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.
Yesterday Crafty Games released its Mistborn Adventure Game Primer on DriveThruRPG for free. I have to admit I haven’t followed the development of the Mistborn Adventure Game at all. I haven’t heard of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn novels before and I thought it was just another run-of-the-mill fantasy series. Oh boy, was I wrong.
I also expected the game using Crafty Games’ Fantasy Craft system. I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the game uses an all new system. Don’t get me wrong, I like Fantasy Craft. It’s a very cool rule system and I think more people should check it out. But it always was a bit too rules-heavy for me. It’s basically on the same crunch level as Pathfinder or D&D 3.5, but I just don’t have the time for such rules anymore. I want my game rules to be light. But I digress.
So yesterday I downloaded the aforementioned primer to see what all the fuss was about. And I was blown away. The rules are really, really light-weight and have a very narrativist feel to them. That was something I haven’t expected, but I like it. I like it a lot. I think I have to “borrow” some of their ideas for the game I am currently working on. I hope the Craft Games’ guys don’t mind.
I also quickly realized that the game was no classic fantasy but sounded very unique and the world had some Victorian feel to it. At least that’s what the interior artwork reminded me of. I think I’ll have to get one of the Brandon Sanderson novels soon to learn more about the world. I already downloaded an excerpt from the Kindle book, but I haven’t had the time to give it a closer look.
Alas there are a few things I don’t really like about the primer. The description of the rules is terribly vague. I had to read the paragraph about how to read the dice results several times before I had a faint idea how it’s supposed to work. It get even worse when it comes to conflict. There’s talk of “action dice” you get, but there’s no explanation what these dice are, how many you get, and so on. Perhaps a few examples would have helped.
But overall the primer did what is was intended to do: it piqued my interest. It made me interested not only in the game, but also in the novel series. And I definitely recommend you check it out.
Battlelords of the 23rd Century is one of the game I always wanted to check out back in the 1990s. The name alone aroused my interest in that game, but alas I was unable to track down a copy back then. Over the years I lost sight of that game. A couple of months ago I was positively surprised to see that Battlelords is back. SSDC Inc., who was founded by two huge fans of said game, has bought the game from the original publisher, and re-released it earlier this year in a slightly overhauled edition.
Before starting to delve deeper into the 292-paged book I have to thank Aaron Thies, president of SSDC, who provided me with an electronic review copy of this fine game. The other SSDC cofounder Michael Osadciw was responsible for the layout and cover art of the 2011 edition of Battlelords. And if you ask me, he did a great job! The layout is very clear and especially the cover art just calls out: “Play Me!”
By the way, this time we’re trying something exciting and new: the “Tag Team Review”. We thought that a game as bad-ass as Battlelords needs to be tackled by two reviewers, so Roberto joins me today. Let the fight begin!
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