Player Rules

posted by gradenko_2000 Original SA post

Swords and Six-Siders

Swords and Six-Siders is a game by Steve Robertson, published in 2013. It's main shtick, as you may have guessed from the name, is that it tries to deliver a fantasy dungeon-crawling experience like the Original Dungeons & Dragons from 1974, but using only six-sided dice.

Core Mechanic

The main method of resolution is a roll of a single d6, where a natural 1 is always a miss/failure and a natural 6 is always a hit/success.

Character Creation: Ability Scores

The standard rule is that there are no ability scores. Your character is whatever you envision it to be. I think this is cool and good - a sacred cow has been slain.

There is an optional rule where you roll 1d6 each for Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma. A 1 means you're below average, a 6 means you're above average, and anything else means you're average. Even then, the game still says that this has no mechanical effect, and serves only to inform the character. Still cool and good, as it lets you "roleplay" a muscle wizard or whatever the heck people do with oddball rolled stats without getting in the way of things like combat or skill checks.

There is yet another optional rule where the 1/below average and the 6/above average attributes will work as penalties or bonuses:
STR: melee damage rolls
INT: number of languages known
WIS: saving throws vs magic
DEX: ranged attack rolls
CON: hit dice rolls
CHA: reaction rolls

A +1/-1 modifier is okay. It has a larger impact that the same +1 STR modifier would have had with OD&D's d20 rolls, but the rule is optional.

Another-nother optional rule to use in conjunction with this one is that you only roll three times, and then you take the "opposite" die roll for each of the three. That is, if you roll a 6, you get to assign one attribute with a 6 and another attribute with a 1. At that point though I think you're better off just going with the standard rule.

Character Creation: Clerics

Clerics can wear all armor and shields and helmets, but can only use blunt weapons
They can cast Cleric spells and they can Turn Undead
They know Common, their alignment language, and one more of the player's choice (remember that if you were using the optional attribute score rules, 6 INT would grant you one more language of your choice, so 4 languages total)
They have 1d6 HP per level
They gain a +1 to attack rolls at levels 3 and 6

Turn Undead works by rolling a d6 and adding half the Cleric's level, rounded up. If the result is 6+, the Turn Undead succeeds, which causes a number of undead to flee equal to d6 + half the Cleric's level, rounded up. If there is an undead present in the encounter which is higher level than the Cleric, the Cleric cannot use Turn Undead. If the Turn Undead fails, the Cleric cannot attempt again in the same encounter. If the Cleric is 2 or more levels higher than a turned undead, the undead is destroyed instead of just being forced to flee.

For spell progression, it's notable that Clerics in this game have 1 spell slot at level 1. I always thought that was a nice rule to differentiate Clerics from Fighters. Progression goes up to level 4 spells for Clerics.

Character Creation: Fighters

Fighters can wear all armor and can wield all weapons
They know Common, their alignment language, and one more of the player's choice
They have 1d6+1 HP per level
They gain a +1 to attack rolls at levels 1, 3 and 5
They gain a +1 to damage rolls, even ranged damage, at levels 2, 4 and 6

No dead levels! Funny how that worked out.

Character Creation: Wizard

Wizards cannot wear armor, nor use shields, nor wear helmets. They can only use simple weapons - daggers, staves and darts are the cited examples.
They know Common, their alignment language, and three more of the player's choice
They have 1d6 HP per level
They never gain any attack or damage bonuses

For spell progression, they start with two level 1 spell slots, and can learn up to level 5 spells.

There's also a section on magic item creation: Wizards can create spell scrolls at the cost of 100 gp per spell level per scroll, so a Scroll of Fireball, which is a level 3 spell, would cost 300 gp. Magic item creation works by the Wizard rolling a d6 and succeeding on a 6, with a +1 to the roll for every character level higher than the spell level. A level 1 Wizard trying to create a scroll with a level 1 spell would need a natural 6 to succeed, but a level 3 Wizard would only need a 4 or higher for the same spell.

The game also describes letting players create permanent magical items, and/or spell effects that aren't covered in the published spells, but leaves it up to the GM to come up with costs and spell levels and requirements.

Character Creation: Dwarves

As with OD&D, this game uses the races-as-classes model.

Dwarves can wear all armor and can wield all weapons
They know Common, Dwarven, their alignment language, and also Gnome, Goblin and Kobold languages
They have 1d6+1 HP per level
They gain a +1 to attack rolls at levels 3 and 5 (1 less than the Fighter)
They gain a +1 to damage rolls, even ranged damage, at levels 2, 4 (1 less than the Fighter)
They gain a +1 bonus to AC if the attacker is larger than a human
They gain a +1 bonus to saving throws against poison or magic

Their description also includes "Dwarves have a keen eye towards underground and stone construction, detecting traps, sloping passages, and new construction with great skill", which is pretty much taken straight out of D&D as well, but there's no rule on how to implement this mechanically.

Character Creation: Elves

Elves can wear all armor and can wield all weapons.
However, they can only cast spells if they're unarmored or if they're wearing magical armor
They know Common, Elf, their alignment language, and also Gnoll, Hobgoblin and Orc
They have 1d6 HP per level
They gain a +1 to attack rolls at level 3
They gain a +1 to damage rolls, even ranged damage, at level 4

Elves have slightly worse spell-progression than Wizards, with only 1 spell slot at level 1 and topping out at spell level 4.

They're also described as having "the ability to move silently and are almost invisible when being still. They are skilled in spotting secret doors" but again, no rules on how this is applied in-game.

Character Creation: Halflings

Halflings can wear all armor and can wield all weapons, although there's a slight bit of implication that they're supposed to have different or special gear to allot for their diminutive size
They know Common, Halfling, and their alignment language
They have 1d6 HP per level
They gain a +1 to ranged attack rolls at level 1. They gain additional +1 bonuses at levels 3 and 5, and these later ones apply to both melee and ranged attacks
They gain a +1 to damage rolls, even ranged damage, at level 4
They gain a +1 bonus to AC (, period)
They gain a +1 bonus to saving throws against poison or magic

Character Creation Optional Rule: Dual-classing

If the GM allows it humans can dual-class. They start as either a Cleric, Fighter or Wizard, then can change to a different class sometime after hitting level 2. Characters are still limited to 6 levels total, and class-specific abilities are pretty well cordoned-off, such as dual-classed Wizards being unable to cast spells if the character is wearing any armor.

Alignment and Languages

A character needs to choose being either Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic. Clerics specifically must be Lawful or Chaotic. You share a language with everyone of the same alignment. Intelligent creatures have their own language within their race and may know languages of other races, but not all of them know Common.


All characters start with 1d6+6 x 10 gold pieces to buy equipment with, and there's your standard fantasy list of camping supplies, weapons, and armor.

Mercifully, 1 gold piece is 10 silver pieces is 100 copper pieces

Encounter Rules: Time

A turn is 10 minutes, and a round is 6 seconds. Combat alternates by round, but there's nothing that actually says what a turn is used for. I expected something like an "moving to a new room takes 1 turn, exploring a room thoroughly takes 1 turn, you roll 1d6 for random encounters every 3 turns, triggering an encounter on a 1", but no such mention of turns ever appears again.

Encounter Rules: Surprise

When the players encounter a monster, each side that "is susceptible to being surprised", which is a somewhat vague description, gets to roll a 1d6. If the result is a 1 or 2, then that side is surprised. If both sides are surprised or unsurprised, then nothing special happens, but if only one side is unsurprised, then they get to take "a free action to flee, cast a spell, or attack."

Encounter Rules: Reactions

When monsters are encountered, the GM may roll 1d6 to check for their reaction. If the reaction isn't instantly hostile, the monsters can be bribed, tricked, distracted, or otherwise negotiated with, but communication and understanding will require intelligent monsters and a shared language.

Encounter Rules: Initiative

At the beginning of every round, every character rolls a d6, with highest rolls going first.

As an optional rule, initiative can be done per side instead of character.
As another optional rule, initiative can be thrown out entirely and actions are resolved having occurred simultaneously. How this is actually done is not well explained.

Encounter Rules: Combat

To make an attack, a character rolls 1d6, adds all modifiers, and scores a hit if the final result is equal to or greater than the target's AC. As with a core mechanic, a natural 6 always hits, and a natural 1 always misses.

An unarmored character has 4 AC. A shield is worth +1 AC, a helmet is also worth +1 AC.
Leather Armor reduces damage taken by 1, Chain Mail reduces it by 2, and Plate Mail reduces it by 3, but any successful hit will always deal a minimum of 1 damage.

This is one of the few D&D-esque games that make a distinction between "chance to avoid getting hit" and "reducing the impact of a hit via armor". It also shows some savvy on the part of the designer since it lets him stretch out the small scale of the d6 further.

One-handed weapons and ranged weapons all deal 1d6 damage on a hit
Two-handed weapons deal 1d6+1 damage on a hit
Fighters, Dwarves, Elves and Halflings can choose to dual-wield one-handed weapons. They can choose to reroll their d6 damage roll, but they must use the second roll if they do so

Once a character is reduced to 0 HP, they are either killed or knocked out, at the choice of the attacker. This is a nice simplification of subdual damage rules.

Encounter Rules: Saving Throws

Saving throws are used to either halve or eliminate the effects of "non-standard attacks (such as poison or spells)". Roll 1d6 + half the character's level rounded up + any other modifiers, and you succeed on a 6 or better. As with the core mechanic, a natural 6 always succeeds and a natural 1 always fails.

I think this is a good simplification, as the five different TSR-era saving throws are a personal bugaboo of mine, since they're not nearly as intuitive as Fortitude / Reflex / Will, though I do know that some people consider the squashing of saves into a single number (Swords & Wizardry also does this) to be an excessive divergence from the original game.

Encounter Rules: Morale

Intelligent monsters can be made to weigh their chances of success, and the GM can roll 1d6 to see if they flee or if they keep fighting. What's missing though are guidelines on when morale checks are supposed to be made.


A character heals 1d6-but-capped-at-character-level HP per day when they're in town and resting.

Spellcasting: Basics

Clerics, Wizards and Elves all need and use spellbooks to store and memorize their spells with. "Replacing a lost or destroyed spellbook is possible, but it is very expensive."

It takes a full night's rest to memorize spells to fill your spell slots. The game specifically allows a spellcaster to memorize the same spell more than once.

Clerics always know all the spells for the spell levels that are available to them.

Wizards and Elves start with Read Magic and one level one spell of their choice. As they gain access to higher spell levels, they get to learn one spell of their choice from that level, but learning any other spells is completely in the hands of the GM as to how they gain access. Even learning it from scrolls or spellbooks is an optional assumption. The game also suggests giving the Wizard one additional spell known at the start of the game, since they have two level 1 spell slots at level 1.

In combat: if an enemy is engaged in melee with a caster, the caster cannot cast spells. If they're hit by a spell or ranged attack prior to their turn, they cannot cast in that round. If the simultaneous initiative option is used, spells will not disrupt spellcasting, but ranged attacks still will.

It's also worth noting that the game does not really elaborate on movement rules, so "if an enemy is engaged in melee with a caster" is a bit vague.

Spellcasting: Cleric Spells

I'm not going to go into detail on every spell. Just imagine all of these spells have a range that generally goes between 100 to 300 feet.

Level 1 Spells

Cure Light Wounds: Heals 1d6+1 hp.
Detect Evil
Detect Magic
Light: Causes an object to shine like a torch. It can be cast on the eyes of an opponent to blind them.
Protection from Evil: +1 to AC and saves, counters mind control, and hedges out elementals and outsiders
Purify Food and Drink

Spell durations are measured in minutes or hours, but again since turns aren't used anywhere else, establishing a time-passage relationship using just the RAW text is difficult.

Level 2 Spells

Bless: Allies gain +1 on attack and morale rolls
Find Traps
Hold Person: Paralyzes 1-4 humanoids. If it is cast on a single target, it saves at -1
Resistance: Subject gains +1 on saving throws
Silence: Negates sound in 20 ft r (preventing any spells)
Speak with Animals

Level 3 Spells

Daylight: 60 foot range of bright light. It can be cast on the eyes of an opponent to blind them if they fail a save vs. magic. Permanent duration.
Fear: Causes one creature of 5 HD or less to flee
Locate Object
Remove Curse
Remove Disease
Spiritual Weapon: Summons a magic weapon that attacks on its own (1d6 damage, same to-hit as the cleric). 10 minute duration

Level 4 Spells

Create Food and Water
Cure Serious Wounds Heals 3d6 hp
Neutralize Poison
Protection from Evil: +1 to AC and saves, counters mind control, and hedges out elementals and outsiders in a 10 foot radius
Speak with Plants
Resuscitate: Restores life to subject who died as long as one day ago. The recipient only has 1 hp, cannot fight or cast spells, and must spend a week in bed before being able to heal (whether by magic or rest).

The Protection from Evil Spell at level 4 is exactly the same as the level 1 spell. Probably some kind of editing / writing error

Spellcasting: Wizard Spells

There are 12 spells per spell level, and the game commits to its 1d6 only principles: "To choose a random wizard spell, roll a d6 twice. On 1-3, add 0 to the second roll; on 4-6, add 6 to the second roll, resulting in a 1-12 range."

Level 1 Spells

Charm Person: Makes one humanoid of up to 3 HD your friend. Duration : 1 day, week, or month depending on subject’s intelligence.
Comprehend Languages: You understand all spoken and written languages
Detect Magic
Feather Fall
Hold Portal
Light: Object shines like a torch. It can be cast on the eyes of an opponent to blind them if they fail a save vs. magic.
Magic Missile: Magic arrow automatically hits target for 1d6+1 damage, bypassing any DR
Protection from Evil
Read Magic
Shield: Invisible disc gives +2 to AC, blocks magic missiles
Sleep: Puts either one 3 HD creature or 2d6 HD of 2 or less HD creatures into a magical slumber
Spider Climb: Grants ability to walk on walls and ceilings

Level 2 Spells

Arcane Lock: Magically locks a portal or chest. Can automatically be opened by a wizard/elf of a higher level than the caster. Duration: indefinitely
Detect Evil
Detect Thoughts
Illusion: Creates an illusion that lasts as long as the caster concentrates on it or until it is touched/hit (the illusion has an AC of 4). If the illusion is used to “attack,” it has +0 to-hit and does 1d6 of illusionary damage. If the victim is reduced to 0 hp by the illusion, the victim passes out for 1d6x10 min and regains all of the hp “lost” due to being hit by the illusion.
Invisibility: Subject is invisible until it attacks. Duration: permanent until broken
Knock: Opens locked or magically sealed door
Levitate: Subject moves up and down at your direction
Locate Object
Mirror Image: Creates 1d6 decoy duplicates of you. Any attack on the caster will destroy one of the decoys (even if the attack misses).
See Invisibility
Web: Fills 10 foot radius spread with sticky spiderwebs. Humans need 1d6x10 min to break through. Fire burns the web quickly.

What I noticed is that while the Daylight spell is identical between the Cleric and Wizard versions, the Cleric's version of Light does not mention using a saving throw, while the Wizard's version of Light does, and then Daylight both needs saving throws.

Level 3 Spells

Clairaudience/Clairvoyance: Clairaudience allows the caster to listen in on an area, and clairvoyance allows the caster to see into an area. The caster memorizing this spell can cast either one by speaking the magic words in order or backwards.
Dispel Magic: Cancels spells and magical effects. If the caster is lower level than the one who cast the original spell, roll 1d6 ( a 1 means the dispel magic spell has failed)
Fireball: 1d6 damage per level, 20 foot radius
Fly: Subject is able to fly. Duration: 10 min per caster level + 1d6x10 min (rolled secretly by GM)
Haste/Slow: Up to two dozen creatures move at double/half speed, doubles/halves the rate of attack, and +1/-1 to attack rolls, AC, and saving throws. The caster memorizing this spell can cast either one by speaking the magic words in order or backwards.
Hold Person
Invisibility Sphere: Makes everyone within 10 foot radius invisible. Duration: permanent until broken
Lightning Bolt: Electricity deals 1d6 damage per level. The bolt is 60 ft long and will double back if needed to achieve its full length
Magic Circle against Evil: +1 to AC and saves, counters mind control, and hedges out elementals and outsiders in a 10 foot radius.
Protection from Arrows: Subject immune to most ranged attacks
Water Breathing: Subjects can breathe underwater

That "rolled secretly by the GM" note for Fly is a somewhat unpalatable and ugly gotcha.

Level 4 Spells

Animal Growth: 1d6 animals double in size
Arcane Eye: Invisible floating eye allows the wizard to see through it
Charm Monster: Makes monster believe it is your ally, affecting all intelligent monsters. Duration: 1 day, week, or month depending on subject’s intelligence
Confusion: Subjects behave oddly for 1 round per level. Roll 1d6: 1 = attacks caster’s party, 2-5 = stand confused, 6 = attack monster’s own party.
Dimension Door: Teleports you up to 360 ft in any direction.
Hallucinatory Terrain: Makes one type of terrain appear like another (field into forest, or the like). Duration: until touched
Plant Growth: Grows vegetation so as to make an area impassable, up to 300 sq ft. Duration: until dispelled
Polymorph Other: Target is transformed into a new form
Polymorph Self: Gives caster a new form
Remove Curse
Wall of Fire: Creates a wall of fire 60 ft wide and 20 ft tall that does 1d6 fire damage to any who cross it (2d6 vs. undead)
Wall of Ice: Creates a wall of ice 60 ft wide and 20 ft tall. Only monsters of 3rd level or higher may break through, taking 1d6 damage in the process

Level 5 Spells

Cloudkill: Kills monsters of 3 HD or less. The cloud moves 60 ft per 10 min, and sinks down since the cloud is heavier than air. Duration: 1 hour
Contact Other Plane: Lets you ask question of an extraplanar entity. Only questions that can be answered by a “yes” or “no” may be asked. The higher the plane that is contacted, the more questions that may be asked, the higher the likelihood of knowing the answer, the higher the likelihood of the answers being true, but also the higher the chance of the caster going insane (chances are on 1d6).
[There's a table that breaks down the number of questions, the chance that the contacted entity will the answer to the question being asked, the chance that the contacted entity will answer truthfully, and the chance of going insane, per planar level]
Feeblemind: This spell can only be used against wizards and elves, making the target too feeble-minded to cast any spells. Duration: until dispelled
Finger of Death: Death-ray kills one subject
Flesh to Stone/ Stone to Flesh: Turns subject creature into statue. If spoken in reverse, it reverses the effect
Geas: Commands subject of 6 HD or less to accomplish the task commanded by the caster. If the target tries to divert from carrying out the task, they are struck with weakness. Refusal to carry out the task results in instant death. Duration: until completed
Hold Monster: As hold person, but any creature.
Passwall: Creates passage through wood or stone wall, human-sized, up to 10 ft in length
Telekinesis: Moves object or creature, or hurls object at creature, 200 lbs per caster level
Teleport: Instantly transports you across any distance. If completely unfamiliar with the destination, the teleport is likely to end in death (1-4 on 1d6). If casually familiar, there is only a 1-in-6 (1 on 1d6) of teleporting either too high (falling) or too low (if into solid ground, death) (1-3 too low, 4-6 too high). The caster may teleport safely if he is very familiar with the destination.
Wall of Iron : Creates an iron wall 3 inches thick and a maximum 50 sq ft in height and length. Duration: 2 hr
Wall of Stone: Creates a stone wall 2 ft thick and up to 100 sq ft in height and length. Duration: until dispelled

The game has a number of good ideas as far as porting the basic D&D experience over to a d6 mechanic, but 1d6 HP at level 1 with 1d6 damage rolls? I don't buy it. The game also leave a whole lot unsaid , and seems to rely on peoples' prior experience with D&D to fill in the blanks.

I still have some GM-facing and fluff material to tackle, but this should be a 2-parter.

End of Part 1

Experience Points and Leveling

posted by gradenko_2000 Original SA post

Swords and Six-Siders - Part 2

Experience Points and Leveling


XP is accumulated primarily through the acquiring of treasure, and secondarily through defeating monsters (by wits or by force).

You need 2 000 xp to get to level 2, all the way to 60 000 xp to get to level 6 and the end of the normal level cap. 1 gp = 1 xp, and also 10 xp per level of monster that was "defeated or overcome"

xp is only awarded when a character returns to town to rest, and gp only counts for xp after it has been spent, even if "spending" it is just making it go poof under the guise of "you spent it on training"

There is an optional rule for leveling past 6: for every 10 000 xp earned after level 6, a character can either:
1. gain 1d3 HP, capped at the absolute maximum for their character class, or say 6d6 / 36 HP for a Cleric
2. increase an ability score by 1, capped at 6 (if this ability score is being used at all)
3. "The GM may also make other spells or combat abilities available, too."

This is very stock OD&D, but it cuts through a lot of the cruft and outright states that you don't need to kill the monsters, just find a way around them.

Adventuring Advice

There's a couple of paragraphs here on how to play.


Combat Should Be a Last Resort

Characters get the same XP whether they kill or outsmart a monster, and they get far more XP by getting its loot. Combat in Swords & Six-Siders™ is dangerous and deadly! It is usually best to avoid combat whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to negotiate with monsters over food or treasure to avoid a potentially dangerous encounter, to get information from them, or to team up with them against other monsters.

I feel like the GM also needs to be addressed directly that these are things that needs to allow to happen.


Use Caution

Whether walking down a hallway, or arranging your battle formation, care should be used in arranging the characters to maximize their safety and combat efficiency. This often means using the walls and obstacles in the dungeon to limit the number of monsters that can attack at a time. Another good tactic is to have the toughest and/or shortest members of the party in front, and those with spells, ranged weapons, and long weapons reinforcing the frontline. Avoid having all of the characters too close together in case of an area effect trap or attack.

The lack of detailed movement rules puts a lot on the gaming group to just invent how and why this would work, though.


Know When to Search and When to Move On

It is good to search for traps, hidden treasures, and secret doors, but also be aware that searching takes time, and the longer the party spends searching, the more likely monsters are to wander in upon the party!

Know When to Say When

Greed kills. Sometimes it is best to head back to town and recover before taking further risks. The deeper a party wanders into a dungeon, the longer and more dangerous it will be getting out.

This brings us back to the lack of detailed time management rules and the fact that the "turn" is never mentioned again beyond its definition as 10 minutes. There's literally no meaning to this without you bringing in some baggage from a different game.



It is often advantageous to take along hirelings when going to explore dungeons. There are many different kinds of hirelings ─ those that fight in the front lines, those who only carry torches and supplies, and those who merely tend the pack animals.

Prices for the services of hirelings vary widely depending on the risks taken and the reputation of the characters, and hirelings may need the characters to front the cost of basic armor, weapons, and other supplies.

Hirelings have their own interests apart from the characters, and are subject to morale checks. Things such as the rate of pay, danger, and how the characters treat them can either positively or negatively affect the hirelings’ loyalty and morale.

While there are morale rules, there are no rules for hirelings per se.

Monster Math

In the GM's section, we get a section on how to create monsters of any given level

HP: 1d6 per Level, plus Level, so a level 3 monster would have 3d6+3 HP

AC: 4 + Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would have 6 AC. The game helpfully reminds us that a natural 6 is always a hit regardless of AC.

Armor / Damage Reduction: Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would have 2 DR. The game helpfully reminds us that a hit will always deal a minimum of 1 damage regardless of DR

Attack Bonus: Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would roll 1d6+2 and needs to meet or beat AC in order to hit

Damage: 1d6+Level damage per hit, so a level 3 monster would deal 1d6+3 damage

Saving Throws: Half-Level-rounded-up, so a level 3 monster would roll 1d6+2 and needs to get a 6 or better (or a natural 6) to succeed

The game helpfully compiles this into a single handy-dandy chart for us:

Monster Level 0      1- 6 HP ( 4 avg)     AC 4     DR 0     Attack roll: 1d6       Damage: 1d6       Saving Throw: 1d6

Monster Level 1      2- 7 HP ( 5 avg)     AC 5     DR 1     Attack roll: 1d6+1     Damage: 1d6+1     Saving Throw: 1d6+1

Monster Level 2      4-14 HP ( 9 avg)     AC 5     DR 1     Attack roll: 1d6+1     Damage: 1d6+2     Saving Throw: 1d6+1

Monster Level 3      6-21 HP (14 avg)     AC 6     DR 2     Attack roll: 1d6+2     Damage: 1d6+3     Saving Throw: 1d6+2

Monster Level 4      8-28 HP (18 avg)     AC 6     DR 2     Attack roll: 1d6+2     Damage: 1d6+4     Saving Throw: 1d6+2

Monster Level 5     10-35 HP (23 avg)     AC 7     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+5     Saving Throw: 1d6+3

Monster Level 6     12-42 HP (27 avg)     AC 7     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+6     Saving Throw: 1d6+3
As a mechanics-focused nerd, I like this. While the game does have a Bestiary (which we'll also go into), this lays bare the core assumptions behind the monsters, and with it the progression of the characters relative to them.

What I don't like is that in the actual book, the layout of this actual table is quite bad:

And yes, the entire book is written in Times New Roman

While I do like the monster construction rules, and tied into how it works with the d6 scale of the game, the previous section to that somewhat soured me. I get that OD&D is a thing and the OSR is a thing, but I don't think that's an excuse to leave holes in your game rules big enough to drive truck through, and moreso if you give the players gameplay advice that doesn't actually exist within the framework of those rules. It relies too much , I think, on players already being familiar with the game that it's imitating.

We still have the Bestiary, ~Random Monster Generation~ and Treasures to talk about, so another part to come.

End of Part 2


posted by gradenko_2000 Original SA post

Swords and Six-Siders - Part 3


In the previous section, we talked about sets of generic monster stats per level. This time I'll talk to look into some specific/iconic monsters.

Androids are here because OD&D had them from back when sci-fi and fantasy were more mish-mashed together. The description here makes them sound like Schwarzenegger's T-800 from Terminator 2: a metal machine wrapped in synthetic flesh and blood. Their mechanical gimmick is that they're immune to damage from non-magical weapons, except blunt weapons like hammers and maces.

Basilisks are listed as having a petrifying gaze, as are cockatrices and ghouls having a petrifying touch, but no mechanical elaboration on these abilities is offered.

There are many different colors of Dragons listed, and Green, Blue, Red and Gold Dragons can cast spells at various levels of spellcaster, while all Dragons in general hav a 50% chance of using their breath weapons.

There's a monster called the Green Gloopity that does not have an AC nor HP stat, and instead just eats through / deals 1d6 damage to anything flesh, leather or wood, until destoyed with fire.

Hydras have 1d6+4 heads.

Lycanthropes are noted as turning into either bears, boars, tigers or wolves, and the lycanthropy can be cured with a Cleric's Cure Disease spell.

Robots are androids, except aesthetically they don't have an android's flesh-covering of their metal frames

There are a couple of monsters, such as Titans and Purple Worms with a level of 6+, which means you can add extra hit dice for more HP, but all other stats remain the same.

Creating New Monsters

One of the genuine innovations of this game beyond the scaling to a d6 core mechanic is that the modularity of the monsters allows the creation of random monsters. I'll demonstrate with a series of die rolls:

Roll 1: General Monster Type
1d6 = 4 = Animal-ish

Roll 2: Animal-ish sub-type
1d6 = 4 = Reptilian

Roll 3: Monster Alignment
1d6 = 5 = Chaotic

Roll 4: Monster Level
1d6 = 5 = Mid-level

Roll 5: Mid-level sub-roll
1d6 = 1 = Level 2

Roll 6: Number of Special Abilities
1d6 = 5 = Two special abilities

Roll 7: Type of Special Ability #1
1d6 = 1 = Immunity

Roll 8: Immunity sub-type of Special Ability #1
1d6 = 4 = Fire or cold

Roll 9: Type of Special Ability #2
1d6 = 5 = Utility

Roll 10: Utility sub-type of Special Ability #2
1d6 = 4 = Shapechange

So we were able to produce a level 2 reptilian monster with 4-14 HP, AC 5, DR 1, 1d6+1 attack rolls, 1d6+2 damage rolls, and 1d6+1 saving throws. The monster is immune to either fire or cold, and has the ability to shapechange.

This is nice, because the mechanics are laid bare enough that you can quickly generate a bunch of monsters to have your own bestiary without really going out-of-bounds as far as stats are concerned. That said, like a lot of mechanics in this game, things like breath weapons or energy drain or elemental vulnerabilities are up to the GM/table to adjudicate.


This section starts off with a discussion on how to place treasures. The game doesn't have specific "treasure classes" for dungeon levels or monsters, and instead just says wandering monsters shouldn't really carry much in the way of treasure, that treasures should probably be in hoards that adventures can aim for, and that the size of the treasure should be commensurate to the risk/danger in getting to it. Otherwise, the actual amounts are left up to the GM to adjust to taste based on how quickly they want the adventurers to advance.

The treasure tables are very standard D&D-esque:

* Random amounts of gems and jewelry
* Weapons, armor, potions, scrolls, rings, wands, staves as treasure equipment
* Cursed items are a thing, but somewhat rare: you have to roll a 6, then do a second roll, and the second roll has to be a 4 to 6. The actual effect of the curse is described as being aesthetic, to mechanical, to downright punishing:


Cursed magic items appear to be a regular magic item until it is used, and then the curse becomes apparent. The effects of cursed item can be annoying (causes a huge wart to grow on the character’s nose) to severe (cursed items cause major penalties until magically removed, turns the character into a toad, and so forth).

* Weapons are weighed more heavily towards magic swords, which Clerics cannot wield, giving Fighters an indirect upper hand. Further, magic swords themselves are weighed towards having better bonuses more often
* Like OD&D, it's possible to roll up an "intelligent sword", which can be Vorpal or can invoke any number of Wizard spells/effects, but has its own alignment and feelings and agenda
* Magic armors are also a thing, with magical helms and magical shields offering another +1 AC each, while magical armors can grant things like improved reaction rolls, underwater breathing, and acting as one armor type lighter (even if the game does not have weight/encumbrance rules)
* Potions, scrolls, rings, wands and staves can hold a variety of spells and effects, including the most eyeroll-inducing passage of the game yet:


Wishes: Reasonable wishes are usually granted. The greedier the wish, however, the more it should come back to… haunt the character, heh.

* Finally, there's a set of miscellaneous magic items, such as a Not-Bag of Holding, a Not-Cloak of Elvenkind, a Not-Bracers of Protection AC+1, and so on.

As a final note, I wanted to compare the stats of a level 6 monster with that of a level 6 Fighter:

Monster Level 6     12-42 HP (27 avg)     AC 7     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+6     Saving Throw: 1d6+3
Fighter Level 6     12-42 HP (27 avg)     AC 6     DR 3     Attack roll: 1d6+3     Damage: 1d6+3     Saving Throw: 1d6+3
So with the acquisition of a magic helm or shield, and then the acquisition of a magic sword, a Fighter can draw even with monsters of their level, with of course the caveat that the player-character needs to survive that long.

So that covers Swords and Six-Siders . It accomplishes its basic goal of reformatting OD&D into a d6-based mechanic, and rarely even goes beyond rolling more than one d6 at a time, but while there's enough stuff to start playing a game with, I feel like there's too much either left unsaid or assumed will be concocted from a player's previous D&D experience.