Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gorgon Archer - Genesys - Character Advancement

Character advancement in Genesys is very simple. It simply suggests that you award 20 XP at the end of each 3-5 hour session. It does state that if you want to have characters advance quicker or slower, you should increase or decrease that to 25 or 15 respectively. It also suggest increasing or decreasing the total by 5 based on whether the session lasts significantly shorter or longer than expected. Other than that, the experience point costs work exactly how they do in character creation. However, I do want to remind you that you cannot improve Characteristics directly with experience points once character creation is over. After the campaign has started, you will need to take a particular 5th Tier talent to improve Characteristics.

This feels a bit bland to me, but I will admit that I am a person who likes the experience point acquisition to mirror the drama of the session with major events producing more experience than normal and simple shopping missions producing less. (That said, I have had shopping episodes more dangerous than some sessions in the middle of a dungeon, so...) I would personally adjust the XP gain to account for milestones and the like and probably end up with a slightly higher than average rate of XP gain. However, for this simulation, I am going with the default assumption of 20 XP per session. I am going to assume 14 sessions as with other point buy systems.


Session 1 -The characters find themselves stalked through the wild by mercenaries who turn out to be long dead bodies inhabited by some sort of parasitic monster. They manage to fight them off and destroy the parasites. - 20 XP

Knack For It 2 - Ranged and Survival. 10 XP
Coercion 1 - 10 XP

Session 2 - A set of mystical islands have drifted close to the coast and the former king has started to raise a force to conquer them from the republic that currently hold them. The first skirmishes result in a war beast breaking free and terrorizing a village which the characters have to face down. - 20 XP

Athletics 1 - 5 XP
Vigilance 1 - 10 XP
Widen Gaze - 5 XP

Session 3 - The exiled king's recruiters are forcibly drafting the older kids in an orphanage, looking to use them for some sort of suicide mission. The true goal is to pressure the operators of the orphanage into service as they are retired generals of great reputation. The characters take on and complete the mission, rendering the drafted orphans unnecessary. - 20 XP

Cool 1 - 10 XP
Stealth 2 - 10 XP

Session 4 - The mission for the characters involves infiltrating the lair of a vampire to open a path to some needed mystical materials. After several close calls, the characters manage to destroy the vampire and give access to the magical moss in the caverns the vampire had laired in. - 20 XP

Ranged 3 - 15 XP
Jump Up - 5 XP

Session 5 - A set of monkeys who used to be a members of a martial arts school are being employed by a warlock to steal sentimental items so the warlock can use them as symbolic links. The party manages to stop him and discovers he was targeting the exiled king's political enemies. - 20 XP

Heightened Awareness - 10 XP
Survival 2 - 10 XP

Session 6 - The warlock is lairing on a volcano which he has paused in the middle of an eruption, using it as a gateway to the elemental planes. The characters confront him and discover that he is a native of the drifting isles and is one of a set of advisors trying to undermine the current republic style government. - 20 XP

Side-Step - 10 XP
Athletics 2 - 10 XP

Session 7 - The characters are asked to carry a small box to a city in a neighboring realm. They are accosted by a surprising number of enemies for such an innocuous looking package. - 20 XP

Side-Step 2 - 15 XP

Session 8 - When the characters deliver the package they are told that it is a part of an artifact that will allow the drifting isles to move off away from the mainland again, rendering them safe from the exiled king's interests. The sage they deliver the package too suggests that they might be able to carry the artifact on further. - 25 XP

Rapid Archery - 15 XP

Session 9 - The package is stolen from the party and they are blackmailed into participating in a pit-fighting circuit in order to recover it. It turns out that the owners of the pit make use of magically disguised corpses to rig fights. The players manage to reveal the trick and recover the artifact while the city guard comes in to shut down the fighting pit. - 30 XP

Sidestep 3 - 20 XP
Perception 2 - 10 XP

Session 10 - The party are stalked by a vastly powerful beast which the dwarven wizard realizes is the same that destroyed her home tower. After an initial failed assault, the group is forced to seek escape through narrow canyons. - 20 XP

Vigilance 2 - 15 XP

Session 11 - They manage to shake off the dragon at least temporarily but find themselves stumbling into a conflict between the wielder of an artifact that can resurrect people outside the normal rules and methods allowed by the gods. It turns out they plan to use this power to resurrect a long-dead warlord to serve the exiled king's purposes. - 25 XP

Tier 4 Animal Companion - 20 XP

Session 12 - A wide-eyed young man follows the party, hoping to become a great adventurer. Unfortunately, this coincides with the return of the great dragon. The dragon threatens the town, but the party manages to draw it off with help from their fan, leaving him behind to the respect of his home town. - 25 XP

Dedicated - Agility - 25 XP

Session 13 - The characters finally lure the dragon into a trap and send it to its end. It falls from the peak of a mountain, crumbling to dust and dying of many injuries and arcane blows.  This leaves them clear to take the package the rest of the way to its destination. - 20 XP

Swift - 5 XP
Toughness 1 - 5 XP
Toughness - 10 XP

Session 14 - An assassin stalks the heroes as a last-ditch effort to stop them from delivering the artifact. They manage to deliver it regardless and are offered positions within the drifting islands, but instead opt to return to the mainland to try to deal with the exile's plots there. - 20 XP

Ranged 4 - 20 XP

Gorgon Archer - Gorgon Explorer

Brawn: 1
Agility: 2
Intellect: 2
Cunning: 3
Willpower: 2
Presence: 2

Starting Wound Threshold: 10 + Brawn
Starting Strain Threshold: 11 + Brawn

Many Eyes: Gorgons start with 1 free rank of the Perception skill due to their serpentine hair giving them lots of extra sensory input. You still may not start with higher than Rank 2 in the Perception Skill.

Stone Gaze: A gorgon may spend Strain up to their Willpower in order to attempt a Coercion test opposed by the target's Discipline. A success means the target will lose their next action unless they spend Strain equal to the number of Successes generated, to a maximum equal to how much Strain was spent by the gorgon initially. They may still make maneuvers. (This is a fairly potent, if exhausting, ability, so I'm going to say it costs 10 XP)

Fearsome: This species is feared in common society. Add 1 Setback die to Charm, Deception, Leadership, and Negotiation tests. Add 1 Boost die to Coercion tests they make. (This is straight from the book and adds 5 XP. It does work well with the Stone Gaze though)

Starting Experience: 90

Gorgon Archer - Gorgon Explorer

Melusine the Gorgon
Brawn: 1
Agility: 5
Intellect: 2
Cunning: 3
Willpower: 2
Presence: 2

Wound Threshold: 15
Strain Threshold: 14
Encumbrance Threshold: 6 (10 with backpack)
Encumbrance: 9 (Armor 2 + Bow 2 + Clothing 4 + Dagger 1)
Melee Defense: 0
Ranged Defense: 0
Soak: 1 (2 with Leather Armor)

Many Eyes, Stone Gaze, Fearsome

Career Skills: Athletics, Brawl, Coordination, Deception, Perception, Ranged, Stealth, Survival

Skills: Athletics 2, Coercion 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Perception 2, Ranged 4, Stealth 2, Survival 2, Vigilance 2

  • Tier 1 - Forager - Your character removes up to 2 Setback dice for any checks they make to find food, water, or shelter. Checks to forage or search the area that your character makes take half the time that they would normally.
  • Tier 1 - Widen Gaze - When you use Stone Gaze, spend additional Strain no greater than your rank in Widen Gaze. You may target 1 additional target for each Strain spent this way. The opposition roll would be based on the strongest dice pool with one upgrade for each additional target.
  • Tier 1 - Knack for it (Stealth) - When you purchase this Talent select 1 Skill. Remove up to 2 Setback dice from any checks made with that Skill. (Future ranks of this Talent each add 2 Skills that gain this benefit.
    • Tier 2 - Knack for It 2 - Survival, Ranged
  • Tier 1 - Toughness - Increase Wound Threshold by 2.
    • Tier 2 - Toughness 2 - Increase Wound Threshold by 2.
  • Tier 1 - Swift - You do not suffer penalties for traveling through difficult terrain.
    • Tier 2 - Side Step -  Spend a number of Strain no greater than your rank in Side Step when a ranged attack is made against you. Upgrade a number of dice on the Difficulty equal to the Strain spent.
      • Tier 3 - Side Step
        • Tier 4 - Side Step
  • Tier 1 - Jump-Up - Once per turn you may use this talent to stand up from prone or seated as an incidental.
    • Tier 2 - Heightened Awareness - Allies within short range add 1 Boost die to their Vigilance and Perception dice. Allies engaged with you add 2 Boost dice instead.
      • Tier 3 - Rapid Archery - When you are armed with a bow or similar weapon, you may suffer 2 strain as a maneuver to use this Talent. On your next ranged attack, your bow is considered to have the Linked quality of a rank equal to your ranks in Ranged.
        • Tier 4 - Animal Companion - A silhouette 1 constrictor snake.
          • Tier 5 - Dedication - Agility - +1 to chosen Characteristic.
  • Desire - Belonging
  • Fear - Humiliation
  • Strength - Courageous
  • Flaw - Anger
Winter Clothing (Encumbrance 4, Rarity 3)
Bow (Ranged, Damage 7, Crit 3, Range Medium, Encumbrance 2, Rarity 2, Unwieldy 2)
Dagger (Melee, Damage Brawn+1, Crit 3, Range Engaged, Encumbrance 1, Rarity 1)
Leather Armor (Soak +1, Encumbrance 2, Rarity 3)
Backpack (Encumbrance +4, Rarity 3)

Further Notes

The strength of this system is in its rather elegant task resolution mechanic. I know some people will balk at the idea of FFG and its "gimmick" dice as being an elegant solution, but they really are. Every way I could think of to duplicate their system using regular dice is substantially more complicated. Having played the system, it gets easy to figure out really quick. That said, my focus here is on character creation.

Character creation is fairly straight forward and simple. There is the moderate danger of not realizing that characteristics cannot be upped directly after character creation, but there aren't any real traps. It is pretty easy to make a character who is very good at their specialty (speaking as someone whose Chiss pilot flew rings around several Imperials) and the experience gain is pretty straightforward and generous.

The only problem is that the experience gain is a bit boring in some ways. You just get a flat 20 XP at the end of every session. This can allow for regular advancement as you will be guaranteed to have enough XP to advance something at the end of each session. It is also fair, as everybody gets the same XP. However, most gamers are used to equating big or difficult encounters with big experience point gains. So, having a flat reward at the end of each session has a potential to rob some of the impact of those big encounters.

This is entirely a psychological situation. When there is an expectation of a reward that doesn't happen it feels like you're being penalized. For new players this won't be as much of a matter and for experienced players it will just quickly become a non-issue. But some people will have an issue with getting the same amount of XP for dealing with some mooks for fighting a story arc boss.

On the plus side, this makes the end-session wrap up a little bit easier. When the XP is standard, you don't have to ask your GM about XP rewards. You're already going to know what it is.

As a note, the dice are very slightly weight toward problematic success over flat failure. This is especially true since in most cases you're going to be rolling against Difficulty dice(d8) rather than Challenge dice (d12). Furthermore, the sources of the failure don't have to be directly related to the player's actions. For example, an advantageous failure on a ranged attack might be represented by the archer realizing that a particular shot was impossible, but seeing that they could shoot a latch and drop some barrels to slow down the enemy reinforcements. This is more game-play, but it also ties into the character creation as there are a lot of talents that focus on adding Boost dice or removing Setback dice from tests. Overall, it does a lot to maintain an impression of character competence that sometimes is lacking in a game system.

Character Creation and the Gorgon Archer

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