|Risus News & Community
If you enjoy Risus, you're not alone (and you're about to become even
less so). Risus includes one of the best features any roleplaying game
can have: an active global community. The following are some of
its grooviest expressions; join in!
- The Official Mailing List: The
official Risus Mailing List
is a 24/7 source of news from the world of Risus! Subscribers
are the first to know about new Risus material from Cumberland
Games, as well as new fan-sites spotted on the web, an archive of yet
more freebies (some exclusive to the list), and other warm-and-perky
- RisusTalk Mailing List: The best
place you'll find for free-for-all discussion, banter, and social rules-tinkering
is RisusTalk, a
cozy Risus email forum hosted by Guy Hoyle. Sign up and meet
some new friends; it's rowdy, chatty, and fun.
- Risusiverse: There are a lot of
Risus fan-pages across the Web, but what if you have cool Risus stuff to
share, but no homepage of your own? Risusiverse
is a wiki-style Risus resource founded by Larry Bullock and maintained
by Dan Suptic. It's all the Risus you want and all the Risus you want to
- The Risus RPG Fan-Forum: If you
fancy a forum to foment your fandom, the Risus
RPG Fan-Forum, hosted by Brent Wolke, is what you need. This one's
still in its growth stages, which means it's time for you to show up and
make some Risusy noise!
- Dancing Amid the Memes and Cat-GIFs:
If social networks are your time-sink of choice, there are pages dedicated
to Risus on both Facebook
so purple stick-figures can stalk you wherever you hang out online.
Essentials & Oddities
- The Solo Adventure:
It's a frosty night in an unfamiliar city, and you're a 3-foot tall burglar
with hair on your feet. Your lovely partner is missing, and the only clues
you'll wake up with are a terrible headache, a slip of paper, and a magic
ring. Ring of Thieves is a big (20,000 word)
fantasy gamebook for Risus! Too cool for school.
- The Other Solo Adventure:
Veteran game designer Peter Schweighofer turned his keyboard to Risus solitaire
writing, too, with a spooky little supernatural tale, Trapped
in the Museum.
- The "Lost" Worldbook:
I never did get around to finishing my Geezer
campaign writeup, but the mostly-done micro-worldbook is a relic from my
archives that you might enjoy. Oil the wheels on your walker, freshen the
battery in your hearing aid, and kick some ass, Tyburn Tree Style.
- The Bizarre Webcomics: My initial
reaction to Matthew Ritter's Risus comic, "Death to Robots" was
"Holy Crap!" and I suspect you'll feel the same way. It's an
adaptation, of sorts, of a scene hinted at in the Risus
Companion, taken to new levels of stick-figure madness by its evil
creator ... and since then, he's done sequels! These are archived in the
folder of the Mailing
List, along with several other stick-figure creations.
- The Swag Shop: We all have ...
special urges. For some of us, it's the urge to drink coffee from
a copy of Risus. If this sounds familiar, get thee immediately to the Risus
swag-shop at CaféPress, to see what's available at the moment.
- The Dice: You
can even download the "Official Dice of Risus" - Sparks
Dice! They're funny and cute, with a bonus dose of impracticality!
(Acrobat format, ZIPped).
- The Dingbat Font:
If you enjoyed the "art" in
the Risus PDF, you can play with it at home thanks to the Risus
Dingbat Font (Windows TrueType). Decorate greeting cards, game handouts,
- The Miniatures:
There are no official Risus miniatures, but the Sparks
Scrapbook comes pretty close, since (like Risus) it's fun, free, and
doesn't take itself at all seriously! Note the familiar stick-figure artwork
on some of the minis . . .
- The Paperwork:
Risus Character Sheets come in two sizes: "portrait" and "wallet
sized." Snag them both by clicking here
(Acrobat format, ZIPped).
- The Table: The
Risus Probability Table isn't funny or cute. But if you're curious
what the odds are of a Grim Vigilante(4) beating a Difficulty 15 target
number, this file's for you (Acrobat format,
- The GM Screen: Or
more accurately, the GM Screen insert, a single sheet containing
all of the many complicated charts, tables, matrices, formulae, and minutiae
that makes Risus tick. Since that still left more than half a page empty,
I threw in the Probability Table and a big logo. Snag
it! (Acrobat format, ZIPped).
- Reviews: Lots of gamers have reviewed
Risus online (and most have been very merciful!). Those I
know of include the reviews by gamerchick,
Clark, and Tanner.
There are also reviews of A Kringle in Time by Demian
Katz and Andreas
Melhorn. That last one's in German, but I'm assured via awkward Google
translation that it's positive ... Risus was also awardified
- The Character Generation Software:
I don't know code from a banana peel, but Hollis McCray and Larry
Bullock do! Both gents have created cool tools; give 'em a look!
- FAQs, Permissions and Licenses:
The general-purpose Blue
Room FAQ has a Risus section for general fan-queries, but the Fan-Usage
Page is devoted, in particular, to the legal
jiggery-pokery necessary for those putting up their own Risus material
on the web.
- Submissions Guide: Think you're
ready to contribute to the core Risus library? Download
these guidelines to pitching me a proposal, and maybe I'll pitch a
contract right back.
- Related Reading:
If you enjoy Uresia,
you may also enjoy the Risus
version, titled (perhaps inevitably) Uresius:
Grave of Anything. If you're curious about the Companion (see below),
there's an exclusive
excerpt at Uncle Bear. Also worth looking at is the Big
List of RPG plots, an article that was bundled into the earliest commercial
hardcopy edition of Risus - a $1 booklet sold at MarsCon in Virginia, lo
these may years ago. When combined with the Big List, Risus becomes a complete
gaming library! Sort of!
the Club / Buy the Companion!
If you enjoy Risus and Ring of Thieves and
the other freebies, join the Risus march toward world domination
by purchasing the Risus Companion: a
64-page smorgasbord of Risus madness! - and in so doing,
join the International Order of Risus, the official fan club.
The sheer coolness of it all is almost medically dangerous.
on an Epic Campaign!
There was a winter, not too long ago, when the fabric of the world came
undone, and it fell upon an unlikely band of friends to set things right.
According to legend, their travels took them into hidden places in a modern
metropolis, into the ancient streets of Bethlehem, into the foggy dark
of old London and Wales, and to an evil citadel beyond civilization. But
the legends are a little vague, and seem to have a lot of naughtiness in
them. Are the legends true? Find out with your own group with a satisfying
and shameless epic. This is a holiday mega-module
that will touch you ... in those places where it's wrong to touch.
Campaigns, Adventures, and Expansions
by the Risus Community
- Stacy Allston,
Risus fan extraordinaire (and fellow Austinite) expands the superhero concepts
presented in Option IV into a full-fledged genre
Supers! Check out that fun munged-photo artwork, too!
- Tim Ballew goes a'gaming
in "the last days of the Weird West" with his Silverlode
1908 campaign - and as a Risus
Monkey, he hosts yet more Risus material, including Dan Suptic's excellent
which puts me in the mood for gaming and tomatillo sauce. And that's
a full evening, my friend. Peek at the Monkey
for even more!
- Peter Barnard did
a really spiffy little treatment of giant robots and the long-haired pretty
boys (and others) that sit inside them with Mobile
Armour Fighting Team Risus, his Risus Mecha supplement.
- Rob Barrett does
campaigning in Middle-Earth with "Small Hands."
- Shane Biernes brings
Risus and computer games into a happy stew with his Final
Fantasy VII adaptation. Complete with some mildly crunchy rules additions.
- John G. Bell has
kicked off his
Risus page with a new look at doing Firefly (and Serenity)
with Risus, building on the work of Big Damn Hero, Martin Runyon.
- Brandon Blackmoor
uses Risus as the mechanics in his very interesting Rough
Magic game, a "role-playing game of magic, mystery, and guns in
1960's Europe." Too cool.
- Dale C. Blessing
takes to the skies with Hurrah,
a Risus mini-sourcebook for World War I aerial conflict, complete with
a cool list of aircraft, combat examples, and other fine stuff. Climb into
your Sopwith Camel, shake your fist at the cat next door, and take off!
- W. Doug Bolden takes
his own stab at merging trad-fantasy grooviness and Risus laid-backness
(with all kinds of system-tweaks) in The
Heroes of Oblend!
- Aaron Breland presents
a really interesting hard-SF space setting for Risus with his Worlds
at War material. Ice-cold marvy, and I mean that.
- Mark R. Brown let
Risus inspire him to build a fantasy solitaire game called Risus
Royale. Save the Kingdom of Kardz!
Bullock has a
nifty Risus page with his review of the game, a magic system,
rules commentary, and some character-making fun with
Java, including a cool downloadable
thingy and an equally cool thingy
you can use online. There are a lot more thingies than that there,
too. Thingies aplenty, all cool! Larry's also the founder of Risusiverse
(see Dan Suptic), so eternal huggage to him!
- Patrick Clark
wrote a very
friendly review of Risus for RPGnet.
And apparently he really did like it, because more recently he wrote Belgarion's
World for Risus, a very well thought-out netbook for adventuring in
the world of David Eddings' Belgariad, Malloreon, and later books.
- Kenneth Coble tells
of a world where ancient icky things from beyond the stars mix with postapocalyptic
includes a nice page of characters and some new rules material to go along
with the creepy setting. He's also got the beginnings of a Schismatrix
- Michael Collett runs
an arabian-nights style Risus PBEM called Lands
of Fate. Looks cool!
- Dylan Craig takes
Risus into the 17th century with Ironsides,
including his very keen Faith, Sorcery and Witchcraft material. Definitely
worth a look for any Risus GM looking to flesh out a Risus fantasy campaign.
Dylan is also the creator of the groovy The
Innocent Must Die rules!
- Scott Dunlop
likes his future mixed with his fantasy, as he demonstrates in his extra-groovy
9th World, an original RPG setting
- Florian Edlbauer
brings us crawling horrors and doomed antiquarians with his Call
of Cthulhu adaption, Risus
R'lyeh, one of many items on
his Risus page.
- Facebook isn't a
Risus fan, but there are Risus
fans on Facebook, and that's cool.
- Phillip Foster has
a tasty appetizer-tray of house rules at
his Risus page, including rules for those dice-inside-other-dice that
have been gathering dust on my shelf, "Risus Uno" that takes
Funky Dice in a whole new direction, genre "stylesheets" and
- Timothy Groves has
an RPG page on his
fanfic site, and there you'll find some nicely assembled PDFs adapting
Star Wars and some World of Darkness material to Risus! Rockin'
cool ... But does this mean we'll someday have Risus fanfic?
- James Hargrove falls
alphabetically between a guy named Groves and a guy named Harwell, which
has nothing to do with how cool his old-school fantasy setting, Hawkmoor,
really is. But if you think about it, it's an astonishing coincidence on
more levels than one.
- Hank Harwell likes
gaming in a world where the covers are lurid and the pages are yellow and
flaking and dry your eyes out. But, oh, the thrills! Stock up on groovy
pulp gaming stuff today! He's got a Car Wars adaptation and
other material to share, too, at Adventure
- Carl Hewett
called his Risus page The Flames
of Risus for reasons only Carl Hewett can know. But it is a
very keen collection of different ways to handle bonus-die gear, and assorted
other notes on game-rules.
- Guy Hoyle is the
benevolent dictator of the very groovy RisusTalk
mailing list. He's also the twisted mind behind Vikings
of the Caribbean, one of my favorite titles for anything, ever. Wander
beyond that and you'll find yet more stuff! Wander
over here and you'll find Encounter
Risical, which makes even less sense than the two nonsensical things
it combines (but in the best way).
- Tim Huntley
who created the earlier (very nifty) Risus rules for Cthulhu-Style
Sanity/Insanity stuff, and placed it along with other goodies in his Risus
Document Thing (a PDF hosted at Box).
It might be the only PDF with Risus stats for . . . itself!
- Jarrah James can't
be bothered to keep up the accent, but fans of pirates won't mind as they
and Basilisks: an ArrrRPG Setting!
- Peter Kisner plays
with faeries - and you can, too, thanks to his Faery:
The Twilight Land material.
- Michael Kurko on
the other hand, playes with Elves and Dwarves and Balrogs. In One
Risus to Rule Them All, he explores The Hobbit and The Lord
of the Rings (and the rest of Middle-Earth) in Risus terms.
- André Lacerte
is too modest by half when he calls Million
"another fantasy city." 'Cause it's groovy.
- Martin Lamontagne
demonstrates that removing dice makes room for a lot more rules,
with his recast of Risus as The
Pretentious Edition. Dice, schmice!
- Lars Erik Larsen
has explored several options for a Risus with less "ha ha" and
more "bang bang" on his Risus
Tenhut page. Tactical skirmish rules, Normandy in the wake of D-Day,
- Zach Lazarus has
a Risus page hereabouts.
Plus, he has a name that would be great for an old-west type sheriff or
marshall. Marshall Zach Lazarus. I'm totally using that.
seems to like Risus a lot more than he likes watching Star Trek,
judging by his very amusing Risus
- Boyd Mayberry sees
Bunnies in Risus, and he
sees them in Burrows. Huzzah! He also presents (as he puts it) "yet
suplement for Risus." True, but this one has a cute
bestiary, and the added charm of artwork from the Sparks
- David Masad likes
a shot of paranoia in his brain-lite gaming, and his
site includes Risus rules for the
Illuminati and The
Matrix to prove it (plus, the paranoia-enhancing advanced Illuminati
- Darrel D. Miller
clearly has a much higher midichlorian
count than I do (boy, that word sure stumped the spellchecker!) because
he gave us Star Wars for Risus
(and related madness)! Now, you too can seduce Aunt
Beru while she wears those saucy mile-wide lapels. Hot-cha!
- David North takes
Risus out west, complete with six-guns, marshalls, and armadillo stats
in his Risus Wild West
supplement. Pretty extensive equipment lists, very spiffy.
- Karl Paananen
takes us through Time and Relative Dimensions in Space courtesy of his
notes for Doctor
- John Payne shows
us what a Real American Hero can be like in
Risus terms. Be careful in any town called "Springfield,"
and beware men with chrome faces. Yo, Jo!
- Prince Mu-Chao has
honored (or at least appropriately and respectfully insulted) Eris with
The Wholey Book of Clichés and
Cabbages. Come Friday, we'll all have a hot dog.
- George Pletz
has a lot of cool Risus stuff on his webpage, including "Madcap"
(what George calls "a technofear setting with a focus on black humor,
biological terror, and dystopian conflict") and the brief-but-tasty
adventure ideas amusingly assembled for your consideration. Chow down.
- David Prokopetz likes
his math, and he likes his math crunchy. Like peanut butter. The crunchy
kind. Only math. Hail the
penguin king. "Never tell me the odds."
- Ben Reyes
likes wooden ships in space, as you'll see in his creation, Gateway
Falls. He describes it as "like Redwall meets Treasure
Planet." Sounds groovy to me.
- Martin Runyon likes
ships in space, too. Not so much on the wood, a little heavier on the Serenity.
of Firefly gives this lost-but-not-forgotten TV show the Risus touch.
- Manu Saxena joins
the ranks of Risus writers who feel that Risus is just right for Cthulhu-style
adventuring and insanity. It's particularly easy for me to understand
the insanity part.
- MrGone is a kung-fu
master of groovy character
sheet designs, specializing in White Wolf sheets. What does he bring
to Risus? Dots, of course! And handy fill-in-the-blanks interactive PDFs,
- Stefan Shirley gives
us the Risus Monkey
Jedi Academy, which sports a particularly groovy self-character-card,
plus rules options and a stack of settings like Pulp Adventures in a
Hard Solar System, a Risus adaptation of the Clone Wars cartoons
and a lot more.
- Paul Stefko
takes us to where cats and hard-light holograms play, with the Risus-based
Red Dwarf RPG,
and other fun stuff on his Risus
- Nathan Stilwell sprinkles
some World of Warcraft into Risus with Mobsplode.
- Dan Suptic maintains
Risusiverse, one of the most
active and varied Risus spots online (and he's written a number of awesome
Risus items you can read there, too)!
- Christopher Thrash
likes Risus and Traveller - Marc Miller's classic space-adventure
RPG - so much that he created an alternate universe where they were one
in the same. He called it Travelling
Light, and it's one of those things that would never in a million years
have occurred to me, but I'm glad Christopher thought of it!
- René Vernon
is a busy regular on the Risus Mailing List, and he's compiled and organized
his contributions into a meaty, spiffy webpage called Coloured
Skies. Cool Risus stuff for nearly every aspect of the game.
- Bryce W. likes playing
with small animals, or playing as small animals. In the middle ages.
With swords. So it's only natural that he write Heroic
Tails, an adaptation of the Redwall novels by Brian Jacques.
- Mark Whitley
wrote some Risus
material (fantasy and martial-arts stuff, with more to come) and then
he did something entirely fascinating: He sent me the text of a blurb written
for this page, describing it. It's sobering to realize that I might
strike others as the kind of person who'd use the word "buncha."
I was so stunned I gave the blurb its own page.
- Seth Williams
the "Unknowner" has taken Risus to the ends of the Earth, or
at least to the aftermath of a particularly nasty end, with Nomad
99, a "Psychepocaliptic" game inspired by a blend of eclectic
elements. Deviant art, indeed!
- Michael Wolf provides
some Risus notes for roleplaying
on the Rainslick Precipice of Darkness, the Penny Arcade
- And finally, Brent
Wolke does in
8 pages what some people take hundreds to do, and he does it over and
over again. He deserves many hugs.
in Other Languages
- Risus: il TuttoGDR
is the Italian
Translation by Max Lambertini.
- Risus: Das "Alles Geht"
Rollenspiel is the German
Translation by Achim Leidig.
Florian Edlbauer also has a huge
list of pulp clichés in German on his site.
- Risus: El JDR Para Todo
is Risus in Spanish by Joaquín
González. His PDF is a remarkably faithful adaptation of the original,
right down to Spanish translations of the labels on the little dungeon
- Sistema Risus is
the Portuguese Translation
by Alexandre Amaral. His site also includes material for fashion-comedy
- Risus: Le jeu de rôle de
tout is the French
Translation (hosted locally) by celebrated French RPG writer Tristan
Lhomme. In addition to the HTML version, it's
available in Plain Text, Rich
Text, and PDF (Adobe Acrobat) versions.
- Risus: Alt mulig rollespillet
in Danish from "Hedgerow Hell" author Lars Erik Larsen. Even
better than cream cheese, I kid you not.
- Risus: Igru Uloga O Bilo Cemu
is Risus in Croatian,
courtesy of translator Tomislav Šimat.
- Risus: Het "Alles" Rollenspel
Bas Snabilie brings us Risus in
Dutch on his very very colorful Risus website!
- Risus, in Czech!
translator Howie (a.k.a. LittleLi) from the Czech Republic didn't add an
"Anything RPG" tagline to the title, but he did a
nice PDF (Adobe Acrobat) file for Czech RPG fans ready for a little
brain-lite gaming. Break out the extended-set fonts (click
here for a Rich Text version)!
- Risus, in Polish!
Scroll down on this
webpage for two versions of the Polish translation. The first is by
Slawomir Wrzesien (RTF only); the second is the revision by Kamil Wegrzynowicz
(RTF and PDF).
- Risus, in Japanese!
kind of awesome, don't you think? Matt Creech did the work.
- Risus: Altmuligrollespillet
is Risus in Norwegian,
translated by Gorm Rødder, and you can snag it in several alternate
file formats on this groovy page.
I get the sense that it's a very funny page, based entirely on the theory
that footnotes are always funny.
- Risus: La Ciuspeca Rolludo
is Risus in Esperanto (hosted locally)
translated by Chris Gledhill, which means Risus can now be enjoyed in a
larger number of awesome sci-fi settings.
- Risus, in Korean!
I'm not sure who did this Korean translation
(hosted locally); it drifted in as flotsam on the Web. I want to give credit
where it's due, though, so if you're out there, drop me a line!
- Risus, in Russian!
Folks who know me know I have a special soft-spot for Russian history and
folklore, so I find it extra-awesome that Andrey Makarov did a Russian
translation (hosted locally).
- Risus, In English!
Okay, it's not really a translation. It's just an HTML
Version for those who want to read Risus in their web-browsers. And
if you've read this far, have a wallpaper based
on a Risus advertisement, and another wallpaper
that's fun when tiled. Click here
for the Open Directory Project Risus page, and here
for the Google version.