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ancestral
2013-02-22, 02:09 AM
ancestralís d6 System
A Work in Progress
Last updated: 21 Feb 2013

Maybe Iím crazy (probably), but Iím working on a simplified d6 system, inspired by RPGs like d20, to work well for both computers and tabletop. The primary goal is simplification, and attempting to make the system easy, to learn and play, for everyone. Emphasis is placed on dice having extra function and meaning, having fewer scores to keep track of, and generally speeding everything up.

Right now Iím focusing on the mechanics of gameplay and character design. I do have an eye for this game surrounding a high fantasy setting, but thereís no reason it canít be adopted into other times and places.

This is a draft. Many things are incomplete. At this point, just as I think Iíve come across something interesting, I find myself asking way more questions than I have answers to. For example:

Abilities
What are the ranges for ability scores, and how do they scale with character leveling?
Will having three scores be any better? Can players successfully ignore an entire ability, creating powerful characters, and if so, is that okay?
Dice
If Tactical dice are defined by class, can it scale uncontrollably?
Is the system too passive? Will players feel like they have control of their characters?
Could dice be substituted if a player wants to attempt specific tactics?
Does the system for criticals scale at all? How can it and the abilities be improved?
Is there too much rolling or too many dice?

Defenses
Iíve been thinking Health (Hit Points), Evasion (Defense or AC) and Morale (Will) could be derived from {END + Ath + Res}, {CUN + Dip + Ref}, and {REA + Int + Per}. Can that work?
Skills
How do skills really work? How are DCs/TNs determined?

Rules
Is an open-ended system going to be guided enough for the players and gamemaster?
Will a game with fewer actions and choices seem constraining?


Anyway, tell me what you like and what you donít. Tell me if thereís something thatís hard to understand, that could be explained better. And tell me if this just sucks, if Iím moving away from my focus, or if maybe I shouldnít be trying to re-invent the wheel.

Download the PDF (http://www.mproud.com/ad6/rulebook-130221.pdf), or view the entire thing here in the spoiler:

Table of Contents

Introduction Goals Chance Speed Stats Leveling Dice Flavor Religion

Core Mechanic Dice Chance Dice Tactical Dice Strength Swift Focus Trick Control Wit





Races Ü Classes Ü Abilities Endurance Cunning Reason

Skills Athletics Resilience Diplomacy Reflexes Intellect Perception

Knowledges Arcana Engineering Geography History Law Linguistics Medicine Nature Religion

Traits Ü Combat Initiative Attack Melee Ranged Spell

Weapons

Magic Ü Divinity Ü

Ü To be completed later.

1. Introduction
Ancestralís d6 System (AD6) features just a small set of scores to simplify and streamline rules, with a focus on balanced, class-based party gameplay.

AD6 relies on only six-sided dice. Two dice are used to determine chance, generating more consistent and typical rolls. Additional dice may be added where appropriate.

1.1. Goals
The primary goals are:
Introduce fairer results for rolls of chance Speed up the game Simplify the number of stats Make character creation and leveling easier Standardize on one type of dice Guide players to making heroes interesting and fun Add a new take on religion and spirituality

1.1.1. Chance
In d20, a player rolls one 20-sided die. A 1 is always a failure, a 20 is always a success. Rolling a die with so many different numbered results leads to greater variability ó this can be good, but often it can be a frustrating experience. Some players revel in the satisfaction when they finally roll that 20, and can laugh about those poor rolls of a 2 or 1. However, when a thief repeatedly misses easy to intermediate-level skill checks, a seasoned fighter struggles to hit the easiest of foes, or a wizard cannot seem to recall the easiest bits of lore, it can take away the believability and fun of roleplaying.

In mathematics, we have something called the normal distribution. Studies have been shown that there is order even with randomness. (See http://www.empiricalzeal.com/2012/12/21/what-does-randomness-look-like/ for an excellent article showing real-world, applicable uses.) This normal distribution gets better with a higher number of trials; two 10-sided dice turns out a much better distribution than one 20-sided die, as 10 become much more commonplace compared to 5 or even 7.

With AD6, as Iíve chosen to standardize on six-sided dice, all rolls use at least 2d6, which will give more reliability and consistency of rolls.

1.1.2. Speed
Itís no secret that roleplaying games can get bogged down, whether itís getting all those characters made in order to start playing, or resolving every playerís actions for a given round. Time management, and keeping everyone involved is no easy task for the Game Master. So whenever possible, adding ways to speed up the game is good for everyone.

Overwhelming of statistics and player options are just two things that can significantly slow people down. A wizard, with 15 different spells to choose from to prepare is going to slow that player down to figure out which they need. A fighter with advanced attack feats may need to figure out how much of a bonus to add or subtract add (often a pure guessing game), the Gamemaster needs to account for various melee rules which affect combat and players may need to keep track of actions to know if they can or cannot move or do anything further.

First and foremost, AD6 cuts down the number of rules. Iíve designed this as a system that can be applied in both real world and computer simulations. Simplifications are better for both computers and people. Also, removing many options to the player is ultimately better. In its place, players will have Tactical dice, special dice that represent a heroís trained talents.

1.1.3. Stats
Itís easy for many players starting out with a new system to get overwhelmed by roleplaying games with a crazy number of stats and scores. d20 has 6 ability scores and somewhere between 17 and 30-some skills, not to mention other knowledges too. GURPS has 4 ability scores and an almost infinite number of skills. Other RPGs arenít any better. Do I roll Intimidate or Diplomacy? Whatís the difference between a Constitution check and a Fortitude save? Do I get a synergy bonus to Diplomacy if I have a high Bluff skill?

Beyond skills, Iíve found many players can safely ignore entire ability scores ó maximize scores in one or two abilities and take a 6 in others. Fighters donít need charisma; wizards donít need strength. So what can be done to place more value in these scores ó or, if a dumb, uncultured fighter exists,

This is where AD6 does things right. There are just 3 ability scores, 6 skills, and 9 knowledges. From there, 3 defense scores are automatically derived. And thatís it.

1.1.4. Leveling
Creating characters often takes a whole night of its own. Players have to painstakingly comb through manuals to determine the best feats and abilities to take, calculate the scores, choose skill ranks, and this is rough. Half the work is often pesky calculations.

With fewer stats comes greater freedom. Players no longer need to allocate every point with every level. Meanwhile, AD6 still allows players to make powerful choices when gaining that new level, without the tedious work.

1.1.5. Dice
Dice-based roleplaying games can be fun. They introduce chance (and maybe a little bit of luck) when the player is faced with a particular action. Different roleplaying games handle dice differently. Some will use a variety of different dice, telling players to use a large variety of different dice, some of which maybe they donít even own. Others standardize on one type of dice, but require you have a large pool of them in order to play, rolling 6, 7, 8 or more every time you roll. Players will joke about how they never get to use that oft-neglected d12 die. Except maybe when their barbarian gets more hit points.

The most common type of dice are six-sided dice. Why not six-sided dice, then? Obvious from its name, AD6 sticks with this convention. To handle those numbers in between one and two dice, in AD6 you will keep the lowest or highest number of the two, and drop the other. And the system tries to keep the number of dice thrown down. Yet, if you need 6 or 7 dice for those high-powered damage rolls, then it shouldnít be too hard to find extras for even the most casual player of games.

1.1.6. Flavor
Roleplaying games are about interacting with different personalities. Sometimes it can be hard to relate to that person youíve just created. Who are they? In many systems, the stats are the important part, and the character description is simply tacked on as an afterthought.

Flavor needs to be added when the hero is born into the world by the player. AD6 adds a wide variety of balanced traits to choose from. Players can find specific traits which speak to them, that they feel adds to their heroes, and run with them, meanwhile gaining small but practical benefits.

1.1.7. Religion
Finally, AD6 brings a fresh take on religion and spirituality. This may be more of a setting-based choice, but nevertheless, can be adopted and altered while keeping the core system.

AD6 not only offers a pantheon of gods, but also a register of saints. For those characters who partake in religion, praying for good weather before leaving may help make the trek a better one. Even non-priests can enchant themselves, and gives players more reason to consider tithing, meditation and prayer central to their heroesí development. Of course, there are limits, and non-spiritual heroes will still have options to gain blessings.

1.2. Core Mechanic
Roll 2d6 Chance dice, and any Tactical dice. Add the primary ability score, the Chance dice, and any bonus scores. Compare the result with the target number (representing a particular difficulty, an enemyís defense, or an opposed roll.

1.3. Dice
AD6 has several different types of dice. All of the dice are still six-sided dice. In most rolls, it will be important to differentiate some of the dice from one another. For this reason, it is good to have dice of several different colors.

1.3.1. Chance Dice
On any given roll, you always roll Chance dice. This represents the chance a hero has on achieving success. As opposed to rolling 1d20 for example, 2d6 provides a bell curve which will give more average results more of the time while still allowing for critical hits and misses.

1.3.2. Tactical Dice
Depending on the class or trait, a player may roll additional dice if their hero has them. This rewards a character who may not be naturally gifted at birth but nevertheless still becomes proficient in their work. Mages, through rigorous training, develop outstanding willpower, and thus are granted Control dice. Monks and Rogues may gain Swift dice for their attention to balance and acrobatic ability.

Tactical dice do not always alter the roll result. Usually they indicate if a technique succeeded or failed during a separate action. If a character is climbing a wall and fails the check, but has a high swift roll, may avoid critical failure. However, in some situations, they may be still added to the roll, or towards other scores for later effects, such as combat or spell damage. Your heroís character sheet will identify these cases.

There are six tactical dice in all: Strength, Swift, Focus, Trick, Control and Wit. Different classes receive dice that match these tactics ó Warriors start with 1 Strength, 1 Swift and 1 Focus die, whereas a Mage starts with 1 Focus, 1 Control and 1 Wit die. As the hero levels higher, he or she may receive more dice.

There are special conditions on a critical hit, determined by the Tactical die. If multiple critical hits are achieved, these stack.

1.3.2.1 Strength Dice
Strength dice characterize acts of brawn, muscular activity and given to characters with large amount of brawn. Certain actions, including Melee attacks, use Strength dice as a bonus.

Mighty Blow: During an attack, if a Strength die and a Chance die are both 6, the hero automatically hits, surging with brute strength and dealing extra damage to their target. Add all dice thrown to damage.

1.3.2.2 Swift Dice
Swift dice depict finesse and agility, slipping past enemies and avoiding a fall. Certain actions, including Ranged attacks, use Swift dice as a bonus.

Extra Attack: During an attack, if a Swift die and a Chance die are both 6, the heroís quickness has landed an extra attack. The player may roll for a second attack without penalty.

1.3.2.3 Focus Dice
Focus dice are used when a hero is concentrating or aiming, especially while in battle. Certain actions, including Spell attacks, use Focus dice as a bonus.

Perfect Hit: During an attack, if a Focus die and a Chance die are both 6, the heroís concentration has achieved a direct hit upon the target. The hero automatically hits, all targets in range cannot evade, and double the damage dealt.

1.3.2.4 Trick Dice
Trick dice utilize the heroís adroit tactics to trip, kick, sneak behind or otherwise disable an opponent. Certain actions, mainly class abilities from rogue-based classes, may ask for trick dice.

Sneak Attack: During an attack, if a Trick die and a Chance die are both 6, the hero is automatically able to knock down the target for one round. If the attack hits, add all dice thrown to damage.

1.3.2.5 Control Dice
Control dice are the function of a heroís manipulation and influence. This can be intimidating or scaring an enemy, convincing someone to do something or maintaining willpower. Certain actions, mainly class abilities from charisma-based classes, may ask for control dice.

Scare: During a combat tactic, if a Control die and a Chance die are both 6, the hero automatically scares the enemy, causing them to panic.

1.3.2.6 Wit Dice
Wit dice are a combination of the heroís cognitive and intuitive thinking, put into action. Creating a distraction, causing confusion, or creating advantage with the surroundings are possible results.

Clever Trap: During an attack, if a Wit die and a Chance die are both 6, the hero surprises their living target, leaving the character stunned for one round.

2. Races
(To be completed later.)

3. Classes
(To be completed later.)

4. Abilities
Most systems have around six core ability scores, and some way more. What I have found is that the different ability scores matter much less than the actual skill ranks and other modifiers. AD6 hopes to change that by including just three abilities.

AD6 combines these a little different from what you may be used to.

4.1. Endurance
Abbreviation: END

Strong and tough heroes will have a high Endurance ability score. (Similar to Strength and Constitution.) Endurance is helpful to be able to:
Carry a larger capacity of items Perform feats of strength and athletic ability Concentrate in times of immediate danger or threat Recover faster from injury Resist poison and disease

4.2. Cunning
Abbreviation: CUN

Clever and agile heroes will have a high Cunning ability score. (Similar to Dexterity and Charisma.) Cunning is helpful to be able to:
Deceive, persuade and manipulate others Control issues diplomatically in favorable terms Utilize networks of people to collect information Avoid falling and perform other acrobatic acts Evade traps and dodge incoming attacks Handle fine objects and ride animals

4.3. Reason
Abbreviation: REA

Smart and judicious heroes will have a high Reason ability score. (Similar to Intelligence and Wisdom.) Reason is helpful to be able to:
Appraise and identify items and magic Recall knowledge and lore for almost any topic Speak and understand additional languages Provide rational insight to any situation Sense your surroundings early Survive wilderness and avoid danger

5. Skills
Most systems have a plethora of skills, 20, 30, or more, are very similar, sometimes offering synergy bonuses. Itís not always clear which skill to use. AD6 has a simplified set of only six skills, two to complement each primary ability.

5.1. Athletics
Ability: END

Climbing trees and walls, jumping across pits, running long distances and swimming are actions for which you would use the Athletics skill.

5.2. Resilience
Ability: END

Concentrating, maintaining high stamina, recovering from injury and resisting infection are actions for which you would use the Resilience skill.

5.3. Diplomacy
Ability: CUN

Bluffing, disguising ones self, gaining influence and persuading others are actions for which you would use the Diplomacy skill.

5.4. Reflexes
Ability: CUN

Balancing and tumbling, hiding from danger, riding animals and thieving are actions for which you would use the Reflexes skill.

5.5. Intellect
Ability: REA

Recalling information, speaking and writing in many languages, uncovering truths and understanding value in items are actions for which you would use the Intellect skill.

5.6. Perception
Ability: REA

Listening, sensing motives, spotting in a crowd and tracking footsteps are actions for which you would use the Perception skill.

6. Knowledges
AD6 has nine knowledges for heroes to learn and specialize in. All combine with Reason ability scores when making skill checks.

6.1. Arcana
Beasts, magic, myths, secrets, and otherworldly lore.

6.2. Engineering
Architecture, construction, using magical devices.

6.3. Geography
Cultures, dungeons, lands, maps, people.

6.4. History
Legends, lore, royalty, traditions, wars.

6.5. Law
Bureaucracy, government, justice system, nobility, trade.

6.6. Linguistics
Etymology, reading, scripts, storytelling, writing.

6.7. Medicine
Bandages, healing, herbalism, poisons, potions,

6.8. Nature
Animals, astronomy, direction, flora and fauna, survival, weather.

6.9. Religion
Ceremonies, gods, holy symbols, saints, virtues.

(To be completed later.)

7. Traits
Qualities a hero was born with, or acquired over time. Traits provide special bonuses to existing scores, or for rolls and checks in certain situations.

(To be competed later.)

8. Combat
Combat in AD6 is streamlined and easy to control, yet rich with detail. Heroes are armed with various weapons, armor, spells and clever tricks to defeat their enemies. The following describes the process to running a combat encounter.

8.1. Initiative
Each player rolls 2d6 Chance + Swift dice + Reflexes + Cunning. The Game Master rolls initiative for each type of enemy. Play begins in this turn order, from highest to lowest.

8.2. Attack
To attack, a player must choose the type of attack. AD6 has three major attack types: Melee, Ranged, and Spell attacks. Roll the appropriate dice, then compare them to the target number of the enemy. If it is higher than the enemyís defense, the attack hits.

8.2.1. Melee
Roll 2d6 Chance + Strength dice + Endurance. (Roll other Tactical dice but do not add them to the roll.) Add Strength dice to damage.

8.2.2. Ranged
Roll 2d6 Chance + Swift dice + Cunning. (Roll other Tactical dice but do not add them to the roll.) Damage is the sum of all Chance and Swift dice.

8.2.3. Spell
Roll 2d6 Chance + Focus dice + Reason. (Roll other Tactical dice but do not add them to the roll.) Damage is the sum of all Chance and Focus dice.

8.3. Weapons
Depending on the weapon, when a hero hits an enemy, they inflict an amount of damage, determined by the numbers on the Chance dice. Smaller and more basic weapons deal only the lower of the two dice, whereas larger and more powerful weapons may deal the higher of the two dice ó or in some cases, the sum of both.

(When a weapon hits, donít forget to add the bonus Tactical dice to damage as well.)

Table 8.3-1: Simple Weapons
{table=head] Simple Weapons |
Damage |
Average

Unarmed |
Low |
3.5

Light Melee |
Low |
3.5

One-Handed Melee |
High |
4.5

Two-Handed Melee |
High |
4.5

Light Crossbow |
High |
4.5

Heavy Crossbow |
Both |
7.0

Javelin |
High |
4.5

Dart |
Low |
3.5

Sling |
Low |
3.5 [/table]

Table 8.3-2: Martial Weapons
{table=head] Martial Weapons |
Damage |
Average

Light Melee |
Low |
3.5

One-Handed Melee |
High |
4.5

Two-Handed Melee |
Both |
7.0

Shortbow |
Low |
3.5

Longbow |
High |
4.5 [/table]

Table 8.3-3: Exotic Weapons
{table=head] Exotic Weapons |
Damage |
Average

Light Melee |
Low |
3.5

One-Handed Melee |
Both |
7.0

Two-Handed Melee |
Both* |
7.0

Bolas |
High |
3.5

Shuriken |
Both |
7.0

Hand Crossbow |
Low |
3.5

Light Repeating Crossbow |
High |
4.5

Heavy Repeating Crossbow |
Both |
7.0 [/table]

* Can hit twice if hero has two attacks.

9. Magic
(To be competed later.)

10. Divinity
(To be completed later.)


Thanks everyone!