Freeform Friday #5: PvN Risus

Alright. Let’s say you’re a huge fan of the abilities and world in Pirates vs. Ninjas, but sometimes, you just wanna roleplay something with your friends that’s really fast and quick. After all, sometimes it’s just a beer, pretzels, and board games kind of night. Sounds like you’re out of luck, right? Nope.

It’s no secret that Risus: The Anything RPG is one of my favorite tabletop RPG systems (I’m member 200 of the Internaitonal Order of the Risus). As a designer, it’s everything I wish I could make. The system is simple, can be learned in 10 minutes, characters can be done in as little as 10 seconds on a restaurant napkin, and yet the system manages to maintain a lot of depth, complexity, and flexibility. I know I shouldn’t advertise other people’s products as a game designer, but I’m willing to make an exception for Risus.

So, if you really feel like some Pirates versus Ninjas, but you don’t have the time to stat up characters. Here’s what you do. You grab a copy of Risus from S. John Ross’ site (it’s free) and you read through the rules. From there, it’s really simple. Factions are already practically copies of certain genres of Pirate and Ninja movies. You take the factions in Pirates vs. Ninjas and those become your clichés. So, a character can be an Arrcrobat (4), Charreographer (3), Evadinja (2), Charrismatic Lord (1). Admitedly, this may give your character access to more abilities than they’re normally be used to, but your lower dice will rarely succeed.

Don’t even worry about cross-side costs or any of that. Just pick the factions and go. If your GM really wants to keep the original taste though, the GM can limit each side to only being able to hit 5 and 6 in factions on its side. So no Charrismatic Lord (5) Weapon Master (5) characters. That’s really all there is to it though. Shouldn’t be any more complex than that.

Pumping becomes your high life cost attacks too. A Shoninja (4) has to put in some effort to pull out a Raging Digit, after all.

For awesome points, I suggest you lower the difficulty for fun feats, give a free lucky shot for moderately impressive feats, and you give an instant level up roll for amazing feats of awesome. Abilities that require higher awesome point costs should just higher difficulties or occur on high opposed rolls.

…And that’s all there really is to it. You can add house rules and other fun stuff, but that’s all you really need. Should take you 30 minutes max to set up a game and get going. Sit back, relax, joke with friends, and just have fun. Of course, I hope this doesn’t become the standard or I’m out of a job.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to stating out new abilities and balancing old ones.

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