Take a look inside Genesys’ rules with this Character creation demo.
FFG has a preview of what character creation will be like in their upcoming Genesis RPG. Genesys, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is FFG’s all-purpose RPG engine that’s meant to serve characters from steampunk to sci-find and everything else besides.
With an agile, adaptable framework, Genesys will be able to support multiple settings and character types. At least, that’s their goal. From the look of the preview, they’re on their way to finishing up a narrative-druven game, with characters relying on Story Points to fuel mechanics. This bodes well for fans of narrative-driven stuff like the FATE system or Powered by the Apocalypse.
Did someone say Apokolips?
Both of those games do all-access role playing very well, with differing degrees of crunchy rules breaking up the narrative vagueness. I tend to skew a little more on the crunchy side of things, favoring PbtA, but really these are all great systems. The narrative elements let you focus on character and conflict without getting bogged down with things like making a system in which you can have a character using swords and another using guns and there’s any semblance of balance.
But you didn’t come here for me to bloviate about narrative mechanics, you came here for a Genesys preview. So let’s get down to business.
Characters in Genesys will be made up of a collection of descriptors, with players choosing a background, archetype/species, career, skills/abilities, and a 4-part motivation. The majority of these add some kind of mechanical descriptor that defines how your character functions within the rules and within the narrative.
Backgrounds in Genesys are the least mechanically active, and are there purely to vet you thinking about your character. This step in the process is just answering some questions that help get your character fleshed out. The first place where your decisions intersect with the rules is in picking a species or archetype.
And it’s here that we get our first juicy nugget of what the game might look like. Players can choose from four initial ‘standard human archetypes,’ the Laborerer, the Intellectual, the Aristocrat, and the appealingly-named Average Human.
And each of these tends to specialize in one area, except the last one. Your archetype gives you a core ability that helps define your character. They give two examples–the laborer gets to lessen damage, and the average human gets to grab story points so they can fuel their powers. But the real gold lies in the implication.
Genesys is meant to work Core and Setting. In the future, you’ll be able to grab a setting book–say for one of FFG’s extant worlds like Netrunner or Arkham Horror or L5R, and be able to grab either other species or setting-specific archetypes.
After picking an archetype, you’ll select a career. This is basically picking a class like Soldier or Socialite or Starship Captain or Wizard. Naturally you get a mix of setting-based classes (Starship Captain) and role-based ones (Socialite). Your career determines how readily you can invest XP into which skills. A Soldier will get cheaper combat skills than a Socialite, for instance. But Genesys sounds like a skill-based system, so there’s still plenty of room to customize your Soldier withe Etiquette, or for your Socialite to know how to kill someone with a cup.
Your career determines the cost for your Skills, Talents and Attributes. If you’ve played FFG’s Star Wars RPG, you’re familiar with that concept. Similarly, your character will have a wound and strain threshold, defense, and soak to help mitigate damage.
Finally there’s the four-part motivation. Everyone gets a Desire, Fear, Strength, and Flaw, and I’ll bet money that those also help determine the flow of Story Points at the table.
At any rate, that’s a quick preview from FFG. I’m hoping we get a look at some of their planned settings soon–they’re currently sitting on a few worlds that seem primed for an RPG setting, but time alone will tell.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more Phil Collins news.