Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Single D6... (Part 2)

After my earlier post and the comments left by some readers, I had some more thoughts come to mind about  a role-playing game designed around using a D6 for all task resolution during play.  Some of these ideas are mine and some were taken from the comments left on the other post; no worries, I will give credit to any and all who contribute ideas in this continuing brainstorm process.

Inspiration and Concept
The inspiration and concept for this idea came from this comment on my post with the idea of using LEGO Heroica dice in an RPG:

Eldrad Wolfsbane said, "What about an entire RPG based on a single D6? Could it be done?".

After reading the comments on my original post and reading the suggestions made about such a design, I got a few more ideas of my own and decided to move forward with a little more design work on this game.  An additional design goal is for the number 6 to be important to the game in other areas of the game also.  For instance, I want the core rules to be done in 6 pages and all supplemental material to be done in 6 pages also.  I know that goal is limiting but it should make for a fun and interesting design challenge deciding what gets included and what gets removed.

I still have not settled on a decent name for the underlying rules system. Some of the labels I came up with for this project include uno6, single6, unoDie, solo6, just6, and simple6. I am not sure if any of those are near as "cool" as I would like but they do get the point across.  I am probably leaning towards just6 or simple6 but I am still officially undecided.

I am designing the rules with the intent of each rule book being no longer than 6 pages; in fact, if I can ensure that all rules and supplements are exactly 6 pages of content then that would be extra neat.  My plan is to do a core rule book, maybe a supplement of left out or optional material, a fantasy book, fantasy expansions, and then stretch out to other genres.

Core Rules

Since the goal is only 6 pages of rules the focus should be on including only what is essential to the game.  I think it might be best to have a player book and a game master book for the core rules.  I just do not think that character creation, combat, and gm stuff can all be included in just 6 pages.  If I discover otherwise, then I will go with a six page consolidated core rule book.

I would like character creation to be limited in detail but still offer a little bit of variety.  This is probably not a game system where campaigns could could last years unless advancement was slow.  It would be best to keep the defining aspects of characters to a minimum.  Something like this might work:

races: human only in the core rules.
stats:  Physique (physical power & toughness), Reflexes (balance and dexterity), Intellect (smarts), and Will (mental toughness).
talents: simple and broad skills that might pertain to play of the game
boons: advantages
banes: disadvantages

Task Resolution
Again, Eldrad Wolfsbane suggested doing a tiered set of values to show expertise and strike chances:

Unskilled 1 in 6
Average 1-2 on 6
Skilled 1-3 on 6
Very Skilled 1-4 on 6
Expert 1-5 on 6

Of course, combat would be handled with rolls of D6 also.  Ideas by Eldrad Wolfsbane include:

1 What you were trying to do goes very wrong.
2 What you were trying to do goes wrong.
3 What you were trying to do barely succeeds.
4 What you were trying to do succeeds.
5 What you were trying to do goes very well.
6 What you were trying to do goes far better than expected.


Hand to hand subtract -2
Clubs -1
Blades and Bullets
Large Blades and Bullets +1
Explosions +2

Light -1
Heavy -2

Agile -1
Very Agile -2

Talent level would also add subtract.
Unskilled -1
Average 0
Skilled +1
Expert +2
Master +3

This version of combat is completely simple BUT it would make the players and enemies think twice about combat.

A few sample enemies

-Town Guard with Spears and Muskets wearing Light -1 Armor.

-Expert +2 Assassins with Two Handed Swords +1 Wearing heavy Armor -2. That would be a total of +3 to hit and -2 to be hit.
Everyone gets six skill points. You may only put 3 in one skill only. After 6 adventures you get 1 point, then after 7 adventures you get another point and so on.

I kinda played with this system above.

Very deadly but kinda fun.

Blood everywhere!

Two normal guys Fed and Barney going at each other with swords both roll the highest get first hit a natural 6 (Fred) and the looser gets a 3 (Barney). Barney dies in a pool of blood as Fred cheers!

One roll to determine to hit, initiative, and damage. Very fast system!

There could be a simple speed modifier that adds to the roll only to determine if the character goes first and not for damage purposes.

Quick +1
Very Quick +2

On the roll above Barney's effective place in the round would have been a 5 if he were Very Quick. Still too slow for Fred's quick hit with a sword.

Armor and Agility BTW subtracts from the attacker's dice roll.

Fantasy Rules
Three races covered in base fantasy rules - dwarf, elf, and half-elf.

A set of classes to include warrior, mage, rogue, and maybe a few others.

Weapon damage would be handled as suggested by the Zenopus Archives:

short weapons 1d6-1
med weapons 1d6
long weapons 1d6+1
two-handed weapons 1d6+2

Other areas that would need detailing for a fantasy version would be monsters, magic, and treasure.

Other Genres
The base stuff could very easily be used for most genres with no problem but then you run into problems such as how do you have firearms all use D6 and all choices still be viable?  That is definitely something to consider.  I would like to maintain the 6 pages of rules - no more or no less - in each rules pamphlet.  You might need several pamphlets for one genre, though.  For example, you might need Fantasy, Magic, and Campaign Setting pamphlets to play in a fantasy setting.  All of them would be 6 pages each so the rules would only total 18 pages for fantasy and 6 for core.

I am going to try and consolidate all of these ideas together into a coherent set of core rules and maybe some fantasy rules to follow...


  1. Well, Scottsz's Sorcerers of Doom is an effort to build an RPG with one d6 and potentially no DM.

  2. Interesting - I should check that out.

  3. It says that Sorcerers of Doom has been removed. :-(

    Has it been relocated?

  4. This is a really neat idea, maybe something you can combine with the boardgame

    1. Funny you should mention that because I have thought of doing just that with both the dungeon crawling board game & the camp blood board game.