Genesys is a role playing system which uses custom dice in place of typical numbered six sided, eight sided, and twelve sided dice to help better resolve conflicts and challenges in a cinematic and narrative way. Genesys is designed for flexibility and intended to be used in a variety of different settings. It’s perfect for games that are played in vastly different time periods, settings, and universes.
How Does Genesys Work?
Genesys uses what Fantasy Flight Games refers to as a “narrative dice system.”
Whenever a character wants to do something with a chance of failure, that character rolls dice to determine if they succeed. What makes Genesys different, is that in addition to success and failure, a die result may also generate a number of threat or advantages, which don’t impact whether or not the action succeeds, but instead determines whether additional positive or negative outcomes result.
The Dice Pool
Before a player rolls to perform an action, they construct a dice pool of both positive dice (generated from their characteristics and their ranks in the skill they are trying to perform) and negative dice (determined by the difficulty of the task). Additional dice called Boost and Setback are added for environmental factors. Positive dice contain success and advantage symbols, while negative dice contain failure and threat symbols. Once the die pool has been constructed, a player rolls all of the dice together to determine the outcome of the action.
Results of a Die Roll
After the dice are rolled, a player will determine the result. To do this, the symbols on the positive and negative dice are compared – successes and failures cancel each other out, as do advantages and threats. Whatever symbols remain will determine the result of the action. For example, if a player rolls 3 successes, 1 advantage, 2 failure, and 3 threat, the 2 failures cancel out 2 of the 3 successes, and the 3 threat cancel out the 1 advantage. The result is 1 success with 2 threat. If the die roll results in one or more uncanceled success, as in the example above, the action succeeds.
Advantage and Threat
Uncanceled advantage and threat do not impact whether the check succeeds, rather they determine if additional positive or negative outcomes occur. Uncanceled threat may result in an adversary becoming alerted to the characters’ presence, or the action causing strain to the character, regardless of if the check fails or succeeds. Advantage may allow the characters to recognize a particular component in the scene they may not have been aware of prior, like the tablet an adversary left behind when they fled the scene in haste.
In Melting Plot, we often discuss the use of threat and advantage to determine what makes the narrative more compelling.
For more information on the Genesys Roleplaying System, visit the Fantasy Flight Website here.