If you haven’t heard of DM Scotty then I think you should dig a little deeper. He’s known as the Craft Father. He pretty much started the DIY craft movement on Youtube. So when he published his own RPG, I just had to give it look.
It’s a pretty interesting game. It can be pretty easy to play and run but a little bit more about that later. Is it “old school”? Well, kind of yes and no. It does rely very heavily on rulings not rules. Characters aren’t complex. It encourages players to come up with creative solutions to problems. The answer may not be on your character sheet. It’s core system does have some of the DNA from the Advantage/Disadvantage mechanic. It has meta-game currency and some inspiration for “story games”. Don’t go running away yet.
Let’s start with the core mechanics of the game. The GM (called Rabble Rouser) sets a target number between 2 and 6. Player rolls 1d6 and needs to that number or more. That’s pretty much it. But it does go beyond that with Boons and Banes.
Boons and Banes are a bit like Advantage/Disadvantage. Got a Boon then roll an extra d6 and take the better. Bane? Extra d6 and take the lower. One key difference is that they can stack. So if a character is in great situation then they could have multiple Boons. (i.e. rolling 3d6 and taking the best). But then the same holds true for Banes. A 1 is always a failure and might be “fumble” and a 6 is always a success and a crit. That is the basic core system. There’s some other stuff so just keep reading.
Characters are called Pushers & Shovers in the rules. I don’t know why. Character generation is pretty easy. First, there are no stats. You start off by picking your Hero Path. It’s basically your class. It’s got all the usual types. This is first place that Boons come into play. Boons=Training. So the Warrior gets a Boon automatically in melee combat. Each Path has its own list of things the character automatically gets a Boon for plus a couple of special abilities for that Path.
Then you pick your Species (Race). Yep got the usual suspects. Each species grants some sort of special benefit. Human gets an extra Inclination. That takes us to our next step. Depending on the race/class combo, a character has 2 to 4 Inclinations. Think of these sort like Feats. This I like. It nearly kills the need to do any sort of multi-classing. And it’s where the character really gets customized.
Then characters have two Aspects. You know like that F- Game. (We don’t use that word around the house any more.) It’s not a key factor of play. These are meant to be things that don’t normally fall under and Path, Species, or Inclination. You want to be cobbler. OK? Sure. So it’s there and doesn’t even need to be done at character generation.
Rounding out the character, most have 3 Strikes. That’s your HP. I’ll explain later on. But in a nutshell, 3 Strikes and you’re out (dead). Characters begin with Armor based on their class. Mundane weapons to fit their class. However, the weapon is not as important as who’s wielding it. Then a nice set of random starting equipment tables. Wealth is totally abstract and hand waved but that’s something you could easily import. And you’re done.
So here’s basically how combat works. Each monster has a target number to hit. Roll that number or more then you hit. If you roll a 6 then it basically explodes. Re-roll until you stop rolling 6’s. This where crits come in. Each one is a Strike. Armor has basically a target to “Save” Heavy Armor without a Shield is 4+. For each hit, roll a d6. Four or better your Armor stops the hit. More powerful monsters do have tricks and classes gain special benefits. But it is conceivable that a character could one shot a monster. But this works the other way too.
Magic is different though. It is a roll to cast system. Many of other games use the Spell Casting result as a Saving Throw Target Number. EZd6 sort of does the opposite. The Save is basically rolled first to determine the casting target number. There’s a couple of other little things but I’m starting to ramble. And it basically works the same for the Cleric types.
Now there’s is one key thing to note. There is NO spell list. Nope. Not at all. Conjurers (Magic-Users) pick a Circle of Sorcery. This is basically the entire theme of spell casting. Illusionist cast illusions. Fire Elemental Wizard throws around fire. And so on. It boils down to the player saying what they want to do and the GM moderating the difficulty.
Now, that you’ve gotten this far. What do I think of the game? I think it can be a good and fun game to run or play but there may be a few hiccups. First, it may be easy for newbies to pick up but a seasoned player would be much more capable of fully utilizing the “make your own spells” mechanic. And this holds true for the GM too. A more seasoned GM would be better at moderating the spell system.
Another downfall might be that there is no real character progression system. It’s not zero to hero. But it’s also not hero to superhero. Rewards are more storycentric and loot is its own reward. So character’s may seem static compared to what most people are accustomed.
EZd6 is a good game for a one shot or a mini-campaign. You could do a longer campaign but it would take the right chemistry between the players and the GM.
I know this may all sound negative. It’s not. I did a few test combats and with a hastily generated gang of adventurers. It’s fast playing. It’s easy like it says in the name. And can be pretty deadly. The game works. But there some elements that might not set well with all folks.
You can grab up EZd6 up on DrivethruRPG.