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Game Design




Game Design Notes

As I mentioned in the Intro, I've been knocking around the idea of D6 version of Appleseed game for a long time.  This is the first time I've managed to get all the elements (most of them anyway) down onto paper in one place.  I expect there are still many rough spots to work out.

D6 is a great system, particularly for its ease of use.  The older I get, the less I care about "realism" in the mechanics of a RPG and the more I care about the flow of play.  A good GM can insert "realism" when he needs it.  Other than than, we're really playing a "movie" anyway, so who cares about realism (I can hear the grumbles from the crowd...).  Anyway, I'm much more concerned with making the game easy to play and avoiding imbalanced games (where a few super-powered players dominate).

D6 Classic's take on armor and cybernetics, at least as published in Star Wars, was pretty clumsy.  It did the job, but wouldn't work for a game that depends heavily on armor.  D6L is a little more elegant, particular because it allows for the use of hit points and armor values, though I still expect some trouble to sprout up during gameplay.

I included Boosts in this game because I wanted a way to give slight advantages from cybernetics and other technology without quickly imbalancing the game.  Boosts simply give an increased chance of getting an additional roll with your Wild Die (about a 15% increase).  I haven't even playtested this idea, so it may die a quick death.  But if you use the technique, please let me know how it works for you.

I selected Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Knowledge, Instincts and Presence for Attributes because I felt they would create more balanced gameplay and characters than the classic Star Wars Attributes.  The assignment of skills seemed to make more sense to me too.  Again, let me know your thoughts.

Next, I added Advantages and Disadvantages because I mainly wanted to give humans some slight edge in comparison to the more "enhanced" Types.  Aside from that, they're just there to help add color to characters.  Sometimes Ads/Disads can imbalance a game.  I tried to be pretty conservative in what they granted, but it may need some more tweaking.

Finally, and most problematically, come the Landmates.  These are Shirow's version of powered armor (which he has portrayed more convincingly than any other artist I have read).  Like Cyborgs, Landmates can be exceptionally powerful and lead to imbalanced games.  But Shirow is pretty clear in showing that Landmates, like 'Borgs, can easily be taken down by the right people with right gear.  Bullets rip through LM armor with ease, so an armored soldier needs to be as aware of unarmored soldiers as he is of other landmates.  The armor may give the wearer an edge, but it isn't a free ticket to do anything he wants.

On a personal note, I will say that Shirow's work is probably my favorite in the genre (manga), and some of my favorite comic books overall.  However, while the quality of his art has remained high (and improved in many ways), he seems to have gotten stuck on drawing little nymphs in skimpy outfits with very big guns.  Aside from a natural, testosterone-induced reaction, this doesn't really interest me all that much.  I'd rather see some full suits of armor and other gear than the plethora of swimsuit models.  I've tried to keep that stuff to a minimum in these pages because Appleseed was always more to me than babes with guns.  After a certain point, that just distracts from the quality of the game.  Ok, enough ranting...