$200K Smashed! First Expanse Extra!
Today The Expanse RPG Kickstarter passed $200,000 and it just keeps climbing. Thanks so much for this amazing display of support! Adventure #2 of Abzu's Bounty has now been unlocked. New backers can more about that in Update Number 5.
I've also got another interview about the game you listen to. Lead designer Steve Kenson is on the latest episode of the Polyhedron podcast. You can check that out here.
Speaking of Steve, he has prepared a series of "Expanse Extras", the first of which is below. These are rules excerpts you can use with the Quickstart that also show off some of the game's features. Today, Steve talks Fortune and Recovery.
The Expanse RPG Quickstart offers a scaled-down set of essential game rules for the Adventure Game Engine used in the game, along with a set of six pre-generated characters and a full adventure you can play with then. By its very nature, the Quickstart doesn’t present the whole game. A lot of details needed to go to make room for what is in the book. Still, as The Expanse RPG is funding on Kickstarter and early adopters are checking out the Quickstart, we figured we’d provide you with a few little “extras” you can use along with the Quickstart rules for your initial Expanse games.
We developed The Expanse around the same time as work on Green Ronin’s recently released Modern AGE RPG, which took the Adventure Game Engine from the realm of low-tech fantasy roleplaying and transported it into the world of modern action-adventure. This was excellent timing, since it allowed us the opportunity to develop a complete rulesset suitable for modern and futuristic characters and gaming, and then adapt it as-needed to fit The Expanse. Green Ronin’s design philosophy has always been to adapt the system to suit the setting and the style of game as much as possible.
Characters in The Expanse have a resource called Fortune, which represents a measure of survival instinct, dumb luck, good fortune, divine favor—whatever you want to call it. The character you portray as a player starts off with a certain amount of Fortune, which improves with experience, as your character becomes more and more important in the series. Likewise, certain characters controlled by the Game Master have their own Fortune scores, reflecting their overall importance. Fortune is measured in Fortune points (or FP for short).
In the Expanse Quickstart, Fortune is only used to measure how likely a character is to avoid injury or other conditions from damage, but in the full game, it has another use: You can spend Fortune points, decreasing your current score, in order to improve the results of your tests: You spend Fortune points to make one die show the value of the number of FP you spend, up to 6. For the Drama Die, this costs twice the usual amount, so the die shows the value of half the number of FP you spend, rounded down. You can only modify one die out of a roll using Fortune, and only your own rolls.
Example: You roll the dice for a test and get 1, 3, and 3 on the Drama Die, which is a total of 7, not great, especially since you know you need at least a total of 10 in order to succeed. So you tell the Game Master you are spending 4 Fortune points to make the “1” die into a “4” (the die now showing the value of the number of FP you spent). Since you also have double 3s, your roll generate stunt points equal to the Drama Die, or 3 SP. If, on the other hand, your initial roll was 3, 3, and 1 on the Drama Die, you would need to spend twice the number of FP to increase the Drama Die to a 4 (8 FP total) but would also get 4 stunt points out of it rather than 3, since you still have double 3s, but the Drama Die now shows a 4.
Want to give the crew in the Quickstart adventure “Ganymede” an edge? Tell them they can spend Fortune points from this Expanse Extra during play! Be careful, though, because if you spend all of your Fortune to improve your tests, you may find that when push comes to shove, and your character needs to avoid some damage, they are literally “all out of luck.”
So, once characters have used their Fortune, either to avoid harm or to improve their lot, how do they get it back? Expanse characters get a breather after an encounter and regain 1d6 + Con + Level Fortune then, but any further recovery takes an interlude. Unlike some other AGE games, there’s no first aid action to recover Fortune during an encounter, although the Master degree of the Inspire talent does allow a character to help allies recover Fortune mid-encounter. Fortune recovers further during interludes and characters each have a favored activity they can take part in (other than just resting) that speeds their Fortune recovery. (Holden’s is almost certainly indulging in a decent cup of coffee.) Resting and recovering is one of the things characters do during interludes.
More to Come
We'll be posting more Expanse Extras and interviews in the weeks to come. We're also pushing to unlock the remaining four adventures of Abzu's Bounty and go beyond into new stretch goals. We've still got 27 days to go on this campaign, so let's shoot for the stars!