Saturday, November 28, 2020

The Devil Is


Something new...which is a miracle at this point in my life. The Devil Is is 1920s and 1930s hardboiled detective, gangster, Film Noir, and horror.  It's got it's own page (link on the right side). 


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Please Consider

 Risus isn't my game. I'm just having fun with it. Therefore, I cannot charge money for anything I do. 

I can ask you to donate, however. So if you've got a few spare bucks, and you like what I do with Risus, please consider donating to my charity of choice. 

Or, if you'd prefer, donate to your humane society or animal rescue of choice. Just drop me a line to let me know you did so. I'll figure out someway to thank you.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Extra Resources: Funky Dice

The Funky Dice Risus Option is reprinted here, verbatim, at Truckee Games with the kind, loving, gentle permission of S. John Ross himself. 

Funky Dice

- A Risus Option by S. John Ross -

Archive Note: This option is from 1st Edition Risus, preserved mainly as a historical artifact, with some new notes.

With the Funky Dice option, we move beyond the standard six-sided cubical dice, and enter the world of the d8, d10, d12, d20 and (heavens preserve us) d30. These dice allow Risus to represent, say, superheroes or demigods, without resorting to large numbers of dice. Under this system, characters are given points to create their characters with, and each type of die costs points. Specifically:

d6: 6 points d10: 10 points d20: 20 points
d8: 8 points d12: 12 points d30: 30 points

Normal characters are created with 60 points to spend. Superheroes and godlings may be created with more (200 is a good number), if the GM wants a high-powered game. Double-pump dice cost double, of course, and 4 dice is still the limit for beginning PCs . . . but they can be 4 big dice. Points not spent when characters are created are lost. Six-sided dice are the smallest permitted, and thirty-sided dice are the largest (and also loopy).

When using this option, a character with Cliché (6) may still roll to improve! If the roll is successful, he drops to (5) dice, but of the NEXT HIGHER TYPE. So, your Astronaut (6) becomes an Astronaut (5d8).

If the GM is allowing Hooks and Tales, either one will increase available starting points by 10 percent (so, normal Risus characters will get six extra points each for a Hook or Tale).

When characters with different kinds of dice form a Team in combat, the Team Leader is still the one with the highest-ranking Cliché: Swordsman (4) "ranks" higher than Swordsman (3d10), for example.

Those are the only rule-changes. Dice are still dice - if a Viking (3) wins a combat round against a Swashbuckler (3d10), the Swashbuckler loses a whole d10. Conversely, at the end of the game, the Swashbuckler has the same odds of adding a d10 to his Clichés as the Viking has of adding a d6 to his.

A sample superhero, built on 200 points (4 were left over, and lost):

Burning Rubber

Description: Disguised as Barry Parker, a mild-mannered NASCAR driver, Burning Rubber can run really really fast, burst into flame, and stretch his body into funky shapes.
Clichés: Speedster [2d10], On-Fire Guy [2d20], Stretching Guy (4d10), Stock-Car Driver(3), Football Fan(3)

An expanded Target Number list for superhumans, compared to feats of physical strength:

  • 30: Throwing a motorcycle.
  • 50: Throwing a tank.
  • 70: Throwing a loaded train.
  • 85: Throwing a pile of 15,000 loaded trains . . .
  • 100: Kicking the Earth five feet out of orbit.

Note the nonlinearity! This ain't rocket science.

- The Dread Caltrop Equation -

The Funky Dice option makes the humane assumption that the d4 is forbidden from the gaming table (in fact, it makes the somewhat romantic assumption that the d4 is stricken from the universe, since stepping on a d4 is the only thing more painful than stepping on a Lego). But, some softhearted folks love the caltrops!

The Funky Dice math is (deliberately) canted to favor the d6 in terms of points-to-game-value ratio. If you allow the d4 for 4 points, it usurps the d6, which isn't cool. To allow dice of any size (including the d4) to work, increase all the die-costs by 1 point (so, a d6 now costs 7 points, and so on) and change the basic point-pool from 60 to 70. This (alas) removes the dominance of the d6 (all dice are now priced proportionately to their output) and works even in non-euclidean realms where they have d11s or whatever.

But, consider this option carefully, because caltrops. Think of the children! Think of their feet!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Risus: The Anything RPG

 Risus: The Anything RPG is the wonderful little game created by S. John Ross. Risus is free, so there is that, but it also has a devoted following producing many fun (and free) adventures and game worlds. I am among them.

Get your load of Risus at

I always feel like I need to defend Risus because although the game appears as a simple 'beer and pretzels' type of RPG, it is capable of far more than that. It is able to run any serious gaming you might want, and often do it better than your hard back tomes of rules.

Risus is generally my go-to game, where all the my game worlds get their first breaths.

Risus is a game of beauty. Sublime. It was built for comedy, but serves just as well for serious gaming. Ah, but therein lays a nasty issue, the so-called, problem. Built for comedy, it plays to its strengths. Take it out of its natural niche, and it requires some effort from the players familiar with more, dare I say, traditional RPGs. It becomes a horrific hybrid of old school gaming and indie narrative style that can be a shock to the system, unless you have a penchant for horrific hybrids. Lemme’ explain.

If I were to play D&D (as but an example), I would dare say that nearly every situation imaginable has some kind of rule that attempts to address it. I could reference stats versus rules, and tables; take into account listed advantages and disadvantages; situational modifiers and more…perhaps even spread over multiple books. By God, by the time you roll the dice you know exactly what the result means, and can apply the various stats, rules, tables, advantages, disadvantages, modifiers and more as appropriate. I’ve nothing against D&D, it’s a style of play some prefer, but here’s the point…it’s all spelled out to leave nothing to ambiguity or vagueness.

Risus on the other hand challenges the players and the GM to essentially generate all those rules D&D has, on the fly, in our heads, hand waving what you don’t have time to contemplate or is really unimportant, and then rolling a some dice where even the results are not hard or fast, but vague and unknown. In Risus, you could lose for winning, and vice-versa. It requires players to think not of rules, but of situation, and scene, and implied capabilities. The dice results are not end conditions but rather variables that guide: 
My character lost a die in combat. Was he wounded, or just pushed into a corner? What if he was pushed into a corner, but now another character has distracted the enemy allowing my character to get free of the corner. Does he get the lost die back?
Risus is not black and white, but rather many shades of gr…er…purple.

Risus demands more from its players than most games (oh yeah, I said it!), and that’s the “problem” with getting new people to play who are familiar with lots and lots of rule books. For such a simple comedy game, it requires intelligence, thoughtfulness, and awareness. I know people who cannot play Risus simply because they cannot grasp that those dice can mean nearly anything.

For most of the Risus converted though, it’s not a problem… it’s a challenge, and opportunity, to explore 
some really fun ideas without limits.

Coat of Arms for the International Order of Risus

Monday, December 31, 2018

The GOBlins

 The GOB in GOBlins stands for Gamers Of Benicia. Benicia (California) being where the current gaming crew was founded, but who have since wandered far and wide... to nearby cities, and some so far afield they are no longer able to join the gaming table.

I want to honor them here for they are my good natured guinea pigs which I inflicted my various game worlds on, and they take the punishment with cheer and a smile. They heavily influence the nature of my gaming work and have a great deal of input on the final settings design, not only in commentary but in life experiences: We are a group of people who are variously single, married, divorced, with children, without children, straight, gay, polyamorous, Christian, Wiccan, liberal, conservative, etc.

Above and beyond that, they are my dear, and close, friends.

So, without further ado... the honor roll...

Colin A.
Adam B.
Joshua M.
Kenneth M.
Rachel S.
Rebecca S.
Alden W.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Nice Things Have Been Said

 Honestly, I am riding on the coat-tails of S. John Ross. Risus: The Anything RPG is his game, and I'm just having fun with it.

Still, it is decidedly gratifying when the effort I put into my settings is recognized one way or another.  To which, I offer the following...

Unpossible Journeys quotes me as if I am an authority on Risus.

Peter Schweighofer had a nice comment about my work (though the link he provides is an old one).

Roll For News interviewed me once on my games.

WKR Diary said some nice things too (you'll need to translate from Spanish).

Another Spanish Blog also said nice things.

So anyway, there you have it.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Who or What is Truckee Games?

IOR Member #219 (and oddly enough, also 415, and 511)

 So I suppose a tell-all expose is not appropriate, but I get enough "who are you?" emails to warrant a brief introduction, especially because of Chumahassee County and We The People. I live my life free from fear that I might offend someone so if you get triggered or offended or need a safe space from reading anything I have written, I can happily say I don't care. Move along to some place else.

The name is Brent, and I am the proprietor of Truckee Games. I am almost 50, married, with two adult children. I've been gaming since 10-something. I'm a small government, personal freedom, libertarian (small l, not capital L) kind of guy.

I started Truckee Games not as an attempt at a real game company, but rather just a name to assign to all the various settings rambling around the ol' skull. I am an amateur, no doubt, but I did do some work on the original Savage Worlds (there is a whole section in the rule book that I wrote that has survived various editions) and helped edit various PEGinc products at that time; I named the Cremefillians from Andy Hopp's Low Life, and gave Necessary Evil it's name too. So there is that.

Somewhere along the way, 'cause of a busy life, I moved on to minimalist RPGs, primarily Risus. I don't think it is too much of a name drop to say S. John Ross is a chatty pal (though he has yet to drop his drawers for me) and has in a matter of fashion, mentored me in game design and such.

There isn't much more to say on the subject.