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Genesys Expanded Player's Guide $14.95
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Genesys Expanded Player's Guide
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Simon R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/24/2019 06:28:05

This product is essentially "112 more pages of the Genesys Core Rulebook". A common complaint about this book at release was that the title is misleading, since more of the material within is immediately relevant to GMs rather than other players.

For non-GM players, the most appealing new feature is likely the expanded magic rules, which add divination, illusion, and shapeshifting options. There are also 20 new magic-related talents. Surprisingly, these are the only new talents to appear.

The three new themes presented (mythology, monster hunting, and apocalypse survivalism) are similar in form and extent to the six appearing in the core book. I particularly like the mythological setting, with its examples of how traditional magic items such as Mjölnir and the Seal of Solomon work as Genesys gear. With a total of nine themes at this point, there's enough potential crossover that a game in (for example) the fantasy theme could make use of mythological gear, or of monster races.

Many areas of the game which the core rulebook leaves to GM judgment are given prescriptive systems in the expanded player's guide. A new NPC design system turns story roles into stat blocks with a power level. Similarly to D&D Challenge Ratings, these power levels can then be used to design balanced encounters for GMs who trust accountancy over gut instinct. Vehicle creation isn't anywhere near the detail of Car Wars or BattleTech, but it quantifies costs sufficiently that player-designed vehicles are viable. Setting creation is presented in a way that can be treated either as a menu of options, or used as random generation tables in the spirit of classic Traveller.

Talent trees, as used in Fantasy Flight's various Star Wars RPGs, are presented as an alternative/addition to the Genesys talent pyramid. However, only DIY advice and a single example are provided; there's no catalogue of pre-built talent trees ready for use.

Considered aside from the content, the presentation quality is up the standard of the original core rulebook, and graphically in the same style -- clearly written and typeset, with the illustrations the same mix of paintings and distinctive "blueprint"-styled drawings. The table of contents is clearly organized and hyperlinked; there's no index. Like other Genesys sourcebooks (with the notable exception of Shadow of the Beanstalk) adversary and gear stat blocks are scattered throughout the book rather than consolidated.

As a resource, I rate this somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. Solid, professional presentation pushes it up to 4.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Genesys Expanded Player's Guide
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
by Scott Z. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/23/2019 20:01:04

The Expanded Player's Guide is a great addition to the world of Genesys. While the name implies this is for player's it is really for both, as is explained in the introduction. The term "player" here is used in a more general sense where even the Game Master is considered to be playing the game. There are plenty of items included that are for players (archetypes, weapons, gear, magic skills, and talents) and many things only for Game Masters (setting creation, specilization trees, and GM advice). Also, players definitely need to know how many of these mechanics work so they can utilize them in-game.

New Settings

Three new settings are included. Age of Myth, Monsterworld, and Post Apocalypse. The Age of Myth setting gives the necessary tidbits to play and run a game set in something like The Oddyssey, the Epic of Gilgamesh, or 1001 Arabian Nights. These are stories where larger than life humans interact with Gods on amazing quests. My favorite part of this setting are the magical items that come from stories we know like the Bow of Apollo or Thor's Mjolnir. Monsterworld is a generic horror setting allowing stories like those of Frankenstein, Dracula, H.P. Lovecraft, or even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It gives a lot of options for horror in the gamut of genre, either fantasy, modern, or scifi. My favorite part of this setting is the "Hunting the Monsters" sidebar that gives advice on how to run an Ultimate Villain that always manages to escape just as the protagonists have them on the ropes. Lastly the Post Apocalypse setting gives us the way run something like Mad Max, The Walking Dead, or even The Terminator. This section covers a lot of what got from FFG's fantastic End of the World line. All the sidebars are the greatest part of this setting; GM advice on how to do radiation, contagion, scavenged weapons, and environmental hindrences.

Creating A Setting

This section gives way more detail then what we got in the Core Rulebook. A ton of great advice on worldbuilding in general and a step-by-step guide on building a Genesys setting. The best part of this section are the tables that one can use to randomly generate a setting or a single world in a setting.

Vehicle Creation

The Core Rulebook gave us details on creating gear and weapons, but didn't seem to have the room for a full breakdown of vehicles. At last we make properly balanced vehicles. Not only do we have a great way of determining proper price, but also we got a new mechanic of special abilities for vehicles. Special abilities for vehicles may have already existed in Star Wars RPG, but it is new to Genesys. In fact, some special abilities had been previously seen in SWRPG, but their version in Genesys is far more streamlined. We also get 11 pages of new sample vehicles! This combined with the crafting rules from Realms of Terrinoth gives players a great way of making their own vehicles.

Adversary Creation

Previously, adversary creation and encounter design was something of an art. Now, GMs have a way of creating adversaries or using existing ones to create encounters that are well-matched against the PCs. These rules have the added benefit of actually making adversary creation easier. It’s simply a few choices to get a solid baseline adversary and the tweak it taste. We then 8 pages of new adversaries, including many common animals that many druid-type characters are usually asking for.

Expanded Magic Rules

The best reason to buy this book. It could contain just this section and still be worth the asking price (well, almost). So many new talents that filled in gaps that magic was needing from the Core Rulebook. Most notably, teleport. We also get three new magic actions: Mask, Predict, and Transform. Mask being illusions, Predict being clairvoyance, and Transform being polymorph, a way to turn into an animal. These spells and talents combined with the Vehicle and Adversary creation rules really shows how FFG is listening to the players. These are all things people have been asking for and we got them in spades.

Specialization Trees

I am not a fan of spec trees. I much prefer the talent pyramid. That said, I do understand that many people have asked for exactly this and this wish is fulfilled. Lots of good advice for those that wish to go down that road.

Social Encounters

This is a simple, one page section that gives further advice for Social Encounters. Shadow of the Beanstalk also gave us a single page of advice and the section in the EPG only overlaps the SotB section a small amount. Otherwise, this is all great advice for people trying to run one of the most underutilized and greatest parts of Genesys.

New Tones

Finally, we get two new tones: Heist and Noir. The mechanics in Heist for generating "heat", or how much attention the PCs have, is brilliant. The Noir section is pretty short, but give advice on how to run Noir, which is a hard tone with a group. I feel it is best with only one or two PCs. Combine that with the new rule presented of Internal Monologue and you've got yourself a pretty story.

Overall, a great book that I definitely recommend. In the typical Genesys fashion, there are details we don't get, but this is on purpose due to the generic nature of the game and the fact that Genesys isn't trying to tell us how our games are supposed to be.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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