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.

essence.jpg



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.

power_rangers_art.jpeg


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

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


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Ranger REG

Explorer
Wow. I would thought that since Hasbro own WotC they would utilize them, even if they could think up a different d20-based rules system for their properties. Or would consumers be confused between the two?
 

aramis erak

Legend
Wow. I would thought that since Hasbro own WotC they would utilize them, even if they could think up a different d20-based rules system for their properties. Or would consumers be confused between the two?
I suspect...
It's risk management. A license assures income, with limited risk. In house puts all the risk on HasBro.
Further, doing it in WotC would threaten the "good name of WotC" - if it flops, an internal (=WotC) version would cast doubts about D&D.
 

And a licenced partner gets of lot of effort for a good work to earn prestige, allowing to sell more products later.

Now I wonder if Hasbro could use the essence20 system for RPG videogames, for example an adaptation of Zoids (collectable monsters as Pokemon or Digimon, but also mecha-kaijus, nice combo!).

Hasbro has tried to use IDW comics to promote other forgotten franchises but this hasn't worked too much. I doubt about future crossover with other Hasbro franchises in these TRPG lines.

What about other factions: the red shadows, International Robotic Operations Network (I.R.O.N) or S.K.A.R. (Soldiers of Kaos, Anarchy and Ruin)? Some G.I.Joe cartoon episodes were about some supernatural element, like the Excalibur sword or three ghosts summoned by Cobra.

I remember the C.O.P.S cartoon in the first years of private TV channels in my land.
 

aramis erak

Legend
And a licenced partner gets of lot of effort for a good work to earn prestige, allowing to sell more products later.

Now I wonder if Hasbro could use the essence20 system for RPG videogames, for example an adaptation of Zoids (collectable monsters as Pokemon or Digimon, but also mecha-kaijus, nice combo!).
We'd need to see the contract to tell; I strongly doubt either side will list such details.
And if they did use it in videogames, the player wouldn't see the math.
 

Argyle King

Legend
Power Rangers don't use their blasters, they don't form Megazord until the situation is dire, and they don't die. It's the rules of the show.

When's the last time you saw a G.I. Joe be tortured and thrown into a POW camp by Cobra agents? It's a kid's cartoon, and they're pushing these games for children and nostalgic Millennials who want to relive Saturday morning cartoons.

I'm probably in the minority, but I'd go to the theater to see a Tarantino version of Power Rangers or GI Joe directed by Eastwood.

The Joe dice set looks cool.
 


barasawa

Explorer
Those games are not developed by WotC, so I don't think that they will be related to the development of D&D.
True, but game mechanics are not copyrightable, even if the documents they are in can be.
(The adding a skill die to standard die isn't a new thing, it's been used in several games, though some aren't d20 based.)

Hasbro probably has a whole department of lawyers that's larger than Renegade Game Studios, and Essence20 is based on d20, so it could get really ugly in court if Hasbro wanted it that way, though I honestly don't expect anything to go to court.

I've been looking for something on the Essence20 system, but still haven't found more than the tiny bits repeated in this article. I'm guessing that these will be the first games to use it them, and if I'm wrong, I'd love for someone to tell me what else uses it.
 


Emirikol Prime

Explorer
True, but game mechanics are not copyrightable, even if the documents they are in can be.
(The adding a skill die to standard die isn't a new thing, it's been used in several games, though some aren't d20 based.)

Hasbro probably has a whole department of lawyers that's larger than Renegade Game Studios, and Essence20 is based on d20, so it could get really ugly in court if Hasbro wanted it that way, though I honestly don't expect anything to go to court.

I've been looking for something on the Essence20 system, but still haven't found more than the tiny bits repeated in this article. I'm guessing that these will be the first games to use it them, and if I'm wrong, I'd love for someone to tell me what else uses it.
You know Hasbo owns D&D and Power Rangers/GI Joe and Transformers right? Who would this supposed legal departmeant get ugly with? Themselves?
 

aramis erak

Legend
True, but game mechanics are not copyrightable, even if the documents they are in can be.
(The adding a skill die to standard die isn't a new thing, it's been used in several games, though some aren't d20 based.)
True for the US. Not true worldwide.
France and Germany, the Creator Rights (which are their flavor of copyright) can protect mechanics. Look up the "Jungle Speed Lawsuit"...
 

So far, I hear the one major issue with this RPG is that not much is given in the way of advice for GM's to make their own monsters, proper threat levels and what not. But February is supposed to be offering all kinds of stuff like that so looks like they are taking the critiques seriously to heart.
 

Wow. I would thought that since Hasbro own WotC they would utilize them, even if they could think up a different d20-based rules system for their properties. Or would consumers be confused between the two?
You're assuming that it was Hasbro's idea to create RPGs based on these properties. It seems more likely (to me at least), that Renegade approached Hasbro to license these properties for RPGs, as they already had done so for card games.
 

I am feeling a bit like I'm being paranoid, but if you have a 10 years of kids playing Essence 20 with their favorite franchises, there may just be a contender to D&D's crown.
 


Tony Ramirez

Villager
Power Rangers don't use their blasters, they don't form Megazord until the situation is dire, and they don't die. It's the rules of the show.

When's the last time you saw a G.I. Joe be tortured and thrown into a POW camp by Cobra agents? It's a kid's cartoon, and they're pushing these games for children and nostalgic Millennials who want to relive Saturday morning cartoons.
Obviously not a fan of the comics then? I direct you to A Real American Hero #66. In it, one of the guards orders someone beaten to death, and another is killed and then brought back on the hood of the car like a deer. Heck, way before that, USS Flagg was named after General Flagg, one of the first Joes we watched get gunned down. I think #109 is probably the most brutal though. I'll just let this picture speak for itself.
kia.gif

I'm playing GI Joe with comic levels of realism. There is nothing to stop anyone from playing like that. The only problem is I can't find a mechanic like death saves in there. So, I'll probably just port that directly, or a similar rule.
 

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