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Fantasy in D6 - explain it to me

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I played D6 Star Wars a number of years ago. Since then D6 has been ported to a number of genres. Now in Star Wars we had lots of blaster fights, space combat, chase scenes, bargaining, computer hacking, some Jedi action, etc. But in fantasy (at least what I've played) it tends to be more dungeon crawl, close combat heavy, which is a different ballgame to me.


So how does D6 work with fantasy? What is your experience? How does D6 hold up? Please explain to me.


Thank you.

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"Let me tell you tell you of the days of high adventure!"


Back before West End Games came out with D6 Fantasy, D6 Modern, and D6 Space, I used the "D6 System Book" to craft a D6 fantasy game. I wanted to model it modestly on the grand-daddy fantasy game, D&D (at the time, it was AD&D).


I had some people help test out things with the system. I didn't use Star Wars attributes or skills, and I didn't use Star Wars terminology or scales either. I didn't pattern magic off the mechanics of the Force. I created new magic that worked differently and felt differently from the "Force" in order to give the fantasy its own unique feel for the extranormal abilities.


It proved successful after a number of tests and tweaks. So successful, in fact, that I decided to run a campaign with it.


That campaign had a minimum of 5 players playing every week for 2 and a half years! Turned out to be the most successful campaign I'd ever run.


So I'd say that D6 works wonderfully for fantasy! My players, some of whom who had the opportunity to play 3rd edition D&D after playing my D6 version, said that the D6 version was BETTER than 3rd edition D&D. So I think that also speaks well of how D6 handles fantasy games.


What makes it good?


For one, it's a simple system that works the same no matter whether you're fighting or sneaking into a castle, or carousing with a merchant. Roll your Attribute+Skill, if you get equal or above the difficulty, you succeed. Simple.


Combat moves as quickly and cinematically in fantasy as it does in Star Wars. So while you may not be blasting stormtroopers, you can still slay goblins and battle fierce giants and it provides PLENTY of excitement!


Plus, the simplicity of the D6 system makes creating quick NPCs and creatures a snap! If you're familiar with the system, it's easy to throw a few stats together to come up with a completely new creature in a fantasy game. I made several new creatures over the course of my games, all off-the-cuff quick too! And NPCs are easy to work in D6!


Also, since D6 is skill based and not level based, it offers a LOT more variety in the character types that can be played. My players were amazed that a magician could fight decently, or that other character types weren't limited to what skills they could aspire to. Sure they had a limited choice to start with, but as they advanced skills they could just as easily learn to do things that weren't typical of the character type but necessary based on the CHARACTER. I had a player pick up Cooking for his fighter, because he was tired of always having to go buy rations. I had an elf ranger decide to learn Leatherworking so she could repair her own leather armor (or fashion new armor when necessary). The players all felt much more open to develop their character however they wanted rather than needing to plan where to focus when they leveled and what to take when they leveled so they could advanced in a particular direction that gave them a chance at a new skill that could only be attained if certain options were chosen. None of that in D6!


And I had a lot of things in my fantasy game.

From goblins and orcs to pegasus, centaurs, giants, and dragons...and everything in between!

A system for magic.

A separate system for miracles that FELT different from magic so it wasn't just a difference in names.

Scales to handle bigger creatures.

Fear rules

Armor rules that actually worked like armor and didn't just make it harder to hit you.

A combination of Health Points and Wound Levels, so the more damage you took the more you felt it, but you didn't necessarily drop from one wound level to the next with the next hit.

Weapons that inflicted different types of damage, so that a sword was different from a warhammer when it hit armor.

Combat rules to handle things like Mounted Combat (why a guy on a horse was more dangerous, most times, than a guy on foot) and Skill enhanced damage (the more skilled you became, the more likely you were to do more damage when you hit)


I actually had more skills related to non-combat things than I did combat skills. While D6 can definitely handle the combat, it handles skill tasks equally as well. Heraldry, bargaining, leatherworking, blacksmithing, fishing, tracking, farming, construction, pickpocketing, herbalism, and more were all available AND USED, in my game.


I, for one, am a big proponent of fantasy games using D6.

Now I will say that I've not tried the D6 Fantasy rules in the core book, but I've heard of those that have. My rules worked wonderfully for me, so I've had no reason to change them to the core book.


So you have a variety to choose from for fantasy in D6: The D6 Fantasy core book. Mini Six rules. Azamar rules. Or if you ask, my rules. Plenty of options to go for!

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Thank you for the very in-depth answer. Very good reply. Are your rules available somewhere?


I did some more digging. It seems one of the more prominent criticisms against D6 Fantasy is the magic system. Mostly people just describe it as clunky. What magic system therefore would work well with a fantasy d6 game?


Any suggestions?

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Why yes...




This is the magic and miracle system that I used in my fantasy game.


As far as more of my fantasy material. I know I've put up the list of equipment and (I think) armor and weapons in this very discussion board. You can search for them.


Alternatively, you can send me a PM with your email and I can email some of the material.

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I've unfortunately not been able to mess with my project in quite a while, but I played around with d6 Fantasy quite a bit, enough to become very disenchanted with its utility for the kind of game I wanted to run. That has to do with the armor and weapon values, not with the game itself.


I think once optimized it makes for the fun, fast, freewheeling game that Grimace described. I use freeform magic rather than canned spells, and it's proved fun in practice. I like it to feel somewhat like D&D (with class archetypes and classic races and the same old monsters, etc.). However, it seems to be kind of useless for D&D-esque dungeon crawling. Which I think is a feature, not a bug.... I intended to use 3rd edition adventures that I have never used with D&D, but I think nerfing the game to make dungeon crawls work won't be worth the work for me and my group. More urban and outdoor encounters with smaller dungeons/tombs/etc.


Most importantly, having a real system to handle EVERYTHING... trap checks, thief skills, tracking, etc. makes running the game a real pleasure. And teaching new players is sooooo much faster/more fun than running D&D games, even the older freeform version (Basic/Expert) I prefer. I simply haven't had time and energy to pull everything together and game with it regularly.


So, do as Grimace suggests and start with the D6 System book (or even your favorite edition of SW) and get going!

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I don't want to go over too much of the same territory that Grimace has, but I've been using D6 Fantasy for years with an ongoing campaign. Granted, the sort of carefree and humorous tone we've set has a lot of bearing on the game, but it's the farthest thing from a D&D dungeon crawl. Though the players have put quite a lot of their stats in combat, a smash through a dungeon is the farthest thing from what our game is.


Magic isn't really front and center in our game, but we do have some magic use. And yeeeeeeah.... I think if someone had taken a razor blade to the magic section of our book, then I probably wouldn't notice for months. I went ahead and created my own magic system that (unlike Grimace's) somewhat resembles a Force power mechanic, though it is NOT based on a Control/Sense/Alter system. I've got three skills the players usually use (and a fourth Necromancy skill that some of the villains have used), and a number of spells that players can learn underneath that skill. So, in that respect the mechanic is similar to the Force powers, but with a considerably different flavor.


Basically, I've taken the basic ideas of the D6 Fantasy book, and ran my own direction with it. Yes, we keep the same basic core mechanics of wild dice, skill usage, and the like, but we've also ditched quite a lot, patched our own ideas in with it, and have experimented with several new ideas along the way.


Overall, it's run well, and not at all like a dungeon crawl. Generally my players have found creative ways of maneuvering around many combat encounters when they see a more efficient method using trickery, stealth, and environmental factors to their advantage.

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... enough to become very disenchanted with its utility for the kind of game I wanted to run. That has to do with the armor and weapon values, not with the game itself.


I think once optimized it makes for the fun, fast, freewheeling game that Grimace described.


Maybe you can explain more what you mean about this armor/weapon comment. I'm curious. What did you do to optimize?

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Maybe you can explain more what you mean about this armor/weapon comment. I'm curious. What did you do to optimize?


If you compare SWRPG or the D6 system book (that Grimace references above) you see that in D6 Fantasy they made a gigantic change to damage calculation, namely making it 1/2 lifting rather than STR based (i.e. you roll your STR and roll your damage dice and add). To compensate they nerfed all the weapon and armor values. In my brief experimentation, it doesn't work very well. I don't like the added stat complexity and the values seem off. I recommend that you start with the SWRPG values or those (such as they are) in the D6 System book. I really don't think the D6 Fantasy rules were playtested.


You can read some of our chats about this:





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To offer an opposing viewpoint: I think it works very well, as long as you also change the way soak rolls are calculated.* There's actually precious little difference between using Lifting/2 and pure STR; I like using Lifting/2 mostly because it better reflects the genres I usually GM for.


* I propose using Endurance/2 as base soak value, plus any armour, if you're using Wound Levels. If not, use Endurance * 3 (plus 20 for PCs) to calculate Body Points, and increase the soak value of armours. I don't have my notes here with me, but off the top of my head, I'd suggest using 4D for Light Armor, 5D for Medium Armor, and 6D for Heavy Armor.

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