R.I.P. Destination Unknown

Well, the jerks of the Internet have taken their toll again. One of my personal favorite blogs has been taken down due to the actions of a few unkind persons and their flame blog.

I am very saddened by this as Christian’s Destination Unknown blog has been one of my biggest inspirations in the blogging realm and I would bet that somewhere around 30% of my posts we’re inspired or encouraged by his posts. Heck, I copied numerous maps designs from him, one just last week. My Lapsus Calumni zine is a direct inspiration of his work.

Christian is a great guy with an awesome personality and I am very sad to see him go. I certainly hope comes back with a vengeance.

[Risus] The “Problem” With Risus

Over on the Yahoo mailing list [Risustalk] Brent Wolke of the 8 Page Worlds has really summed up Risus and reasons people have issues with the game. I humbly admit that I have struggled with the system for years, probably for the reasons he mentions here.

I have come to the realization that my past in traditional games such as D&D has soured my ability to easily change modes and thoroughly enjoy a system such as Risus, but I am working on it. His recent work on his Old School Risus module has really put the game in a light I had not seen it in previously and inspired me to write my own little module. This week I am working on a second, much more ambitious module that should showcase the non-combat aspects of the game, least that is the goal. Instead of a combat laden dungeon crawl, this will be a murder mystery set in a blizzard locked inn.

Enough of that nonsense, here is Brent’s very astute  thoughts*:

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 effort from the players. 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 a D&D, 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 story, and the dice results are not end conditions but rather variables that guide the narrative. 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, or those familiar with lots and lots of rule books. For such a simple comedy game, it requires intelligence, thoughtfulness, and awareness. I know people who can’t 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.

Thanks for reading,
-Brent

* Posted without asking. :/
I hope you don’t mind Brent, I thought this was way too good and insightful not to reshare.

[Geo] A simple geomorph

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Playing around a little bit and drew this up in one shot.

I hate it. 🙂

But here you go, a geomorph.

I have to admit that I far more enjoy making the micro-dungeons than these geomorphs now. I think I like the ‘design’ aspect of the micro-dungeons. As I am making those I have an idea or character in mind to be placed there whereas when I am drawing a geomorph it tends to be more of a blank design that anyone could drop whatever in. Just seems to lack focus for me. Oh well, a geo for a lazy Sunday.

[Risus] Lapsus Calumni #10: The King’s Tomb

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I finally have been inspired to pick up the quill again and completed another issue of Lapsus Calumni. This one even has the added benefit of an editor! Well ok, sort of, I let a couple of friends take a gander at it before I published it.

This one was completely inspired by Brent Wolke’s recent work on Risus settings and is an unabashed homage to those games we played as children back in the 80’s. So yeah, this is all his fault. In honor of him, I even stole some of his creature ‘stats’ for this module. Also, this just happens to be eight pages long. Go figure.

The moniker of “micro-dungeon” has recently begun to be floated about the net and it is perfect for this little dungeon. I much prefer these micro-dungeons to the earlier fad of mega-dungeons. They just present a nice little adventure with enough detail to spur a GM on, but leave enough open for him to customize a bit.

The intro blurb:

Generations ago, King Belgrun fell in love with a beautiful woman named Nadia. Time wore on and the couple proved fruitful, the kingdom prospered and grew wealthy. Thirty years into their union the Queen fell very ill and was expected to wither away in pain and die. In a show of his undying love for his Queen, the King ordered an impressive tomb built for them to share eternity.

When his Queen died, his lust for life faded and within two months the King had passed away. The tomb was sealed and guarded for the next sixty years. Eventually memory faded and the tomb went unprotected, soon bandits and grave robbers swarmed in and looted the place.

Your job? To clear the dungeon of the nasties that have taken the place up as a nice little vacation spot. So yeah, no complaining Christian, enter the dungeon, kill the things there, and steal their stuff. Original, I know.

This module is done up for Risus(!) but could easily be converted to any old school system within minutes for any GM to use in their favorite game system. If you happen to use this adventure, please let me know, I would love to hear about it. Below is a larger version of the map for those who love maps (click the map for a larger view).

Click here to download Lapsus Calumni #10: The King’s Tomb

[Risus] Lapsus Calumni #10!

After too long of a hiatus, I am very happy to report that I have found my mojo again!

Fellow Risus fan Brent Wolke has been kicking out some amazing “8 Page Settings” for Risus and he recently released his take on a fantasy setting. He then quickly followed that up with an excellent module in that setting. Talk about over achieving!

Inspired by his work and recently finishing the novel “Fuzzy Nation” I was inspired to try my hand at Risus again. Much to my surprise, it went well and more importantly, I thoroughly enjoyed the system. Spurred on by these events, I took a long lunch today and drew up a map for the blog, then decided I wanted to flesh it out much in the same way Brent had used.

I am still editing it up and should have this out later this week, but I have to say I really enjoyed making this one and hope to make many more!

[Map] Dwarven Way Station (Christian)

My buddy Christian posted another cool map and being that I am swamped at work and just not had the time to work on any of my projects of late, I am opting out with a lazy post. I sniklized one of his maps before and when he posted this one, the few drops of inspiration I had left on me today went to re-imagining his map. Nothing too fancy, but it took me all of 15 minutes to work up, so I figure it balances out.

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