Simple D6 expansion Low Fantasy
This is an expansion with concepts and ideas usable with the Simple d6 system. This page will not discuss specific rules for the SD6 system but rather give suggestions for skills, qualities, equipment, character concepts, aspects and common themes you might find useful when running a low-magic Fantasy game in Simple D6. Low magic settings are settings like Warhammer for instance. For Planescape or Forgotten Realms you can look into the High Fantasy setting.
Common themes in Low Fantasy
Low fantasy is often very reminiscent of medieval times in Europe or Asia but may be in settings placed in any world. Themes often explored are small people, perhaps outcasts, rising to the occasion to become the heroes the world needs but does not necessarily deserve. It is often a world where everybody knows magic exists but few have access to. Magic items are present but often scarce and wise old crones or noble priests are able to provide supernatural healing.
Inspiration for themes can be found in games, movies and books such as Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd edition, Lord of the Rings, The Legend of Huma, The Hobbit, A Song of Ice and Fire and so forth.
Common aspects usable in low fantasy will be Physical (for combat), Social and Willpower.
Willpower is used to defend against Spiritual magic, supernatural horrors and corruption of the soul. Magic with physical effects like a fireball is a Physical Aspect.
|Blessed Sword||Very Sharp, Harm Undead|
|Etas Shield||+1 Physical Defense, Shield Bash, Strong Arms|
|Mag Pie||Heals all lost HP when eaten. 1 use only|
|Oalls Rosary||Healing Hand and Cure Wounds 1/day|
Weapons and Magic Items
Determining what weapons do is determined by how deadly you want your game. If combat should be forgiving, let unarmed deal -1 damage, armed combat have no damage bonus and two handed weapons deal +1 damage. More deadly combat have all weapons deal 1 additional damage. Shields can give +1 Physical Defense.
Character Concept Examples
Youngblood Adventurer, Bar Room Brawler, Wizards Apprentice, Run-Away, Nobles Son/Daughter, Street Urchin, Woodsman, Fisherman, Sailor, Soldier, Highwayman, Robber, Pickpocket, Blacksmith, Innkeeper, Minstrel, Bard, Cleric, Paladin, Knight or whatever you can think of.
Skills and Qualities
In Low Fantasy it is convenient to limit magic by demanding that learning magic requires a Quality, which in itself may give a spell, as well as buying each individual spell in the form of skills. Remember to agree what a spell does as it is picked so the GM and the player agree on what is expected from a spell cast.
Examples of Skills and Qualities for Low Fantasy: Woodsman, Folk Lore Fencing, Archery, Spear fighting, Getting by on the Streets, Treat Wounds Hedge Magic, Wizards Apprentice, Witch, Guardsman or Squire. Other qualities may come from place of birth like “Underdark”, “Southern Nomad” or “Northern Berserker” for instance.
Examples of Spells: Levitation, Fireball, Healing Hand, Fireburst, Dispel Magic, Sleep, Daze Opponent, Charm, Stand Still, Fly, Summon Poison Arrow, Cursed Hands, Spiderlegs, Invisibility, Cure Poison, Blessed Weapon, Raise Undead, Destroy Undead and so forth.
|Race||Quality related to|
|Dwarf||Strong, Smithing, Darkvision, Perception, Engineer|
|Elf||Archery, Sneaking, Delicate Worksmanship|
|Halfling||Hiding, Stealing, Charismatic, Digging, Knives|
|Human||You can use the Quality on something else.|
|Kobold||Make Traps, Hide, Steal, Spears, Scouting|
|Goblin||Spears, Darkvision, Hiding, Thievery, Hunting, Bows|
|Orc||Strong, Fast, Melee Combat, Looking Scary|
|Gnoll||Wilderness Survival, Pack Hunting, Keen Smell|
|Giant||Very Strong, Crush Things, Huge, +1 Defense|
|Dragon||Flying, Fire Breath, Strong, Huge, Killing, +1 Defense|
Fantasy Races can be chosen as a Quality and for that reason all characters have an additional free Quality. Non-humans must spend it on their race while humans have the benefit of an additional Quality to spend. For NPCs you can combine these (Giant Orc for instance)
Because there are so many takes on Fantasy, this section will present a few choices which should be made before the game starts:
Mana is used in some settings. If you use that, you can use Willpower as a source of “mana”. Otherwise, ignore casting costs and in exchange, Critical Failure on spell casting can be catastrophic for the caster. If you want Vancian Magic, let casters prepare 1 spell for each point of Willpower spent. Each skill spent on spells give 1-3 spells to pick from when preparing spells.
Casting Time is long in some settings and instant in other settings. You may want combat spells more potent in slow-casting settings
Willpower as Magic Defense may be very good to use against Hold spells for instance, but may break up the pace in the case of spontaneous Charm Spells if you are a group focused on social roleplaying. You should decide if Willpower protects against all mind spells or just against combat mind spells.
- Those magic attacks - how do they work?
- First and foremost, there are two kinds of magical attacks: Spiritual effects and Physical effects. Spiritual effects are anything mind or soul related and is resisted with Willpower. Physical effects are basically anything else, like anything which holds or damages you physically, and is resisted with normal physical or combat defense. If an effect is Spiritual or Physical should be determined as the spells are implemented in the game. Any spell not used to attack or hinder an opponent in a combat is not considered either
- How do Physical spells work in combat?
- Physical spells work just like any other attacks except that they may have range and, depending on the type of spell, may have extra effects like setting the surroundings on fire or something like that. Examples of physical spells are Fireball, Flaming Hands, Icebolt, Firestorm, Entangling Roots, Flesh to Dust, Cripple, Summon Poison Arrow, Lightning Bolt, Acid Splash, Meteor Strike and so forth.
- How do Spiritual spells work in combat?
- Spiritual spells work just like any other attack in combat but instead of going by the Physical aspect, they go by the Willpower aspect. If you are reduced to 0 Willpower, you are affected by the spell. Several spells can help harm your Willpower as your strength of mind is under attack. Needless to say, people who are already reduced to 0 Willpower HP are extremely susceptible to Spiritual spells and one could make an army of thralls as long as they don't get time to regain their Willpower HP. Examples of Spiritual spells are Stand Still, Commandword [insert verb here], Fear, Mind Control, Charm, Sleep, Incite Hunger, Curse of [insert negative quality here], Slow, Wipe Mind, Despair, Demoralize and so forth.
- How about summoning spells
- This is an optional rule and if you want to keep the simple format of SD6, just do what feels right. If you want to make summoning spells special you can use these rules: Summoning spells cost 1 Mana per roll to cast and each roll takes 10 minutes. The Degree of success equals the number of points you can use on the specific spell. Degrees of Successes can be divided into skills, HP and Defence OR they determine how many creatures are summoned by the spell. All summoned units have 1 HP minimum. Skills cost 1 Degree, HP cost 1 Degree and Defence costs 2 Degrees plus 1 additional Degree per point beyond that. The GM should make sure that the player agrees to the kind of spell. You can not regain Mana lost when summoning until the summons you created are dead (or gone or destroyed or however you want it spelled it out you damn munchkin!). Instead of Mana you may want to make it require additional Physical HP to summon stuff but its up to you as a GM to make it whatever fits your setting - this is just an example and can easily be dismissed if you think it makes it too cumbersome
- Example 1 - Summon Skeletons
- Each Degree of Success summons 1 skeleton. Each skeleton has 3 Physical HP, 1 defense and +1 defence against piercing weapons. Trying to cast this spell would cost 1 Mana and a roll of 6, 3 and 2 (4 degrees of success) would summon 4 skeletons with the above stats.
- Example 2 - Create Magical Being
- Each Degree of Success gives 1 point to spend between HP, Defense and Skills. HP and Skills cost 1 point each and Defense cost 2 points (so a creature with Claw Attack, Swipe, Melee Attack, 2 Physical Defense and 5 HP would require 12 degrees of success combined). Since you can spend more Mana to make more rolls (if you spend more time on the casting) you can create truly powerful creatures. If you have, say, 3 dice to summon, you can spend 1 Mana to roll to summon the creature, spend another Mana to roll the dice again (stacking up your degrees of success) and continue to do so until you don't wish to spend more time or Mana. For instance, spending 1 Mana, you roll 4, 6, 5 you get 4 successes. You spend 1 more Mana and roll 6, 6, 2 and get 5 successes (9 total) and finally spend one extra Mana (3 Mana now in all as well as 30 minutes in total) to roll again and roll 5, 3, 1 for 3 extra successes. 12 total successes which makes it possible to summon the powerful creature above.
- Is there an easily printable version somewhere?
- Yes, right here to the right
- Can I pass this off as my own?
- No. If you are going to use this, at least give some credit where due. And no permission is given for use in anything which includes anyone making a profit from using this set of rules in any way.