7/21/2011

Mini D6 Horror

Horror games have never really been my bag. I prefer space operas or fantasy adventures, both to run and to play. But I do love me some Lovecraft. So when our own C.D. delivered a simple little horror mod for d6, I just knew I had to try it.

Finally, after numerous false starts, and some unexpected gaming interruption, I found the time last week to take the rules out and test drive them with a little game. We used the Mini Six rules variant because it's cute and trim.

I had three players and we'd all agreed that everyone would be members of an organization called Company Y, dedicated to confronting the paranormal and otherworldly evils that haunt the world. Think a little like the X Files but more like E Branch from Brian Lumley's Necroscope novels. Many of the operatives would have special abilities or supernatural powers.

We had a sun vampire, who required massive doses of vitamin D to survive in place of blood. It made night time excursions tough because all of his attributes were at half their ordinary levels.


A gallon of 2% was as vital to this party as a 10-foot pole.


Next came the psychic woman who could see into the future. That was fun because we decided that unlike most games where the success of a roll determined whether or not the future could be seen, this psychic could always be 100% certain of seeing the future. Unfortunately, if the roll was failed the future seen would be invariably bad. So peeking into the future too often could lead to ugly consequences down the road...


"Guys, I've got some good news and some bad news..."


Then finally we had a mysterious German who, frankly, didn't really have any powers so far as I know. Other than being creepy and wearing dark sunglasses all the time. He was just an expert human to round out the group. Sort of like Dolph Lundgren. But a lot less badass.


Depicted here single-handedly defeating global communism. With a sword.


Anyway, the plot was short and simple. There was something creepy happening in a small village in South Africa, people disappearing, strange lights, bizarre births with malformed babies. You know, a typical Monday morning for a group dedicated to fighting ghouls and ghosts.

Aided by a South African cop, the group made short work of the mystery, exploring three key areas, piecing together a simple set of clues, following the evidence, and spending a creepy night in a small shack while outside Bad Things happened.

Overall the experience was good.

In the tradition of Mini Six making things smooth and so there would be less rolling, I used static numbers for the level of scary sights and grisly happenings. Keeping it simple I used 6 as the lowest sort of terror (a gruesome crime scene, alone in a room with a creepy sound) and went up in increments of three at a time, finally topping off with a massive 18 for a shadowed beast doing unspeakable things to an NPC. I didn't want to overwhelm my players with too many hard rolls right off the bat but I probably moderated things a little too well as they did just fine.

Next alternation I made was a little more significant; I did away with the random attribute penalty when their Sanity fell too low. I had each player select a weakest attribute, even if it was one they had put the most dice in, and every time they failed their Wits vs. Horror that would be the attribute lowered. This led to the players roleplaying out different phobias and quirks, such as the vampire's increasing surliness and inarticulate mumbling as his Charm dropped.

Of course, as gamemaster, that meant I had to find fun and exciting ways to abuse these lowered attributes. After all it doesn't not seem so bad to lose some charisma, until you, as acting team leader, have to explain your presence to the police at the scene of a vicious homicide.

In the end, everyone enjoyed the game and the system. Mini Six worked well at providing a more relaxed investigative sort of game, with a healthy mix of skill rolls and player choice providing a nice open-ended experience. And C.D.'s little mod fit in like a glove.

Two other additions I made were the inclusions of a specific type of drug and a purchasable perk.

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Desensitized (2): This perk usually indicates a character who can stomach the smallest of the unnatural terrors that lurk in the world. Once per scene, you may opt not to roll for a single horror event totaling less than 10, considering it an automatic success.

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The drug is a fictional inhibitor called Texotriptomaline that, when ingested, allows any character to ignore horror rolls of 8 or lower, counting them as an automatic success. However, it will slow their response time, giving them a -1 penalty to all Agility-based rolls and requiring them to act last in initiative order. The drug may be taken once every six hours without fear of overdose and takes thirty minutes to go into effect. Its effects last for about an hour. If more pills are taken during a six hour time you must roll your character's Might against a DC of 12; failure indicates a crippling dependency on the drug and takes your Sanity to a permanent Disturbed level until drug rehabilitation therapy can be provided.

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I'll tell you this, I'm definitely looking forward to more adventures with these messed up paranormal investigators, and next time, we bring out the big guns of terror.


Yes, they will need a bigger boat.

2 comments:

  1. CDGallant_KingJuly 21, 2011

    Holy crap.  Someone else is using material that I made up?  And I wasn't even there??? Sweet!

    I like your suggestions, and I've been meaning to play this some more.  I have some folks that want to try playing remotely via Skype - I think I'll crack these rules out for that game.

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  2. Joe NelsonJuly 24, 2011

    Well the only real changes I made were minor, as everything else was just so perfect in its simplicity.

    I imagine the 6d system, particularly using static DCs as opposed to a whole bunch of rolling, would work great via Skype or IM. And I've found that horror games can be a blast in that format. At least, the one I had participated in some time back was run smoothly and used some clever tricks.

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