Friday, 6 June 2008

Risus! Or: Knights! And Wizards!

Why is it that nobody has ever told me about Risus before? I've seen the name bandied about on the internet, of course, mostly at therpgsite and on Jeff Rients' blog, but why is it that none of my gaming friends has ever grabbed me physically, by the lapels, and yelled in my face "You've never played Risus before? What are you, stark raving mental or something!?"? With their veins sticking out on their forehead. And slobbering a little.

I've just downloaded it, and it puts the very phrase "insanely brilliant" into a whole new light.

Of course, comedy gaming isn't my thing, but as you're probably aware, pseudo-intellectual literary wankiness most certainly is. So as soon as I started leafing through the .pdf my brain got to working and came out with: The Wizard Knight, but ROLE PLAYING.

I love The Wizard Knight, and I love Gene Wolfe. First things first, if you haven't read that book but have read a lot of Gene Wolfe, it's important to say that it isn't anything like The Book of the New Sun apart from being brilliantly good. The Wizard Knight is fantastical fantasy in the finest tradition of Lord Dunsany, T. H. White, Thomas Malory, Chaucer and George MacDonald, but with a very Wolfeian twist and a fine smattering of Norse mythology. There are no orcs here; it's all about knights who fall in love with faeries, fight giants and dragons, and never refuse a challenge to a duel or a request to rescue a fair maiden - just like Gawain and Lancelot. It's all larger than life, and concieved of in a universe of seven realms, from the pits of hell where the dragons and giants come from, to the heavens themselves where the Valfather lives.

This is just made for a Risus game, I feel. Not entirely the same as The Wizard Knight, of course. But a game where all the characters are writ large and their challenges are rogue knights, evil enchantresses, giants, ogres, gryphons, dryad temptresses and vile dragons. Travel to hell to fight wyverns! Outwit villainous hags who've charmed you with their magick! Swear oaths to never rest until the manticore is slain! Fight hour-long duels knee deep in the icy waters of mountain rivers, only stopping to trade insults! Seduce elven queens! Quest for the love of maidens!

You get the idea. Possibly. If you don't, I really feel this picture just sums it up:


  1. Sounds like fun! I wasted hundreds of hours of my youth trying to kit-bash D&D to do something like that. (It can be done, you just need to toss out the magic rules.) If you run it, we want gory details! :)

    - Brian

  2. I'd be interested to hear what you came up with. I thought about the kit-bash thing too, but then I discovered Risus...

  3. Basically, you start with 1e AD&D, only allow fighters, rangers, paladins, thieves, and clerics as PC classes. This does give you the "fought for five hours until both men were standing in pools of their own blood" feel the old Arthurian legends are full of, but that's a fancy way of saying that fights last forever because nobody can hit anyone in plate. Magic feels magical and dangerous because the PCs don't get any. But good luck finding anyone who'll happily play under those sorts of strictures. ;p

    - Brian