Risus: The World of Ardus


I finished reading John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation last night and I was truly inspired (review being written). I had approached the book with a bit of trepidation because I LOVED the original when I read it twenty-five years ago. Would this one live up to the original, I will happily tell you yes! In any case,  I was in an unusually happy mood and with me that transpires to me in equal portions of creative juices.

I wanted to play Fuzzy Nation. However, no game exists. I spent 30 seconds thinking about it and then emailed my buddies. “I want to play sci-fi. Let’s use Risus or Rogue Space!”

A little back story.

I love Risus. I hate Risus. I have long loved the system, so easily adaptable and a perfect no prep game. It hits all the sweet spots for me minus one. I hate the ‘health/hit-point system’ is utilizes. Commonly referred to among those in the know as The Spiral of Death. Every time I have looked at Risus I see this as a huge stop light blinking at me with a massively blinding red spotlight.

I have been toying with the idea of a scifi game since my maps were selected to be included in Brave Halfling Publishing’s X-Plorers reboot, but I am an impatient lot. Waiting for it to come out has taken its toll and the thoughts havd fled my brain until I read this book.

We didn’t have all of our players so I wanted to do something else tonight at the game table. I spent about two hours writing up a quick seven page (on half sheets) primer on a world called Ardus. I liberally stole ideas from the novel and some basic TV Tropes ideas, most namely the evil mega-corporation. I posted it here for anyone to read. A note of caution however, this was written in one shot, late in the evening with zero editing.

Toying with the idea of fleshing this out some, providing a map, some art and publishing this as a ‘8 Page Setting’ much as Brent has done.

Needless to say, I spent a little too much time tonight talking about the world I made up for the game and then the players had a little trouble switching gears from a fantasy setting (we have been playing OSH lately) to a sci-fi setting. One player I believe passed out form too much laughter and too much wine. Then we were off, it took a bit and we only did one encounter, but I think it went well.

I can honestly say this was the first session of Risus, albeit a short one, that I have ever felt comfortable running and ended up having a great time with the system. I will post more about some on the fly decisions I made about Risus and the aforementioned SoD and how I think I may have solved it, for me at least.

So, yeah, FINALLY!

Risus Fan Forum Pimpage: http://risusrpg.proboards.com/index.cgi


Antiquus Fabula! (Risus fantasy supplement)

A while back I made a Risus supplement and it has resided on the Risus Wetpaint website for over a year, today I realized I have never posted it on MY blog (or maybe I did and I forgot…entirely possible). So I thought I would drop it here and help spread the Risus love on the web.

Click here to view Antiquus Fabula!

I also want to pimp the new Risus RPG Fan Forum, drop by, check out the goings on and see the latest ideas on Risus.

Risus: Old School Module!

You all know mylove/hate relationship I have with Risus. I still think it is one of the most amazing game systems ever put together. In the past year or so i have drifted away from it, in many reasons I feel this is partly due to my fondness for Old School Hack which I consider to be Risus’ more refined second cousin from the Big City. Recently though, this fella named Breent Wolke has really started to rekindle that faltering love. He has put together some brilliant supplements in the form of settings he restricted to a mere eight pages.

Yesterday he posted over on the Risus Yahoo group that he has released a module for his latest 8 Page World. The pdf is nicely designed with a clear nod to those old modules we remember from our youth and even includes a handful of old style maps!

Click here to check out Last Stand of Tyrurk.

You can check out Brent Wolke’s other worlds on his site.


Risus: IHMS- Solo w/Bryan

What follows is the first ‘scene’ in my on-going solo game with Bryan in my setting called “In Her Majesty’s Service,” a sort of alternate Victorian world. This began as a side project to keep Bryan and I busy over the holiday when we had some downtime, which neither of us ended up having that much of. So far I believe he and I are enjoying this little game very much. I would count this as my first successful Play By eMail game I have ever run, and my first really successful solo Risus game as well.

This game was played over email and using various means of interaction. I know Bryan used his iPhone (and I assume, his desktop) while I used my laptop, work desktop, and my iPad. There are typos, probably numerous grammatical errors and misspellings…hey, iPad spell-check is not perfect, blame Steve! I have attempted to maintain some sort of recognition between my writing and Bryan’s for readers by italicizing Bryan’s messages. I have also separated ‘in game’ regular text from ‘out of character’ text by surrounding the OOC with “/————/” Anything within these are game mechanics (including a slightly funny goof by Bryan and I where we had to double check the short Risus rules) and chatter between Bryan and I regarding how to use the rules and continue the game. I include these for those interested in how the game was ruled and panned out.

Miscellaneous notes:

  • The scene began via email on 25 December 2010 and ended 7 January 2011.
  • Total length is roughly 14 pages in Word, approximately 6,000 words.
  • Ran over 43 emails.

————– 1,1: A Mysterious Arrival —————-

It is a warm autumn day in London, a clear blue sky is refreshing after the continual rain the city has experienced over the last few weeks. It is also your first chance to work on the outbody of your airship without getting drenched. You have been outside working on fixing the foredeck skin when you hear a familiar voice.

“Mr. Erikson! Sir!” It is your local postman, Roger Earnheirt. You turn to see him looking at you from the seat of his autocarriage, its small steam boiler chugging along behind him. He waves when he sees you turn. “A package sir, says it is from somewhere called….” he fumbles with a piece of paper, reads a moment then continues,” Seetka? Sitka? Heck, sir, I don’t know, some place in Alaska!”

You lower yourself from your rope chair, extend your hand and welcome him to the front room of your lab, a modest bungalow with a wooden desk, a small round tab and three chairs. “Tea?”

“Ah, would be gracious sir, but I have many packages today along the route, no time I am afraid,” He places a small wooden crate on the table with stamps of various colors and design across the outside.

“Alaska you say,” you question as you eye the strange designs of the stamps.

“Yes, sir,” he gets his paper out again. Reads along as his finger scans the notations. “Says here it left this Seetka on 3 August, went to Japan…of all places….then went to Australia, some place called Madagascar…Rio de Janaroo or something, and then New York! Wow, sir! I would say this package went all around the world! Look at all those stamps. By golly, one has to wonder why you would not just ship via the Royal Parcel, they have an office at Fort Portland, could easily routed through there. Gotten here much faster!”

“Perhaps they did not want it to be scrutinized by knowing eyes? Better to send it slow and unseen, than direct and in view,” you scratch your chin thinking. “Who is the sender?”

“Ah,” he looks again. “A mister Son-eer-rick, Sonerick? Yeah, I think that is how you would say it. Mister B.A. Sonerick.”

Another moment passes with you thinking hard. You pick up the small crate and examine it, realizing it is surprisingly heavy for being so small.  About a foot in length along all sides, solid construction meant to protect whatever is inside, and on each side in the middle, burned into the wood three letters: “ABE” Then it hits you. You politely usher him towards the door.  “Ah, well, good day Mr Earnheirt, you have a safe travel on your route this morning. Don’t want to delay you more than needed. I thank you again.”

“Good day sir,” he states over his shoulder as he climbs back aboard his autocarriage and disappears down the lane. A moment later a puff and whistle of a steam engine is heard.

“A.B. Sonerick….tricky grandpa, very tricky. Albertus Bartholomew Erickson. Now what are you doing in Alaska, and what are you sending me?”  You pick up the crate again. Nothing rattles or moves when you turn the crate in your hands. You put the crate down and attempt to pry one of the sides open to no avail. You will need a hammer or some tool to pry it off. Remembering the tea, you return to your small kitchen and finish making a cup. Sipping the warm tea, you walk back into the front room, studying the crate.

A hard knock at the door, jars you and you almost spill your tea, you manage to burn your lip slightly. Another hard knock. Whomever it is, they want your attention badly.

Lincoln quickly places the crate under the cabinet out of sight, then picks up his tea cup and walks to the door.  He opens it slowly so he can look at who I pounding on the door.

You open the door slowly and see a very large man; the top of your head barely reaches his armpit. His girth is equally wide and he formed an impenetrable wall just outside the door. Your progress is stopped by his large, black suit wearing, chest.       He tips his too-small bowler hat to you. “Mr. Erickson I presume?”

You don’t respond immediately, a sign he takes for acknowledgement and he continues. “Mr. Erickson, we are from the Bureau,” he motions to somewhere behind his large frame, not considering he is blocking your entire view. “And we have come with some very bad news. Your grandfather has been charged with conspiracy to commit treason against the Queen, and as such, we have come here seeking any information you might have regarding his whereabouts. Have you seen,” he pauses, almost like he planned it for dramatic effect, “or heard from your grandfather recently?”

I stand in the doorway and take a slow sip of tea, eyeing him. “The bureau eh?  I don’t mean to be rude sir, but can I see your badge?  Times are not what they used to be.”

I stand there and wait for IDs.

“Sir, we are agents of the Queen, if you insist,” he digs through his jacket, clearly annoyed by you. A moment later he produces a black leather wallet with an official looking badge that proclaims him “Agent 0117” and says “Department of Paranourmal Affairs and Detection” across the border. “Satisfied?” he says rather smugly.

“Begging your pardon sir, no disrespect intended.”

I open the door and motion him in.  “Can I get you some tea?” I pour two addional cups of tea anyway.

“My grandfather huh?  I can’t believe he would do anything that could be called treason.   I thought he was just an explorer.  Of course, I haven’t heard from him in more than a year…”

The large man is forced to duck and turn sideways to enter through the door, when he gets in the room he must stoop over slightly to keep from bumping his head on the ceiling. When he stands upright in the room, you begin to wonder if he is one of those Mutates you had heard of. Rumors abound of government scientists who mix breeds of animals and even, horrifically, mixed people and animals. You eye him a moment, trying to find some feature that would give him away as an animal mix-breed, if they really do exist.

“There a problem Mr. Erickson?” he stares directly at you. You snap out of it and usher him further into the front room. He looks around casually, but you can tell he is clearly analyzing everything, looking for something. You do a double take on the cabinet holding the crate, ensuring it is safely out of sight. The big guy draws a small tablet and a brass pen from his coat pocket. “I will not keep you longer Mr. Erickson, just a few questions. You say you have not heard from your grandfather in over a year…I presume this includes personal visits and by post? Can you remember when you last spoke with him? What about where he has been since then, do you know where he has been…exploring did you say?”

“Well, let me think.”  I put my tea cup in the sink.  “The last time I talked with him was about a year and a half ago.  At that he was talking about explorer, visiting many places he had never been before.  He said he would be gone for q long time, but not to worry because he had always wanted to go traveling.  The last place I got a postcard from him, he was in New York.”

I pause and watch as he takes notes.  “Now, can I know what he did while traveling to warrant treason?”

“Mr. Erickson, your grandfather is suspected in dealing with enemy nations and doing rogue experimental research. It is suspected that the location of his laboratory in Alaska is no accident,” he pauses a moment, watching you intently, perhaps to gauge your reaction. He then raises the cup to his lips and takes a small sip of the tea, sampling the flavor. “When his laboratory was destroyed…let us just say that the circumstances are interesting. Immediately following, we intercepted multiple cables from known members of the Russian intelligence networks, all referencing something or someone called Azrael and a connection to your grandfather.”

He leans forward, you wonder if he is planning on tipping over and landing upon you. He gets close enough you can smell the cologne he is wearing, a musky and manly, wild smell. “They are looking, and understand me when I say these are men not to be trifled with Mr. Erickson. These are men that will kill without provocation, men with one thing on their mind.” He leans back and then stands. He looks about the room one more time, adjust his suit jacket, then turns back to you. “I hope you understand the danger you are in. I hope you understand that you have friends. And I hope,” he sighs. “I hope Mr. Erickson, that we are not too late.”

With that he moves to the door, ducks beneath it and exits the room.

Lincoln watched the man go, then watched them out the window as they pulled away from the house in a steam carriage.

“Grandpa, what did you get yourself into?”

Lincoln then closed the shutters and locked the door. He gathered up a pad of paper and a pencil, carefully pulled the package out of the cabinet, then headed into his basement.  He locked the basement door behind him and settled into a chair next to a work table, making sure to get a crowbar off the wall along the way.

He then set everything on the table and began to write.  He wrote down the following list:

-Alaskan lab destroyed?


-Russian intelligence

He thought for a moment, then set the pencil down.

“Let’s see what you sent me grandpa,” and with that, he began to work on the box with the crowbar, anxious to see what was inside.

A few moments of hard work, a little sweat, and the wood finally gave way to the crowbar. Inside were strips of newspaper, handfuls of sawdust, and what appeared to be the coat of some animal’s fur. Cradled inside this soft bundle of protection was a dull golden brass sphere about eleven inches in diameter. A thin ‘fin’ runs around the equator of the small globe and at the top (where the North Pole would be situated) a hefty pipe extends three inches, ending in a small valve with a spinning gear to close off the pipe. As you lift the globe from the crate, you notice blue paper folded behind it, half hidden in the sawdust. It is the blue you immediately recognize as the distinctive color of blueprint paper.

You eagerly grab at the folded paper and set the globe down, careful not to let it roll across the table. You unfold the paper and discover there are five pieces of paper, each twenty inches by thirty inches in size. The first page is a hand written note; you quickly glance back at the following pages, noting they are engineering drafts of some sorts. Your curiosity gets the better of you and you turn your attention back to the letter.

Dear Lincoln,

I know it has been years since we last spoke, and even then it was not on the best of terms. Know this, I am proud of the man you have become and truly appreciate the man of science you are becoming with every year that passes and you show how mentally keen and agile you are. I am writing to you today and sending this package to you due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond my ability to control.

The Queen must be warned against the men in Russian plotting against her and the Kingdom. While it is true that I was working with the Russians, it was simply an end to a means as the Queen herself rejected my request for funding for this project, deeming it ‘crazy’ as she told me. The Russians had other thoughts and quickly provided me the funding I needed to continue my research. If the old bag could see me now! HA!

It worked, and what a marvelous piece of work it is, this little ball you have will revolutionize the way we utilize steam power and change the very face of the planet. I have sent the ball to you because I know I can trust you and you alone. It is doubtful that I will see you again; my path out of this blasted Alaskan frozen hell will be blocked by many of the Russian Empire’s agents. I am sending the ball along a twisted and convoluted route to mask its travels to you, I am hoping this prevents them from tracking it to you and giving you a led. Get the ball to the Queen, ask for a man named Robert Englund at the Constable Stables in Manchester. He can get you to the Queen, I apologize but my name will most likely offer you no help now. Undoubtedly I have been branded a traitor to the crown, but you must understand this is a path I was forced to take. Tell him you have news of Project Azreal and he will listen to you.

Protect the ball. Get to Mister Englund. And never forget that you are an Erickson. I love you grandson, you must know that, and know that I did this for us, for our family name, and for Queen and Country.

Love always,

Grandpa Abe

Lincoln lets out a small shout.  “Grandpa, you are a genius!”

Then he carefully begins to do his best to camouflage the ball by putting it into a the shell of a destroyed engine, hoping that if he does this, no one will notice if they need to look under the hood.

Whether or not he is able to camouflage the engine, he begins to prepare for his trip, gathering all the necessary items. He understands he might be headed into danger and may not be back this way in some time.  He gathers everything he can think of that he has, then plans to head to market and pick up some foodstuffs for the trip.


Let’s roll a check (use whatever cliché you think it most appropriate) for you to camp the ball, whatever you get, this will be the target number for anyone trying to see past your camo job.

Go ahead and continue the story, list anything you want to pick up, if there is anything truly odd you want check versus a 10 TN with the city of London’s “City with a Thousand Markets (5)” cliché. Success means you were able to find the odd item you were looking for.

Lincoln used Crafty Engineer (4) and rolled a 1,4,4,5 for a total of 14.

Lincoln looks at the job he did camouflaging the ball as part of an engine and thinks it looks pretty convincing. “I hope that fools some prying eyes.”

Lincoln rolls a 15 on his check to get a military grade tent-in-a-box from his good friend Lily at the supply shop.  It’s not exactly available to civilians, but being ex-Navy does have its perks.  Other than that, it is just basic supplies and ammo for his guns.


It is only a four hour flight to Manchester, but you stock up on odds and ends, food and ammo, and then head back to your workshop. You stow everything and then grab the camoed engine and with Dex’s help, you begin installing grandpa’s invention. A little modification and about four hours later it is installed to nearly a perfect fit. With a little money in your pocket you can probably upgrade a few parts and get a perfect fit, but for now it will have to do.


I am taking a little liberty here. I am saying you own a house that your father left to you. It is a two story house, the main floor you have taken over as a small kitchen, a cluttered living room that serves as a spare part/tinkering room. The upstairs has two bedrooms, one for you and one that is your main workshop. Behind and connected to the main house through the workshop is a large hangar for your airship, most of your neighbors hate the thing, and eye sore and all, plus it is probably in disrepair and in need of a paint job. The roof slides back partially and one side of what would be the hangar opens, allowing the airship to come and go, well it would, if it flew.


You head back to the house to grab a few things. Clean pants, a few shirts, socks, a jacket (flying can get cold), throw them into a satchel and then head to the downstairs workshop to grab some oil for Dex’s gears and a bundle of SoakWood for his engines, extra never hurts. As you turn to the hallway to head up the stairs you hear a noise much like shattering glass behind you.

“Вы! Стоп, где вы находитесь!” Shouts a rough voice behind you. You turn to see two thick and mean looking fellows in black trench coats. The first one slides through the opening with amazing grace and pulls a mean looking revolver from his coat pocket, the barrel far too large to be healthy for you. “Остановить или я буду стрелять!”

Lincoln curses and dives out of the path of the gun, throwing the satchel at the man as he does.  If he is able to, he will then pull one of his guns and try to take out the intruder.

The first thick man smiles as he watches you foolishly dive out of the way, when he had not fired a shot at you and moves down the hall towards you. “ХА! Этот человек дурак! Ну Ivan, давайте захватить этот идиот!” he says to his friend, his back turned to you. When he turns back, he finds you standing there, weapon at the ready, pointing directly at him. A startled look draws across his face. “Oh!”

“I have no idea what your saying bub, but for your sake, I hope you speak English.  Because if you don’t drop that gun in the next two seconds, I’m going to shoot you.”

Lincoln prepares to pull the trigger…

“Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Fool, gib mir den Motor!” He shouts at you, waving the pistol a little. Behind him, his friend is through the window now and standing behind him in the narrow hallway. He will not be able to get past his friend to reach you.


Let’s do a quick draw thing to see who can act first and get the drop on the other, you pick whatever cliché you are using and roll, I will use an appropriate cliché back and high roller wins and can act first, if that means you want to shoot or some other action, then we will roll cliché versus cliché and move into a ‘combat’ situation.


Lincoln will use Small Man, Big Guns (3) and rolls a 4,5,1 for 10 total.

Big Mean Russian Fella rolled a 5,4,and 2 for a total of 11. You lose a die!


Lincoln goes to squeeze off a round, aiming at the man’s gut and realizes he bought the ammo, but failed to actual load the rounds! The pistol clicks and clicks as he squeezes the trigger.

“Netter Versuch dummen kleinen Mann!” he bellows with laughter. He steps closer and fires off a round which narrowly misses Lincoln’s right shoulder and strikes the wall. The wood shatters and splinters rain down on Lincoln. The man is clearly angered and annoyed. “Nicht mehr rund liebäugelt, wo ist der Motor!”

As Lincoln flinches away from the splintering wood, he sees the lever that opens a trap door to the basement.  He sometimes uses it lower or raise large items in or out of the basement, but this time, he has a different use in mind.  Seeing the men standing over the door, he throws his rather large firearm at the lever, hoping to drop the men into the basement.


Lincoln is using crafty Engineer (4) and small man, big guns (2) he rolls: 1,3,1,3,3,2,1 for a total of 13.

Honestly, he would like to use up one of his quest dice, to reroll this.  How the quest die would fit is the long amounts of time he spent with his navy buddies playing horse shoes while relaxing after a day of hard work.

If this is allowed, he rerolls and gets: 2,4,4,5,3,4 for a total of 22.


Redo of that last roll:

Using Crafty Engineer (4): 2,5,4,3 for a total of 14


The gun hits the lever.  The man is smiling still, with a slight confused look in his eyes, when the door opens beneath them.  They fall 10 feet into the basement below and land hard on the concrete floor.

Lincoln quickly races over to block the door to the basement with his table, wedging it between the door and the wall, then he pulls the lever back to shut the trap door.  He picks up his gun and satchel, then heads out to the gunship quickly.

He has only piloted a few times, and even then, not without help, so he is nervous about doing this by himself.  He figures if he can get at least get it to the Navy base and alert them to men in his basement, he’ll be safe.

He sees their vehicle outside and decides to take a few minutes to make sure it will not run as well.

The belly of the airship is taken up by three rooms: the engine room taking up most of that area, and then that is mostly gears, pipes, and storage for the Soakwood that burns and creates the heat for the boiler. The other two rooms are a small berth with four beds set up in little cubbyholes on opposite sides of the small, almost closet-like room; and the ‘bridge.’ The bridge is merely two seats that sit in front of a large window with too-many-too-count knobs, gears, levers…the airship’s flight controls. Lincoln hits a few levers and a low grown can be heard towards the rear of the ship, the engine firing up, the pipes expanding slightly as the high pressure steam hits the brass. You wait a moment, nervous that this new ball will work correctly… not damage your airship…and with any lucky propel this hunk of junk out of the garage!


Ok, let’s see if you and Dex installed everything correctly. Do a Team Up with him (roll his dice for his cliché and add any 6s ‘he’ gets to your subsequent roll against TN of 10), use an appropriate cliché for installing the ball and creating the necessary parts to connect it to the airship. Success means it is connected correctly and will function. Failure, I leave up to you…


Dex rolled a 6 and a 5, so adding the six.

Lincoln is using his crafty engineer(4): 5,3,3,6 for a total of 17+6=23


Lincoln is nervous.

The ball churns and groans slightly, the pressure building within its brass form. Lincoln studies the gauges and dials, anxious to let the power loose, but he holds on, waiting for just the right moment. He reaches forward, about to hit the button, but pauses. He closes his eyes, too nervous to look, and presses the button.

A hard lurch and the craft slips forward, the engine pushing the large bulk forward and out of the tight garage. Slightly surprised, Lincoln opens his eyes, a wide smile forms, they have done it! He checks the gauges again to reaffirm. They have done it correctly and the modifications hold perfectly to the newly installed steam ball.

Clearing the garage wall by a mere foot, the craft inches out, the sun gleaming on it’s brass and wood structure. Checking his surroundings quickly, Lincoln turns northwest and heads into the heart of London, the direction of Manchester.

“Release the pressure on gauge three-seventeen Dex,” he tells his mechanicL aide. The brass creature stirs to life, taking almost cautious steps to a side panel. It opens a hatch and reaches in, twisting a valve. A large gush of steam shoots out of the side of the airship, spraying a fine, white mist out across the neighborhood below. Lincoln turns to look, wondering if the mist anyone below. And that is when he spies it.

Another craft is coming up behind him, strangely steering directly into his path. It is a long and thin vessel, the sides as sharp instead of round and smooth, as well as the outer skin being painted jet black. The vessel is gaining speed and getting closer. Thinking quickly, Lincoln sees the tall buildings of London ahead. They are 20 to 30 story buildings, almost forming a crowded and brick jungle to lose the following craft. He isn’t the best pilot in the world, but a little luck, maybe he can lose them there!

“Bags!  Did they get out of the basement that quick?  Alright Dex, looks like there won’t be any stopping by the Naval yard for me, we got to get out of here fast.  Dex, open valves 18 and 23!”

Lincoln is worried, he doesn’t think they would risk shooting down his ship since they think he has the ball, but he knows they won’t be afraid to board it or shoot him.  His best bet is to loose them or outrun them.

Dex beeps a forlorn and gloom filled reply then begins methodically twisting valve here and there. As he fully opens the last valve, Lincoln immediately feels the craft’s altitude drop suddenly as the dove into the city streets. Beneath him he can clearly make out carriages and people going about their business, obvious to the brass and wood frame heading to their at ever faster speeds. Lincoln adjusts a mirror with a few levers and can see behind his craft at the followers. They are still following, albeit at a more cautious pace. Perhaps they think Lincoln a madman for heading deep into the city? Only a madman would follow him into the streets, their ship was slightly larger than his and would find little room for maneuvering in-between the tall buildings.

Suddenly to his left and right, the tops of buildings burst past the viewports, another saddening bleep from Dex tells Lincoln to focus his attention forward at the rushing streets ahead. It was going to be tough, but he tells himself “I can do this” with a sly grin and grabs ahold of the controls.

Lincoln grins like a madman, then reaches down into a box next to the pilot chair and pulls out a pair of goggles.  He quickly slips them over is head into place and holds the wheel steady, using all his previous two prior flights experience as pilot and maneuvers his craft through the city.

“I would have taken more lessons if I knew I was going to be piloting the gunship Dex!”


I will write up a pilot for the other ship:

Pilot of the JetBlack Airship (3)

Ok, that’s done. 🙂

Thinking back on our previous discussion on how to write up the airships, weapons, and such, let’s say your airship has these ratings:

Old and Outdated Gunship from a Previous War: Handling+2, Machine Gun+1, Awesome Engine+3

The Sleek and Sexy JetBlack Airship: Handling+3, Armor+2

We will use these as a modifier to your total roll, NOT additional dice to your pool. My pilot manuvers to get behind you and slide in between the buildins as he tries to follow you. I am assigning a initial TN of 10 to this action, if you then start doing manuevers to make it difficult for him to follow, we will resort to a normal conflict resolution mechanic. Sound good?

Pilot of the JetBlack Airship (3)

The Sleek and Sexy JetBlack Airship: Handling+3, Armor+2
(I applied a penalty of -3 due to his craft’s large size.)

He rolls a 12.


The pilot swings the sleek, black craft around and drops his airship into the street, trying to stay clear of the tall buildings rising up on both sides of his craft. Lincoln glances back in his mirrors and sees the craft slide into position behind his. The ship is following steadily behind him, but doesn’t appear to be gaining on him.

A few excitted bleeps stir Lincoln back to the path of the craft, now blocked by a building about 300 yards up the road. It is going to be tight….

Lincoln checks his six and again with a grim look on his face.  He is unsure if they will try anything in while flying above the city streets or not.

“Dex, close valve 23 by half, we have to make this turn.”  He grips the wheel tightly, ready to spin it quickly to make a left turn right in front of the building.

Dex trudged over to the valve, their impending doom not speeding his step at all. He moves to the valve and twists it, a swoooosh sound fills the air as steam is jettisoned to the right, causing the craft to sharply turn…but it be enough? Lincoln peers out of the window, the building’s sharp brick walls seemingly close enough to reach out and touch…


ok seriously sharp turn here, TN of 13. I will give you the handling+2, use any cliche you deem appropriate. Failure i will narrate, success you can expound upon.

After this i would like to do a little you versus the other pilot conflict to see if you can lose them in the congested cityscape.


Lincoln pulls the wheel hard, beads of sweat are forming on his brow…


Lincoln will use Crafty Engineer (4), since he build in stuff on his ship to give him better handling… 🙂

He rolls a 4, 6, 3, 4 for a total of 18+2 = 20.


The ship clears the building by a wider margin than Lincoln thought would happen.  “Dex, open valve  23 back to full!”  Dex opens the valve and the ship begins to pick up speed again, giving them a burst forward.

Lincoln glances back, wondering how the other ship will fair.

Pilot rolled a 12 total. Just missing the TN.

As Lincoln’s craft clears the turn and starts to sped away, the other craft’s pilot seems to sense the urgency and clearly picks up speed as it nears the turn. At first it appears the craft will clear the turn, but the large frame slides to the right, caught in its own momentum. A gut wrenching scretch rips through the air as a large gaslight post protruding from the side of a building carves into the jet black craft’s side. Even across the distance, Lincoln winches at the horrible sound. Clearly visible along the rit side of the airship is now a long gash.

As the pilot failed his roll, his  cliche of Pilot of the JetBlack
Airship (3) falls to a (2). The ship has armor, which i am dropping by
one (now a +1) but because of the armor, the craft’s handling will
stay at a +3.

Updated stats:
Pilot of the JetBlack Airship (2)
The Sleek and Sexy JetBlack Airship: Handling+3, Armor+1

Lincoln scans ahead, looking for some way  to get away.  He knows there is a narrow ally not too far ahead, and knowing how the pursuing craft handled the last sharp turn, he grins madly.

“Dex, go stand by valve 42 and get ready to open it 100% on my command.  Let’s see how he handles the next turn.”  He laughs out loud, then hopes desperately that he can make the turn.


Since you appear to be moving towards a direct player versus bad guy move, lets move into a conflict resolved via opposing rolls.i will roll my pilot, you roll yours, and we will see who wins. …Unfricking-believable, I rolled three 1s….I am betting you win.


Lincoln glances back and sees the jet black craft barreling towards him, this guy wants him bad.


Lincoln rolled for Crafty Engineer (4) and got 2 6s and 2 4s for a total of 20.  You were right.


“Dex, now!” Lincoln yells as his ship slides past the turn. A powerful burst of steam sends the craft banking harshly and into the tight alley. As they straighten out, Lincoln pushes the thrust forward fast, hoping to gain some distance between him and his pursuers. Anxiously he turns back to see if the other pilot is as crafty as he.

The black craft slides into view and seems to turn hesitantly to follow, perhaps too hesitantly. Perhaps the gash on the right side caused enough force to push it slightly leftward. The sharp jutting nose of the ship turns, but not fast enough. The large steel point on the nose of the craft catches on the jagged brick of the tall building to the left and a horrible scratching sound rips through the air. Along the brick, the steel tip draws a cragged white line across the red brick and then suddenly stops. The steel tip is trapped in the brick and the forces work against each other, tearing the first four feet of the nose of the ship from it’s housing, leaving a large gaping hole in the from of the airship. It’s movement grinds to a halt, lost among the sounds of steel bending and snapping.

Lincoln pulls upward, sending his ship above the buildings and into the soft clouds above. It was a long flight to Manchester, at least he had Dex to keep him company….

——————————— End Scene One ————————————

For those interested, the two previous posts detailing character generation and the world are here and here.

Risus: IHMS: Lincoln V. Erickson

When I first decided I was going to run a Risus game in the IHMS setting, I was actually a little unsure if the guys I knew would want to play in the game. I have begun, started, and faltered far too many times with Risus. Far too many times with these very same guys. Through no fault but my own, I have just struggled to get a Risus game off the ground. The guys I contacted about the game all jumped at the chance to game and shortly characters began to roll in. Here I present Bryan’s character, the first one that rolled in and an excellent example of what I like in the character’s he makes. A great back story with lots of little bits for me to expound upon.

Without further adieu, Mr Lincoln Vaughn Erickson:

Lincoln Vaughn Erickson
Crafty Engineer (4)
– Repairing, building, designing, other engineering things
Small Man, Big Guns (3)
– Shooting, gun making, gun repair, all sorts of artillery weapons.
Clockwork Robot Companion “Dex” (2)
– Carry things, beat down doors, pound on stuff

Lincoln is obsessed with, what he calls, other tech.  He knows it exists thanks to his position in the navy, and he has a compulsive desire to find it.  That is why he quit the navy and is working on his own gunship.  He doesn’t know if it is ancient tech, otherworld tech, or some other explainable tech, but he knows it exists, he’s seen it with his own eyes…

Lincoln worked for the navy for most of his adult life.  He always enjoyed being an engineer.  Working on new designs, or repairing old ones, it really didn’t matter to him.  He got to work on his own stuff in his off time, and that gave him great joy.  One day, the navy brought in a “device” for him to inspect.  It was like nothing he had ever seen before.  He did his best to try to figure out how it worked and what exactly it did, but in the end, the navy didn’t give him enough time.  The took it away and without explanation about what it was or were it came from, they reminded him that he was not to speak or ask about it again.

Lincoln kept thinking about it though, he ended up drawing as much as he could remember of it and even tried to build some of it, using what he could.  Eventually, the parts of he was building and his drawings were seen by some “higher-ups” and they were confiscated and Lincoln was re-assigned to work elsewhere.  That was enough for him.  He worked long enough to have enough money to buy an old junker gunship, then he quietly and sneakingly buddied up to other navy guys that had brought in the device.  They of course didn’t know what he was up to, but eventually he found out things like, where they had brought the device from, what rumors they had heard about it, and where the most probable locations were where it was found.  Once he was sure he got all the information he could, he quit the service and has been working to get his gunship running.  As soon as he is able, he will make his way out to the locations and look for more of the tech.  Until then, he is taking odd jobs here and there, and keeping his ear out for rumors…

my dual pistols, my wreck of a gunship(not yet running), my engineer lab, my trusty extendable wrench.

Corporal Edward Tullos, master of inventory at the near by base.
Lily Enderson, local supply shop owner.
Rend Mckinnet, port master at the local air docks

Risus: In Her Majesty’s Service

So we have begun preparations for our upcoming Risus Victorian Alternate History Steampunk (gosh that is a long genre!) I have wanted to run for a long time. I have  four players lined up and they have submitted all their characters (think we still have a few doing last minute finalizations on theirs, but for the most part now we are simply waiting for the holidays to end and for people to settle back down and get back to normal life.

To help the players get the right sort of mindset for this game, and since it is Risus AND a made up alternate history setting, I thought it prudent to make up a few handouts for the players. What I initially thought would be a page or some of stuff, ended up expanding a little more. So I post these here now for you to view. Remember these are simply meant for the players and not generally made for consumption by the general public, many ideas were borrowed, all the art is off of Google, etc, etc.

The first is a short primer on Risus and making the characters for the game.

Risus-In Her Majestys Service (character creation)

The second piece is a short “World Guide” on what the world looks like, some major changes, the countries that are around. This is meant to just be a short bit of information on the world to help the players make characters. Nothing too fancy, and nothing too amazing.

In Her Majestys Service-World Guide

Anyway, enjoy if you wish. One of the players and I are knee deep in a Play By Email solo game that has been going well this last week (despite the best efforts of the jerks who run my internet over here). This PBM has helped me flesh out some ideas and inspired me to add a few in as the game goes along. Soon, we will post the characters for the game as well as the PBM log (ten pages in Word already!) for everyone to read. I included all the in game details as well as some game mechanic details, so those interested in Risus and how we are using it in this PBM might find it interesting. Till then…toodles!