Essence20: The New RPG System Which Powers Hasbro Licensed Games

Renegade Game Studios announced last year that it would be making official tabletop RPGs of various Hasbro properties, including Power Rangers, GI Joe, and Transformers. This week, they revealed the d20-based Essence20 game system which will power those games.


Elisa Teague from Renegade spoke to Forbes about the system.

“The Essence20 Roleplaying System is a d20 based system that uses what I call a ‘fashion plate’ system for character design, drawing from three aspects: what type of person are they, what is their function as part of the team, and what experiences have they had in their life prior to becoming a hero?”

The system has three elements: Origin, Role, and Influence, and uses different dice for different skill levels.

"When rolling Skills Tests and Attack Rolls, a player will always roll a d20 plus the applicable die for the type of roll they are making, resulting in a total that must exceed the Skill Test’s Difficulty in order to succeed. Essence20 also includes a ladder mechanic, where if a character has specialized in a particular Skill, they may roll their Skill Die plus every other die type under it, choosing the highest die result to add to their d20 roll. A critical success is made when any Skill Die shows its highest number, giving a huge chance of rolling crits, mathematically, and of course, then being able to roleplay those epic results in the most heroic way possible!"

In Power Rangers, characters don't die. They can be defeated and taken out of combat, but the threats they face are not lethal. The core book covers the period of the show when Zordon was the Power Rangers' mentor. The main villains are Lord Zedd and Rita Repulsa.


This weekend, at Renegade Con, they will reveal more information.

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Once A Fool
I like the specialized skill rule. It‘ll give greater consistency to skilled characters’ checks along with the possibility of higher results. Sure, it might take slightly longer to resolve, but that shouldn’t really be a problem. Out of combat, at least. As a bonus, it won’t require multiple sets of dice.

I wonder about this new system to be desinged very simple to can be used by preteen players, maybe the potential market target.

I see only four abilities scores: Strength, Speed, Smarts, and Social.

I am afraid Essence20 will be not compatible with d20, and without leveling-up and challengue rating.

And we shouldn't forget a thing: Renegade Game Studios is publishing Vampire: the Masquerade 5 Ed, and in a future, maybe this year, the 5th Ed of Werewolf: the Apocalypse. And Hasbro should have noticed lot time ago WoD was the second most important franchise in the TTRPG industry after the archifamous D&D.


Now I'd just need to convince my group to play that... or find an online group to play one of those games?

What I'm VERY curious about is what happens in the Megazord fights. Trying to find a way to make it not just an exercise of watching a single player take over a fight while the rest just rolls numbers is a big challenge.


Solitary Role Playing
Reading further about the system and I really don't think this is a test for a 6th edition of D&D. Too much of a departure. Having said that I want to give it a try.

Quote: "First off, as you may suspect from the name, Essence20 is a d20 based system. The core mechanic for resolving a roll is for the player to roll a d20 along with their Skill die (ranging from a d2-d20). The result of the d20 and skill die must exceed the difficulty of the test in order to succeed. Characters with a specialization in the skill being tested get to roll their skill die and all dice below it, and pick the highest result to add to their d20 roll, increasing their odds of success! What’s more, a max value roll on ANY die is a critical success, leading to more chances for crits and more opportunities for great roleplaying incorporating them.

Character creation follows a three-pronged approach, based on their Origin (what type of person are they?), Role (what is their place on the team?), and Influence (what experiences have led them to this point?). Character’s abilities and skills are based on the 4 S’s, Strength, Speed, Smarts, and Social. These options give an amazing depth and breadth to the variety of characters that a player can create!

The character backgrounds, character flaw system, and Story Point system (awarded for mission success, special heroics, and spectacular roleplaying) lend themselves to a cinematic and cooperative roleplaying experience that is a great fit for settings like Power Rangers, G.I. JOE, and Transformers.

We are excited to show this system off, so please join us for RenegadeCon Virtual Special Edition this weekend for more information and to see it all put on the table in our premiere of Day of Destiny, a Power Rangers Roleplaying Game Actual Play!"


And I repeat. These game’s are from a different RPG studio.
Seems silly though. It's like if Sony decided to publish their own video games, but not go through Sony Interactive to put on the PlayStation, but instead create a new video game system with nothing to do with the PlayStation.
Like, why not capitalize and synergize with the largest RPG company in the world? Why not bring in D&D fans to your other properties and create cross-over appeal with those other companies to later try D&D?
It's just ... well, it makes no sense.


Once A Fool
Not even that. It’s like if Sony paid an outside company to make a console just to liscense them their IP while also not making any games with that IP for the Playstation.

I get it, though, in the case of Hasbro. The IP is the valuable part for Hasbro, not the vehicle.

Why spend resources on making games that will probably never come close to matching D&D’s numbers when you can instead get paid for the licensing of something that will never realistically be serious competition for D&D?

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