It;s always nice to find a decent random generator site for RPGs. I don’t know how long Chaotic Shiny ( chaoticshiny.com) has been around, but I just discovered the awesome randomness contained herein. It has some interesting generators with some obvious Risus applications. The Class Mashup Generator, for instance, produces some very cliche-worthy results:
Hydronight Warlock of Treachery and Freedom
Lynx Guardian of Mysteries
Pyroninja-Thief of Sin and Neutrality
The Crowd Generator likewise produces some great hooks for building spur-of-the-moment NPCs::
The attractive, sullen woman who keeps tripping over things.
The overweight, distraught woman who is holding a drawn sword.
The stout, obnoxious old woman who is accompanied by a servant.
The unattractive, arrogant young man who is leaning against a wall.
The ugly, determined young woman who appears to have just been in a scuffle.
It has a huge number of other great generators in for peoples, places, names, accessories, “color”, evil, plot/writing, and “silly” that will be of use to any GM, of course, and any Risus GM can probably find many more uses than I’ve presented here. Check it out!
Full Contact Magic is a clever little supplement freely available over at the Engine of Thwaak. Basic idea, is that the world was created by magical Lords and Ladies, who for unknown reasons left their creation before it was quite finished (some say a war back in their home world pulled them away).
Of course, the world descended into a bit of chaos, but has settled back down a bit more. It is now a somewhat respectable fantasy world.
Full Contact Magic provides information for the 13 tribes (the races created by the Lords and Ladies). The tribes seem to follow the fantasy tropes; you can see where each tribe fits in with more traditional fantasy RPGs without looking too hard. The tribe I am most intrigued by is the Geisa - a ghost-like group formed from when magic goes wrong.
Where Full Contact Magic breaks the mold a bit is in the magic (which you might expect based on the name of the supplement).
There are two magic styles detailed in the supplement: Arcanomancy (magic involving machines of all types) and Ethermancy (a magical communication internet). Many other magical styles are mentioned, but no details are present and left for the GM to determine just what they might mean (which strangely enough includes the titular Full Contact Magic).
Sample clichés abound, and there is quite a nice sampling of a game world to build from. I liked the concept of the island/continents actually floating on the ocean as opposed to being fixed. There is enough detail to get a feeling for the setting without being too draconian.
Overall, this is another great free setting for Risus!
Cursed by a rival wizard, you are stuck with an awful stutter. Any magic that requires a verbal component is very difficult for you unless you sing it out. This has led to a nickname of the Crooning Wizard which drives you crazy; you are becoming quite (in)famous for it.
If you try not to sing out your spells, the difficulty of your spell goes way up. If someone calls you the Crooning Wizard, you are liable to loose your temper, which makes it even harder to cast your spells.
You have not yet been able to find a remedy (your rival says he has one but there is no way you’d stoop to asking him for it).
Supernatural Collective Nouns
This is a very useful list…
Risus on Reddit -
If you are a Reddit user, you might want to check it out…
This was posted to the RisusTalk mailing list…an amazing example of Risus combat in action:
There have already been some excellent answers to this, but here’s the crux. I would contend that RISUS is one of the few RPGs (please chime in with others but purely narrativist systems are cheating!) that would allow me to have the sword fight that I’ve always wanted to have in an RPG. The coolest. sword fight. ever. I’m talking about the encounter between The Masked Man (Dread Pirate Robinson) (6) and Inigo Montoya 20 years seeking revenge for the death of his father at the hand of the 6 fingered man (6) in The Princess Bride (10!).
Any mainstream “trading blows” system would make this fight essentially impossible to recreate. RISUS, OTOH, can have this happen because “your Cliche is not HP”, it can just be tactical advantage. No one is injured during this fight, and the loser doesn’t die at the end.
And that’s the most powerful feature of RISUS IMHO. The downward spiral means you can have your PCs whupped but not killed or even captured (losing all their cliche dice may just mean they are forced to flee or retreat). Certainly, if I _want_ to have the PCs captured, then I just stick in an encounter with a foe with +2 cliche dice and, as it’s been observed, this pretty much guarantees they’ll lose. As the GM I get to narrate what “lose” entails.
So just for fun, here’s the fight according to RISUS (thanks to http://www.princessbride.8m.com/script.htm#16 for the script) Here I’ve shown some representative rolls and the narration that I think follows them. YMMV.
Inigo (6): You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.
Man In Black (6): You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.
Inigo (6) rolls 12
MIB (6) rolls 19
Inigo (5): You are using Bonetti’s defense against me, uh?
Man In Black (6): I thought it fitting, considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo (5) rolls 20
MIB (6) rolls 20
A draw - no effect.
Inigo (5): Naturally, you must expect me to attack with Capo Ferro.
Man In Black (6): Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro, don’t you?
Inigo (5) rolls 22
MIB rolls (6) 19
Inigo (5): Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa, *Jumps after him* which I have!
Inigo (5) rolls 14
MIB (5) rolls 17
Inigo (4): You are wonderful!
Man In Black (5): Thank you. I’ve worked hard to become so.
Inigo (4): I admit it, you are better than I am.
Inigo (4) rolls 20
MIB (5) rolls 13
Man In Black (4): Then why are you smiling? *Forces Inigo toward the cliff’s edge*
Inigo: Because I know something you don’t know.
Man In Black: And what is that?
Inigo (4): I am not left-handed.
*Switches hands, they begin to move up the stairs*
Man In Black (4): You’re amazing!
Inigo (4): I ought to be after twenty years.
*Begins to force Man in Black toward a balcony. His body moves the rocks*
Inigo (4) rolls 17
MIB (4) rolls 18
Man In Black (4): There is something I ought to tell you.
Inigo (3): Tell me.
Man In Black (4): I’m not left-handed either.
*Switches hands and flourishes sword*
Inigo (3) rolls 12
MIB (4) rolls 19
The Man in Black knocks Inigo’s sword from his hand. Inigo jumps down to retrieve it. The Man in Black tosses his sword into a patch of grass. He flips over a beam and lands next to his sword, plucking it from the ground.
Inigo (2): Who are you?
Man In Black (4): No one of consequence.
Inigo (2): I must know.
Man In Black (4): Get used to disappointment.
Inigo (2): Shrugs. Okay.
Inigo (2) rolls 9
MIB (4) rolls 13
They continue to fight until the Man In Black knocks Inigo’s sword from his hands.
Inigo (1): Kneeling. Kill me quickly.
Man In Black (4):*Circling Inigo* I would as soon destroy a stained-glass window as an artist like yourself. However, since I can’t have you following me either….
Inigo (1) rolls 6
MIB (4) rolls 11
* The Man In Black hits Inigo over the head with the hilt of his sword.
* Inigo hits the ground, out cold.
Man In Black (4): Please understand I hold you in the highest respect. *Runs off*
Incidentally, for the next encounter (Fezzik) I would allow the MIB to recover all his cliche dice as all the lost dice were essentially tactical advantage.
It is a happy day in the kingdom; the young King has found true love and is to wed his beloved. The brave adventurers are invited (along with most of the nobles and other high ranking officials).
The couple complete their vows. Suddenly, something terrible happens. The King and his new Queen are murdered in front of everyone. It appears as if the culprit is one (or more) of the PCs (incriminating arrows or some such that could be tied back to the PCs).
What will the party do?
I’ve been playing way too much Book of Heroes (available for iOS and Android)…I think what makes it so addictive is that you have multiple “quests” or story lines all going on at the same time. I think that we have to remember that when working on adventures for good old fashioned RPGs.
Let players have more say in what quest they want to work on at a given time. Unlike Book of Heroes, you can add a timeline to the quests so that they don’t linger while players are off doing something else. You can add in repercussions for the times when they ignore something for too long.
Make your game addictive!
How would you like to meet this out in the wilderness….how would your players react? What would you even name this?
You can check out others at the source: Wood-Splitter-Lee.
Because I could resist the lure of the PULP-O-MIZER…
Campaign Cover Page -
This is a nifty little cover page you can make to summarize your campaign for any RPG so that potential players know what they need to know (from Dan Suptic).
I don’t know if you listen to the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe (you really should), but they have a segment in the show called Science or Fiction (where the host comes up with 3 stories where two of them are fact, and one of them is fiction, and you are supposed to figure out which one is the fiction along with the co-hosts).
On a recent episode, the fiction article was that there were Chinese hackers manipulating medical records to assassinate people. I was thinking that this could make for an interesting thing to put into a game, especially in a cyberpunk setting. Imagine the lonely little hacker out there hacking into your body upgrades and causing all sorts of havoc.
This was originally published as a guest post at BerinKinsman.com - I thought I would share it here as well.
Before I explain why Risus is my utility system, here’s a quick review of what Risus is about:
Risus is billed as “The Anything RPG”. It was designed 20 years ago as a beer and pretzel, comedy system. However, once you are all “Kwai Chang Caine” about the system, it works for any style of game you want. Being a free system, it is well worth checking out (http://risus.cumberlandgames.com/ ).
The rules are a quick read (being only 6 pages long); like Othello, it takes a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master. Your character is defined by clichés: shorthand methods to describe something about your characters and what they might be good at.
It can be something as simple as Fighter: 4 (the 4 being the number of dice you roll when your ability as a fighter is being tested), but it can be quite amazing once you sprinkle some spices into your cliché.
You could sprinkle a little salt and be a Dwarven Fighter: 4 (if you are into the species thing); or really add the jalapeños with something like Kardakeep Home Guard Ax-wielding Fighter with a Lust for Blood: 4. Technically, they are all just Fighters, but adding some description into your cliché turns a boring character soup into a hearty stew. It gives your character some background (a home, a role, a specialized weapon, and a roleplaying hook).
You usually get 10 dice to define your character, and their are options available to earn a couple more dice, but you can define a really strong character with the defaults.
Risus utilizes a dice pool to resolve conflicts. Take your rating and roll that number of dice. You need to know what type of conflict you are in: a test against a target number (for something quick and easy); a single action contest against another character; or full out combat. If you beat the target number or the dice total from your opponent you win (in combat, if you lose, your cliché rating will drop by one until you run out of dice). There are some nuances in there, but that is the gist of things in a nutshell. You can read the rules in a few minutes and see the details for yourself.
So why is Risus my utility system?
Simply put, I love the flexibility of Risus. You really can use it for anything. Any genre, any setting, anything at all, and it will never leave you feeling like you are missing out on anything. I also love the simplicity of it all. You don’t have to spends hours or days building your perfect character. You can probably build a wonderful character that you’d enjoy playing in minutes.
I prefer a system that encourages creativity. Once you are riding the zen of Risus, it is amazing the things you will come up with. In Risus, you are encouraged to ignore Yoda’s advice and TRY. Even my kids love it and have a great time with it.
I haven’t been granted the luxury of just being a player of any RPG in 20+ years (unless you count a couple of awesome play by post games). I enjoy how easy it is to define everything in Risus so that coming up with adventures isn’t a chore (not that I usually follow a script any more, but it is nice to have some prepared notes). Everything from challenges to NPCs can be defined quite quickly with no real fuss (especially if you are into Shemping as presented by Asparagus Jumpsuit: http://asparagusjumpsuit.wordpress.com/games/systemless-game-aids/).
Another factor in my choice of utility system is the pressing specter of time. Simply put, I don’t have a ton of it. While there are a large number of awesome games out there, I find it much easier to harvest the settings and other concepts and just use Risus as the system. Risus really does work for anything.
I will be honest. Risus isn’t necessarily for everyone. It plays a little more loosy-goosy than some structured, try to define everything a player can do and try to hold them to some semblance of the game’s reality, system. You might hear whispers in the dark about how there is a “death spiral” inherit in Risus where once you start losing a conflict, you have little hope of winning (to which I like to remind people that losing in Risus does not necessarily mean death like it does in other more serious games – you can see my thoughts on it over at Risus Thought of the Moment: http://risus.tumblr.com/search/death+spiral).
Risus just works for me. It might work for you if you give it a chance.
Risus One Page Chalenge -
This time out, come up with a one page setting for a high magic, non-fantasy place of fun.