The Fantasy Game: A d6 only game?

The past couple of days I have been a bit silent, studying "The Big Brown Book" (also newly added to the reference section), "Epées & Sorcellerie RPG", "Using CHAINMAIL to resolve OD&D combat" and "Forbidden Lore". I mentioned it a couple of times and now I am sure concerning the use of dice in 'The Fantasy Game'.

'The Fantasy Game' will definitely only use six sided dice. Still there will be some differences to existing OSR variants, clones, etc. which also went in that direction:
  • Saving throws will be retooled to use "3d6, roll under" to bring them into line with the ability tests planned for 'The Fantasy Game'. This IMHO is a much better approach than introducing a d66 variant as in "The Big Brown Book".
  • I will use all three combat systems from Chainmail plus the jousting rules, but arrange them more clearly. The classic mass combat rules of Chainmail will be used for melees, e.g. fights one against many. The classic man to man combat system will be used for duels, e.g. fights one on one. And finally the fantasy combat system will be used as an exception to this for some very powerful and fantastic creatures, e.g. mythical battles. The latter will have an option to go "all out" where a single roll can decide between life and death (like in Chainmail) or be used as a standard system with damage dice if you don't choose to go "all out". Finally missile combat will retain its deadliness (see the various articles above - I will elaborate in later posts) as this IMHO nicely keeps the mortality of heroes a thing of significance.
  • Ability ranges will keep their 3-18 range. I don't see any reason to narrow this down to 2-12 as in "Epées & Sorcellerie RPG".
  • Probably more... I need to get into more details for that ;-)
In any case to me it seems very natural trying to get by with only six sided dice when trying to simulate the early days. For many people it must have been extremely difficult to get their hands on funky dice like d4, d8, d12, etc. I still today find it difficult to e.g. get all the dice for the DCC RPG and my local RPG shop (The Fantasy En'Counter) is really well stocked as far as RPG materials go. Remembering my childhood days we had to travel about three hours by train (which then was pretty expensive for us) to get to the nearest RPH shop (in a pretty far away town then) - so we managed to travel there about once a year or so. And that was around 1985. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to find such gaming dice in 1975 except by total luck. Thus it seems very natural to use only d6. And thus it has been decided.

So I am right now busy reading the various rules concerning the combat systems, thinking about them, etc. Thus not much actual writing gets done but that OTOH is IMHO a very necessary phase in any rules design. I also need to do a detailed comparison with Chainmail itself to find my own interpretations. All this takes some time and thus posting will slow down a bit.

Next will be my thoughts about the revised saving throw system.


  1. D6 only game? Yes please!

  2. 2d6 in E&S was linked to the idea that abilities and saves are basicaly the same thing, as they're described in OD&D - when you omit tthe alternative system. So, two possibles conclusions, saves with 3D6 as you said (their's a thread about it on 0dd74) or abilities with 2d6 (as saves are 2d6 in Chainmail). For sure, 3d6 feels "more D&D" to most players, so it really worths you to explore that path.

  3. I only just stumbled across your site with your latest post, but this is good stuff!

    I made a (as of yet) abortive attempt at a Chainmail Fantasy Supplement simulacrum---given what you're going to do with combat, you might find the tables I developed of some use.


  4. Thanks for the link - I will add this to the references section at the weekend, too, and blog about it!

  5. I'd say no - there is no point to tying your hands with respect to generating probability distributions. "Funny dice" are easily available, and cell phones have apps for those who might not have them.