As with our last SRD series post, this will be the transcripts for two more of our videos for those who prefer to read them rather than listen/watch them. This time we have Four Points SRD and XD6 SRD!
Four Points SRD
Today we are going to be continuing our SRD series looking at the Four Points RPG system by Penflower Ink. As with most games, this is a setting neutral system. However, we have covered one of the games Penflower Ink has made using it, that being our TTRPG Talk Short on Loot The Plutes.
Four Points is so named because its creator wanted a system built around Player Agency, Narrative, Characters, and Customization. As part of this, the system has two options for action resolution. The players can choose to use either a guaranteed-success point-buy system or testing their luck with dice to decide the outcomes of actions.
The point-buy system utilizes four Stat pools of Energy Points, defined at character creation. These pools are associated with the character's skill in those areas and are called Wits, Stamina, Dexterity, and Sociability. Wits is used for actions involving wisdom, intelligence, or knowledge. Stamina is used for tests of strength, endurance, or determination. Dexterity is for actions relying on the character's speed, reflexes and coordination. While Sociability, as you might imagine, is used for things like confidence, charm, and charisma.
As I mentioned previously, this point-buy system guarantees success, but the number of points spent can effect the level of success. In a default action without any modifiers, a player would spend 1 EP to barely succeed with some consequences, 2 EP to succeed with a minor inconvenience, or 3 EP to fully succeed. Advantages and Disadvantages created by the scene's circumstances and Character Abilities, or actions deemed particularly difficult can add or subtract from the Energy Point cost of the action as well.
For default play without use of the Experience system we will discuss later, your character will have 8d6 points, giving your character a statistical average of 28 points distributed between your four pools. These can be recharged through in-game rest like many TTRPG resource systems.
These Energy Points are also important because they are the fuel for Powers in your Four Points game. Powers are how your characters can influence the world around them outside of Actions. This could be magic, superpowers, using spirits, divine intervention, or one of many other manifestations of this concept to best fit your setting.
As for die rolls, Testing your Luck is for when the character can't afford the point cost or wants to save what they have for later. Here, you either fully succeed on a 4 or better or you Fail with Consequences on a 3 or below. By default, this give you a 50/50 chance of success, but Advantages or Disadvantages and Difficulty can add or subtract from the die total just as with the Energy Point system.
Your character in a Four Points games are usually made of your Four Stat Pools, Their Folk (normally the setting's species, races, or various cultures) that define your character's Inherit Traits or Abilities, 8 Skills that give you Advantages on Actions, potentially Powers, their Equipment, several Goals to drive the story and rewards, and some Bonds.
Just an important note here, there is not defined list of Skills in default Four Points. This is partly to best fit your setting, but also provide agency for the players when creating their characters. However, Penflower Ink dues suggest you might want to create career kits that woucouldld include 4 of the starting 8 skills or maybe some starting equipment.
Penflower Ink also includes and recommends the use of an Experience system with Four Points, which is quite good. It may already be familiar for those of you who have used Lifepath character creation systems before like in Star Trek Adventures or Traveller. Basically, the character starts with between 6 and 10 Experiences or past events depending on the characters rough age. These not only build up the character's backstory, but also provide dice for Stat pool creation, skills, and the occasional advantage or disadvantage related to that event.
An example of an event Penflower Ink provides is "I was forced to leave the military or law enforcement organization I was a part of." In addition to some flavor text, it mentions that this gives the character 1d6 to their Wit or Dexterity Stat Pool, Skill at pretending to be a member of your former organization, and Disadvantage on Actions involving people who know about your Dishonorable Discharge. Other example Experiences can demonstrate your character's criminal, political, religious, and intellectual history, their relationship with your setting's Powers, as well as their past job, technical, and travel experiences.
Finally, the the Four Points RPG system guide also provides a list of suggested traits and abilities to best fit whatever type of Folk you would like to populate your world with running the gambit from Bioluminescence, to being Amphibious or Aquatic, to modular body rules for mechanical beings.
Outside of the system rules itself, the guide also provides a short, but effective section giving advice and checklists for building out the various elements mentioned previously to build your setting and NPCs to populate it. There is also a brief Safety section that recomends the use of Kienna Shaw & Lauren Bryant-Monk's TTRPG Safety Toolkit Guide.
The guide on itch.io comes in both a text only format and one with illustrations that have a unified style, but demonstrate the wide settings possible to play in using this tool. It also includes a one-page rules reference guide covering the basics of the Action system, conditions, and resting. However, it can also be found on the Fari Games website
There is a Four Points logo, but Penflower Ink does not make it freely available and instead requests that people ask for individual permission for its use. Neither of the games I found from independent creators utilized the Four Points logo, potentially because they were unaware that asking for permission was an option. Four Points does not have a large of a following or community as other recent indie systems like LUMEN or Breathless, though its range of games and creators is growing.
Overall, I think that Four Points is a versatile system that would be potentially useful for a creator who likes to dabble in multiple genres. It is definitely for people who like to create narative-based games, particularly those that focus on non-combat related themes. If you would like to discuss it further, please feel free to comment below. Links to the SRD will be found in the description of this video as always along with Penflower Ink's own site that features a number of products for other TTRPGs as well!
Go create the world of your dreams and remember to rate your itch purchases!
Four Points SRD
Today we are going to be looking at the XD6 SRD, created by Michael Low of Luck of Legends. This game advertises itself as a system for over-the-top action or drama intended for dice goblins or those who get a thrill out of pushing the "+1 die" button on their digital roller an obscene number of times.
The XD6 system is built around a betting d6 mechanic. Each character starts with a pool of dice that they can utilize for any action they take during play. The player decides how many dice they want to apply toward an action in part based on how much effort they want to apply to the action and how many successes they need to get in order to achieve the FX and breadth of impact that they are targeting.
Any die that rolls a 4 or higher contributes a success with 6s exploding. This means that you keep the success and roll the die again.
Any results of a 3 or lower mean that you actually loose that die, representing wasted effort or resistance you need to overcome as part of your attempt. These goes into a special pool that the GM keeps until your character regains some of their dice in the narrative like resting or until the end of the session. 1s are special, in that they make you reroll a success die, potentially making you lose our success and and another die in the process. 1s & 6s cancel each other out, so no die is lost or rerolled, but no die explodes either.
To give you an idea of how many dice we are talking, the SRD provides a chart to illustrate its 6 step scale, comparing the number of successes that your character might active to the intended FX or Area of Impact. It runs the gambit from 1-3 successes for an average FX impacting a single person to 16-18 successes resulting in a mythical FX impacting the entire planet or even wider.
To put this into perspective, the three sample characters Low provides are stand-ins for the Incredible Hulk with a pool of 77 dice, Dr Who with 40 dice, and Violet Baudelaire from the _A Series of Unfortunate Events_ series with 19 dice. Therefore, your average D&D character at high levels will likely only ever be able to do actions hitting the 3rd or 4th level on this scale and only go higher through the use of artifacts or Wish spells. Superheros, mythic, or god-like characters would only occasionally be able to do actions in the higher tiers of FX.
Low also provides crunchy mechanics that you could layer on top of this. By integrating a list of Moves to fit your setting or style of play, you can integrate Abilities and Drawbacks. These tweak your character's relationships with the dice mechanics in certain narrative situations or when using certain moves. For example, in my superhero or crime serial based story, I could give my character an amazing advantage when trying to Investigate something, but the drawback that they have to be able to physically examine the location where the event occurred to gain the advantage.
Character advancement is rather unique in in the XD6 system as well. At the end of the session, all of the dice from all the characters in the GM pool at that moment are rolled and then the total is divided evenly between the characters in what Michael calls Pips. These points can be used to purchase dice for their character's pool at 6 pips a piece, purchase Abilities, or remove Drawbacks. Drawbacks have a negative cost, so you could use them to add Abilities at character creation depending on how you want to run that in your game.
Overall, I agree that this is a great game for strong action and drama of an epic nature. The combined fact that great efforts have a cost and the fact that those costs in turn can drive character growth and development if applied correctly fits quite well into a lot of different genres. While the art and design of the SRD might give an air of comedy or childishness like Saturday cartoons or a shonen anime, I would like to stress that this system could also work in a dark & brutal or serious action-packed setting built around grit and sacrifice.
The differences in the number of dice characters could start with can also provide a dynamic range in the abilities and effects of your characters that, if played carefully, could also be quite interesting. When mulling on this fact, the first thing that popped into my head was Xiran Jay Zhao's *Iron Widow*. Gao Yizhi is definitely not on the same level of power and influence as Wu Zetian or Li Shimin, but still has a critical part to play in the story due to narrative limitations on the fighting duo and his family's influence in the media.
Another thing that occurred to me was that this would be an interesting system for games outside of your traditional TTRPG. For example, the dice betting system could be useful as a generic resource & action mechanic for more strategy-focused or 4x big-picture games. An example of this would be an epic space opera where the players are leaders of a confederation or admirals in a fleet and dice are ships or other assets in your individual fleets. An alternative to this could be your character is the ship and the dice are the crew, ship power, and ammunition that keep the ship going. That style of game could also be modified with each player character being the captain of a ship or maybe even being the AI management, with advantages and drawbacks being quirks your ship or crew has picked up in the Service or hallmarks of your ship's class and design.