Coloured*Skies
House rules (’n’ stuff) for Risus: The Anything RPG

Risus is the elegant, rules-lite, omni-utilitarian RPG created by S. John Ross. The third-best thing about Risus is that it's free; you can get it from here. Coloured Skies is an edited selection of my postings to the Risus Yahoo! group. All mistakes, errors of judgement, attempts at humour, and foolish oversights are my own.

THE GAME SYSTEM
Drama dice
Extended TN rolls
Multiple feats
Spell TNs
Take two

PROPER TOOLS
Tools o’ the trade when travellin’ lite

THE COMBAT SYSTEM
Creatures only affected by magic weapons/bonus die gear
Criticals & mishaps
Death, player-character, shucking responsibility for
Guns—increasing lethality
High stakes combat
Initiative
Multiple attacks
Preparation
Razzle-dazzle
Regenerating creatures
Win-lose-draw probabilities

CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT
Easy Street & the Hard Road

PUMPING CLICHÉS
Retro pumps

FUNKY DICE
Creature size
Funky Relativity, Law of (aka Don’t Mess with the Big Dice)


THE GAME SYSTEM

Drama dice
Are awarded at the end of each session. The GM rates the session on an overall basis, according to the following scale:

Forgettable

0

Impressive

3

Noteworthy

1

Outstanding

4

Favourable

2

   

Roll as many dice. The result is the number of pips that go into the party’s drama pool. In subsequent sessions, party members can draw pips from the drama pool, adding them pre-roll on a 1:1 basis or (if the GM allows) post-roll on a 2:1 basis.

The GM seeds the drama pool at the beginning of any adventure, say with ten pips.

Unused pips at the end of any session carryover to the next session, doubled.

Credit: thanks to SJohn for his comments about this option, as originally presented. BACK

Extended TN rolls
Used for things like running (escaping) from the lair of a disintegrating wizard, researching arcana, or something as mundane as climbing down a burning tree.

The GM sets the TN in the usual manner but also requires a specified number of wins. Frex: Opa-Loka, Chronomancer (4), is studying the Bronze Grimoire for clues to the whereabouts of the lost diamond mine of the King of Ogygia. The GM sets a TN of 20 and requires no less than six wins, where each roll represents the passage of a week.

Source: adapted from WW’s Mage: The Ascension. BACK

Multiple feats
Work out what the most important feat will be. The GM then increases TN by five for each extra feat.

Frex: Rupert, Nightblade (4), wants to lasso a chandelier, swing across a hall, somersault through a stained glass window, and land in the saddle of his horse, ready to make a getaway. The GM decides that the somersault through the window will be the most important feat; if Rupert muffs this, landing in the saddle of his horse will be moot. The GM decides that somersaulting through a window would normally be challenging (TN 10); adding a lasso throw, a swing, and a saddle landing boosts that to a hefty 25.

Rupert is going to have to pump—or draw on some drama dice (cf.), if the GM allows such—to have any real prospect of success.

Comment: adding five for an extra feat seems like a lot. Perhaps it should be three per feat. I suppose it depends on how heroic your style of play is and how useful you want pumps to be (the moreso if you allow double pumps).

Source: adapted from R. Talsorian Games’ Castle Falkenstein. BACK

Spell TNs

#

Reach

Scope

Duration

Nature

Impact

0

personal or n/a

trivial

momentary

flash

colour

1

touch

simple

melee or situation at hand

sundry

low

2

one close target

ordinary

hours

detect

moderate

3

immediate vicinity (all)

complex

days

useful or nuisance

average

4

as above (selective) or line of sight (one target)

difficult

years[a]

guarding or healing

significant

5

any/all in sensory range

exacting (x2) [d]

decades[b]

attacking

potent

6

unknown/hyper- sensate (one target)

dangerous (x3) [e]

lasting[c]

eldritch

major


[a] whether or not the spell succeeds, the player loses one pip from their mage cliche or two pips from any other cliche/s
[b] as above, but two/four pips instead
[c] as above, but three/six pips (one die/two dice) instead
[d] if the player rolls less than or equal to half TN, something TERRIBLE happens (maybe now, maybe later)
[e] if the player rolls less than TN, as above

Optional fine tuning menu (TN modifiers)

+1

no somatic component

+5

non-native field

+1

no verbal component

   

+1

no material component

+8

lead, or similar interposing inimical substance

0

material component, common

–1

uncommon

   

–2

rare

×3

dry mana zone

–3

very rare

×2

low mana zone

+3

not consumed/destroyed

+x

weak mana zone

 

 

–x

strong mana zone

–1

extended ritual/casting time

   

–2

hours

–1

caster is female

–3

days

–1

caster is naked

–4

years

–2

caster is a eunuch =:o

–5

decades

   

–6

lifetime

–1

dawn or dusk*

 

 

–3

at the height of an eclipse*

0

target is a stranger

   

–1

acquaintance

 

* spells with extended casting times get these bonuses if then triggered

–2

extended family

 

–3

close friend

   

–4

family

–1

appropriate alliterative appellation (frex, Sotiklak’s Subtle Soporific; Imhotep’s Telekinetic Fist; Hiram’s Hands of Healing)

–5

intimate

   

–1

per extra shot expended

 

 

   

–1

if a non-momentary spell not endable at caster’s will

+1

spell lacks colour, sound, or visual appearance: elements that don’t affect the spell but do add flavour to game play—a glowing green telekinetic fist, a screaming fireball, and so on

   

0

coincidental magic

+2

vulgar magic


Err, it looks very nice but how does it work?
The player describes the spell then the GM (with suggestions from the player) sums the applicable factors [#] for reach, scope, duration, nature and impact, to get the TN. Note that two of the scope descriptors—exacting and dangerous—use multiplicative rather than additive factors.

Reach means range and/or number of targets. Teleportation (usually) has a range of personal (0). Lightning bolt might have a range of line of sight (one target) (4).

Scope means degree of challenge in terms of area, volume, size, distance, detail, density, intricacy and/or any similar (otherwise unaccounted) measure of significance. Create food and water might be simple (1). Most blast magic (lightning bolt, fireball) is ordinary (2). Teleport to Pluto is dangerous (×3). Beyond the GM determined limits of scope ‘dangerous’ lie the uncharted waters of scope ‘impossible’; access to the latter may (×10) or may not be allowed by the GM.

Duration refers to a spell’s run time. Some spells will get by fine with duration momentary (0); other spells will need to go a bit longer. Examples of the former: teleportation, fireball, death, disintegrate, create non-living matter. Examples of the latter: charms, fear, create life, resurrection, and curse (hereditary).

Nature is largely self-explanatory. Lighting a cigar with one’s thumb would be flash (0). Eldritch (6) is whatever kind of magic the GM so dubs—it could be an entire field such as chronomancy or necromancy or confined to a particular aspect of same, such as time travel, or resurrection.

Impact means dramatic impact. Filling an ice chest would likely have no impact apart from adding some colour (0). A 3-die fireball would be average (3). A death spell would be major (6), as would "paint the sky pink".

Some examples would be helpful
TN less than 5—spells with no practical effect to speak of:

Light cigar with thumb: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Trivial (0) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Flash (0) + Impact/Colour (0) = TN 0

Fill ice chest: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Trivial (0) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Flash (0) + Impact/Colour (0) = TN 1

TN 5 to 9—spells that will make things more fun for everybody:

Detect magic: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Detect (2) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 5

Light: Reach/Not applicable (0) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 6

Open lock: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 6

Read foreign script: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 6

Slow fall: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 6

Know North: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Days (3) + Nature/Detect (2) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 7

Trip: Reach/One close target (2) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Nuisance (3) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 7

Hold portal: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Guarding (4) + Impact/Low (1) = TN 8

Spider climb: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Moderate (2) = TN 8

x-die heal: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Healing (4) + Impact/ (x) = TN 7 + x

Walk on water: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Complex (3) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Moderate (2) = TN 9

TN 10 to 14—nifty spells; nothing special:

Aqualung: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Complex (3) + Duration/Hours (2) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Moderate (2) = TN 10

Fly: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Hours (2) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Average (3) = TN 10

Pass wall: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Average (3) = TN 10

X-ray vision: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Complex (3) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 11

x-die blast: Reach/Immediate vicinity (selective) (4) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/ (x) = TN 11 + x

x-pip shield: Reach/Immediate vicinity (selective) (4) + Scope/Simple (1) + Duration/Melee (1) + Nature/Guarding (4) + Impact/ (x) = TN 10 + x

Mist form: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Difficult (4) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 12

Stone to flesh: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Complex (3) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Potent (5) = TN 12

Invisibility: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Complex (3) + Duration/Melee (1) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 13

TN 15 to 20—spells that would hog the scene a bit:

Flesh to stone: Reach/One close target (2) + Scope/Complex (3) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Potent (5) = TN 15

Charm: Reach/One close target (2) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Days (3) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 16

Sleep: Reach/Immediate vicinity (selective) Personal (4) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Hours (2) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Average (3) = TN 16

Slow: Reach/Immediate vicinity (selective) (4) + Scope/Ordinary (2) + Duration/Melee (1) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 16

Man to porker: Reach/One close target (2) + Scope/Difficult (4) + Duration/days (3) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 18

TN 20 to 29—spells that would upstage the other player-characters:

Teleport self to Pluto: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Dangerous (x3) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 21

Grow extra pair of arms: Reach/Personal (0) + Scope/Exacting (x2) + Duration/Lasting (6) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 26

TN 30 or more—spells with the potential to upstage the whole scenario, or worse:

Death spell: Reach/Immediate vicinity (selective) (4) + Scope/Exacting (x2) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Major (6) = TN 30

Teleport party to Pluto: Reach/Immediate vicinity (all) (3) + Scope/Dangerous (x3) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Significant (4) = TN 30

Sand castle to castle: Reach/One close target (2) + Scope/Exacting (x2) + Duration/Lasting (6) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Potent (5) = TN 32

Eclipse the sun: Reach/Sensory range (5) + Scope/Dangerous (x3) + Duration/Situation at hand (1) + Nature/Useful (3) + Impact/Potent (5) = TN 42

Destroy city: Reach/Line of sight (4) + Scope/Dangerous (x3) + Duration/Momentary (0) + Nature/Attacking (5) + Impact/Major (6) = TN 45

Levitate city: Reach/Touch (1) + Scope/Dangerous (x3) + Duration/Lasting (6) + Nature/Guarding (4) + Impact/Major (6) = TN 51

Paint the sky pink: Reach/Line of sight (4) + Scope/Dangerous (x3) + Duration/Lasting (6) + Nature/Sundry (1) + Impact/Major (6) = TN 51

What exactly happens when something TERRIBLE happens?
Whatever first (or later) occurs to the GM unless manifestly incongruent with the rest of the campaign. Given first thoughts can fall short in terms of originality or elegance this might sound like a recipe for poor judgement. But it doesn’t matter, does it? It’s supposed to be something TERRIBLE. To the extent that GM discretion is relevant, the real value of the event will lie in its dramatic consequences and how the players deal with/respond to/overcome these, rather than its novelty or nature.

How does spell casting work, anyway?
A mage has a spell pool with as many shots as they have applicable cliche dice. Frex: Shade Mage (4) gets four shots; a player with Gate Mage (3) Rheomancer (2) would get five shots. Each spell casting attempt—regardless of outcome—consumes one shot.

Pumping only affects a mage’s cliche dice; it doesn’t affect their spell pool. Frex: Shade Mage (4), with four shots, pumps two dice. After the casting attempt they’ll be Shade Mage (2), with three shots left in their spell pool.

A mage with no shots left can still cast spells but each attempt (permanently) burns one of their other cliche dice.

Shots are replenished during REM* sleep. As long as the mage gets a good night’s sleep they’ll wake up in the morning ‘locked and loaded’.

* REM = Rapid Eye Movement, signifying dreaming. Although REM sleep generally occurs more than once during a sleep cycle it is here assumed that shot-replenishing REM sleep occurs only once (possibly in association with a particular dream, frex, drawing from a well, topping up a tankard, and the like).

At the GM’s discretion, spells directly cast on the minds, bodies, or held property of intelligent beings get a resistance roll, using an appropriate cliche against the spell’s TN. To make a spell harder to resist, a mage can attempt casting it at a TN higher than otherwise indicated.

Source: inspired by (and adapted from) Jason/Sjohn’s Risus Magic table, Brandon’s Rough Magic magic rules, Better Games’ Barony RPG, D&D, Fudge, Grey Ghost Games’ A Magical Medley, WW’s Mage: The Acension, Atlas Games’ Over the Edge, and Sjohn’s Elemental Magic rules.
BACK

Take two
If a player-character wants to redo a roll just muffed, they can:

  • automatically ‘win’ for the price of the permanent loss of one cliché die; or
  • roll again—if they win, they win; if they lose, they permanently lose one cliché die. BACK
PROPER TOOLS

Tools o’ the trade when travellin’ lite
The rules state ‘Every character is assumed to be equipped with the Tools of His Trade’. Thus, Thief (4) will have lockpicks, rope/grapple, and a disguise kit. The corollary to this rule is that if a player-character is travelling light and/or runs into some action, the GM can ask them to make a TN roll to see if they’ve forgotten an unusual or special item. The rarer the item, the greater the unpreparedness or the more extreme the situation, the higher the TN.

Source: adapted from Better Games’ Barony RPG; thanks to Mark Whitley for his concise description of a thief's Tools of Trade. BACK

THE COMBAT SYSTEM

Creatures only affected by magic weapons/bonus die gear
These are denoted as follows: Troll (4)*. If you ever meet a Troll [6]*, run away. BACK

Criticals and mishaps
A critical occurs whenever a player-character rolls 4n + 4 or higher, where n = the number of cliché dice. Frex: with Cliché (3), a critical occurs on a 16 or better. A critical always inflicts a loss on an opponent, even if a losing roll. Every pip better than that required for a critical scores an extra hit. So, a 17 would inflict two hits, an 18 three hits. Extrapolating this principle, with Cliché (6) a roll of 28 or better would be a critical, 29 would do two hits, 30 would do three hits, all the way up to 36, which would inflict a staggering nine hits.

Using the critical rule, Kobold (2) could damage Ronan (5), but only if the kobold rolls a 12 (one hit, even if a losing roll). Note that if the kobold does get lucky and scores a losing hit, the kobold will still suffer damage from the losing roll, in the normal manner. Frex: the kobold attacks, rolls an 11, Ronan responds, rolls an 18. Kobold loses, suffers a hit, but as he scored a critical, still inflicts a hit on Ronan. (In response, Ronan attacks, and lops the kobold’s head off.)

At the other end of the scale, a mishap occurs whenever a player-character rolls less than or equal to 3n – 4, where n = the number of cliché dice. A mishap always misses even if it would’ve otherwise been a winning roll. Each pip below that needed for a mishap causes the chump who rolled it to incur an extra loss. So, with three dice, a four would incur two hits and a three would incur three hits. Extrapolating this principle would mean that for Cliché (6), a roll of 6 to 14 is a mishap; a 13 would cause the poor klutz who rolled it two hits and, in extremis, a six would incur a tragic nine hits.

If one party rolls a mishap and the other a crit, it works the same way. Fumble-fingers takes whatever damage is applicable: if they rolled three dice, that’d be one hit on a 5, two for a 4, or three hits for a 3. Then add the extra hits for the crit: +0 for a 16; +1 for a 17; +2 for an 18.

Source: inspired by Metagaming’s The Fantasy Trip. BACK

Death, player-character, shucking responsibility for
When it comes to a question of survival, the GM may decide—in a manner not inconsistent with Risus philosophy—that a roll, rather than fiat, is appropriate. Two factors will determine the parameters of the roll: overmatch and bounce.

Overmatch is the difference between the player-character’s Cliché roll and that of their opponent. Frex: a player-character with one die rolled a 3. Their opponent, with two dice, rolled an 8. The player-character’s Cliché falls to zero; overmatch is 5.

Bounce represents the milieu’s degree of realism, expressed as a Cliché. Amongst other things, the greater the bounce the harder it is to die. Examples of milieu bounce Clichés include Savage (1), Adventurous (2), Heroic (3), Epic (4), Mythic (5) and Cosmic (6).

Survival then turns upon a bounce roll. If the roll beats (equals or exceeds) overmatch, the player-character lives. If not, death! Thus, in an Adventurous (2) milieu, two dice would be rolled, with the player-character in the previous example rooting for a 5 or better.

When overmatch is less than or equal to bounce, no roll is required; although defeated, the player-character automatically lives.

Advanced option A—Free dice for cliché-less player-characters
The number of free dice used when somebody can’t participate is determined by a milieu’s bounce Cliché. Frex: in a Heroic (3) milieu everyone gets three dice to play with (rather than the standard two).

Advanced option B—Pumping bounce clichés
When rolling for survival any player-character can pump the milieu’s bounce Cliché. If successful, the bounce Cliché is reduced by as many dice but the lower value only applies, thereafter, to the player-character who pumped the bounce Cliché. Bounce Cliché dice lost in this manner can only be restored if the player-character in question foregoes—as they accrue—a corresponding number of player-character advancement dice.

Advanced option C—Graded bounce outcomes
If the bounce roll is double (or more) the value of overmatch, not only does the player-character survive they also get to add one pip to any one Cliché (as a byproduct of their near-death experience). Alternatively, the player-character can automatically save the life of a buddy, provided the player-character pays the price (refer next result).

If the bounce roll exactly equals overmatch, the player-character survives, but at a price—the player-character must reduce any one of their Clichés by one pip.

If the bounce roll is less than or equal to half the value of overmatch, not only does the player-character buy the farm, they also get reincarnated in a lower life form—say as a new mascot for the party (maybe time to draw up another character). BACK

Guns—increasing lethality
Compare the attacker’s roll with that of the defender. If the attacker’s total exceeds the defender’s total, the defender loses one cliché dice, in the normal manner. If the attacker’s total is one-and-half times (or more) that of the defender’s total (frex, 12:8) the defender loses 1d6 cliché dice. Finally, if the attacker’s total is twice (or more) that of the defender (frex, 16:8), the defender loses all their cliché dice, the conflict terminates, and the fate of the hapless defender is determined by the attacker, in the normal manner.

Source: adapted from R. Talsorian Games’ Castle Falkenstein. BACK

High stakes combat
Player-character announces ‘high stakes combat!’ Loser loses 1d6 cliché dice. BACK

Initiative
Conflict is divided into three phases: advantage, opposition, and response.

Player-characters (unless surprised) get to choose when to act, either before their opponents, in the advantage phase, or after, in the response phase. The opposition always acts in the opposition phase.

If player-character opposes player-character, both act in the advantage phase—no time for finesse.

If a player-character wins a roll, they can choose to block a ‘hit’ just sustained instead of scoring a hit on their opponent.

Frex: Freddy Freeblade (3) and Simon Strongarm (3) v. Maulgre (3).

Advantage phase: Simon holds back. Freddy (3) chooses to act, and attacks the maulgre. Whoever loses, loses a cliché die.

Opposition phase: Maulgre attacks. If it loses, it loses a cliché die. If it wins against Freddy, he loses a cliché die. If it wins against Simon, he might lose a cliché die…

Response phase: Assume the maulgre attacked and scored a hit on Simon. Freddy acted in the advantage phase so can’t do anything. Simon attacks, rolling as Simon (3). If he wins he can choose to block the maulgre’s hit and not lose a cliché die—thus he’ll stay as Simon (3). Alternatively he can inflict a hit on the maulgre, in which case he’ll become Simon (2). On the other hand, if Simon loses, he’ll become Simon (1).

Advanced option A—Advantage phase bonus
A player-character who attacks in the advantage phase gets a notional extra cliché die.

Advanced option B—Cover blocks
A player-character may block for another player-character.

Advanced option C—Mutiple actions
Using the mutiple attacks rule (q.v.) a player-character acting in the response phase may attack and block.

Source: adapted from Better Games’ Barony RPG. BACK

Multiple attacks
A player-character (or GM controlled entity) can attack more than once in a round. Each extra attack notionally (that is, not actually) reduces the applicable cliché by one die. Frex: Balrog (6) could elect to attack three times in the same round, rolling four dice each time.

When conducting a multiple attack routine, the first miss aborts any remaining attacks.

Source: adapted from WEG’s Star Wars RPG. BACK

Preparation
A player-character/entity can choose to take an extra round prepping a nominated cliché. They do nothing that round (unless attacked, in which case the preparation is aborted) but next round get a notional extra die added to that cliché.

Source: adapted from WEG’s Star Wars RPG. BACK

Razzle-dazzle
If a player-character announces a razzle-dazzle, they roll their applicable cliché dice v. the same number of dice rolled by the GM, plus one extra. Thus, it might be Crusty Old Sargeant (4) v. GM (5). If the player-character loses, or its a tie, nothing happens; that’s a wasted round for Sarge.

If the player-character wins, and here’s the BIG PAYOFF (maybe), then in the following round they can use the applicable cliché 1d6 times, all during the course of that one round.

Source: adapted from Better Games’ Barony RPG. BACK

Regenerating creatures
If a regenerating creature, such as a Troll (4) loses a cliché roll, it loses a cliché dice. If it wins, not only does it inflict a one-die loss on its opponent, it also regenerates one cliché die. BACK

Win
Lose
Draw

1-die

2-dice

3-dice

4-dice

5-dice

6-dice

6-dice

99.99%
Nil%
0.00%

99.82%
0.07%
0.10%

97.53%
1.48%
0.97%

88.39%
8.34%
3.26%

69.96%
24.24%
5.79%

46.67%
46.67%
6.65%

5-dice

99.98%
0.00%
0.01%

98.79%
0.61%
0.59%

90.93%
6.07%
2.99%

71.80%
22.04%
6.14%

46.36%
46.36%
7.26%

24.24%
69.96%
5.79%

4-dice

99.72%
0.07%
0.19%

93.92%
3.58%
2.48%

74.28%
19.17%
6.54%

45.95%
45.95%
8.09%

22.04%
71.80%
6.14%

8.34%
88.39%
3.26%

3-dice

97.29%
1.15%
1.54%

77.85%
15.20%
6.94%

45.35%
45.35%
9.28%

19.17%
74.28%
6.54%

6.07%
90.93%
2.99%

1.48%
97.53%
0.97%

2-dice

83.79%
9.25%
6.94%

44.36%
44.36%
11.26%

15.20%
77.85%
6.94%

3.58%
93.92%
2.48%

0.61%
98.79%
0.59%

0.07%
99.82%
0.10%

1-die

41.66%
41.66%
16.66%

9.25%
83.79%
6.94%

1.15%
97.29%
1.54%

0.07%
99.72%
0.19%

0.00%
99.98%
0.01%

Nil%
99.99%
0.00%

Win-lose-draw probabilities
The adjacent table complements Sjohn’s TN probability table. It lists win-lose-draw probabilities for all combinations of cliché dice rolls from one to six. A curious but pleasing aspect of these numbers is that from Cliché (1) to Cliché (6), the average chance of a win goes from 8.68% to 83.72%, a span of 75.03%. If you allow clichés to increment by pips, that is, 1 then 1+1, then 1+2, then 2, 2+1, 2+2, 3 and so on, each pip works out to be as near as damnit to a 5% increase. Alternatively, each extra cliché die represents a 15% increase in effectiveness. BACK

CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT

Easy Street & the Hard Road
Player-characters have a choice of shooting for:

Easy Street—all evens or all odds, in which case they get +1 pip; or the

Hard Road—all evens, in which case they get an increase of one die.

Thus, on the Hard Road, Mechanic (3) would become Mechanic (4) whereas on (slow 'n')Easy Street, they’d become Mechanic (3+1). After +2, a successful Easy Street shoot yields the next higher die, thus Mechanic (3+2)’d become Mechanic (4). [Whereas the Hard Road would take ‘em to Mech (4+2).]

Although there’s a roadblock on the Hard Road for any player-character with a Cliché (6), the GM may allow such a player-character to detour down Easy Street. After they get to Cliché (6+2) they just keep goin’ (6+3, 6+4 and so on).

A player-character with a Cliché (1) rating can also go down Easy Street but in this case they choose odds or evens, and get up to two shots at trying to roll accordingly. So if they get the first roll, they get their +1 but if they miss, they can try again.

Shoot the Moon: player-characters rolling more than one die on either byway can roll again if the dice land showing all the same numbers.

Source: inspired by WEG's Star Wars RPG. BACK

PUMPING CLICHÉS

Retro pumps
A retro pump lets a player-character pump after rolling a cliché. They work in the same way as ordinary pumps. Frex: Ronan (5) v. Guardian (6). Ronan rolls 22, the guardian rolls 18. Ronan needs five extra pips to win so he decides to pump two dice. If he rolls a two or three he still loses. If gets a four, it’s a tie. If he rolls a five or better, he wins.

Credit: thanks to SJohn for his comments about this option, as originally presented. BACK

FUNKY DICE

Creature size
There is a neat match-up between height and cliché die type. That is, humans are around 6’ tall, hence six-sided cliché dice. Going up the scale a bit, you might have:

d8

ogre

d20

mountain giant

d10

tree giant

d30

sky giant

d12

hill giant

d100

colossus

Invoking the Law of Funky Relativity (c.f.), I can well picture a standard sized Fighter (4) squaring off against a Mighty Huge But Terribly Clumsy Sky Giant (1d30). BACK

Funky Relativity, Law of (aka Don’t Mess with the Big Dice)
This says that a little die can’t beat up a big die but might rough it up a bit. Translation: if (say) 1d6 beats 1d30—a not to be sneezed at 8.33% chance—reduce the big die by one size category, that is, to 1d20. BACK