Cinema6 RPG – Designer Interview Part 1

Ben emailed me recently and gave me the opportunity to interview the developers of the Cinema6 RPG system, Jeremy Streeter and Brett Pisinski. For those not familiar with Cinema6, let me direct your eyes towards a blurb from the C6 Website:

The Cinema6 Games Framework is a true, Open Source Game System created with use of d6 (six-sided dice) and centered around a RPG Framework initiative. We have taken CRM and applied it to the development of a d6 based RPG Framework introduced as c6, the Cinema6 RPG Framework. C6 is unique in that it takes d6 RPG gaming to new heights, streamlining rules, mechanics, and unifying and simplifying the game so its not only easy to play, but easy to change.

I had a great time with the interview process, and I hope the guys from C6 did as well. It was a long interview, covering their thoughts on the system design process, what they look for in an RPG, and their take on the gaming industry in general. Because of its length, I’ve broken it into two parts, the second of which should be published in the next few days.

So, strap yourselves in and get ready for a really interesting look into the world of RPG publishing.

Troll in the Corner: With the plethora of gaming systems available to players and GMs these days, what prompted you guys to want to design your own system?

Jeremy Streeter: A love of gaming, a love of change, and a love for improvement and growth.  We saw a deficit in table top gaming and wanted to fill that gap.  Many games provide fun mechanics, but not all of them consistently make it easy to create a character, easy to understand the system, and easy to play across multiple genres without detracting from the traditional sensation of playing an RPG.  We wanted to make something new and provide exciting methods of game play that have not been implemented and used before in Table Top RPG’s.  Our changes are already resulting in some unique game mechanics within the Framework that provide new experiences not yet demonstrated within Table Top gaming.  While at the heart of Cinema6, are six-sided dice, we adopted many different strengths from many different game systems, and have adapted a few of our own.

Cinema6 is definitely going to have the “feel” of d6 gaming, but there is a lot that is different and makes Cinema6 stand out, and why we use the term “d6 gaming evolved”.  Wicked North Games seeks to provide the
natural progression of table top gaming through Cinema6.  At the end of the day, we just hope players out there give Cinema6 a chance, with the hope that they will love it as much as we do.

Brett Pisinski: Because we are big fans of both Cinema and Roleplaying Games, the Cinema6 Framework was initially drafted due to a prompt sense of urgency, a call to arms if you will. Back in 2008, Jeremy started his own game set in a post-apocalyptic environment and at the time, no system out there fit the needs of our campaign. At the time we refereed to it as ‘D6 Apocalypse” and the Cinema6 Framework was born from this campaign. We kept tinkering with the rules, writing up new ideas and changing them accordingly until one day it just clicked. Hey, why not take this set of rules and apply it to “X”? We began writing and play testing it even more, set with different story lines vastly different from one another since we all took turns running and testing the Framework.

Having realized that our system is unique and a great “theatrical simulator” suited well for just about any environment imaginable, we wanted to share our creation with the hopes that others will enjoy it just as much as we have. Jeremy and I sat down and made the decision to form Wicked North Games L.L.C. and to share our products with the gaming world.

TC: What gaming systems have you guys used the most over the years? Obviously you have to have experienced a lot of different systems to come to see a hole in the RPG landscape that needs filling.

Jeremy: I’ve played all of these at least twice or more:

Gamma World (original &20), Space 1889, Mega Traveller, GURPs, TMNT, Toon, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st and 2nd Edition), Tunnels & Trolls, Dungeons & Dragons (original, 3rd, 3.5, and 4th Edition), Rolemasert, Top Secret, Warhammer Fantasy RPG, Warhammer 40k, Paranoia, Cadwallon, Call of Cthulhu (various iterations and d20), Vampire, Mage, Werewolf, Hunter, Wraith, World of Darkness (Mummy, etc),  Mutants and Masterminds (older and d20), Shadowrun (all editions), Cyberpunk, Hol, Starwars (d6 and d20), Ars Magica, Aberrant, Alternity, Battletech: RPG, Arcana Unearthed, Car Wars, Bubblegum Crisis, d6 System, d20 Modern, Dead Lands, Earthdawn, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, In Nomine, Lord of the Rings (various), Palladium, Rifts, Serenity, Stargate SG-1, Wheel of Time, Usagi Yojimbo, TORG, Star Trek, Star Frontiers, d6 Space, d6 Fantasy, d6 Modern, various Zombie and Post-Apocalyptic games… etc.

Brett: Great question! Starting with the most frequently played RPGs:

– Star Wars D6
– Dungeons & Dragons (2nd & 3.5 editions)
– White Wolf: Vampire, Mage and Werewolf (2nd & 3rd editions)
– D6 Space & Fantasy (West End Games)
– Dragonball Z
– Big Eyes, Small Mouth (1st edition)
– Arcana Unearthed
– Deadlands (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)
– Mutants & Masterminds (1st edition)
– TMNT, gurps (1st edition)
– Earthdawn (1st edition)
– Shadowrun (2nd edition)

Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd edition was the first game that introduced me to the hobby and afterwards I was hooked. Over the years we have played and experimented with many gaming systems and each has influenced our styles of GMing as well as the rules we’ve enjoyed incorporating into our own campaigns.

TC: That’s a good list of games, there. You’ve said that C6 is designed to be a cinematic type of game. How do you think it compares to other systems that strive to do the same thing, specifically, Savage Worlds?

Jeremy: When it comes to making the comparison, it might help to define what a cinematic game system represents.  Any game seeking to provide cinematic game play is looking to simplify playable mechanics enough to make the focus less on rules, rolling, and memorizing complicated procedures.  Savage Worlds does this by simplifying the character creation process, unifying skills, reducing the number of dice rolls, providing a progressive initiative system, etc.  Cinema6 does this by using only one type of dice (d6), applying some unifying skills, employing our Special Abilities system in cooperating with the Cinema Point pool system, etc.

With Cinema6, our use of a single type of dice reduces memorization of various dice types.  Unifying skills provide  more generic skill coverage across genres.  The Cinema6 Special Abilities system provides a generic way to flexibly customize a Character with as little or as much detail as desired.  The Special Abilities system even provides the scalability for the purpose of Leveling characters as well as Group or Shared Abilities, introducing the concept of mutually invested benefits for a group of players.

While versatile and simple, Cinema6 does not provide the same level of skill simplicity as Savage Worlds, but certainly is in a league of its own when it comes to scalability and versatility.  They play differently, each with their strengths, but I believe that Cinema6 brings more to the table with our Special Abilities system and use of a single type of dice.

Brett: One of the main goals of the Cinema6 Framework is simplicity. We’ve packed a lot of creativity into our single-die system so that new users will be able to read through our rules and generate a character quickly. We’ve done our best to keep it dynamic with the hopes that the user will be able to come up with unique concepts that are entertaining to play. Every new system has a learning curve and we’re striving to reduce that obstacle as much as possible. Using a single sided die also makes the game mechanics flow a lot smoother when the action starts to heat up. Through our playtests we’ve managed to cut combat time in half compared to those systems who use multi-die mechanics. Because we’ve deemed Cinema6 a “theatrical simulator” we designed our Framework to flow just as smoothly as your story.

The other goal behind the Cinema6 Framework is to get a whole new generation hooked on gaming. I’ve made it a personal mission to introduce the hobby to new gamers so these people will have the chance to unlock their imagination. I strongly encourage anyone who’s never Gamemastered before to give it a try using the Cinema6 system!

TC: I know you’ve said that any genre of game will work with C6, but what generas have you two enjoying playing the most in your playtests?

Jeremy: I have really enjoyed playing in Azamar, our high magic, fantasy world.  We tweaked many rules to improve fantasy play, including the allowance of magic users.  We recently did a play test with our conversion for c6 to handle Star Wars and it did so exceedingly well.  Probably my favorite so far has been running a post apocalyptic world full of mutants and machines, all heavily inspired by the original computer RPG, Wasteland.

Brett: Genres we’ve explored so far:
– Fantasy that includes an epic high-magical setting, Azamar
– A mini-Space Opera campaign, Star Wars – set 1 year before the Battle of Yavin
– A Modern/Fantasy playtest with a Time-Traveling theme
– A short Chronicle involving the characters being abducted and imprisoned on a military spaceship they had to escape from, D&D in space – if you will.

Each time we play, we actively test the integrity of the Cinema6 Framework against the selected environment. When we’re wrapped up for the evening, we hold discussions, compare notes then proceed to make changes if necessary. Each time the Framework has held up extremely well and most importantly, has been a lot of fun!

Like I said up top, the second part of this interview should be published soon. Until then, check out the C6 System at

[tags]cinema6,d6,rpg,role playing games, interview[/tags]

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