<+AlliAlley_Rich> Hi, all! I’m Rich Lescouflair from Alligator Alley Entertainment, creator and lead designer on the Esper Genesis RPG. I’m a game/graphic designer having done many works for D&D Adventurer’s League and other WoTC projects. I’m also currently one of their DMs Guild Adepts.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> I’m Brian Dalrymple with Alligator Alley Entertainment, graphic designer, art direction and layout on Esper Genesis and Witch Hunter: The Invisible World 2nd Edition. Former time board member for the Game Manufacturers Association, and owner of The Adventure Game Store, a FLGS in South Florida.Our game is Esper Genesis, a 5E powered heroic science fiction RPG
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Esper Genesis is a heroic science-fiction ruleset and setting powered by D&D 5E. It’s a full-fledged standalone product line which is fully compatible with any other 5th edition product or adventure.
<~Dan> Thanks, guys! The floor is open to questions!
<~Dan> What can you tell us about the setting of Esper Genesis? What kind of scifi is it?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Woo77!)
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The base setting is closest to adventure space opera, such as Mass Effect or Star Wars, but the system is geared to adapting to any science-fiction genre. We’ll soon be providing grounded universal rules for converting the game into any sci-fi genre easily.
<&Silverlion> So what are the classes?
<~Dan> (Howdy, Silverlion!)
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The classes include the Adept, Cybermancer, Engineer, Hunter, Melder, Sentinel, Specialist, and Warrior. You can read about each one on the character classes page of our website.
<~Dan> And to piggyback on Silverlion’s question, what are the races? 🙂
<~Dan> Oh, and would you like to post the link to your website? 🙂
<+AlliAlley_Brian> EG has its own sci-fi classes. Some inspired by those in 5E, but each with their own, different abilities and powers. The Core Manual (our version of a Player’s Handbook) contains 8 different classes that can fill traditional party roles, as well as fit familiar SF tropes.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> (Link: https://espergenesis.alligatoralleyentertainment.com/)https://espergenesis.alligatoralleyentertainment.com/
<+AlliAlley_Brian> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/240798/Esper-Genesis-5E-Scifi—Core-Manual)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/240798/Esper-Genesis-5E-Scifi—Core-Manual
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Or just (Link: http://espergenesis.com.)http://espergenesis.com. You can find links to products and adventures, including free products you can download to get a feel of the game.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The races of EG are all unique with lore integrated directly into the setting but broad enough to be usable in any other campaign.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> There are 9 races/species described in the Core Manual. In addition to humans, there are some unique options from the setting of the game, as well as some that players will be able to relate to quickly from various SF they may be familiar with.
<~Dan> Can you give some examples?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Ashenforged are a bio-engineered species created from the bodies and DNA of fallen soldiers.
<~Dan> Frankenstein supersoldiers?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Originally, but they were freed from servitude and left to settle on multiple worlds.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The Matokai are, basically put, samurai-inspired space lizard people with a caste-like civilization.
<~Dan> Very cool. 🙂
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The Eldori are a flora/fauna combination of humanoid with the innate ability to channel life energies.
<~Dan> What does that mean, re: channeling life energies?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> They view the universe as a cycling ebb and flow of energy, a wheel from which they can draw from and gain benefits such as bonuses to rolls, etc.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The valna are a spacefaring cat-like species that rule over a world of beasts.
<~Dan> As in wild animals, or intelligent creatures?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The Kesh are humanoids who reside on fleets of starships, searching for where they came from, as all of their history had been wiped out.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Some intelligent, yes, but mostly wild.
<~Dan> (Howdy, Lassek!)
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The Dendus are builders, engineers, and explorers that keep and translate the code of the Crucibles – planet-sized artifacts that generate an infinite power source used throughout society to power cities, ships, and weapons. Espers attune to the Crucibles to channel their esper powers.
<~Dan> Are Espers the focus of the setting, as the name might suggest?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Player character are all Espers, yes.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Yes. Every character class is considered to be an esper. Each one has their own calling and are capable of using unique powers and wielding specialized items.
<~Dan> Are the Eldori’s powers considered to be esper-based?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Yes, they are. The Eldori were once known as the Nesieve. Their moon was a Crucible. When it activated, it devastated their homeworld’s entire eco-system, but also gave them innate abilities. Most rebuilt the homeworld while some splintered off, believing a higher power had destined them to conquer the galaxy. Those became the Lorendi.
<~Dan> Can you give some examples of other esper powers?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Mechanically, they function very much like 5E spellcasting. Many classes, though, activate them using talent points. Most are based on converting or generating energy, creating drones, or boosting abilities. There’s also few that allow direct access to computer systems, build vehicles, etc.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Virtual Display, for example allows you to create a holographic user panel for any computerized display within a specific distance.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Black Hat allows you to “hack” computer code, even if you don’t know it.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Others are based off of or are inspired by familiar spells in D&D
<+AlliAlley_Brian> The default setting for EG is our own galaxy, so the humans Earth humans. 🙂
<+AlliAlley_Brian> are Earth humans*
<~Dan> So do the powers use “spell slots”?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> It depends. Talents use talent points. The higher the talent’s rank, the more points it costs. You can use whatever rank between 1-5 so long as you have points left to spend. Even when you run out, you can still tap into yourself for more (called a Limit Breach) but that’s when it gets dangerous.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Techniques, which are more focused on using drones, electronics, and machines, use power slots. They function similar to spell slots in 5E.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Engineers, Hunters, and Sentinels power techniques with a cybernetic device they wear called a Rig.
<~Dan> Can you describe the tech level of the setting in various aspects?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Tech levels run the gamut from low technology worlds to extremely high tech. There is a threat to the galaxy called the Shadow Technocracy who horde and create some of the highest tech. There is a “race” of machine beings that create new and varied, increasingly complex versions of themselves. Travel between worlds is fastest when using the Crucibles…
<~Dan> The Crucibles function like wormholes or warp gates or the like?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> …(it’s near instant), but hyperspace travel is possible, too. The feel of the level of tech would be comparable to what you’d remember from Star Wars, or Mass Effect, but you could easily run a lower tech level campaign.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Yes, between each other. (done)
<~Dan> Are the standard small arms energy or slugthrowers?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> This reminds me to mention that there is a starship vehicle and combat system fully integrated into the game and can be run simultaneously with ground combat.
<~Dan> That’s handy.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> There are, described in general in the Core Manual. These will expanded upon in the third book in the line, the upcoming Master Technician’s Guide. The second book, the Threats Database just released as a pdf, and went to print last week, along with a reprint of the Core Manual.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Slugthrowers are available in the gear list, as there are burst fire and grenade rules, but there are rules to convert them into energy weapons if you prefer. As Brian mentioned the Master Technician’s Guide, we’ll have rules for modifying/upgrading gear in there as well.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> (done) 🙂
<~Dan> Obviously, there are cybernetics. How prevalent are they, and do they have any drawbacks?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Cosmetic cybernetics are commonplace on heavily populated worlds. Right now, rules for cybernetics for use in game mechanics is limited to character class features and esper powers. We’ll be introducing custom cybernetics with the gear customization rules in the MTG.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> They will have both benefits and drawbacks, as well as a limit to how many modifications you can have.
<~Dan> What about bioware and/or genetic engineering?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Same as cybernetics. The Ashenforged are literally walking masses of bioware. The Prometheans are genetically modified humans that broke off from Earth to start their own society. The Shadow Technocracy are masters of combining bio-engineering and cybernetics, while a number of megacorporations are dabbling in multiple nanotech projects
<+AlliAlley_Rich> — some to the possible detriment of galactic society. 😛
<~Dan> You mentioned megacorporations there. Are they more powerful than governments in this setting?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> I wouldn’t say “more powerful” but they certainly are a major influence, especially on the inner planets and colonies. Their actions often have major effects on the galaxy as a whole. We actually have an entire section devoted to them and other major players detailed in the Threats Database.
<~Dan> Does the setting include power armor and/or mecha?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Threats Database link: (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/285863/Esper-Genesis-5E-Threats-Database)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/285863/Esper-Genesis-5E-Threats-Database
<+AlliAlley_Rich> It will – that’s being developed right now. 🙂
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Rich is a big Macross/Robotech fan, and I
<+AlliAlley_Rich> We have a base starship system in the Core Rules. The upcoming MTG builds on those rules to introduce capital/planet ships, as well as power armor/mecha.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> am a long time Battetech person
<~Dan> Is starship combat of the cinematic variety, with dogfights and such?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Yes. It’s built to be fast paced and cooperative. On a multi-user ship, each player takes a role as a crewmember. Each crewmember has its own list of maneuvers they can perform, some of which can affect other members of the crew. Combat works in rounds, with the crew planning the order of their manuevers as one unit.
<~Dan> What sorts of weapons are used in starship combat/
<+AlliAlley_Rich> We wanted to keep to the spirit of the way ground combat works, while creating something different that runs just as smooth.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Starship combat is one of the aspects of the game players talk about the most. It’s very seat-of-your-pants. Characters have to coordinate, and because losing the ship is really bad for the whole party, it can be a real adrenaline rush.
<&Silverlion> One of the links doesn’t work.
<&Silverlion> The short.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> which one, Silverlion?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Different ships have different weapons, just as a creature stat block would. Some have autocannons (ex. – battlestar galactica) while others have missile and energy weapons.
<&Silverlion> the short esper…Yeah
<+AlliAlley_Brian> ah, it’s because of that little piece of punctuation at the end got absorbed into the link
<+AlliAlley_Brian> (Link: http://espergenesis.com)http://espergenesis.com
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Oops there’s more than that wrong
<+AlliAlley_Rich> It works now.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Should redirect to the larger URL
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Thanks, Silverlion
<~Dan> ARe there any other major adversaries in the setting beyond the Shadow Technocracy?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> There are also ship-sized creatures in the Threats Database to throw against your party’s vessel
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The Lorendi Imperium (as mentioned separated from the Eldori above). They preside over almost a quarter of the galaxy.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Rich mentioned the Lorendi, and the machine beings I talked about are called the Kanasi. There is a chapter in the TD dedicated to major threats to the galaxy.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> And the megacorps!
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The Kanasi, an artificial intelligent species that resides in the matrix and interacts in the world with interchangable robotic bodies.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> And there are several others
<+AlliAlley_Rich> And the xenoterum – a transdimensional psionic species
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Major ones, and dozens of less widespread threats, too
<~Dan> Are psionics synonymous with esper powers?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> And all of the threats described in the TD are faithfully 5E compatible, and usable not just in EG, but in any 5E campaign
<&Silverlion> I’m sharing links with my friend.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Not synonymous. Some espers access their powers through psionics, such as the Adepts. The Melders are more like conduits, channeling energy through themselves. Engineers mentally communicate to machines through their rig to generate their effects.
<&Silverlion> So 😀
<~Dan> I see. Interesting.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> All espers have the Crucibles in common, primarily the use of sorium, which is the material generated by the Crucibles. Rigs are made from sorium, as are the specialized weapons and items that espers can wield.
<~Dan> Oh? What are some of the latter?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Forged enhancements can be made from sorium, which can be slotted into specially crafted gear. These can provide special defenses, resistances, or abilities. Kind of like magic items in a way, but these are mods – more akin to the materia system from FF7 if anyone remembers that.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Another example is the Sentinel, who has a bonded weapon made from sorium that they use to focus their attacks or shoot energy blasts.
<~Dan> Regarding planets in the setting, are they of the one-environment sort seen in Star Wars, or are they more complex?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> I honestly left that mostly open to GM preference. There are millions of star systems. We’re trying to avoid limiting galactic society to just a handful of worlds. The galactic center, Silrayne Prime, is an entire system of worlds, many of them complex, while some, such as the distant planet Arvo, is mostly made of water with countless underwater ruins
<&Silverlion> Neat. Did we cover space travel?
<~Dan> Silverlion: Somewhat. Did you have a specific question?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Briefly, I think lol.
<&Silverlion> Alright. I was wrapping up playing a game. 😀
<&Silverlion> Well mostly I was going to ask is there specific travel times, or speed of plot?
<+AlliAlley_Rich> FTL travel is common among modern worlds, with travel and trade routes running throughout the galaxy. Ships equipped with a stardrive can also use the Crucibles to perform a system jump to any other Crucible in the galaxy, basically folding space on itself.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> And there are faster and slower ships, too
<&Silverlion> So, they have speeds, and thats important.
<&Silverlion> Rather than “hey plot..”
<&Silverlion> I can go either way on that honestly 😀
<~Dan> Given that you obviously can’t feature a bestiary for the whole galaxy, do you include any sort of monster generator?
<&Silverlion> I’ve encouraged my friend who wants a SF 5E game on this one before–but his game he’s running now (which sighs I expect won’t last long do to players. Is wild west+dinosaurs.)
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Speed most importantly comes into play in combat, where all ships operate at an “intercept speed” measured in units.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> In our organized play campaign, Crucible Corps, our writers have written in their own takes on travel times as the needs of the adventure require, so there is some of that going on.
<&Silverlion> I imagine you could right a generic bestiary dan “Predator, size X” but then give a table for planetary flavor?
<&Silverlion> Or environment, rather.
<&Silverlion> But it’s a good question 😀
<+AlliAlley_Brian> There is a section in the TD for modifying familiar Earth beasts into more sci-fi or “space alien” versions.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> And the Master Techinician’s Guide will expand on that, showing how you can create your own aliens, threats, etc…
<~Dan> That’s good. It’s fun to boldly proclaim mundane things with the word “space” in front of them.
<~Dan> “SPACE OTTERS!!”
<&Silverlion> Hehe 😀
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Spotters and spoxen
<+AlliAlley_Rich> The TD also has generic stat block templates you can fill with features in case you want that truly “alien” beastie 🙂
<~Dan> It helps if you point vaguely upwards with your other hand on your hip.
<&Silverlion> I found a cybernetic Fu lion mini–I want so bad 😀
<~Dan> In the time remaining, is there anything we haven’t covered that you guys would like to bring up?
<+AlliAlley_Brian> Just a reminder that physical copies of the Esper Genesis Core Manual will be available again soon, as well as the Threats Database, which we can’t wait to have in our hands. Alligator Alley Entertainment is making several…
<+AlliAlley_Brian> …convention appearances in the coming months – Con on the Cob, Gamehole Con, PAX Unplugged, and Winter Fantasy among them.
<+AlliAlley_Brian> You can get a copy of our FREE Basic Rules here:
<+AlliAlley_Brian> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/220027/Esper-Genesis-Basic-Rules)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/220027/Esper-Genesis-Basic-Rules
<+AlliAlley_Brian> and if you’re interested enough to take the plunge, we just offered a bundle
<+AlliAlley_Brian> (Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/286812/Esper-Genesis-Jumpstart-Bundle-BUNDLE)https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/286812/Esper-Genesis-Jumpstart-Bundle-BUNDLE
<+AlliAlley_Brian> which includes the GM Screen and two of our Crucible Corps adventures.
<~Dan> Very nice!
<~Dan> Standard reminder: If you have enjoyed this Q&A and would like to treat me to a coffee or two, you can do so at (Link: https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe)https://www.ko-fi.com/gmshoe . Anything’s appreciated!
<~Dan> The game sounds great, guys!
<+AlliAlley_Brian> In Rich’s work as a DMs Guild Adept, he’s made many friends who work in the D&D Adventurer’s League space, and several of them have written, or will be writing adventures for Esper Genesis.
<~Dan> Good to know.
<+AlliAlley_Rich> Thanks, Dan!
<+AlliAlley_Brian> thank you so much, Dan!
<+AlliAlley_Brian> And thank you, Silverlion!
<&Silverlion> Sorry I wasn’t more active. Mostly was due to gaming 😀
<~Dan> If you guys will give me just a minute, I’ll get the log posted and link you. 🙂