Thursday, 9 August 2012

In The Works Preview: 40k MiniSix

As a man with my fingers in way too many pies, I'm always open to suggestions. And when one of my close friends wanted to try his hand at GMing for the first time, he wanted a system that could run a 40k game with a bit more action than the overly-lethal FFG RPGs. I offered to help convert MiniSix, by AntiPaladin Games, for his use.

So, MiniSix is yet another awesome, rules-light free RPG. This one is based of the old West End Games D6 System, most famously used as the basis of the old Star Wars line. Recently, however, the core of the system (D6 Adventure, D6 Space, and D6 Fantasy) have been made free to download and open-source, under a OGL-like stipulation. This means designers can use the system as they see fit - which is exactly what the guys at AntiPaladin Games have done.

MiniSix is an action RPG at its heart. It provides a fantastically light framework under which to build your own game, with as much (or as little) extra stuff as you want. The basic mechanic is rolling a pool of D6s, totalling them and checking against a Target Number. Nice and simple.

Characters are made up of a few vitals: Stats, Skills, Perks and Complications.

Stats and Skills are measured in Dice (similar to Risus) - and, to make the game more flexible, it suggests you name them as you see fit for your campaign. The standard stats are Might, Agility, Wits, and Charm.
Not only can you buy dice for each, but each die can be split into 3 "pips" - a static +1 or +2 (a +3 is a whole die). So, instead of having Fellowship at 2D, and Strength at 3D, you could have Fellowship at 2D+1, and Strength at 2D+2, for the same "price" at character creation.

Skills are tied to each stat, and the stats are the "default" number of dice for each. Say you have Might 3D. Any Might skills you have will automatically be considered to have 3 dice in them - and you can spend extra dice to bump them higher (so, spending 2D on the Brawling Skill will bring it up to 5D). While the designers provide a fair list of skills, GMs are encouraged to make up new ones as they see fit for their own setting, or to remove ones which are not suitable.

Perks represent special little extras you can buy, to make your character stand out more. Whether it's a non-human race, the ability to cast spells, or a character trait like a Daredevil or Smooth Talker, Perks help to reinforce the themes of the game, and to help players make the generic characters a bit more unique.

Complications, however, make life more difficult. Most don't have a solid mechanical effect - they represent things like being an Outcast, or Unlucky, or something else the GM can take advantage of to make a story more interesting. Every time they do so, your character earns a Character Point - the game's XP equivalent, used to buy more skills and Perks.
There are also Hero Points, which can be used to change die rolls, heal, make slight changes to the narrative, or used to "buy" clues from the GM.

Now: I've talked about my issues with the Dark Heresy/Rogue Trader/Deathwatch/Black Crusade/Only War system(s) before. But MiniSix gives a great, action-adventure feel to the game - something that lets it replicate 40k literature down to a tee, where ordinary men tackle god-like monstrosities on a regular basis.

Reflecting the 40k RPGs, I'll be changing the stats to Strength, Agility, Intelligence, and Fellowship. The Skills will mostly come from the RPG lines, although I might consider combining a few (frex, making Common Lore, Scholastic Lore and Forbidden Lore single skills, with Specialisations to reflect the variety of possible options). Arkat over at did some conversion work already, which will be the backbone of the stuff I'm doing.

As my friend wishes to run a Penal Legionnaire campaign, I'll be adding some Perks and Complications to reflect it, such as:
  • Home Worlds (grant a bonus die to a skill, plus another benefit)
  • the Penal Legionnaire Complication, which nets you an extra CP whenever being a dead man walking becomes a problem (i.e. all the time)
  • Specialisations (like Commisar, Shock Trooper, etc) to give some extra variety to the characters
  • a Tech-Preist Perk ("free" bionics, the ability to use count Fellowship skills as Intelligence skills when communicating with other Tech-Priests)
... and a few others as I go.

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