Last week I talked about the way the new Marvel roleplaying game handles hero point mechanics, and how that could be grafted onto Risus. This week I want to look at another interesting mechanic from that game, the way team-up are handled.
Yes, there are already rules for characters helping each other out embedded deep within the Risus core rulebook. The Marvel game operates a little differently, on the premise that the mere act of operating as a team makes everyone better. Operating on his own, for example, Captain America adds a d6 to his Funky Dice pool (yes, I will use Risus terms, rather than Marvel terms, here). With a partner (Bucky, the Falcon, whoever) he adds a d8 instead. As part of a full team, like the Avengers, the die goes up to a d10.
It’s the way flanking rules work in Pathfinder, except it ups the die type directly rather than granting a bonus to the roll. I’m okay with the narrative logic of this. The bad guy is going to be overwhelmed and distracted more the larger the combat gets. The same goes for the good guys, of course, which is why they also get the bonus. Even if the characters battling different opponents in different parts of the room, they get the bonus.
The metagaming logic of this works for me as well. One assumes that when solo the hero and villain re evenly matched. With a partner, the villain should be on par to be able to defeat the team, and when with a team they are facing either a very powerful villain or a team of villains equal to or greater than the hero team. The power up compensates for the increased stakes.
If you’re using Funky Dice in your Risus game, this is an easy hack. Increase one die in your cliche pool by one step if you’re fighting with a partner, by two steps if you’re with a team. So instead of Throw His Mighty Shield (4d10), Captain America rolls 3d10+1d12 when teams up with Spider-Man, and 3d10+1d20 when he’s teamed up with the Fantastic Four.
Without Funky Dice, you can easily just add one extra die to combat when fighting with a partner, or two dice when with a team, unless you are opting for Risus rules-as-written for working together.
In either case, I would not allow the team dice to be used with the pump or double-pump rules. The whole point of pumping being a last-ditch effort on the part of a character is very much a “solo” type thing that would not logically benefit from the aid of a partner or team. It requires the sort of heroic sacrifice that is a more personal thing.
As always, your mileage may vary. I’m doing this as an intellectual exercise to explore the boundaries of Risus, rather than for practical application.