Simple d6: One-Off RPGs at Their Finest

During a failed attempt to get the entire group together to finish JADE's Traveller Campaign Interstellar Exports, we decided to at least use the evening for an RPG and throw down a small campaign set on an 18th century pirate ship. We would play as captured British sailors and have to escape from the ship.

The problem was none of us wanted to go through the rigmarole of setting up a whole character sheet in any version of D&D, or any other RPG that I own... Especially not World of Synnibarr. They all just took too long and with only a couple of hours to play we needed something fast. That was when I remembered an RPG I Stumled on a while back. The game was called Simple d6 and I found it on 1d4chan.

You can check it out here:

While our GM Elijah prepared our setting, I quickly set to reading the rules... And it didn't take long, the printable version only spans two pages!

And there is a second page, but you can go to the 1d4chan page for that.
The game system is a little strange, but fairly easy once you have the hang of it. Players start by coming up with a name and a concept for their characters. For the game that Jeff and I played with Elijah, our characters were: Jacabo Montgomery Esteban Ferringsmere, Concept: 18th Century Ship's Gunner (Jeff) and Lawrence Orwell, Concept: 18th Century Upper Mastman (Myself). The concept of your character should fit the game setting and must be approved by the GM.

Next you select 5 skills. These should be based around your character and should be as specific as possible. For my character I chose: Use Ropes, Climb, Swim, Sword Fighting and Firearms (Rifle). Jeff on the other hand chose: Meteorology, Climb, Knife Fighting, Fishing, and Swim. Again the GM must approve these choices

The final step is selecting a quality for your character, an overall ability that describes them. Jeff went with Literate (signifying his intelligence), I went with Strong to be the brawn of the party. And of course, the GM has to approve.

And that was it! We were done, our pirates had been created. Now there are rules for Spells, and other special abilities, but being lowly 18th Century humans neither of those rules were appropriate to this game.

It was pirating time!
As ready as we were to go, there was one more thing Elijah had to give us for the game. The Aspects, which are the most important part of the system. The Aspects represents the different elements that will be encountered and can change from game to game. Each player gets 1 defense and 5 hit points in each of these aspects. Now you can move these stats around a little bit, but this being our first game we didn't bother.

In Simple D6 each encounter with the potential for an adversarial out come (NPC interactions, Tying down an unruly mast in a storm, etc.) is treated as a battle. Both player and GM roll against one another using d6's and looking up damage on a chart. the first person's aspect to reach zero loses the encounter. In a social or non-violent setting, having your HP reduced to zero means you lose the encounter. Your HP then returns to max, and you are ready for the next encounter. In a combat or  violent situation, the damage to your HP is permanent and can result in death. Defense in each aspect lowers the damage done to the stat, and you race to reach get the other to zero first. In this way the outcomes of those complex situations are handled!

For those skills that don't require that level of interaction (tying a knot, climbing a rope, etc.), and for actually rolling in one of the Aspect Battles, players tally the number of skills and qualities they have that relate to what they are attempting, and roll that many d6's. The player chooses one of those d6's as their roll, and look up the success on the chart. Really simple!

The Aspects Elijah chose for our game were Social, Combat, and Naval.

Now we were ready to play. Character creation time, including learning and then teaching the rules to two others: 20 minutes. I was impressed.

Not Bad.
Elijah proceeded to take us on an adventure. Using his excellent knowledge of Ships and Sailing from that time, Elijah took us to a pirate ship about to go into mutiny, on the edge of a storm at sea.

Our characters had been kidnapped, but with no where to go, and the only other option being to walk the plank, we had been accepted as crew members and entitled to the same rights as any other. So using our relative freedom, we discovered that the crew trusted their captain to get them through the storm, as he was a renowned pilot, but we unhappy with his division of the spoils, and lack of treasure of late. With an understanding nod, Jeff and I knew exactly what to do.

We framed the cook, making it look like he was a thief, and that the captain had been hiding even more luxuries from the crew. It cost the reputation (and probably life) of the ship's cook, but in the end the crew did mutiny. There was a fight on the deck where I had to knock out the dual wielding Quarter Master with nothing but a broom stick, while Jeff enraged the crowd with cries of anarchy. It was fantastic, but it was only part of our plan...

Just part of the plan.
The pirate ship had a schooner in tow, and we decided to use the conundrum to sneak off and escape with it... But Elijah pointed out that the two of us were not enough to get the Schooner ready to sail again on her own. Thinking fast, we stormed into the captain's quarters, where he and the navigator were hiding. We told them that we had come to rescue them, barricaded the door, and convinced them to come with us to the schooner. We then climbed, zip-lined (almost drowned) and made our way to the schooner. Safely off the mutinous ship, I cut the rope with one of the quarter master's swords I had taken after defeating him, and we were free.

With our ship unattached from the pirate ship, we slowly drifted to a stand still as the pirate ship gained distance from us into the storm, and with out their captain, most likely to their deaths.

And we got one of these bad boys.
We got all of that from an RPG written on a single page. It was awesome! The system provide enough moding and and depth to keep an experienced player interested, while not bogging things down with unnecessary and complicated rules keeping it fast and dirty.

Personally I wouldn't want to use the system for a long standing multi-game campaign. If I am going into depth in the campaign, then I would also like to do that with my characters. However for a one-off campaign, this is perfect. It doesn't have the time commitment of creating a complex table top RPG character and thus lets you prepare and throw down a game in an evening.

It would also be a great way to introduce new players to Table Top RPG's without scaring them with the giant rulebook... Or if your group is just drunk and unruly.

All in all, I really like Simple d6, and I plan to host all of those spontaneous one-off campaigns (that every gaming group plays from time to time) in this system.

Written by: Andrew Gregory

Simple d6: One-Off RPGs at Their Finest Simple d6: One-Off RPGs at Their Finest Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 8/15/2015 12:30:00 pm Rating: 5

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