Evening the Odds

Evening the Odds

Robert Wiesehan from the Google+ Risus Community shares his epiphany on dealing with dice differences in Risus combat

So over the weekend, everything about Risus finally clicked.

I'd run it once before, but like many, I was always bothered that the side with even just one cliché point higher had such an advantage, and that the death spiral further handicapped the underdog. I've read many alternate dice methods over the years in search of the perfect fix.

No more. I get it.

The magic of Risus is as follows: If the underdog won, you almost certainly have a cool story to tell. Which is exactly how good fiction works.

It's amazing how many "even up the odds" tools Risus delivers in its short page count.

  • Hide/hinder/steal someone's tools of the trade to halve their high cliché.

  • Get one big hit with a high inappropriate cliché before switching to traditional combat. (And a cliché can be inappropriate without being wacky in more serious campaigns.)

  • Overcome your mighty foe with the team up rules, and make sure someone volunteers for damage if you fail your first volley. Get that vengeance bonus!

  • Pump (or double pump) a cliché for a big first attack, then pivot to another cliché for future attacks.

  • Engage in a pre-fight caper to weaken your opponent. That super speedy villain isn't so fast after you slipped tranquilizers in his Cocoa Puffs this morning.

All of these (or any combination of them) make your PCs tell a better, more exciting story than, "Well, we didn't have the math to beat him, but we got some lucky rolls and came out on top."

And if you lose anyway? The GM's under no obligation to kill your character, regardless of genre. It's a chance for you to get beaten down, lose something dear to you, and come back for revenge. Who is Bruce Wayne in a world where Thomas Wayne disarms the shooter and hands him to the police anyway?

So thank you, Risus. Now I can't wait to run you again.