Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Super-Powered Risus

I have always loved superheroes. Like most people when they were little kids, I would take a towel and wear it like a cape as I pretended to be a superhero fighting crime and saving the world from the forces of evil. Now, I'm an avid comic reader with a preference for DC (even though I'm not the biggest fan of the New 52 and I think they keep making stupid decisions) and I love talking about different heroes and the history of the medium.

So, with that being said, it should be pretty obvious that I really enjoy playing superhero roleplaying games. I've run two campaigns and a few one-shots using the 3rd edition of Mutants & Masterminds and I've played in a very short-lived Marvel Heroes campaign. While I love running and playing both games, the can both be a little crunchy at times and I find myself wanting a more "rules-light" alternative.

That's when it hit me: Why not use Risus?

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, Risus is a simple roleplaying game that uses a die pool mechanic that shares a lot of similarities with West End Game's d6 system. However, instead of your character being defined by attributes and skills, your character consists of a number of "cliches" that you create from scratch and assign a number of d6s too. It's an incredibly easy game to learn and play and can be adapted to run almost any genre of game you want.

Since Risus is an incredibly flexible rule-set, it shouldn't be too hard to use it for a superhero game. The cliches, obviously, would represent the character's powers and the "build it from the ground up" nature of cliches would allow players to have the exact powers they want instead of having to compromise their vision of the character to fit into the rules of a more complex system.

The only thing I would really have to figure out is if I'd use the game as is or use the "Funky Dice" advanced option presented in the back of the book. I like the simplicity of just using d6's, but I would probably have to put a cap on how many dice a character can have in a cliche so the players wouldn't end up rolling an obscene amount of dice at a future point in the game. Using the funky dice variant would take care of the "obscene amount of dice" fear and would better model the power levels of a superhero, but it adds a level of complexity to the game and there's the fear the die pools might get a little bit "wonky" as the dice being used get bigger and bigger. I'll have to think about each option first before making a final decision.