View Full Version : Please Help me Super-Simplify DnD

2008-08-24, 11:10 AM
I'm trying to get my sisters and brothers to try out DnD, but there's no way they have the time, energy or enthusiasm to learn the rules and make character sheets. Due to this, I've been working on a super simple version, but I need help to make sure it balances out right and to see that it's the best it could be. Here's what I got (note: for complicated reasons, I've lost the only twenty sided dice we had, and I won't be able to get more any time soon so six-sided dice are the only die at my disposal):

Rolls are resolved with a 1d6 with a 1 always failing and a 6 always succeeding. The DC of a roll is as follows:
Instant success (no roll needed).
Incredibly easy.
Good chance of success.
Very hard.
Extremely hard.

As some of you will already have guessed, the game won't have much in the way of modifiers. +1 to a roll is a big thing.

Onto Hit Dice. Hit points, I think, should be done in 6s. NPCs fall into five HP categories:
Brute: Bears, ogres and other non-skilled strong oafs. One and a half HD.
Soldier: Hobgoblins, etcetera. Full HD.
Skirmisher: Elves etcetera. Three-quarter HD (4 HP).
Artillery/Mage: Elven archers, etcetera and kobold priests etcetera. Half HD.
Lackey: Things like kobolds, goblins, orc rabble and the like--monsters that aren't very tough. Half HD.
Minion: Kobold footmen, rats, other things that go down fast and easy with a successful hit. Auto death on a successful hit, as with 4e.
NPC: Same as player classes.

AC is similarly in small numbers. Rather than a base of 10 AC, it's a base of 3, before you apply modifiers and penalties. The following is a list of what effects your AC (besides terrain and combat circumstance).
Light Armour: Things like chain mail, light-plate, splint and etcetera: +1
Heavy Armour: Full Plate, etcetera: +2
Shield: A large shield
Agile**: Characters who have a high dexterity: +1
Super Agile**: Same as above, only super: +2
Skilled: Some classes and feats grant you an AC bonus due to your skill: +1
Super Skilled: Same as above, only super: +2
Magic*: You are protected by beyond-physical-power: +1
Powerful Magic: Same as above: +2
Epic Magic: Same as above: +3
Toughness: Hard skin, thick fur, a scaly hide etcetera: +1
Super Toughness: Same as above only more like an ogre's hide: +2
Ultimate Toughness: Same as above only more like a dragon's hide: +3
Clumsy: Opposite of Agile: -1
Very Clumsy: Same as above: -2
Inexperienced: Commoners and similar characters receive this: -1
New to Danger: For something even worse than a commoner: -2
Curse*: The same as Magic only bad: -1
Powerful Curse: Same as above: -2
Epic Curse: Same as above: -3
Soft: Opposite of Toughness: -1
Weak: Same as above: -2
Frail: Same as above: -3
*: Refers to spells that boost and magic items that effect your AC.
**: "Agile" will be ineffective if the character is wearing Heavy armour or uses a shield. Similarly, "Super Agile" will be lessened to "Agile" while wearing Light Armour.

Note that you can't be both Agile and Super Agile, and you can't have both Toughness and Super Toughness, etcetera..

My equipment array thus far. Note that all damage rolls are also resolved with 1d6. Other things to note:
When trying to inflict non-lethal damage to a target, you take a -1 to attack, unless you're wielding a bludgeoning weapon.
You can throw a weapon as much as twice its increment, taking -1 to attack for each time you exceed the increment.
Ranged weapons can fire as much as four times their increment, taking a -1 penalty to attack for each time you exceed the increment.

Shield: A large shield. +1 AC, -1 check penalty.
Light Armour: Chain mail, splint mail, and other lighter armours. +1 AC, -1 check penalty.
Heavy Armour: Full-plate, half-plate and the like. +2 AC, -2 check penalty.

Dagger: A dagger, can be thrown or used in melee. -2 damage, simple weapon, light, melee or thrown (3 square increment).
Quarterstaff: A staff of oak for melee combat. -1 damage, simple weapon, melee, two handed, bludgeon.
Spear: A spear for melee which can be thrown when necessary. -1 damage, simple weapon, melee or thrown (2 square increment), one handed. Special: +1 damage (plus charge damage) when charging at your foe on a mount. Can set the weapon against cavalry, allowing an attack of opportunity when they come in range, and dealing an extra +2 damage.
Club: A thick, wooden club. -1 damage, simple weapon, melee, one handed, bludgeon.
Great Club: A large, heavy club sometimes adorned with spikes. +1 damage, simple weapon, melee, two handed, bludgeon.
Mace: A metal rod used for striking your foes. Same as club.
Heavy Mace: A huge shaft of metal with a heavy head on the end. Same as great club.

Javelin: A light, pointed shaft of wood, made to be thrown long distances. -2 damage, simple weapon, thrown (4 square increment) or melee, light.
Light Crossbow: This complicated mechanism fires a bolt once the catch is released. -1 damage, simple weapon, ranged (8 square increment), two handed. Special: Move action to reload (provokes AoO).
Crossbow: A heavier version of the light crossbow, with heavier bolts. Simple weapon, ranged (8 square increment), two handed. Special: Full-round action to reload (provokes AoO).

Shortsword: A longer dagger with a broader blade. -1 damage, martial weapon, melee, light.
Longsword: A large one-handed blade, popular among elves and humans. Martial weapon, melee, one handed.
Handaxe: This weapon is much like a hatchet, only made for chopping flesh and bone instead of pine and oak. Same as Shortsword.
Battleaxe: The user of this weapon must be strong in arm to swing this powerful weapon. Same as longsword.
Greatsword: A huge sword meant to be wielded by only the strongest warriors. +2 damage, martial weapon, melee, two handed.
Greataxe: Capable of slicing through anything in it's path, the greataxe is a worthy asset to any warrior. Same as Greatsword.

Bastardsword/Katana: This large blade my not have the strength and weight of a greatsword, but the skilled may use it as they would a smaller weapon. +1 damage, exotic weapon, melee, two handed (one handed with Exotic Weapon Proficiency ).

Now, onto feats. To keep things simpler, there are less feats with more powerful effects.

[B]Power Attack: On an attack, take as much as -4 on your attack roll and gain an amount equal to the penalty as a bonus to your damage roll.
Exotic Weapon Proficiency: Become skilled in a unusual weapon.
Two Weapon Fighting*: Learn to use two weapons at once and negate the penalties for doing so.
Improved Two Weapon Fighting*: Advance your skill in the use of multiple weapons. Requirement: Two Weapon Fighting.
Two Weapon Defence: Learn to deflect oncoming attacks in a swirl of movement, as well as any shield would. +1 to AC. Requirement: Improved Two Weapon Fighting.
Weapon Focus: Gain a +1 to attack when using a weapon you choose upon taking this feat. You can take this feat multiple times, but you must apply its effects to a different weapon each time.
Quick Draw: In a flash of movement, slide out a dagger from your clothing into your hand, or slip another arrow into your bowstring--you may also load a crossbow more deftly than before. Make as thrown weapon attacks as you may make attacks, make as many attacks with your bow as you have attacks, reload Light Crossbows as a Minor action or Move action and Crossbows as a Move action or Full-round action.
Dodge: Learn to anticipate attacks and dodge them better. +1 dexterity bonus to AC.

*: Two weapon fighting works like this: Without the Two Weapon Fighting feat, you take a -1 to attack if the weapon in your off-hand is light, and a -2 to attack if the weapon in your off-hand is one-handed. Even with the Two Weapon Fighting feat, you take a -1 to attack when wielding a one-handed weapon in your off-hand, unless you take the Improved Two Weapon Fighting Feat.

Attributes are simplified from their original score status, and now are modelled after Fallout's system where they are merely a title. Here are the stats and their tiers.
Strength: Your strength of muscle. Grants a bonus to attacks with melee and non-Light thrown weapons and to damage with melee and all thrown weapons, as well as some skills.
Pathetic (-4) -- Feeble (-3) -- Very Weak (-2) -- Weak (-1) -- Average (+-0) -- Muscled (+1) -- Strong (+2) -- Very Strong (+3) -- Titanic (+4)
Dexterity: Your agility and precision. Grants a bonus to attack rolls with ranged weapons and light thrown-weapons--AC is also boosted by +1 at Agile and +2 at Super Agile.
Sloth (-4) -- Two Left Feet (-3) -- Sluggish (-2) -- Clumsy (-1) -- Average (+-0) -- Agile (+1) -- Nimble (+2) -- Acrobatic (+3) -- Super Agile (+4)
Constitution: How well your body holds out and your threshold for pain. Affects Hit points.
Falling Apart Inside (-4) -- Fragile (-3) -- Sensitive (-2) -- Fresh-Skinned (-1) -- Average (+-0) -- Tough (+1) -- Hardened (+2) -- Very Tough (+3) -- Stone-Skinned (+4)
Mentality: A mixture of your awareness and your intelligence (I can't be bothered having two stats). Affects spellcasting of the mage and cleric classes and various skill checks.
Mentally Crippled (-4) -- Retarded (-3) -- Weak Minded (-2) -- Stupid (-1) -- Average (+-0) -- Clever (+1) -- Smart (+2) -- Vastly Cunning (+3) -- Master Mind (+4)
Charm: Your ability to sway others and sometimes the measure of your looks. This stat aids spellcasting of the sorcerer and various skill checks.
Witty as a Rusty Bucket (-4) -- Ugly Personality (-3) -- Not a Talker (-2) -- Standoffish (-1) -- Average (+-0) -- A Wit (+1) -- Charming (+2) -- Dashing (+3) -- Loved by All (+4)

What I'm wondering is how to do stats at character creation. A point-buy style system is in order, and I know the type of race you're playing should also have effect. Something like this, I guess:
You start with 8(?) points to spend. All stats start at one tier below Average. Add the Racial bonuses and penalties. It costs 1 point to raise a stat that is below Average, 2 to raise Average, 3 to raise the tier after, 4 to raise the next tier, and it continues like that till the last tier where it can't be raised any more.

As to how the stats work in detail.
Strength: Add the modifier to attacks with melee weapons and non-light thrown weapons and to damage with melee and all thrown weapons, as well as skill checks of this stat.
Dexterity: Add the modifier to attacks with ranged and light thrown weapons, add a +1 bonus to AC at Agile and above and a +2 bonus to AC at Super Agile--add the mod to skill checks of this stat.
Constitution: At every level increase your MAX HP by the amount indicated by your Con mod--if you increase your Con stat after creation then raise your MAX HP as though your Con had always been the new tier.
Mentality: Add your modifier to the use of magic of the corresponding school, and skill checks of this stat.
Charm: Add your modifier to the use of magic of the corresponding school, as well as skill checks of this stat.

Here are the PC classes:


Hit Dice: Full. Proficiency: Martial and Simple, shields and all armour.




Battle Sorcerer


We get to levelling. Unlike traditional DnD, to make things easier, levels are rewarded when the players have done something notable, survived against great odds, or after they've been adventuring in general for quite some time. Level progression works like this:
1st level: HD as described in the player's class, 1 feat, any bonuses on the class-progression table.
Every Level Thereafter: 1 HD of the player's character class, any bonuses listed on the class-progression table.
Every 3 Levels: 1 Feat.
Every 4 Levels: 1 stat point you can spend right away or save up for as long as you like.

It goes something like that.

This is what I have so far, but I've still to work out how I'll do magic... As you may guess, I still have a ways to go before this is complete and I'll have to be updating this post--so please help me make this system as good as it can be, without becoming overly complex for the players or DM.

Thanks :smallsmile:...

Tas Jones
2008-08-24, 11:22 AM
Play Savage Worlds. Everything I like about 4th edition is stuff that feels like it was inspired by SW(minions, "quicker preparation time ").

It is certainly a lot easer to teach someone, in my opinion.

You can download "test drive" rules, and a fantasy bundle for free.

2008-08-24, 11:22 AM
Do you want to introduce them to DND specifically, or just RPGs? Because in the second case, it's best if you use one of the systems that's simple by default - Risus (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm) springs to mind immediately. It's hard to get simpler than that.

2008-08-24, 11:28 AM
Play Savage Worlds. Everything I like about 4th edition is stuff that feels like it was inspired by SW(minions, "quicker preparation time ").

It is certainly a lot easer to teach someone, in my opinion.

You can download "test drive" rules, and a fantasy bundle for free.

Better yet, just play 4e.

2008-08-24, 11:37 AM
If you can find it, The Fantasy Trip, which has been public domain for years now since the copywright war between Steve Jackson and the company he was working for at the time, sound just like your ticket.

Stats are simple: Str, Dex, Int. You have 32 points to split between them evenly. Unlike modern point buy systems, this is on a one-for-one basis with no starting point, although you have to put an 8 in everything as a Human.

Str is also your Hit Points and your Fatigue Points for casters, COMBINED. So if you have a Str of 10, and you cast up 5 fatigue, then take 6 damage, you're unconcious.

To hit anything is simple: 3d6 under your Dex.

Int determines how many skill points you have and what kind of skills you can take. If there is any convoluted part of the game, skill selection is it. All skills cost between 1 and 3 skill points, and you have a number of skill points equal to your Int score. You don't have to use them all, you can save back points if you are wanting to get a more expensive or higher Int required skill. Some skills also require other stat requirements, or other skill selections.

Weapons and armor are simple. He's got a chart. Weapons have a minimum Str requirement (although in the case of Daggers and such, that requirement is -). Weapons do listed damage. That's it. Roll vs your Dex on 3d6 to hit, then roll damage. Armor provides Damage Reduction, however it also generally carries a penalty to Dex. For example, leather armor carries a DR of 2, but has a Dex penalty of 2 as well. That means if you normally have a Dex of 10, and you are wearing Leather, you need to roll 8's or lower.

There are only two classes: Mundane and Arcane. Mundane spend 3 skill points on a spell. Arcane pay DOUBLE for ALL skills EXCEPT Literacy and Alchemy, although they only pay one spell point per skill.

Determining xp is also easy. xp gained is equal to the monster's Dex plus Strength. If it's a caster, you get to add it's Int into the mix as well. When you get enough points to level, you get another Character Point to put in any stat you choose. XP required to get the next CP is on a sliding scale depending on how many you have. From 32-36, I think you only need 150 xp to level, from 37-40, you need 250. From there, you need like 1,000 xp to hit 41-45, then you hit a real steep incline from there.

2008-08-24, 12:36 PM
Look, just don't play D&D. Fudge works pretty well, and is free. There is also always Savage Worlds.

Neon Knight
2008-08-24, 12:55 PM
Another recommendation for Savage Worlds!

The Rose Dragon
2008-08-24, 01:03 PM
Just play Wushu. It's free, it's awesome. Of course, that's only for introduction to roleplaying, for introduction to D&D, well, you need to play D&D.

2008-08-24, 04:08 PM
Consider something like E6 with pregenerated PCs and use Fighters, Favored Souls, Rogues and "Battle" Sorcerers with a Reserve feat are fun (Possibly Barbarians and Bards). Consider some of the Minatures Cards available at WOTC reinventing a game can be rewarding but a lot of work.

Another method would be to use the Variant Generic Classes and the bonus feats in a E6 game.

PHBII has some nice simple classes like the Dragon Shaman and the Knight. I like the Beguiler class but that is a lot of spells to learn.

The game is a lot simpler and easier at levels one to six. An adventure like A Dark and Stormy Night or Something's Cooking would probably be more enjoyable to younger players.

3.5 adventures:

Old editions:

Tas Jones
2008-08-24, 04:21 PM
Better yet, just play 4e.

Why play an expensive knockoff? ($30 PHB, $30 MM, $30dmg, compared to $10 SW rule book, and another $40 if you want some indepth fantasy tool kits).

Don't get me wrong. I like 4e, and don't want to start a system war. Though the orginal poster wanted advice on a simple system. 4e is just as complex as 3.x, though in different ways. It's a good game, but I would not classify it as easy to learn.

2008-08-24, 04:26 PM
Might I instead recommend Blue Rose (http://bluerose.greenronin.com/)? It's d20, but it also has very streamlined rules (with things like only 4 DCs in total).

The Rose Dragon
2008-08-24, 04:40 PM
Man, someone else actually knows of Blue Rose?

My faith in humanity is renewed.

Now I need to find someone that actually plays it.

Totally Guy
2008-08-24, 04:47 PM
That first post... it's a bit too complicated for me.

2008-08-24, 05:05 PM
I am a ginormous fan of both 3rd and 4th edition D&D, but I agree, try a rules-light RPG to start them off rather than trying to juryrig a D&D game that's that simple. I hear good things about Spirit of the Century.

2008-08-24, 08:50 PM
I thought your adjustments looked pretty nicely done.

That said, I'd also recommend just playing Spirit of the Century (http://www.crackmonkey.org/~nick/loyhargil/fate3/fate3.html) or Shadows (http://www.harlekin-maus.com/games/shadows/shadows.html).

2008-08-25, 02:39 AM
Microlite20 (http://microlite20.net/) boils D&D 3.5 core rules down to a 2 page PDF. There are extra PDFs for spell lists and a DM guide, I think.

It maintains compatibility with D&D 3.5, which means you can continue to use all the 3.5 modules you might buy or already own.

Tempest Fennac
2008-08-25, 02:56 AM
Your version looks interresting, Conners (I'm not sure if you could really call it D&D due to how different it is, though). For magic, you could use a magic point system like in most console RPGs with magic users picking a couple of different types of magic. If you want, I'll help you to think of some schools.