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December 21, 2011 / Wythe

d6 RPG System: Notebook #1

Here are some notes from the early days of the d6 RPG.

P.D. said:

1) Ultra simple framework – what if, for things that were meant to be pulpy one-offs (not necessarily the starts of ongoing campaigns) you did streamlined character creation? You could even do character creation as part of the play session, rather than as homework before. It could even become a minigame, like a draft. Everyone rolls a number, highest number picks one quality from one of the three lists. Then the next person. No repeats, and you go till everyone has a quality from each list:


  1. the Scientist
  2. the Doctor
  3. the Pilot
  4. the Cook
  5. the Law
  6. the Hapless


  1. Fat
  2. Old
  3. Average
  4. Bad-Ass
  5. Hot
  6. Sick

Mental State

  1. Coward
  2. Paranoid
  3. Normal
  4. Stoic
  5. Brash
  6. “Sensitive”

2) Object-oriented rules – the idea for this would be that the global rules are as simple as possible. Your character creation is customized, but not by minutia, not from the beginning. So instead of having a centralized Weapon Proficiency System that lists tons of options and weapons and gradations of proficiency, what if the rules for weapon proficiency only went WITH the weapon. You’re DMing a session, and you say the cabinet has a Shotgun in it. If you’re the Bad Ass, the Pilot, or the Law, you have to roll a 3 or higher to hit with it. Everyone else is 5 or higher. That way you can make the rules make sense, and only make the rules you need in any given moment.

3) Multiple characters – since each character has less micromanagement, and since many of the tv and movie tropes inspiring this idea have more than 3 characters… What if each player had 2-4 characters? That would be make these lower-investment/lower-upkeep characters better? And the one’s that survive become all the more important for doing so.

4) “Leveling” – in order to have character progression, DnD has experience points. They are arbitrary, and often times lead to weird gaps like, I killed 8 more Lizards, I suddenly know a new spell! (like,,,how?) What if, instead, the “leveling” was object oriented as well? You have (or find) a gun. That gun has a little score sheet with empty check boxes. Every time you score a hit, you check a box. When you check 6 boxes, you get a better to hit with that weapon (or similar weapon). The same thing could be done with skills. Just treat the skill like an object, and notch it’s belt every time it’s successful (if you wanted to do spells? or kung fu or whatever…).

5) Multiple attacks – in a typical DnD round of combat, swinging you sword once kind of makes sense. Shooting your pistol once in 6 seconds, though, does not. That was part of what made Cthulhu feel clunky. What if every gun had a maximum number of rounds it could fire every round (again, modular rules). Imagine you had a revolver. It has 6 rounds. You’re being attacked by three…monsters. Round 1 you say, I shoot the first monster 6 times. You roll 6d6 to represent all 6 shots, and hit based on your rolls. But then you’re out of ammo — and let’s say it takes 2 rounds to reload a revolver (again, modular) so you have to run away and reload before the other monsters get you.

6) Different settings this could work for – near past, present, near future. maybe just anything with guns? antarctic research mission gone bad. zombie apocalypse. space adventure. submarine adventure. desert adventure. marooned on an island. Trapped in a haunted house. anything that is ensemble-y and not just an open world.

I said:

I would like to keep ability scores, making them -6 – 6 in range, all starting at 0, giving X or XdX points to distribute, allowing X points to be taken as minuses and added to other scores as bonuses, somewhat per last night, but refined to make more sense based on an all-d6 combat/skills/saves system.

Consider:  Marry Fortitude save to CON; Reflex to DEX; and Willpower to WIS.  I.e., all saves are simple ability checks.  STR could theoretically be used to keep from being crushed by falling ceiling, etc.  Much simpler.

Consider:  A SAN value (perhaps not percentile anymore I guess) because that’s awesome (what is mechanic for temporary and perm insanity? lose 1/2 SAN in 1 round? lose more SAN than your WIS score?).  Optional in games with no great old one/terror roll.  But I would always use.

Big questions:  Why limit it to human-only adventures?  Why specific jobs such as cook mixed in with more archetypal jobs such as scientist, law?  Patrick, brought this up to you:  Big difference between archetypes (fighting man, rogue, sorcerer, scientist/artificer, healer, psion) and jobs (LAPD, Black Legionary, Spiral Shaman of the Cult of Khamod, Tinker-Mutageneer for the OMEN Corporation, etc.).  Something to think about.  I think a more generic/archetypal scheme works much better.

And I SUPER LOVE Michel Serres’s basic “outsider” archetypes, Hero, Saint, Madman, Genius, and Rebel [NOTE: I made up “rebel,” which we later excised in favor of “Mimic” and “Hapless”].  I love that they seem to work in Conan/low fantasy, Tolkien/DnD/high fantasy, gaslamp, WWI/II, spy, contemp war, post-contemp/spec real, and post-apoc settings.  The Hero always gets bonuses to lead; the Saint can always heal; the Madman is always charming/surprising; the Genius can always do smart/wizardy stuff; and the Rebel is always a mole/knows the villain/has a political function.  This schema is what I was working on, personally.

Those are my main thoughts.  That, and that Body and Mind values should have simple game effect (+2 X/-2 X).


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