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Avatar: the Second Age

First Edition


Publisher Description

“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them, but when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed and my brother Sokka and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. Although his airbending skills were great, he had a lot to learn before he was ready to save anyone. But from the first day I met him, I believed Aang would save the world. And you know what? I was right. With the help of his friends, Aang defeated Fire Lord Ozai and ended the Hundred Year War. Zuko, Ozai's son and our ally, became the new Fire Lord. Together with Earth King Kuei, Aang and Zuko promised to return the nations to harmony."

— Katara


Another Generic Way to Experience Avatar [ edit ]

Face down a dragon as a brave knight, hack into a corporate security system as an elite runner, set sail in your airship. Unlimited adventure awaits you in Genesys,  a new roleplaying system designed for a variety of settings and limited only by your imagination.

The Genesys experience begins with the Genesys Core Rulebook, which features an explanation of the innovative narrative dice system and core mechanics of the game, an overview of five different settings in which to place campaigns, and advice for Game Masters to craft a myriad of adventures with unparalleled freedom.

- Publisher Blurb

Genesys Rules [ edit ]

At the time of writing Genesys sits in the top 200 of all RPGs on RPG Geek ... which is to say that it's a reasonably popular system.  Despite being somewhat new (released in 2016) it's managed to get 30 reviews, with an average rating of about 8/10, so it's clear people are playing and enjoying the system (to a much greater extent than say Legend of the Elements).

Character creation in Genesys is straightforward, and will be familiar to experienced gamers.  Characters have six stats, a species or "archetype", and a "career" (class).  They can also further differentiate themselves by choosing skills and spending their starting experience points.

Genesys Dice [ edit ]

Unlike the vast majority of RPGs, Genesys does not use ordinary numeric polyhedral dice.  Instead, Genesys requires "Genesys RPG Dice" ... which are really just ordinary d6s, d8s, and d12s, but with special symbols painted on them instead of numbers, to reduce the amount of mental number-crunching required. 

There are both positive and negative dice (the latter being added by the GM if the task is especially challenging), and certain symbols can further influence a roll beyond just success or failure, by adding a separate "advantage" (good) or "threat" (bad) component to the outcome. 

While it is possible to play with regular dice and consult a table on every roll, that will greatly slow down play, so it is instead recommended that each player and the GM have their own set of dice.  The dice retail for between $10-$15, so they're not too pricey, but the requirement of having to buy new gaming dice jus to play this system may deter some gamers.

Avatar: The Second Age [ edit ]

Genesys is a generic system, but the bulk of its fans discover it because of its supporting products for franchises, such as Star Wars or Legend of the Five Rings (which FFG purchased from AEG).  The same is true for Avatar fans, only the "product" that draws them isn't an official one at all: it's a "homebrew" project.

This fan-made project is known Avatar: The Second Age:

The Second Age is a free conversion for the Fantasy Flight Games tabletop roleplaying game Genesys (and EotE, AoR, and F&D). Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) created a set of wonderful rules and a Narrative Dice System (NDS) that allows for Game Masters and players to create and live out dramatic and imaginative Star Wars stories; with Genesys, they have opened their rules up to all possibilities — Avatar: The Second Age adapts that system to the setting of the universe from Nickelodeon’s Avatar series, complete with bending, significant combat changes, new classes, and many other new features.

Should You Pick Genesys? [ edit ]

While Genesys is a generic system, and lacks any official Avatar product line, the fan-made The Second Age sourcebook is widely regarded as one of the best "homebrew" Avatar systems available, making Genesys a strong contender for Avatar-themed campaings.

As a relatively new system Genesys is not as well-established or well-ranked as GURPS, but even so it has managed to already acquire enough fans to rank in the RPG Geek top 200.  It's far less crunchy than GURPS, but still has more detailed rules than either of the PbtA games (while still being very story-driven).

This means that for many fans, who don't want the crunch of GURPS or the extremely narrative-heavy focus of a PbtA system, Genesys might be just what they're looking for for their next campaign.