Risus: Reloaded

Risus: Reloaded

by Robert Vella and Ryan Falzon

Risus: Reloaded is a custom, total conversion ruleset for Risus. It changes the core of the Risus system to make it even faster, smoother, but at the same time, more detailed, and more controlled. Risus: Reloaded takes heavily from the core rules, and from other optional rules other users have submitted. All the rules for Risus: Reloaded are consolidated here, and basic Risus knowledge is assumed for these additional rules.

Golden Rule: Everything is subject to change by the GM. The GM is above this ruleset, and should change these rules as needed as the campaign advances.


In Risus: Reloaded, each individual die is counted as either a Success or a Failure. A 4+ (4,5,6) on a single die is a Success, while anything else (1,2,3) is a Failure. 6's explodes; this means that for each 6 you get, you get to add that Success and roll an extra die for your roll.

In Reloaded, you never roll less then 1 die or more then 7 (not counting exploding 6's). If at any point you would roll more than 7 dice, any extra dice above 7 are considered automatic successes and are not rolled.

A d20 is also used for Environment Rolls (explained later).

Redefining Clichés

In Risus: Reloaded, a cliché has a slightly changed meaning. Working similar to vanilla Risus, a cliché's level ranges from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 7. Each of these numbers represents a value, which are split as follows.

  • 1 – Novice

  • 2 – Beginner

  • 3 – Average

  • 4 – Expert

  • 5 – Master

  • 6 – Legend

  • 7 – Godlike

In reloaded, generic catch-all clichés are not allowed. All clichés must have a certain, specific set of skills. For example:

  • Fighter (4) is not allowed, but Swordsman (4) is.

  • Wizard (4) is not allowed, but Pyromancer (4) is.

  • Rogue (4) is not allowed, but Thief (4) is.

It is up to the GM's discretion to define what is too generic and what is not.

All written clichés start at 2. It's assumed that every single character has every single cliché imaginable, at level 1. This means you can try any action, even if none of your clichés fit, with a single die. Notice that Boosts do not work when rolling a Novice (1) Cliché (See boosts).

Consumables in your inventory are written in full and not assumed at any level. You cannot roll Gold (1) if you do not have Gold (1) written.

Character sheet example

In Risus: Reloaded, a character sheet looks like the following:

Name: Fig the Fighter!

  • Health: 4(Max 7)

  • Armor: 1 (No limit)

  • Fate: 1

Clichés (max 7)

  • Swordsman (3)

  • Archer (2)

  • Merchant (2)


  • Short-Short

  • Leather Armor

  • LongBow

  • Arrows (2) (Max 7)

  • Gold (2) (Max 7)


  • Rage! - While in combat, if Fig does not get at least one success, reroll all dice. You may only use this skill once per roll.

Health & Armor

Health is kept track separate and is not attached to a cliché. For each health point you're missing from your maximum, you roll -1 die. Notice that, your health is not your highest cliché; you can have Health: 2 and have Sneaking (5) for example. Health regenerates per scene. It is up to the GM's discretion on when a scene ends, and a new one starts (it could be a single fight, or multiple fights).

Armor acts exactly like health, however, you do not have -1 die per each missing armor point. Also, there is no limit to the amount of armor you may have, unlike everything else, which is capped at 7. When taking damage, reduce armor first, then health. Armor also regenerates per scene. Armor does not have to be actual armor; it could be a monster with really thick skin, or a magical shield.


Fate allows rerolls. Players gain fate by failing level up attempts (see level up). Fate may also be given to the player from the GM for good roleplaying or for a great action done. Fate can only be used on clichés and environment rolls and cannot be used on level up attempts, items, or any other rolls.


Unlike vanilla Risus, inventory is tracked fully in reloaded. Your starting inventory can be generated by your clichés, but during the game, you may not add more items into your inventory by claiming them as tools of the trade.

Consumables, such as gold and arrows, are ranked, and not counted individually. Whenever a player uses a consumable, the GM must give a target number (1-7) needed. If the character has a cliché equal or more than that, the player must roll that target number to avoid getting that consumables' rank down.

Example 1:

Fig the Fighter wants to use his Gold (2) to buy a dagger.
The GM says a dagger costs Gold (1) to buy.
Fig rolls 2 dice for his Gold (2) and gets a 4 and a 2.
Since he got at least one success (4+), Fig buys the dagger without any changes.
Fig then says he wants to buy a shield.
The GM says a shield costs Gold (2) to buy.
Fig then rolls 2 dice for his Gold (2), and gets a 2 and a 1.
Fig buys the shield anyway, so his Gold (2) drops to Gold (1).
Fig then says he wants to buy a helmet.
The GM says a helmet costs Gold (3).

Since Fig the Fighter only has Gold (1), he is not allowed to buy the helmet and cannot even try to roll.

Example 2:

Fig the Fighter says he wants to shoot an arrow.
The GM says he needs Arrows (1) to shoot an arrow.
Fig rolls 2 dice for Arrows (2) and gets a 3 and a 4.
Since Fig rolled 1 success, his arrow cliché does not go down.
(Should fig had gotten a 3 and a 1, Fig would shoot the arrow anyway, but his Arrows(2) would turn to Arrows(1)).
Fig the Fighter then rolls his Archer (2) cliché as normal.

Consumables can also be non-tangible; for example, a magic user could have a mana consumable, which regenerates with his health.


Traits are special skills, abilities or characteristics. It's up to the GM to create traits related to the character. Traits make a character an individual and unique. Some examples are:

  • Functioning Alcoholic: Gain +1 die to all rolls when drunk.

  • Wild Animal: During Combat roll a d6. An a 2+ act normally, on a 1, you go into a mad frenzy and attack the closest living thing to you.

  • Undead: If your health drops to 0, roll a d6. On a 4+, you regenerate back to life at half your health, rounded up.

  • Cyber Power Arm: When using your left arm, roll a d6. On a 4+, gain +1 success to your roll, on a 1, your arm malfunctions and your roll is an automatic failure.

  • Old Leg Wound: While running, roll a d6. On a 1, take a wound.

Etc etc. Be creative, be wild! Traits make things fun, and unique! Traits can be given at char creation, or gained throughout the game, as permanent injuries etc.

Rolls in Risus: Reloaded

There are 3 different kind of rolls in Risus: Reloaded - Contested Rolls, Target Number Rolls, and Environment Rolls.

Contested Rolls

Contest Rolls work just like normal Risus. Each player rolls their appropriate cliché, the player with the highest number of successes wins the fight, and the loser takes the difference in success as wounds to their health/armor (note: In certain situations, the player may choose to negate all wounds all together, for example, an archer shooting at a melee target at a distance - if the target wins, that means that the archer only misses his shot, since the target has no means of fighting back).

When a player's health drops to 0, it's up to the GM's discretion on what happens. Death is a possibility! It's recommended to use an Environment Roll to see what happens!

Contested Rolls are always 1 against 1. Each player however, can have any number of assistants. Assistants roll their dice as normal, depending on how they are assisting, and give only 6's plus explosion results to them.

All wounds will go to one person. It's up to the GM on who takes the wounds; if it was the main player or an assistant, it is helpful to calculate this out of common sense, depending on the situation. Players can freely choose on who is the main player and who is assisting before any dice are rolled.

Note - You may also assist after the main player's dice are rolled, but you may not claim to roll as a main player (Tip: Players will try to turn their assist into a main roll; do not allow this, as it breaks the balance of Risus: Reloaded. A Swordsman (5) can easily take out three Swordsman (2), even though they have more dice then him in total) .

Target Number Rolls

Target Number Rolls are rolls set against a fixed target number(1-7). These rolls are generally non-combat rolls, such as trying to seduce someone, or building something, or jumping over a hole, etc.

Environment Rolls

Enviorment Rolls use a d20! Environment rolls are used for checks against luck or the general Environment. They are generally rolled against a target number, from 1-20. Notice that Environment Rolls do not explode on a 20.

For example:
Fig the Fighter opens a chest! What's in the chest, asks Fig to the GM?
GM: Roll environment, on a 11+
Fig gets a 4.
GM: The chest is empty! Someone looted it before you!

The good thing about using a d20 is the equal number of distribution. An 11+ is exactly a 50% chance of success. Each notch up or down is 5%, so a 12+ is 45% of success, while a 10+ is a 55% of success. This can make very quick decisions possible on the fly! You may also use environment rolls combined with traits.

Leveling up!

At the GM's discretion, the players may choose either one cliché or their health to try and level up (It is recommended to give players an opportunity to level up once every other session).

Once a player picks a cliché or their health, they roll that amount of dice. If they get that amount of successes, they level up! If not, they gain 1 fate (note: 6's still explode!).

For example:
Fig the fighter wants to level up Swordsman (3)
He rolls 3 dice, and gets a 6,4,3, and a 5 on his exploding die.
Since he got at least 3 successes, his Swordsman (3) goes up to Swordsman (4)!


Boosts are a new thing in Risus: Reloaded. Boosts can be gained from anywhere, such as from traits, potions or poisons, injuries etc. A Boost is a plus or minus to you dice count, ranging from -7 to +7. You may never be boosted by more then 7 dice in a single roll (and remember, you may never roll less then 1 or more then 7 dice! Extra dice above 7 turn into auto-successes). The GM can give a boost to a player during the game for various reasons. For example, “The guard at the gate is fast asleep, You gain +2 dice against him”. Boosts are also almost always tied to a condition. Boosts make the game more interesting, and encourage players to role-play more, rather then just say “I attack”.

Some examples:

  • Gain +1 dice to your next roll on your Swordsman Cliché as your sword is freshly sharpened.

  • You sneak up behind the guard; gain +2 dice on your first strike as he can't see you.

  • You've been poisoned! Gain -2 dice on all rolls until you find an antidote.

It's highly important that the GM uses boosts consistently in accordance to what is happening. As a general rule, boosting is generally done only by 1 or 2 dice, but in very rare cases, you can have giant boosts of 3, 4 or even more dice (say, a player being transformed into a hulking giant). Boosts are always, always tied to some form of condition, and are lost as soon as the condition is lost. Some characters may get auto-boosted with traits, but still have a condition to follow.


Sometimes the players may need stats to keep track of a vehicle. This may a be a big fancy space ship or a crappy car. A vehicle has it's own character sheet, exactly like that of a player, with some exceptions. Each vehicle must have a cliché of itself, as shown in the example below. At the end of each scene, vehicles do not regenerate health or armor, but they must be repaired (if the vehicle is extremely important to the party, the GM may choose to allow regeneration).

Example vehicle:

Name: Burner Z MotorBike

  • Health: 2

  • Armor: 1


  • MotorBike Z (3)

  • Machine Gun (4)


  • Fuel (4)


  • Turbo Engine

  • +1 dice when speeding!

Now, unlike characters, vehicles need a pilot, which has his piloting skill. Let's take Jessy who is a Biker (2).

Vehicles have a special rule called the Chain of Command rule, which goes from Vehicle to Pilot to Systems.

So, if the vehicle's own cliché is 3, as shown above, then the vehicle may never roll more then 3 dice (not counting boosts). This is the maximum amount the vehicle can offer. MotorBike Z (3) may Never roll more then 3 dice, even though it has Machine Gun (4) and Fuel (4).

Now the next step is the pilot. Since MotorBike Z (3) is being Driven by Jessy, who is a biker (2), then now, the vehicle may never roll more then 2 dice (again, not counting boosts!). Jessy is not a good enough of a driver to push MotorBike Z to its 100% potential. This means that Both Fuel (4) and Machine Gun (4) will only roll 2 dice!