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Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by John L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/07/2020 18:09:51

This has become my home group's go-to game system. It's a good mix of crunchy mechanics and narrative elements, plays well throughout a lengthy campaign, and really does fit in any setting. The game has been exhaustively tested in its earlier incarnation as the Star Wars RPG, and it works really well at the table. Be aware that the kinds of stories it emulates are similar in tone to Star Wars: acts of swashbuckling, skullduggery, and heroic battles that can swing from triumphant victory to crushing defeat, with a wide variety of outcomes in between. It does adventure fiction really well, but you'll have a hard time getting Genesys to emulate four-color superheroes or doomed Cthulhu investigators. There's an art to using the narrative dice, but once you get the hang of it (after a couple of sessions) the results are amazing. When I run this game, I never know how things are going to turn out, except that it will be fun and exciting. Note also that a lot of game elements that look wrong at first (starting with the custom dice!) actually work very well at the table, leading to an enjoyable experience for the players and interesting and engaging stories, so give them a shot before you throw them out. If you're a GM who prefers improv to prep and enjoys being surprised by the direction your stories take, but who also wants a good variety of official and fan-created content to draw on, Genesys is a great choice

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/07/2020 01:37:46

My generic system of choice right now.

Genesys is a narative focused rpg - which means the die rolls are about moveing the story forward in interesting ways. You're not just rolling to see if you pass or fail, but to see if anything else happens along the way. Dice rolls can succeed, but still generate negative consiqences and conversly they can fail and generate a positive outcome. It takes some getting used to but honestly it's amazing - and letting players suggest/decide what those additional outcomes might be allows for a more dynamic game and more invested players!

The downside is the dice. The syustem uses custom polyhedral die and you'll either need to buy 1-2 sets or buy the die rolling app (or if your desperate use regular die and 'convert' the results, but this is very clunky and not reccomended outside of emergencies). They are however the backbone of the game, they just represent a little extra up-front cost.

The book contains several settings starters, with bare bones explanations and rules - but Several full settings have been released by FFG. Terrinoth (dark Fantasy), Android (Cyberpunk style) and Keyforged can all be bought seperatly and added on. And with the foundry putting out great player-made content and settings there is a wealth of options availible for any game.

This is the sort of system that if it went off the market today, I could see me still playing in 10+ years time.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Daniel K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2020 16:15:59


I purchased this book immediately upon release, and promptly ran a 9-month campaign using it, as well as numerous one-shots.

Good Points

  • The narrative dice system is unique and very cool! Doubly so if your group is into the more improv-centric aspects of RPGs.
  • Character creation and advancement is moderately flexible (though not as open as some generic systems).
  • Very cool system of gear qualities that make it easy to create interesting weapons and armor that feel mechanically distinct from one another.
  • Threat and advantage make every roll interesting!
  • Strong community support.
  • Simply being a generic (multi-genre) system is a huge selling point, and makes the system more widely useful.

Bad Points

  • Attack and defense scaling is not ideal. It's easy to make a character with maxed-out defenses at or shortly after character creation (especially in fantasy settings, where shields are available). Attack dice pools are very limited in the early game, which can lead to characters with absurd tank potential. Conversely, attacks scale up over the course of a campaign, but defenses largely do not (the defensive talents available to player characters are high-cost to use and have a pretty limited effect), so combat in the late game becomes rocket tag because almost all attacks hit.
  • Characteristic points can be purchased at significant expense during character creation, and are extremely difficult to increase during play. This means that the best character creation strategy is generally to spend as much XP as possible on characteristics (something the book advocates), while leaving all other aspects of the character relatively underdeveloped until the characters gain some XP during play. (This was easy enough to house-rule by reducing starting XP by 50 and giving each player three free-form characteristic increases to spend, but that's a big recurring theme with this book; a lot of things required house rules to function in a way that felt right.)
  • Talent pyramid system can force players to invest XP in low-rank filler talents that they don't want. This also makes character creation for one-shots more complicated than it needs to be.
  • Magic/powers system feels profoundly incomplete. There are a lot of classic effects that aren't available by RAW, leaving them up to the GM to house-rule. The rules assume a traditional D&D-style magic "class" breakdown, and give no insight into how to create a balanced system of your own for sci-fi settings or those with magic that follows a different paradigm. (This is another case that was fixable with house rules, but again, that shouldn't be necessary for a set of rules that cost money.)
  • There are no guidelines for creating vehicles, and a paltry three example vehicles in the book.
  • The hacking system provided is pretty shallow, and not very interesting in play. It also implements a success threshold system (i.e. measuring difficulty by number of successes required), which is a weird outlier given that nothing else in the book measures difficulty in that way. I actually would have been really interested to see this mechanic used more, but it's only in this one place, from what I can recall.
  • The list of talents in the core book is pretty limited. (Note: These last four issues are partially solved by subsequent books and fan-made material, but that doesn't excuse them being issues in the core, especially given that the other books were not available at launch.)

Variable Points (Will vary a lot by personal taste and group)

  • The narrative dice system can be overwhelming for new players.
  • Dice rolls can take a long time to resolve, which can slow down play a lot. Dice pools often take awhile to assemble, and although canceling the symbols gets a lot quicker with practice, figuring out how to spend advantage and threat bogged down play. Additionally, the symbols are abstract enough that a few of my players never really got the hang of reading them, and not for lack of trying.
  • Triumph, advantage, and Story Points give players a truly phenomenal amount of agency. For me, this is one of the biggest upsides of the system, but it won't be to the liking of all GMs.
  • Because Strain is used as both a resource and a damage track, and because increasing Strain Threshold is more expensive per point than increasing Wound Threshold, weapons that deal damage as Strain can be substantially more powerful than weapons that deal damage as Wounds, and a party that wants to abuse this disparity will be able to make combat encounters far easier than intended.
  • The proprietary dice are a major turn-off for some people. I didn't have any issues with that, since the system does a great job providing mechanics that validate the existence of those dice.
  • The setting IPs available to FFG may or may not increase your interest in this product. I personally really like the Android setting, but Terrintoh and Keyforge aren't terribly interesting to me, for example.

Overall Thoughts

I love this system overall, but I can't give 5 stars to a generic system core book that treats magic, vehicles, and hacking as "optional rules" and doesn't fill them out very well. Prior to expansion books, I had to spend a lot of time homebrewing content of my own just to make the system feel playable, to an extent that after I stopped playing it, I actually started work on my own homebrew setting, which didn't feel like all that much extra work in comparison. Genesys evangels will trumpet that the system is a "toolbox" and is thus exempt from critique on this subject, but the fact is that an empty toolbox isn't very useful. I've run systems that gave me a well-stocked toolbox to craft a campaign with little or no homebrew, and this system is not that, nor is it really trying to be. If you're willing to put in the work, Genesys can be a blast, and I highly recommend checking it out if your group enjoys narrative systems and if you don't mind generating rules content for your games. The issues described above prevented Genesys from becoming my long-term main system, but I had a great time running and playing it.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Steve H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/22/2019 08:30:42

A sparkling addition to the roleplaying games available.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/27/2018 04:21:37

I’ve always had a thing for generic RPGs. I dabbled in GURPS, fell in love with HERO, and checked out OVA for anime shenanigans.

And now Genesys shows up, the new hotness, with promises of Narrative gaming and excitement. With fancy colorful dice and symbols, and a resume that boasts of being the engine behind the popular new Star Wars RPG, it certainly makes a powerful first impression.

So how does it hold up?


The base mechanics behind Genesys might appear gimmicky, but looking past the fancy dice lies a solid rules system. Gameplay is fluid and the thrill of rolling dice pools is given new depth with the varied outcomes for each die.

There’s something visceral about rolling your own difficulty, a sense of ownership as your GM hands you the extra difficulty dice with a grin, knowing that your character’s chances are all in your hands.

Campaigns. Your Way.

As a Generic RPG, Genesys is judged not just by it’s rules, but by how well it can facilitate a GM’s vision. A third of the game is dedicated to being able to craft a setting of your own. Alternate rules are pre-built options that you can weld into the original framework to twist gameplay towards your desired odds, and the discussion on Tones and Settings help in giving it the feel you need.

Building a campaign in Genesys should be a game in itself, honestly. It feels like putting together a project car, with a standard build, that you then personalize with Customized Rules, tweak with Alternate Rules, then spray on a fresh paint job with the Tones.

And it does it all without the burden of points juggling and math.


Genesys is quick. There’s obviously a lot of design thought that went into it, and a lingering sense that all the designers wanted to do was to add just one more little bit into it. Sometimes that leaves us pining for what could have been, like a more extensive section on Superhero gaming, but that’s just us being greedy.

For those with a preference for rules-medium gaming, Genesys fits in perfectly well as a contender against Savage Worlds for fast, furious, fun. While it doesn’t have the intense library of GURPS or the near insane modularity of HERO, Genesys knows how to present a lean generic ruleset that can power almost any genre.

Overall, Genesys is a must have, not only because of its versatility, but also because it forms the bedrock of a lot of products in the future. Alternate rules are a sneak peek into the future, and I expect that with products like Realms of Terrinoth, we’ll be seeing even more ways to make the system sing.

Thanks for checking out my review. This is a fraction of a longer series of Let's Study articles for Genesys that can be found over at:

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/04/2018 06:57:23

An review

This massive rulebook clocks in at 258 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 253 pages of content.

This review was requested as a prioritized review by one of my patreons, who also graciously bought the pdf for me. I do not own the physical version of the book and thus cannot comment on virtues or lack thereof of said iteration.

In case you’re a novice to RPGs (roleplaying games): GM denotes the “Gamemaster”, the primary storyteller that takes care of the environment, monsters, etc. “PCs” refers to the “Player Characters”, what you probably know from computer games – the protagonists. The plural is important, for every PC should be of equal importance to the stories told to guarantee fun for everyone. In pen and paper RPGs, dice notations are usually written as “dX”, where “X” denotes the number of sides of the die.

To begin with a brief history lesson: Genesys’ roots stretch back to the 3rd edition of the Warhammer Roleplaying game; special dice sans numbers, but with symbols, have since been popularized in the Star Wars: Edge of Empires RPG; this rules-foundation has been employed here as well.

This does mean that the game employs a variety of color-coded dice with unique symbols. Genesys knows 6 such unique dice: 3 positive dice and 3 negative dice. The first category of the positive dice would be the Boost Dice, which are d6 and represents luck, chance and advantageous actions; they are opposed by the black Setback Dice, which are also d6 and represent ill fortunes, etc. This opposition of dice also extends to the other dice categories: Ability Dice represent your skills and are green d8s; they are opposed by purple Difficulty Dice, which are also d8s. Finally, there are yellow Proficiency Dice, which are d12; these are opposed by red d12s dubbed Challenge Dice. Dice annotation in texts is done with blue squares to represent boost dice, red hexagons to represent Challenge Dice – you get the idea.

Now, there is a table that breaks down the die symbol distribution by side for each of the dice categories. It’s there. … I strongly suggest just getting the dice. At least two sets, preferably one set per player and at least one for the GM. I am good at remembering symbols, suits and the like, but since the symbols on the dice are abstract, memorizing their equivalents on numbered dice can be grating at the beginning. Beyond these, the system also employs standard, numbered ten-sided dice, regular d10s. If that sounds obtuse, it’s actually not: Using a sun-like glyph for success, an “X”-like glyph for failure, for example, makes sense. An arrow pointing up for Advantage? An abstract, crosshair-like shape to indicate “Threat”? Makes sense. Triumph and Despair represent the most potent ends of the success/failure scale. Failures and successes are compared, for example, and cancel each other out; tasks that fail can generate advantages that represent something good coming out of failure – you get the idea.

RPG-Veterans can at this point easily determine that the basis of the system is a dice pool: A collection of dice that you roll; advanced or particularly complex actions may require larger dice pools, but the idea is simple: A character’s inherent ability, training and equipment, as well as circumstances govern how the task is resolved – more on that later.

You can see: This system’s basics are really simple, easy to grasp and emphasize the importance of rolling the dice without compromising the narrative aspects. In short, as far as the basics are concerned, once you have come around to the idea of the symbol-using dice, it is elegant and well-crafted.

The system knows, in total a number of 5 so-called “Characteristics”, which are somewhat akin to “ability scores” in d20-based or OSR-games. These range from 1 – 5, with 2 being the human average. There are 6 characteristics: Agility determines manual dexterity, quickness, coordination, etc. Brawn represents both physical strength and hardiness and determines the wound threshold. Cunning represents being crafty, clever and creative smarts, while Intellect represents education, mental acuity and the ability to reason and rationalize – I like this distinction between these two types that most games roll into one Intelligence attribute. Presence is pretty self-explanatory, and so is Willpower, though the latter determines the strain threshold.

These characteristics are associated with specific skills – like Survival, Vigilance, Deception, etc. These are associated with the respective characteristics, and their presentation is concise, offering example when to use the skill and when NOT to use the skill. Interesting, btw.: The Cool skill determines initiative when aware of danger; otherwise, vigilance is used. You can gain basically ranks via leveling here, improving the skills. Each point thus invested in a skill nets you potentially a proficiency die. This is very much relevant for the purpose of determining a dice pool.

You first check the characteristic: For each point, you get an ability die – one of those green d8s, as established above. You can then replace the ability dice with proficiency dice (the yellow d12s), but here’s the catch: The higher of the values of characteristics determines the number of green ability dice that are added to the dice pool – even if you have LESS ranks in the characteristic! Then, the lower of the two values is used to determine the number of yellow proficiency that you can convert ability dice to.

Let’s say, you have two characters: One with a characteristic rank of 4 and a skill rank of 1, and another, who has a characteristic rank of 1, and a skill rank of 4. They’d both get 4 green ability dice and convert 1 of these into a yellow proficiency die. The first character would just be gifted at the task at hand, while the second would have compensated for a lack of innate ability with training. While this may sound weird, I ADORE this design decision. Depending on the amount of skills your setting employs, this allows for a stark differentiation of character concepts – the clumsy mage who’s adept at sneaking around due to years of abuse by his master, the charismatic, but undiplomatic scoundrel with a heart of gold – the mechanics put equal value on training and emphasize player agenda.

By the way: If you don’t have a skill rank for the task at hand, you just roll ability dice straight. This is the player side of things. It becomes interesting when the GM enters the fray: As noted before, the positive dice have their negative equivalents, and it is thus that the GM gets to influence the difficulty of the task at hand, adding negative dice to the pool. The process is analogue, but system-immanently freer for the GM and allows for a maximum level of control. At the same time, the emphasis is on GM-control: The swingy nature of competing dice means that care needs to be taken to retain balance; while the system can in theory wing anything from a gritty dungeon-crawl to high fantasy anime-esque superhero antics, the interpretation of the GM becomes very important. In that way, Genesys is somewhat akin to e.g. FAITH, putting a lot of spontaneous control mechanisms in the hands of the GM. You can always opt to not include too many negative dice to a challenge. The obvious downside here, is that you get swingy triumphs, but also failures, and that you need to retain some level of consistency regarding the negative dice employed. While the book does provide guidelines, and while boost dice can help the players, I couldn’t help but feel that a table for gritty to superhero-esque playstyles and suggested negative dice use would have proved to be a huge boon regarding the immediate usability of the book.

But before we get around to the details, let’s quickly cover character generation: You first determine the character’s background; then, we look at the species/archetype of the character, which determines the characteristics and secondary characteristics like aforementioned wound/strain thresholds. Then, you choose a career – this is somewhat akin to a class, in that it determines the starting skills and which skills are easier or harder to advance. This establishes the initial starting points; after that, XP is used to upgrade characteristics and skills. Finally, you determine derived attributes like aforementioned thresholds, soak value, defense, etc. Then, only motivations, equipment, etc. are determined.

Now, let’s talk about the derived attributes: Wound threshold is a combination of the archetype’s base value and Brawn. Strain works analogue and represents mental resilience and works by combining the archetype base value and Willpower. Defense differentiates between melee and ranged Defense, with a base value of 0. This is generally enhanced by equipment. Soak value determines the amount of punishment a character can detract from every attack – basically a form of damage reduction. The default soak rating is equal to Brawn and subsequent increases do enhance the Soak value, in contrast to the wound threshold. Helpful: Assumed averages are noted. Defense granted by armor btw. nets a black Complication die per Defense rating and adds soak to the character.

There is more player agenda beyond this: Talents. Talents come in tiers that range from 1 to 5. These tiers govern how much XP is required to purchase a talent. There are active and passive talents, and some are ranked and may be taken more than once. Yes, if you have some experience with d20-based games, you can picture these as class talents or feats.

Now, I mentioned character motivation before, and this section indeed is interesting, as it automatically results in at least semi-rounded characters: You determine a desire, a fear, a strength and a flaw, with brief example tables provided.

Now, as for items: Genesys does several smart things here: For one, item availability can be determined pretty easily by the GM, with sample rarities given, and item maintenance (which you can completely ignore) as well as some sample item qualities, are provided – in a way, the system allows for somewhat simulationalist takes or those that handwave things with equal ease. The encumbrance rules are similar and combat the Christmas Tree-symptom (characters decked with magic/tech items) commonly seen in more rules-intense games. As such, default carrying capacity is assumed to be 5, and armor does count…but carrying armor is less strenuous than wearing it, which does make sense. As such, encumbrance is akin to an abstraction of more than weight, taking bulk into account, as some OSR games like Lamentations of the Flame Princess do.

Now, the equipment section is, rules-wise, certainly well-crafted as well. Base damage of weapons either is based on the characteristic (Brawn + fixed value, depending on weapon) or on a fixed value, for example for ranged weapons.

Regarding combat, we have a theatre of the mind style that differentiates between 5 different range bands – engaged, short range, medium range, long range and extreme range. Positioning, thus, is important, but relevant and shouldn’t bog down gameplay. At the same time, this does mean that intensely tactical combat is not exactly the strength here; as the relatively swingy dice pool, which requires interpretation already emphasized, we have basically a rather narrative system on our hands here, though one that thankfully has more meat on its bones than e.g. FATE.

Just because I consider the combat to be more narrative should not be taken to mean that it is bereft of tactics, mind you: The two different damage types (strain and wounds), combined with a couple of conditions and the existence of critical injuries (including a table) mean that there are tight rules for ongoing status effects and sufficient attention to detail provided for the basics of the combat system presented.

Speaking of “systems presented” – easily my favorite section in this book would be the emphasis it gives social encounters and how it plays: Basically, social combat is just as easily supported by the game’s engine as regular combat is, with motivations influencing the mechanics; for example, your fears could hinder you re dice, etc. Best of all, though: The basic mechanics are not different from combat mechanics. Similarly, monsters and NPCs have stats, derived attributes, skills, talents, etc. – analogue to PCs. You understand the rules, you’re good to understand these.

And here is pretty much where the review, much like the book, needs to imho be separated in two: Up until this point, we have primarily looked at the system in place, how it operates, etc. – and Genesys is formidable in that regard. I mean it. The rules and their presentation are transparent and their sequence is didactically sensible. This system succeeds, with accolades, in depicting a system that is truly setting-agnostic. It can be used to run basically anything. Up to page 135, we get a rather impressive system indeed, one that should be capable of running anything.

Or…well…it has the POTENTIAL to smoothly run anything. You see, the book does suffer from being setting neutral in a crucial way, and one that ultimately will make or break the book for you.

The weapons I just mentioned? There are a grand total of two sample weapons presented. A knife and a revolver. Do you think that suffices for any GM to really get a firm grip on weapon parameters for different weaponry, regardless of setting employed? I frankly do not believe this. We get a grand total of one sample armor. ONE.

Now, the vast majority of the remainder of the book is devoted to fantasy, steampunk, weird war, modern day, science fiction and space opera sample settings. Here, the sketch-like aesthetics of book give way to fully fleshed out artworks to represent them being concrete suggestions. Tropes and the like are noted here and those new to the respective themes get a couple more sample items and suggestions. Here’s the thing: The tools presented for the settings universally are, regarding themes, generic and not detailed enough, and the sample items etc. are not even close to being enough to really run a rewarding game in any such setting. They are, basically, in a way, slightly extended advertisements for sample settings and the most basic of sketches for the tropes. Now, I did not need detailed settings in a book that is explicitly billed as a setting-agnostic book, but ultimately, I considered this whole section to be space that could have been used better. The GM’s toolkit in the back provides concise guidelines for skill creation, making new species/archetypes, talent creation, etc. – the section is per se nice, but suffers from being shorter than it ultimately should be.

This becomes particularly evident when looking at the alternate rules: From item customization, to magic, these are per se cool: Magic employs the symbols granted by the dice pool in a cool manner, allowing you to modify magic regarding area etc. and similar modifications – while magic implements and sample spells are provided, for example ritual magic, sympathetic magic and the like are not covered – and the like, ultimately, is harder to design from scratch than most GMs would be happy with. There are horror rules as well, but once more, they feel, compared to what the system could yield in that regard, like tacked-on afterthoughts awaiting proper development in a setting-specific book.

The pdf closes with a 2-page index and several char/work-sheets.


Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious glitches. Layout adheres to a crisp and relatively printer-friendly two-column standard, with artworks first representing the DIY-sketch-like nature seen on the cover artwork, becoming concrete when the setting materials do. The pdf version comes fully bookmarked with detailed, nested bookmarks.

Sam Stewart, building on Jay Little’s original design, with additional development by Max Brooke, Tim Cox, Sterling Hershey, Tim Huckelbery, Jay Little, Jason Marker, Katrina Ostrander, Daniel Lovat Clark and Andrew Fischer, have created a system that actually manages to succeed at presenting a fun and easy to use “eierlegende Wollmilchsau” (lit: egg-laying wool-milk-pig), in English, a kind of jack-of-all-trades that is not necessarily as dilettantish in the details as the latter term implies. Not necessarily.

That’s the big caveat. I can definitely see this system being amazing for you, provided you can stomach the need to get the unique, proprietary dice, which even Dungeon/Mutant Crawl Classics groups will not own. However, it does not deliver, perhaps partially system-immanently, on the promise of being a truly universal. You see, the book wastes precious page-count on recounting basics of diverse settings and their tropes, pages that would have been better served by expanding the help for the GM.

Don’t get me wrong, the book provides a rather impressive amount of guidelines for the GM, explains etiquette at the table (still, alas, something that we unfortunately need…) and endeavors to make the game understandable, provide guidelines for running the game, etc.. At the same time, I can’t imagine the material herein truly sufficing for novice GMs to craft a new setting. The general GM tools provided are nice, but lack depth; similarly, and that may be intentional, once you start to look at the details of the respective settings, you can’t help but wonder for whom these guidelines were written. Veterans will be bored by the recounting of tropes in their favorite genre that they’re already more than familiar with. On the other hand, novices will have what looks like a feasible starting point, but building exclusively on the material herein does not yield the level of satisfaction we’d want from the game. Once more, the lack of depth points, obviously, in a way, to the respective “proper” setting supplements.

The book, as a whole, feels once we get past the BRILLIANT basic system, like it attempts to be at once universally applicable and provide a starting venue, but also makes the experience of lack for each playstyle very much palpable. It explains, in detail, and admirably so, many components, but does not lay open the balancing guidelines needed for informed design decisions.

In a way, Genesys is a phenomenal toolkit for writing Hacks, i.e. modifications of the system. You could expand the material herein and run a Cthulhu game. You could expand it and run a scifi-game. You can make inspired hacks. Once you attempt to base a game of pretty much any theme solely on the book, though, you’ll quickly notice that this is not an option, but a requirement to get the most out of this book. And while worldbuilding is something I adore, I can’t shake the feeling that these omissions are intentional. Experienced designers and GMs have a cornucopia of options here, a vast amount of ground covered in a way that is easy to grasp and modify. At the same time, mechanically and mathematically less gifted and/or experienced groups may well end up feeling ripped off by this book, by the lack of depth in the details required for informed design- and homebrewing choices.

As a reviewer, this leaves me in a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, I can see this working as a phenomenal baseline for creative folks out there. I love the system and how it plays. It does a ton of things I want from a system right. On the other hand, I can see this fall horribly flat of the promise it has. While, as a private person, I adore this book, I have to take these potential shortcomings into account. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars. Since I did love the underlying system, though, I will add my seal of approval to this – contingent on the fact that you’re reading this with a similar perspective. If you, on the other hand, want a RPG-system that you can seamlessly apply to various genres without having to work, then this may not be for you.

Endzeitgeist out.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Ronaldo M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/19/2018 15:14:00

Uma review em português do Genesys, para os fãs brasileiros do sistema genérico do Star Wars FFG:

Em suma, o sistema genérico funciona muito bem para você criar suas próprias aventuras, ainda mais se você juntar com a parte das regras que tem no Realms of Terrinoth.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/17/2018 05:11:26

Fantasy Flight Games bietet mit Genesys ein universell nutzbares Regelsystem an. Der Kern dieser Regeln ist bereits länger bekannt und wurde in der Vergangenheit mit gemischtem Erfolg für verschiedene Veröffentlichungen genutzt. Kann Genesys tatsächlich den Olymp des Universalsystems erklimmen oder droht der Absturz?

Die Geschichte der Regeln, die heute den Kern des Genesys Core Rulebook bilden, reicht bereits einige Jahre zurück. 2009 war es die dritte Edition des Warhammer Fantasy Rollenspiels, in der sich Fantasy Flight Games an einem ungewöhnlichen Regelkorpus versuchte. Die Reaktionen fielen sehr gemischt aus. Vor allem das Einbeziehen diverser Brettspielelemente in ein Tischrollenspiel stieß bei vielen Spielern auf Ablehnung.

Der Würfelmechanismus aber blieb in seinen Grundzügen erhalten und wurde verfeinert, nur um 2013 mit einer gewichtigen Lizenz erneut auf den Markt geworfen zu werden: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire verwendete erneut Spezialwürfel ohne Zahlen, dafür mit allerlei Symbolen. Anders als der frühere Ausflug in die Alte Welt war und ist das Spiel in einer weit, weit entfernten Galaxis ein Erfolg.

Und da Erfolg bekanntlich Recht gibt, soll der Regelkern für weitere Projekte genutzt werden. Das Genesys Core Rulebook dient hierbei als universelles Regelwerk, das durch Settingbände ergänzt werden oder für selbst kreierte Welten genutzt werden kann.

Die Spielwelt Wie für Universalsysteme charakteristisch liefert Genesys keine spielfertige Hintergrundwelt im Rahmen des Grundregelwerks. Stattdessen werden dem Leser Texte zu sechs verschiedenen Genres präsentiert, die mit dem Regelsystem bespielt werden könnten. In diesen Texten werden die Eigenheiten und Charakteristika des jeweiligen Genres hervorgehoben.

Darüber hinaus bekommt ein interessierter Spielleiter bereits erste Vorschläge für mögliche Ausrüstung und Gegner innerhalb des Settings an die Hand gegeben. Wo möglich, wird außerdem ein Setting aus dem Hause Fantasy Flight Games angeschnitten, das im Genre angesiedelt ist.

Fantasy Ein Universalsystem, das das Fantasygenre nicht bedienen kann, ist sein Geld nicht wert. Das Regelwerk bietet deshalb selbstverständlich einen knappen Überblick über die Themen, die Fantasy prägen und ausmachen.

Als Starthilfe für interessierte Spielleiter wird in Grundzügen das Setting von Runebound vorgestellt. Descent und diverse andere Brettspiele von Fantasy Flight Games nutzen das Setting bereits. Ein Hintergrundband für die Nutzung mit Genesys ist auch schon erhältlich.

Steampunk Wer auf den Spuren von Jules Verne und H. G. Wells wandeln möchte wird im Kapitel über Steampunk fündig. Mit Sovereigns of Steam ist bereits ein Settingansatz enthalten, der die üblichen Bestandteile bietet: Viktorianische Mode und abgedrehte Technologie.

Weird War Das Genre des Weird War nimmt die militärischen Auseinandersetzungen des 20. Jahrhunderts und vermischt sie mit Seltsamkeiten und Übernatürlichem. Okkulte Kampftruppen, abgedrehte Technologie und ein alternativer Verlauf der bekannten Historie prägen das Setting.

Fantasy Flight Games bietet mit Tannhäuser bereits einen Startpunkt für alle, die Lust auf okkulte Schlachten haben. Ein deutsches Kaiserreich unter einem untoten Monarchen, Rasputin als Russlands großer Okkultist und durch UFO-Technologie gestärkte Westmächte – all diese Bestandteile sollten deutlich machen, was Spieler und Spielleiter hier erwartet.

Modern Day Was auf den ersten Blick die Realität unserer modernen Welt abbildet, versucht eigentlich eher, das Feeling actiongeladener Filme zu vermitteln. Agenten, Polizisten, Soldaten und andere Actionhelden bilden die Vorbilder für die Spielercharaktere. Als einziges Genre wird zu Modern Day kein Beispielsetting aus dem Brettspielportfolio von Fantasy Flight Games geboten.

Science Fiction Der Abschnitt zu Kampagnen im Genre Science-Fiction betont besonders den wissenschaftlichen Part. Der Spielleiter wird gewarnt, Technologien wie Zeitreisen, Teleportation oder Überlichtgeschwindigkeit zum Teil seines Settings zu machen. Wie eine Science-Fiction-Welt auszusehen hat, wird am Beispiel von Android aufgezeigt, der Hintergrundwelt des gleichnamigen Brettspiels.

Künstliche Intelligenzen in humanoider Gestalt bevölkern hier die nahe Zukunft und die Menschheit hat begonnen, nach den Sternen zu greifen. Fusionsreaktoren liefern die nötige Energie für die technische Entwicklung zum Besseren. Ob sich die Menschen ebenfalls zu entwickeln vermögen, muss sich noch zeigen.

Space Opera Nach dem Erfolg der verschiedenen Star Wars-Regelwerke ist es nur logisch, dass das zugrunde liegende Genre der Space Opera Erwähnung findet. Trotzdem wird als Beispielsetting Twilight Imperium anstelle von Star Wars vorgestellt.

Das gleichnamige Brettspiel genießt seit langem einen legendären Ruf unter Strategieenthusiasten und spielt in einer riesigen Galaxis voller Alienrassen, die in stetem Konflikt zueinander stehen. Nach dem Fall eines großen Imperiums soll jetzt das entstandene Machtvakuum gefüllt werden.

Die Regeln

Das Regelsystem von Genesys beruht auf Pools verschiedener Spezialwürfel, die anstelle von Zahlen Symbole zeigen. Für jeden Wurf stellt der Spieler bzw. Spielleiter einen Pool passend zur Situation zusammen. In diesem sind sowohl positive als auch negative Würfel enthalten.

Positive Würfel erhält man vor allem in Form von grünen Achtseitern aus den Characteristics des Charakters. Werden passende Skills beherrscht, dürfen einer oder mehrere dieser Würfel in gelbe zwölfseitige Würfel umgewandelt werden, die bessere Ergebnisse versprechen. Günstigere äußere Umstände liefern schließlich noch blaue sechsseitige Würfel, die zwar weniger einflussreich sind, aber trotzdem das Zünglein an der Waage sein können.

Negative Würfel ergeben sich aus der Schwierigkeit einer Aufgabe. Die violetten achtseitigen Würfel werden bei besonderem Können eines Gegners zu roten Zwölfseitern. Zusätzliche Komplikationen werden mit schwarzen, sechsseitigen Würfeln dargestellt.

Nachdem die Würfel geworfen wurden, wird das Ergebnis anhand der verschiedenen Symbole abgelesen. Dabei beeinflussen jeweils drei Paare aus positiven und negativen Symbolen den Erfolg eines Charakters:

Success und Failure heben sich gegenseitig auf. Wenn mehr Successes als Failures geworfen wurden, gelingt die Probe. Überschüssige Successes können zusätzliche Effekte bedeuten, etwa Bonusschaden.

Auch Advantage und Threat heben einander auf. Je nachdem, von welcher Art mehr Symbole im Wurf enthalten sind, erhält das grundlegende Ergebnis einen kleinen positiven bzw. negativen Nebeneffekt, unabhängig vom eigentlichen Erfolg der Aufgabe.

Triumph und Despair sind die einzigen Symbole, die nur auf den zwölfseitigen Würfeln zu finden sind. Sie zählen wie Success und Failure, bieten darüber hinaus aber noch einen mächtigen Nebeneffekt. Ein erfolgreicher Angriff wird beispielsweise durch einen Triumph zum kritischen Treffer.

Die verschiedenen Arten von Symbolen und Effekten sorgen dafür, dass die Ergebnisse von Proben seltener einseitig ausfallen. Ein Wurf ist kann nicht nur misslingen oder gelingen. Manchmal liegt das Ergebnis im Zwischenbereich. Der Charakter schafft es beispielsweise dank eines Triumph-Symbols mit großem Vorsprung vor seinen Feinden zu fliehen, aufgrund der Threat-Symbole verliert er aber einen wichtigen Gegenstand während seiner Flucht.

Die Mechanik dieser interpretierten Würfelwürfe funktioniert am Tisch sehr gut, verstärkt aber leider auch den Kostenfaktor des Spiels. Wer nicht jedes Wurfergebnis anhand einer Tabelle kleinteilig ablesen will, muss die speziellen Symbolwürfel erwerben. Für ein längeres Spiel benötigt man mehrere Sets, die nicht in anderen Spielen verwendet werden können. Selbst langjährige Würfelsammler müssen hier also nochmal in die Tasche greifen.

Um dem Spiel eine zusätzliche Dynamik zu verleihen, stehen Spielern und Spielleitern Story Points zur Verfügung. Diese Punkte erlauben es, achtseitige Würfel im eigenen Wurf oder im Wurf eines Gegners zu Zwölfseitern aufzuwerten und so die Probe zu erleichtern oder durch das Upgrade eines negativen Würfels zu erschweren. Ein benutzter Punkt eines Spielers wandert in den Pool des Spielleiters und umgekehrt. Jeder Einsatz von Punkten stärkt also die Gegenseite.


Wie in fast jedem Spiel beginnt die Charaktererschaffung mit einem Konzept, auf dem der Charakter fußt. Wenn der Spieler sich für ein Konzept entschieden hat, beginnt die eigentliche Charaktererschaffung mit der Wahl einer Spezies oder eines Archetypen, falls das bespielte Setting nur Menschen enthält.

Die getroffene Wahl legt fest, wie viele Punkte der Charakter in den sechs Characteristics besitzt: Brawn, Agility, Intellect, Cunning, Willpower und Presence werden Werte zwischen eins und drei zugeordnet. Außerdem erhält der Charakter eine oder mehrere besondere Fähigkeiten und ein Kontingent von Erfahrungspunkten, die später ausgegeben werden dürfen.

Im nächsten Schritt wird eine Karriere gewählt, die dem Charakter Zugang zu Karriere-Skills gibt, die vergünstigt gesteigert werden können. Einige diese Skills erhalten bereits einen ersten Punkt.

Im Anschluss investiert der Spieler seine Erfahrungspunkte, um Skills und Characteristics zu steigern und Talente zu kaufen. Später im Spiel können die Characteristics nicht mehr durch den Einsatz von Erfahrung gesteigert werden, sondern nur durch den Erwerb hochrangiger Talente.

Talente bieten dem Charakter besondere Boni oder Fähigkeiten und besitzen immer einen Rang zwischen eins und fünf. Um ein Talent höheren Ranges zu kaufen, muss ein Charakter nicht nur mehr Erfahrung investieren, er muss außerdem immer mindestens ein Talent des nächstniedrigeren Ranges mehr besitzen. Wer also ein Rang 5-Talent kauft, benötigt fünf Rang 1-Talente, vier Rang 2-Talente, drei Rang 3-Talente und zwei Rang 4-Talente.

Das Core Rulebook bietet 70 Talente der Ränge eins bis fünf, von denen einige aber nur für bestimmte Settings sinnvoll sind. Dadurch wirkt die Auswahl etwas zu knapp geraten. Zusätzliche Settingbücher schaffen zwar sicherlich Abhilfe, wer selbst eine Welt entwirft, wird hier aber vermutlich nacharbeiten müssen.

Sind alle Erfahrungspunkte verbraucht, erhält der Charakter Startausrüstung, einen Namen und einige Persönlichkeitsmerkmale wie Motivationen und Ängste. Mit diesen letzten Details ist ein Charakter erstellt, der bereits Kompetenzen aufweist, sich aber im Laufe der Zeit auch noch massiv verbessern kann.

Erscheinungsbild Auf den ersten Blick wirkt das Genesys Core Rulebook ein wenig steril. Das Artwork passt aber zur Thematik, sind die Bilder doch bewusst im Übergang von der Skizze zum fertigen Bild gehalten und stehen damit in Beziehung zum System, dem ja ohne spezielles Setting ebenfalls noch etwas fehlt, um komplett zu sein.

Bei der Beschreibung der Beispielsettings weicht das skizzenhafte Artwork dann passenderweise fertigen Illustrationen des jeweiligen Settings. Diese sind von unterschiedlichem Stil, aber durchweg ansehnlich.

Die Texte des Regelwerks sind angenehm aufgebaut, zu große Textblöcke werden vermieden, indem immer wieder Illustrationen oder Textkästen und Tabellen eingefügt werden. Da kaum Flufftexte enthalten sind, lädt das Buch nicht unbedingt zum entspannten Schmökern ein, die Regeltexte sind dafür aber präzise geschrieben und schnell zu lesen.

Bonus/Downloadcontent Neben generischen Charakterbögen bietet die Homepage Bögen zum Download an, auf denen die Eckdaten eigener Settings notiert werden können. Für das Terrinoth-Setting sind eigene Charakterbögen und ein Gratis-Abenteuer verfügbar.

Fazit Nicht nur die Lektüre des Genesys Core Rulebook, sondern auch die Nutzung des Regelkerns in einer mehrjährigen Star Wars-Kampagne haben mich überzeugt. Das System der narrativen Würfel funktioniert am Spieltisch und bietet mehr als nur Ja/Nein-Ergebnisse für Würfelwürfe. Andere Settings auf Grundlage dieser Regeln zu bespielen, bietet sich also an.

Die Änderungen im Vergleich zu den bereits erschienenen Spielen mit Star Wars- Lizenz sind sehr gering und betreffen vorrangig die Charaktererschaffung. Stärkere Abweichungen werden wohl andere Settingbände bieten.

Die schwierige Aufgabe eines Universalsystems schultert Genesys in jedem Fall erfolgreich. Der Kern des Systems ist simpel und offen genug, um diverse Welten anzukoppeln. Dabei ist es egal, ob bereits bestehende Settings gewählt werden, oder etwas Eigenes kreiert wird. Wenn keine hauseigenen Settingbände genutzt werden, muss sich ein Spielleiter natürlich auf Arbeit einstellen.

Die Höchstwertung bleibt Genesys am Ende nur aufgrund kleinerer Schwächen verwehrt. Es dürften mehr Charakteroptionen enthalten sein und auch der zusätzliche Kostenfaktor der Spezialwürfel fällt negativ ins Gewicht. Trotzdem erhalten Spieler und Spielleiter mit dem Genesys Core Rulebook ein Produkt, das den Untertitel The Roleplaying Game for all Settings berechtigt tragen darf.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Johnathan K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/01/2018 18:39:05

I love this system, especially since they just released "Realms of Terrinoth". Keep them coming Fantasy Flight!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Robert R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/07/2018 17:20:27

I am so pleased that Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) has produced the Genesys Core Rulebook. A year or so ago I played the FFG Star Wars system and said to the game group "I would like to see this core idea as a universal system" - and here it is! This is my new go-to system! Here is why.

Narrative Dice (purchased separately and necessary) Genesys is different. Good, fun Different. The Narrative Dice resolve conflict as well as promote storytelling and adventure by engaging the GM and the Players to interpret some of the results to the story. The Narrative Dice are a major reason for my endorsement of Genesys. BTW: The Narrative Dice are available on the FFG site and OTHER gaming retail sites.

A Little Time and Imagination Genesys has UNIQUE potential for a GM with the time and imagination. The included Archetypes, Careers, Talents, Items, and other game concepts, can be a little sparce and leave you wanting more. The great thing is Genesys includes easy to follow rules and guidelines for creating YOUR own Archetypes, Careers, Talents, Items and more. The chapter called "Customizing Rules" may (WILL for my game in my opinion) eventually become essential and not optional. I will play Genesys because I truly enjoy creating stuff and the guidelines in the CORE for doing this are easy and fun. Plus, I am hooked on the Narrative Dice!

WHERE IS THAT RULE?? HEADS UP HERE - Read carefully as many game system rules and concepts are buried within somewhat verbose paragraphs. I highlighted ALOT!

Campaign world on the way! I am in great anticipation for the fantasy campaign world for Genesys called "Realms of Terrinoth" release scheduled for later this year (according to the FFG website). This is FFGs fantasy world used in many of their products. I plan to get it.

I am a fan of Fantasy Flight Games (FFG). Beautiful products with personality and concepts all their own. Always fun and engaging. This includes The Genesys Core Rulebook.

I HIGHLY recommend Genesys. It inspires creativity (in me anyway) with the modular core and the remarkable Narrative Dice system. It is the kind of game that will deliver great fun as well as challenge and inspire the whole group!

This commentary is MY opinion and YOURS may be different. :-)

Peace and Happy gaming!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by David P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/03/2018 00:29:17

Incredible game overall, normally I hate generic systems, but this took a system I've loved for a long time and allowed me to run Shadowrun with it without doing a huge crazy hack, like I've been doing previously with their Star Wars system.

One problem though: The cover page of the PDF is labeled as page 1, and so all subsequent pages in the book are labeled differently than in the pdf (page 8 is page 9 in the search bar, for example.) Minor annoyance, but I really wish it would be fixed nonetheless.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Fred D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/11/2018 06:55:46

Genesys is the basic Narrative Dice System used in the popular Star Wars RPG by Fantasy Flight, but aimed generically at whatever setting you want to create. Yes, YOU create. There is work here for the referee. Fantasy Flight promises some future setting books for Genesys, but currently there are none available, so each Genesys referee will need to craft their own game using the tools in this book plus any creative imagining and borrowing you can add. Notice the cover illustration. The center is detailed and in focus, but as the eye travels out to the perimeter the detail becomes more sparse and the image less focused. This is a beautiful metaphor for Genesys. It is The Beginning of many great games, but there must be an element of do-it-yourself involved. Go into Genesys with eyes wide open and with a vision of what you want it to be and it can be a very satisfying game. The Narrative Dice System uses Fantasy Flight "Genesys" dice - which differ from the Start Wars dice. You will need/want a pack of those to complete the game. I am not a huge fan of proprietary dice and that is why I knocked off a star in my rating. Otherwise, Genesys delivers. The Narrative Dice System facilitates "Heroic" play nicely and encourages players to engage in the drama and collective narrative that develops at the table by suggesting how the dice may be interpreted. The Narrative Dice System is a dice pool mechanic that tends to result in success with complications or failure with advantages. More improvisation is required of the referee than in a d20 or d100 system which are basically pass/fail. The real fun is to engage the players in helping to elaborate on what the dice outcome can suggest. If you like generic systems, I think Genesys is a good one. All games suggest a style of play and Genesys seems to work best with an expectation of a heroic, cinematic style of game. Not sure how genesys would deliver on grim, gritty, realistic or horror style games. Character death is just not enough of a threat for that feel. But, hey, this is DIY, so by modifying the Genesys rules almost anything is possible.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Jordan W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/05/2018 14:24:10

I played Edge of the Empire a few years back and loved the Narrative Dice mechanic. However, I wanted to play in other genres and settings, and quite frankly, I didn't feel like building everything from the ground up. When I heard about Genesys in June, my spirits rose. Finally, I received the book for Christmas from my parents, and then I bought the PDF. If you want a fleshed out RPG, I am afraid that this is Genesys' biggest weakness. It is more of a toolkit rather than a roleplaying game. Instead of giving you abundant material to begin play, you must first build your own materials first which is ironic that I went with this system. Fortunately, there is a whole community out there with plenty of customized materials for you and your players. on top of that, there is a thick section on creating talents, items, species, and skills, which really helped a lot. Overall, I would rate it a 4.5 out 5.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Adam W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2017 10:28:00

I feel it is difficult for me to write a fully objective review of Genesys since my group has been regularly been playing Edge of the Empire since its release. Obviously, we enjoy and believe in the core rules that power the system and I'm glad to see how the talent pyramid and magic have been implemented to open up gameplay across many genres and I think that it's going to be fantastic for that.

I have seen complaints about lack of information included in the core book, and this has not been a problem for me. This is where the difficulty in objectivity comes for me. Because I have so much experience with the system, a few examples are all I need to get things moving. My group usually doesn't focus too heavily on what gear they have, so we don't need extensive gear lists. I could see how this turns some people off, but it hasn't slowed down our excitement for the game at all.

All in all, for the PDF and the dice app, the buy-in for a game with as much potential as this one being at $25 is pretty awesome in my book. That cost obviously increases if you want print and physical dice, but the minimum buy-in being that low is nice for curious parties.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Core Rulebook
Publisher: EDGE Studio
by Chris C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/16/2017 03:42:27

I love the system behind this "game" that is used in Star Wars. But the star wars books (all 3 cores of them) are complete games. This is not.

Obviously a generic system such as this needs some work to run, but this needs tonnes. I could take Fate core and run it because the system is so simple that its easy to mod and stat villains etc. Savage worlds has a number of companion books that flesh it out, but even the base game has enough to run with.This does not. The cypher system core book (whose system i hate) tries to do the exact same thing as this book, but does a better job.

The supposedly simple rules and character creation run to >100 pages. Then there are the Settings chapters. I was expecting these to be massive, but each setting gets about 2 pages of explaining the tropes, then a page of example setting, some races, a few pages of gear and one page of antagonists. That's it. I don't think any one of the settings is particularly useful as they are given so little space. The organisation of this book means that some things are very hard to find. Having one antagonists chapter, and one gear chapter would probably have been better than having them in 8 different places. We get ~10 pages of vehicle rules, but just 3 vehicles, rendering the chapter useless. It really needed another 100 pages of example statlines and fleshing out of the settings or at least the options for the settings.

The rules are still good, the character creation is pretty straightforward, the magic system seems ok, but as of now this feels like it is missing a lot to be useable. As of now, i still think the star wars books would be more useful for running a non-star wars game, and they look a lot nicer.

The book is a starting point, but nothing more. I look forward to the inevitable setting books, but ideally there would be an options book or GM book with more help to do your own world...

[3 of 5 Stars!]
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