Our Sacred Charter
Article I - Our Purpose & Motto: The purpose of the Order is to promote, encourage and celebrate Risus, those who enjoy Risus, those who contribute to the Risus community, and the philosophy inherent to its design. Our motto is Imprimatur Domi - “Let it be printed at home.”
Article II - Membership Standards: Membership in the Order is exclusive. However, the Order does not exclude members on the basis of sex, age, skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, wealth, politics, weight, height, eye color, toenail color, mode of dress, species, quirkiness of speech, religion, specific preference between Kei and Yuri and between the Thin Movie Reviewer and the Fat Movie Reviewer, preference for other game systems, or the lack of any of the preceding. In fact, the weirder you are, the better it is for the Order and the more interesting your personal Clichés will be.
Article III - The Membership Card: Members of the Order each bear a physical membership document. Each is unique: signed, numbered, and illustrated with an official Little Cartoon Bastard (stick figure) by Risus author and Order founder S. John Ross. This card identifies Order members to one another. The membership card may be used, for example, to provide access to “all-Risus orgies” hosted at science fiction conventions (should anyone ever choose to host such a thing). Membership numbers unadorned with alphabet codes indicate paid-in-full supporters of Risus. Membership codes prefixed by the letter “C” represent complimentary memberships such as those granted to contributing playtesters, co-conspirators, colleagues, and other things beginning with “C.” Membership codes prefixed by the letter “X” represent special memberships, which the bearer must explain if asked by a fellow member. Membership codes prefixed by the letter “F” are forgeries. Note: Due to Unfortunate Real-Life Stuff (S. John being forced out of his apartment due to plumbing renovations), some aspects of Article III have been suspended, and may be revised in the new charter in 2013. Specifically, the part about your card being signed and illustrated is no longer certain, since that involves the post office, and an address that isn't being vacated due to plumbing renovations. S. John will totally send you a JPEG you can print onto your home-printed card, though, if you ask him.
Article IV - Preservation, Transferability & Edibility of Card: Members must carry their membership card whenever practicable, and keep it relatively dry. Membership cards are non-transferable and probably aren't edible, though the latter is more a matter of theory than policy.
Article V - Use of Motto and Coat of Arms: Members of the Order are exclusively entitled to emblazon their Risus documents, public and private, with the official Coat of Arms, with the Order's motto, and with any related, cheesy web-graphics provided by the Order for such purposes.
Article VI - Psychic Bedrock: Members must think happy thoughts about Risus at least once per month, in order to provide the psychic bedrock of affection and goodwill on which the game stands, towering over the horizon and broadcasting love to the universe.
Article VII - Casual Relationship with Designer: Any member of the Order is presumed to be a “pal” of S. John Ross, and upon meeting him in person, may - without embarrassment, specific rationale or fear of reproach - ask him to remove his pants. Members of the Order recognize that S. John Ross may choose not to comply with this request, but you never know. Members of the Order may remove their own pants as encouragement.
Article VIII - World Domination: Should any member of the Order, by chance or design, become ruler of the world, he will grant all members of the Order favored positions in his regime (including, but not limited to, well-paid but otherwise meaningless positions in his bureaucracy). Should he fail to do so, and also fail to dissolve the Order by whimsical decree, he shall relinquish his membership in the Order. Members of the Order recognize that domination of a larger area or dimensional multiplicity that includes the whole of the planet Earth is, for the purposes of Order policy, equivalent to world domination for this purpose.
Article IX - The Companion: Members of the Order have exclusive and perpetual access to The Risus Companion, but may extend access in the form of hardcopy printouts provided without charge to Risus gamers at their gaming table. Members recognize that floors, decks, beds, swimming pools and trampolines are the equivalent of tables for the purposes of this policy. The Risus Companion also serves - through specific references - as the Order's secret codebook for unlocking members-only archive files, providing passwords for secret gatherings, et cetera.
Article X - Community & Mutual Affection: Members of the Order will maintain a sense of community by gathering at conventions, game retailers and game clubs whenever possible, and by hugging. Individual gatherings may exclude some members of the Order on the basis of age, depending on applicable statute and how much rampant sex and alcohol is meant to be present, or on the basis of the possible successful invocation of Article VII.
Article XI - Maintenance of Mystique: When discussing the Order with outsiders, Members are free and encouraged to invent secret handshakes, code-phrases, and imply connections to the occult in order to maintain the Order's mystique. All such references should be vaguely (or overtly) titillating when practicable.
Article XII - Gentle Conquest: No member of the Order shall create any publicly presented Risus document (supplement, campaign, et al) that implies that the Companion is necessary to enjoy Risus. Furthermore, no member of the Order will ever suggest that any Risus game, played or described by any Risus gamer (member of the Order or not) is being played incorrectly. It is the solemn belief of the Order that we are capable of much subtler, more creative and friendlier ways of imposing our iron will upon an unsuspecting universe.
Pages from the Risus Companion