Heroic Science Fiction For 5E With Esper Genesis Basic
  • Heroic Science Fiction For 5E With Esper Genesis Basic


    Written by Rich Lescouflair and published by Alligator Alley Entertainment, Esper Genesis is an RPG subtitled Heroic Sci-Fi Roleplaying. The cover bears a "5E Compatible" stamp, and indeed this game presents what is essentially the current edition of D&D reskinned for over-the-top space opera gaming.


    The book presents a complete game, one with which D&D 5E players will be quite comfortable. Although the rules state that they may be used with any home-brewed system, the game presents a default setting (the Silrayne Arc); the game also carries a set of assumptions about the player-characters' role in the universe (as folk who have achieved the titular Esper Genesis, a sort of transhumanist uplift). Those wishing to use these rules for their own settings, or adapt an existing space opera setting, will have to account for the existence of Espers (i.e. the player-characters) in their universe.

    The default setting does the job ably, however, presenting mysterious nuggets of alien technology in the form of Crucibles, moon-sized objects metallic in appearance but organic in texture that are shot through with tunnel systems leading to a core containing Sorium, a protean substance that is used as a power source, both materially and metaphysically. Those who learn to use Sorium to control the elements and space-time are called Espers.

    In addition to Humans, Esper Genesis presents four playable alien races (the bio-foid Ashenforged, the ancient Eldori, the nomadic Kesh, and the uplifted Prometheans). Classes presented are Engineer, Melder, Specialist, and Warrior. Engineers and Melders gain access to Esper Powers, abilities that function much the same as spells in D&D.

    Indeed, as mentioned previously, there is much here that will be very familiar to Fifth Edition players, and Esper Genesis presents a great opportunity for a group of seasoned dungeon delvers to set aside their magic items and musty spellbooks for a jaunt into the far reaches of space.

    One of the brand-new systems presented in the Basic Rules is a chapter on Starships and Space Travel. Beyond that, this chapter presents rules for starship construction, as well as ship-to-ship combat, providing roles and maneuvers for the pilot, gunners, and techniciansóthus hopefully ensuring everyone has something to do during a ship battle!

    Layout-wise, the book does a good job of presenting a clean, futuristic (and, most importantly, readable) interface. Art is mostly stock, with some contributions from industry veteran Storn Cook. The stock art selections are, for the most part, well-done. The visual aesthetic of the book feels cohesive, presenting a very "contemporary sci-fi" feel.

    In addition to details on the default setting, character creation, rules for core mechanics, combat, travel, downtime, and starship rules, the book also features equipment lists, a comprehensive list of Esper powers, and an appendix with a variety of alien monstrosities and pre-generated NPCs.

    Although Esper Genesis is heavily rooted in D&D 5E mechanics, it is also very much its own game, and a complete game at that. Previous familiarity with 5E, or even ownership of the 5E core books, is not required to play.

    contributed by David Larkins
    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Emirikol Prime's Avatar
      Emirikol Prime -
      Truly world class work done on these rules. Everyone should have a go.
    1. Chaosmancer -
      Cover art looks interesting and a 5e version of sci fi would at least be easy to run, might need to check it out.
    1. default_entry's Avatar
      default_entry -
      As an owner of the basic rules, heres a couple tidbits:
      - The engineer is a re-skinned cleric, with their divine channeling replaced by an EMP pulse that can Destroy Robots, or be used to power other effects based on your specialty.
      - Specialists and Warriors are Rogues and Fighters, respectively. The base class is nearly identical for the ten levels presented in the book- the real differences come from the archetypes.
      - The Melder is somewhat of an odd duck. It is very much based on the wizard, but it utilizes the spell point optional rule rather than spell slots.
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