100 thoughts on “Comments

  1. Hey,
    a remark on the difficulty system : I find it great that the penalties are applied pre-multiplication, because it allows to introduce non-linearity in the difficulty levels without resorting to tables. But, it seems kind of strange to me that the difficulty to hit someone (aka armor reduction from stats) is applied post-multiplication, when the difficulty to do something is applied pre-multiplication.

    For me, it generates some complexity in a system which otherwise is quite elegant, and it doesn’t go well with plussed skills, because the bonuses from a plussed skill or occupation come in post-multiplication, so they don’t help you with difficult tasks.

    Why not just remove the task difficulty system and use the same system as for armor instead? Difficult : requires at least 2 success levels, Formidable : requires 4, Impossible : requires 6… (one could also add more difficulty tiers, like in Anima (bad translation by me : usual – easy – medium – hard – very hard – absurd – almost impossible – impossible – superhuman – zen), where the highest tiers are only reachable in particular circumstances )

    The other alternative is to give a choice when rolling for a plussed skill : use the plus to generate a success level in case of success OR to add one to a dice OR to reroll a dice (as ‘Jason Weaver’ suggested in the comments of 9.). But, the above choice is still interesting for players even when removing the task difficulty system.

    • You make some good points, Romain. Thanks.

      I’ve not been fully satisfied myself with the way plussed skills work, in terms of not enhancing chances of success but only effect of success.

      One adjustment I’ve discussed with D6xD6 Google Group members has been that skill pluses buy off difficulty levels first, and any remaining pluses then add success levels. E.g. two pluses would reduce a Formidable task to Average, or a Difficult task to Average plus a success sevel.

      Of major importance to me has been keeping this game as easy and inviting as possible to brand-new role-players, especially the person running the game. Although difficulty, armor, and wounds affect a roll differently, I feel they actually make learning simpler.

      Here’s why I feel that way:

      • When I demo the game at conventions and such, I first walk people through character creation. Within a few minutes players have unique characters that they’re attached to (instead of pre-gen characters they’re trying to connect with during play).
      • Then we play through some introductory scenes until the first task roll comes up. At that point a few moments is all it takes to explain tasks, difficulty penalties, success levels, and Drama Points. The difficulty system you’ve suggested isn’t much more troublesome, but it is a bit, and it’s less distinctive than dice modifiers. And of course a one-point adjustment pre-multiplication can make a huge difference when the high die is a 6, less when it’s a 3 for example. That makes choice of spending Drama Points more of a significant decision.
      • After that we play some more until combat comes up. At that point I explain the basic combat ranges, how success levels add or subtract damage ratings and armor, and how wounds affect rolls. Going linear at that point is pretty simple, and less wild than task difficulties. And wounds as a post-roll number effect are just enough to slow a character’s “initiative” a bit, and lower chance of extra success levels a bit, to be felt but not too punishing. (In campaigns it seems most people forget the innate defenses, but they’re there for game groups who want them.)
      • Then I say, “That’s it. You know all the rules. And people tend to smile in surprise.

      I suppose what I’m saying is, in essence, I feel that the dice effects are dramatic where they should be, and linear where they should be.

      I certainly have no objection to you adapting them to feel more satisfying to you and your players, of course. But other than the current plussed skills rule, I personally prefer them as they are.


  2. Just to point out there might be a typo in the sand cat example : it says that the character has 5 as focus and misses with a 6… probably it was meant for the character to have 7 focus? Or he’s wounded or wearing armor?

  3. Hey,
    I stumbled across this system, and it seems very interesting and original, so I’m working on adapting it to a custom universe (based on the Gwendalavir books).

    But, I am having some trouble regarding the combat : I don’t see how you could make an untouchable character which would dodge everything (there are some in the universe lore). From what I got, if you chose Grace as focused attribute, you’ll automatically get 1 level reduction of whatever hits you except from shooting range, but if your opponent is a warrior focused on, say, swordsmanship (focused number 2), he’ll roll 47{03c84d32e9311824b5ae8ddfd22614b973700708131b0c37c91e8ed4ed67810e} of the time with 2+ levels of success (I didn’t do the math myself but ‘King Nate’ did on the google group), so it means he will hit you 47{03c84d32e9311824b5ae8ddfd22614b973700708131b0c37c91e8ed4ed67810e} of the time.
    I guess 47{03c84d32e9311824b5ae8ddfd22614b973700708131b0c37c91e8ed4ed67810e} is still okay, because you expect armor to be more reliable than dodging for beginners. My issue is that the attribute-related dodging doesn’t stack with level… so after some game sessions, my Grace-focusing players would risk getting destroyed by attack-focusing opponents.

    So I thought I would give the option to spend drama point on focused attribute upgrade, and reduce another damage level. What do you think?
    The only other option I see would be to make opposing rolls, but it doesn’t seem that this system is encouraging opposing rolls… (which is another topic I might have a question on =D).

    Anyways, thanks for reading this and for the inspiring system!

    • Thanks for the questions, Romain.

      Let me address Attributes first. Their primary purpose is actually just to give players a first idea about their characters. As noted in the Game Host chapter, their use beyond that should be avoided. I’ve seen game sessions break down because the Game Host kept defaulting to a Grace roll, or a Will roll, etc., which makes players feel their characters are generic, and which punishes anyone who didn’t Focus the attribute rolled against. So in game design terms, that they have a combat defense purpose is one way of working them into the game mechanics without actually rolling against them.

      As for opposing rolls in combat, the system is designed to be a quick: 1. What does your PC intend to do? 2. Roll for it. 3. Apply the results. Did they succeed; when does it happen; how well do they do? That’s fast. Opposing rolls would break that sequence (e.g. “My action would have happened at 9, but I’m picking up the dice to roll a defense instead, now I rolled a 10–does that mean I’m going sooner?”). It would slow play considerably.

      As for a “Grace so good you can’t hit me” character, the system admittedly does not support that. It’s not as wide-ranging as GURPS or some similar rules set. But then again, with D6xD6 you don’t have to thumb through three or four books of 300 pages each to find a specific rule.

      I built a few things into combat that give PCs a chance to reduce damage taken: spend Drama Points for “Dramatic Defense” to reduce a devastating attack, spend a turn for “Second Wind” to regain some health, wear armor, and an Attribute may reduce a particular attack based on range.

      In a nutshell, the system is designed for quick, cinematic action. Hesitate and the Game Host says you do nothing this turn. Most combats are over quickly, in just a few turns. Then it’s back to story.


  4. “We’re happy to discuss longer source books, if you like, and work is also underway on a license that will allow you to publish your own game world, pointing to this site and the D6xD6 RPG Core Book.”

    How far along is this license?

  5. Almost done with my Sci-Fi setting. How did you come up with the 6-page length guideline? My main problem was not creating ideas, but deciding which ones to chuck out because of going over the page count!

  6. Instead of an automatic success level per “+”, I’m thinking of rolling an extra d6 for each one. Then you can pick the dice result that works best for the scenario (High for focused, low for Unfocused.) This still gives the plussed skilled character an advantage, but still keeps it a random roll and interesting.


    • That’s an interesting option, Jason!

      It would basically improve the chances of multiple successes, making 3 or 4 levels very common for experienced characters.

      One thing it would not do, however, is allow a chance for 5 or 6 or more success levels on a single roll. That’s a significant limitation for some settings, such as L’Académie des Arcanes or The World of Esfah, where higher success levels are often needed for a spell to succeed. With + adding a level, experienced characters have a chance of succeeding in a single round with a spell costing 5 levels or more.

      Adding dice instead would give them the security of a good roll each time. So there’s a trade-off to be considered.

      It’s certainly something to be tested out. I could see it being very applicable to some new settings in the works.


      • I guess it depends on how fantastic or realistic you want your campaign. Considering your thoughts on higher success levels, I’m gonna go by the rules as originally written. After all I’m gonna need those extra success levels with all the aliens, mental powers, cybernetics, mecha, and other anime style shenanigans that’s gonna go down!

  7. I’ve implemented a house rule concerning damage levels:

    I’ve changed KILL to DYING, because according to the rule book the character has 3-5 minutes to recieve aid.

    I’ve also added a further level of DEAD, in case the damage level surpasses DYING. Obviously this would be a kill shot.


    • Thanks for the comment, Jason.

      I like that as a house rule, and I’m happy to see that the game’s design framework makes that sort of adaptation easy.

      For what it’s worth, when designing the current damage levels, I strove for one-syllable descriptors (couldn’t think of something simpler for “Knockout” though; even KO is two syllables) that gave an abstract idea of effect. For example, “Graze” isn’t always a grazing blow or shot; sometimes it represents a straight-on attack that just doesn’t accomplish much. “Stun” doesn’t actually make a victim lose an action as in many games, it’s a convenient descriptive term between “Graze” and “Hit.” And so on. Following this rationale, “Kill” isn’t an immediate death blow—since in real life even a “fatal” gunshot leaves a victim bleeding for at least a few seconds.

      With that in mind, I wouldn’t personally add “Dead,” because PCs are too precious to be outright killed by a single attack. (The vehicle rules are an exception, with a starship phaser blast pretty much incinerating a human target in one shot.)

      But if you prefer to call “Kill” by the term “Dying,” I can see the sense of that.


  8. Loving the simplicity and depth of the system. If my reading is correct there are three areas where penalties/bonuses could be applied. +/- before multiplying, +/- after multiplying, or +/- the focus number. Is there a chart or a math-nerd who has shown the order of priority? How does a narrator decide before, after, or focus altering penalties/bonuses?

    • Hi, Steve.

      Thank you for the kind words, and for the questions.

      The determination of when to apply penalties or bonuses is pretty simple:

      • Task difficulties are declared by the Game Host before dice are rolled.
      • Drama Point bonuses are declared by the player after dice are rolled.
      • Damage penalties are automatically applied to the total result after that total is calculated.

      Example: Danielle Robb has a Focus 7 and wants to use her Focused Lockpicking skill to open a wall safe.

      Before the player rolls the dice, the GH declares that this is a fairly sophisticated safe, with a Difficult Task rating—a penalty of 2.

      The player rolls the dice, obtaining a 2 and a 5, which would normally be a 10—success! But the Task modifier changes that 5 to a 3, resulting in a 6 (2 x 3)—failure. So after the roll, seeing these results, the player decides to spend a Drama Point to boost the 2 to a 3, resulting in a 9 (3 x 3)—success!

      Now let’s imagine Danielle is performing this task while damaged from combat. After both the Task Penalty and the Drama Point have been applied, the character’s damage affects the result. If she has Stun damage (a 2-point penalty), that final 9 would lose 2 points, bringing the total down to 7—barely a success. (If she had been more heavily damaged, the player would have spent more Drama Points to make sure she still succeeds.)

      The “Dice and Tasks” chapter explains Task Modifiers and Drama Points; the “Conflict and Damage” chapter explains damage modifiers.

      Here’s hoping that answers your questions! (I apologize for not replying sooner.)

  9. Damage Accumulation: LESS: add health level. MORE: supersede health level. What happens if the attack is EQUAL to the current health level?

    • Good question! The rule above is now amended to say damage “less than or equal to” adds; “more” still supersedes. Cheers!

  10. Hi Les
    Picked the game up on a whim and I have to say I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to try a new RPG.
    I’m getting a dead link when I try the Forum – would love to have a place to discuss the game so any plans to have either a message board or a G+ group?

    • Thanks for the comment, Malcolm. Your excitement is much appreciated.

      A Google Group is a great idea! I’ve now established one, which you’ll find linked where the forum link used to be.


      • Fantastic, thanks. Been a bit tied up with other things the past couple of weeks, but I’ll subscribe to the group now. Have also been plugging the game on an thread about interesting new game systems 🙂

  11. During combat, does armor get applied after a successful hit is scored, or not at all if I use a reactive defense? The rules imply that a defender gets a reactive OR passive defense.

    • Thanks for the question, James.

      An armored target uses Passive Defense only. The benefit is it works against pretty much any sort of attack; the detriment is that its bulk imposes a penalty to the wearer’s actions—and that it negates Reactive Defense.

      An unarmored target uses Reactive Defense only (of course). The benefit is that it’s generally automatic, and it doesn’t hamper the character; the detriment is that no one Passive Defense protects from all types of damage.

      In summation, characters cannot choose during combat to use one or the other. By wearing armor, they’ve already chosen Passive Defense. Or by not wearing armor, they’ve already chosen Reactive Defense.


  12. Love the new super cover…..just add 2-4 flying and fighting heroes in the background to give a little extra kick.

    Maybe Fireman and his fireballs vs Ice Queen on the left
    and Electron vs. Atomic Knight and his high tech suit on the right

  13. This is an excellent system for kids.

    My kids love their pet hermit crabs and we were able to create a complete sand land adventure scenario with NPCs and PCs within half an hour.

    They had an excellent time rescuing a crab village from a storm and battling beetles in underground tunnels.

  14. I played D6xD6 for the first time at Quincon! I played in the “Super hero” setting. It was a great time! I loved the simplicity of the system and the story telling aspects of the game. I like how you can carry your character sheet in your wallet. Over all it is a great and refreshing system to play I would honestly play this type of RPG again before a D&D game or even Pathfinder. Playing in this one game made me miss playing RPG’s. Thank you for all your hard work on this system!!

  15. At first glance I am seeing that a higher number is skills is bad because it raises your focus and makes them harder to make success rolls. That part makes sense. What I am having a hard time with is the unfocused skills. From what I am gathering you must roll under your focus to achieve success for these. If this is in fact the case, why would I not just jam a bunch of skills on my character to jack up my focus and just use the unfocused skills? Again this is all at first glance. I may need to investigate further but it seems a bit broken to me. I would have just made it where unfocused skills -10 points to the die roll and keep everything the same.

    • Hi, Sean.

      Thanks much for the questions.

      Yes, 10 Focused skills (the max) means an equal chance of succeeding at Focused and Unfocused skills. However (1) That chance is only about 53 percent, so a lower Focus gives much better chances with Focused skills; (2) Focused skills always have the advantage of more possible Success Levels; (3) starting characters are limited to three Unfocused skills; and (4) rolling high means you act early in combat, giving Focused skills a distinct advantage over Unfocused and Unfamiliar ones.

      Personally, I prefer my characters with a Focus of 6, for a chance at four Success Levels at 36 (which isn’t uncommon with Drama Points, or with the optional “Combat Team” rule). Sometimes that extra Success Level makes a huge difference, especially given that it happens first in a combat turn.

      For what it’s worth, after nearly three years of play-testing and demoing, with lots of different settings, the idea has held up. We frequently hear, “There’s more under the hood of this ‘simple’ little game than meets the eye.”

      But don’t take my word for it: Check the reviews on DriveThruRPG, dig around the “Dice and Tasks” chapter here and “Dice: An Aside,” and try it out for yourself.


      Lester Smith

  16. Played today at Garycon VII
    Brains on a train. Great time. The best game I played at the con. Thanks for running it

  17. I’m confused about how martial arts skill works. From the skill description, I get the impression that anyone can use the Braun or Grace attribute for a brawling attack. If this is the case, if someone has brawn or grace focused, is there any point in taking martial arts as one of the basic skills, regardless of one’s occupation? Until I read the martial arts skill description, I thought attributes were only used for reactive or resisting rolls. But now, I’m confused. When would you use an attribute, as opposed to using a skill? Perhaps that’s a separate question; I just ask it here because it does relate to the martial arts conundrum. Thanks.

    • Thanks for the question, Eric.

      In the Conflict and Damage chapter, you’ll find a Weapon Types table, listing weapons by range. The heading for each range tells what ability is needed for attacks and defenses at that range.

      In the case of Brawling range, the first three weapon types can be used with “Brawn, Grace, Martial Arts, or Combat career.” But the other two types say “Requires Martial Arts skill or Combat career.”

      The idea is that anyone can swing a fist or a broken chair leg in a brawl (using Grace or Brawn), but real weapons require at least some training.

      I hope that clears things up.

      • To elaborate some further, Les, I too was originally confused by the book’s initial statement of “While occupations and skills are rolled for as active abilities, an attribute check is rolled only as a reaction to a situation.” This then seems to be contradicted by the Conflict and Damage Chapter that discusses using Brawn in combat. Unless you are consider me punching a guy reactive, and not proactive. 😉

        • Thanks for the comment, James. That initial statement could perhaps be revised to “While occupations and skills are rolled for as active abilities, an attribute check is usually rolled only as a reaction to a situation.” Or (to avoid an immediate question of “Why usually?”) the parentheses in the Martial Arts skill might add, “This is an exception to the general rule about Attributes being reactive only.”

          Of course, that would require more room and disrupt the current column layout in skills. And the more words multiply, the more questions they seem to invite, which is one reason later editions of games tend to swell with “rules creep.”

          At one point, I considered removing the four basic attributes altogether: it’s tempting for Game Hosts to default to them for ease, which tends to rob characters of their uniqueness (in a game design that actually celebrates and thrives on character uniqueness). But attribute choice does help initial character conception, and they ended up serving a couple of backup purposes as I was finalizing the combat rules.

          In the end, the game works best by using occupation most, leaving the Game Host and players to conceive of ways to apply it (“How would my TV clown approach this problem?”), backed up by skills (“Although sous-chefs aren’t known for rescuing flood victims, I learned Swimming in high school”), with attributes a last resort (“Pass a Will or Brawn check to swallow the potion without gagging”).

  18. I came late to the party but I made a pre-order after the Kickstarter ended while you were still taking orders back in August. Do you have a time frame for when the compiled book will be finished and released? Thanks.

    • Hi, James. Thanks for the question.

      The short answer is that we’re nearly finished. Yay!

      More specifically, we’re currently writing the last two setting chapters. Two others are in editing and will then go to their authors for approval. Our graphic designer has about four images left to prepare. Then we’ll run a few proof copies with the print company and start shipping.

      For ongoing updates of progress (and more history, if you’re interested), we recommend checking out the Kickstarter updates page.

    • Thanks for the question, jiima.

      Three Unfocused skills is merely a starting point for brand-new characters. It isn’t implied as a limit for experienced characters. An experienced character could end up with any number of Unfocused skills.


  19. Would it be possible to see a fully worked out example of how armour works? I’m a bit confused by how armour doesn’t seem to stack with active defence, and I’m not sure how to apply the protection level. For example, does 3 armour mean the attacker has a three dice penalty, or it reduces the severity of a successful hit three levels? How would you use a shield with this system? What about cover or other environmental influences? And finally I presume that if you eventually managed to get 6 points of defence you could never be hit, since it would reduce one die to zero.

    • Hi, Ashley. Thanks for the question.

      Both Reactive Defense and Passive Defense protect in the same way: they reduce damage after a strike. Let’s say someone throws a stone (Graze damage) and rolls well enough to get three Success Levels on the attack (raising the damage from Graze, to Stun, to Hit). Focused Grace or Wits could let you partially dodge that Throwing attack (reducing it one step, to Stun). Or Medium armor could absorb part of that damage (reducing it two steps, to Graze).

      To keep combat fast and easy—and to keep the mechanics simple—a character can use either Reactive Defense or Passive Defense, but not both together. Passive is more useful overall, but it tends to slow you a bit (hence the penalty to totals a wearer rolls).

      And note that armor is either Light, Medium, or Heavy. That’s strictly game mechanics. How a player describes that rating is purely a matter of flavor: one character’s Light armor might be a shield, another character’s might be a long leather coat, another’s might be a leather vest and motorcycle helmet, and another’s might be an energy field.

      As for cover and concealment, those are discussed in the Game Host chapter. In real terms, concealment makes a person harder to see and target, but it doesn’t absorb any damage. (If you hide behind a curtain, I may not see you; but if I fire a shotgun at that curtain and manage to hit, it’s going to hurt a lot!) Cover does reduce damage levels, so being inside an armored car makes you pretty much impervious to a handgun, for instance.

      I hope that discussion clarifies things.

      • Yes, thank you. It’s rolled all the intricacies up into an elegant, but simple to implement, mechanic. I was just getting ahead of myself based on other games i’ve played.

  20. I received the pdfs, and started reviewing.

    Some of the pdfs created have rendered fonts where the bottom of the letters have been cut off.

  21. Thank you for your reply. Even though I bought the ebook version, I’m going by the instructions on the website.

    • Ah. That explains not seeing the example characters.

      We’ll get those posted here as soon as the expanded book is finished. Right now, that remains our primary effort.

      Best wishes!

  22. I don’t have The d6xd6 core system I backed on ks but I’ve been getting supplements emailed.. Where do I get main system?

    • Hi, Frank. Thanks for the question.

      A Kickstarter link is available in backers-only update #67. We also sent a coupon to backers through DriveThruRPG. Those notices are sometimes intercepted by spam filters, so please check your settings to be sure Kickstarter and DriveThruRPG messages can get through.


  23. Hi, Ben.

    As step 7 says, count up your Focus skills. (Nothing else.) Then add 1 for your occupation. It really is that simple.

    Don’t add the Focused attribute. Don’t add Unfocused skills. Don’t add anything but Focused skills +1 for occupation.

    As for examples in the book, there’s one at the bottom of the Character Creation chapter page, plus 52 more in the four-page appendix, besides the various creatures in the Game Host chapter. Compare the Focus number of any of those creatures to their list of skills, and you’ll find this simple rule demonstrated time and again: Focus number = # of Focus skills + 1 for occupation.


  24. Ben, only skills that you have as -Focused- get added together to create the focus number (+1 for your occupation). The three unfocused skills do not get added in.

  25. Never mind. It’s been a little while since I last looked at this game. I see that all skills do get added up to make the Focus number.

  26. I’m really confused about this. And I don’t see any examples in the book. Do focused skill NOT get added to the Focus? I’m under the impression that all skills get added to Focus. But step 6 seems to be suggesting otherwise.

  27. Hi, again, Les. I’m looking over the rules again, as I really want to play this game soon. But it seems to me that focused and unfocused are two different things. It says in the rules that the player must choose the focused skills, and then (at least?) three unfocused skills. But the player sheet only has one place for focus points. So I’m not entirely sure how to integrate the two in game play.

    • Hi, Ben. Thanks for the question.

      The secret is that the same Focus number applies for everything—but sometimes you need to roll above it, and sometimes below it. Check the first heading on this page, “Focus Number,” and you’ll see how each category (Focused, Unfocused, and Unfamiliar) rolls against that number.

      After you grasp that, everything else will make sense.


  28. How will the full and upcoming game settings be made available? I am particularly interested in various science fiction, steampunk, and superhero settings.

    • Thanks for the question, Hayes.

      We’ll begin posting those settings as PDFs on soon. You can watch the “News!” block in the right sidebar here for announcements, or join our mailing list, or search on occasion for “D6xD6” to see what’s new.


  29. Can you elaborate on how player character race selection integrates with character creation? For example, in the Estah setting, Feral PCs may have claws or the ability to fly, but selecting a race doesn’t seem to be directly touched upon in character creation. Does selection of a race confer implied skills in a manner similar to your occupation- would you Feral PC be considered to have a “flying” skill inherant to his race?


    • Hi, Jeff. Thank you for the question, which I believe you’ve pretty much answered yourself.

      As mentioned in “About This Site,” the D6xD6 rules are designed in layers. At heart is Focus and dice rolls, based on occupation and skills. The next layer is combat. Settings expand on these in different modular ways.

      With Esfah in particular, race defines a character much like occupation does. Some racial effects are specifically given as examples (magic ability, a treefolk’s natural bark “armor,” a feral’s knife-like claws). Others are left to players and the Game Host to negotiate (such as avian Feral’s flight), based on the actual dice and descriptions in the Dragon Dice battle game. There are simply too many possibilities to specifically define them all in a 2500-word setting chapter.

      Also, that level of definition would violate the spirit of this “haiku of role-playing games.”


  30. I posted this under Conflict and Damage. But this really belongs under this chapter.

    I bought the game, read through the rules, but cannot understand how this game can be played. I do not understand how having a high focus rating is a good thing. The rules state that when rolling for a focused skill, a roll that equals the number or greater succeeds. However, with a higher focus number, wouldn’t the chances for failure be greater. And wouldn’t it be more difficult for get higher levels of success with a higher focus rating? I do not see anything in the rules where this is compensated for.

    Or, is it just assumed that the character will succeed if using a focused roll? And the dice rolling is just to determine how much the character succeeds? I’m very perplexed by this.

    Thank you for your reply


    • Aargh, I posted under Conflict and Damage again, when I meant to post this under this chapter.

      Sorry about my wording “cannot understand how this game can be played.” I can see how it can be played. But it seems like a novice using a focused abilities would be getting more successes than someone who is a master on the focused tasks. And there would be a greater chance of rolling under the focus ability when it’s higher.

      • Hi, Ben. Thanks for the comment.

        Note the bullet points under “Focus Number” in the Dice and Tasks chapter. For Focused skills, roll high; for Unfocused and Unfamiliar, roll low. Consequently, a character with few skills (hence a low Focus number) has a better chance when making Focused rolls and a lesser chance with Unfocused and Unfamiliar skills. Conversely, a character with lots of skills (hence a high Focus number) sacrifices some chance with Focused rolls, but gains better chances with Unfocused and Unfamiliar ones.

        —Lester Smith

        • Thank you for clarifying. I thought that was how things went. But is there any way that a character with high focus can still have the edge against a fledgling? Or is it just assumed that the higher focus character has the edge?

          • Hi, Ben.

            A character with a high Focus number has a couple of advantages, in that Unfocused and Unfamiliar tasks are both easier, and the chance of a second Success Level with an Unfocused task is greater.

            Note, though, that low Focus doesn’t mean “Fledgling”; it simply means more devoted to a few skills.

            Novice vs. expert is really a different topic. As characters spend experience on their abilities, the effect of a successful roll becomes stronger. That’s the effect of expertise.

  31. I bought the game, read through the rules, but cannot understand how this game can be played. I do not understand how having a high focus rating is a good thing. The rules state that when rolling for a focused skill, a roll that equals the number or greater succeeds. However, with a higher focus number, wouldn’t the chances for failure be greater. And wouldn’t it be more difficult for get higher levels of success with a higher focus rating? I do not see anything in the rules where this is compensated for.

    Or, is it just assumed that the character will succeed if using a focused roll? And the dice rolling is just to determine how much the character succeeds? I’m very perplexed by this.

    Thank you for your reply


  32. This idea is brilliant. I’ve always been put-off by the massive tomes of D&D and the arguments of rules minutae amongst players; particularly during play when the roleplaying should be the focus.

  33. I’m a big-time fan of this series, and am sure that through this game, many new fans will come to enjoy it too!

  34. Your film ‘Citizen in the Temple’ is creepy. I think you should do the two or three sequels and maybe the monster or mutant transformations in them by doing the body inflatable bladders special fx.

    • Hi, John.

      We did consider a Notice skill early on, but decided that this would better be a reflection of either Wits for reactive situations (do you notice the figure lurking in the shadows) or occupation for most situations (as an architect, do you note the hidden door; as a burglar, do you spot the trap; as an accountant, do you locate the discrepancy; as a police investigator, do you see the partial footprint).

  35. Les, have you considered expanding on the unfocused skills slightly more? What do you think of making an unfocused skill roll below or equal to the characters focus +1? This way it would add a little more benefit to having an unfocused versus and unfamiliar skill.

    • Hi, John. Thanks for the comment.

      A colleague recently called this rules set the “haiku of role-playing games.” That description really pleases me. My aim is to create a simple central mechanic with more depth than immediately meets the eye.

      For example, Unfocused skills have three advantages over Unfamiliar ones:

      • They generally have a solid 5 percent (or more) better chance of success.
      • They can achieve an extra level of success at a roll of 5 less than Focus.
      • They can retain pluses from experience, giving them even more levels of success.

      With this in mind, I hesitate to blur that Focus number by making exceptions to it as a target number. But I’ll be mulling over other possible advantages to Unfocused skills themselves.

      Does that make sense?

      • Absolutely, it does. I should have known that you’d already run the numbers. I also forgot about the potential extra success level with unfocused skills.

  36. I am glad that this one was unlocked by the end of the Kickstarter. I look forward to the completed book, both physical and digital. Congratulations on the success of your project.

    • Thanks much, John. We’re very glad to have this one unlocked, as well. And we’re hard at work now producing the book. 🙂

  37. I feel, the sentence “any single player may add points to either die to change the effect.” needs a little more explanation, especially for non-native English speakers.

    What do you mean by “any single player”? Does it mean, of the players at the table only one can add points? Or does it mean, each of the players, no upper limit beyond the players at the table, can add points at the same time?

    What does “either” (in italics) mean here? Does it mean, if two points are added, they both have to go to the same die? Or can one point be added to one die, and another point to the other die?

    • Hi, Peter. Thank you for the comment. We’re still play-testing the limits of shared Drama Points. At present, the intent is that any number of players may contribute points to both dice, but the maximum to be spent on either die is 3 points. So if a player rolled a 1 and a 5, the 1 could be pushed up to a 4 maximum, and the 5 could be pushed up to a 6, with points coming from anyone or everyone. Similarly, if trying to roll low, the 1 is already at its minimum, and the 5 could be brought down to a 2, with points coming from anyone or everyone.

  38. I see two issues with the weapon table:

    * There is an “Attack: …” line on top of each weapon category. This, however, is not covered by an explanation in the text. I assume, anyone using a weapon of this category who has at least one of the items listed after “Attack:” focussed, adds one step to the damage inflicted?!

    * There is an “Attack: Brawn, Grace,” on top of the Brawling Attacks category. However, chapter 4 Character Creation specifically sais: “Attributes serve as reactive ratings … (They are used only to avoid, never to accomplish.)” This is a contradiction, because if Brawn is used to increase damage, it clearly accomplishes.

    • Hi, Peter.

      To make an attack, as with any action, something has to determine if it’s a Focused, Unfocused, or Unfamiliar task. The abilities listed atop the table indicate what can be used for this.

      So, for example, if you circled Brawn during character creation, you could use it as a Focused ability for brawling with “Fist or foot,” “Club, skillet, chair,” “Small blade,” or “Spear.” If you have none of the listed abilities Focused, you’d have to roll for Unfocused or Unfamiliar instead.

      The “Two-hand blade or two blades” attack specifically requires Martial Arts or a combat career. So one of those would determine whether you’re making a Focused, Unfocused, or Unfamiliar task roll.

      You are correct, of course, that the “Dice and Tasks” chapter says Attributes are rolled against only as a reaction. This would be the one exception. We’ll clean that up during editing; right now, of course, the Web site is still a work in progress.



  39. Great idea, even this name randomized … ;o)
    I am already subscribed to the marvellous Kickstarter.

    • I’ll be running it at conventions this year: see the lower right sidebar at for a list. And I’m hoping to do some online sessions via Google+ or something. Haven’t done the research for that yet, though, and still have some rules to flesh out. Oh, for more hours in a day.

        • Thanks, John. I’ve experimented a bit with It’s great for pre-prepared maps and encounters; but for more free-form role-play it’s more feature-rich than I tend to need.

          I’ve run several online sessions now using Google Hangouts with the DiceStream app for onscreen rolling; Lower Third for player name, character name, occupation, race (in fantasy settings), and Focus number; and screen share to show maps. For my style of play, that works great.

          I’m also investigating a shared drawing board app that will let everyone involved interact with a sketch map.

 represents miniatures use very well. I’m just more of a mental-picture gamer. It’s great, though, that we all have options to suit our own play style!

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