Bouncing Off the Walls

This was a topic on the Yahoo RisusTalk Group that took some notice so I wanted to make sure it wasn't lost in the Group Archives. This optional rule was inspired by another game rule set, but it should be adaptable to Risus.

It encourages the GM to add spice to the scene by adding cliches to it that the players can interact with. For example, a 'Seaboard Warehouse (2)' may be ‘Dark [ ]’, 'Quiet [ ]’, and ‘Loaded with Crates [ ]’. Each description could have a different number of benefit boxes that could be utilized, or none at all. It all depends on how much mileage the GM wants to get out of the scene.

The cliché must be beaten in a single-action contest to gain benefit of one of the descriptors. It is not required to have three single benefit descriptors for the scene. It just as easily could have been a ‘Dark [ ] [ ] Seaboard Warehouse (2)', for example. This gives not only a description and image of the scene, but also things to interact with for an advantage to the PCs and/or NPCs. Successfully beating the cliché results in the box that the winner described ~ getting checked off and an additional d6 being granted to the player for a single roll - Much like lucky shots. Based on the descriptor and its described usage by the player the additional dice may be used on the next roll or saved depending on the gm’s assessment.

Take the 'Dark [ ] [ ] Seaboard Warehouse (2)', for example. Our 'Incredible Mystery Man Cloaked in Shadow (4) follows a group of 'High School Dropout Hooligans (3)' into the warehouse. Hearing the description of the scene by the GM, our 'Incredible Mystery Man Cloaked in Shadow (4)' describes pulling the shadows of the scene around himself to 'get the jump' on the 'High School Dropout Hooligans (3)'. He rolls a 14 while the GM rolls 10 for the scene. The GM determines that this is an advantage that our hero can use at anytime up to meeting the Hooligans. The GM marks off one of the 2 available scene aspects and describes the Hooligans, who are afraid of the dark, frantically looking for a light switch. Deciding that he doesn't want to lose his advantage, our hero explains that he creeps up and attacks from the shadows. Using his advantage, he rolls 5 dice, scoring a 20. Tossing the bones for the Hooligans the GM describes the scene as our hero knocking one of the Hooligans over a crate and into another. Making a note, the GM drops the 'High School Dropout Hooligans' from (3) to (2). The GM describes the Hooligans pulling out flashlights and flashing them around violently. Rolling their cliche, the GM beats the scene and claims the last scene cliche for the Hooligans. The GM explains that the Hooligans get a fix on our hero and attack with a bum rush, who is temporarily blinded from the flashlights (explaining the bonus dice for the Hooligans).

The battle progresses as normal from then on. It should be noticed that I chose to describe the Hooligan's bonus die as a temporary set back to our hero. It could have just as easily been explained away in any number of ways. Be creative, scene cliches allow you to expound on this creativity.

John Risus
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