Risus: The Anything RPG

Risus, first published in 1993, is a truly lightweight universal system — the entire rulebook fits on four pages. Written with a humorous tone, it is best-suited to one-shots and quick pick-up sessions but can also be used for campaign play. Risus is free to download and is well-supported by its creator and fans.

Here’s how the publisher describes Risus:

For some, Risus is a handy “emergency” RPG for spur-of-the-moment one-shots and rapid character creation. For others, it’s a reliable campaign system supporting years of play. For others still, it’s a strange little pamphlet with stick figures. No matter what you think it is, there’s no wrong way to play.

Three Things About Risus

  • Lightweight: Weighing in at four pages, these rules are intended to be guidelines that can and should be followed, ignored, or hacked as players see fit.
  • Cliché-driven: Every character is defined by a handful of clichés, which are brief descriptions like “Party Animal,” “Wizard,” or “Sailor.”
  • Well-supported: Risus is well-supported by its creator S. John Ross and an international fan base.


  • “When I think about rulebooks, or new-to-me RPGs in general, one question I like to ask is, ’Can Risus do this?‘ If Risus can do it, and do it as well as RPG X, do I really need RPG X?”Martin Ralya, martinralya.com
  • “Risus is generally my go-to game, where all the my game worlds get their first breaths.”Brent Wolke, Truckee Games

Get It

  • Download the free PDF from DriveThru RPG


See the Core Risus Mechanic Explained

Also Check Out