Review: Sixmorevodka Studio – Degenesis

Degenesis is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game written by Christian Günther and Mark Odjurdjevic and published by Sixmorevodka Studio.
By Aaron T. Huss

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Degenesis is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game that takes place after a fairly realistic apocalyptic event – Earth is pelted by meteors. The game is set centuries after the event (500 years) where the surviving cultures have developed their own cultural centers with a distinct look and feel. The gameplay appears to be more of a sandbox than anything whereas the group can wander the landscape fighting the horrors that dwell there and concentrating on survival. There is no means of repairing the setting or stopping some type of Earth-changing event, thus the GM has the freedom to do what he or she pleases. The mechanics utilize a dice pool akin to World of Darkness where your dice pool is created by combining an attribute and a skill. The foundation of the game is very simple and familiar, making it an easy game to approach.

I have noticed a trend in the tabletop RPG industry where tabletop role-playing games look an awful lot like a video game RPG in aesthetic and character development. Degenesis has a very common foundation for its setting and mechanics, but that’s not what define the game and set it apart. First off, the setting is not just post-apocalyptic. Yes it fits the standard post-apocalyptic theme, but it has definite influences of gothic sci-fi (such as Warhammer 40k) and neo-fantasy horror (such as what you would see in fantasy horror video games). The neo-fantasy horror influence is not what makes it video game-like; it’s actually the character rank system. Character advancement in Degenesis follows a class-rank system where each rank has a prerequisite before you can acquire it. This is more like a video game in that it follows a specific flow from one rank to another instead of common tabletop RPGs that allow you to purchase your options using XP and/or you move up levels as you acquire XP.

The artwork is also very video game-like, but that doesn’t surprise me given the publisher works heavily in the video game industry. But that’s just an aesthetic thing and not a mechanical characteristic.

The Degenesis release comes in two books – setting and game system. The setting book is likely to blow you away! It is literally jammed pack with setting content that covers not only the history and canon of the setting, but a full gazetteer and a deep look at the cultures that exist in the setting’s present day. I hate to say this, but you could do pretty much everything with just these two books and have yourself years of memorable campaigns. You won’t have to wait for companion books that delve into an area that was only hinted at and not describe; it’s all described! It is one giant sandbox ready for your gaming group to play in! (By the way, the open sandbox style is also very video game-like.)

All in all, this is an excellent post-apocalyptic role-playing game. I like the setting, but then I’m a fan of horror-infused settings. The setting is interesting and new, while the mechanics are familiar and simple. It’s a good blend that definitely concentrates more on the setting than it does on the mechanics. As such, you likely won’t get bogged down in mechanics and can move throughout your gaming sessions with ease, unless the setting strikes you down!

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