Beginners Guide to Playing the 6d6 RPG

This guide will explain the absolute basics you need to understand and play any game using the 6D6 RPG.

The Golden Rule

In the 6d6 RPG, everything is done by combining different cards together to describe an action. For example, if character wants to hit a monster, they can combine their Brawn card and a Long Sword cards. Or to convince a security guard to let them into a building, the Persuade and Quick Wits cards are played.

There is no right or wrong way to combine cards

If a player wants to play an unusual combination of cards, they must explain why they think it makes sense. If the group agrees that it makes sense in this particular situation, the player can uses those cards.

The Character Deck

– Photo of deck / cards needed – /

Each character has a set of cards known as the Character Deck and is made up of a variety of cards. These are:

  • Life Cards - Green Border
  • Ability Cards - Blue Border
  • Equipment Cards - White/No Border
  • Path Cards - Purple Border
  • Mechanic Cards - Pink Border

Life Cards

These represent your character's physical and mental abilities plus their soul. They also indicate how much damage a character can withstand before dying (see Life Cards, Injury and Death).

Ability Cards

The various areas of knowledge, talent and skills your character has learned in their life.

Equipment Cards

Anything important that the character is carrying or wearing such as a torch, a weapon, a spell book or a tool box.

Path Cards

Path cards tell you the character's path through life. These are used mostly for creating and developing characters and can be ignored for now.

Mechanic Cards

The pink, mechanic cards have special functions in game. Ignore them for now.

How to Play the Cards

– Close up image of a card with each part Title, Keywords, Description, Dice Value, Points Value labeled –

Each card has a Dice Value in the top right corner (1d6+1, for example) – this represents how many six-sided dice are rolled and what modifier is added, when this card is played.

When two or more cards are combined in an action, the dice and modifiers are added together. Combining Brawn (1d6+1) with Speed (1d6+2) means rolling 2d6 and adding 3 to the total.

An action can contain any number of cards but only cards currently available to the character (see Pools).

Success, Failure and Fumbles

For every action a character attempts, there is a resistance against it. To succeed, the action's score must beat the resistance. The action fails if it scores equal to or less than the resistance.

When a character attacks someone (or something), the resistance is set by the target as they try to defend themselves by playing cards. The resistance to other actions, such as climbing a cliff, will be set by the Game Leader.

An action is fumbled (goes badly wrong) if the action fails and the player only rolled 1s and 2s on their dice. The Game Leader decides what happens when an action is fumbled.

Degrees of Success

The difference between your action's score and the resistance score is how successful that action is. Depending on the type of action, this could be how much damage an attack does or how far up a cliff the character climbed.


Characters, like people, can only think about and do so many things at once. To represent this, cards are placed into either the Dynamic or Static pool and only play cards that are in these pools can be user in an action.

Dynamic Pool

The Dynamic Pool represents what the character is thinking about and what they are planning to do, including any equipment they are planning to use.

This pool is limited to just four cards for starting characters.

Static Pool

Unlike the Dynamic Pool, the Static Pool can contain any number of cards. However, only cards with the Static keyword can be placed in it.

This pool contains cards that have an ongoing effect, such as armour which is present whether the character is thinking about or not, and certain reflex-like abilities.

Different Names, Same Rules

Other than the differences noted above, both pools work in exactly the same way. Cards are put into and played out of both pools. Cards from both pools can be combined in a single action.

Playing An Action

When a character wants to act they can only play cards from their Dynamic and Static Pools. Other than that, as long as they follow the Golden Rule, any cards can be combined.

Boban the Gnome needs to get through a locked door. In her Dynamic pool she has:

  • Lock Picks (an Equipment card worth 1d6+1)
  • Pick Locks (an Ability card of 1d6+2)
  • Brawn (a Life card worth just 1d6+0)
  • Problem Solving (another Life card but worth 1d6+1)

The Pick Locks ability and the Lock Picks equipment cards are the obvious one to use. Problem Solving card would also help as Boban works logically through the task of picking the lock.

However, Boban wants to use her Brawn card as well to help turn the stiff lock. The Game Leader and other players listen to Boban's plan but the Game Leader won't allow the Brawn card. Picking locks, especially with delicate lock picks, is not a task where brute strength helps.

Boban accepts this argument and just uses the three cards: Lock Picks (1d6+1), Pick Locks (1d6+2) and Problem Solving (1d6+1); giving her 3d6+4.

After a card is used in an action it normally returns to the deck but there are some exceptions (see Rotate and Persistent).


Flow is how cards move from the Character Deck into the Dynamic and Static Pools. It represents the character's natural speed of thought and ability to adapt to the world around him.

Each round, a character normally has 2 Flow. Moving a card from Character Deck to either of the pools costs 1 Flow. This allows a character to move two cards from their deck into their pools each round.

However, this only applies in tense situations like combat where the passage of time is measured in seconds. When the situation is more relaxed, a character’s Dynamic Pool can be refilled automatically because the character has enough time between actions to fully prepare for next.

Flow and Movement Actions

As well as moving cards from the Character Deck to the pools, Flow is also used for movement in combat. Each movement action costs one of the character's two Flow. So if a character moves once, they only have 1 Flow left to transfer a card from their deck to their pool. If they move twice, they cannot place any cards into the pools.

Movement is measured in 5' squares and a movement action can be performed in one of two ways.

Run - The character uses 1 Flow (worth 1d6) to move. This can be combined with cards from their pools, such as Speed or Jump. By combining cards with Flow the character can potentially move very quickly or, with a bad dice roll, move very slowly.

Mosey or Walk - A more reliable form of movement. The character moves up to 3 squares without having to roll a dice. This use of Flow cannot be combined with cards from the pools.

Resistance Actions

Every action has a resistance it must overcome to be successful. When a character is being attacked, that character sets the resistance score through a resistance action.

A resistance action is exactly the same as normal action and can combine cards from either pool following the Golden Rule. The cards played in the resistance action normally return to the deck.

If a character chooses not to play any cards or cannot play any cards because their pools are empty, they get an automatic resistance of one.

Rotate and Persistent

Whilst most cards move from the pool back to the Character Deck, a few cards have the keywords Rotate or Persistent.

Persistent is normally found on equipment cards such as armour that keeps working no matter how often it is used. As the keyword suggests, these cards remain in the pool when played.

Rotate is a similar keyword to Persistent and cards with this keyword also remain in the Pool when they are used in an action. However, the card rotates through 90 degrees to indicate it is unusable for a short time. This represents a skill or item that when used, is “out of position” or “has lost some focus”, such as swinging a sword or reloading a rifle.

– Photo of pool with card rotated –

At the start of the character's next initiative turn, Rotate cards automatically straighten and are ready to use again. This does not cost any Flow.

Initiative Turn

Every round, each character has an Initiative Turn during which several things can happen.

  • At the start of the turn, rotated cards return to their normal position, ready for use.
  • The character receives 2 Flow to use either in movement or for flowing cards from the deck to the pools
  • The character can take one or more actions and each action can contain any number of cards. The only restriction on the number of actions taken or the number of cards in each action is that they can only use cards from their pool.
  • Using Flow and playing actions can happen in any sequence the player desires.

Managing Your Pool

The secret to success in the 6d6 RPG is carefully managing the contents of your pools. Having the no cards in the pools, or even just the wrong cards, leaves a character defenseless and very easy to kill

Using a character's Flow wisely can be the difference between life and death. Persistent and Rotate cards are highly valuable because once in the pools, they do not cost any Flow. Static cards are also valuable because they remain ready for use indefinitely but do not take up any space in the Dynamic Pool.

Life Cards, Injury and Death

As well being used in actions, Life cards also represent your ability to withstand injury.

Each card has a Character Point value in the bottom left corner. On Life cards, this reflects how much damage that card can “soak” from a successfully damaging hit. A basic card 1d6+0 card is worth 4 points.

Damage is measure in points, e.g. 3 points of damage.

When a character takes damage, they must discard Life cards with Character Points worth equal to or more than the number of damage points.

The character chooses which Life cards to sacrifice and place them under the Discard Pile card (one of the pink bordered mechanic cards). Once discarded, the card cannot be used until the character receives some healing.

Because a character must discard Life cards worth at least equal to the number of damage points, even a single point of damage will cost one card. This makes several small injuries just a deadly as a single large injury.

Boban has a Problem Solving card worth five Character Points and a Brawn card worth four points. She has just been stabbed by the owner of the house she was breaking into and has taken four points of damage.

She can choose either card to soak the damage but whichever card she picks must go into the Discard Pile. Even though the Problem Solving card is worth five points (one point more than needed), Boban discards it. In a fight, her Brawn card is going to be a lot more important than her Problem Solving.

If character takes damage and does not have enough green cards to discard, they collapse and start to die. Whether they ever recover depends on their friends and luck.

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