Review of Shatter6 Open Roleplaying

I’m a sucker for an open RPG system. Systems like Fate/ Fate Accelerated, GURPS and 2d6 are some of my favorites to run for new gamers because of their ability to run a game in any setting. This helps meet the expectations of the players while also keeping the GM familiar with the system. Well, I was cruising the G+ Tabletop Roleplaying Games Community (great bunch of peeps over there, check it out if you haven’t already) and came across a post from Scott Malthouse from Trollish Delver Games post about a new free system from them called Shatter6. Well, I had to give it a read at least so I instantly downloaded it.

The system consists 5 pages, all published under the Creative Commons license and Scott encourages people to hack it.  The second sentence gives you a tremendous guiding principle for the game: “The Golden Rule is the Rule of Cool.” This sentence is more than a nice little saying, as many of the game’s mechanics operate off of this mantra, from setting the difficulty of an action to damage output on any baddies. Making an action more daring or crazy will ramp up the difficulty level of the action, but will result in a more rewarding outcome in the end. In fact, the GM could require only the coolest, most daring moves of all to have any chance in taking down, say, a villain the size of a mountain. This is well supported by the game since it is a narrative  driven system, which means no pesky movement, jumping or climbing rules will get in the way of your amazing feat.

The system uses a Tag system instead of skills. These Tags cover things like acrobatic, dancer and historian. You choose 3 Tags when you create your character. These Tags give you +2 per tag when doing a “Doing Things” roll. These Tags are then used to name your class. Do you have the Acrobatic, Stealthy and Streetwise Tags? Sounds like a cat burglar to me. What about a politician with Charming, Diplomat and Deceptive? The combinations are endless, especially when your take into account that you can work with the GM to make your own Tags.

The system is a d6 system, which makes finding dice as east as raiding the closest Yahtzee or Tenzie game or making a trek to your closest Wally World (Wal-Mart for those not in the States). The name Shatter6 comes from the pool of extra d6 that can be added to any role. You start with 4 shatter dice and gain more as you level, or perhaps from magic items, advanced tech, lucky charms or the like. Your base shatter dice are replenish after 8 hours of rest, though any gained from items or other means may not replenish at all.

Doing things in the game requires the player to roll 2d6+relevant attribute+any modifier+any shatter dice. The result of this roll needs to meet or exceed the toughness rating for the action to succeed. This goes for combat as well. The system is geared so that players do all of the rolling, so defending is the same mechanism, just against a static Toughness Rating of the opponent. The system allows you to even make mobs (mooks in some systems) a single monster stat, giving the GM the ability to throw a group of 100 gobos at the players while only dealing with one stat block. If the players fail a defense  roll they will take a number of wounds equal to the damage of the opponent being faced. These wounds are tracked by reducing an attribute to 0 for each wound taken. Once all attributes are at 0, tags start to get crossed out and if all of those get crossed out, the player is out of action. Wounds recover after 8 hours of rest.

Overall, this system is lean, mean and very open. I can see me running many a game with this system and actually plan on running one this weekend. I’m going to run it as is for now and tweak it as I go. I’m very excited to see what it can do and as always, I’ll keep you all posted. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Until next time, have fun!

-B

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