Roleplaying Resources

A very brief overview of Genesys

Narrative Dice

Whenever you have to roll (which isn’t all that often), you create a dice pool based on a characteristic, a relevant skill, the difficulty of the check and any circumstantial factors. Once you figure out what you rolled, you’ll have some combination of:

  • Success and failure: These cancel each other out. If you get no successes, the action you’re attempting fails. However, a failure isn’t always all good, and a success isn’t always all bad, because of advantages and threats.
  • Advantage and threat: These cancel each other out. You can use these to get mechanical benefits (like critical hits) and drawbacks (like some advantage for the enemy), or they can be used for storytelling. Maybe you miss in your attack, but you maneuver your enemy closer to the edge of a cliff. Maybe you can’t persuade someone to your way of thinking, but you learn something important about them. Players and GMs describe advantages and disadvantages collaboratively.
  • Triumph and Despair: These rare rolls give you some major benefit or drawback. They also count as a success or failure (so you get both a triumph and a success).
Here’s how to build a dice pool

Take the higher of your relevant characteristic and skill. That’s how many green dice you start with. The lower number is how many greens get upgraded to yellows. The GM gives you other dice based on the circumstances.

Here’s a pretty good online dice roller:

Story Points

Each session, the players get one story point between them, and the GM gets one story point. If you use one, you pass it across the table. Story points can be used to upgrade a die, or to add a narrative element. For example, you’re backed up against the cliff, but fortunately (pass a story point over), you remembered to pack some sturdy rope!


I can explain the details the first time it happens, but basically, you describe what you want to do (which doesn’t have to be an attack), and then roll a dice pool both to determine success, and to advance the story. There can be both combat and social encounters.

  • Wounds – These are your HP. If you run out, you receive an injury, and you’re incapacitated (but probably not dead).
  • Soak – This reduces the amount of damage you take.
  • Defense – This makes you harder to hit.
  • Injuries – A critical hit can give you an injury, which can have a lasting effect until it’s dealt with.
  • Strain – This is your mental or psychological health. If it gets to 0, you’re incapacitated. In a social encounter, getting to 0 means you’re out of the encounter, having not achieved your goal.


This system was originally modeled after Star Wars, where no one dies unless it’s important to the plot, or they’re storm troopers. It is very difficult to die. You have to get several critical injuries, and each one increases your chance of death, but you need something like five injuries before death is even on the table. Defeating an important NPC generally means they are captured or chased away, not killed. So lots of recurring villains.