6d6 RPG: Character Generation & Paths

I’ve been revisiting, updating and expanding the character creation and development system with some interesting results.

Getting Rid of the Race

The last revision of the system introduced the Race Card and characters where born by selecting the race you wanted to play, e.g. Elf, Human etc. This card gave the character some a set list of free cards such as Senses and Movement. The player then brought Path cards, each of which allowed the players to buy a limit set of cards. e.g. The Education Path card made the Culture, Literacy and History cards available to buy.

This worked but having to give the player a special race card was an awkward mechanic.

Fortunately, we have now got rid of the Movement and Senses cards and replaced them with a different mechanic. This means that Race cards are no longer needed. Players can simply buy the Path cards they want. Whether it is something general such as City Life or specific like Bandit. All the Path cards cost 4 points each and work exactly the same way. Simplyifing the rules system and making it easier for new players.

Racial Profiling

One aspect of 1st edition AD&D I find missing from modern games is racial stereotypes – All dwarfs are miners, all elves are good with bows etc. It did have its downsides but it made it gave some very easy building blocks for developing your character’s personality.

Whilst not wanting to force predefined stereotypes onto players, I didn’t want all races to be the same either. This search for compromise has produced the Blood cards.

Blood cards are just Path cards but have names such as Dwarf Blood or Goblinoid Blood. They represent the genetic heritage of the character and make available cards common to that race. So Elves can have Grace, Gnomes can have the Complete Darkness environmental card. Players do not have to buy these cards, they don’t even have to buy the Blood card for their race but it is recommend.

Blood, Lifestyle, Growth and Occupation

Whilst all Path cards are the same, I’ve developed four different themes and structures for them.

Blood cards, the genetic and cultural heritage of the character, all make available the following cards or card types: Culture (specific for race); Language (also specific); two different Environment cards (e.g. for Dwarves it is Complete Darkness and Caves & Mines); one each of a Body, Mind and Soul card (e.g Dwarves get Toughness, Problem Solving and Earth Element); plus two other cards that are typical for that race.

Lifestyle cards reflect the environments the character grew-up in, such as City Life or Country Life. These also follow a structure: Six Life cards; two Skill cards and one Environment card.

The Path cards for Growth cover those aspects of life the shape a child into an adult. Such as Education, Family or Apprenticeship. The structure for these is simple, three Life cards and six Skill or Knowledge cards.

Finally, there are Occupation cards. Not all are occupations as such and really represent periods during the character’s adult life that have been influential. These have no structure and range from Bandit through Prometheic Mage to Watchman.

Loose Structure

There is nothing to stop a player creating a character with six different Blood cards and no other Paths. Or six Occupations and not have any racial traits at all. However, if they do take this approach, they will either have lots of Life cards and no abilities or no Life cards and lots of abilities. This can be workable for certain specialised types of characters but it be unworkable for most.

The recommend approach is to take one each of the Blood, Lifestyle, Growth and Occupations. This will give the character a good spread of cards they can purchase with the remaineder of their points. GMs can encourage or insist that players take a particular mix of Path cards but this up to the GMs and players to decide, not the rule system.


This link is for all the path cards available at the moment. Which is very useful for getting a feel of what the system can do. Where as these path sheets have a path card plus all the cards that they make available grouped on one page. The Path card is the top left card (except where it has gone wrong in a few places) and all the other cards on that page can be purchased once the character has the Path card.

Try It Yourself

The second link contains all the cards (except equipment) needed to create a character. Each character starts with 36 + 6d6 points and a Path card costs 4 points to buy. There is no limit on which or how many Path cards your character acquires.

Now buy your Life (green) and ability cards (blue). Each for these also costs 4 points and is worth 1d6 in play. It is possible to upgrading a blue or green card:

  • 1d6 + 0 = 4 Points
  • 1d6 + 1 = 5 Points (1 additional point)
  • 1d6 + 2 = 7 Points (2 additional points)
  • 1d6 + 3 = 10 Points (3 additional points)
  • and so on…

Aim for 4 path cards, 4 Life cards and the remainder on abilities.

Let me know how you get on.

Previous Posts on the 6d6 RPG Character Creation

Character Progression

Experiments in Character Generation Part 3 – Group Character Generation

Experiments in Character Generation Part 2 – Path Cards

Experiments in Character Generation


  1. Just a bit confuzzled

    As I read it- the benefit of path cards is to make certain cards available, so a character not purchase cards if they do not have a blood/lifestyle/growth/occupation card that makes it available?

    Cherry Blows and Axel reid from Xhumed’s example game seem to have no such path cards- and still have access to skills and abilities.

  2. Well spotted.

    Cherry, Axel and all the Outbreak! characters were created especially for the adventure by picking the cards most suitable for their role in the adventure.

    The simple reason for this is that the Path cards currently only cover a fantasy setting. We haven’t done it for any other genre yet.

    It is worth noting than whilst the core rules will need players to pick Path cards, it is an easy mechanic for the GM to ignore. Players can simply select whatever Life or Ability cards they want. This makes the characters more powerful as they don’t need to spend points on Path cards so they have more to spend elsewhere. It also gives players more freedom to select whatever card they desire.

    I can see some groups / GMs preferring this approach, especially for a home brew or out-of-genre type of campaigns.

    However Path cards are useful for new players as they help define the character’s history and reduce the number of possible choices of cards down to a more manageable level.

  3. To some extent, the outbreak characters represent our first try at a more modern game and if they work, they’re likley to become path cards. So if we treat Cherry as an archetype of a cheerleader, Those cards she has will become part of the path card labelled ‘Cheerleader’.

    Although it’s unlikley they’ll have the philosophy card.

    For the sake of outbreak! I want to keep things really simple. In a zombie survival game where most of the characters aren’t likley to survive for more than a few hours, it’s not worth thinking to hard about background so I opted out of path cards. They seemed not to be appropriate to the genre and part of the system is being able to modifiy it for genre specificity.

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