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I keep on crashing randomly in Risen 1 but specifically when doing the blacksmith quest in the Harbor City, when returning after paying the apprentices.
Okay so the game crashes after a certain amount of time being open and in certain areas of the game. The game also refuses to startup at all. No idea why.
Sounds frustrating.

I, unfortunately, don't know how to help with the problem - but I just wanted to anecdotally mention that my GOG-purchased Risen 1 was very, very stable. I often even left it running overnight many times (paused) between play sessions. I don't think it's the game itself that's crash-prone.

Common advice is - maybe some anti-virus program is to blame. Might be something to check into..

Hope you find the "cure' - it's a really fun game and a nice little open world.
Did Physx install correctly during the installation of Risen or was it just an empty dialog box where you could click "Cancel"? If the latter is the case, I would recommend to backup your saves, deinstall Physx and Risen in the Windows control panel (not just via the link in the start menu, you need to deinstall Physx separately) and then reinstall Risen. Pay attention during the installation that there is actually a progress bar when Physx is installed to your computer.