Sell Me On... Genesys with James Sral of Sub-Class Act Actual Play Podcast

I had this idea for bringing different folks on to advocate for roleplaying game topics, be they entire systems, particular mechanics, or anything else really, that they are passionate about. Well, here it is and, for the first episode, James Sral of the Sub-Class Act Actual Play podcast is here to talk about the Genesys system!

Show Notes:

Note that I’m posting this topic ahead of the stream. The link should work but the here’s the start time: 2022-01-10T18:00:00Z.

Sorry for the issues with the echoing. We couldn’t figure it on stream but they did stop after their own accord somewhere around 35 or 36 minutes in so forward to that time and you’ll be past the worst of things. No idea what the cause was but I’m glad it quit!

 So Genesys uses call kinds of crazy propitiatory dice.  You role large(ish) numbers of dice to resolve things.  Beyond the intrinsic fun of rolling a bunch of crazy dice, the selling point of this method seems to be that each role can result in success/failure but also advantages, threats, triumph, and/or despair.  And you can get these in any combination, for example you could have a success with 2 threats and a triumph.  This allows for a very rich range of possibilities for each role that a skilled DM can use to tell an engaging story.
 Having a rich encounter with costly victories and unexpected reversals is great, and having PCs be able to wrestle some advantage from an otherwise crushing defeat is Great Dming.  So if your options are a DnD session where everyone just trades damage until one side wins and dynamic well crafted encounters using Genesys then I say let the crazy dice fly!
 But I'd like to think that I get all the same dynamic encounters in my DnD style game, I just don't get them directly through a roll of the dice I get them through playing in a detailed, deeply thought out world with dynamic situations.  To illustrate let me list some interesting things that happened in a battle during my last playing session (the PC are being attacked by soldiers and the lieutenant of a popular and capable Baroness who is secretly evil).
  Because of choices made before the battle the PCs started in a terrible tactical position, and 1 PC had to hold off the entire attacking force for a round and was badly hurt.
  In order to hold off the bad guys the lone PC fought in a door way.  The battle took place half in public and half in a building.  The populous can now clearly see the PCs fighting the servants of the popular Baroness.
 During the fight a follower fumbles with his sling, throwing it towards the enemies, largely taking the follower out of the fight.
 The fight goes poorly, in a desperate attempt to stave off defeat the party wizard (who has good reason to try and keep his arcane abilities secret) decides to cast Color Spray.  In the public setting this would 100% out him as a wizard.  At the last minute he changes his mind and uses a less visible, less certain ability.  Now maybe the populous won't be certain he is a wizard there will be only rumors about him.  Was it enough to turn the battle?
 It was, the party wins.  In the aftermath the politically important lieutenant is bleeding to death on the street, but the cleric ended up in an interior room of the building and doesn't know what is going on.  The fighter has to try his lesser skill at binding wounds.  The attempt fails, the lieutenant dies.
 The fight is over, but now the party has a bigger worry.  They expected a critically important ally to show up and he didn't.  What happened? If they have been betrayed the party is going to end up as the fall guys in this regime change...
 I hope this fight was filled with all the same dynamism you can get with the Genesys system, but I got there because of the intersection of the world, the situation, many small decisions, and many dice roles.  Its an emergent property of a well DMed game.  
 Ultimately I think that the Genesys system gives up the natural comprehensibility of a target number system, and the thing it promises is obtainable without it.
1 Like

@nonenothing interesting! Where’s that recap from?

Its just my home game.
I do post session recaps on a webpage but I’ve never tried to get other people to read it. I write recaps so the players can read them before the next session. I also find that writing recaps helps me as a DM keep track of all the moving parts in the campaign.

1 Like


I think you’re totally right as far as being able to do things without recourse to a specialized system. However, having a specialized system can help people towards a style of play that not everyone gravitates towards. Just about no sub-system is must have to play but having them provides tools that people can use. Does everyone need those tools? No but they exist for those of us who do need them. I’ve seen tons of scenarios turn into one side gets hit until they’re dead to think some GMs would very well benefit from having a system designed specifically to force them out of that unimaginative repetitive outcome. The most skillful of skillful GMs probably need no system at all but the rest of us could use some tools in one respect or another.

1 Like

Yes, that is it exactly! I couldn’t figure out a way to say that that didn’t imply I was one of those most skillful of skillful GMs. : )
I think If you like the dice play with the dice. But even more then that running or even playing with this system could really help intermediate GMs become great GMs.

1 Like