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In our freebie from last Friday, our protagonist tries to delay his opponent by impaling himself on his claws, hoping to slow the enemy enough to allow his friends to show up.

Now, there are entangle and grab rules in the D6 System, but nothing like this. So how did he do it?

There are a few options, but one that more advanced D6 System groups could try is the bargaining option, where the player and gamemaster try to figure out what works best for the scene, coming up with rule mechanics that feel okay for that situation.

For example, in the story the protagonist's player might have said, "Is there any way that I could impale myself on its claws to keep it from getting away?"

The gamemaster replies, "You know that'd hurt, right?"

The player nods. "I know; how about every point of damage it inflicts on me reduces its movement by 1, and increases the difficulty of breaking free by 1?"

The gamemaster hmms. "Well, you'd be stuck together; you wouldn't be able to attack him until you broke free, and he'd keep attacking you."

"That's fine. My friends'll hear this soon; they'll save me. Let's go for it!"

"Okay; go ahead and make a fighting roll to 'hit' his claws with your body."

And so on.

This method can be used in other situations not covered by the rules. For example, if a player is pretending to "help" someone else but actually wants to sabotage the effort, the gamemaster and player might use the "Related Skills" rules only subtract the supplemental bonus instead of adding it.

Bargaining what happens isn't for every group, but it can lead to a freeform excitement that lets everyone think "outside the box" and look at their characters as more than a collection of numbers rigidly bound by the rules.

* * *

In other news, D6 Fantasy Locations is in stock and shipping. Here's the blurb. Buy it; you'll love it!


D6 Fantasy Locations

Getting there is not more than half the fun. This book serves two functions for would-be fantasy architects. First, it's a how-to guide for those who want to make their own fantastic locations, with information for crafting cities, castles, and dungeons, plus advice for making them more realistic or more magical. Second, it's also a collection of ready-to-use locations, from castle dungeon to ruined temple, from treetop village to fantastic metropolis, from a keep in the clouds to an inner-mountain city. All locations come with the elements necessary to bring them alive, such as descriptions, maps, sample characters, adventure seeds, or the like.

This book is designed to be useful to a variety of fantasy gamers and campaigns. Whether you're a gamemaster for a gritty historical game looking for a last-minute locale or a player whose character has dreams of building his own magical castle, D6 Fantasy Locations has something to offer you.

Item #WEG51020
ISBN 1-932867-09-0
112-page softcover
$15.95
In stock and shipping
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It's been a while; we had some networking issues that kept us from being online as much as we wanted, and then some Deadline Demons hounded our every move, and then . . . well, the dog ate our homework.

Anyway, we're back, and we'll try not to be such strangers.

The biggest news we have currently is the release of an exclusive free mini-supplement, "The Church of the Thoughtful Hunt," for D6 Fantasy. In this three-page location (four if you count the catalog that will psychically compel you to purchase more of our wares), our heroes find out more than they bargained for about a magnificent building. (Note that there are references to other locations and events from D6 Fantasy Locations, which is the book that we're promoting with this item.)

Anyway, "The Church of the Thoughtful Hunt" is online at http://www.westendgames.com/d6/d6fthhunt.pdf.

Feel free to peruse the rest of the Free D6 System stuff online at http://www.westendgames.com/html/freed6.html. Of particular note is the "Adventurous Chronicler," a bard based on the narrator of the freebie and much of D6 Fantasy Locations.

There will be another mini-freebie tied to this one made available to readers of our exclusive secret more-or-less monthly newsletter, which you can get access to by sending a request to do so with a valid e-mail to steven.marsh@westendgames.com.

And, of course, for those of you looking to ensure we can afford our raman noodles for another month, we hope you'll consider picking up a copy of D6 Fantasy Locations (WEG51020; 112-page softcover; $15.95) either from your Friendly Local Game Shop or any other means you use to buy our games. It should be arriving in our warehouse Monday or Tuesday, so I expect it to start hitting the streets a week or so thereafter.

We'll be back Monday with more goodness that'll tie directly into today's freebie PDF, so you may want to read that one first.
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This one has been listed elsewhere in various forms, and is mentioned at con games, but it's a favorite of us so we're plugging it again.

The D6 System is one of the only games that a new player can be taught everything she needs to start playing in five minutes or less -- including character creation.

The way to get fast character creation is to offer the player a selection of templates (check out our free section online for a bunch you can print out), and then offer slightly abbreviated creation method.

  • Method 1: The player picks one skill she's really good at (called the "tag" skill) and adds +2D to that skill. She then adds +1D to five other skills that she's pretty good at.
  • Method 2: The player picks one skill she's really, really good at and adds +3D to that skill. She then adds +1D to four other skills that she's pretty good at.

Both methods are remarkably fast, since they reduce the number of choices to a bare minimum. Of course, such characters are possibly not as well-balanced or "optimized" as other character creation methods, but it's fast, easy to understand, and takes about a minute to teach.

If either method is used, it's suggested that "default" skill penalties not be applied (except for the most egregious "I don't know how to do this, but what the heck" examples), since the character won't be as well-rounded as one who's spread those points a bit thinner.
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This is possibly our last suggestion for leaving players with some free will for their characters, while making sure the possibility still exists for players to succumb to the gamemaster's social characters. If you haven't collected the first two, run out to the store now to pick them up! . . . No, wait; they're free online, just like this one. Here, try scrolling up. Use the little wheel on your mouse; yeah, that's it. No, that's the right mouse button; the other thing. Right!

<Ahem> You're back? Great. Let's go.

One of the strengths of the D6 System that's rare among other games is the ability to modify a roll after the fact, using Character Points; it makes the game more heroic, and leaves the players with lots of options. One way to work that in, then, is for the gamemaster to let players know ahead of time: "If you fail this roll, you won't be in control of your next action." (The gamemaster might or might not offer any specifics.) That way, if it's important for the player to be in control of the character, he can spend the Character Points to do so. If he normally doesn't mind relinquishing control, but really doesn't want to be at the mercy of Ivan Jumpovacliff, he can use those Character Points in that situation. And if a player doesn't mind in any situations, he can save his Character Points and use them for other rolls (to get out of the trouble relinquishing control will no doubt cause) or to raise his abilities later (perhaps to raise his social skills to make sure he doesn't fall pray to other attempts to take him over).
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Yesterday we offered an example of what to do when players might not want to abide by what the dice say in social interaction rolls; today we're offering more advice. We'll be milking this puppy until . . . well, until we realize that puppies don't give milk.

Anyway, as an alternate idea, players might be given the choice of what to do, but if they don't follow what the dice say, they are penalized by an amount they failed that interaction roll by in whatever other actions they take. This penalty persists as long as the gamemaster decides; it should probably be at least a few rounds, and might be until the character has something else distract her from the situation that she lost the social interaction at in the first place.

Example: Dr. Booqueworm, played by Carl, is being seduced by the evil mastermind Kate Dangerosa. Carl suspects Ms. Dangerosa is actually evil, and declares he doesn't want to be seduced. Unfortunately, even with the +10 bonus to his willpower roll (see the "Mental Defenses" sidebar in the "Example Skill Difficulties" chapter), Kate still beats his total by 6. (This is what happens when you don't put any skill dice into those social attributes or skills.) The gamemaster says that he feels compelled to go off to Kate's private chambers. Carl says that he doesn't want his character do to that, but instead wants to shoot her. The gamemaster allows this, but imposes a -6 penalty to this action, since he failed his interaction roll by 6.

One advantage of this method is it gives the player reason to pay attention to (and improve) social skills, even if not playing a social charcater, while still keeping the player more or less in full control of the player's character.
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The D6 System has lots of social skills and abilities. Most players view these as abilities their characters use against other people (such as conning a guard or haggling with a merchant). But they should, theoretically, be usable against them as well. Unfortunately, this brings the matter of free will into play -- if the dice declare that the evil seductress charms a player's character, and the player doesn't want his character to be charmed, is it okay if that choice is taken away from him? (This same issue comes up when players try to use their characters to influence the actions of other players' characters.)

Some gaming groups don't have a problem with this, and they've sorted out the issue on their own. Good for them!

Other groups may have struggled with this. For the next couple of days, then, we'll be offering some advice for these groups.

Perhaps the easiest option is to allow players to decide their characters' actions, but give them a Character Point bonus for good roleplaying if they relinquish control to adverse dice rolls. For example, in the case of our evil seductress, the player might say, "Well, I know she's evil, but I rolled really poorly on my willpower roll . . . so my character will go along with her for now. Just remember that I have Devotion: Code Against Killing, so if she tries to go against that I should probably get another roll to snap out of it."

This player is giving up control, and as such deserves to get at least one bonus Character Point at the end of the adventure. The gamemaster might even give the extra point immediately, so the player might have it to use to get out of the situation . . .
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It may seem obvious, but Skill Bonus is a good way to be assured of a skill result, by supplying a bonus equal to the minimum level of difficulty the character can always accomplish. For example, a professor who will never fail at a Moderate scholar roll might have:

Skill Bonus: World-Renowned Expert (R4), +12 to scholar totals.

That way, even if there are problems with the Wild Die or other low rolls, the character is always guaranteed a Moderate result. Of course, Skill Minimum can accomplish the same thing, if the character has enough dice in scholar. However, the advantage of the system above is that you can guarantee that all characters who have, say, "Skill Bonus: World-Renowned Expert (R4)" will always be able to achieve Moderate results, regardless of their initial skill.
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In response to our most recent blog entry, about the relationship between Scale and lifting (or lift), the prolific author "Anonymous" asked:

So what is the advice on boosting lifting ability for a playable race? Is Skill Focus (+3 lifting) kosher? And does that affect damage the way I think it might?

Assuming that our good friend Anonymous meant "Skill Bonus," then that's exactly right. Some alternative means of achieving a similar result include:

  • Skill Minimum (lifting), to represent those people or creatures who aren't necessarily able to lift more than Human maximum, but who routinely lift more than Human average
  • Luck (either version) with Restriction (R1) limited to actions involving lifting only, to represent characters who occasionally lift a lot more than Human average, but who don't consistently toss around huge things
  • Increased Attribute (for Strength or Physique) to represent characters whose size generally makes them better at all things Physical.

Regarding the second part, officially any bonuses to lifting do not affect Strength Damage. In the current edition of the D6 System, efforts have been made to keep Strength Damage in line with other forms of damage. (In old editions, punches from starting characters were able to deal more damage than shotgun blasts or the like.) Since we want most characters to avoid being instantly killed by most attacks, we've kept Strength Damage relatively controlled.

As an optional rule -- one which we don't recommend too highly -- gamemasters might allow half of any lifting bonus from sources such as Skill Bonus to apply to Strength Damage (round down). Thus someone who has "Skill Bonus (R3), +9 to lifting totals" would also add +4 to Strength Damage. (Remember that increased Scale already adds to damage, so this is extra damage.) Before players push for this option too highly, though, remember that it would apply to all characters . . . so the gamemaster's characters might suddenly get a bit tougher, too.
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Over on the forums, someone has asked if Scale affects lifting (or lift, depending on your flavor of D6 System).

In a word, "No."

Many aspects of the D6 System apply a "you pay for what you get" methodology, where bonus extra abilities aren't assumed. While it's a debatable design decision, the minds behind D6 System feel it's easier to buy extra effects that are tied to and enhance others rather than strip out extra effects that are assumed.

So, as a "for example," many characters with larger Scale are capable of moving much quicker, because their legs are longer so they're making longer strides. But other large characters don't move faster; witness how average-sized Argonauts are able to outrun huge cyclopes in old movies, or how tiny mice can outrun many people. (And how, exactly, does Timmy and his pet turtle outrun giant radioactive lizards in downtown Tokyo?)

This is the same rationale behind Scale not affecting lifting. After all, Scale is cheap; for example, for five skill dice you can be bigger than a two-story building. The only options in this case are to give a bunch of extra abilities to Scale -- and potentially unbalancing the game -- or make Scale more expensive -- which hampers people who don't want the "bells and whistles." For example, a certain scraggly-bearded gent at a certain school for young wizards is quite large; however, he doesn't routinely pick up huge objects nor seem to exhibit unusual strength.

So what to do? Well, here are two points to consider.

1) Remember that Special Abilities are not a guaranteed right of characters, but rather generally require gamemaster approval. The gamemaster, in turn, "may also decide that certain Special Abilities require specific Limitations on them or Disadvantages on the character." Scale is a perfect excuse to have all manner of Special Abilities, including Hypermovement, Increased Attribute, Skill Bonus or Skill Minimum for lifting, and Hardiness.

2) As an optional rule (one which hasn't been playtested at all), gamemasters might allow the same rules for larger Scale to apply to lifting. To whit: By taking an increase in the "to hit" to pick something up, the larger character can add her Scale to the result.

Example: A Scale 20 giant is trying to pick up a small bale of hay. Since picking something up is usually automatic, the giant's player makes a brawling or fighting roll to "grapple" the hay, with the difficulty equal to 20 (0+20). If this roll is successful, then the giant's Scale value is added to the lifting roll, resulting in a minimum of 20.

A failure on the brawling/fighting roll means the character wasn't able to pick the object up; he was too big and "missed" the object. (You see this all the time in movies.) Although the base of this roll is usually 0, it can be greater if the base object is significantly smaller than the character; for example, the object can be treated as "prone" (+6).

There are extended rules for Scale differences in the forthcoming D6 Adventure Creatures book, since it has Gargantuan Blobs, Gargantuan Spiders, Gargantuan Mutant Vegetables, Gargantuan . . .
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And what of the other exciting free exclusive goodie we mentioned a few days ago? Okay, here's the scoop.

We've sent out a special exclusive bonus booklet PDF to retailers on our mailing list. It's an eight-page booklet for D6 Space entitled "Ela Taf and the Fleeting Sunset," and it details a bounty hunter and her space ship.




This document includes:

  • Full stats and history for Ela Taf
  • Full stats for her unique space ship, the Fleeting Sunset -- designed to be a perfect "starting crew" ship
  • Stats for one of Ela's unique weapons
  • Information for how to use Ela in almost any D6 Space campaign, either as an antagonist or ally


When printed out and folded together, it's an eight-page booklet . . . and we're really happy with it.

Now, there's a real chance you'll ask your retailer for this goodie and they won't have the foggiest idea what you're talking about. That's okay; just have them e-mail us with the following information to steven.marsh@westendgames.com:

=======================

Name:
Store Name:
Store Address:
Store Phone #:
Store E-Mail Address (the address where the freebie information will be mailed to):
Do you want to be added to our monthly e-mail list? YES NO

=======================

Don't worry; we aren't going to call or harass them. We're just trying to strengthen our relationship with our retailers who support us, and we figure the easiest way to do that is to get our teeming millions of fans to do the leg work in finding those store. Feel free to forward on this information to any retailers who might be interested.

And if you find a retail location that does carry this free goodie for you, feel free to drop an e-mail to the address above and let us know; we'd like to send a thank-you note.
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