Another roleplaying game system that should get more attention by gamers is the D6 System by now defunct games publisher West End Games. A precursor of the system that should later become the D6 System appeared in WEG’s Ghostbusters RPG back in 1986. The first true iteration of the D6 System was released just a year later in the form of the widely popular Star Wars: The Roleplaying game.
WEG also released a couple of other games based on popular licenses like Indiana Jones, Men in Black and the Hercules & Xena TV series. The Hercules and Xena game actually used a simplified version dubbed the Legend system. But even these popular licenses couldn’t save WEG from bankruptcy.
Over the following years WEG and its properties including the D6 System changed hands several times. Eventually three semi-generic D6 System rule books were released: D6 Adventure, D6 Fantasy, and D6 Space.
But the D6 System never got widely popular again and in the end we – the fans – are lucky that the last owner of the D6 System decided to release the games under the Open Game License. The D6 Systems core books are all available for free on DriveThruRPG and even Bill Coffin’s Septimus, the first game released under the new OpenD6 label was eventually made free by its creator.
I am still thankful to Eric Gibson, owner of WEG, that he decided to give the D6 System to the fans, even though I didn’t agree with him most of the time. I still remember a few quite heated discussions with him on the WEG Fan Forums back in the day.
So why should gamers care about the D6 System? There are multiple reasons: First and foremost the system is very easy to learn and to use. It’s perfect for new players. It just uses regular six-sided dice, the core mechanic is easy to understand. The fact that it’s now available for free means that you don’t have to pay a lot of money to get the rules.
While pondering what games I could run in the future, I eventually gave the D6 system a second look and realized that I can use it to easily run games in most settings and genres with just minor adjustment. Each D6 genre book comes with it’s own supernatural effect systems. D6 Space has Metaphysics, which reminds me a lot of the Force from the old Star Wars RPG, D6 Adventure has Psionics and D6 Fantasy has spell-based Magic. But nothing keeps you from using Magic in your Space games.
The D6 System is easy to learn and to run, versatile and available for free. And even today it deserves our attention. But it’s my impression that aside from a few die-hard fans the majority of gamers have forgotten the D6 System. Which is a shame.
There’s still plenty of love for the D6 system. Check out Azamar by Wicked North Games, along with their excellent D6 magazine. There’s also In Flames, which is a transhumanist science fiction setting.
And yes, I’m grateful that WEG made D6 into an OGL game. It gave me the chance to actually read and appreciate a system that I had long dismissed as just another GURPS wanna-be. 😉
Big fan of WEG’s D6 System here, primarily through the Star Wars RPG. It remains, to this day, my favorite RPG overall and probably accounts for more than half of the books in my entire RPG collection.
I never did get into the later “D6 Space/Fantasy/Adventure” line, though I have a friend who says they were a good read.
I think the free OpenD6 game “Mini Six” by Antipaladin Games is incredible and any roleplayer should pick it up if just to see how simple and beautiful the D6 System can be (plus…it’s free).
The D6 System was my gateway into RPGs and I’ve been a consistent admirer of it for over 16 years.
I am obviously, given my own dubious past involvement with various iterations of D6, a huge fan of it. D6 is still my “go to” system when testing out new settings or attracting new gamers to the hobby. I continue using it at conventions to run Pulp Egypt and Heroes of Rura-Tonga games. Many people are still creating excellent D6 materials. Craig mentioned Wicked North Games’ Azamar and D6 Magazine (and they’re working on a steampunk game right now called Westward); and AntiPaladin Games has distilled the core D6 rules and numerous options in its Mini Six rulebook. Whatever version one uses, it remains an easy-to-learn system that relies on an intuitive yet quite expandable core mechanic.
My relationship with the D6 system started with the Star Wars RPG. I have always liked it.
I was glad to find it was released to OGL and I am currently developing a Sci-Fi RPG using the OpenD6 license. I also have plans for 2 other Sci-Fi settings, a Fantasy Setting and a Supers/Psionics Setting.
I’m a big fan of the D6 system and I do what I can to promote OpenD6. Good article, Stargazer! Good for you on promoting the system!
Charles Stacy II, we’d love to see your work when you get them done. We’d love to see you mention it when you’re completed over on the D6 Online discussion boards. http://www.d6online.com/forum/forum.php
There are half a dozen or so items released under OpenD6 now, and they will be displayed in the D6 Magazine #4, which should be coming out relatively soon. So look for that in the very near future.
Thanks for the info. I’m always looking for new ways to advertise as it gets closer to launch time, hopefully in July.
Somewhat new to D6. Played it years ago and had fun, but that fun has been tarnished by learning how badly the GM was screwing us. (He never let us see the rule book, you wouldn’t believe what he was doing!) Now I’ve got 5 D6 books (Star Wars 2e, Fantasy, Modern, Space, and Metabarons) and my players want to give it a run and see how much fun we can have when a GM ISN’T being a dork! (Like arbitrarily assigning Dark Side points because he’s mad at one player for thwarting his BBEG’s plans.) Personally, I like the system a lot and look forward to new material!