Black Lives Matter

The United States of America is currently suffering from an unprecedented series of police riots, where countless children, elderly citizens, journalists, legislators, and medical professionals have been gravely harmed. We condemn all such acts of violence perpetrated by individuals and organizations who have betrayed their oath to serve and protect.

Genesis of Legend strongly supports those individuals taking a stand for justice and police accountability. We will be donating to the Black Visions Collective and The Bail Project respectively and encourage you to do the same. Here’s a little bit about these organizations.

The Black Visions Collective

The Black Visions Collective envisions a world in which ALL Black Lives Matter. We use the guidance and brilliance of our ancestors as well as the teachings of our own experiences to pursue our commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and violence. We are determined in our pursuit of dignity and equity for all.


The Bail Project

The Bail Project, Inc. is an unprecedented effort to combat mass incarceration at the front end of the system. We pay bail for people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence. Because bail is returned at the end of a case, donations to The Bail Project™ National Revolving Bail Fund can be recycled and reused to pay bail two to three times per year, maximizing the impact of every dollar. 100% of online donations are used to bring people home.


Our Games, Their Stories

If you are helping in the fight for justice and black lives, we want to give what we can. We are offering a bundle with free PDFs of all of our games to anyone who fits at least one of the criteria below.

  • Is a Black individual suffering during the current time;
  • Participates in the protest/uprising efforts on the front lines;
  • Acts as a journalist, legal observer, or medical professional; or
  • Donates over $50 to either of the organizations listed above.

If this is your case, please email us at genesisoflegend@gmail.com with “Black Lives Matter” in the subject line and we will send you our catalog. Thank you .

Three Visitors from the Nexus of the ‘Verse

Back in 2017, we introduced Sig: Manual of the Primes. This cosmopolitan planar fantasy roleplaying game has been well appreciated over the years as people have used it to tell stories of family, faith, and faction politics. This colourful, hardcover book has been so well received that we couldn’t leave it alone. That’s why in 2020, we are inviting you to Sig with three new projects.

The current pandemic crisis has reminded us of the importance of community and escape into fantastic worlds. We invite you to play the game online using tools like Roll20, Zoom, or Twitch so that everyone can escape into this fantasy city for a few hours of adventure. 

We want to make this happen and we are happy to help by offering your entire group free PDFs of the game. Just gather a group of friends and companions and schedule a session. When you are ready to start, contact us at genesisoflegend@gmail.com with “Free City” in the subject line to get started. 

The Gnomes and the Winged are at war, and only you can find a path to peace. We are working with the excellent Luke Elias to write and develop this brand-new adventure suitable for one-shot games or to launch short campaigns. We will keep you posted when this new adventure is released but we can’t wait to share it with you.

Sig is a rough city. It’s a home for cutters and bashers, hungry for coin and glory. It’s a battlefield between the city factions as they fight over territory. It’s a city of gods, demons, and stranger things which lurk. No wonder that scoundrels and freebooters flock to the Nexus of the ‘Verse.

Ever since our original kickstarter campaign, we have dreamed of expanding Sig into new arenas. We saw the fascinating system behind Blades in the Dark, and recognized how it could align with the planar fantasy setting. We dreamed of planar heists, turf-wars in the ever-changing city, and the exciting lives of Freebooters.  We also realized that we would have to make some small adaptations to the system so that it would truly represent the planar fantasy genre, so we set to work.

Sig: City of Blades will be a stand-alone game that adapts the setting of Sig to the Forged in the Dark rule system. It takes a multi-part character approach similar to Nathan Paoletta’s Masks of the Mummy Kings or John Harper’s Danger Patrol. It restructures play around a single territorial map with key blocks of territory under the control of the different factions. The struggle for territory and position is fierce in Sig: City of Blades, and each of you belong to one of three minor factions who are seeking to grow. There is a lot to explore and enjoy with this game.

We are once again working with Juan Ochoa who is illustrating this book with his usual masterful skill. Here is a sneak peak at some of the artwork he already prepared for the game. 

I would absolutely love to hire him to produce more art for the project, but I need your help to make it happen. All of the proceeds from sales of Sig: Manual of the Primes in May and June of 2020 will go towards commissioning additional art for Sig: City of Blades. The Manual of the Primes is also currently 25% off the cover price, so it’s a great time to pick up a copy and tell your friends.  

I look forward to seeing you in the City Between, and planning our next heist together.

Analysis of the Tabletop RPG Publishing Survey

In the spring of 2019, we released a survey to collect information from a variety of publishers. We had a remarkable response rate, gathering information on 71 unique products from 47 unique publishers. This Survey has given us a remarkable wealth of information and it’s taken months to work through the analysis of the broad dataset.

We are proud to share this analysis into the tabletop RPG publishing landscape of 2019. We hope that this this analysis will help provide some insight into the the challenges and opportunities that the industry faces.

If you have any comments or questions about the survey, please feel free to contact me at genesisoflegend@gmail.com to discuss them. The dataset will be available for academic research purposes upon request.

If you find this analysis useful, I would love if you would sign up for our mailing list so that we can let you know about similar initiatives. Our intent is to begin releasing a periodic newsletter of RPG design and publication related information and we would love to share it with you. If you are interested, just fill in the form below!

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Expanding the Void – Contemplative Design

Roleplaying games are marvellous tools for fostering empathy. As a medium, our games demand that participants take on alternative perspectives and personalities. By playing in a game in the role of a refugee of a galactic war, you might reflect upon how you would react to the loss of your home or adaptation to a foreign culture. If you portray a character who leads a fantasy kingdom, you might instead be forced into the hard choices of leadership. Each of these experiences has something to teach us.

At their core, roleplaying games are driven by the decisions that the players make at the table. The strongest games are those who design that decision-space with intention and purpose. Apocalypse World is all about how you build and maintain relationships in a world in ruin. Monsterhearts concentrates instead on how teenagers learn to cope with challenges of identity and expectations. Each of these games leads the players to explore different avenues of thought.

The concept of the Fruitful Void, as coined by Vincent Baker back in Dogs in the Vineyard doesn’t have a Faith stat, or rule for determining if a course of action is moral. Monsterhearts doesn’t have a procedure for determining a character’s identity or sexuality.

In my personal design praxis, I combine the concept of intentional experience design with that of the fruitful void. Each of my games revolves around an attempt to foster specific, challenging problems that the players will have to try to examine during play. In Sig, it’s about the conflicting needs of family, faith, and politics. After the War is about how we can learn to support communities which have suffered trauma. Circles of Power asks you to think critically about complex issues of intersectionality and activism. Each of these games carves out conceptual space for players to explore within a safe context It helps us gain valuable skills and a deeper awareness of important issues.

I tend to refer to this approach as contemplative design, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you take a different approach? What kinds of challenging material do your games help us explore? Let’s start a conversation.

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RPG Design Worksheets

Whenever I run workshops to teach new tabletop game designers, I produce a set of worksheets to help them explore their ideas. The latest iteration of these sheets are now ready for people to use and enjoy.

The PDF document presented below contains a total of 6 letter-sized worksheets which you can print on a home printer. Each of these pages addresses a different area of design and should be a useful aid in starting a conversation. Each of the sheets has a list of questions for the designer to answer.

  1. The Concept of the game, why it exists.
  2. The System, the rules and procedures of play.
  3. The Setting, or the fictional context of play.
  4. The Situation, or the reason that the characters are acting.
  5. The Subtext, or how the game relates to real world concerns.
  6. The Production, planning how the game can be manufactured and shared.

I would love to get feedback from folks, both experienced designers and new ones. Please feel free to contact me at genesisoflegend at gmail