Genesis, materials and powerlevels

The current material guidelines for genesis aren’t very clear/useful.

non-sentient matter (plants, dirt, water, vines) technically doesn’t rule out gems, iron, or marble. However the higher power levels of this boon imply that these are locked out, with the reason being density and wealth level.

When applying a bit of chemistry knowledge however, you run into the problem that some types of gems are less dense than some types of wood. And some things less dense than water can be more expensive than gold. That’s not even counting things like toxicity, radioactivity, flammability. In short, a single chemical property doesn’t seem like a good bar for measuring this boon’s power. Instead, I propose just removing that limit from the rules altogether.

Instead I would suggest a limit on how usable the creation is. piles of raw materials, simple shapes (box, sphere), complex shapes (house) and intricate details (wood statue). That way, dangerous materials would be unsafe to handle without the higher powerlevel to make them fit a container. Expensive materials like gems would have less value due to them being unrefined. And bulk materials would not be worth as much due to market value plummeting (since the supply just skyrocketed :P)

I’m also thinking that it might be a good idea to use a similar system like barrier/aura to make it a bit less specific per powerlevel.

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I’m definitely in favour of this sort of thing, it makes a lot more sense to make the limitations narrative rather than technical. I still think a Wealth Level limitation is needed though.

The exact limits could probably do with tweaking a bit from your suggestion for multi-genre friendliness, especially for sci-fi where the complexity scale is several orders of magnitude broader.

Good point on the compexity scale.

Perhaps something can be done using the tech levels from the core rules ?

TL 0 - Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Medieval Age
TL 1 - Modern Age
TL 2 - Near Future (mechs, cyborgs, laser weapons)
TL 3 - Far Future (intergalactic space travel, nanotechnology, quantum-powered technology)

Here’s a rough idea for genesis.
I’ve tried to keep the possible power mostly the same compared to the original. I’m not quite sure what the WL limit is intended to balance, so I’m gonna need some more info from Sam to try and balance that one.

Power Level 1 - You can create a single type of unrefined matter, anything created in this way deteriorates or decomposes to become useless after 1 hour. Using this boon you can create up to 1 cubic foot of matter per attribute point of the invoking attribute.
Power Level 3 - Improve your creation. Choose up to 2 from : Permanent, Sizable, Detailed, Valuable
Power Level 5 - Improve your creation. Choose up to 3 from : Permanent, Sizable, Detailed, Valuable, Multi Material
Power Level 7 - Improve your creation. Choose up to 4 from : Permanent, Sizable, Detailed, Valuable, Multi Material, Speedy
Power Level 9 - Improve your creation. Choose up to 5 from : Permanent, Sizable, Detailed, Valuable, Multi Material, Speedy

Permanent : The creation will not disappear after 1 hour. Natural deterioration of a material still applies.
Sizable : The total amount created increases to 5 cubic feet per attribute score.
Detailed : The shape of the creation can be decided in detail, including moving parts.
Valuable : Increases the possible wealth level of the creation.
Multi Material : The creation can be made using multiple different materials.
Speedy : The invoking time decreases by one increment. 8 hour becomes 1 hour, 1 hour becomes 10 minutes, 10 minutes becomes 1 minute.

Invoke time increases depending on chosen improvements (with the exception of Speedy): Starting out at 10 minutes. 1 hour for 1-3 improvements, 8 hours for 4 and above.


I like it, with the exception of Speedy which I think could probably be cut for simplicity.

The WL balance is literally to balance the wealth level of the character; players shouldn’t be able to access items they can’t afford through a boon or undermine the availability of items from NPC vendors, and unfortunately it would be a bit of a narrative stretch to limit it based on the WL of the character.

I’d be curious to see what others think, this may be a bit too major a change to make this close to print but it’s definitely cleaner than the current text.

I was looking for additional improvement options for PL7/9. I didn’t want to resort to mentioning specific uses like food or crafted items. Speedy was something I came up with since it can be a pretty powerful effect. I do agree that it’s the least simple of them all though, but I don’t think it’s that complex either. I’m interested in other possible improvements though.

I personally don’t consider WL to be an issue. Maybe it should be added to the description, but it’s assumed characters can’t create anything they don’t have a good concept of. Any character could use this to create a hut or a simple shield, but a chainsword or castle should require knowledge of how something like that would be built in the first place. I also think it can get a bit complex to balance on WL. For example the core rules list a castle as a WL 9 object, while a large warship is listed as only a WL 6 item. But in today’s times, a warship is a lot more expensive than a castle. And when invoking the boon to build a city wall (bit by bit, using multiple invokes), what’s the WL of that one particular segment of wall you’re now working on? And do you use just the price of the raw materials ? Or are would-have-been labor costs included as well ?

Maybe a simple limit of “you can’t use this boon to create extraordinary items” would suffice ?

I would absolutely agree on this point, if OL was a fantasy-only system. That kind of limitation becomes a huge problem in sci-fi especially, where it’s entirely plausibly to have a character with advanced technical knowledge who could easily build something very advanced if they had access to the raw materials, which Genesis provides.

The WL of items within the setting are the GM’s responsibility, if a warship is more expensive than a castle, the GM just says so. This is not a factor in the Genesis boon. As for the WL of an item produced this way, it should be calculated based on how much the player would have had to pay to obtain it otherwise. For a city wall or anything similar the WL limitation is less important, since the player can’t just go out and buy one.

This is a sensible limit, but not enough. Even if this version never makes it into the core rules and you only use it in your own games, I would have to caution you to keep the WL limitation relatively low. As it stands, your players could just spend all of their downtime producing gold, or something else expensive (PL3: Permanent, Valuable) and quickly ruin any sort of monetary progression you had planned. Why should they go kill the goblins in the forest if the reward the mayor promised isn’t more than a cubic foot of gold per hour?

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For pure monetary value, there’s always supply and demand. If they create tons of gold out of nothing, it’s not going to be as valuable anymore and therefore not increase WL. With gold coins or other forms of currency, I’d rule that it would be considered counterfeit currency and might get them in a lot of trouble. That said, I personally think that “A good GM would rule that …” is a poor argument for lack of balance/rules. However I’m a bit lost in the WL stuff. I realize its potential for abuse. But on the other hand, I’d rather not limit fun/creative uses to prevent people from abusing it. I wouldn’t want to prevent someone from filling a cave with helium so that the orcs are forced to come out if they want to prevent hilarious squeaky death.

But in terms of WL, what would you suggest is a fair amount ?

I think you overestimate the power of supply and demand there, if I were to produce a ton of gold out of nowhere the price of gold would probably only drop by pennies per ounce and I would still be a very rich man. There is about 165,000 tons of gold in the world, the ton that I produced makes up less than 0.0001% of it, and even that tiny drop in rarity only begins to impact the market after I’ve already sold it.

By the time supply and demand caught up your players would already have approximately all the money; that is, unless you’re just assuming that anyone with Creation 3 in your world can do that trick, in which case suddenly every raw material is worthless and you have a very strange looking economy. An interesting concept for a setting perhaps, not something you want to force onto anyone playing OL though.

For a fair WL limitation, I would suggest sticking with the current limit of WL 2 until PL9. It prevents the players from being able to create anything that they couldn’t have had at character creation. I certainly wouldn’t go any higher than WL 3, since WL 4 is the point at which items start getting into the truly rare and expensive category.