Genesis is a setting generation roleplaying game, and it’s our next product. (Besides the Outlive Outdead Companion, of course.)
What the hell is a setting generation roleplaying game? It’s a Lexicon, the company rules from Reign, and D&D/Pathfinder. If that’s not explanatory enough, it’s a hybrid game combining fantasy roleplaying and blogging. You create a setting (or add details to an existing setting) simply by playing it! Oh, and you play entirely online through emails and blog posts.
First, as in a traditional roleplaying game, players will enter conflicts and roll to resolve them. However, players take roles as noble Houses instead of individuals. These Houses have five attributes—Arms, Land, Lore, Sovereignty and Wealth–which are used in courses of action. Players can send spies into rival Houses, hire mercenaries to improve their army, build keeps or fortifications in their lands, raid trade caravans, swindle rivals in a fake investment deal, and so on. There are pre-defined actions to choose from, but players can create their own actions on the fly. If you can think of it, you can roll for it.
There is a saying—“History is written by the victors.” In this game, that is literally true. When players win a conflict, they also win the honor of writing a piece describing their victory. These entries will be hosted online on a wiki or blog site, and they will help define the fantasy setting. After the first few turns, your setting will have NPCs, locations, traditions, and history, all written by players during the course of the game. That’s how you generate a setting while playing Genesis!
Unlike Lexicons, Genesis has no set alphabet or other constraint on what to write each turn. The length of turns, and these written pieces, can vary turn by turn so everyone can play at their leisure. This game adapts to your schedule, not the other way around!
EXAMPLE: Mike is running House Tastail. He wants to improve the defenses of his lands, so he builds a palisade around one of his villages. Mike rolls and is successful, so he writes an entry on the blog:
“The Woodwall: In response to numerous orc raids, the villagers of Hearth’s Glow realized they needed more protection than wandering heroes or a few knights. Under the guidance of Ryan Tastail, second born son of Bryndon Tastail, the people ignored the nearby oaks and felled feynwood trees to build a wall around their village. Feynwood can crack iron, and the project went slowly, but by choosing these hearty trees for his wall, Ryan Tastail proved wise. The Woodwall was never breached, and still stands to this day.”
Right now, Genesis is undergoing playtesting to work out the kinks and bugs. We will be posting about the game in the future, but if you’re curious, head over to the Genesis playtest site hosted by Obsidian Portal. You can also download the Genesis Quickstart Document to get an idea of how the rules work.
As usual, send us an email if you have any questions or comments, especially if you think you’d like to playtest Genesis.