One of the reasons I decided to start this blog was to give me an outlet to think critically about turning my imagined campaign setting into an actual campaign. One of the biggest matters I had to resolve was figuring out which system I wanted to use to play it. So I’ve been thinking about it for the past two months, and I think I’ve made up my mind.
The verdict is in: I plan to use D6 Fantasy, augmented with some narrative FATE rules. Since everyone who blogs has to make up terms and systems and stuff, I’m going to call this hybrid system of mine D6F (pretty clever, eh?).
D6 is pretty basic, but the main thing I added from the FATE system is the use of Aspects that will replace the Advantages and Disadvantages of D6, and be central to doing cool stuff and leveling up. I plan to expound on how it all will work in subsequent posts, but let me first explain why I’m keen on D6 Fantasy as my base system.
I’m familiar with it and it's easy
D6 is a super-easy, skill-based gaming system. Having played the old Star Wars D6 back in the day, I always found it to be straightforward and playable. We even recruited several non-gamers to play with us, which I attribute to both the accessibility of the system and our group’s general awesomeness (“Trust me, no one on Coruscant will be looking for a shaved Bothan!”). I also tried to adapt it to a fantasy setting a few years before West End Games published the D6 Fantasy rule set. It wasn’t nearly as good, but it also didn’t lose nearly as much money. (Sorry. Too soon?)
It’s cinematic, yet narrative
One of the great things about the D6 system is that it lends itself to quick-action, cinematic games. This is why I recently suggested it to Oddysey for her Summer ’11 Grimdark, Cyberpunk, Racing Campaign (HAWT!). While the system inherently leaves room to incorporate as much or as little narrative gaming as the group would like, I hope encourage more of this by grafting on the FATE rules.
Like many narrative games, there is ample space for players to develop the characters they want without being tightly bound by preset templates. Want to play a Fighter or Assassin? Sure. Want to play a Samurai Landscape Artist, a Mind-Flayer Graham Cracker Merchant, or Cthulhu’s Tech Support (so he can place that Call)? No problem! This will surely make people like Risus Monkey happy, but it also avoids the “Risus death spiral” that irks some folks I game with.
It's got plenty of dice rollin'
I like rolling dice. I like rolling eight dice at a time. I like exploding wild dice. I like being able to cash in points to buy more exploding wild dice – even if they all only have six sides. Unlike some narrative games, there is still plenty of crunchiness in the D6 rules that means lots of dice to roll for skills and difficulty levels and stuff.
It has open-ended, skill-based rules for magic
Here’s the big one. D6 Fantasy outlines four basic magic skills that govern casting, and the players are given considerable leeway to determine how their spells manifest. However, the system is flexible enough that totally different casting skills can be used. This is important because magic in my world is a new and unknown phenomenon. It will be rare and uncertain at the beginning of the campaign, but I want to give the players enough freedom to explore and invent their own ways of tapping into the arcane. I think the simplicity and flexibility of this system will give my players considerable room for interesting and creative innovation.
D6 uses metric!
To hell with you and your 5’ squares! Who needs 25 square feet of personal space, anyhow? It’s all about meters and liters and grams, baby. It’s the only way to measure.
I’m pretty excited to give this a whirl, and I look forward to discussing how this will work in coming posts. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions, I’m happy to hear them!