Some years back, Tony Lee and I had a debate about minimum number of attributes in a role-playing game. He put together Maximum Damage, a game with two attributes (Body and Mind, as I recall). I responded with the mechanics for Steve Stone’s Zero setting, a game with only one: Focus. The number of skills/abilities you chose became your Focus number, which you had to roll above on a quasi-logarithmic scale of 1d6 x 1d6. For unknown skills, you could roll below that Focus number. For “rusty” skills—things you once knew but hadn’t recently used—it was less than or equal to the Focus number.
Add a few rules for difficult or time-consuming tasks, simple combat ranges (brawl, throw, shoot, view, and out of sight), movement rules, and equipment descriptions. Then set it all in a telepathically linked human anthill with a mad queen (this was before the Borg queen of Star Trek: Next Generation, by the way), and the result was Zero.
In the spring of 2013, I dusted off that old system and started mulling it as a quick-and-easy framework for convention one-shot adventures and short campaigns in unusual settings. At QuinCon 28, I gave it a try with “Ghost of a Chance“—a setting in which the players’ characters are people who have died before their time. The response was very encouraging.
So on this Web site, I’m writing up a new set of rules around that central “Focus” mechanic and investigating OGL options for it. As an homage to Steve Stone, the plan is to release the core rules with another human anthill, though very different in character and purpose, and call the game the D6xD6 RPG. My daughter Kate (aka Popcorn Press‘ Graphic Design Dept.) put together the cover you see in the sidebar.
The results will be published in both ebook and print form as
- The D6xD6 RPG Basic Game, a 64-page book containing the core rules and four default settings;
- The D6xD6 RPG Full Game, a 190-page book that includes the Basic Game contents, plus 21 additional settings;
- Add-On setting chapters, 6-page PDFs available separately.
Note that each setting chapter contains its own special rules for playing in that world. You can also mix and match those rule options to suit your own adventures.
More news to come!