Tag Archives: d6

Conan II

I have based this look at the Conan rpg on the quick start rules and the Conan Free RPG Day 2017 version Pit of Kutallu.

When Michael reviewed the full rule book the overall impression I came away with was ambivalence towards the game but then Michael is not a real Conan fan. Conan was my way into RPGs in the first place.

So putting the 2d20 system aside (more about that later) how has Conan and Hyboria been treated? With the greatest respect is my impression. The books are littered with vignettes taken from Robert E. Howards original works and these set the scene and bring the setting to live. The quick start book even starts with an essay on what is canon and who Howard’s creation was taken and expanded upon.

I have read through two adventures; Pit of Kutallu, which showcases the dark Cthulhu-esque shared background of Hyboria and To Race The Thunder which is set on the very edges of Aquilonia.

I may be somewhat biased here but these adventures are written in the same style as I tend to write my own. I am not a lover of maps and room by room descriptions. These adventures describe challenges or encounters and the GM may use or ignore them as they see fit or are needed to challenge the players. There is another quality to them and this is ‘relative encounters’.

‘Relative Encounters’

In many classic published adventures; a location will be described and then you are told there are 5 guards stationed here, what they are carrying and any treasure. When the PCs roll up they meet or avoid the guards depend on their choices. These static encounters have the danger of being over powered or under powered depending on the make up of the party. We play a game based upon dice and random things happen.

All the adventure encounters in these publications use a more relative way of describing the numbers encountered such as ‘one less than the number of characters’ or ‘three times the number of characters plus two more’. It doesn’t matter how many characters are in the party, the danger level of the adventures self-regulates. I don’t know if this is a Conan ‘thing’ or just a modern adventure writing ‘thing’, either way it is excellent and I will adopt it for all my future adventures.

Another feature, this may just be because the sample I have looked at are intended to be single shot adventures, but NPCs are designated as being suitable for use as PCs. Should a player die in the game session they can take up the reins of one of these NPCs to complete the adventure. This points to the adventure being well written. It also gives the GM a free hand relating to danger. I am not a ‘killing’ GM. I do not go out of my way to stack dangers against the PCs. At the same time I like to let the dice fall where they may. I am running a game set in the Forgotten Realms right now and the party have two possible options for raising a fallen character, both of which are single use, one is a scroll and the other will be consumed when used. Giving them that ability means that my hands are free to play my monsters and NPC opponents to the best of their ability. Seeding the adventures with potential pregen characters also frees up the GM.

So, as published Conan is a 2d20 system but Modiphius also publish a d20 to 2d20 conversion document to help those moving from the Mongoose Conan game. WotC incidentally publish a D6 to d20 conversion guidelines document relating to the StarWars franchise. This means that junking the 2d20 system, the only element that I don’t like, and adopting either d20 or an OpenD6 system are viable options. My D6 bookshelf has grown to 5 books now and I like what I am reading.

Conclusion

So will I buy Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of core book? It is a relatively cheap book and certainly good value for money at nearly 500 pages. I think this is a good possibility and kills two birds with one stone, to use the cliché, I could tempt my main group of players with Conan and feed them the D6 system at the same time. So right now Conan is on my ‘I want to play’ pile.

WEG D6 first play report

Following on from a couple of recent posts (https://www.stargazersworld.com/2017/10/28/looking-for-a-spiritual-home/ and https://www.stargazersworld.com/2017/11/10/first-impressions-of-west-end-games-d6/) I actually got to play over the weekend. We played the D6 Fantasy version and I played a thief.

It was my original intention to run a session but as it turned out my intended player had run the game before so offered to GM for me. That has to be the best way of testing anything, with an enthusiastic and talented GM to draw you in.

The game was rather stealthy, stealthy, hack and slash but as an intro adventure showed off the skills system quite nicely. The rule book has loads of template PCs to choose but I went for rolling my own PC. In that case the templates served as a model as to what I should be aiming for. All in we were playing the intro scene in less than 30 minutes including a lot of hand holding and explaining the classes, advantages and disadvantages. It is inevitable that if you have the players hundreds of options to customise their characters then it will take time to review them.

I tend to measure every thing in Rolemaster time and it takes me 30 minutes to create a starting character in my preferred (house ruled) version when I know the rules like the back of my hand. Comparing that to 30 minutes for a complete novice and having everything explained and reading every possible advantage and disadvantage shows how much easier WEG is compared to Rolemaster.

The combat system was slightly simpler than the version in the core D6 core system book. There was only one thing that jarred. At one point I was unarmoured when I was attacked. They hit me with a broadsword. I dodged, as you do, but they still hit me. They rolled damage, I rolled my physique. I rolled well, they rolled poorly and I walked away with no damage. I have a problem imagining who that played out for the character. No one has swords bounce off them doing no harm. That certainly is a solid six pack if you ask me!

That niggle aside (and I don’t believe there is a game anywhere that doesn’t have some little weird kink in it) I was suitably impressed. I would definitely like to play this game again in more than a single one shot.

The game system definitely didn’t get in the way of the role playing and once I had come up to speed, knowing where to find the right numbers on the character sheet when called for things were pretty slick.

D6 Fantasy has just been revived and the books are being revised as we speak. For that reason I would be inclined to only buy the PDF so you can get updates as they happen. Buy the printed book now and you are stuck with out of date rules. Definitely worth spending $3 on.

 

First Impressions of West End Games D6

I am one of those people who is an incredibly slow reader. If Mrs R is showing me an article on a webpage she is forever trying to scroll down long before I get to the end of the screen. I am also pretty slow and untidy when I have to write using a pen. I think that is part of what attracted me to role playing in the first place, the ability to tell incredible stories without the torture of having to write it all down. In a single sentence or two I can paint a picture for my players that would take hundreds of words to describe in a book. If they imagine something different to what I am seeing that makes no difference. Their character is a product of their imagination. If I told you…”The inn is dark and shuttered up with just rays of light from splits in the boards, the tables are upturned barrels and the only seating, planks resting on smaller kegs. The locals all turn to face you as the door opens and the inn falls silent. A curl of smoke drifts up though a shaft of light from a pipe held by bear of a man sat close to the door and nearest to you.” I would hope you are all imagining at least something like the inn in my minds eye.

So for a blog that does a lot of reviews I am not a brilliant reviewer as it takes me forever and a day to read rule books and to top it off I tend to dig deep. I have been looking at Mini SIX and that lead me to WEG D6 OGL System book from West End Games. From 40 pages to read and understand that goes up to 130. Just reading RPG rule books is not enough, you need to create characters and ideally run a session or two as well.

So I thought I would do a ‘first impressions’ post first to buy me some time. I don’t want to disappear off the radar for ages as it looks like I asked for advice, got it and then completely ignored it.

 

 

First Impression 1

I am a huge fan of OGL games and content. The fact that the D6 system book is OGL immediately makes me want to like this system. That is a good start!

First Impression 2

The scope of the system book is brilliant. It has fantasy, modern, sci-fi and supers all in the one book. That is more than I hoped for. I have a project on the back burner to create a d100 system like that and I think I can learn a lot from this book in terms of game design!

First Impression 3

The art in section 1, character creation is really creepily sexualised. The book was published in 1996 and I would have thought attitudes would have moved on by then, but apparently not.

I created my first character in about 5 minutes which was cool. I had the idea of a Fantasy style version of John McClane (Die Hard) and the sample professions gave me all the direction I needed.

So what comes next?

Over this weekend I will get a chance to run a quick session so I have downloaded A Dark and Stormy Knight. I want to see if I can through a single character through a 1st level D&D adventure with little or no prep. Before the session I will read up on how to make monsters.

So right now, having never played the game I am quite impressed. I have not read the GMs material yet but I did see references to Stunned and Lacerations which instantly appealed to my inner Rolemaster-kin.