Playing Buffy D6
Buffy D6 is based in the world of Buffy the Vampire
Slayer using the game mechanics of West End Games' D6 Classic system
(with a few adaptions and home-brew rules). While these pages attempt
to lay out the framework of rules needed to play the game, I highly recommend
that you purchase some D6 rulebooks from West End Games, particularly their
out-of-print Star Wars RPG (available on eBay and in many gaming stores).
They also have a number of other products available at http://www.westendgames.com.
Much of the material about Buffy's world is gleaned
from my own knowledge of the show and fan websites. Also, the Fudge
Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG showed me that a decent Buffy RPG
could be made and the spirit of the show retained. The Fudge game
does a great job of laying out rules for folks to just jump in and start
playing a few "episodes". With the D6 version, I hope to provide
similar ease of use with a little more detail on character-making, magic,
and running games. There are quite a few products produced by Warners
Brothers that capitalize on the Buffy series, including comics, novels,
and show diaries. All of these can provide additional background
for the game. In truth, though, once you've seen the show a few times,
you'll have a good idea of the tone and content of Buffy's world and should
easily be able to incorporate that into your RPG campaign.
Players may want to assume the roles of their favorite
characters on the show. But, usually folks like to create new characters
and develop their own story-lines. Because many players may want
to adventure in the same world occupied by Buffy, Willow and the others,
I've expanded the available character types to include some alternatives
(remember, there can only be one Slayer--usually!). If none of the
players choose to play the Slayer, they may choose from other supernaturally
gifted characters that might be the "slayer" in the campaign. Furthermore,
a "normal" character can learn to be extremely useful in battling evil.
It's not all about who's the best in combat or has the largest gun (or
stake, in this case).
Finally, as with any RPG, it is easy to get bogged
down with rules. I highly recommend that GM's and players bring a
more narrative spirit to their Buffy campaign. While the show tackles
some heavy, dark stuff at times, it maintains a light heart and optimistic
outlook. It's always funny, even when doom lurks just around the
corner. Have fun, don't worry about being all-powerful, and look
out for one another--just like the Scoobies.
For more ideas on running a Buffy game, see the
The World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
If you don't know already, Buffy the Vampire
Slayer was a television show following the exploits of a young woman
chosen to defend the world against the forces of darkness. The series
began when Buffy arrived in Sunnydale as a sophomore in high school.
Sunnydale appears to be a normal, Southern California town--full of sunshine,
track housing and bright and shiny suburbanites. And Buffy appears
to be a normal high school girl--pretty, self-conscious, and a little spacy.
It becomes quickly apparent that there's more to
both Sunnydale and Buffy than would appear at first glance. Sunnydale lies
atop the Hellmouth, an interdimensional portal between our reality and
untold millions of demon-dimensions. Evil is attracted the Hellmouth,
so Sunnydale has become a mecca of sorts for all types of vampires, demons
and other hellspawn. Bad mojo just kind of permeates the place.
And Buffy Summers is the one girl chosen in an entire
generation to keep this evil at bay. With her Watcher, Giles, and
a small gang of friends led by Willow and Xander, Buffy continually fights
against vampire predators, conniving demons, and various attempts to bring
about the Apocalypse. All the while, she hides her identity from
her family and schoolmates, tries to maintain a passing GPA, and can't
help but get hung up on boys.
Over eight years as the Slayer (seven years
on television), Buffy's skills and powers grew considerably. Her
friends and allies also discovered new powers and skills to aid in the
battle against evil. In the series' last year, Buffy faced the First,
the original Evil that is everywhere and in everyone. In the climactic
battle, Willow cast a powerful magic spell that turned all potential Slayers
into active Slayers. Now, Buffy is no longer "the One". Instead,
girls and young women throughout the world have been infused with the mystical
power of the Slayer. The balance between Good and Evil appears to
have tipped, at least for the time being, towards the side of light.
The Forces of Darkness: Vampires,
Demons and Hell-gods, Oh My!
The first thing to realize is that in Buffy's world,
there are lots of creepy and evil things lurking around in the shadows
ready to suck blood, eat babies, gamble for kittens, and bring about the
end of the world (again). It seems that even before the evolution
of the human species, demons walked the earth. Arch-demons and their
lesser spawn ruled for eons, likely even before the eras of dinosaurs.
At some point, the original, "pure" demons were killed. The remnant,
powerful demons were banished to other dimensions and the lesser hellspawn
toiled with significantly reduced powers. With the arrival of man,
the sheer number of humans (they breed like rabbits) drove the demons underground.
This fueled a great hatred for humans that remains today.
The Good Guys: Slayers, Watchers
and the Powers That Be
Vampires: Early in the pre-history of man, demons and men
were somehow blended to create this hybrid race of hellspawn. Vampires
appear to be the most numerous of demonkind, but stand separate from them
because of their closeness with humanity (even though vampires are often
much more antagonistic to humans than many demons). Vampires cannot
procreate except by sucking the blood of a victim and then allowing the
victim to suck his blood. When a person is tranformed into a vampire,
he will "die" and rise again within a week of that death (anywhere from
a few minutes to 7 days). The new vampire will have no soul, instead
becoming a purely evil, selfish creature who revels in the misery of others
and seeks only to hunt and gain power.
Lesser Demons: These creates remained after the "arch" demons
were banished from Earth's dimension. Though supernatural, they are
"tainted" with at least some touch of humanity that limits their magical
powers. These races of lesser demons appear even more numerous than
the ethnicities of humans now walking the Earth. Some are evil, some
just trying to get along. Some have magical powers and secret agenda,
others merely have bad skin, little horns, and odd bits of hair in unfortunate
Arch Demons: With powers like gods, these demons once ruled
over every corner of the earth. But the Powers That Be managed to
banish them to other dimensions and clear the way for the evolution of
species that led to humanity. Every so often, an Arch Demon manages
to make his way back into Earth's dimension. He is usually met and
dispatched by a Slayer and her allies--but not until after it has wreaked
untold misery and destruction. Even the threat of the return of such
a demon should evoke fear in the hardiest of demon slayers.
Hell-gods: These guys are about as absolutely bad as you can
get. Ruling whole dimensions, raining down misery and pain on any
before them, these megolomaniacal, nigh-omnipotent beings rarely make a
visit to Earth's little backwater dimension. And when they do, it's
usually because they've been banished here, so their powers are limited
and their overwhelming desire is to return home. But when they're
here, they cause nothing but trouble.
Humanity is not without its defenders against
the forces of darkness. Below is a short list of the major "players"
in the battle against the creepy and bumpy-faced minions of all that's
Into each generation a Slayer is born.
One girl in all the world, a Chosen One. One born with the strength and
skill to fight the vampires, to stop the spread of their evil and the swell
of their numbers.
The tradition of Slayers extends well into the prehistory of humankind.
A young woman was chosen and used, usually by a small group of men, to
employ supernatural strength and speed to battle the forces of evil.
Most Slayers never reached their twentieth birthday.
When the active Slayer died--even for a few moments--a new Slayer was
"chosen". Over time, the Council of Watchers developed to find
and train new Slayers when they were "activated." The
Council developed expansive resources and expected unquestioning obedience
from the Slayer, who was seen simply as their "tool" in the great battle.
Buffy Summers is now 23 and has been the "active" Slayer for around
eight years, seven of which were in Sunnydale, California. Because
Buffy died shortly about 6 years ago, another Slayer was "chosen".
This woman, Kendra, was killed and yet another Slayer, Faith, came to Sunnydale.
Basically, Faith turned evil, fought Buffy, lost, ran away, and was eventually
redeemed--and then spent a number of years in jail for killing a man.
During this time, Buffy quit working for the Council and began to develop
her Slayer abilities on her own.
In the final battle against the First, Buffy and Willow managed to cast
a spell that activated all potential Slayers throughout the world.
Now Buffy and Faith are just two of a vast army of young women ready to
do battle with the forces of darkness. During the battle, the Sunnydale
Hellmouth was closed and the entire town was destroyed. Buffy and
her friends intend to find the other Slayers prepare them for the new responsibilities.
The Watcher's Council
in Great Britain, the Council was a vastly powerful collection of men and
women who's main role was to find, train and supervise Slayers. It
is unclear how long the Watcher's Council was in existence, but it has
operated in some form since the very first Slayer was called. The
Council's resources include the best libraries on the occult, military
operatives, political connections and, quite likely, not inconsequential
magical prowess. However, it appears that the Council leaves the
vast bulk of supervision of an active Slayer to her Watcher, showing up
only once in a while (and usually making everyone nervouse). Like
most large organizations, the Council can be formalistic, bureacratic and
demanding. But ultimately, their goal is to protect humanity.
Rupert Giles was assigned to be Buffy's Watcher and mentored her for
several years (even after being fired from the Council and after Buffy
quit working with the Watchers). After spending some time in England,
Giles returned to Sunnydale to help battle the First. He will likely
now dedicate himself to finding new Slayers and training them and, perhaps,
rebuilding the Council in some form.
The US Government knows of the existence of supernatural beings such
as vampires and demons, but apparently has only begun efforts to fight
them. The Initiative was a secret group of commandos deployed to
fight the forces of darkness, and to scientifically study supernatural
creatures. The project was apparently shut down after a dismal failure
in Sunnydale. However, demon-fighting military units remain and are
deployed throughout the world in "demon hot-spots." Initiative
commandos are usually well equipped with technologically-advanced gear,
but are woefully ignorant in matters of the arcane arts.
Small bands of demon-hunters have sprung up throughout the world.
Lacking magical powers and significant resources, these men and women risk
their lives on a nightly basis, staking vampires, stalking demons and warding
off the beasts of hell. What they lack in training and materials,
they make up for with courage and luck.
Numerous secret groups--much like the Watchers--also exist to fight
for humanity. Most of these groups have religious backgrounds--the
Knights Templar, the Riders of the Red Crescent, Vishnu's Arms. They
typically retain customary methods for battling evil--prefering swords
and magic to modern weaponry. They can come across as zealots--and
many of them are--but their intentions are true.
Those Meddling Kids
A surprising number of teenagers appear to come into contact with supernatural
beings and find themselves fighting--if not for humanity, than at least
for their lives. Perhaps they have not yet become so inured by the
modern, mundane existence that they fail to see the supernatural even when
it's right in front of their eyes. Or maybe Evil just likes to pick
on the young ones. Regardless, a growing number appear to be aware
of the supernatural problem and more than willing to fight it.
The Powers That Be (PTB's)
The PTB's are supernatural beings of unknown number, origins and motives.
They may be related to what normal folks refer to as "God", or they may
just be from other dimensions. They have taken a keen interest in
the fate of humanity--either for its own sake, or to fulfill some prophesies.
They occasionally aid those that battle evil, even choosing champions to
serve as their agents on Earth. Contacting the PTB's is difficult--they
usually make their presence known through dreams, visions and, occasionally,
It appears that Earth's dimension intersects with
innumerable alternate realities, timelines and dimensions. The possibility
for cross-overs is equally vast. Demons regularly make the leap between
their dimension and ours, and more than one plot has been hatched to merge
dimensions, eradicating dimensional barriers and loosing hordes of demons
One of the most famous of these Vortices is the
Hellmouth, located in Sunnydale, California. At the turn of the 21st
century, the Hellmouth was remarkably active and has required the presence
of the Slayer. However, it appears that in different times, other areas
of Earth have needed a Slayer's protection: New York in the 1970's,
and China during the Boxer Rebellion in the 19th century, for example.
Apparently, there are other Hellmouths throughout the world (it may come
as no surprise that there is one in Cleveland).
Even without a Hellmouth, urban centers still boast
a substantial amount of supernatural activity and host a substantial demon
sub-population. Los Angeles and New York are only two such examples
where demons, vampires, and various evil schemers regularly make trouble.
Aside from dimensional vortices, there appear to be "meridians of power"--think
of invisible, magic gridlines encompassing the globe like longitude an
latitude on a map--that connect in some areas, creating unusual mystic
energies. These intersections may also focus supernatural activity
and attract a demonic element.
Trouble that Looks Like Everyday
Despite it's supernatural elements, the world of
Buffy is firmly rooted in what most of us know as reality. Aside
from trying to slay vampires and save the world, Buffy and her friends
worry about school, family, love and their future, just like any young
adult (I hate that term, but it fits here). Many of the supernatural
forces the group encounters are manifestations of problems kids meet in
real life: unpopular kids so ignored they feel invisible; abusive
boyfriends; experimentations with drugs and alcohol that go wrong; broken
relationships; deaths in the family, etc. In Sunnydale, these often
have a supernatural cause, but the consequences are just the same:
strife, heartbreak and growth.
Adventures in Buffy's world should be similarly
grounded. Or at least, those "real life" considerations should provide
a back drop for the more fun stuff of beating up on bad guys and trading