Published 4 November 2019
Check Out Extraordinary Supplements on the Genesys Foundry
Welcome to the Foundry Spotlight! Every month, we ask fans of our community content creation marketplace for the Genesys Roleplaying game, the Foundry, to submit a request for the product they want us to take a closer look at. Then one of our RPG developers writes up an article about what they find fascinating and enjoyable about it!
This month, RPG department manager Sam Gregor-Stewart takes a look at Ready…Fight! by Keith Ryan Kappel, which can be found here!
Ever since we first launched the Foundry, I’ve been incredibly excited to see what people come up with. One of my hopes was that people would use the Foundry as a chance to come up with brilliant and innovative new ways to play Genesys; ways my team and I have never even thought of. In that regard, as well as many others, Ready…Fight! does not disappoint!
Created by Keith Ryan Kappel, Ready…Fight! is a supplement that’s devoted to unarmed combat in Genesys. Traditionally, we’ve kept unarmed fighting as something pretty broad and open to narrative interpretation. That means there’s plenty of room for someone to do a deep dive into fighting with one’s fists and feet, and Keith’s supplement demonstrates that with impressive detail.
Keith has created over 90 pages of content, enough that it took me a while to get through it all! I have to admit that the first thing I appreciated was the attention to professionalism, with a clean layout, table of contents, introduction that explains exactly what I’m getting, and even a page devoted to the video games, movies, and TV shows that inspired this. I also enjoyed the art, which for the most part was a nod to the “architectural drawing” style we use in our Core Rulebook and the Expanded Player’s Guide, but still possessed its own distinctive tone. Artist Sean Vrabel did some solid work.
Keith breaks his book into three parts, mirroring the organization of the Genesys Core Rulebook. The first part presents new rules for unarmed combat that can be used in any setting. These are mostly new character creation options (new archetypes, careers, and talents). I found the general archetypes particularly interesting. Each one was clean and simple, with a compelling once-per-game archetype ability that reinforced the flavor of that archetype.
When it comes to new rules, there were two that stood out to me. The first seems simple, but it opens up a lot of new gameplay for the book later on—Keith splits the Brawl skill into two separate skills; Brawl (Striking) and Brawl (Grappling). Striking covers all the punching, kicking, and hitting your opponent, while Grappling is focused on more wrestling-style moves. In addition, Striking is linked to Agility, not Brawn. I love this! In a game focused on unarmed combat, it gives players two very different avenues to pursue with their character, and it makes sure that Brawn doesn’t become a characteristic that everyone wants to max out. It’s a smart design decision, and it forms the basis for a lot of other new innovations throughout the book.
The second new rule I really liked was treating various unarmed attacks as weapons. These are “weapon profiles” that range from Punch and Submission Hold to Dragon Bite and Choke Slam Takedown. Each one works like a weapon, but are purchased with experience points instead of currency. For games focused on unarmed combat, this is a great way to represent specific unarmed fighting techniques that gives characters something to work towards and “level up” to, while still working within the same basic system of earning and spending XP.
This takes us into the five new settings in this book. The first is a basic “unarmed combat” setting that is intended to be added to existing settings. This is the setting for players who want to create an unarmed fighter in an existing setting or ongoing game. The second is the Kung-Fu Setting, with plenty of nods to wuxia media. The Pro-Wrestling Setting is taken straight out of the professional wrestling TV shows of the 80s and 90s, while the Tournament setting is more of a nod to arcade fighting games and mixed martial arts organizations. However, my favorite has to the Street Brawler setting, which is a love letter to side scroller beat’em up games and modern kung-fu movies. The example setting (ahem.. “Rumble City”) is grimy, over-the-top, and hilariously campy, with locations like Swoleside and Bloodshot Borough. I love it!
The book wraps up with a GM’s section that includes some more optional rules and a whole bunch of GM advice on how to run games that emulate the tone of sports and fighting movies.
My final note is that all these rules do make unarmed combat a lot more complex, but Keith addresses this as well. A lot of the rules make fights that may otherwise be somewhat one-dimensional (such as two wrestlers fighting in an open ring with nobody else involved) into exciting and cinematic experiences. He also makes the smart choice of noting some of the rules as optional, so Game Masters can dial the complexity up and down. All in all, this is a well put together product that left me very impressed!
Thanks, Sam, and thank you to Keith Ryan Kappel for your creation. If you enjoyed this Foundry Spotlight, be sure to submit your vote for the subject of next month’s Spotlight article. Send an email to email@example.com with the name of the product you want us to feature in the subject, and your reason for picking it in the email.
© 2017 FFG