Introduction to OpenD6 Fantasy

These rules provide the fundamentals necessary to play in nearly any fantasy setting — low, high, and pseudo-historical — using the famous OpenD6 System roleplaying game rules.

If you're reading this, you probably already know what a roleplaying game is. In case you need a refresher or to explain it to your friends, we suggest telling them that this is an interactive storytelling game wherein they play the part of major characters in the story. If they're still interested, let them read this introduction.

You might also want to start with this introduction if you've roleplayed before getting these rules but it wasn't with the OpenD6 System.

What is A Roleplaying Game?

A roleplaying game is very much like improvisational acting or interactive storytelling — but with rules. Many video games are like this, and there are plenty of online interactive worlds, so chances are good that you know what a roleplaying game is about. This roleplaying game, however, doesn't need any expensive equipment, software, or a connection to the Internet.

What Do I Need to Play OpenD6 Fantasy?

To play this game, you need these rules, some paper, something to write with, some six-sided dice, a lot of imagination, and a group of people, one of whom is willing to act as the guiding force in the game. This person is called many things, but "gamemaster" serves well as shorthand for someone who presents information about the game setting, creates obstacles for the other players to overcome, takes the part of the people the players encounter, and adjudicates the rules. The rest of the group, simply called "the players," take on roles of major characters in the story that they and the gamemaster create together.

The stories are called "adventures" or "scenarios." Very short adventures, usually encompassing only one or two obstacles to a simple goal, are referred to as "encounters." A series of encounters can become an adventure, while a series of adventures can turn into a campaign. These rules contain a section (called "Adventure Tips") on how to come up with adventures.

Where Do I Go Next?

Will you be you joining a game where everyone else knows how to play, and you don't have a lot of time to learn the rules? Read "Character Basics" section and then choose from the character templates. Ask the gamemaster which one or ones you can use. (These are also available for downloading from the OpenD6 Fantasy website.) Fill in the template as you learned from Character Basics section, then take the sheet to the game session and start playing. The rest of the players will teach the details as you go along.

Do you have some time to learn the rules, but you don't want to be the gamemaster? Read all of the sections up through the "Healing" section. In this introduction is a solitaire adventure that will get you started on the basics; the rest of the sections fill in more details. Then skip to the "Equipment" section. If you'll also play someone with magical or miraculous abilities, you'll also need to read those sections.

Do you want to be the gamemaster, with all its responsibilities and privileges? You'll need to read the entire rules, or at least through the "Healing" section and skim the rest. Then use the "Adventure Tips" section to design your own scenario. After that, invite some friends over, introduce them to creating characters, and have fun!

OpenD6 Fantasy System Overview

This overview provides basic concepts fundamental to roleplaying with the OpenD6 Fantasy System. The concepts presented herein are further explained in the rest of these rules, and an introductory adventure will give you a chance to try out what you've learned here.

Performing Actions

Each player has a character with attributes skills that describe how well he or she can perform various actions. Attributes represent a character's innate abilities, while skills are specific applications of those abilities.

Most game mechanics in OpenD6 Fantasy involve rolling some six-sided dice. A die code associated with each attribute and skill represents how good the character is in that area. A die code associated with a weapon shows how much harm it can cause. The larger the number, the more experienced, trained, or naturally adept your character is, or the more deadly the weapon, or the more useful the equipment.

Each die code indicates the number of six-sided dice you roll when you want your character to do something (1D, 2D, 3D, 4D, 5D, etc.), and sometimes an amount (called pips) of "+1" or "+2," which is added to the total result you roll on the dice.

Example: If your character's Physique attribute is 3D+1, when you have her try to lift a ale barrel, you would roll three dice and add 1 to the total to get her result.

To represent the randomness of life (and the tons of little modifiers that go along with it), every time you roll dice, make sure that one of them is of a different color than the others. This special die is the Wild Die, and it can have some interesting effects on your dice total. (If you only have one die to roll, then that die is the Wild Die.)

If the Wild Die comes up as a 2, 3, 4, or 5, add the result to the other dice normally. If the Wild Die comes up as a 6, this is a Critical Success. Add the 6 to your other dice results and roll the Wild Die again. As long as you roll a 6, you keep adding the 6 and you keep rolling. If you roll anything else, you add that number to the total and stop rolling. If the Wild Die comes up as a 1 on the first roll, this is a Critical Failure. Tell the gamemaster, who will let you know whether or not to add it to your total.

The higher you roll, the better your character accomplishes the task at hand. When your character tries doing something, the gamemaster decides on the required skill and a difficulty based on the task's complexity. The gamemaster doesn't usually tell you the difficulty number you need to equal or beat to succeed. He often won't inform you which tasks are easier and which are harder, though he might give you hints. ("Hmmm, jumping over a narrow ravine with a raging river below is going to be pretty hard...") The gamemaster then uses the rules to interpret the die roll and determine the results of the action.

Getting Hurt

To describe how much injury a character can sustain, the gamemaster decides on one of two ways of determining how much damage a character can take: Body Points or Wounds.

With the Body Points system, each character has a certain number of Body Points (which are figured out when you create your character). You subtract the amount of damage the attacker rolls for his weapon from the total number of Body Points your character has.

With the Wounds system, each character has a certain number of Wounds. You roll your character's Physique while the attacker rolls damage. Compare the difference between the damage and the Physique roll the Wounds level chart; the chart lets you know how many Wounds your character gets from the attack.

In either system, when your character has no more Body Points or Wounds left, she's toast.

Improving Rolls

In addition to scores for a character's attributes and skills, she has Fate Points and Character Points. You can spend these points in particularly difficult and heroic situations.

When you spend a Character Point, you get to roll one extra Wild Die when you character tries to complete a task. You may choose to spend a Character Point after you've made a roll (in case you want to improve your result).

When you spend a Fate Point, that means your character is using all of her concentration to try to succeed. You may spend a Fate Point only before any die rolls are made. Doing so doubles the number of dice you'd normally roll, usually for one round and one action only, though the gamemaster may allow players to spend more Fate Points in particularly challenging moments. This allows the character to do one action really well.

Once a Character Point or Fate Point is used, it's gone. You gain more Character Points at the end of a game for completing goals and playing well. You may get back Fate Points at the end of the game if they were used at a brave, heroic, or climactic moment.

Try It Out!

Now that you have the basics down, let's try out a short scenario. First, you'll need a character. On the next page, you'll find a template. Most of the game characteristic information is filled in. The attributes and skills are listed in two columns on the left-hand side of the page. The attributes names — Agility, Coordination, Physique, Charisma, Intellect, Acumen, and Extranormal — are printed in bold above the lighter skill names. There are more skills in the game than the ones listed on this sheet, but these are the ones commonly associated with the type of profession this template is supposed to represent.

In the center column, below the chain line, are some more characteristics. Fate Points and Character Points show the number of these special roll-improving bonuses your character currently has. Funds and silver are measures of how much wealth your character can usually get at.

In the far right column, you'll see Advantages, Disadvantages, Special Abilities, and a description of your character. These give you an idea about the kind of character that you're playing. The equipment paragraph lists the items your character can use during the game.

Below that, you'll find "Strength Damage." This shows how much harm your character can cause with brute force. Underneath this is "Move." This characteristic lists the number of meters your character can easily walk in five seconds.

After those, you'll see the Body Points, Wound levels, and the related Body Point ranges for your character. Each of these represents how much injury your character can take. This short adventure won't use Wounds or the Body Points range, so you can ignore them. Instead, you only need to keep in mind the Body Points number.

Now that you can find your way around a character template, let's fill in the missing game characteristics. To keep it easy, pick seven skills that you want your character to have experience or training in. Look at the die code next to the attribute that the first skill is listed under, and add one to the number in front of the "D." Write this new die code next to the skill. Do this for each of the seven skills you picked.

Example: If you decided to put 1D in climbing, your score for climbing would be your Agility score plus one, or 4D+1. Then fill in the top of the sheet, if you'd like, with your character's name and other details.

In addition to your character sheet, you'll need a pencil and some six-sided dice, one of which should be a different color or size than the others. This special die is your Wild Die. As you go through this scenario, don't read the sections in order. Instead, start with number 1, make a selection, and read the section where your selection tells you to go. Keep doing that until you get to section 15, which is the end. Then you'll be ready for your first OpenD6 Fantasy adventure!