Genesys Foundry Style Guide

Jeff Montgomery -

Genesys Foundry Style Guide

Hi there and welcome to some helpful advice concerning writing and formatting your creations in the styles we use for Genesys products. The following information represents writing guidance rather than layout or graphic design tools, and we hope you find this document useful in your product development.

References

This style guide lists decisions we have made for this game line. It supplements several standard style guides, dictionaries, and other reference manuals. If you can’t find something in our style guide, try these references.

Dictionary: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.

Style Manual: The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition

Formatting

We use the headings, paragraph, character, list, and table styles embedded in this document in our manuscripts that eventually turn into books. Note also that you should always have text after each header, even if it’s rather short like this.

Bolding

Bolding is used sparingly for emphasis, and in a few instances specific to formatting.

  • Chapter and Section References: Whenever pointing the reader to a chapter or section elsewhere in the book, the name of the chapter or section must be bolded. (such as “For information on skills, see Chapter III: Skills.” or “See Story Points on page 27.”)
  • Rules Emphasis: When outlining important, core rules, key words or sentences can be bolded for emphasis. (“Opposed checks are often used when the success or failure of the task is strongly influenced by an opponent.”)
  • Skill Checks: Whenever referring to a specific skill check a player character must make, the test and its difficulty should be bolded, even when referred to alone.
  • Examples:
  • “The character must make a Hard (<D> <D> <D>) Leadership check.”
  • “All checks to do this become Hard (<D> <D> <D>).”
  • Table Names: All table names presented in text should be bolded and should give the entire table heading including both the number and name of the table. (“See Table 2–1: Cool Traps.”)

Italics

Italics are used to emphasize speech in writing, and to format certain proper names.

  • Ship Names: All proper names of ships must be italicized. (e.g. Suddenly, the starship Osmosis came into view over the horizon.)
  • Speech Examples: Whenever referring to player or character speech in body text, the speech in quotes must be italicized. (e.g. One of the players suggests spending a Story Point, saying “Good thing you remembered to pack those rebreathers last time we were in dry dock, Hawk.”)

Product Title

All RPG book titles and game line names should use the Product Name character style.

  • Game Lines: When referring to the game line, it is always by itself in that style. (e.g: Genesys)
  • Core Rulebook: These always show the product line name in product title character style, followed by “Core Rulebook” capitalized. (e.g: Genesys Core Rulebook or Core Rulebook)
  • Supplements: These can simply be shown as the supplement name in product title character style, without the product line name accompanying it. (e.g: Android Player Guide)

Punctuation

We use American punctuation, keeping in mind these additional guidelines and tips:

  • Eliminate all double-spaces.
  • Always use the sequential (aka Oxford) comma. (g.: item, item, and another item)
  • Never put any words in ALL CAPS.
  • Do not use hard paragraph returns to create white-space in the manuscript. Apply paragraph styles properly and everything will format automatically (and once you’re on layout, it will work better that way too).

Hyphens and Dashes

  • Hyphen(-): Hyphens are placed in front of flavor quote attributions (e.g. -Sam Stewart) and are used to separate the words in a compound noun, adjective, verb, or adverb.
  • En-Dash(–): En-Dashes are used to represent all minus signs (e.g: Receives a –10 to all critical injury rolls), and are used in table names (e.g. Table 2–2: Even Cooler Traps).
  • Em-Dash(—): Em-Dashes are used when creating a pause in a sentence. (e.g: A wind races through the area—a sign of impending doom.)

Creating en- and em-dashes in word processors vary, so you may have to research how to create them on your system.

Headings and Body Styles

The following covers how we use headings and what text styles follow them.

  • Heading 0: used to start major chapter sections. Mostly used in the Core Rulebook only.
  • Heading 1: used to open large sections in a chapter.
  • Heading 2: used for sub-sections within Heading 1 areas.
  • Heading 3: used for lesser sections within Heading 2 areas. Also used for NPC and talent entries.
  • Heading 4 (and beyond if needed): used generally for small entries or examples.

 

Heading 0

Body first paragraph (or Body First Paragraph Drop Cap, depending on your preferred style)

Heading 1

Body first paragraph (or Body First Paragraph Drop Cap, depending on your preferred style)

Body (this and the other Body lists below are used in the same manner in the other headers).

  • Body Bulleted List
  • Body Bulleted List
  1. Body Numbered List
  2. Body Numbered List

Heading 2

Body first paragraph.

Heading 3

Body first paragraph.

Heading 4

Body first paragraph.

Sidebar Heading

Sidebar body first paragraph.

Sidebar body.

  • Sidebar Bulleted List
  • Sidebar Bulleted List
  1. Sidebar Numbered List
  2. Sidebar Numbered List

Table 3–4: Table Name.

Table Heading

Table Heading

Table Heading

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

Table Body

 

Read aloud text.

 

Dice Icons

The custom dice used in the Narrative Dice System each have a colored icon to represent them in rules text. Additionally, each symbol that appears on a die face has a black icon to represent it in rules text.

  • When calling out a die or symbol in rules text, use the icon in place of the name of the die or symbol.
  • When specifying multiple copies of the same die or symbol, use the appropriate number of icons. You never use “roll 3 <D>” but instead use “roll <D> <D> <D>.”

These die icons cannot be added in word processors (or, at least, not easily). When writing, you can use the following series of characters to represent the icons in your text, then replace them with the correct glyphs in layout.

  • <S> = Setback Dice
  • <D> = Difficulty Dice
  • <C> = Challenge Dice
  • <B> = Boost Dice
  • <A> = Ability Dice
  • <P> = Proficiency Dice
  • <AD> = Advantage Symbol
  • <SU> = Success Symbol
  • <TR> = Triumph Symbol
  • <TH> = Threat Symbol
  • <FA> = Failure Symbol
  • <DR> =Despair Symbol

General

  • Avoid the use of passive voice when possible, but always strive to keep the language clear and enjoyable to read. This may make passive voice the better choice in some cases.
  • Use “they” as a gender-neutral pronoun whenever referencing a generalized player, GM, or character. Do not use gendered pronouns in such cases, and also avoid binary pronoun usage (“all men and women” or “he or she”); again, use “they/their” instead.
  • Eliminate the verb tense “will.”

Numbers

Whenever referring to in-game measurements, never spell out the numbers, always use the numeral. (e.g: The blast deals 5 damage.)

RPG Elements Formatting

The following covers some of the ways we construct and format things in Genesys.

Skill Checks

  • The core mechanic uses “checks,” not “tests.”
  • Never call for a check using a characteristic. Always use a skill.
  • Checks are always “made,” not “taken.”
  • Always use both the difficulty name and dice symbols when specifying the difficulty of a check. Example: The character must make a Hard (<D> <D> <D>) Mechanics check.
  • If a check is within a parenthetical selection, be sure to use brackets instead of parentheses around the dice portion.

Talent Formatting

The following is some guidance on writing and formatting talents for Genesys:

Matter of Verbiage

Genesys does have some specifics on how talents are phrased. You don’t have to follow these (and we don’t always follow these guidelines either) but doing so may improve the clarity of the talent description.

  • Talents always refer to “your character” and not “you” (as in, the player controlling your character). The only exception to this is when the talent requires spending Story Points. Story Points are always spent by “you” and not “your character.” 
  • If the talent is active, it usually says “your character may use this talent to…”
  • The description of active talents is usually structured so that it lists the cost your character must spend, then the effect of the talent. So what this looks like in practice is this: “Once per encounter, your character may suffer two strain to use this talent to draw a weapon as an incidental rather than a maneuver.” The character pays the cost (“once per encounter” and “suffer two strain”), then the character uses the talent, then the character gains the effect (“draw a weapon as an incidental, rather than a maneuver.”) 
  • Wounds and strain are always “suffered” if they are being applied to a character. They are always “healed” if they are being removed from a character. Critical Injuries are always “inflicted.”
  • If a range is listed as “within” a range band, that includes the range band listed as well as any range bands closer. If a range is listed as “at” a range band, it only refers to the range band listed. Generally, it’s better to say “within” unless you have a good reason for limiting things to a specific range.

Writing Up Talents

Once you’ve completely designed your talent, you should write it up using the following template:

[Talent Name—This is usually in Heading 3, no matter the heading that precedes it]

Tier: [This is the number of the tier your talent occupies]

Activation: [If your talent has nothing but passive effects, it is a passive talent. This entry should say “Passive.” If your talent has at least one active effect, it is an active talent. This entry should say “Active.” It should then, in parentheses, list the timing cost. For example: “Active (Maneuver).]

Ranked: [If your talent is ranked, this should say “Yes.” If not, this should say “No.”]

Description: [This is the section in which you write out the effects and costs of the talent. You do not need to repeat the timing costs in this section, as they have already been listed in the Activation section.]

Settings: [If you’re creating a talent that can be used in a variety of different settings, include a sentence that says which settings this talent should be used in.]

Adversary Profiles and Player Rules

Adversaries do not adhere to the character creation rules that govern the player characters. Their profiles can be created in any way to make them unique while keeping them simple.

  • Their Soak and Defense do not have to conform to existing armor.
  • Minion don’t have ranks of skills, but instead just have skill names with “(group only)” noted in their Skills entry.
  • They can have any talent without having its prerequisite in a talent tree.
  • They can have abilities not available to players.
  • Their weapons do not need to conform to existing weapon profiles.
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