As I mentioned back when I published Dark Days…, I’m a big fan of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files stories and they served as a key inspiration for that setting. Over time, I found myself wanting to go back to that world, but this time to do a literal conversion. Instead of doing a straight Savage Worlds conversion, however, I wanted to try something different. For awhile I had been tinkering around with the Shadowrun system and it occurred to me that with some minor modifications it would be pretty easy to map the mechanics of Savage Worlds over to the dice-pool mechanic of Shadowrun.
There’s something about rolling a big pile of six-sided dice that just feels good. Then, sifting through the result like an Augur reading the runes, you pick out your successes and hope you have what you need to top the challenge threshold of whatever you are attempting. It’s tactile in a way that most dice-based role-playing games aren’t. I’d often lamented how Savage Worlds didn’t seem to handle the high end of the power spectrum very well — scaling pretty much stops at a d12 or a d12 with a modifier. For certain settings, like Super Heroes or High Magic, Savage Worlds hits a ceiling in a way that I found unsatisfying. Dice-pool mechanics do not suffer from this problem; if you want to scale up your powers, simply add more dice. More successes means you can do crazier stuff. There is no ceiling.
So, borrowing significantly from the engine behind Shadowrun I put together my ideal Dresden Files campaign sourcebook. Ultimately I’m pleased with the result and hope that any fan of the series will appreciate my attention to detail — I did my best to respect the source material.
As I finished things up, I decided I wanted to try and come up with a snappier name than “Shadowrun’s Dice-Pool Mechanic” to describe the gaming system. I settled on “System Six” because everything has to do with the number six (6-sided dice, attribute ratings of 6 are considered “best” for a normal human character, 6 successes for a crit, etc.) and it was alliterative in a way that pleased my ear. I might delve into “System Six” again at some later point; until then, here’s Dresden Files…