Tuesday, September 20, 2022

"Let's Go D&D!"


I've got your 6th Edition D&D rule system RIGHT HERE. Free of charge! Feel free to play-test to your heart's content! Totally compatible with 5E!

[disclaimer: you will probably find it useful to own a copy of the PHB (just until the new 6E version comes out), but splat books with your favorite new classes, races, etc. will work in a pinch]

  1. Choose a "class" from any that are available; right it on your character sheet. If you don't see one that suits your character concept, make your own.
  2. Choose a "race" (i.e. species, ancestry type) from any that are available. If you don't see one that suits your character concept, make your own.
  3. Choose a character "background." The 5E PHB has a list of different ideas (the 6E PHB will have a longer list), but you can do anything that pops into your imagination. Go wild! Try to sum it up in a few words (write the elaborate backstory in your spare time), and jot it down on your character sheet.
  4. Write down your character's "best ability" (strength, intelligence, wisdom, etc.). 
  5. Write down your character's "go to skill," some special feat, cool power, or awesome spell that can really save your bacon. 
  6. Give your character any type of equipment that seems reasonable for his/her class, race, and background...it must be noted on your character sheet! Use the lists in the PHB if you need ideas.
  7. Give your character a name. Write "health" somewhere on the character sheet. Your character starts at Level 1.

Gameplay is much the same as it ever was: the Dungeon Master describes the situation, the players describe their actions in response to the situation.
  • Some actions taken by players will automatically succeed ("I enter the tavern." DM: okay, you do).
  • Some actions taken by players will automatically fail ("I fly around the village like a great eagle." DM: no, your character is not a bird and has no magic that would allow such action)
  • Some actions taken by players will have a chance of failure ("I want to fight the orc: to the death!" DM: ok); these are called CHALLENGES and require a die roll to determine the outcome:
    • In a challenge, the player always rolls a D20; a "20" always succeeds, a "1" always fails.
    • The die type rolled by the DM is determined by the relative difficulty of the challenge: very simple/easy (d6), relatively straightforward (d8), burdensome (d10), very difficult (d12), very "iffy" or low chance of success (d20)
    • If the character's "best ability" would play a factor in the challenge (for example, Intelligence for a riddle contest, Charisma for seduction, Dexterity to dodge a trap, etc.) the DM should lower his/her die type by one (so a D20 becomes a D12, or a D6 becomes a D4, etc.).
    • The player's D20 roll must EXCEED the DM's roll to succeed at the challenge; remember a "20" always succeeds and a "1" always fails!
  • If a player does not wish to risk the chance of failure, they may use one of their character's class features to automatically succeed. "Features" of the character include its class, race, background, and go to skill. The player simply describes how the feature causes the character to succeed at the challenge, and then writes a check mark next to the feature. No feature can be used more than once per game session!
For example: Priscilla the tiefling paladin is fighting an owl bear in single-combat (a very difficult challenge!). She could use her "paladin" feature and explain how her training allowed her to suss out the monster's vulnerable spot; or her "tiefling" feature to shoot flames at it, scaring the creature away; or her background of "orphan growing up on the streets" to play some underhanded trick on the monster.
  • Some challenges (notably combat) carry a risk of injury. Every time the PC fails such a challenge, they must reduce their health one step: 
    • Battered: the character looks like they've been in a fight (mussed and tussled)
    • Bloodied: the character is visibly nicked up, bruised, and scratched
    • Beaten: the character has "lost their mojo" and is on the verge of collapse
    • Broken: the character has been knocked out, injured, and/or so traumatized that he/she cannot continue without healing and recovery
  • For D&D campaigns that wish to include a higher level of lethality, add one more level of hurt (Buried) indicating character death, but clerics of 5th+ level are able to bring such characters back to life, providing their bodies are more-or-less intact. In general, it takes one "game day" to heal one health level; however, a cleric may magically heal a character (challenge level determined by extent of injury: d6 for battered, d8 for bloodied, d10 for beaten, d12 for broken); no cleric may heal the same character more than once per game session, except by expending a feature.
  • Enchanted items provide extra features to the PC that owns it and (possibly) extra "automatic" abilities not otherwise available. Permanent magic items (weapons, armor, etc.) last from session to session; temporary items (potions, scrolls, etc.) are removed from the character sheet after use.
For example: a potion of healing could be expended to automatically increase a wounded character's health one step. A potion of flying could be expended to allow the character to "fly around the village like a great eagle." Magic armor could be used to automatically succeed in a combat ('the orc can't penetrate its enchantment!'). A rod of resurrection could bring a single character back to life, once per session.
  • All enchanted items of a permanent nature must be attuned to a character to be used. A character may attune a maximum number of permanent magic items equal to its level of experience; each item attuned to a character should be of a different type (no more than one sword, or one suit of armor, for example).

Characters advance in level based on achievement of milestones. Milestones are determined by Dungeon Masters based on story consideration or (More Often) are already set based on pre-packaged storylines provided by The Company. 

Gaining a level entitles the character to attune more permanent magic items and provides ONE of the following benefits (player choice):
  • Add an extra Bloodied health level (so the character would need to be "bloodied" multiple times befor becoming "beaten").
  • Add an extra Go To Skill to the character sheet.
  • Change the character's Background and/or Best Ability (based on the new background); for example, a PC that wishes to leave their "orphan" background behind to become a "guild master" might change their best ability from DEX to INT. A "soldier" who becomes a "nobleman" might change STR to CHA...or might not.
In addition, each character receives a "Special Benefit" upon achieving 3rd level, and another at 5th level; these benefits are determined by the character's basic class TYPE (priest, rogue, warrior, or wizard) as determined by the Dungeon Master:
  • Priests: reduce challenge die when dealing with undead (3rd level), raise dead characters (5th level)
  • Rogues: miraculously escape death/injury 1/game session (3rd level), automatically defeat opponent using guile 1/game session (5th level)...assassin types might reverse the order in which these benefits are granted
  • Warriors: attack two opponents with single challenge (3rd level), attack three opponents with single challenge roll (5th level)
  • Wizards: affect multiple opponents with single spell (3rd level), create permanent/lasting affects with magic spells (5th level)
6th level is the suggested maximum for all character types; mandatory retirement is expected for any character that has achieved seven milestones.

THE END. Adventures and additional "character option" books to be published soon!
; )


  1. If I squint and tilt my head, this looks basically like a rules lite OSR game. Not for me, but definitely rises above the level of parody only.

    1. Oh, I'm sure it would function as a spotlight sharing, narrative heavy RPG. Lots of similar game designs out there. Probably just needs some language about "scene resolution" and "authority sharing" and whatnot.

      The SAD THING is that this kind of "light" game appeals to LOTS of people who (ostensibly) want to play "D&D." This ain't D&D...if they want to play THIS kind of game, there are LOTS of games that provide this type of system.

      But they think there is only "D&D." So they keep trying to bastardize D&D into something else, rather than explore the possibilities. Just keep sticking that money in the company coffers.


    2. Thanks settings us all straight. Good to hear from the creator himself!

  2. Since you didn't say ... are you making this up or copying it?

    1. Whole cloth, man. Whole cloth.

      This is the game those Critical Role wannabes REALLY want to play. Use that padded word count detailing nothing but colorful "fantasy" as just details and ideas. Use those dice simply for rolling on random tables of "idea generators."

      Super-easy. Not worth playing for very long (in my opinion). But super-duper easy.

  3. Satire so close to reality it stings.

  4. Why do you insist characters start at 1st level? 15th should be the MINIMUM.

    1. Because, in this system, level is only a measure of time investment, not actual ability to play.

      Also I want to cap the number of features (automatic successes) around 10. Otherwise, players wouldn't have much opportunity to roll dice...and rolling dice is fun!
      ; )

  5. No doubt I'll get banned for this comment but "equity" is obviously lacking in your description of this game version...

    1. ??

      I don't think I've ever banned a commenter, Randolph. And your comment is quite innocuous...certainly not on par with some of the more...mm..."spirited" comments I've received in the past.

      On the other hand, I don't really understand your comment, so I'm not sure how I *could* take offense. Perhaps you'd care to elaborate on your position...?

  6. I played this few weeks ago. Only had six books.

  7. Well, you've inspired me. Well done :)

  8. This is actually a great system for running 5e-style adventures with newbies. Might actually run this.

    1. You're welcome to do so...as I wrote above, I'm sure it's functional for a narrative-style game (which is what the current IP-holders of D&D seem to be moving towards).