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OpenD6 Fantasy Game

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I'm working on a fantasy setting for OpenD6, which also entails some deviation from the D6 Fantasy rules. Following are some changes and ideas I'm working with. Feedback is welcome.

 

  • 4D is the human maximum for attributes, not 5D.
  • Skills may not start higher than 2D above the base attribute, not 3D.
  • Specializations may not start higher than 3D above the base attribute, regardless of the base skill.

 

The point is to moderate die code inflation in the beginning.

 

I won't be using racial templates, per se. Rather, races will have minimum and maximum attribute die codes, as was used in Star Wars for species. Non-humans will have fewer skill dice to allocate than humans, to balance any special abilities or skill bonuses non-humans may have. Additionally, there will be degrees of racial bias in the game world to contend with.

 

While this game will be skill-based, I still want to use something like "classes." I've noticed that new players are often lost without a "type" of character to choose from. I would prefer something more concrete, myself — to give players a stronger concept of their characters.

 

At the moment, I only have three such types: Warrior, Rogue, and Spellcaster. I was thinking of just having those three broad categories, and allowing players to further tailor them via the advantages and disadvantages system. So, if a character wants to play a knight they might choose the Warrior type, and buy the Knighthood advantage.

 

Thoughts?

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Sounds very similar to what I created and had great success with for an extended campaign back in 2002. I think you're on the right track. If you get stuck anywhere, I'd be happy to offer suggestions to see if it works with what you're doing.

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Sounds very similar to what I created and had great success with for an extended campaign back in 2002. I think you're on the right track. If you get stuck anywhere, I'd be happy to offer suggestions to see if it works with what you're doing.

 

Well, I'm debating whether or not to include some sort of "class-like" component. I'm still not entirely certain how it would look. What's your experience?

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It works, if you're careful to not make it too restrictive.

 

For example, what I did was pick various skills dependent on the "type" of character (as you described). While many of the skills are initially available for all of the character types, some types have access to skills that other types might not have. So the skill of Armorer might only be available to the Warrior types. Acrobatics might only be available to the Rogue types. Reading/Writing can only be intially taken by the Spellcaster types.

 

I made it so that, AFTER a character was created, any character could learn any of the other skills, but for starting characters it provided some distinct things depending on the types of characters. The skills for each character type would depend entirely on the skills you want to use in your game.

 

You can also offer some special abilities or "advantages" (if you use those) for character types to choose from that are specific to the character type. So the Warriors might be able to choose a Power Attack, or Precise Attack, or Improved Endurance while the Rogues might get Hide in Shadows, Wall Climb, and Instinctive Reflexes. Spellcasters could then either choose magic spells (depending on how you intend to use Magic..I would suggest checking out my Magic and Miracles for the systems I use in my fantasy games) or could get special abilities/advantages.

 

That would help provide some differences between the character types in the "form" of classes without being too restrictive like classes are. As long as you make all of the skills as able to eventually be learned by all character types, it won't be so restrictive that a warrior type will always be a warrior type and unable to ever consider being a rogue type.

 

Hope this helps.

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Interesting. Though I would prefer a type to have lasting effects -- such as affecting the cost of certain skill improvements. I'm still toying with the idea.

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That's possible, too. You could have any skills originally listed for the character type get a discount for increasing. Just be careful with that, as it can lead to both overpowered characters as well as all characters of a particular type eventually becoming identical as everyone takes advantage of raising the discounted skill over any other skill.

 

Where the distinction could come about would be the special abilities/advantages come in. Only characters with a certain type could have certain special abilities. Just be forewarned...you put too much emphasis on "classes" then you basically end up with a game that uses D6 but plays like a D20 game. The ability of D6 (OpenD6) is that it allows characters to be able to do things that fall outside of their usual "class", something that characters in other systems can't do unless they multi-class or take feats or some such. D6 is maleable, so it can do things like classes, but it really does better when people can do more "cross pollination" so to speak and a warrior type can also do rogue things and so on.

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Fair points, Grimace.

 

I'm thinking of having classes (working label) encompass primary, secondary, and tertiary skills. So, if a skill is considered primary for a particular class, then it costs the normal amount to improve. That is, a number of character points equal to the current skill dice to raise it by one pip. Secondary skills would cost twice as much for one pip, and tertiary three times as much.

 

This would still allow for cross-pollination, but make the character's chosen path more relevant — even over time.

 

At this point, however, I'm leaning toward just using three broad categories: warrior, rogue, spellcaster. And allowing players to further tailor them through advantages and disadvantages.

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Interesting. Though I would prefer a type to have lasting effects -- such as affecting the cost of certain skill improvements. I'm still toying with the idea.
I am curious why you want to include classes. They have always seemed very artificial to me - hence my preference for systems like Runequest/BRP/CoC and Star Wars. Would there be some in-world justification for why learning new things is so difficult?

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No real in-world justification. It's more of a schtick. Classes provide gamers with a foundation, or a direction. Especially new gamers. Not all gamers want that, granted. But for myself, and from every new person I've ever introduced to roleplaying -- there's a bit of disorientation without some sort of "class-like" structure. Character types.

 

Templates are fine and dandy, but they still feel either too insubstantial, or too bossy -- e.g. "put dice in this and that."

 

What I want is something between a template and a class. Something that has some actual mechanics (i.e. - skill improvement), but offers virtually nothing else rather than providing players with an orientation, or general idea of what their character is about, how they approach adversity, etc.

 

They can still branch out into any skill, and be a spellcasting, sword-swinging, sneaky dude. But it's going to let other players in the group really shine in their niche, while others will have to work harder to become as good.

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No real in-world justification. It's more of a schtick. Classes provide gamers with a foundation, or a direction. Especially new gamers. Not all gamers want that, granted. But for myself, and from every new person I've ever introduced to roleplaying -- there's a bit of disorientation without some sort of "class-like" structure.
OK. Thanks for answering.

 

Back in the 1980s I introduced a number of folks to gaming via Runequest which had neither classes nor templates - though it did have optional previous occupations. The lack of classes didn't seem at all problematic. I guess we just have different RPG likes/dislikes and experiences.

 

I have seen a tiered difficulty for increasing skills before. Runequest used something like that for weapon similarities and Hero Games' Justice Inc. did that with language families. Given what you seem to want the three tiered system seems like it would get you there.

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Just a couple of unsolicited thoughts - one way you might consider addressing the "classes" idea is the idea of a life path at character generation; possibly like a series of templates that the skill cost was measured in pips, like specializations, instead of full dice. That way a character could be really exceptional at what they choose as a career (or series of careers), and then use the remainder of their 7D for normal "pick-up" skills to make the character more well rounded. In the spirit of a life-path system, though, each career template should represent probably 5-10 years of working knowledge, so the really experienced PCs that have selected multiple templates will tend to be "seasoned" (or just plain older) than those that selected one template, or none. A default starting character, pre-skill dice allocation, might be 15 or 16 years old...

 

Another option might be to allow both skills and classes, and a class would act as a "bucket" (much like a cliche in Risus) permitting the class skills to be ranked at however many dice where invested as a base (so "Warrior 2D" might allow the character 2D to add to their strength/might attribute for using a sword, or 2D to their knowledge for assessing the tactics of an enemy group), with any leftover dice also allocated to either "pick-up" skills to round out the character, or as specialization dice to improve a specific area within the class (so a 2D warrior might add another die into swordplay, making them a spectacular swordsman, and proficient at the other elements of the career).

 

Hope any of that might help! I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with this... :)

Edited by Lee Torres

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Just to offer up my few coppers worth of thoughts, if wanting to go for a pseudo-class option of sorts, on the templates put in a short list of skills that are easier for those of that template to accomplish - instead of charging others more for the skill to make it special for that template, just state that all difficulties are reduced by one level when attempted by that template. The only skills I would exclude are the combat based ones. Knights would have skills like Riding, Endurance, and Heraldry as an option for them.

 

Another option is to go with special advantages that are unique to certain templates and cannot be gained by others.

 

Just a few idol thoughts on it. Good luck with the setting mate!

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I always liked the idea of Traveller and even done better in the old Star Trek (Fasa) RPG:

- start your career by building a basic character,

- then choose the path you want to begin with. Of course in Star Trek this is military or trade fleet.

- go through the training year by year by rolling and deciding

- gain skills attribute mods and other goodies each step in the process

When you are finished you not only have a playable character but one with a background you can refer to and build upon. This is more a true character than any cliche or template you might fill with your own ideas as mostly those are not well thought through. And you can do this quite quick even on cons.

 

Of course in a game with an open world this is more difficult than in a campaign setting like Star Trek where every character tends to have a military or military-related background. This is more true for Fantasy games. But it could be done nonetheless.

It could start with a small cadre of career paths that are branched out and fleshed out followed by more career paths later on.

But this cannot be done generic as specified background options are needed that depend on the specific setting

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**FFI SPOILER**

 

I always like the original classes in Final Fantasy (brilliant game). Characters started as Fighter, White Mage, Black Mage, Red Mage, Thief, and Back Belt. Then later on in the game the classes evolve to Knight, White, Black, Red Wizard, Ninja, Grand Master.

 

Also the Job system used in IronClaw...and Final Fantasy, actually. Choosing a profession gives particular skills; even being unemployed has particular skills that are associated with it. It's fun stuff to be limited some times!

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I always liked the idea of Traveller and even done better in the old Star Trek (Fasa) RPG:

- start your career by building a basic character,

- then choose the path you want to begin with. Of course in Star Trek this is military or trade fleet.

- go through the training year by year by rolling and deciding

- gain skills attribute mods and other goodies each step in the process

When you are finished you not only have a playable character but one with a background you can refer to and build upon.

Runequest had a simple system for background and prior experience. But there was also a supplement for mercenaries that included things more like the Traveller military experience background. It even included specific battles that a character could have been in which added to the background detail and allowed for the old army buddy or we were once on opposite sides connections between characters.

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I am not sure if I made clear what I meant. I am not advocating a system where you develop a background by simply choosing a lifestyle or profession. This is still a kind of class system. What I meant is a system where you play through your life prior to adventuring employing dice tables and most of all choices. Not only one choice or roll but choices and rolls for each year. You flesh out your character without deciding on every aspect. F.i. in a fantasy setting as Aysle (Torg) you choose what race you are and where you are from, maybe also what background (city, rural, mountains...) you are from. But then you roll on tables that also allow for choices for each year prior to your adventurers life (or in the case of dwarves and elves for a longer time period each). Each roll gives you additional skills, boni, goodies etc. and it gives you also a clue about your character, ideas on people you met, places you've been too, bad and right choices you made...

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I am not sure if I made clear what I meant.
I think it was clear to me. :) That's similar to what I recall from Traveller: High Guard, from the Runequest article (I think from Wyrms Footnotes) with a detailed writeup for mercenary characters, and is also similar to the old game En Garde - which was the first game I saw with detailed rules for resolving what happens to an individual character duruing large scale military campaigns. En Garde also had options for how much risk the player wanted his character to take in the large scale campaign. Taking greater risk increased the chance of death while also increasing the chance of promotion or award. Taking below normal risk or poltroonery decreased the risk of death - though I forget what the negative tradeoff for poltroonery was - maybe it eliminated the chance for promotion or award. Traveller later used a similar system. Though En Garde used the rules prospectively, while Traveller and Runequest used their systems for establishing the characters history via a what was in effect a mini game.

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