2d6 fantasy game

All task resolution uses this table, mutatis mutandis as appropriate:

2d6 Result
2 Catastrophe
3-5 Miscast
6-8 Delayed success
9-11 Immediate success
12 Puissant success
The rules are:
    • Intelligence and wisdom replaced by “magic” stat
    • 3d6 in order: str, dex, con, mag, cha
    • B/X stat mods (-3 to +3)
    • Melee attack = 2d6 + str mod – enemy armor
    • Ranged attack = 2d6 + dex mod – enemy armor
    • Armor = light (1), medium (2), heavy (3)
    • Magic check = 2d6 + mag mod – spell level – armor
    • Max number of prepared spells = mag mod
    • Sneak = 2d6 + dex mod – situational penalty (0 to 3) – armor
    • Experience dice (exp) = level
    • Experience dice can be added to any roll
    • Experience dice can also be used to soak damage
    • Taking damage = 2d6 + con mod – damage (roll on damage table)
    • Experience dice can only be used once each per session
    • Weapon damage is 1d6
    • Carry strength number of items before accumulating penalties to all rolls
    • Armor encumbers by value (e.g., heavy = 3)
    • All other reasonable items just count as one item
    • Monster hit dice = experience dice, or just run with HP as normal
    • Monster attack bonus = HD / 2 (or make up str, dex, con mods)
    • Saving throws are 2d6 + ability mod checks
    • Starting gear = basic clothing + 1d6 items
    • Spells are an item for starting purposes
    Anyone can fight, cast spells, sneak, whatever, based on their ability scores. No mag mod? No spells. Tough luck. Maybe you can find a way to raise your magic score during play.

    There are no hit points, but the default single experience die that a character gets at first level functions much like a hit die, though you can also use it to bolster an attack roll or do extra damage if you are feeling lucky.

    • Combat: 2 fumble, 3-5 miss, 6-8 glancing blow, 9-11 hit, 12 critical
    • Damage: 2 eviscerated, 3-5 slain, 6-8 dying, 9-11 unconscious, 12 stunned
    • Glancing blows do no damage, but grant some minor advantage
    • Dying: roll another “damage” con save per round; 6+ is still dying
    • Dying characters lose one random ability score point if they survive
    • Stunned characters recover after one combat turn

    Experience required by level:

    1. 0
    2. 1000
    3. 2000
    4. 4000
    5. 8000
    6. 16000
    7. etc
    Optional advancement rule: +1 to the ability score of your choice upon gaining a level.
    I think I just reinvented either Apocalypse World or Chainmail, but I can’t tell which.

    The mechanics of the save versus death might need some tweaks, but I’m pretty happy with everything else.

    Edit: “hit” table renamed to “damage” (suggestion from Jack).
    Edit: armor penalizes sneaking and magic (also from Jack).
    Edit: taking damage roll is penalized by the amount of damage taken (Jack).

    Also, Jack put his own spin on the system by shifting a few things around, adding a light career system, and including a list of spells derived from the Sorcery! books. If you like this, you should check that out that too.

    22 thoughts on “2d6 fantasy game

    1. Hedgehobbit

      Shouldn’t the stats be “2d6 in order” …
      What’s the point of weapon damage if all attacks remove one die? Do you only roll on the Hit chart once all your dice are gone?

      1. Brendan

        No, 3d6 in order to use the B/X mods. No need to be overly pure.

        Yes, that’s right. The con save is for when you take damage that is not prevented by using experience dice. Weapon damage matters because it is opposed by a soak roll (using experience dice) which may or may not be enough to counter all the damage.

        The experience die soak is sort of like a late binding HP roll.

      2. Brendan

        You could also do 2d6 in order with mods ranging from -2 to +2, but that wouldn’t match things like armor categories of 1 to 3 quite as well; it would privilege defence rather than offence. It would probably still work, but would change the dynamics slightly.

      1. Brendan

        @Dungeon Smash

        Cool. Always curious to see what requires elaboration once it hits the table and what is easy to extrapolate as is. So let me know how it goes for you if you end up using any of this.

    2. Evan W

      I will definitely hit the table with these rules. Similar to my recent efforts to strip things down, but much more elegant. I wonder if it has to do with something “in the water” in the blogosphere of late… Do you remember if there was something specific that started you down this path?

      A specific question though – do you think that 0-3 for armour modifications is a wide enough spread to make armour choice meaningful?

      1. Brendan

        @Evan Re: armor

        Yeah, I think the +1 to +3 is enough for armor, because +1 has a big effect on a 2d6 roll. Approximate percentage equivalencies for 2d6:

        9+ => 28%
        10+ => 17%
        11+ => 8%
        12 => 3%

        So donning a suit of heavy armor takes you from a 28% risk of being hit by an average person to a 3% risk of being hit by an average person (that is, a person with no strength modifier). High strength / dexterity counteracts armor on a point by point basis. 2d6 does break down quickly though if there are too many bonuses, so the power curve in this system must necessarily be rather flat (which seems like a positive to me).

        It does still need play testing, but eyeballing the probabilities looks good to me.

      2. Evan W

        The numbers make a lot of sense. I was thinking about how 1-3 maybe doesn’t have enough granularity to account for shields and all the different types of armour people want to wear. But maybe the solution to that lies elsewhere. Like different bonuses or re rolls. I’m looking forward to finding out, regardless.

      3. Brendan

        I definitely still need a good shield rule. Jack is using “shields will be splintered” (sacrifice a shield to negate a hit), but that has always felt a bit dissociated to me. What I am leaning toward is a dexterity saving throw to potentially avoid one hit per round. This does add yet another roll to combat (and there is also already a potential damage soak roll, so this might actually get cumbersome, though I suppose it would depend on how popular shields end up being with players).

      4. Andrew

        For a shield, you could give a solid +3 on the damage resistance roll. That way it only comes up if you are hit, but it could save your life by keeping you in the fight. Note that with shield deflection, if the total is over 12, you have no ill effects from the hit, maybe.

    3. ANON

      Has anybody ever used this? How did it go? I have to read this rules every year or so, because they look so tight man.


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