Expanse Extra: The Churn
Happy Monday, everyone! Yesterday we knocked down another stretch goal, unlocking adventure #4 in the Abzu's Bounty campaign. Only two more to go!
Today, as promised, I have another peek at the rules for you. This week's Expanse Extra is The Churn. Amos knows what we're talking about!
Expanse Extra: The Churn
In The Expanse, even when you’re on a job, handling one complication after another, the unexpected can happen, and happen fast. These events are dangerous more often than not, and always seem to happen at just the wrong time. And when you think things are bad, they get really bad, like how stopping a rampant alien infection becomes about chasing a rapidly accelerating asteroid before it hits the Earth. That kind of bad.
Sometimes you can still breeze through it. Other times, it engulfs you. There are lots of names for it: karma, mojo, bad juju, etc. In The Expanse RPG, this concept is known as The Churn. If you want to have the effects of one of the more pervasive elements of The Expanse setting in your games, the following is available as an optional rule.
The Churn Pool
To use the concept of the Churn in the game, the GM keeps track of what’s called the Churn Pool. It represents a buildup of events during an adventure, where every twist and turn adds its weight to The Churn, that swirl of fickle fate that eventually boils over and comes back to bite the heroes right in the tail.
At the beginning of each adventure, the Churn Pool is “reset,” starting at 0. Add 1 to the Churn Pool each time one of the following occurs:
- A character succeeds on an ability test and rolls a 6 on the Drama Die
- A character spends 4 or more stunt points to perform a stunt.
- Fortune points are spent to alter a die roll.
- The characters successfully overcome an encounter or hazard
- The characters complete a section of the adventure
When the Churn Pool reaches 10, roll 1d6:
1–3: The Churn Pool “churns over” and the corresponding effect happens as defined by the Churn Effects table. Then the pool starts building up from 0 again.
4–6: The Churn Pool moves to the next stage, requiring another 10 points before you make the d6 roll again. If the Churn Pool moves to Stage 3 and another 10 points are accumulated, the pool automatically churns over and the Stage 3 effect occurs, then the Churn Pool resets to 0 and starts again from Stage 1.
Stage 1 Minor: The next ability check or hazard faced by a single character is increased by one level of test difficulty or hazard category, or a successful ability check results in a complication that calls for another ability check.
Stage 2 Major: The next ability check or hazard faced by each character is increased by one level of test difficulty or hazard category. This could also include a hazard that requires a roll from every crew member. Alternately, a successful ability check creates a new hazard for the crew to deal with.
Stage 3 Epic: Choose from one of the following:
- The next stunt performed by a character automatically fails
- Raise the difficulty or category of a crucial ability check or hazard by two
- A threat gets beefed up to the next rank (normal to Elite, Elite to Heroic, etc.)
- An important event during the adventure spawns an additional complication. For example, a powerless shuttle is now not only spiraling off course, but a micrometeorite has damaged the radio array. Now, not only is the crew adrift, but they are completely on their own. Tailor this to events in your own game to add additional flavor to an already unexpected turn of events.
We are flying to GenCon tomorrow. We will have printed copies of the Quickstart for sale at the show. See some of you there! We'll have have some fun news to announce at our seminar on Saturday night with Daniel and Ty!