at the gm's whim. H-Man has to fall back on Faste

Lucky Shots and Questing Dice for Comic Effect

The Risus Companion has several different effects you can purchase using Lucky Shot or Questing Dice. I won't go into those here except to say you should run to buy it at the Cumberland Games and Diversions website. In any case here are some comic book effects a Lucky Shot or Questing Die can buy. Full Page Splash The character gets a really god shot in. How good? Their cliche is not reduced till the end of the round. They could engage several people and lose several combats but their cliche will be unaffected till the end of the round. After Image Attack The character can take up to three actions in a combat round besides making their attacks. Each action after the first adds 5 to the target number of the task rolled for. Some tasks may not require a roll. Utility Belt of Holding The character just happens to have just the item needed in their utility belt. For one turn any cliche may be considered appropriate. Crowded Panel Everybody losses one die from their appropri

Ship Dossier: Launches

Ship Dossier: Launches
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