Sunday, September 19, 2021

Funky Dice


Funky Dice

- A Risus Option by S. John Ross -

Archive Note: This option is from 1st Edition Risus, preserved mainly as a historical artifact, with some new notes.

With the Funky Dice option, we move beyond the standard six-sided cubical dice, and enter the world of the d8, d10, d12, d20 and (heavens preserve us) d30. These dice allow Risus to represent, say, superheroes or demigods, without resorting to large numbers of dice. Under this system, characters are given points to create their characters with, and each type of die costs points. Specifically:

d6: 6 points d10: 10 points d20: 20 points

d8: 8 points d12: 12 points d30: 30 points

Normal characters are created with 60 points to spend. Superheroes and godlings may be created with more (200 is a good number), if the GM wants a high-powered game. Double-pump dice cost double, of course, and 4 dice is still the limit for beginning PCs . . . but they can be 4 big dice. Points not spent when characters are created are lost. Six-sided dice are the smallest permitted, and thirty-sided dice are the largest (and also loopy).

When using this option, a character with Cliché (6) may still roll to improve! If the roll is successful, he drops to (5) dice, but of the NEXT HIGHER TYPE. So, your Astronaut (6) becomes an Astronaut (5d8).

If the GM is allowing Hooks and Tales, either one will increase available starting points by 10 percent (so, normal Risus characters will get six extra points each for a Hook or Tale).

When characters with different kinds of dice form a Team in combat, the Team Leader is still the one with the highest-ranking Cliché: Swordsman (4) "ranks" higher than Swordsman (3d10), for example.

Those are the only rule-changes. Dice are still dice - if a Viking (3) wins a combat round against a Swashbuckler (3d10), the Swashbuckler loses a whole d10. Conversely, at the end of the game, the Swashbuckler has the same odds of adding a d10 to his Clichés as the Viking has of adding a d6 to his.

A sample superhero, built on 200 points (4 were left over, and lost):

Burning Rubber

Description: Disguised as Barry Parker, a mild-mannered NASCAR driver, Burning Rubber can run really really fast, burst into flame, and stretch his body into funky shapes.
Clichés: Speedster [2d10], On-Fire Guy [2d20], Stretching Guy (4d10), Stock-Car Driver(3), Football Fan(3)

An expanded Target Number list for superhumans, compared to feats of physical strength:

  • 30: Throwing a motorcycle.

  • 50: Throwing a tank.

  • 70: Throwing a loaded train.

  • 85: Throwing a pile of 15,000 loaded trains . . .

  • 100: Kicking the Earth five feet out of orbit.

Note the nonlinearity! This ain't rocket science.

- The Dread Caltrop Equation -

The Funky Dice option makes the humane assumption that the d4 is forbidden from the gaming table (in fact, it makes the somewhat romantic assumption that the d4 is stricken from the universe, since stepping on a d4 is the only thing more painful than stepping on a Lego). But, some softhearted folks love the caltrops!

The Funky Dice math is (deliberately) canted to favor the d6 in terms of points-to-game-value ratio. If you allow the d4 for 4 points, it usurps the d6, which isn't cool. To allow dice of any size (including the d4) to work, increase all the die-costs by 1 point (so, a d6 now costs 7 points, and so on) and change the basic point-pool from 60 to 70. This (alas) removes the dominance of the d6 (all dice are now priced proportionately to their output) and works even in non-euclidean realms where they have d11s or whatever.

But, consider this option carefully, because caltrops. Think of the children! Think of their feet!