Friday, January 29, 2010

They said "Dinosaurs", not giant blooming Cockroaches!

At last night's weekly one-shot, my buddy Mark ran this awesome little Risus scenario inspired by a TV show Primeval. I'd never seen the show, but the premise is pretty simple: portals open up to the ancient past, dinosaurs pour out, and the PCs have to wrangle the monsters back in. Kill a dino and you might change history.

He said for player characters, we had basically four options.
  1. Badass
  2. Scientist
  3. Badass Scientist
  4. Some combination of 2 or more of the above.
That cracked me up.

My three Cliches (the Risus system's form of attributes) were:
The team was rounded out with an ex-special forces commando, a quick-thinking facewoman, and multilayered inventor type. We built our characters to complement each other, and the group functioned great as a team.

Mark did a wonderful job of handling the game, and it's mechanics. I've found that, despite being a light and simple system, the spiral of death inherent to Risus can really be a problem. Out of probably 8 games I've played of it, this was only one of 3 where the mechanics really shined, instead of hindered. It's a deceptively simple system, that takes a good GM to make it work - and Mark was up to the task, I'm happy to report.

To start the session off, we were called down to the Pike Market in Seattle, responding to an anomaly / gate that something had come through. We all had dinos on the brain, and as the clues amounted to some smaller critter, we assumed little compsognathses or the like.

Turns out they were trilobites, instead. This was a fact we discovered when I was dangling some bait over the hole in floorboards. Instead of a little lizard popping out, long exoskeletal tentacles lashed out and tried to pull me in. "Croiké! They said dinosaurs, not giant bloomin' cockroaches!" It was a great surprise, and really shook up our assumptions. Well done, Mark!

He did a series of short encounters, spread over several in-character days, as various gates opened. When all was said and done, we'd wrestled with trilobites, commandeered a DUKW from a tour group, swam with an apatosaurus, crashed an ATV into a smilodon, and exchanged trophies with primitive hominids. The plotline was simple, and largely an excuse for megafaunal havoc in the modern day, but it was a hoot. Great game, all around.

1 comment:

Erik said...

Risus definitely takes some knowledge of the system and GM skill to get to work. I talk about some of that in my Risus analysis on the Emerald City Gamefest site. That's why my default simple system is PDQ. I find it to be more idiot, or at least me, proof.
Sounds like you guys had a good game.