We tried Risus for the first time last Sunday, for another round of the episodic space horror game I run when the mood hits me. Even though Risus is officially a humorous game (Risus being Latin for laughter), it’s still a reasonably good fit. Humor and horror have a good deal in common as far as RPGs go: they both de-emphasize realism and tactical play in favor of evoking certain emotional responses, and are well-served by games with simple resolution that emphasize description over game mechanics.
I think the experiment was largely successful, but there are some things that I want to do differently when we resume the game in two weeks. In particular, I want to encourage the players to be more assertive over the applicability of their Cliches. There was a bit too much “mother may I?” in our session, with the players asking whether their Cliches cover certain actions they want to take, and too much peering at the super-simple character sheets as if an appropriate Cliche would suddenly jump out at them. Does Deep-Space Scoutship Captain cover firing a pistol? It does if you say so, Captain.
As GM I think I need to be more generous with setting target numbers according to the Cliche being used. I’m used to setting a target and then everybody just sees if they can beat it, but Risus doesn’t exactly work that way. Making a tricky pistol shot should probably be something like TN 10 for Deep-Space Scoutship Captain, and only 7 for Gold-Medallist Pistol Champion.