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Hacking Mini Six with Fate and others

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MysticMoon    15

I haven't been on the forums here for awhile and I've been used to hanging out in G+ land, so it didn't occur to me to ask here before, so this was originally posted at https://plus.google.com/+ErikAlfkin/posts/fBkbDB3Tb12

Rules hacking time: I'm getting ready to run some Mini Six after spending a goodly amount of time with Fate and Ubiquity (mostly Hollow Earth Expedition) and there are a few concepts from each that I'm considering working into the Mini Six framework.

I'm replacing the existing system of Perks and Complications with what are basically Fate Aspects (short phrases used to define interesting things about a character), but done in the Ubiquity style. The player will need to define an Archetype, a Motivation, and a Flaw. These cost no points (as Perks do) but still make things true for the character and the game world, which means that they require GM approval (possibly meaning some back-and-forth between the GM and the player before that approval is given). These also give a clear framework for the character during the rest of the creation process, as well as how that character should be played.

For example, an Archetype of "Roguishly Charming Pilot" says quite a bit about the character. When that player puts 4D into Charm, that Charm is more clearly defined (since, in my book, Charm can easily be charisma, beauty, or force of personality). So if the character takes over the bridge during a heated battle, the style of play makes more sense as "Hey, guys, you know I can get you through this," followed by a flash of white teeth and his most winning smile, rather than by barking out orders. That character should also have some kind of piloting skill, of course.

A character whose Archetype is "Elven Scout of the Gold Leaf Realm" will have whatever abilities elves of that game world have (dark vision, for example) simply by virtue of being an elf. And an "Unlicensed Wizard, Extraordinaire" will have spellcasting ability (as well as an some kind of built-in conflict with the magical establishment, by virtue of being unlicensed).

I know this makes characters more powerful than the stock Mini Six system, but this works for me because I hate seeing the beginning skills hamstrung by choosing some cool Perks. And I tend to switch games every few months, so characters don't get as much chance for advancement as they would with a longer game. I am curious to know if anyone has an opinion about this kind of shift in character power levels.

Motivation should say something about what drives the character, and I find having such a thing really helps get new games off the ground by establishing character personalities pretty quickly. They can be general motivations, like "I want all the gold!" or a bit more complex, like "The shame of being dismissed from the King's service still stings"

And Flaws are basically a reworking of Complications, except that there is only one instead of being open to two, and they do not provide additional CP at the end of a session (more about that below).

To further tie these traits into the character, Hero Points would be given out to players who find ways to roleplay these motivations and flaws (or the GM finds ways to bring them up in the game), similar to how Style Chips or Fate Points work in Ubiquity and Fate. I'm debating about leaving the spending of Hero Points the same, or specifying that the +6 to a roll must somehow tie back into the Archetype, Motivation, or Flaw.

I'm really curious to know what folks think of these ideas. Good, bad, indifferent. Any suggested tweaks? Any glaring flaws I'm overlooking? Any cool uses for this that I haven't thought of? Any way the players could make this go horribly awry?

A few extra ideas:

Any Aspect outside of the three that make up a character will exist but won't need to be explicitly written out as such, as they are in Fate. This affects a few of the things that follow.

Spending a Hero Point requires some explanation on how it fits into the narrative. For example, buying down damage can be because the Quick Thief managed to dodge at the last moment or because the attacker had a Wound (an arrow in the shoulder) that threw off his aim.

Preparatory work (what would be Creating an Advantage in Fate) can gain a +2D on a following roll, as can someone making a roll to assist. These make Aspects that, as mentioned above, don't need to be explicitly spelled out. They can certainly be used as justification for spending a Hero Point later on. ("Remember how I built that programmable robot arm to help me push the fire alarm while I was elsewhere? Well, because it's near the current fight, I'm using it to grab this guy's ankle from behind, distracting him and giving me a +6 to my attack. Here's my HP.")

The final skill list I developed looks an awful lot like the one out of Hollow Earth Expedition. Not exactly the same, but heavily inspired by it. I'll post the full list once I write up all my changes as a unified document. One important note is that I have only Fight, Shoot, and Athletics to cover all fighting skills. Block and Parry will have the same value, barring Specializations (which I am a little nervous about allowing for fighting skills).

I'm inclined to make Specialization only a +2D instead of a +3D, but on top of the Skill when first taken instead of the Attribute. So Charm of 4D, Persuasion of 1D, and a Specialization of Intimidation makes for a 7D, but also uses up 2 of 7 skill dice for character creation. Raising Persuasion to 1D+1 later on does nothing to Intimidation; that would have to be raised separately. If the base skill is not taken, the Specialization just adds to the base Attribute (4D Charm and 6D Intimidation in the above example). I need to play around a little with various builds and advancement combos before I'm set on this one.

I'm considering a static initiative of Agility rating x3 plus pips.

Adding in a dash of Savage Worlds, mooks go down (or just plain leave the fight) once they suffer a Wound. I also want to test out the idea of a separate Stun vs Wound track (similar to Savage Worlds Wounds vs Fatigue counters) because it is so helpful with things like nonlethal attacks and environmental damage. I may play it each way for a time to see how it affects things. I might also use bonuses and penalties to mimic common knowledge rolls, or I may just leave that to roleplay.

I'll likely have the players define two current and/or impending issues for the setting, as well as a few faces and places, as done in Fate Core.

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MysticMoon    15

Here is the skill list. Athletics covers things like climbing and thrown weapons. Acrobatics is used instead of Dodge for determining the Dodge stat, with Dodge being a potential Specialization of Acrobatics. Skills with an asterisk are a class of skills and the player must choose a focus when taking it (for example, Biology for Science).

  • Might:
    • athletics
    • fight
  • Agility:
    • acrobatics
    • drive
    • larceny
    • pilot*
    • ride
    • shoot
    • stealth
  • Wit:
    • academics*
    • art*
    • craft*
    • empathy
    • gambling
    • gunnery
    • investigate
    • linguistics
    • magic
    • medicine
    • navigate
    • science*
    • survival
  • Charm:
    • animal handling
    • bluff
    • perform*
    • persuade
    • streetwise

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Mavelic    11


I like your idea of Archetype, Motivation and Flaw costing no point, it's easy, intuitive and let players being creative with their background. Well done.

The only drawback i see is for the GM to balance it if his players look for minimaxing, but nothing unbearable.

But i like it ! :)

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MysticMoon    15

Yeah, it's important for the GM to be able to bring the Archetype of "Gloriously Rich High Wizard Swordmaster and Ruler of All Lands" down a few notches :) (unless, of course, that's the kind of game the whole group is going for). I think it helps if the GM sets expectations early on in the character creation process and is realistic about working with the players to come up with aspects that are more interesting than powerful.

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MysticMoon    15

Oh, wow, I forgot I had already begun exploring this idea more than three years ago: http://www.d6online.com/topic/2869-mini-six-making-perkscomplications-more-like-fate-aspects/ 

My time actually becoming familiar with Fate (and other systems) has given me a stronger idea of how to do this in practice. I guess I had to really go down the rabbit hole before I was ready to tackle this.

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MysticMoon    15

A couple of sample characters (one mine for a generic sci-fi setting, the other by my wife from a homebrew post-apoc setting in California):

Name: Grathen Phisser
Archetype: Ace rocketship pilot and Lizardman
Motivation: My exploits will be remembered forever
Trouble: It was too good to pass up
2D Might: 3D Fight
4D Agility: 5D Acrobatics, 6D Pilot-Starfighter
3D Wit: 4D Craft-Mechanics, 4D Navigate
3D Charm: 5D Persuade(bluff)
12 Init; 9 Block; 15 Dodge; 6(7) Soak
  • Thick skin (+1 armor)
  • Claws (+1 dmg)
  • Sonic knife
  • Starpilot license
  • Assorted tools

Name: Jacks
Archetype: SoCal scientist who escaped slavery in a Central Valley road gang
Motivation: Cure mutants
Trouble: Disassociative Identity Disorder
2D Might:
4D Agility: 6D Acrobatics; 5D Drive; 5D Shoot
4D Wit: 6D Science-Biology(genetics), 5D Survival, 5D Science-Chemistry
2D Charm:
12 Init; 6 Block; 18 Dodge; 6(9) Soak
  • Piecemeal (leather/metal) armor +3
  • Rope, grappling hook
  • Open-top vehicle (stolen from gang)
  • Specimen holders
  • Monoscope
  • Survival kit
  • Plasma rifle (stolen from gang)

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MysticMoon    15

Two more sample characters:

Name: Steady Eyes
Archetype: Mystic hunter from the primeval forest
Motivation: Provider and protector
Trouble: Wanderlust
4D Might: 5D Athletics, 5D Fight
4D Agility: 6D Acrobatics, 5D Stealth
3D Wit: 4D Survival, 5D Magic-Shamanism(beasts)
1D Charm:
12 Init; 15 Block; 18 Dodge; 12 Soak
  • Spears
  • Sling & stones
  • Pack with bedroll, gear
  • Machete
  • Beast Tongue TN19
  • Shape Change TN15

Name: Wilby Dudraker
Archetype: Coastal mutant without useful mutations, dude
Motivation: Spiritual quest for mutations
Trouble: Fluffy eats people
1D Might:
3D Agility: 4D Stealth
4D Wit: 5D Craft-Weaving
4D Charm: 6D Animal Handling, 6D Perform-Electronic(dadroo), 6D Persuade
9 Init; 3 Block; 9 Dodge; 5 Soak
  • Knife
  • Fluffy (large mutant animal)
  • Dadroo
  • Lab tech badge
  • Camo sleeping bag
  • Loom

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MysticMoon    15
Name: Gloria Raspardi
Archetype: Mesmerizing singer
Motivation: That moment when the performance blurs reality
Trouble: In deep to a slimeball of a producer
1D Might:
3D Agility:
4D Wit: 5D Empathy, 5D Academics-Linguistics
4D Charm: 6D Perform-Singing, 5DPerform-Dancing, 6D Persuade(diplomacy), 5D Contacts
9 Init; 3 Block; 9 Dodge; 3 Soak
  • Beautiful dresses
  • Dumpy clothes, sunglasses, hat

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MysticMoon    15

I made a few tweaks to the skills, making it a little more my own and, I think, slightly more flexible. Here is the new list, with some sample options and specializations:

  • Might:
    • Athletics: climbing, jumping, running, swimming, throwing
    • Fight: brawling, grappling, by weapon type
  • Agility:
    • Acrobatics: dodging, tumbling, contortion
    • Burglery: lockpicking, pickpocketing, safecracking, security, sleight of hand
    • Drive: by vehicle type
    • Pilot*: aircraft, ships, submarines
    • Shoot: by weapon type
    • Stealth: hiding, shadowing, sneaking
  • Wit:
    • Academics*: history, law, literature, linguistics, chemistry, engineering
    • Art*: music, painting, writing, sculpting
    • Craft*: carpentry, electronics, mechanics, medicines
    • Empathy: body language, emotions, intuition, lies, motives
    • Gunnery
    • Investigate: research, bureaucracy
    • Magic*: arcane, divine, psionics, powers
    • Medicine: diagnosis, first aid, surgery, veterinary
    • Navigate
    • Strategy: gambling, games, war
    • Survival: by terrain, tracking
  • Charm:
    • Animal handling: riding, taming, training
    • Perform*: acting, dancing, singing
    • Persuade: diplomacy, intimidate, bluff, provoke
    • Contacts: business, streetwise, government
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MysticMoon    15

I've given it some thought and I am going to try blending the rules for damage from Mini Six and Savage Worlds. Basically, wounds occur in 4 point increments above the soak value (which is surprisingly close to the Mini Six wound track). So, 11 points of damage against a soak of 6 gives 5 points, or one wound.

Anything over soak but not quite a wound makes the character Stunned (as in Mini Six, so with a -1D for the current and next rounds, with the character otherwise able to act normally). If a character is wounded, any stunned result is ignored. If a character is already stunned, a second stun result simply adds another round to the stun duration (max +1/round). As an example, if a character was stunned (-1D) the previous round and then gets stunned three more times in the current round by additional attacks, the Stun will only last the current round and the next round. If the character then gets wounded, the total penalty is still at -1D with the stun no longer applying. However, that -1D will last until the character receives healing. I'm tempted to allow stuns via successful taunts (say, the taunter's Persuade(taunt) roll vs the defender's Wit).

A mook can be stunned and remain in the fight. However, a single wound is enough to take him/her out (they run away, get knocked out, refuse to keep fighting, simply die, etc). The effects of wounds correspond to Wounded, Severely Wounded, and Incapacitated in the Mini Six rules (-1D, -2D, -3D but must also make a roll to stay conscious). Anything more than three wounds won't add any new penalties, but the character is treated as though Mortally Wounded, as in the Mini Six rules. There is no automatic Dead level (although obvious things, like being in the middle of a nuclear blast, can just be considered instant kills). There is a minor difference between Savage Worlds and Mini Six in how the wound levels are reached (for example, you can become Severely Wounded on the first attack using this method, but it also takes more damage to cause higher wound levels in a single attack), but I feel the Savage Worlds wound track is simpler and easier for most players to grasp. I can also just hand out tokens to represent wounds and the player will simply subtract that many dice from any rolls they make.

I am very curious to see how this works in play. 

I will also add the Fatigue track from Savage Worlds (fatigued, -1D; exhausted, -2D; incapacitated, unable to act; dead), which is separate from the Wound track, and so can provide additional penalties. A character with one wound who also becomes fatigued (from, say wandering in a hot desert without water) would have a -2D to all rolls.

As always, I recommend any feedback on this. I will have a chance to start playtesting these ideas with my regular Tuesday group starting tomorrow and I'll report back how it goes.

Edited by MysticMoon

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MysticMoon    15

After making a few characters, and seeing the characters a few others have made (thank you Savar), I think it makes sense to keep Perks and Complications, but to define them based on the character's Aspects wherever a mechanical effect is necessary. So, if a character has the Archetype of "I run on four paws in the moonlight," that character could have the Perks of Wolf Form (1HP to shift) and Quick Healer (Natural Healing roll daily), as well as a Complication of Vulnerable to Silver (+2D dmg). That way the mechanical effects of an Aspect can be more clearly defined. Anything that doesn't require mechanics can simply rely on the built-in mechanics of the Aspects themselves. For example, the same werewolf may have Raging Emotions that earn him a Hero Point whenever his emotions get the best of him in tense situations, but this doesn't necessarily need to be recorded as a Complication.

I'm not recommending creating a huge list of possible Perks and Complications. I think it makes more sense to define them during character creation based on the vision and needs of the player and GM. A different type of werewolf might not have a conscious ability to shapeshift, always doing so on the full moon, and thus would not need to define the Perk of Wolf Form.

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MysticMoon    15
40 minutes ago, MysticMoon said:

As always, I recommend any feedback on this. I will have a chance to start playtesting these ideas with my regular Tuesday group starting tomorrow and I'll report back how it goes.

Oops, I meant to say that I appreciate any feedback.

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MysticMoon    15

We had the first session last night and so far I am pleased. We did character creation, defined some key elements of the setting, set up some backstory for the party, and played out a few short scenes. I'm using my Mutant Cali setting because it's a kitchen sink type (magic, mutants, cybernetics, aliens, fantasy races, cars, etc) and so I can put this Frankenstein's monster of a system through its paces.

I think the only thing people got stumped on was the idea of splitting a die into pips, which is a common problem I have when explaining Mini Six for the first time. One of the players also said that he felt 7 dice for skills weren't enough (he is used to playing a lot of Fate where characters are pretty capable right out of the gate). Otherwise everybody seemed to do just fine making their characters, including the one who usually just wants to grab a pregen.

As expected, there was a fair amount of back-and-forth on defining the specific mechanics of Perks and Complications. Especially with the mutant cyborg, who had extra abilities from both. This is where the GM needs to be ok with saying "no" to things to prevent one character from becoming overpowered (while saying "yes" enough that the player still gets to do cool stuff). Of course, this relies a lot on the GM to make decisions that the players need to be ok with, and I can see it only working with the right group of people. I'm considering making them a bit like Stunts in Fate, where everyone gets a finite number, with the focus on providing specific mechanical effects to the Aspects.

The single combat was over very quickly, so I haven't had a real chance to test out the changes to how damage works.

There weren't any spending or gaining of Hero Points yet, but I will be sure to keep an eye on that for the next session.

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MysticMoon    15

Aside from having only two players, which is always a danger when running something as niche as Mini Six, it went well. The players came up with interesting character ideas, which they were able to build and play pretty easily. I think the wound system might be set a little too much on the deadly side (damage tended to be nearly fatal in every combat), so I may need to adjust the threshold (possibly 6 points instead of 4). My job as GM was easy enough rules-wise, and I feel like this mishmash system really supports me in doing whatever I can think up. Sometimes by getting out of the way and letting me just wing it and other times by having just the right structure to support my vision.

As expected, the players caught onto the basic mechanic fairly easily, despite never having played any D6 variant before. There was none of that hesitation I've seen when a player isn't sure what to roll or how to have their character do whatever it is they are thinking of doing in a new system. One of them had played Fate before, so Aspects were nothing new. The other had not, but caught on pretty quickly, which has been my experience of introducing people to Fate.

The setting was one I've only vaguely had an idea of but never actually run before (future cowboys on a distant world who ride raptors as mounts and raise herds of brontosaurs) but that was made easier through Fate's game creation steps. They defined a couple of campaign issues, plus a number of places and faces, making the world seem more alive and familiar to them. I love it when a player thinks to bring NPCs they came up with as faces early on into their plans. The issues helped me add tension to the immediate story.

Overall, a success, although I'd have loved to see how it played with a larger group (I prefer large groups as a GM; they bring a lot more ideas and creative energy to the table).

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MysticMoon    15

Just a couple thoughts on task resolution...

With systems built on skills, rather than classes, it can be easy to devolve into rolling for every little thing the players want their characters to do, but I think it works better if they only roll when there is some tension involved in the outcome. Otherwise, I think it can be sufficient to simply describe what happens based on their relevant attribute or skill level. For example, why have a character make a Survival roll when his skill is 6D and he just wants to extend the rations of an already well-equipped party. If they are later lost in the wilds without equipment, after escaping imprisonment in the goblin encampment, the outcome of that roll becomes a lot more important.

When a roll is appropriate, I like to base the outcome on where the roll ends up relative to the difficulty level. For example, with a Moderate difficulty in picking a lock, a roll of 4 can mean the character not only didn't unlock the door, they also scratched it in a way that makes it obvious that someone was trying to pick the lock. At an 8, I could either call it a simple fail or (using Fate's concept of success at a cost) say that the lock opened but that the picks broke in the process, making it necessary for the thief to acquire new ones before opening any more locked doors.. A 20 could mean that the lock was picked in a matter of seconds, and that nobody will ever be the wiser that it had happened.

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Savar    3

There was and old FASA Doctor Who game that was skill based. Only made skill checks when time or combat was involved. 

I was just yesterday thinking about lock picking and traps. And how well you rolled affected trap out come. 

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