I was wondering if a roleplaying game would work using a basic formula like most TV series use? Take Burn Notice. I love the series, but it has a pretty basic formula: a season-running storyline (which takes up very little of the story of the week (usually)) that is cut into the story of the week (in which Michael has to go and help out some poor soul with his MacGyver/Bond skills).
Would this work in a campaign? Especially over the long haul?
I’m thinking that it probably would. Take a typical fantasy adventure. The “weekly episode” might be driving the goblins out of the local mines one week, and rescuing Princess Penelope the next. The season-running storyline might be the King’s advisor trying to get rid of the PCs (because he really wants to be in charge and without the PCs around, he might finally get rid of Princess Penelope).
What do you think?
There was a recent discussion on the RisusTalk mailing list about the “Risus Death Spiral.” The notion is quite simple, once you’ve lost a die in a conflict, you will most likely keep on losing. Let’s say your using Musketeer (4) against a grunt squad of Royal Guards (4). You roll a 12, and the Royal Guards gets a 15. Now, you are effectively a Musketeer (3) still going against those Royal Guards (4). Unless you get really lucky in your rolls, odds are that you will lose the conflict.
That is, however, unless you learn the Risus jig. There are always options (some involving optional rules).
A good option is to team up with your fellow players against those dastardly Royal Guards (4). Assuming there are three of you on your team, even if they are less skilled and are Museteer (3), odds are you will add at least one 6 to your next roll (1 in 6 change for a dice to come up a 6; 6 dice being rolled by your team mates; do the math). That should go a long ways towards helping you knock those Royal Guards (4) down a notch.
Another option, assuming you are using the Pumping option, is to pump up a die or two on your next roll. Sure, you’ll be more hurt in the end (and maybe even out of the battle if you lose), but if you’re worried about a death spiral, you think you’re dead anyway. If you win, you can always switch to a backup cliche.
Just like on Mythbusters, failure is always an option. Combat is only deadly if you say it is (and to the victor, the right to determine the fate of the loser). If your Musketeer is defeated by those Royal Guards, odds are you will just be captured and brought to the Pretender to the Throne (4) so he can gloat over you before throwing you in the dungeon (where you can be rescued later).
If you are using any of the options from the Risus Companion, there’s always the possibility of throwing in a lucky shot or questing dice, too.
I think that part of the perceived problem has to do with the fact that when you are just looking at numbers, there isn’t much difference between a 3 and a 4. However, when you are talking about cliche levels, this is the difference between a professional and an advanced professional on his way to being a master.
Plus, if you started out on equal grounds (4 vs 4), it is hard to get your head around the fact that if you’ve lost a round, your effectiveness has gone down (in that D&D game, you are just as good at HP-1 as you are at HP-50). Being worn down has no effect on how well you do in that game, yet it makes all the difference in Risus.
Is this another instance where Risus gets it better than so-called real games? I don’t know about that. I think that in Risus, the idea is to get your conflict over quickly so that you can get to another conflict lickety-split.
Conflicts aren’t supposed to take hours to resolve. Where’s the fun in that? Get done with one, move along to the next. Repeat until the adventure is over.
..S. John Ross announced (via the Risus mailing list; which you should be subscribed to by now) that there has some minor updates to the Risus Submission Guides (available on the Risus homepage; your first test is to find them for yourself).
See if you can spot the changes and take up the challenge to get paid to write something for Risus.