Jump to content
Synge

My review of Genesys rpg

Recommended Posts

20 hours ago, lyinggod said:

I wasn't saying that Genesys (NDS) wasn't inflexible. I was saying that most games are inherently inflexible in their approach to outcome resolution and their system mechanics. When I first was introduced to Star Wars, after playing a variety of simulationist and narrative games for many years, I recognized what the Advantage/Threat mechanic was meant to be. It was FFG's attempt to encourage simulationist game players (d20 and the most other games) to  think far outside the box, which is to say play narratively and not in the typical binary manner. I wasn't aware, at the time, that Star Wars's NDS was an evolution of FFG's WHFRP 3rd edition.

Yes, I realized that this is a tool kit, as are Gurps, Hero, Fate, Fudge, Otherworlds, and Cypher, to name a few. They are designed to be pick and choose type systems. This concept is what makes them so great. The problem is that the core Hero 1st+ (aka Champions 4th) edition and Gurps 3rd Edition+ (to a lesser degree) books are complete games. This is not from a world perspective (ie Forgotten Realms) but mechanically. The ability to create, design, and do just about everything is completely covered. Genesys is more akin to Fate, Otherworlds, Fudge, and Cypher. Your given basic examples of a few things and then told to essentially "wing it". On the plus side, when GURPS 1st edition came out, it was less defined then even Genesys.

Don't get me wrong, I like Genesys a lot but it seems to me that a lot of was purposefully left out to be placed in upcoming source books. Example: Persistent non-spell abilities such as superpowers ,cybernetics, crafting in any form, and personal flight, are a examples of some of the things that immediately come to mind. 

I have had a chance to look at LOT of roleplaying games and many are designed to be simulationist. Success and failure is absolute. They also have an extremely detailed economy regarding character sheets and tracking Hit Points, Ammo, Spells used per day, and a variety of other items. The World of Darkness was one first games designed to be narrative but was dismissed by many because it wasn't about the dungeon crawl and killing for XP. Slowly more games have come out that more narrative to various degrees (Fate, Otherworlds, Cypher, Fudge)  but these still in the minority but the minority is growing.

Limited by imagination: I agree and I have always included numerous narrative aspects in all games I have run. My group has (unfortunately) elected to play Pathfinder Mathfinder. The same GM also runs Star Wars and is pretty good at it. However He is a long time D20 player and I am trying to get him to treat 1s and 20s  as being more then simple fail or pass, but his response is "it's not in the rules". Too many GM's lack imagination and can't escape the ridged mind set of "Rules as Written".

As a long time GURPSer and FUDGE/Fate person, I have to disagree. FUDGE (and Fate to a lesser degree, though this changed in Core somewhat) left an incredible amount up to the GM. In FUDGE, you had to make up EVERYTHING, including the names of the stats or skills you'd have in the game (should we talk about vehicles or magic?). All you got with that book was a "here's a rolling system and some ideas about different genres; good luck!", and that's only if you got the 20th Anniversary edition. Cybernetics? Supers? Hahahahaha...

Fate Core is not complete. Again, lots of decisions about weapons and gear (and if so, there are no guidelines in the book on how to do it except "Make it an Aspect" or "You can have numbers for weapons; no, we have no inclination to guide you on whether or not a pistol should equal a bazooka". In both games (and GURPS, and Genesys for that matter) they don't have mass combat rules unless you buy them separately (for GURPS; for Fate/Fudge, good luck with that, though the Fate Toolkit does outline two different system for fights involving mass groups, so, you'd have to get it separately; to their credit, you can download the PDF for it for free). And again, Supers; anything I ever tried to come up with was a mess. Venture City fixed that, but again, it's a separate supplement.

In almost all cases, you have to define what your magic system smells like. GURPS does this for you, as long as you like spells as skills and like the idea of spells working better the more you know particular spell; you want anything else, you gotta get a supplement book, or figure it out as Advantages; possible, but harder without the Powers book). Also, there are wacky point-break places in GURPS where it's hard to model certain fictional abilities in terms of their "difficulty"; in Star Wars, telekinesis is had by everyone and their grandmother; in GURPS, that's expensive (I remember, very clearly, trying to figure out how to get a starting character at Yoda's ability to lift a tie fighter; and Yoda's implication that Luke could have done so with just the right mindset...).

So, to me, Genesys is as complete as anything else. Savage Worlds is pretty good in these terms; it touches, at least, everything you might expect to some small degree, even social contests and such, which I think GURPS misses out on. Though I'm not a fan of SW die system, but that's a thread for another day.

Edited by StanTheMan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

FUDGE (and Fate to a lesser degree, though this changed in Core somewhat) left an incredible amount up to the GM. In FUDGE, you had to make up EVERYTHING, including the names of the stats or skills you'd have in the game (should we talk about vehicles or magic?). All you got with that book was a "here's a rolling system and some ideas about different genres; good luck!", and that's only if you got the 20th Anniversary edition. Cybernetics? Supers? Hahahahaha...

This is the point I was trying to make in regards to these systems, though you said it much better. 

10 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

Fate Core is not complete. Again, lots of decisions about weapons and gear (and if so, there are no guidelines in the book on how to do it except "Make it an Aspect" or "You can have numbers for weapons; no, we have no inclination to guide you on whether or not a pistol should equal a bazooka"

Correct. For those that want borderline non-exsistant mechanics then Fate, Fudge, and Otherworlds are great. The approach of these systems is almost entirely "wing it". Genesys gives a few examples, slightly more crunch, and then says "wing it". IMO the slightly more structure offered by Genesys is better then then having to invent nearly everything. These games really are RPG rulebooks but RPG advice books. 

10 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

In almost all cases, you have to define what your magic system smells like. GURPS does this for you, as long as you like spells as skills and like the idea of spells working better the more you know particular spell; you want anything else, you gotta get a supplement book, or figure it out as Advantages; possible, but harder without the Powers book).

This is part of the problem that I have with GURPS (and most magic systems). They give you 100's or 1000's of spells that are prebalanced with poor (or no) guidance on making more. This is great if you want everything spoon fed but when it comes to creating your own stuff, they are frequently less then desirable.

11 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

GURPS, and Genesys for that matter) they don't have mass combat rules

Good, leave this to games like Warhammer 40/Fantasy Battles, Savage Worlds Showdown, or d20 games. These are Roleplaying games not tactical skirmish games.

10 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

Also, there are wacky point-break places in GURPS where it's hard to model certain fictional abilities in terms of their "difficulty"; in Star Wars, telekinesis is had by everyone and their grandmother; in GURPS, that's expensive (I remember, very clearly, trying to figure out how to get a starting character at Yoda's ability to lift a tie fighter; and Yoda's implication that Luke could have done so with just the right mindset...).

My toolkit experience is primarily with the HERO system. They have spell (and other "gear") books, for those who want them, but the spells are built using only the mechanics from the CRB and these gear books tell you exactly what components from the CRB were used for each item/spell. A low level spell, as an example, can have a point cost equal to 1/4-1/2 the allowed points for a character build. At first glance this is horrible as a wizard could only afford to start with 1 or two spells and it would take 2 dozen adventures worth of experience to buy another lower power spell. Instead, per the recommendation of their Fantasy genre book, each spell is treated as a skill (3 points) which allows a 150 point wizard to start with a reasonable number of spells. The point is that point values, which represent an abilities power level,  don't have to be the actual point cost to the character. . 

10 hours ago, StanTheMan said:

So, to me, Genesys is as complete as anything else. Savage Worlds is pretty good in these terms; it touches, at least, everything you might expect to some small degree, even social contests and such, which I think GURPS misses out on.

As I said, my universal system experience  is with the HERO system. The CRB has about 30 powers (analogous to Genesys' vague spells) plus about 30 each of power advantages and limitations (similar to what GURPS uses) which are used to modify the powers. The powers are then skinned to be spells, superpowers, cybernetics, vehicles, or other items. These powers/mods are all in the core book. The core book then touches on just about every genre that you can think of, with examples of psionics, potions, magic, sci-fi gear, etc. The genre books add very little in the way of additional powers or power modifiers. To me, this is a complete toolkit. I don't expect Genesys to be as thick (400+ pages) or crunchy as the HERO CRB but I did expect it to, at the very least, touch the major aspects of all major genre tropes. Perhaps HERO has spoiled me as to what complete means. However I agree that Genesys is as complete as Savage Worlds.

However I don't like their dice stat vs skills system but that's a discussion for another day.  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, lyinggod said:

As I said, my universal system experience  is with the HERO system. The CRB has about 30 powers (analogous to Genesys' vague spells) plus about 30 each of power advantages and limitations (similar to what GURPS uses) which are used to modify the powers. The powers are then skinned to be spells, superpowers, cybernetics, vehicles, or other items. These powers/mods are all in the core book. The core book then touches on just about every genre that you can think of, with examples of psionics, potions, magic, sci-fi gear, etc. The genre books add very little in the way of additional powers or power modifiers. To me, this is a complete toolkit. I don't expect Genesys to be as thick (400+ pages) or crunchy as the HERO CRB but I did expect it to, at the very least, touch the major aspects of all major genre tropes. Perhaps HERO has spoiled me as to what complete means. However I agree that Genesys is as complete as Savage Worlds.

However I don't like their dice stat vs skills system but that's a discussion for another day.  ;)

Ah, I see. I had Hero (FRED, to be precise) and yeah, it was "complete" in that you could build anything (and there were LOTS of worked examples in the core book, and the genre books were good about that too; Fantasy Hero and Space Hero were gold mines). That said, for me, the problem is Mass Combat. Here we'll have to disagree, but I tend to run political games, which means mass combat shenanigans at some point. I like having at least the option to run a mass combat. In Genesys, I can use Star Wars stuff (and someone has already done a mass combat write-up for Genesys as a fan made thing, I think based on Battle of Arda or whatever that supplement was), so that suits me fine. Savage Worlds had it baked in, which is why I ended up using it as long as I did, though it isn't even close to my favorite (as you say, the dice stat vs skill system is...special). 

As always, things never quite fit us all, though I think we largely agree!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are the game's rules for making your own stuff good rules when the designers don't even follow their own rules for making things?

Its a question to consider in regards to the toolkit parts of the book considering that since the release of the book different people have noticed different discrepancies... Mainly in that their human Archetypes don't match the Archetype rules creation and many Weapons in the example settings chapter have costs that are wildly different, with the Halberd being the most egregious of these.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stacie_GmrGrl, I hate to say it but I feel your pain, I feel that FFG released this too soon. As it needs a lil more playtesting.  I have the funny feeling they wanted to get this out (Genesys) while they still hold the lic for Star Wars? Sad to say but FFG has not been the greatest with RPG's for quite some time now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Stacie_GmrGrl said:

Are the game's rules for making your own stuff good rules when the designers don't even follow their own rules for making things?

Its a question to consider in regards to the toolkit parts of the book considering that since the release of the book different people have noticed different discrepancies... Mainly in that their human Archetypes don't match the Archetype rules creation and many Weapons in the example settings chapter have costs that are wildly different, with the Halberd being the most egregious of these.

And the grenades! Holy Hannah, are those cheap! It's like they want all PCs to have them, so they set the price to "why the eff not?" range. It's crazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Stacie_GmrGrl said:

Are the game's rules for making your own stuff good rules when the designers don't even follow their own rules for making things?

Its a question to consider in regards to the toolkit parts of the book considering that since the release of the book different people have noticed different discrepancies... Mainly in that their human Archetypes don't match the Archetype rules creation and many Weapons in the example settings chapter have costs that are wildly different, with the Halberd being the most egregious of these.

I actually asked a question about the melee weapons costs and got an answer for that part at least.  They said that they accidentally omitted a line that says that all melee weapon costs should be halved after final creation, to compensate for the major disadvantage of the range.  I posted their answer over at the FAQ page.  Though I'll admit there are still some weapon prices that don't quite add up....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×