Core Mechanisms

FreeD6 is a narrative conflict role-playing game compatible with OpenD6. The abilities and skills have a slightly different emphasis, the application of the Health Track is slightly different, and there is a greater emphasis on relative values instead of absolute values. Character creation and the dice rolling mechanism are the same, and conditions are emphasized as a core mechanism. The core mechanisms in FreeD6 are: narrative structure, abilities and skills, conditions, and taking action.

Narrative Structure

Players in a FreeD6 game take on the role of one or more characters they create. Characters are described in terms of their narrative background, the set of tropes and descriptions that determine which abilities and skills the character is able to access and describe their role in the adventure. In cooperation with a Game Master, players create an adventure narrative in which their characters take a central role. The Game Master describes the scenario, the players have their characters take actions and make decisions, and the Game Master adjudicates the outcome and describes the consequences.

The FreeD6 core rules use narrative conflict to describe scenarios in which player characters and NPCs oppose each other. Instead of tracking pawns and tokens on a battlemap, the Game Master describes the location, the opponents, and the results of the conflict. Descriptions and actions are to be understood in the ordinary usage of the language. Players are free to have their characters take any action within the scope of their abilities. Randomly determined outcomes and scales of effect are determined by rolling dice. All actions, events, and effects in the game are interpreted by the Game Master.

Abilities and Skills

Characters are described mechanically within the game as having abilities; the specific abilities a character possesses are determined by the character’s narrative background. Abilities are usually attached to a die code (ranked) and further described by one or more skills which may enhance the die code. Abilities are either normal or extranormal. Abilities describe broadly defined actions which they allow the character to perform.

All characters are described as either Dynamic or Stock in relation to their importance in the narrative, both of these are normal abilities which describe the scope of abilities to which the character has access. All player characters are automatically Dynamic. Some abilities require a character to be Dynamic in order to acquire the ability. Some conditions only apply to Stock characters.

Normal abilities are possessed by most characters and elements, and do not have a narrative background requirement. The most common normal abilities are: Strength, Dexterity, Presence, Wits, Intelligence, and Perception. Some uncommon normal abilities are: Body, Fatigue, Energy, and Sanity.

Extranormal abilities are not possessed by most characters and elements, and usually have a narrative background requirement. Some common narrative backgrounds and their associated extranormal abilities are: wizard (magic), mutant (super powers), adept (metaphysics), and cyborg (cybernetics).

Skills describe specific uses or actions within the broadly defined actions of an associated ability. A skill’s die code is added to the die code of the associated ability when making a skill check. A skill check may be referred to as an ability check if there is no skill associated with the roll. The terms are interchangeable and both refer to rolling the dice.

Die codes describe the number of six-sided dice and adds (pips) rolled when an ability or skill check is made. A die code is written as “number of dice” followed by “D”. If the die code has adds (referred to as “pips”), they follow the “D” and are written as “+1” or “+2”. To make an ability or skill check, roll the die code and add the pips to generate a skill total. For example, a die code of 3D+2 would roll three six-sided dice, add them together, and add 2 to get the final skill total. The skill total is compared to a difficulty; the difference between the two numbers – positive or negative – is the result points. Result points are used to describe the success, failure, or degree of effect of the action.


Conditions are the single words or short phrases used to describe abilities and skills. They are to be understood in the common usage of the word or phrase. They enable or restrict abilities with a narrative effect, or they modify abilities with a mechanical effect.

Conditions are either discrete, progressive, or cumulative. Discrete conditions are created once and are not related to other conditions. Progressive conditions are related to other conditions, and replace the related condition when they are created. Cumulative conditions may be created multiple times and the effects of multiple creations are combined. Conditions are used to measure health, willpower, quantity, duration, or any other game element.

Taking Action

Characters in FreeD6 advance the narrative of a game by making decisions and taking actions. Making decisions means that a character responds to the narrative of the game with an action that does not require a roll of the dice. The Game Master adjudicates the outcome of the decision and narrates the results within the game. Making a decision may involve the character doing things related to his skills, but the circumstances are such that there is no need to roll dice to determine an uncertain outcome.

Taking action involves an uncertain outcome in which the dice are rolled in order to determine the degree of success or failure. The player makes a decision and then rolls dice for an ability check, a skill check, or a random event before the Game Master narrates the outcome of the decision. Taking action necessarily involves the character making decisions, but the outcome is variable or uncertain.

The ability of a character to influence the game is determined by their Health and Willpower conditions. A character may be able to make a decision but unable to take action (Incapacitated). A character may be able to take action, but unable to make a decision (Unresisting).

The types of decisions and actions that a character may take, and the effectiveness of those actions, are determined by the character’s narrative background, abilities and skills, and their conditions.

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© December 24, 2023 Winston

This game build for the OpenD6 Project is licensed under Attribution 4.0 International