Grade The D6 System

How do you feel about The D6 System (any variant)?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 7 7.4%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 39 41.1%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 18 18.9%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 1 1.1%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 26 27.4%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 4 4.2%

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Have you used the D6 System (or one of its variants) for your tabletop roleplaying games? If you've ever played an RPG that used only six-sided dice that had "wild" dice, you've probably played it. This is the core mechanic of the Hercules & Xena RPG, Ghostbusters: A Frightfully Cheerful Roleplaing Game, Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (1987), Indiana Jones Adventures, Men in Black, Metabarons, Psibertroopers, and more. Wikipedia has the following to say about it:

The D6 System is a role-playing game system published by West End Games (WEG) and licensees. While the system is primarily intended for pen-and-paper role-playing games, variations of the system have also been used in live action role-playing games and miniature battle games. The system is named after the 6-sided die, which is used in every roll required by the system.
Attributes and skills
Characters in the D6 System are defined by attributes and skills. Attributes represent the raw ability of a character in a certain area. Most D6 System games utilize anywhere from six to eight attributes, though these can vary greatly in number and name by the game in question. Acumen, Intellect, Knowledge, Perception, Presence and Technical are examples of mental attributes; Agility, Coordination, Mechanical, Physique, Reflexes and Strength are examples of physical ones. Skills are the trained abilities of the character and are associated with a specific attribute (e.g., driving, acrobatics, and climbing might be skills based on the Reflexes attribute). Each attribute and the skills under it are rated in values of Dice and Pips; Dice equal the number of dice rolled and Pips equal a one or two point bonus added to the roll to determine the result. The more dice and pips in the rating the better the character is at that skill or attribute. A character with a Strength rating of 4D+2 is stronger than a character with a Strength rating of 3D+1, for example.
Actions and resolution
Character actions are resolved by making dice rolls against a difficulty number. There are two types of difficulties, standard and opposed. To perform a standard difficulty action, the gamemaster calls for the player to roll the dice for a certain attribute or skill. The value of each die is totalled and the pips are added to the die roll to get a total. This total along with any GM or system imposed modifiers is compared against a target difficulty number. To perform an opposed roll action, the two parties involved (usually the player and a gamemaster controlled character) both roll their appropriate skills dice, total them and any modifiers and compare the results. If the first party's roll is higher than that of the second, he wins the contest and the rest of the result is resolved. If the second party equals or exceeds his opponent's roll, then the second party wins the contest.
Wild die
One of the dice rolled for each skill or attribute check or for damage is considered to be the "wild die", and is treated somewhat differently from the other dice. This mechanism was added in 2nd Edition. If an initial six is rolled on the wild die, then the die "explodes", meaning you add the six to the total plus re-roll the wild die, adding the result to the total. You get to keep rolling as long as you get sixes. If an initial one is rolled on the wild die, you disregard both it and the highest regular die from the total, often making you fail. Then you re-roll the wild die. If it comes up another one, a critical failure or complication occurs, usually with bad results for the character. Use of the wild die tends to make the game feel more cinematic.
Improving rolls
In order to increase their characters' effectiveness, players may spend character points and fate points. The exact number of character points that may be spent is limited by the quantity possessed by the character, and the situation that they are used in, with two being the typical limit. Each character point spent adds an extra wild die to one skill or attribute roll. A roll of one has no negative effect with wild dice generated from character points. Alternatively, a character may spend one fate point on an action. Characters have fewer fate points than character points, but the expenditure of them doubles the number of dice rolled on an action.
As I've said before in the other threads, the D20 System is the undeniable favorite for tabletop RPGs today, but there are plenty of options out there for those who don't like D20 or might be looking for something different. My goal in these little surveys is to highlight the different systems and options available to tabletop fans...I certainly don't want to bash anyone's favorites. So! If you've used the D6 System (whether it was the Classic version, the Legend version, or other game-specific version), I'd really like to hear about your experience. What did you like/dislike about it? What games did you play? And if you've never played it or one of the many successful games that use it, what's holding you back? I'll collect everyone's votes and give the system a "grade" from A+ to F, just for fun.

Grade: B
Of those who voted, 96% have heard of it and 68% have played it.
Of those who have played it: 11% love it, 59% like it, 28% are lukewarm, 2% dislike it, and 0% hate it.

The "grade" is calculated as follows:
  • Votes from people who have not played it will not affect the grade.
  • "I love it" votes are worth 4 points. The highest score, comparable to an "A" vote.
  • "It's pretty good" votes are worth 3 points. The equivalent of a "B" vote.
  • "It's alright I guess" votes are worth 2 points. This is your basic "C" vote.
  • "It's pretty bad" votes are worth 1 point. This is considered a "D" vote.
  • "I hate it" votes are worth 0 points. The lowest score, considered an "F" vote.

The grading formula:
GPA = Σ(PiVi)

where:
GPA = "grade-point average," the grading score used in the Key below.​
Vi = percentage of votes in each category (Love, Like, Meh, Dislike, or Hate)​
Pi = corresponding score for that category (4, 3, 2, 1, or 0)​

Key
Over 3.75 = A+
3.51 to 3.75 = A
3.26 to 3.50 = A-
3.01 to 3.25 = B+
2.76 to 3.00 = B
2.51 to 2.75 = B-
2.26 to 2.50 = C+
1.76 to 2.25 = C
1.51 to 1.75 = C-
1.26 to 1.50 = D+
1.01 to 1.25 = D
0.75 to 1.00 = D-
Under 0.75 = F
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Oh boy. WEG Star Wars d6 is one of my all-time favorites. Played that so much we wore out 3-4 core books in the decade or so they were new and in print. No system is perfect, but for me this one comes the closest. I vastly prefer the 1E to the later 2E and Revised 2E. It is such a simple, clean, and elegant system. Apocryphal or no, I love the idea of Lucas handing the early Star Wars novelists a stack of WEG Star Wars game books as guides. Still some of the best (and a few of the worst) bits of referee advice ever put to paper in these books. Don't know why but it still bugs me that they misspelled in medias res in the book. When Fantasy Flight did the reprint a few years ago that was the first thing I checked. Yep, still there. So many great memories of that game and system.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Gotta be honest here: the last time I played this game system was back in the late 80s at the height of the Satanic Panic. A lot of my friends weren't allowed to play D&D because of whatever Overreacting Parental Control Group happened to be using the loudest megaphone at the moment...so we begrudgingly played something else instead (Star Wars). It was so long ago, and for such a short time, and I was just a kid...so out of fairness I voted "I've never played it."

The only thing I remember about it was the TONS of six-sided dice that were needed. And I remember this being a good thing, too, because d20s were a no-no. (Parents had been told to keep an eye out for "games that use strange dice," and since Star Wars only used d6s, our parents wouldn't accuse us of playing "The Devil's Game." It was rough being a TTRPG gamer in the American South in the 1980s, I tell ya.) And I remember if you rolled a 6, you got to keep it and roll it again (it "exploded"), over and over again until you stopped rolling sixes...but that's about it. I always thought that was a cool mechanic.

Nowadays, when I want to play Star Wars, I use SW5E. It's free, and all my friends are already familiar with the rules.
 

Evaniel

Filthy Casual (he/him)
I only played it a few times in the late 90s and really enjoyed it. I was never motivated enough, however, to find and buy it to run it. So outside of those few games, it never came up much. I'm not sure the groups I'm with now would be up for an older system like that, which is a shame, really.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
It's pretty good. While I feel that some of the iterations and games released using the d6 System were hit or miss, I'm a huge fan of the original Star Wars RPG (first edition) and Ghostbusters RPG. Indeed, one of my favorite freebie RPGs (The Totally Unofficial Hellboy RPG) is based on the d6 System variant as first seen in Ghostbusters. Of later d6 System RPGs, I'm a fan of Metabarons and Hercules & Xena (the latter isn't a particularly good implementation of the system, but my friends and I had great fun with it, despite its warts).

[Edit: Despite sometimes rolling 30+ dice, the trick of adding them up in groups of 10 was always easier for me than picking out individual successes as is the case with many dice pool systems.]
 

Faolyn

(she/her)
Star Wars d6 was one of the the first games I played when I joined by college gaming group, so I have fond memories of it. The system, as I recall, was pretty good, and I even made a hack to run a Buffy-verse game in it.

The d6 Fantasy, Space, and Modern books, however, were terrible.
 

General_Tangent

Adventurer
The first iteration of the game I played was Ghostbusters and it still is a fantastic game.

Not only did the mechanics fit the feel of the story but the equipment cards really rounded out the whole package.

Oh and the Ghost die was really cool.
 

As with others, I got into this for Star Wars. Purely on nostalgia, I love it. Without rose colored glasses I could say it's a bit clunky and has some issues, but still does a couple of things in really interesting ways.

First, if you want to play a game with different "pillars" (I don't really like that term) beyond combat, exploration, and social, the D6 system is one of the first places you should look. Character advancement works in a way that you can focus on literally anything. You can make a character with no combat skills whatsoever. It's possible to make a build focused completely on being a mechanic or a bureaucrat, for example. There were even guides for different ways to handle sports and other esoteric skills. Now, this can have other issues. Balance is weird. It's possible to have problems like, say, creating a pilot in a game where you never fly. IMX, eigen plots are common. But those shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying some truly unique builds.

Second, probably related to the point above, it's one of the best Star Wars games where you can say "to hell with Jedi and the rest of the Force" and just play around in the Star Wars universe. Look, it's important to remember that before the prequel trilogy came out, the canon Star Wars universe had about 5 force users, total. The Force was literally just something those couple guys did. Everyone else, from Admiral Piett to Zev Senesca, just didn't use it. A lot of people in the known universe had never even heard of the Force. Simply put: the expanded universe doesn't require the Force. And one of the things that I dislike about many modern Star Wars games (not just RPGs, the computer games and other stuff, too) is that everything HAS to be about the Force. It's forced down your throat as the most powerful option for everything. Star War WEG is one of the only games that let's you just be a smuggler, or a pilot, or even a droid, and just not give a darn about the Force. You can play entire campaigns without even acknowledging it exists.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I've run WEG SW in each iteration... 1st, 1st+ Rules Upgrade, 1st + Rules Companion, 2nd, 2nd revised...

I've played in a one shot of WEG Batman d6. Was so-so; it's a count successes variant.

I've got both MIB and Hercules & Xena, but not gotten them to table.

I like it... but it breaks down at a certain point... The fix for the issue I have with it is taken from EABA and L5R: count only the best 3 dice and the Wild Die (plus its explosions), spending a character point to keep an extra die. This puts Heroic (30) in reach, but unlikely... as they require a wild die 6 and 6, and the very difficult at 25... f
 

dbm

Savage!
Another Star Wars player, here. I love Star Wars, and at the time I loved the information in the RPG. But it didn’t really click as a system for my group and we didn’t play it much.

I have read the generic versions of D6 that were released much later, and they left me pretty cold to be honest. There have been some recent evolutions of D6 as well, like Mythic D6. It’s an interesting evolution of the system but there others I prefer.

While Star Wars d6 has a special place in my heart, it’s not a system I would choose to play again these days, so I voted “it’s alright”.
 
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