Monday, October 4, 2010

Bricks and Basilisks, The RPG (eventually) is here !

Bricks and Basilisks

A real quick RPG to be played with the cool brick minifigs which I’m not going to name by name until I see what the corporate policy on stoopid stuff like this is.

Currently presenting enough to run a basic skirmish or hack and slash dungeoncrawl, sans magic and rogues. This will be added to as we progress.

Key elements in design:
  1. No pen and paper recordkeeping during a session.
  2. Use Minifigs for their main advantage: WYSIWYG customizability
  3. Fun, Fast, use what you have.
  4. D6 compliant

First off, Minifigs. These are the guys that come with the building brick sets, and nowadays cover a vast spectrum of genres. They have all kinds of accessories; I’m not kidding about this, if all you have seen is the one that came with the 3.00 set you bought your cousins kid, check out the intarwbZ for what is available. Lordy, there are small businesses producing custom clothing, weapons, artifacts and designs based on these guys. They are ~28/25mm, too!  Check these out if this is new to you.  I can absolutely recommend thbrickarms and brickforge.  their work is first class, and their service excellent.
Oh yeah.  lego, too.

(I should mention here that this site is unaffiliated with lego incorporated, and Lego owned terms are used here without permission and under the concept of fair use; in no way should such use be construed as a challenge.  If you are the IP or trademark holder, and don't want this here, contact me and I'll deal with it. )
So, on to the rules.
Here is the minimum you need to know about minifigs.
  • If it’s on the guy, it’s what you have to work with.
  • If it isn’t you’re out of luck. Go get it.
  • If the minifig can stand on a flat surface with only the feet touching anything else, you are good to go. Otherwise, take some off. Minifigs can carry an amazing amount of stuff if you let them, although they are slowed down past a point.
  • Items on a minifig can also be clipped or connected to each other: a one stud clip attached to a minifig or an item doesn't count as an item for this only. However, see the requirement to stand unaided in the basic rules above. Try not to be absurd, okay (or at least not more absurd than playing an RPG with minifigs)
  • Some minifigs have armor printed on their torso.  This matters. The rest ?  Not so much.

Somewhat more about minifigs and this game.
These are not miniatures representing people –they are the actual minifig guys (and gals) themselves. What does this mean? This means that they have some rather non-human characteristics.
They are impossible to kill; at worst, they get broken and have to stop playing until fixed. A minifig has three basic parts: a head, a torso, and legs connected at two joints hips and neck. A minifig is broken when one of the joints is disconnected. More about the specifics effects of what and where later, but that's about it for now. Minifigs get fixed when all are reconnected –and, this is important, they need not be all from the original construction, although the minifigs in question generally find this very rude and distasteful.

Additionally, all minifigs are physically identical, and thus have no stats per se. Thus minifigs have no Strength Dexterity Intelligence rolls or whatnot, as they would all generally be the same. There are minifigs that are notable for some characteristic, but it is not quantified, merely noted. Thus a weightlifter minifig (there is one, look it up) would have the trail “Heroic strength” and is stronger than all other minifigs without it. Simple, huh? If they meet the other “heroically strong” minifig, they are treated as equal, and dice off like normal minifigs will.

Minifigs do have skills and training, although they are very broad in the minifig universe. Generally, they use one word to describe the skill, and anything that can be associated with that is covered. For instance, a deep rock miner minifig would have the skill “drive” and could operate his massive rock drill machine, but also anything else reasonably described as driving; flying is another skill that covers everything from a hang glider to a warp drive spaceship. Don't worry, though, I have a list. The point is, use the brick building mindset –everything is fundamentally composed of small generic interlocking units. If a skill needs more than a word, it’s probably too specialized to worry about at this level.

Minifigs have stuff. It clips onto them. Any brick piece which is not constructed of other brick parts is an item. Note that almost all weapons and most armor are items. In general, a minifig can have items stuck to their attachment points: head, neck two hands, feet (paired items on the feet count as one, and no getting clever, mind –they have to be foot related items). This includes backpacks which, if they open, can hold anything that fits in them and lets them close, and can have up to 2 things attached otherwise. A non opening backpack can carry one item for free but it can be any item, and different each time. Don't worry about the size if they are smaller than the minifig –remember where all RPG players have their 10’ poles? Yes, “In my backpack”. So, let’s use it to advantage, or at least surrender to gamier dweebyness and move on….



 The actual Dudes
Minifigs come in two types: people and fighters. Fighters have armor printed on their torso, the rest don't.
Everyone can fight, but fighters are better at it.
A fighter hits stuff and shoots stuff, and wears armor and rides horses and dragons and spiked rotating saw blade battle chariots and the like.

Fighters are a bit different (yeah, big surprise there).
First, figures with armor printed on their torso (fighters) always have a base CR of +1 for their printed torso armor. Also, the printed armor (on the torso, remember?) blocks one hit. Note this by putting a one stud plate (aka a pip or bump) on the figures head. Thereafter, it no longer stops hits, although a fighter always retains the +1 CR bonus.
Second, a fighter can use two handed weapons (big axes, big swords, and charging lance) to gain a +2 CR instead of +1, and score TWO hits. Note that unless a trait says otherwise, this precludes a shield or second weapon. A charging lance attack does two hits if the wielder is mounted and has moved at least 6 pips.
Third, a fighter can use a two part helmet to increase CR by +2 and block two hits. A two part helmet includes any helmet with a visor OR plume OR a stud attachment. When hit once, remove the piece (plume or visor of any type) or add a stud to it. After another hit, it is removed.
Fourth, a fighter adds +1 to hits when rolling a natural six in HTH combat. Real goreheads can have this double the result instead.  Watch out for the guy with the zweihander !
Fifth, A horse ridden by a fighter may charge, adding 1d6 to its unmodified (do not subtract armor) move, but it must be in a straight line. The rider must attack any figure that the horse would collide with, at the maximum range of his weapon or the foot minifigs weapon, whichever is greater. If the foot figure is broken or knocked out, the rider may continue, if not, the rider stops at the maximum range of the foot minifigs weapon.

People can come in a variety of types: for now, this means wizards, townsfolk and, oh hell, rogues.
A wizard has to have the beard piece, (but a beard printed on his head will do in a pinch), or wear a wizard appropriate hat. Note that females can be wizards by virtue of either an add-on beard, or a hat. Most prefer the hat, but hey, it's a very accepting world.
A rogue should have one of the sly or smug expressions, but, as they are rogues, they aren’t easy to spot when compared to townsfolk. A rogue should have one of : a mysterious hood or cowl, a smirk or knowing grin, a cape, a knit cap or dashing forest man style robin hood hat. Pirate hats and bandannas are good too. The point is that they need to be identifiable for the players. If you point it out ahead of time, alls well.

Townsfolk do stuff. They wear medieval clothing, carry stuff, make stuff, grow stuff, sell stuff, build stuff drive or ride things, and generally dive for cover when it hits ye fanne.

these descriptions are currently brief, but will be filled out with, say rules, discussing why these distinctions  matter.
 Okay, more rules.

This is the quick skirmish version, aimed at dungeon/temple/starbase/cave crawls, and generally for medieval tech minifigs. Don't panic, more will come later. Just move em around and hack at things.  Magic and roguery will come later.  Plus, aliens & spacemen!

How to do stuff:
Pretty much everything involves rolling a dice, or, as we gamers call them, a D6.
All tasks other than magic, thieving and combat are handled in a very simple, borderline dismissive way.

  1. If a task is what the minifig is expected to be able to do that isn’t related to theft, magic or fighting (i.e. the blacksmith making a lantern thingy) it works. It may take longer or shorter amounts of time, but it works if he has the stuff needed. (Tools, the pieces or raw materials) Otherwise, it requires a 4+, and can be tried again every day.
  2. Really hard stuff requires a 6, and anything that is used for (altogether, now) theft, fighting or magic requires at least a 2+. Anything not on hand that can be made takes at least a day, and generally a day works find for most stuff. Note that since the bricks are an inherently European toy, minifigs don't work for others on weekends, and take a half day on Wednesday.
  3. Done. All the rest is magic thieving or fighting.  fighting first.  Its fun.


All minifigs have a combat rating. For non fighters, it is the sum of their weapons and armor carried. Thus, a minifig with a breastplate, helmet and sword would have a combat rating (CR) of three (breastplate, helmet, sword). When a minifig is hit, it either breaks or loses an item of armor, thus, next round, the minifig will have a lower CR assuming all else stays the same.

When two minifigs fight hand to hand, each rolls a D6, and adds combat rating. The high roll wins and, if armed, scores a hit on the loser. Unarmed means that no weapon of any kind is in the minifigs hands, even a crude club, and no trait says otherwise (such as: boxer, martial artist).

For shooting, the sequence is the same. If both have shooting weapons, add weapon and armor CR, and high roll wins. If only one is shooting, the target counts only CR from armor, and counts as unarmed (cannot damage the shooter)
If both lack shooting weapons, then you are being a pain, and should stop it. Alternately, yell insults.

Except for fighters, all weapons do a single hit if successful.

Unless a hit is blocked, the minifig breaks. Simple, huh? Too simple...Lets complicate it so we can imagine that this needs more effort than what a pair of precocious five year olds with a dice would come up with.

Multiple combats.  Wherever possible, pair up opposing minifigs in range of each other.  Otherwise, one can attack a minifig with multiple opponents, but it is hardly sporting !  In HTH combat, roll a normal combat between two of the minifigs; the side with an extra opponent opponent gains a +1 for each, up to+3.  The  outnumbered minifig can only be hit once, although the opponents may choose which weapon scores the damage.  If the outnumbered Minifig wins, and can inflict multiple hits, he may allocate them among all opponents, or just one.


Range counts the number of studs between any two minifigs. Two minifigs with 3 empty studs between them are at a range of 3.

Must be adjacent to use.
Can be thrown at a target up to 6 studs away, but is discarded afterwards
Basic weapons :( Sword, Axe, Club, and Flail)
can attack a minifig up to 2 studs away;All do one hit, provide a +1 CR, and count as one weapon.

A fighter (only) can use a flail to do 2 hits instead of one, but getting no CR bonus. If the user loses, he takes one hit in addition to what his opponent does. Careful, careful !

Does one hit, can attack a minifig up to 4 studs away; can reach between two friendly minifigs. User counts as armed, but gains no CR bonus.
Big sword, Big club, big Axe
People treat these as a Basic weapon for all qualities.
If used by Fighters, these can attack a minifig up to 3 studs away, give a +2 to CR, and do two hits if successful.

These can be used by a foot minifig attack a minifig at up to 8 studs away, giving a +1 CR and doing 1 hit. They cannot attack a figure closer than 4 studs.

Halberd, Pole arm
Alternately, they can be used in two hands to give a +2CR and do 2 Damage. Range is 4 studs. No shield may be used.
Alternately, the lance may be used from horseback. This is a range 6 weapon doing 2 hits. If the rider charges, for every 4 studs (exact) the horse has charged at the moment of combat the lance scores one extra hit. While the horse must move in a straight line, the lance may attack any target that is in front of a line between the horse’s ears, and within 6 studs of the horse’s front hoof. If successful, roll 1d6 and add the actual hits done; on a 5+ the lance breaks and must be discarded.
+1 CR for shooting, 1 hit. May attack a minifig up to 18 studs away, with a minimum range of 4. If the shooter also has a quiver, a second attack against a different target may be made, or she may make a single attack at +2 CR.

+2 CR for shooting, 1 hit. May attack a minifig up to 12 studs away with a minimum range of 3. Requires a quiver, or it is discarded after one shot.

A pistol gives a +0 CR for shooting, but does 2 hits. Range is 6, with no minimum. When used take it away and put it in front of the player. Each turn, if the minifig does not move, fight, be targeted or do anything except reload, roll a d6. On a 3+ the minifig gets the pistol back. On a 1, discard it.
A musket gives a +1 CR for shooting, and does 3 hits. Range is 18, and it has a minimum range of 6. When used take it away and put it in front of the player. Each turn, if the minifig does not move, fight, be targeted or do anything except reload, roll a d6. On a 5+ the minifig gets the rifle back. On a 1, discard it.
There are three states that a minifig can be in: fine, knocked out, or broken.
A fine minifig is, well, fine. A broken minifig has one or more main body parts detached. One is bad, two is worse (and just plain gratuitous). Knocked out is marked by turning its head around so the blank side faces forward, and laying the figure down. If there are two faces on your newfangled hotsy totsy minifig, either turn the scared face forward, or just turn it halfway.

Only occur with townsfolk, or due to magic. If townsfolk is successfully attacked and would normally break, the attacker may declare it knocked out. If the attacker remains within one stud of the townie, on the next turn it gets up and joins his side. This may be important for victory points or general styling & mockery on your opponent. It also potentially changes the activation dice of the two sides (see below).
Magic, in the form of a beguilement, confusion or sleep spell will cause any figure to “head rotate”; the specific effects are in the spell description. A knocked out minifig that does not change sides on the next turn remains down, until awakened. (See healing, below). When changing sides, treat the minifig as having always been on its new side, except when it becomes time to take it home. A knocked out minifig may be broken by any adjacent armed figure; this is uncool, but sometimes needful.  Alternately, if one has the cool chains or manicles, these can be placed on the minifig, permanently immobilizing it.

A knocked out Minifig can be woken up when the original owner has a figure next to it that isn't in a fight or a target, and rolls a 4+. Awoken figures should be unrotated, and remain in the control of their last owner.

Broken figures can be healed (reconnected) by a healer. A healer (a minifig with either a heal spell or potion or a healer skill) must spend an entire turn next to a figure while unmoving, not in a fight or a target, and then, on a roll of a 4+ you can reconnect one of the joints; if complete, the minifig is back in the game. Note that all non-printed armor is still lost, although the weapons may remain if they weren’t swiped.
Obviously, double broken figures require two heals. Currently, with no spells and no traits or skills, this section is useless !  Alternately, just say one Minifig per side can do this.  C'mon.  relax.

Swiping stuff & looting the dead, you know the drill
Certain skills allow a minifig to swipe stuff from another minifig; these are noted under skills. Additionally, a broken minifig can be looted if they have cool stuff. Roll a d6 and take that many items or weapons off of the broken minifig, and put them on the looting figure; this can include dropping some of the looters items. Later rules will give needlessly detailed rules for rogues to do this.

One can, if one was not properly brought up, swipe a fighter’s torso and thus his or her printed armor. This requires the rude looter spend an entire turn next to the broken minifig, and roll 4+. If successful, the extremely crass looter may switch his or her torso for the armored one and move away next turn. This gives the bad mannered recipient the +1 bonus, and the extra layer of armor, but no other fighter traits. Conversely, the ill-used victim loses the +1 and armor bonus until the torso is given back, likely at the end of the game. Do keep in mind that such a slight is unlikely to be forgotten by the victim, and the perpetrator will certainly not be welcome at any social gathering including the victim…..

Movement is another thing Minifigs do.  All range and movement is measured in studs or pips. This is the distance from one of the studs on a brick to the next. Measure distances by simply counting the studs orthogonally or diagonally, but movement is counted orthogonally. Use a 12x2 long plate as a ruler.

On his turn, a player may use be able to move some or all of his minifigs.  The number of figures he may move is determined by the roll of activation dice.

How many minifigs can move.

Basic mechanic: Roll some D6.  Move that many minifigs.

First, determine how many activation dice to roll.
For each six minifigs (exact) under her control at the beginning of the turn, a player rolls one activation dice, a  D6.  The total is the number of  figures she may use up to their current movement.
Pretty much everything that can cause damage or is very useful counts towards the activation dice, and requires activation. 
Horses count, as do dogs and monkeys; anything that could do damage counts, so fish, frogs, kittens and the like do not count, Mr. smarty pants. As figures change sides and are broken or knocked out, this number will change. If the player has less than six figures under control, the roll is halved (round up) (or use a d3).  Note.  One can add Townsfolk to pad out your numbers to an even multiple of six.  This is fine, but note that they switch sides easily.  Currently, as there is no point system for building squad, this doesn;t matter.  besides, this is an RPG not a skirmish game, right ? 

In the basic version, which this is, no Minifig may be moved more than once.
Note that there are traits which can effect activation, as noted later.

How far they move A minifig has a standard move of 8 unless a trait says otherwise. Subtract the weapons and armor worn (two part helmets count as two) from this, and 1 for every two non weapon items carried. Note that minifigs that have taken hits and lost armor do start moving faster –wouldn’t you if someone had just beat a helmet off of you with a sword?
Also: if you can hit someone with it, it counts as a weapon for carrying. Big hammers and wrenches, count, screwdrivers and small hammers do not.
A horse has a move of 12, and similarly subtracts armor worn (Chamfrain, Barding, Saddle).
Note that horses may charge in certain circumstances.

Fiendish Foes
Always count as fighter. See in the dark vision; don't use bows or gunpowder weapons. Each 3 count as four for activation dice determination.
(Orc or troll with short legs) Never count as townsfolk. See in the dark vision. May only use crossbow, spear, daggers or standard weapons. +1 CR with spears or daggers.
(Minifig with short legs)) Always treated as if they have printed armor, but never count as fighters otherwise. May only use bows, spears, daggers or standard weapons. +1 CR with bow or thrown weapons.
All count as fighters. +1 with Axe. Base move is 6, is never reduced below 4. Can take an extra hit above and beyond printed armor (can have two pips/studs put on head.), and count beard piece as a breastplate.

In combat, it gets a +5 CR, and does 1d6 hits with a club at a range or 4, or 2 at a range of 2 without. . Each hit on an ogre removes one of the horn thingies. When all are gone, knock it over, and each turn adds back a horn. When all are replaced, it gets up again.
Cannot use weapons (other than his club) or armor.

Skeletons always count as fighters, and ignore shooting attacks on a 4+. Any hit on a skeleton will shatter it if it is 3 greater than the skeletons final roll. Otherwise, treat it as a normal hit. Skeletons have a base move of 5, but each two count as three for activation dice.

Wolf (grey dog)
A wolf has a range of 1 stud, has a +2 CR, and does 1 hit. . Cannot use weapons or armor.

Yeti or carnivorous ape
A yeti has a + 3 CR, and does 1 hit at up to range 1-4. If adjacent, it has a +4 CR and does 2 hits. Cannot use weapons or armor.

Take the head off of a minifig. Put the octopus figure on instead. Voila! Walktopus!
A Walktopus can’t use armor, but ,may use up to four weapons or shields (put the third & fourth ones in the tentacle) or two non-gunpowder shooting weapons which count as having quivers (even if one won't fit.). Each hand weapon or shield adds +1 to CR, and each missile weapon +2 for shooting. Walktopus are rubbery and loathsome, so ignore hits from clubs, axes, maces and flails on a 4+.


Pirates all count as Fighters even if rogues or wizards. Pirates may not wear normal armor, by may use any hat as armor and to add +1 to their CR; if the hat has a plume or crest or something, count it as a two part helmet. It's why they wear em ! Huzza !  A prate with a hook or pegleg never counts as unarmed.    If not otherwised moved by activation, a pirate must charge any enemy, treaure or unconcealed ninja  within charge distance.  Charge move: A pirate gains a +2 to movement, and a +1 to CR. If he loses, the pirate takes an extra hit. Pirates also get a +1 to their roll to reload, although a natural 1 still discards the weapon. Pirates gain +1 to hits when fighting ninja, or Poncy Dons. .
Vikings all count as warriors. They are limited to shields and helmets plus their printed armor.  Viking wearing a horned helmet may go berserk by removing one of the horns and discarding any shield.  this grants a +2 to CR for the duration of the current fight.  A second horn may be discarded to increase any hit by 1.  After the fight, if the Viking is unbroken, he counts as knocked out for one turn per horn removed. At the end of each turn, reattach a horn.  When both are back, the Viking is up an' att'em for the next round.
Samuri are fighters, and can use two katana (only) if they wish.  This gives them a +3 CR and causes two hits if successful.  All Samuri have two part helmets, and can wear any samuri armor. Samuri do not count towards activation dice, but do not require an activation point to move towards and or attack Ninja. Samuri spot concealed ninja on a 4+ each turn that they have a potential line of site.  If successful, the ninja loses stealth for the remainder of the encounter. this is checked before or after their movement as desired. Samuri gain +1 CR and +1 hit when fighting Ninja.
ninjas are annoying.  Each ninja subtracts one from the activation dice count.  Additionally, Ninja are stealty until they make an attack on another minifig: while stealthy, they may not be targeted, attacked or otherwise interacted with except by samuri who make their spot roll .  While stealthy they may move thru other figures. 
When a ninja attacks either HTH or Shooting, stealth is lost for the remainder of the encounter; however, the target counts as unarmed, and may not use weapons or shields to increase CR, or absorb hits. if the ninja fails despite all of this, tough. Ninjas must discard any shooting weapon once used.
Poncy Dons. 
These are any of the central casting soldier types with uniforms and the like.  They usually rely on Muskets, and can wear any armor except shields; as they are intentionally mooks, they do not count as fighters.  Only officers can use weapons other than muskets or daggers, they do count as fighters.  Each officer subtracts one from the activation dice total, but moves for free.  Rank and file can always move without activation if all of them make the exact same move or attack.   They count as spear armed if they have muskets inside minimum range, or daggers if the musket is unloaded or discarded. 


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