A rules supplement to Risus created by Dan Suptic©2007
A perk allows characters to trade in dice at the beginning of character creation for special abilities. If using the Risus Companion, the advanced options of Lucky Shots, Questing Dice and Sidekicks/Shield-mates all count as perks. While we all know that there are substantial differences between a Northern Argarian Wolfblooded Barbarian (4), and an Eastern Heartfire Barbarian (4), perks allow players to customize their characters with a little extra to give them an edge.
At character creation, a player may spend 1 die to gain a perk, or 2 dice to gain 2 perks. In general, players should be limited to 2 perks total. Of course, in games where characters have advanced to extremely high cliché levels, the GM may allow more perks to be bought later. And in very silly games, a character with a 1 die cliché and 9 perks behind it would be quite an impressive ally or foe.
Perks come in 2 types – Active perks and Passive perks:
Active perks are used by the player at a time of their choosing, and have a number of Shots associated with them. An active perk can be used a number of times each game session equal to its Shots. Active perks can be picked multiple times – each additional purchase of an active perk raises its Shots by an amount equal to that perk's original Shots. Lucky Shots and Questing Dice both count as active perks.
Passive perks are always in effect, and are used continually throughout a game session. In general, unless otherwise noted, a passive perk can only be bought once. If a passive perk can be bought multiple times, it will state the effects of extra purchases under the Extras listing in that perk. Sidekicks/Shield-mates count as a passive perk, with the ability to increase the dice total of the sidekick as its extra ability.
GM controlled NPCs, enemies and monsters may also have perks. Named NPCs and powerful enemies and monsters can have the standard 2 perks, but run-the-mill cannon fodder should be limited to 1.
A player may spend a lucky shot to add 1 extra die to any roll that they are about to make.
A character with Questing Dice must pick a long term goal that they work towards. They may spend a Questing Dice shot on any roll that directly furthers that goal, and this allows the player to roll 1 extra die on the roll. Example - Andrew the Assassin has questing dice, and a goal that states "Find out where my father is". He cannot use Questing Dice in a normal combat, but if he's attempting to beat up someone who he knows has information on his father's whereabouts, he may spend Questing Dice on the combat, and on the interrogation after combat as well.
A player may choose to use an Overwhelming Strike whenever they beat an opponent in a round of combat. If they do so, that opponent takes an additional die of damage to the cliché they used in combat.
When an area attack is used, it affects all enemies in the combat. The player rolls once, and each enemy rolls their combat cliché against that result. The effects of this roll are as follows -
Player beats all enemies – All enemies lose 1 die in their cliché.
Player beats some enemies, some enemies beat the player – All enemies that the player beats lose 1 die, and the player loses 1 die as well.
All enemies beat the player – Player loses 1 die in their cliché.
The character immediately heals a die in a cliché of their choice when a Quick Heal shot is spent. The character can spend both shots at once if they choose. The character may even use this to recover from being brought down to zero dice, but only if they use it immediately after losing their last die in their cliché.
Using a Total Focus shot allows a PC to gain an extra die when rolling against a Target Number when not involved in a combat or single-action-contest
Instead of rolling dice as normal, the player’s result is calculated as if all 6’s were rolled on the dice.
When a Scrounge shot is spent, you can instantly replace the tools of the trade for any 1 of your clichés.
Eye for an Eye
When you lose a die in a cliché due to losing a round of combat, you can spend an Eye for an Eye shot to cause 1 die of damage to the opponent who damaged you as well. Only 1 Eye for an Eye shot can be spent per die of damage received, and you cannot use an Eye for an Eye shot to reduce an opponent's cliché to zero dice.
Spending an Overdrive shot lets a player pump a cliché as if it were a double-pump cliché for 1 round. These shots have no effect on clichés that are already double-pump clichés.
This character has an NPC ally, or small group of allies that follow character pretty much wherever they go. This ally has 3 dice to spend on cliché's, and the ally's highest cliché cannot be higher than the characters highest cliché.
Extra - Taking this perk again increases the ally's dice total to 6. They still may not have a higher cliché than the character. A character may not take this perk more than twice.
When a character with this perk loses a die in combat, roll a single die. If that roll is a 6, that player does not lose the die.
Extra – If the player spends 2 dice on this perk, the single die roll stops the loss of a cliché on a 5 or 6. If the player spends 3 dice on this perk, the single die roll stops the loss of a cliché on a 4, 5 or 6. No player is allowed more than 3 dice in the Armored perk.
A player with this perk counts as beating his opponent whenever a combat round or a single action contest ends in a tie.
When acting as a Team Member in a PC Team, after the combat roll, that player may choose which number is added to the team leader's roll, instead of always adding any sixes they roll.
When a team lead by this player disbands, a new team is automatically formed with a new leader. Additionally, the members of the team that disbanded do not suffer the 1 die damage disband penalty.
When you pick this perk, choose one of your clichés. That cliché is not longer halved when your character is without that cliché’s tools of the trade. Note – the GM has a right to veto any cliché that must have specific items to operate at all.
Extra – Every time this perk is picked, choose an additional cliché to share the same benefits.
Attempting actions not specifically in a cliché’s implied skill set normally carries a stiff penalty – a +5 to the Target Number for something in that cliché’s general area of abilities, and a +10 to the Target Number when attempting an action outside the cliché skill set, but still within reason. With the Diverse perk, those penalties are reduced to +4 and +8, respectively.
Extra – 2 levels in this perk reduces the penalties to +3 and +7. 3 levels in this perk reduces the penalties to +2 and +5. No more than 3 levels can be taken in this perk.
Pick a cliché when you pick this perk. That cliché is now better at dealing with certain enemies or situations and gains a +1 die bonus against them. Example – Kebakaran take Specialized for his Fire Mage cliché, and chooses to be specialized against Ice Creatures. Whenever Kebakaran is in combat or a single action contest with a creature of icy abilities, he gains a +1 die to his rolls. Note – The GM may veto any group of enemies or any situations that they deem too general.
Extra – For each extra level of Specialized you take, you may either pick another new specialized group for your cliché, or you may pick a new cliché to gain a specialization.
This character automatically wins combat rounds against opponents who have a maximum of 1 or 2 dice total in all their clichés. If the opponent has 3 or more dice total spent for their clichés, they are immune to the effects of Great Power, even if damage to their clichés brings them down to 1 or 2 dice temporarily.
Extra – Picking this perk again allows automatic wins in combat against opponents with a maximum of 1, 2 or 3 dice total in clichés. No character may take this perk more than twice.
Whenever a character with this perk wins a round of combat by a margin of 10 or more, that opponent loses 1d6 dice from their cliché, instead of only 1 die.
That’s all the Perks I have for now. These haven’t been extensively play tested for trivial things like Balance or Fun, so if your group is having an issue with one, the GM is free to make whatever changes they feel are necessary. And if you do make changes in your group, let me know what you did to make it work better. Keep an eye on this page for any new additions to the list, and if you have any ideas for new perks, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll take a look.