It’s a blog dedicated to an open source setting for Risus that mashes hand-knit zeppelins, block party politics, the Hypermodern League, and banjo-playing saboteurs. Check it out!
Once upon a time, not so very long ago (early 2006), an idea was sparked on the Risus/RisusTalk email list; wouldn’t it be cool if there were a fanzine out there for Risus.
Guy Hoyle, Hank Harwell, Tim Ballew, Karl Paananen, Stefan Shirley, Gabriel Whitehead, and myself (plus some I can’t name by name: dragonrider9935, ploympolym, and taps128) investigated options to make a Risus Fanzine happen.
The original idea was to set up a blog or something, have people submit an article, and we’d consolidate submissions and build a nifty little PDF to distribute. However, it was around this time that the idea of a wiki also took hold which allowed for the entire Risus community to build up an amazing library for Risus materials.
We got in on the ground floor with WetPaint. We were one of their star sites (being within the first 10 to ever set up a site with them; we were in the beta and everything). WetPaint offered a nice means for people to save the articles to PDF; we didn’t need to get into the publishing business after all.
The site took off (currently with 228 members and over 200 pages). Even today, it still averages over a thousand visits a month.
However, the internet being the internet, WetPaint changed their business model away from wikis; they left their wiki business operate on fumes. Risusiverse still limps along, but not for long.
Dan Suptic has taken on the challenge of finding Risusiverse a new home. The technology is out there; Risusiverse will continue; stronger and faster than ever before.
A complete backup is available of the current Risusiverse site. For quite some time, I have maintained a place to store the files (around the time of the first One Page Challenge, WetPaint decided to limit the number of files allowable) via Google Sites: https://sites.google.com/site/risusverse/ - not only can you find all of the One Page Challenge entries, you can also look in the File Cabinet and find all of the other files that were added to Risusiverse at some point (including the Risusiverse.zip file which contains html for all of the pages from WetPaint).
As Dan works to rebuild Risusiverse, I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has been there from the beginning and wish Dan luck with the migration.
Please let me introduce my latest Risus shenanigan to you :)
For role players, it’s often disappointing and boring that the
experience points of their characters don’t carry over into a new game
world, and they have to start from scratch there. The “Amazing Engine”
system of TSR shows that there’s another way to handle this.
In “Amazing Engine”, each player actually creates multiple characters:
first a so-called core character, and then a player character for each
The core character serves as the basis for all the player’s characters
and determines certain characteristics — which are refleced in each
player character. Examples for those characteristics are gender, height
and broad ability categories.
A game world/Setting then comes with certain modifiers to these basic
AMAZING RISUS is my interpretation of this idea for Risus.
First: the core character
The core character gets 5 cliché dice to distribute. They don’t go
into specific cliches, but in three very broad cliche categories.
b) Spiritual / Psychic (which includes magic)
c) Social (including also influence and wealth)
For my core character, I distribute the 5 dice as follows: 3 into
Physical, 1 into Intellectual, and another 1 into Social. I don’t write
down any cliches for the core character because cliches are world and
Second: the player character, also called “world character”
Each world character is built on the core character. Each setting
introduces certain adjustments of the core character. This includes
adjusting the number of cliché dice for the character creation.
My Shadowrun setting for Risus gives the characters one additional
cliché die to distribute. As mentioned above, my core character has
these cliche categories:
Physical: 3 cliche dice
Intellectual: 1 cliché dice
Social: 1 cliché dice
My Risus Shadowrun setting grants me one additional die for my
character. I decide to put it into the Intellectual category. For my
Risus Shadowrun character, I now get 3 cliché dice for physical
cliches, 2 dice for intellectual cliches, and one die for social
Now it gets exciting. Unlike off-the-shelf, rules-as-written Risus
characters, Amazing Risus characters need experience points to get
better at doing things (improve their cliches).
After each session, the GM awards between 1 and 3 experience points to
each player. As always, the exact number depends on the assessment of
Players then have to decide how many experience points they give the
core character and the world character.
This has strategic reasons. If a player distributes more experience
points to the core character, he gives the core character the
opportunity to get more cliché dice.
This doesn’t help or improve any of his current world characters. But
when the player creates a new world-character later, this character
will be based on the core character and thus already gets more dice to
Giving experience points to the core character will give future world
characters a better start, but doesn’t do anything for world characters
that already exist.
If, on the other hand, a player distributes more experience points to
the world-character, he improves this specific character. This is
helpful for the character in the game world, but it has no benefit for
the core character or other characters that are created for this game
Spending experience points for the core character is a long term
investment. Spending experience points for a world character is a
IMMEDIATELY after the DISTRIBUTION of experience points, the player
- buy a new cliche die for the core character and put it into one of
the three categories. The new die costs 30 experience points, or
- improve an existing cliche of the world character. That costs as many
points as the new (increased) number of cliché dice times 6 (an
increase of 3 to 4 dice would cost 24 experience points), or
- buy a new cliche for the World character. This costs 6 experience
points (or 12, if the cliché is double-pumped), or
- buy “Lucky Shots” for the world character. 3 Lucky Shots cost 6
The player can also combine two or more of these options.
Once upon a time, Guardians of Order arose to protect the roleplaying landscape against the forces of Chaotic Market. Guardians of Order fought valiantly, but in the end, the relentless energy of Chaotic Market slew them. Like fallen armor and weapons of a valiant hero, pieces of Guardians of Order were picked up by others in an attempt to continue the battle. A token fell from the sky. The rights to Uresia: Grave of Heaven fell back to their creator. Years have slowly crept by. Uresia has returned.
Imagine a fantasy world where the Gods fought long and hard enough to kill themselves; where the heavens literally fell to the world below; reshaping the surface of the world. A broken ring of islands is all that seems to remain. Remnant magic drew survivors. The ring of islands outside left to the trolls.
Uresia: Grave of Heaven is that fantasy world. The book is part of Cumberland Games and Diversions All-Systems Library. No specific roleplaying system is implied or required (although fans of Risus can use the Risus-ified version of those rules: Uresius: Grave of Anything). A quick note: while there is nary a mention of any RPG in the book, the book does provide rules for a Uresian board game called Mastery.
This 114-page PDF (also available in dead tree format) provides you a synopsis of 16 of the larger island-nations (about 30 full pages of details and information to whet your appetite for more). You are also provided with a nice hamlet-sized morsel called Rogan’s Heath with enough details to feel that you actually know the residents of this nice little place. You are also given an amazing view into Shadow River, a bustling city with enough districts and uniqueness to keep your players intrigued for quite some time. You also get a quick glimpse into more traditional roleplaying elements in the Beneath and Beyond section (dungeons, ruins, and the like).
Once you are introduced to the world and some of it’s inhabitants, you get into more traditional roleplaying elements. You are provided a variety of character races to use as examples: Beastmen (Hramath), Wise Beasts, Centaurs, Dwarves, Elves, Demons, Humans, Mushroom Trolls (the Mourfa), Snowmen, Slimes, Satyrs, and Troll-Landers. You are given some notes on how to flavor magic for different styles presented in the world section, the scale of the world, and a fully realized section for how to price things in Uresia (and how to use that to your advantage when applying it to your RPG engine of choice).
There is one table in the game that you can roll against, and it is a lot of fun: the Big Table of Life-Altering Moments. Simple rolls 3-5 d1000s (i.e. 3, 10-sided die) and make note of the resulting rolls. Look them up on the table and make up your background story to fit the results. While the table will give you seemingly generic results, you can have a lot of fun applying things like “You found out how liberating a great disguise can be” to your character’s background story.
A word on scale: Uresia is a pretty big place. The islands roughly take up the same area on a map as the US (or, as the text describes: Uresia, combined, is the same overall size as Western Europe (twice that if you include the Troll Lands)).
So, the book provides you with enough details to have fun with most of the major islands (from a geo-political stance at 16). There are thousands of islands. This equals the perfect opportunity to expand upon Uresia and add islands of your own design. Anything can be possible in a world where the heavens have crashed into the world. You could easily add something from your current campaign as a nation in Uresia, and the rest of the world wouldn’t even blink.
I think that is the shining thing in Uresia. You are given enough to have fun with it as is, but you can tweak to your heart’s content too. You can easily make it your own (and you can use whatever RPG system you like to play in it). It is definitely one of the best world books I have read in a very long time (and is gorgeously laid out as well).
Dear fellow Risus enthusiasts,
a couple of years ago, I published the first edition of “Helden & Abenteuer” (“Heroes & Adventures”), a fantasy rpg based on Risus, in German.
A lot of things were not quite right, and I’ve always wanted to write a second edition to my game.
Well, last week I began re-writing the rules. It’ll be available as free download from my blog (http://analogkonsole.wordpress.com) in a few weeks (or months, hehehe).
Click on the following link to see the provisional cover of the game:
I hope the cover conveys the vibe of the game :)
Uresius is a new version of the Risus rules, recast for use with Uresia. The layout and everything blends right in with the new All-System-Library version of Uresia; complete with a new sample cliché list to go along with the setting; and a couple of different optional rules that are fairly common in use from the Risus Companion (specifically, Lucky Shots and Questing Dice). It also adds a new method for determining character advancement which is pretty slick.
However, one thing that really struck me is that the combat system changed from a die pool roll to high die wins. Kind of interesting to see the Deadly Combat option (Best of Set) from the Companion used, even it doesn’t include the Goliath Rule option.
Does anyone have any opinions on this?
I think a good rule of thumb is to say “in another RPG, would this thing get its own character sheet?”. If the answer is YES, then it deserves to have its own cliches in Risus.
For example, in most space RPGs the spaceship gets its own character sheet. I haven’t played a lot of “Mecha” games, but it seems to me that in those games the Mecha gets its own sheet. Also in Car Wars each car had its own character sheet. If you played Risus in these types of settings, it would be then a good idea to give these types of vehicles their own character sheet with their own cliches.
Also in Ars Magica the covenant (essentially, the complex where the characters lived) would get its own character sheet (more or less). This I think would also get its own cliches in Risus.
But for example, when you play D&D, your horse doesn’t get its own character sheet. So in Risus, it is just a Tool of the Trade. But maybe in some games a horse would get its own character sheet. It depends on how important horses are to the game world. In Risus, you don’t have to always use the same game mechanic for the same situation. In one game, you can decide that something needs to be very detailed, and so use combat, multiple cliches, and so on, but in another game, even with a similar genre, you can decide that the very same thing doesn’t need to be so detailed, and so perhaps you use single action conflict and tools of the trade.