Monday, January 16, 2012

Six-Page Dungeons & Dragons

So, in the first iteration of this project, I made a one-page version of Dungeons & Dragons. It is a version of D&D that would fit on a single page in a novel, or roughly 250 words. This time, I wanted something a little more robust, something that could cover as much of the D&D game as I could while still restricting the amount of space in which I had to design. What I came up with was a version of the Dungeons & Dragons game that fits on a half-dozen novel-sized pages. You can find it below.

Interestingly, much of the space is taken up by character creation. I’m coming to believe that character creation is one of the most important aspects of the Dungeons & Dragons game, and that a great deal of that importance comes from customization, and a good deal of that customization comes from what the characters are able to do. Anyway, as per the last version, I’ll let the design speak for itself.

Creating a Character

Attributes: There are six attributes in this game. Each relates to a different sort of challenge that your character might come across during the course of a session. Those attributes are: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma. The scores for these attributes are determined randomly by totaling the roll of three six-sided dice.


Attribute Modifiers: Each attribute has an “attribute modifier,” which is the number added to rolls when you are making a check. If your attribute is between the values listed in brackets, your attribute modifier is equal to the value listed to the left of the brackets.


(16-18) +2
(13-15) +1
(9-12) 0
(6-8) -1
(3-5) -2


Choose a Class: There are four classes in this game, Cleric, Fighter, Mage and Rogue. Each is good at different sorts of things. Pages 2-5 describe each class in depth.


Buy Gear: You have 100 gold with which to buy gear. There is a chart with sample equipment on it later.



Clerics are priests and healers.


Hit Points:

· First Level: 1d6+Constitution Score

· Per Level: 1d6+Constitution Modifier


Bonuses: None


Armor and Weapons: A cleric can only use non-bladed weapons, and can wear any armor.


Turn Undead: With a prayer, a cleric can make undead creatures disintegrate. A cleric can destroy up to 1d4 of these creatures per every two levels.


Healing: With a prayer, a cleric can heal the wounds and illnesses of their allies. A cleric can heal 1d6 hit points, plus an additional hit point for every other level, starting with level 2.


Monastic Knowledge: Clerics know a lot about a lot. Ask a question to which you would like to know the answer and roll a d20 (+1 for every other level, starting at the second). If the result is 18 or higher, you have read something about your query, and can (sort of) remember it.




Fighters excel at stabbing things to death. Their abilities and bonuses reflect this.


Hit Points

· First Level: 1d10+Constitution Score

· Per Level: 1d10+Constitution Modifier


Bonuses: +1 to hit every two levels, +1 to armor class every two levels, +1 to saving throws every two levels


Armor and Weapons: A fighter can use any sort of armor or weapons, including magical varieties.


Feats: Every second level, beginning at level 2, a fighter gains a “feat.” A feat is a once-time-use resource that allows the fighter to do something that would be impossible for a normal person. Spending a feat provides an automatic critical hit (double damage), and may have lasting effects in the battle at the Dungeon Master’s discretion.


Critical Hit: When a fighter rolls a natural 20 to hit, it automatically hits and deals double damage.




Mages use magic spells and call on the forces of darkness to defeat their foes. They are generally quite weak.


Hit Points

· First Level: 1d4+Constitution Score

· Per Level: 1d4+Constitution Modifier


Bonuses: +2 to saving throws every two levels


Armor and Weapons: Mages can only use staves or daggers, and cannot wear armor.


Spells: Mages get two spells at first level, and an additional spell every other level starting at level 2. A spell is a once-a-day resource that allows the mage to call on the forces of magic for aid. The effects of the spell are largely left up to the DM, but the more powerful the mage, the more powerful the effects of that mage’s spells should be. Spend some time fleshing out what your mage can and cannot do with your DM. Your spells should have descriptive names.




Rogues are excellent at finding hidden things, disarming traps, and fighting dirty.


Hit Points:

· First Level: 1d6+Constitution Score

· Per Level: 1d6+Constitution Modifier


Bonuses: +2 to hit when the enemy has been hit by another ally. +2 to hit if you act before your enemy in the initiative order. +1 to hit for every third level starting at level 3.

Find and Disarm: Rogues are very good at finding hidden objects. Declare that you are searching the room and roll a d20 (+1 for every other level, starting at the second). If the result is 18 or higher, you find any hidden compartments, doors or traps in the room. If you find a trap, you may roll again, and a successful roll disarms the trap.


Fighting Dirty: When you hit an enemy that has already been hit by one of your allies this turn, you deal an additional 2d6 damage.


When making a check: Determine which attribute makes the most sense for the check you are attempting to make. Roll a d20, and add the appropriate modifier plus half your level. If the result is greater than or equal to the difficulty number set by the DM, you succeed. If it is lower, you fail.

Initiative: At the beginning of combat, all combatants roll a d20+Dexterity. Each participant acts in order of highest-to-lowest initiative score.

AC: Your AC is equal to 10+(Dexterity or Constitution, whichever is higher)+(armor).

Combat Turn: During your turn you may move up to six squares (or 30 feet) and either attack or use one of your class abilities.

Death: When you reach zero hit points you die.


Going up a Level: When you reach a number of experience points equal to your current level multiplied by one thousand, you go up a level. Your DM will tell you how much experience you’ve gained for any given session of play, but you should usually gain about 10% of the amount of experience you need to gain a level during a session.








AC +4



AC +3



AC +2



AC +0












Battle Axe



Hand Axe






Bow & Arrows

1d6 (range 100ft)

10gp (arrows 1gp)


1d6 (range 50ft)



Misc. Gear



Ten foot pole


Ten days iron rations




Hammer and pitons


Rope 50’










Flask of Oil




Torches (10)


Wine (1 liter)



Magic Items


There are two types of magic items: simple and wondrous. A simple magic item is simply a magically enhanced version of a typical item of the same type. So, a magic sword is just a sword, but better (typically providing a bonus to strike or damage). Magical armor is just armor, but better (providing a bonus to AC). For every bonus of +1 to either hit or AC, or +1d6 to damage, a magic item costs 1000gp above and beyond the price of the item itself.


Wondrous items are items that are incredible in some way, like a sack that is bigger on the inside than the outside, or a ring that makes you invisible (and then calls the ire of the Dark Lord of All Evil upon you). Those sorts of items are much more rare and generally priceless, the creation of magics far beyond the understanding of current mages. You will typically only find wondrous items in the treasure troves of monsters, and the DM will tell you what those sorts of items do.




Monsters have stats something like those of a player character, but much more simplified. The only things you really need to know about a monster are its AC, hit points, its bonus to hit, and any sort of special abilities it might have. Below, you will find a few monsters you and your friends can fight.


AC 14
Hit: +1 (1d6+1 damage)
Hit Points: 10
Special Abilities: Unless pounded into dust, a defeated skeleton will rise again in 1d10 rounds with 2 fewer hit points each time. A skeleton can cause a character to fear it, making that character run away as fast as it can every round for 1d4 rounds unless the target makes a saving throw.


AC 16
Hit: +2 (1d6+1 damage)
Hit Points: 5
Special Abilities: A goblin can make a saving throw as a reaction to being hit. If it makes the save, it is missed instead.


AC 12
Hit: +2 (1d10+4 damage)
Hit Points: 15
Special Abilities: Orcs feed off of violence. If an orc kills a character, it may make an immediate attack against another creature beside it.


AC 18
Hit: -1 (1d4 damage)
Hit Points: 1
Special Abilities: Each round, if a kobold is still alive, it can call for help. 1d6 more kobolds come to its aid.


AC 5
Hit: +1 (1d4 damage)
Hit Points: 10
Special Abilities: If the ooze is hit by a magical weapon, another ooze appears beside it.


Anonymous said...

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Brent P. Newhall said...

Admirably simplified classic D&D!

I may have missed it, but where are the rules for attacks? Is it roll-over or roll-under?

Kris Hansen said...

Everything is roll-over, mostly to work in conjunction with newer versions of D&D and to avoid confusion. Having both roll-over and roll-under systems in the same game hurts grokkability.