Monday, 13 December 2010

Agents of K.I.C.K. and Risus

Another game I'm planning, and have run previously, was generallly referred to as some permutation of Agents of K.I.C.K., an urban fantasy/sci-fi/comedy game. Think Hellboy with a comedy basis, not horror, and you're pretty close.

K.I.C.K. was a government subsidiary, formed during WWII to fight the Nazi Thule Organisation. Unbeknownst to the public, these sorcerers, mad scientists, and weird creatures battled the Anti-Semitic Werewolf Squads and SS Powered-Armour Divisions across the world, finally securing peace when one of them punched Hitler's head clean off his shoulders.

Now, K.I.C.K. still exists, but have moved into the private sector - goverments and companies (as well as individuals) can hire out K.I.C.K. operatives to deal with the weird and unusual - whether it's alien invasions, rampant vampires, or cult activity, K.I.C.K. is ready and willing to offer you the right team for the job!

Assuming you have the cash, of course.

The idea started when I planned to run a tight, Glasgow-based personal-horror game of Hunter: The Vigil, and one of the players asked if he could play a Werewolf. I was... unsure about how having one of the most combat-ready creatures in the World of Darkness might affect the tone of horror and desperation I was after, but I allowed the player to submit a character sheet.


Well well well.

An SAS-trained, Kung-Fu werewolf. With dual Desert Eagles. And a trenchcoat. I was agog. Actually, I was entertained. I politely let him down, and asked for the character to be changed. I still recieved an American ex-military demolitions expert. With a trenchcoat. And a Desert Eagle.


But that furry kung-fu figting son of a bitch triggered something in my brain. Yes, it was innapropriate and kinda dumb. But it sounded entertaining as all Hell. So I thought about running a "pulpy" campaign for the New World of Darkness rules. Just for fun. Mainly inspired by Robert Rankin's Far Fetched Fiction, nextwave, Hellboy, and terrible 80's action movies.

The first group had:

Jericho Cross, Kung-Fu Werewolf (as previously mentioned)
Arnold, a Mad Scientist of the violent kind (see Genius: The Transgression, a fan-made WoD gameline)
Miss Mae, a Changeling held in an inter-dimensional poker hall
Mary "Justice" Waters, badass lady Hunter

And a few other concepts bandied around. The first mission was to infiltrate a nightclub selling drugs that turned people into monsters. We didn't get too far before the game died, sadly. It was then ressurected using the Hellboy Totally Unofficial Role-Playing System, a game based on the old West End Games' Ghostbusters game. Again, fun and madness followed, with Arnold and Miss Mae returning to the fray, along with a Lumberjack Commando, a man with a great knowledge of physics and a rocket launcher (and metal trousers) and a man who seemed to be powered by Awesome, but it never really kept off the ground very long.

So, I figured that what I might need was a fast-paced, rules-light system that can handle action, aswell as keep such diverse character concepts balanced.

That's where Risus comes in.

I love the ideas behind Risus. You have no stats, just 10 six-siders to share amongst "cliches" - things about your character. So, "Noir Detective" could be a cliche, meaning you can use it to detect, investigate, be sardonic and have an inner monologue, wear a trenchcoat and fedora, and be in black-and-white. So could "Hacker" - being good with computers, living on Jolt Cola and cold pizza, not sleeping, being able to manipulate anything that is justafiably online, and genius-level skills at DOOM. Cliches can be anything you want them to be, whether very vague and broad, or narrowly defined, but still flexible (the difference between "Magic User" and "Specialist Necromancer of the Dark Brotherhood Of Malificent Evil").Cliches act as Skills, Stats and Hit Points, all in one fell swoop! Any interaction uses the same resolution mechanic, whether it's fighting, dancing, debating, week-long court battles, year-long rivalries of one-up-manship - whatever you want to do, Cliches can do it. It's awesome.

Go read it. Right now.  It's 6 pages long. 2 of those are optional rules, so technically 4 pages. 5 minutes, tops. Do it. I dare you.

Next time, a bit on what I plan to do with it!

1 comment:

  1. K.I.C.K sounds like an awesome concept for a Risus game. As a fan of hellboy, Ghostbusters, and (of course) Risus, I look forward to see what comes next.