One Run, Pure Fun
It's a Friday night after a long week that was both physically and mentally challenging. What better way to start your weekend than with a new system and a bunch of newbies (myself included). The system was Risus, a system where the only goal is humor, and where anything goes.
Risus was "designed to provide an 'RPG Lite' for those nights when the brain is too tired for exacting detail. Risus is especially valuable to GMs assembling a quick convention game, or any late-night beer-and-pretzels outing." (www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm). My experience with Risus was nothing but entertaining and enjoyable, and our GM did a superb job of directing the game.
As previously mentioned, all of the people that our poor GM had to deal with were new at role-playing, so to make it easier for everyone involved the GM decided to set our adventure in a place we already knew, our home town. In order to make the twenty second character creation of Risus even easier than it was designed to be, our GM had us make ourselves into the characters that we would play.
Everything was designed from the first moment to set the mood of the game. Stepping over the threshold of the house where we were to play, we could all feel the change in atmosphere as it filled with tension and anticipation. The room was semi-lit, enough to see the other players, but not enough to see anyone's face clearly. Characters were created by making our talents into our skills and drawing stick figures of ourselves, and we began to play.
With everyone settled and ready to play our GM started by describing everything that we had done to that point in detail. In the half darkness all we needed to create a more eerie mood would have been the theme music from the twilight zone. His story finally begins to split off into a parallel universe, when he begins to describe a monster that was creeping up to the glass door directly behind his back, and the game begins.
Graphically describing a hideous monster, our GM's character of himself, naturally absorbed in the game, didn't see the great beast coming. Rather unexpectedly, our GM's character ended up lying on the floor in great pain while the monster ingested his entrails. In the confusion of this, character sheets were misplaced and scrambled, all of us became someone else. A rather nasty trick for a GM to play on people who aren't quite comfortable in gaming, yet it was very effective in setting the right humor.
As players we all knew each other well enough to play each other, but it was impossible to play each other without making fun of one another at the same time. It had a rocky start as people who were sensitive had to play senseless jerks, and happy people had to play emos, but once we got the hang of it, it only added to the humor of the game.
The story itself was roughly based on the movie Shawn of the Dead, and like the movie, it was nothing besides laughing. A maniacal menace had stolen one of the character's grandmothers, and had issued a challenge over the local radio station for us to come and save her, or else there would be nothing to save. I know, not that hard, besides the fact that he had turned the majority of our town's population into organ crazed zombies.
One of the things that made this game so successful, I believe, was that it was set in a town that all the players had knowledge of. It made the game easy and quick paced; however it was still fascinating and fun because many things were drastically altered from what we knew due to the events that were taking place throughout the city.
Driving throughout the town trying to find the villain and grandma, we ran into people that we knew, and had the opportunity to take revenge on some, and to help others. Amidst our travels we ran into the player that had died earlier, he was coherent just long enough to point us into the right direction before he became a full fledged liver-eating zombie. Much to the regret of three players we killed him a second time and continued on our way.
Like classic video games, we were met with many challenges once inside the building where the madman was said to be, there were games that tested our knowledge and ingenuity. Another thing that I applaud the GM for was that he incorporated real games into the role playing game which added yet another element of enjoyment to the game.
Passing through the games, and the henchmen of the 'Big Boss', we eventually met the insain individual who had sent us on the adventure. Before our eyes he turned into a hepatically challenged monster, with his liver as his head he began attempting to exterminate us, for only then would he gain unlimited power. With vital skills such as tennis playing and hamburger flipping, we beat him and won the game.
Four hours of entertainment. No continuing game, no lost souls hanging onto a cliff waiting for the next installment, one quick game that provided nothing but amusement.
I highly recommend the Risus system for those who are tired of on going adventures that never really get anywhere. It was refreshing to actually finish something, and it provides an excellent break to those tired of serious role playing.