6d6 RPG: How To Play

A short video showing the very basic concept behind the 6d6 RPG’s unique mechanic.

What makes me so excited about the 6d6 RPG is the freedom it gives players and GMs to express themselves.

Rather that a character sheet with a fixed set of abilities, the character deck contains the raw ingredients for abilities – the building blocks from which amazing actions can be created. How these elements are mixed together is down to the player, the GM and the group as a whole.

Infinite Possibilities

Characters only have cards for the abilities they excel at. A big strong fighter like Celebhith will have a Brawn and a Size card where as a fast and nimble fighter like Drax will have Speed and Manual Dexterity cards. Both characters lack the intelligence related cards that Corvell the mage uses but this doesn’t mean they are stupid. Lack of a particular card means they just average in that area.

When it comes to a fight, Celebhith will usually combine his Brawn, Size and Bastard Sword cards to deliver a mighty blows. Whereas Drax tends to reply on his Speed, Manual Dexterity and Spiked Chain cards to lash out across the room.

Every Choice Has A Cost

One of the design principles of the 6d6 RPG is that there is no such thing as free lunch. No power or ability can be used without there being a cost.

The most common cost is the Opportunity Cost of selecting one card over another. The Flow & Pool mechanic limits the cards a character can use in a round. If you use your Brawn, Size and Sword to attack someone, then these cards are not available later on in the round when someone attacks you.

The Pool is a selection of cards from the character deck and represents what the character is ready to do or what they are thinking about. The Flow is how many cards a character can place in the Pool each round.

Imagine Drax moving carefully down a dungeon corridor, weapon ready, carefully watching for danger. His pool would contain his Spiked Chain plus his Alert and Move cards. Finally Drax may have his Jump card as he is ready to leap out of the way of a trap or a surprise attack.

A great selection of cards unless, lurking in the dark, is a creature with a psionic attack or incorporeal undead ready to attack his very soul. Because of his choices, Drax would be almost defenseless against these attacks until he gets the initiative and has a chance to re-organise his pool.

Power to the GM

Core to the 6d6 RPG is the ability to take any action you can justify with your cards. There are no rules that say this card cannot be played with that card, it is up to the player, the group and the GM to decide what is a valid combination. (The only exception to this is status effects, such as paralysis, that limit characters to particular types of cards).

Using Brawn with a weapon to attack someone is obvious and common sense combination but RPGs are all about the unusual.

Drax is in bitter life-or-death grapple with an Orc chieftain. Badly hurt, Drax has had to place his Speed and Manual Dexterity cards into the discard pile and cannot use them. One more hit and Drax is dead. In desperation Drax uses his Language [ Orc ] to distract the chieftain whilst simultaneously using his Slight of Hand and Dagger cards to pull a dagger out of his boot and deliver a (hopefully) fatal blow to the orc.

Should Drax be allowed to use his card’s this way?

It is up to the GM because there are no rules about this. The GM should listen to the player’s justification for the move, consult with the rest of the group, take account of the situation and make his call.

And There’s More …

I will be posting more about the mechanics and how they can apply to almost any setting later. But to really get the idea of how easy the game works and how it allows players to merge the narrative of their action with the game mechanics, you really need to play the 6d6 RPG. Keep an eye on our calendar for appearances near you.


  1. Excellent!

    Reminds me a little of Microlite20’s mechanic where any Attribute can be linked to any Skill provided you can justify it – but taken to a much higher degree of possibilities. Yeah, I can see that working well. I’d like to see how this would work for a Superheroes game in particular. Hmmm…

    I’m loving what I see so far.
    .-= greywulf´s last blog ..Was Pac-Man the first Dungeons & Dragons arcade game? =-.

  2. Thanks.

    Superheroes is a genre I’m itching to have a go at. Comics are full of characters mixing and remixing their abilities and the 6d6 mechanics let the players do this on the fly.


  3. I would love to give this a shot. I gather that you are not in the states… Any chance to release a PDF “Print ‘n Play” version for mass play testing?

    1. Yes, there will be free version you can print & play. In fact, one aspect of the game I haven’t mentioned yet is just how free the game will be.

      I’m currently laying the ground work for a database and web interface for all the cards including a character generator. These will be free so that you can generate a PDF of the cards you need and, as you say, Print ‘n Play. (That’s a good phrase, I might steal it).

      There will also be paid for membership available that allow you to create your own cards for your own setting. This can range from a few house rules tweaking to the basic system, new races and powers for a GM’s homebrew campaign world, or a completely new game or genre.

  4. Very nice!

    How long before this whole online system comes together? This sounds like a great idea all around. What CMS or languages will you be using to set it all up?

  5. Progress is very slow because 6d6 Fireball is just me.

    I have to balance prep time for the regular playtest sessions, convention appearance and general web site stuff with developing the game rules and writing the application.

    The plan is to have a rough, closed beta version available in 4 – 6 weeks with an open beta to follow a few weeks later. The aim is to have the whole thing live before the end the of the year.

    The whole set-up is open source. A MySQL db with a PHP generated front end. Ultimately I want to make an API public so that 3rd parties can develop there own apps. I’m particularly keen to see would could be done with an IPad type device but this is some way off.

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