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%

Celebrim

Legend
The "high-heroic" era of Star Wars didn't really start until the prequel trilogy was released, when Jedi became omnipresent.

One of the biggest powerups has come from video games where you get to play a Jedi. It's not just that the prequel movies showed Jedi as more powerful than they were in the original trilogy, but also that video games tend to by their nature power up characters so that they wade through situations that would have seriously challenged or defeated the original movie characters. Then pretty soon you have video game characters force crushing whole Star Destroyers. It's the typical problem of power creep most intellectual properties have. Expectations keep getting bigger and bigger.

But you are absolutely right about the expectations of fairly low powered adventures in the early days of the extended universe, both in the video games and the fictional properties. And frankly, that was the game we at the time wanted to play. We weren't expecting to be Han or Luke. We were expecting to be inhabitants of the universe that they lived in.

IIRC, you could get about 10 points of advancement a session with a reasonably generous GM.

I think the book guidelines are more on the level of 3-5 character points per session, or at least that is what I've been handing out in my now two year old game with 40 or so 4 hour sessions. But, you are misunderstanding just how slow that is. One character point isn't a die. It will take usually 12 to 15 character points for a starting character to buy a die. After buying 10 or so die, the costs of new die typically go up to like 15 to 18 character points. I've handed out probably 120 character points as this point, but that's really only 10 dice or so. Starting characters have about 27 dice or so usually, so we're now up to about 37 dice characters after two years of real life play. In game though that represents just a bit over 5 months of adventures - maybe the equivalent of one season of Clone Wars or Rebels.

If we kept playing for like 20 years, the characters would probably start approaching main character levels of dice pools, but that would represent like years of game time with constant adventures. Which is supposedly what main characters in Star Wars have been through. By the time we get to the beginning of the Han Solo original trilogy he's already had years of adventures, then the trilogy puts him through 3 huge adventures of 8-12 sessions per book. He then has the adventure where he has to dump the spice that gets him upset with Jabba the Hutt, and only then do we meet him in "A New Hope". Then it's implied there have been multiple adventures between movies. In short, yes you could take a starting Star Wars character up to Main Character levels of power, but you might require decades of gaming to do that using the suggested advancement guidelines. I'm OK with that. It makes sense that veteran characters have game years or game decades of adventures behind them.

If you wanted to fast start that, you could start PC's with an extra pip or two in attributes and an extra 10 dice or 20 dice in skills provided you had reasonable caps on starting skill. But I see no reason to want to have a main character type PC without playing through their story so you know how they got there.
 

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Lord Shark

Adventurer
But you are absolutely right about the expectations of fairly low powered adventures in the early days of the extended universe, both in the video games and the fictional properties. And frankly, that was the game we at the time wanted to play. We weren't expecting to be Han or Luke. We were expecting to be inhabitants of the universe

I assume that's the royal we. Because I don't sit down to a Star Wars game expecting to play a character on the order of Aunt Beru, Willrow Hood, or Elan Sleazebaggano. Not in 1987, and not now.

Nor do I expect many people play a superhero game expecting to spend twenty years of adventuring before they can equal the awesome might of Batman's sidekick.
 

Celebrim

Legend
I assume that's the royal we.
]

"We" here referred to the gaming group I had in the early 1990s.

Because I don't sit down to a Star Wars game expecting to play a character on the order of Aunt Beru, Willrow Hood, or Elan Sleazebaggano. Not in 1987, and not now.

I mean aside from the fact that those characters don't live an adventuring lifestyle at the time we meet them, why not? I wouldn't necessarily want to live out Luke's 10 years as a farm boy doing chores either, but it wasn't because of his power level but rather the stories he was involved in (that said, he appears to have gotten up to a lot of mischief and daring in that period).

The base game starting assumption of WEG Star Wars RPG is that you are a new recruit to the Rebel Alliance not a super-hero. We starting the play the game back then expected to start at a little below the level of the X-Wing pilots not named Luke in A New Hope, or Rebel Commandos that accompany Han in Return, and maybe a little above the level of the hapless naval troopers that get gunned down defending Leia at the beginning of A New Hope.

Nor do I expect many people play a superhero game expecting to spend twenty years of adventuring before they can equal the awesome might of Batman's sidekick.

Well, first of all, this is only relevant if you think Star Wars is a superhero game.

But secondly, why not? Why are people expecting to get their prizes without paying for it? And aside from that, one problem all RPGs have, even ones written to be superhero games, is the more powerful characters become the more difficult it is to tell meaningful stories. The comic books are filled with this problem where the power level of the characters waxes and wanes solely as needed by the story, so that they don't really bear much scrutiny. How fast is the Flash? Always exactly as fast as he needs to be to win, but never so fast he's not challenged. And this doesn't change regardless of how fast the antagonist or the problem to overcome is. So in one story he's barely faster than a fast human, and in the next he's faster than the speed of light. His reflexes change from moment to moment according to the dictates of the plot. Speedsters are always in superhero stories. But try dealing with them in a superhero game.

If you start quantifying things in order to game with them, you soon have requirements of consistency that artists in non-interactive media don't have to deal with. If your players have agency, you soon find that you can't rely on players jumping through stupid hoops in order to have a story. Players will use their characters powers creatively and intelligently all the time and not merely as creatively and intelligently as needed to just barely solve the problems with some dramatic tension thrown in.

Every single RPG system starts breaking down eventually if it allows the PC's to power up. It happens for example in Star Wars D6 as soon as you get characters with 7D or 8D in dice pools with access to force points. That's characters with probably like 50 to 60 dice total at most before the system is going to start cracking. You probably could modify the rules to cope but you'd increasingly be coping. This happens in every game. Games with scale go out of the scale you can deal with or imagine. Games with linear fortune mechanics hit the point the bonuses to succeed are greater than the range of the fortune, eliminating the interest of the chance and reducing the interest of interaction. All high level play in all systems is problematic. So why be in to much a hurry to get there?

By the time you get up to Vader, or Batman, or whatever, the game engine is breaking. Batman doesn't even make sense in his own universe. He makes even less sense if you game him. So don't be a hurry to get there.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Well, first of all, this is only relevant if you think Star Wars is a superhero game.

I think you missed there was also a discussion of the D6 DC game, and how hard it was to end up anywhere near the big name heroes (i.e. it had the same issue that the Star Wars game had).
 

aramis erak

Legend
There are two issues with difficulty and success rate...
issue 1: most player-only types don't realize that PC's are built on 18d atts and 7d skills, while normal people are 12d atts and 5d to 7d skills

Issue 2: poorly named difficulties, and based upon PC levels. In core skill, a PC will have 4d to 6d.
Using 1E as exemplar for simplicity. The issue isn't fixed in 2e, but there are isues with the open-ending that I don't want to fight into anydice nor brute force calculate in python or QB64 via iteration. In other words, Anydice's precision to nearest 0.01% is good enough.
SW label1e TNRU & 2e TN2e opp diceRange2d3d4d5d6d
Very Easy53-51dPoint Blank83.33%98.15%99.92%100.00%100.00%
Easy106-102dShort16.67%62.50%90.28%98.38%99.82%
Moderate1511-153d-4dMedium0%9.26%44.37%77.85%93.92%
Difficult2016-205d-6dLong0%0%5.4%30.52%63.69%
(not labeled)250%0%0%3.24%20.56%
Very Difficult3021-307d-8d0%0%0%0.01%1.97%
(2e) Heroic(35)31+9d+0%0%0%0%<0.01%

My general take on labeled difficulties is they should be based upon normal person in their competent field.
The standard specialist is 4d in field; 2 from att and 2 from skill.

The task odds feel wrong for the labels - but replacing them with 4 points per makes it feel much more correct to me... note that this would also change range TNs down...
as that would make ... (% is for 4d specialist)
LabelTN 4 per% for 4dRange
Very Easy4100.00%Point Blank
Easy897.30%Short
Moderate1276.08%Medium
Difficult1633.56%Long
Very Difficult¹205.40%
Formidable¹240.08%
Staggering¹280%
Heroic¹320%
¹: adjusted to be more consistent of a ladder

It's a case of a minor fail at the developer's level.

Note also, Hercules & Xena uses 8 attributes, 24 dice for them, and 10d for skills, max 2 per skill. It has a human range of 2d to 5d. Hercules himself is written with 24d atts 228d skills (90d of which are knowledge skills), max skill 13d over att. Herc also has a +8 mod to Strength - a gridle from dad...
The Thugs entry is 2d in 7 atts, 3d in one att (reflexes), and 1d in fighting over that. That gives an idea of the scope of the starting character, and all the key recurring non-deific characters from both series are statted in the players' book. It takes an approach of raising skills only.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Also, unless I'm mistaken, both the Hercules and DC games used DC games used D6 Legends, which is a different, though related, system from the SW system or the later non-licensed Adventure/Fantasy/Space games. The probability functions weren't actually the same, since Legends was looking at success from individual dice (like most D10 die pool systems do) as compared to normal total-and-count (you can make an argument it was rolling a whole bunch of D2's in a way, but either way individual dice were more significant).
 

aramis erak

Legend
Also, unless I'm mistaken, both the Hercules and DC games used DC games used D6 Legends, which is a different, though related, system from the SW system or the later non-licensed Adventure/Fantasy/Space games. The probability functions weren't actually the same, since Legends was looking at success from individual dice (like most D10 die pool systems do) as compared to normal total-and-count (you can make an argument it was rolling a whole bunch of D2's in a way, but either way individual dice were more significant).
Yep, with wild die... but note that the odds are, well, odd.
Roll →123456
NormalHydraHydraChakramChakramChakramChakram
WildEye of HeraHydraChakramChakramChakramLightningbolt of Zeus
Hydra is 0, chakram is 1. Hera is -1, thunderbolt is 1& reroll the wild, recursive.

Difficulty labels :
Qualifier"Chakrams Needed"
Very Easy1
Easy2
Moderate3
Difficult4
very Difficult5
Heroic6
Very Heroic7
Ultra-Heroic8
Demi-God-Like9
God-Like10
 


aramis erak

Legend
I guess this is kinda furthering my point from the "Star Wars without so much Jedi" point above, but I always thought this was a major strength of the D6 system, not a flaw. The idea is to have fun exploring the world, not to be the most powerful person in it. Of course, I have to admit that this works a lot better in world-rich settings like Star Wars. I never played Hecules and Xena, but I think they could work. Batman or most other superhero settings, on the other hand, would certainly be a bit of a rough. I think the Stargate d6 game that was in progress with WEG folded would have worked great; you don't need to be Jack O'neil to enjoy exploring new worlds through the gate, you just have to accept you're not supposed to Ascend at the end.
The draft reduced to 3 atts...
While D6 for SG-1 Could be brilliant, the draft posted online sucks badly.
D6 system with only 3 stats? Badly broken.
Especially since the bulk of NPCs have most of their skills in Savvy.

Batman worked rather well, TBH, but I was never a big fan of DC -- the only DC title I read with any regularity was Green Arrow. And that in the late 70's to early 80's, because my orthodontist had a subscription to it. It was much easier to grasp than Mayfair's log-scaled mechanics. (While I like log scaled attributes -- they're used in TORG/Shatterzone/Masterbook, in Hero System, and a few others -- the GM's explanation didn't work for me and the GM wouldn't let me read the mechanics for its explanation.)
 

Weiley31

Legend
I like the D6 system. It's probably my next preferred system after the venerable D20 system. I missed out on WEG's Star Wars and the Ghostbusters. However, the only D6 system books I own would be Robotech-The Macross Saga Roleplaying Game and PDF copies of Age of Sigmar: Soulbound by Crucible 7.
 

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