Risus Mariachi

Risus Mariachi

A Risus setting created by Dan Suptic ©2006

A note about Risus

Risus: The Anything RPG is a free and easy to learn role playing game (created by S. John Ross and is Copyright ©1993-2013,2021 by Dave LeCompte) that is used to play Risus Mariachi. The whole system is 4 pages long, and that’s all you’ll need to play. Download it, print it, heck, even put it in a nice 4-page binder. So long as you read it too, you’ll be able to play Risus Mariachi.

The world of Risus Mariachi

All across the USA are people who love music. Some people love rock and roll, some love rap, and some even love disco. But you and your companions know the truth. The best music in the world is…Mariachi! Yes, that beautiful Spanish guitar, the folk harp, and the guitarrón and vihuelas make the perfect musical performance that people will love. But a lot of muchachos and muchachas are lured into less perfect music by many performers around the country. So it is you and your band mate’s duty to convert these misled peoples to the wonder of mariachi, and to also stop the other band’s seemingly endless bids for world domination. Yes, you will play for crowds, hone your mariachi playing skills, and battle the other non-mariachi bands and their minions as they try to take over the world. Welcome to Risus Mariachi. ¡Olé!

Character Creation – Me Llamo Risus

In Risus Mariachi, you play a Spaniard mariachi band member who has come to the USA to impress and possibly convert the ignorant masses to the great beauty of mariachi. You need appropriate clichés to play for crowds, to fight the minions of other bands, and to speak good enough English to get information to and from the locals. Options I and II are both used (hooks and tales, and pumping clichés).

Musical Clichés – Yo Canto

In order to entertain (and hopefully convert) fans of other music types, you have to have some ability to play music. In fact, it works better if your whole group can play, so make sure everyone in the group takes at least 1 cliché in some type of mariachi instrument playing. Some example clichés follow.

  • Spanish guitarist

  • Bass player

  • Muted trumpeter

  • Spanish vocalist

  • Tambourine or maracas percussionist

  • Folk harp player

  • Violinist

Your musical cliché will be quite important as it is used to gain new followers in the mariachi culture and to deplete other bands of their fan base.

Combat Clichés – ¡Estoy Enojado!

Sometimes you have to beat down a group of angry heavy metal fans to get to your gig. Sometimes a rapper will try to bust a cap in your skull for trying to steal his fans. Sometimes a group of disco lovers will walk up ready for a break-dance style beat down. But fear not, hombre! Just because you are a kind and peaceful mariachi player doesn’t mean you can’t fight back! And taking a decent combat cliché like the ones below will ensure you come out with your cajonés attached.

  • Brawler

  • Wrestler

  • Bullfighter

  • Boxer

  • Desperado

  • Bandito

  • etc.

Your combat cliché is also an important cliché, but it should not be the main focus of your character. Even if you can hit a bull’s-eye from 200 feet away with a .22 cal, your true love and purpose belongs to mariachi!

Special cliché – English Speaker – Yo Hablo Inglés

Your character has just come off the boat/plane/etc from Spain or Mexico. Therefore, it can be useful to take the English Speaker cliché. At least one character in the group should take this at a reasonable level; otherwise, it’s hard to get around the good ol’ US of A. You never need to roll against your English Speaker cliché – the level of this cliché simply determines how you have to talk when you’re talking in character. Whenever you’re explaining actions to the GM, or explaining things to the other PCs, you may use your normal voice, regardless of your English Speaker cliché.

English Speaker (0) – You must always speak in Spanish. If you can’t speak Spanish, you must talk in as close to Spanish as you can fake. Most people outside of your band don’t understand a word you say.

English Speaker (1) – 50% of what you say has to be Spanish or fake Spanish. You must talk with a heavy accent (rolling your R’s, etc.)

English Speaker (2) – You have a moderate Spanish accent. 10% of what you say must be in Spanish or fake Spanish.

English Speaker (3) – You have a slight Spanish accent. Once or twice in a conversation, you will throw in a Spanish or fake Spanish word.

English Speaker (4 and up) – You may use your normal voice all the time. A little boring, but useful if you are not good with Spanish or accents.

Handy Spanish phrases

  • Yes – Sí

  • No – No

  • Good – Bueno

  • Bad – Malo

  • Help – Ayuda

  • Run – Corre

  • We’re on fire! (as in, we’re rocking hard)- ¡Estoy en llamas!

  • Hello - Hola

  • Goodbye - Adios

  • Hello (city) – Hola, (city)

  • Goodnight (city) – Buenas noches, (city)

  • One, two, one, two, three, four – Uno, Dos, Uno, Dos, Tres, Quatro

  • Prepare to die! - ¡Preparate a morir!

Entertaining and Converting Fans - ¡Escuchame!

One of the most important parts of this game (and your character’s life) is to entertain and even convert groups of fans to the mariachi type. Whenever you and your band play for a group of fans, you use the Teaming Up option in the main rules. Whoever is the Leader at that show counts all their dice when they roll, and the other band members contribute any sixes they roll. If you don’t beat the entertain target number, the crowd gets annoyed and forces you off the stage. If you beat the entertain target number, but not the convert target number, the crowd really enjoys the show, but stays true fans to their original type of music. If you beat the convert target number, this local of fans is now a mariachi fan base! To find the target numbers, just look under Fan Type to find what type of fans you’re dealing with. If you don’t see the Fan Type, select one that is as close to the fan type as possible.

* it takes no effort to entertain mariachi fans with mariachi music

** they’re already mariachi fans – you don’t need to convert them

If another band tries to entertain or convert mariachi fans away from your fan base, use the same table above, but instead of looking at the fans (which will be mariachi), look for the performer type in the fan type field. Therefore, if a New Age group tried to play for a crowd of mariachi fans, they would need to get a 15 to entertain them, and a 30 to convert them to New Age fans.

Inevitable Battle - ¡Es hora de morir!

Mariachi is pure, holy, and el mejor buena música. Other types of bands hate mariachi and all it stands for. While mariachi band members are naturally peaceful and kind, there comes many times where they must defend themselves. Attacks come from many fronts, but the main 3 are from fans, hired security, and band members. ¡Es malo multiplica de tres! The samples provided below are just samples – feel free to make your own fans, security, and band members.

Sample Fans

  • Metal head – Brawler (2), Mosher (2)

  • Hippie – Bottle chucker (2), Drug user (4)

  • Cowboy – Marksman (3)

  • Goth – Apathetic fighter (2), Apathetic drinker (4)

  • Gansta – Gangster (2), Brawler (2)

  • Rave Junkie – Hyperactive berserker (3)

  • Old time rocker – Ass kicker (2), Whiner (4)

  • Alternative rocker – Brawler (2), Whiner (2)

  • Punk – Thug (2), Skateboarder (3)

  • etc. etc. etc.

Sample Security Personal

  • Rent-a-cop – Marksman (2)

  • Rent-an-actual-cop – Marksman (3), Brawler (2), Taser expert (2)

  • Big beefy bruiser – Brawler (4)

  • Karate Cop – Martial arts (3)

  • Taser cop – Taser expert (3)

  • Pepper spray cop – Crowd control personnel (3)

  • etc. etc. etc.

Sample Band Members

While both fans and security can be pretty generic characters, it’s always good to have your band members be fully fleshed out. Band members should be built around 10 dice, so as to present a true threat to your PCs. The band members below work well as leaders of their bands; build bands around these iconic characters. ¡Qué especial!


  • Rapper (4), Gangster (3), Legal loophole expert (3)

Dorian Greyblood

  • Creepy goth singer (3), Actual real life necromancer (4), Whiny goth (3)

Paul McSampson

  • Country music guitarist (4), Bar room brawler (4), Binge drinker (2)


  • Heavy metal drummer (4), All around thug (3), Drug dealer (2), Songwriter (1)

Timothy Salderson

  • Classical pianist (4), Fencer (4), Poet (2)

DJ Suptic

  • Techno DJ (4), Mixer (3), Discordian (3)

Sian Sukaru

  • Asian sitar player (3), Martial artist (4), Zen monk (2), Artist (1)


  • Crazy singer (4), Crazy songwriter (3), Crazy Icelandic ninja (3)

Adventure Seeds - ¿Qué haces ahora?

These adventure seeds will help set up a Risus Mariachi campaign, or breathe new life into an existing campaign. Feel free to adjust the specifics to your own group’s liking.

Home base

This is a good seed for the beginning of a campaign. The PCs enter the USA with no money or place to live. They must find a gig, preferably with fans that will be easy to convert. Once they find a local with loyal mariachi fans, the PCs can start to build a power base to spread the music.

Jail break

The PCs have ended up in jail after a really bad show. They must gather a team of skilled inmates by converting them to mariachi fans. First problem, all the inmates are either heavy metal or rap fans. Second problem, the PCs have no instruments. Third problem, the PCs are set for execution by elevator music in one week.

The race for the stage

Some huge city has an opening for a band to play. The catch is, the populace of the city has been listening to such dull music, that any band that plays for them will win them over as fans! The PCs must sign their band in person, and will have to race against metal head, goths, punks, and hippies to get to the prize.

Blue man blues

The PCs find out one of their fan bases has been turned into Blue Man Group fans (use statistics for new age fans). They found a way to play a show right after the Blue Man Group, but because of the unique nature of how Blue Man Group performs, not only must they outplay them, they must also put on a more interesting and bizarre show. Good luck!

A plea for help

One night, after a really good rehearsal, one of the PCs finds a note is his tequila bottle. It seems a city far away has come under the total grip of Björk fans. The writer of the note is sending a desperate plea to free his city from the grip of the fans. The PCs must hone their skills until they are ready to take on the crowd of Björk fans and win them back over to the light. The light called...mariachi!

Stage fright

The PCs are on stage performing when out of nowhere, skeletons attack! For real! It’s the work of Dorian Greyblood, the evil, goth singing necromancer. Dorian is trying to win back a fan base the PCs recently stole from him, and won’t rest until the PCs are dead. Looks like it’s time to pay Señor Dorian a visit.

Character Example – ¡Hola, Amigo!

Here’s an example of a character ready to jump into the world of Risus Mariachi. If he can a few band mates and a place to call home, he’ll be ready to start converting fans to the greatest cause in the world – mariachi! ¡Bueno trabajo, hombre!

El Torrido

  • Bass player (4)

  • Bandito (4)

  • Cook (3)

  • English speaker (1)

Hook – Alcoholic – If El Torrido ever gets his hands on a few drinks, he will drink himself stupid. While drunk, all of El Torrido’s cliché roll results are divided by two, rounded down.

Tale – El Torrido grew up in the town of Meso Pueblo in the northern parts of Mexico. His father taught him from a young age to love and respect mariachi music. El Torrido was a street punk, who soon learned he had a knack for overly dramatic criminal flair. When El Torrido turned 16, he got a job at the local Wal-Mart (they’re everywhere, aren’t they?). Once he saved up some money, he bought himself a 5 stringed bass and started teaching himself some great mariachi tunes. On his 20th birthday, he bought a plane ticket to the USA and landed in Denver Colorado. He still can’t speak English to well, but when the going gets tough, he reverts to his younger days as a little bandito and scares problems away with his two silver plated desert eagles (painted with gold frillwork to look very impressive). El Torrido is now looking for bandmates to help him get going in the strange new world.

Adios, mi amigos

Well, that’s the world of Risus Mariachi. I hope you enjoy running it. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at dsuptic@gmail.com - Until then, keep that guitar tuned, muchachos. ¡Adios!