6X The One Page Role Playing System is in fact really simple to pick up and play. One page might be too long for the rules. However, sometimes nothing teaches better than demonstration. Here, drawn from the example stated in the rules, is a quick overview of how the 6X system plays.
The world and character have been kept simple to allow the story to grow through the telling. This demonstration will be allowed to progress organically. Only the actions of the character and the results of the rolls will determine the outcomes. Rolled outcomes will be italicized.
World Description: A Tolkeinesque fantasy world with a dark criminal underbelly where no one can be trusted.
Character Description: Young Zuabi Ribai, an orphan of the streets, must make the most of his quick wits, agile body and belligerent personality in his quest to move up the criminal ladder from cutpurse to crime lord.
Narrator: Another day in the marketplace is another chance for a big score. Around you all manner of men mill about exchanging goods and conversation.
Player: I look around for anyone who appears rich.
Narrator: All men come to the marketplace and it doesn’t take long to locate a particularly ostentatious gentleman in the crowd. His clothes are silk, his belly is fat and his guard is down.
Player: I want to steal his purse.
-At this point the player has determined his desired outcome and the Narrator would decide what is the proportionate failure. In this case, the man’s body guards would drag Zuabi, the player’s character, into the alley for a beating. The narrator and player then go back and forth determining the four other outcomes on a continuum bracketed by these first two options. Each option should ideally present significantly different outcomes that branch the story into some new storytelling opportunity.-
1. Success! Zuabi gets away clean with money for a year.
2. Success, but the purse is lighter than expected.
3. Success, but there’s a hole in the bag and a trail of gold leading to Zuabi, could be trouble later.
4. Slippery hands mean no gold, but at least he’s safe.
5. Failure and the constable has taken notice.
6. Failure! The man’s bodyguards seize the boy and drag him into an alley for his due punishment.
-After the list is made the die is cast and the result is a…2, as indicated by the italics above.-
Narrator: You stalk through the crowd, scoping out the man and his particular preferences for holding his currency. Soon, you are heading straight for him and with a gentle bump to the shoulder you send a third man careening into the obese fashion plate. By the time the two have recovered and exchange appropriate absolutions your far beyond the scene, purse in hand.
Player: Open it.
Narrator: The man obviously spent quite a bit on those clothes because his purse is light. You find enough to sustain you for a week, but not nearly the big score you were hoping for.
Player: I head for the pub.
Narrator: As you make your way through the crowd your surprised by a jerk to your shoulder followed by the man you had bumped into the fashion plate tearing past you. You look back and see the rich man’s guards close on his heels. What do you want to do?
Player: Ah, the poor guy’s getting blamed for my crime. What a shame. Maybe if I catch him I can get a reward. I’ll try to grab him and keep him for the guard.
-Pulling back in previous events is the best way to build a story. Even a successful escape can lead to further adventures. At this point it’s time for another roll.
1. Success! Zuabi dashes ahead and grapples the man holding him for the smiling and relieved guards.
2. Success, Zuabi snags the man’s hand, but takes a punch to the face before he can get him in control.
3. The man is caught, but wiggles free. Still the guards are grateful for Zuabi’s help.
4. Zuabi can’t catch up, but the guards do. As the man is dragged back by Zuabi there is a glint of recognition in his eye.
5. Failure, the runner’s too fast. Zuabi gets elbowed by the pursuing guards and spills the purse.
6. Failure! Fumbling feet send Zuabi sprawling to the ground, taking one of the guards with him. Furious, the guard seizes Zuabi as an accomplice.
-Time to roll again and the result is a five. Notice how each option is as fun to come up with as the rest of the story.
Narrator: You run after the man, hoping to catch him, but the gap widens quickly. You are a sprinter not a distance runner and soon you are huffing and puffing. As you slow the guards are cutting up behind you, slower but with more force. Your paths intersect and you find yourself on the pointy end of the bigger guard’s elbow. You lose your breath and also your purse, which falls to the ground sending coins out radially like a water fountain. Luckily the guards are too far ahead now to notice, but your fellow pedestrians are not so slow and many begin to sink to their knees in anticipation.
Player: Ah! Quick, grab the money.
Narrator: All the money, or…
Player: Yes, all of it, right now!
1. Success! Amazingly all the money is back in the purse before any of the rabble can get their stinking hands on it.
2. Success, though a few coins did get lost to the quicker thieves in the crowd. Zuabi’s sure to hear about this back at the pub.
3. Zuabi recovers just enough for a good stiff drink and he’s going to need it after this day.
4. A single coin retrieved and it looks like a counterfeit, so much for profit.
5. Zuabi gets nothing but a stupid look on his face.
6. Failure! The moneys all gone, but Zuabi is still standing there with that distinctive, now empty, purse as the guards return.
-A roll of five. Though this path seems circumlocutory, in fact several seeds for adventure have been sown. Who is the rich man and is he still angry? Who might have seen Zuabi drop the purse and use that knowledge to their advantage? What about the runner, is he coming back for revenge or will he find himself in the same prison Zuabi later ends up in? Let’s let the Player make one more roll before we leave him.
Narrator: The coins scatter quickly and disappear into the hands of passersby. After all, the market is known for it’s quick-handed thieves. You should know, your supposed to be one of them.
Player: Argh! I’m back to nothing. Do I even have money to go back to the pub?
Narrator: No, you lost it all.
Player: I guess I’ll stake out another victim.
Narrator: You look around and find that everyone’s on high alert after the commotion. There’s no easy marks, for now. Do you still want to steal, the stakes will be much higher for success?
Player: Alright. I guess I should lie low for awhile.
Narrator: You still need to eat.
Player: Okay, I’ll look for a job, maybe it will provide cover for a good heist down the road.
Narrator: What kind of job do you want?
Player: Something with a lot of responsibility that will put me close to a big score and will pay well while I’m working, and something in the evening, I don’t want to get up early.
1. Evening shift as the guard’s messenger at the palace, with a nice weekly income.
2. Palace Laundry, evenings. It doesn’t pay much but you have access to most of the rooms in the Palace. That will do.
3. The Night Crier, mostly a lookout position, descent pay.
4. A steady job at Flynn’s Fine Furs, but now you have to ward off the thieves.
5. Would you like flies with that? Assistant manager of the slop shack.
6. Early morning pig slopper and poop scooper at Petrar’s Pigs. If you’re lucky, they’ll give you what the pigs don’t eat.
-A 1! Things are looking up. Remember that all of these options could lead to new adventures and that none of them are thought out in advance. Neither the Narrator nor the Player need know what the Assistant Manager of the Slop Shack does to suggest it as an option. As the story is told the details get filled in. Have fun with it.
Narrator: Amazingly, your reputation doesn’t proceed you and you find a job as the Guard’s Messenger at the Palace. It pays well and you get the run of the Palace and a detailed itinerary of where the guards are and when.