Friday, November 22, 2013

"Epic" Prototype: Solo RPG Engine

As discussed in my last post, I got excited by Mythic RPG creator, Tom Pigeon's announcement of an updated hardcover. I miss those days I used Mythic. Cross referencing huge charts, consulting large lists of random words, taking detailed notes, and having funny-shaped dice were some of the things I left behind. I certainly miss the total unpredictability of a good Mythic session — the way it winds one off the path into (most likely) areas never intended or (perhaps) even desired.

I always wanted a streamlined d6-only version I could memorize and throw out, without pocket mods or cheat sheets, or big notebooks that also incorporated my love of Rory's Story Cubes. This may be it!

It's not wholly original, and I tip my hat to the creator...Mythic is a classic and indispensable part of any solo rpg gamer's (or collaborative GM-less group's) toolbox. I've made my own little adjustments and made it something I can remember. I have no idea the actual odds I've got with this particular dice mechanic. Admittedly, the language is still convoluted and could use some cleaning up. I'll work the kinks out first as I'm running a play test.

Perhaps I'll have a mini NaGaDeMoN contribution before month's end!

“Mythic D6”

aka “Epic”

Here is a Mythic GM Emulator lite version with D6’s. Here is the basic outline.

Chaos Factor

The Chaos Factor ranges from 0 to 4 starting with 0. As the CF raises and lowers, it increases the number of die in the pool, slanting to “Yes”. The CF always contributes to the possibility of a positive Fate Question result (see below).

Fate Questions

This version utilizes d6’s. Note the following results and success counting method:
5Yes, and…
3Yes, but…
2No, but…
0No, and…
To use the chart, frame a closed question. Always frame it with a “Yes” indicating the most interesting result (this may not lead to the most beneficial outcome for the protagonists). Roll a number of dice (5 base dice +/– Odds dice + CF) and compare the best/worst rolls to the chart above, counting evens/odds. Always roll a minimum of five dice. Note also that the CF is always positive. Include extra dice according to the following:


+1Somewhat Likely-1Somewhat Unlikely
+2Very Likely-2Very Unlikely
+3Sure Thing-3No Way

Roll the dice pool and select from it a “hand” of five dice, counting out the first five most advantageous (evens) or disadvantageous (odds) depending on whether the odds favor a positive or negative result. Note that a positive and a negative die will cancel each other out, leaving one with at least five dice to roll. As a special case, if five is the number of dice to be rolled after calculating the odds, always roll extra dice equal to the CF whether or not they would normally be cancelled out. Again, since CF dice are always positive, always interpret with the appropriate position.

Fate questions are used within a scene to emulate a GM’s presence, running the minutiae of the NPC actions and reactions, or determine what elements, obstacles, or conditions are in play. Open questions can also be framed by asking any sort of question followed by one or two Rory’s Story Cubes or other random image/word combination. Interpret the random results to attach a relevant meaning within the context of the question.


Twists may be introduced mid-scene based on the result of a Fate Question roll. Note that success counting is based on number of evens/odds rolled during framed questions. However, if three of a kind are rolled, an immediate twist is produced. Note that the match must be a part of the “hand” as described above. If there is a CF value of 1 or more that modifies this roll, then the “hand” formed from the best/worst will always be bigger than five dice for the purpose of calling a three of a kind. Always consider the presence of a triplet match when multiple options are available after the Fate Question result is determined (ie “do I take the leftover 3 or the 1 in my hand?”). The value of this three of kind match must be equal to or less than the CF value +1.

Example 1: with a CF of 0, and positive odds of “Very Likely” (a total of 2 bonus), Brian rolls 7 dice. He gets a 2, 6, 3, 1, 2, 1, 1, and thus a “Yes, but…” result on his Fate Question. Noting that there are three 1’s, they fail, nonetheless, to form his “hand” of five dice. However, with same roll with a CF of 1 and odds of “Somewhat Likely”, he would actually take a “hand” of six solely for the purpose of counting the 1’s, meaning that a twist is produced. The “Yes, but…” result still stands in both cases, since he’s counting the five dice starting with evens. In the latter case, the three 1’s form a Twist since that value is ≤ [CF + 1], which in this case is 2.

Example 2: Brian asks another Fate Question, determining “Very Unlikely” Odds and yielding two negative dice to his base five dice. The Chaos Factor in this case is 2 (always positive). Since positive and negative cancel one another out leaving only the five base dice, Brian remembers the special case of still leaving in the bonus CF dice. He rolls 2, 3, 3, 6, 4, 3, 2, counting out the four evens and getting a “Yes…” result. Brian identifies the matching 3’s. Even though they do not form his “hand” of five, the CF of 2 makes his “hand” seven dice for the purpose of calling out the match. The value 3 is ≤ [CF + 1], so that’s a Twist.

Twist Interpretation

Roll d66 and consult the following chart to get the “focus” of the event:
1Protagonistpositive or negative
2Remotepositive, negative, or ambiguous
3Introductionfacilitator, complicator, or ambiguous NPC
4NPC Actionpositive or negative
5Threadtoward, away, or close

For ease of recall, remember, “PRINTT”!

To get the more specific random meaning of the focus, roll one or more Rory’s Story Cubes or random image/words. Alternatively, simply roll two Story Cubes to get an event meaning. The first image gives a vague notion of the context of the meaning, while the second defines and focuses that context into specifics. Players may wish to draw upon or choose randomly from NPCs introduced or threads established according to logic to refine the event meaning.

Scene Setting

At the start of each scene, a Fate Question is framed to see if the scene plays out as imagined. This is always at not-known (or 50/50) odds. Any sort of “No…” indicates an alteration of the scene (to the next logical one). Using the CF, this may produce an interrupt Twist as outlined above. In this case, the scene frames a wholly new and un-anticipated direction. However, count two of a kind matches instead of triples and measure against the value of [CF + 1].

At the conclusion of each scene, note any new threads or NPCs, close any open ones if relevant, and mark whether the Chaos Factor escalates or declines, based on whether the scene was controlled by the PCs or not.


“Bird of Wisdom”, a simple playtest based on the plot description found here.

“A wise bird travels to the prince with nothing but a primitive country.”

The stone-age tribes of Barbaria have united under a single king to resist the invasion of the Evil Empire, but are no match for the Empire’s steel weapons, stone fortifications, and other advanced technology. However, in a distant temple there exists a miraculous bird that speaks the words of the gods of craft and wisdom. If the bird could be brought to Barbaria, it could teach the people the arts they need to fight the Empire. The king will not hear of it; he is too stubborn and proud, and would prefer to die fighting in the old ways. His son is more receptive, though. All that remains is to actually get the bird to the prince…


  1. Id love to try your d6 Mythic variant but Ive no idea how to calculate the answers to the Fate question...
    What am I supposed to count?

    1. Thanks for your comment!

      1. Determine odds (use charts & CF to calculate number of dice in pool: base 5 + CF +/- Odds)
      2. Roll total pool of dice (always 5 minimum)
      3. If odds favored a positive result, count evens first. If odds favored negative, pick five from your pool starting with odds. If even dice are 0, you get a "No, and..." result; if there was one even, then a straight "No...", and so on.

      You're always looking at five dice — either the best five, or worst. You're also always counting evens. If you look at some of the results of my playtests, you may be able to make out how I calculated it. Also, the end of my second session has revisions that simplify and clean up the language some.

  2. So if there is a d6 rpg i would like to play I can use this as a gm?

    1. Greetings! No need to have an rpg that uses d6. Pidgeon's Mythic uses big charts and d100 to emulate a GM. I like Mythic, but prefer leaner charts, and d6's. Thus, I modded it to form "Epic" to do that. For your rpg to join with it, you can play whatever you like.

  3. New format has probably broken most of the links on this blog. Ugh.

  4. I think I prefer it even leaner. I like Carsten's idea.
    1d6 Fate Die & 1d6 Event Die.
    Fate Die - Very Unlikely 6=yes. Unlikely 5+=Yes. 50/50 4+=Yes. Likely 3+=Yes. Very Likely 2+=Yes. Event Die - 6=Exceptional Result, 1=Random Event. You can also eliminate the scene structure for a more sandbox game but you have to keep in mind that a Random Event may not fit when you roll it & make a note of it to work in when appropriate.