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Watercolour Dragon

Traditional stories and fairy tale settings / twists

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Idea: Genesys and some Grimmagination


Having just been to the panto (I'm so cool and not a nerd at all, honest) and also discovering Grimm when checking out the forums to look at Genesys I had the thought it would be quite fun for a different kind of RPG experience to remix, mix up and generally mess with and have some fun with traditional fairy tales / story telling and maybe even unpick some of their flaws/cliches etc in the process. The genres can be twisted in all kinds of ways to bring it into the real world (not seen it but a ballet has taken Cinderella into a wartime setting for example), mix it up with superhero genres, steam punk it or do anything weird or/and wonderful you want with it, but there's also something quite pleasing about keeping it vanilla too and linking back to that history of fairy tales and oral storytelling- we might also be able to develop some tools for utilising other traditional stories in one's RPG'ing.


Grimm seems to no longer exist and having read about it doesn't really fit this idea that it gave rise to in the way I'm thinking it anyway but that's probably a good thing as I was scared yet another FFG product was going to join my shopping/want list (my wallet was worried for a while).


But now I've got the idea are there enough people interested in this for us to work on a 'Genesys and Grimmagination' toolkit for Genesys between us?


Some things the sub genres offer to play with:

Pantomime, traditional storytelling and fairy tale tropes:

Classic over-polarised good and evil - perhaps these are so set in stone things should be distorted a bit- flaws in the goodies, changes in the baddies or maybe they are those extremes and stuck with them...

Magic and enchantment - often with a caring figure seeking to help the heroic character(s) and / or their nemesis having magical powers too, using something that gives them such powers or siding with someone or something who can give them such powers, power may shift sides as access to such magic changes

Poverty to riches - again ripe for inverting/ challenging

Kindness/ cruelty

Often features fantasy folklore-rooted characters (which also nicely tie into some of Terrinoth so that sourcebook could be useful for this too) such as witches/wizards/genies/ other magical entities, gnomes, orcs, trolls, goblins, dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, mermaids, unicorns, griffins, werewolves, talking animals/ familiars/ friendly 'pets', will-o'-the-wisps, spirits or other ghostly forms, other legendary storytelling offers stock characters such as the titans including Gaia and Cronus, rocs, pegasi, centaurs, godlike characters and so on

Romance, usually very genre-formulaic generic romance!

Family and friends/contemporaries, hostile or helpful

From panto: comedy, dancing, acrobatics, other entertainments

Panto itself can 'break the walls' for example making comedy of a character messing with the set and lighting to the detriment and disruption of another for comedic effect, just being silly to be funny

From storytelling: riddles, quests and other adventuring challenges

Sometimes disguise

Often involves travel- as an actual critical part of characters' life journey, either by choice or consequence

Impossible fantastical worlds such as the giant beanstalk and the realm at the top of it, the arch-enemy's lair, the hero's dreamscape, the underwater world, Pan's Neverland, contrasts sometimes of utopia (otherworld adventures or/and final outcome)/dystopia (enemy realm or/and their effect on the world) /day to day world (ordinary life of heroes and their friends)

Often challenged/disliked common aspects that you may wish to challenge/ change/ improve on such as the damsel in distress or wannabe princess saved by marrying the prince and other male / wealth and status etc focuses of the genres perhaps

Morality tale aspects


Pantomime, traditional storytelling and fairy tale stock characters:

The arch-enemy (main villain or antagonist) who'll often delight in their cruelty and the misery it causes and who provide many of the obstacles the hero/heroine and their friends will have to overcome en route to their hopefully happy ending (maybe if your twist on the genre is that the succesful ending isn't so happy and more an anti- fairy tale the players could be on this entity's side..., like I said you can mix things up), has been likened to the 'devil character' or ultimate nemesis that has carried through many strands of fiction and drama from morality plays to fairy tales, pantomime and even a lot of other genres of storytelling/ film/ games etc

The hero/heroine who often believes they are anything but, will likely have to overcome many setbacks and their own self-doubts to triumph and often starts as the complete underdog with little power and advantage compared to their enemy/ies - victory seems impossible against such odds but gradually they find their strength and resolve (a specific dice mechanic might be interesting to explore for the hero and villain development arcs)

Romantic hero- variant of this which can take many forms and can be more flawed, less 'pantomime perfect' and so on



Environmentally rooted natural characters such as the green man, Gaia and other representations of nature

The socially outcast such as the fool/ the idiot / the idle citizen

The underdog such as the poor servant, who is often the hero/heroine of the story

The servant 'minion' of the evil arch-enemy who may help bring about their demise, either through choosing to fight against their master or by failing to serve them wisely- the one they serve getting someone or something else to do their dirty work for them but coming unstuck as a result

Important animals such as the loyal cat, mythical creature or dangerous beast

Comical animals such as the pantomime cow or horse

Comical stock characters such as the dame

Magical guardian/ aide: the fairy, genie of the lamp etc (some can switch sides as with the genie that serves whoever becomes its master, fairies could also be playful- messing with characters' lives in good and bad ways as with those of Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream)

The best friend/ moral support such as Buttons in Cinderella

The prince/ princess/ king / queen...... Sure some people might want to unpick the elitism often between the lines of the genre, in RPG you can do with it as you wish, maybe there are other kinds of end goal/ lead characters?

The trickster or betrayer (often but not always the arch-enemy's role or that of one of their minions) - D. Whittington being framed for robbery to turn his friends against him, the hero/heroine/victim's captor, the cruel sisters gifting Cinderella true happiness with the ball ticket then making her tear it up in front of their delighted eyes...


Again you can mix things up and change the key focus characters of the genres




Please share any other common elements you come up with and if you'd like to be involved- if there's enough interest I'll take things forward with developing resources for this.


Edited by Martinslair
spellchecks and typos! gotta catch em all..., and it censored one of the Panto staples (it's his name!) * * * *

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