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Lying Cat

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I've been spending a fair old while working through an RP setting and as I'm partially awake at the moment I figured I'd drop a recommendation here on the forum because the game absolutely deserves recognition because of the incredible quality of the work. The game is called Degenesis and it follows the struggle of humanity in the centuries after the apocalypse happened.


The other thing that's worth noting is that they make all the PDFs completely free on their site. Well. you need to sign up, but it's a good trade.




The game is set approximately 500 years after Earth was struck by a swarm of asteroids; none as big as the one that wiped out the dinosaurs, but large enough to effectively destroy society as we know it and push humankind back into barbarism, individuals completely fucked and groups doing everything they can to survive, banding into clans. So far so awful, but it was only after the dust had started to settle when the actual true horror started to become known.


The Asteroids were carrying a payload - a substance called The Primer, the stuff of raw evolution - breaking down our DNA and sending some of us in a completely different evolutionary path. Homo Sapiens soon found itself locked in an existential struggle with Homo Degenesis, similar to us in some ways, but utterly alien on the inside.


Worse, the Primer bonded with fungal structures and began to creep into the ecosystem of the ruined planet causing what is referred to as The Sepsis, strange landscapes where life mutates out of control and the spores that drift out across Europe causing infections. You'll never mutate yourself, you're more likely to just die from the fungal infestations, but the children of the infected are more likely to be Homo Degenesis than they are to be human.




The game is set in Europe and the northern coast of Africa only - Nobody has been able to reach America, Asia or Russia - and if they have they've never returned. But ships bearing strange markings not associated with the known world occasionally wash up. There may be other people, other cultures out there.


The problems don't end there though - from beneath the Earth, the locked and hidden bunkers of the mysterious Recombination Group unlock and the Sleepers rise from cryostasis, in possession of the miracle technologies from before the end occurred. They move with a purpose, infiltrating communities, killing their leaders and imprinting their own views on society, seemingly able to shackle people into mimetic chains through their words alone. The first emerged after 100 years, and they had the number 100 tattoo'd on their upper arms. Then came the 200's after another century has passed. Each generation filtering out into the world to play a different part in somebody's ineffable master plan.


They were the best of the best before, and their blood - thick with nanotechnology - makes them more than human.




Beyond even the Sleepers stand the Marauders, worshipped as gods by the tribes. They annihilate communities with a gesture. Impregnable metal doors leading deep into the mountains open in their presence. Some call them "The Sleepers who never Slept", and time tears as them. Seemingly held together by technology bolted to their forms and pus-drenched bandages, they gift some with ancient secrets, while others feel their seemingly endless fury.


In the centre of all of this, humanity does what it does best. It factionalises. It seeks profit - and potentially to survive as well.


Player Characters


90% of humans are in clans, and the remaining 10% are organised into what is known as "The Cults", groups of people who come together with a singular purpose to achieve something in the world, and both are absolutely playable - The Sleepers are not as the truth of Project Tannhauser remains mysterious, and they are in effect pretty overpowered. They remain as antagonists.


There are a large number of cults for the players to follow, from the effectively fascist Spitalians, the Chroniclers who are seeking to piece the past back together and ultimately bring the internet back online, through to the Judges who are basically the 2000AD Judges in cowboy outfits. One of the issues with the game is that everything is in such massive, overwhelming detail in the fluff that it's pointless to try and describe it all in the scope of an internet post. If you're interested in seeing more of the clans, their website has it all HERE.




The game isn't strictly about survival in the wasteland; indeed, it surprised me by being much more of a conspiracy based game where the group seeks to uncover and unravel the mysteries of the world, battle and hold back the Homo Degenesis and try to make some money along the way. While there are rules for starvation and the like, they're themed to the places the game is set in. Borca (roughly Germany) is mostly spore free, and has a relatively high level of civilization with much if it reaching the industrial era.


Franka on the other hand (France) is a warzone between humanity and the disease carrying swarm - the insects acting ever more intelligently, cutting off routes through the world, isolating and devouring communities. The tone of the game ranges from desperate survival through to relatively metropolitan conspiracy and mystery stories.


The Books

The books are lovely and the production values are off the chart as far as I'm concerned. So much is explored in depth, the new nations of Europe through the delicate political balance of the cults. I find my expectations regularly subverted, and when I initially thought that the Chroniclers were going to be a post-apocalyptic version of the Adeptus Mechanicus, I was wrong. They see technology for what it is, not something to worship and are on the whole a bunch of sneaky manipulative fucks who have used their position and technology to abuse society into something that benefits them rather than anyone else.


The Judges are just a slightly lower-lying Mega City One construct? On the surface until it gets properly into the history, the factions and the bureaucracy of the organisation and how the strict adherence to their laws has utterly failed them on several important occasions.




The whole thing is split into two books, the fluff and the rules (ignoring all other sourcebooks), and it's presented almost as written fiction. Hundreds of pages and not a single table in sight - and if the system has something that lets it down it's that it's just too dense and coherently presented. There's no real elevator pitch for the game, and I don't think I could get a pick up group for the game and explain exactly how it works quickly enough before they moved on to something a little less enormous. And it's a shame, because the background and setting for this game are absolutely stunning.




Degenesis is a D6 game, and it turns the dice into a duel-resource thing. The GM sets a difficulty for the task and you roll dice equal to your ability and skill - 4+ are successes, 6+ is a success and a 'Trigger', which allow you to spend them to activate certain abilities and bonus effects (while keeping the success). A good example of this is medicine and healthcare. You have a health tracks for both Flesh Wounds and Trauma - flesh wounds are easy to treat with successes, but repairing the more damaging trauma faster than just waiting for it to heal on it's own needs the Triggers spent on it.




... other than that, the system is mostly as you'd expect, weapons do damage, armour reduces damage and a whole heap of stuff in between to help manage infections, hunger, mental breakdown and addiction to drugs, including the most dangerous drug out there, Burn, which is created from the spores of the Sepsis - you can risk infection to rapidly recover your Ego track, which is vital in a fight.


Combat is dangerous and deadly and should be a last resort or well considered by he group. The world is a rough place and the players will be people who accept that guns will occasionally be pointed in their faces as part of a negotiation, even if the trigger rarely gets pulled.




All in all, for a system which gives away it's PDFs for free, I simply cannot recommend Degensis enough if you're looking for a world so solidly realised that I feel like I could throw on a backpack and travel there. It showcases the best and worst than humanity has to offer in a setting where we're almost sort-of back on our feet after life on the planet almost ended and with layers upon layers of deepening conspiracies and horror for those who wish to explore the dark history of planet since the Eshaton.


I can't imagine running it for a group that wasn't completely on board. I often struggle to get people to read two sides of A4 when it comes to setting background, without trying to compress the sheer, terrifying amount of amazingly written fluff into the heads of people who might just want to go and smack some monsters.


I mean, fuck - the central city of the world, Justitian has a source book that is approaching 700 pages. For that one city. It's crazy.





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  • 11 months later...

Just reminded of this thread, and this game, from your post referencing it in the other thread. And bugger me, does it deserve some kind of response and attention.


Firstly, what a great post above. Really sells the scale, depth and quality of this universe. Sorry your efforts got zero traction at the time. Something of a microcosm as it happens…


Secondly, what a grand folly this appears to have been: a massive volume of incredibly well written and illustrated work, either given away for nothing, or sold in crazy-expensive hardback editions to literally dozens of supporters. They shut it all down late last year as it was financially unsustainable, and based on what I’m reading, having so far downloaded the core rulebooks, that is a terrible, terrible shame.


It is a genuinely amazing labour of love, from some deeply skilled artists, though sadly not garnering the success or reach it deserved. It’s not without its flaws, as you point out above, but fuck me, this is a thing to behold.


Anyway, thanks again for flagging it (again). 

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12 minutes ago, jonamok said:

Just reminded of this thread, and this game, from your post referencing it in the other thread. And bugger me, does it deserve some kind of response and attention.


I dunno. "Mostly absent poster talks about game very few people have ever played" definitely warrants falling under the radar.

But yes - Degenesis as a RP system is apparently done and dusted, but it is going to be supported in some way going forward (hopefully to the completion of the absolutely fantastic story) in other formats. The next major story book, Agathopoiia seems to be alive in some sense or another. And at the very least, we finally got a decent look at the most mysterious of the Marauders, Triglaw.




I think the biggest thing in it's favour is that it manages to be a Metaplot heavy game in a genuinely interesting and well thought out alternative-future Europe that allows the players to get involved in the big world events, rather than forcing them to stand on the sidelines and watch cooler NPCs do fun stuff as typified White Wolf back in the 90's.


But for sure, this game is incredibly dense and I think that, alongside the fact that a Euro-exclusive setting isn't the best way to break into America and the big-bucks caused them no end of issues. But in the end, I can appreciate the absolute refusal to compromise on the art and quality of the books. There's also enough out there to make a very educated guess about where the end of the plot was going, so on the offchance that I ever run a massive, year spanning campaign stretching across the wasteland and deep into the heart of Africa, I reckon I know roughly where it's going.


Everything is still for free up online though! 


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Other bits of art that I love from the game: -


Britain in the year 25XX - And the main reason why it remained "Uncharted Territory" on the maps.




Chernobog - Finally awake and moving around again. Making people nervous.




Palers meeting one of their gods - in reality a Nanite infused survivor from the 21st Century.




G = 7

GG = 77

7 = 1&6

1&6 = 16

77 = 1616

1616 = GG




Not much like the Mechanicus - but do like their bygone technology.




Dushani - my favourite "type" of Homo Degensis




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2 minutes ago, jonamok said:

I look forward to digging into it all.


I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions about stuff, I might be able to help. As you've realised by this point, the game is mega dense.


And thank you for indulging me talking about the game I love so much!

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I've just downloaded the first pair from the website and opening up the first you can  immediately tell there's been a lot of effort and love put into this.


I'm looking forward to giving it a read. 


And if it wasn't for this thread, I would've never known it existed.

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6 minutes ago, Arn X Treme said:

I've just downloaded the first pair from the website and opening up the first you can  immediately tell there's been a lot of effort and love put into this.


I'm looking forward to giving it a read. 


And if it wasn't for this thread, I would've never known it existed.


Whoop. Let me know what you think.


The Jackal's Prophesy at the beginning of the game looks like opening blurb fluff, but I recommend taking the time to actually reading it (or listening to the official reading on Youtube). It's basically the entire underpinning of the plot and numerology is important. A pro-tip for the game is that 7, 1&6, 16, and G are often interchangeable in their interpretation.

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1 hour ago, feltmonkey said:

I never play RPGs unfortunately, but I do love an RPG book, so I've downloaded all the stuff on the website, to ogle the artwork if nothing else.  Thanks, @Lying Cat!


Actually feeling a touch awkward responding to every post individually in this thread now but this is pretty good - If you're interested in looking at all the fab artwork from Degenesis, the vast majority of it is up all in one place on the developers main site HERE.


NSFW warning, there are boobs and willies in there. Not many. But they're lurking, often the Cockroach Clan, who seem to be the most predisposed to fighting with their junk out.

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