Tag Archive for: The Expanse

Wanted: Bounty Hunters – The Expanse RPG

Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunter

Available Soon!

Coming soon to the Green Ronin Online Store and DrivethruRPG, Bounty Hunters kicks off the new Trades of the Expanse PDF series of short, well, expansions for The Expanse RPG, looking at different trades and professions in the setting: how to create characters practicing that trade, game systems for handling their jobs, and adventure hooks and ideas for them, to name a few. Bounty Hunters starts off with the basic premise “Throughout human history there have been people who posed problems for other people, and those willing and able to deal with such problems—for a price. It may have been someone who needed to be found, apprehended, given a message or a warning, or simply eliminated.”

Makes a certain amount of sense to start with bounty hunters, since The Expanse essentially starts off with a “kidnap job” assigned to StarHelix detective Miller. Coincidentally, bounty hunters are also prominent in other science fiction media of late and might provide some additional inspiration.

The product takes a look at the practice of bounty hunting in the System of The Expanse, including its relative legality, the types of bounties, and the clients offering them. It provides guidelines for bounty hunters looking for work, and the ways in which they find it, from standing bounties to agency assignments. It also looks at the bounty hunting process from start to finish, from getting the job to tracking the target to getting paid.

Bounty Hunters offers AGE game system material as well. It includes handling bounty hunting as an investigative challenge, income rewards, “Tools of the Trade” equipment, a Bounty Hunter specialization, and a couple of ships suited for bounty hunters. It even has special bounty hunting stunts like “The Upper Hand,” “What Makes Them Tick” and my personal favorite, “Saw That Coming,” which lets you spend Stunt Points to retroactively declare that you planned for something that your target ends up doing and you’re prepared for it.

The product also offers resources for Game Masters, including dealing with bounty hunter reputations, some ideas for Churn effects while hunting a bounty, and a “Jobs Board” with some potential bounties you can use as starting points for your own Expanse adventures focused on bounty hunting.

All in all, Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunters is a powerful little package, whether you want your crew to try their hand at the trade for a change-of-pace, or you’re interested in a whole series focused on bounty hunting in the System (and even many systems, with the Beyond the Ring sourcebook).

Trades of the Expanse: Bounty Hunters will be available very soon!

Secrets of Lemuria

Secrets of Lemuria for the Expanse RPG!

Available NOW!

<incoming transmission>

 

<handshake accepted… decryption protocol required>

 

<decryption completed>

 

“It’s been a long journey to the Ring gate and your final destination: Medina Station. Some weeks ago, you were all hired by an independent journalist, Sangra Velazquez, to escort him to a meeting on Medina with explorer/scientist Dr. Carly Toor. Sangra has been cagey about the exact details of this meeting, but has hinted that Dr. Toor has made an important discovery on one of the worlds beyond the Rings. Fearing that other parties and possibly even governments might be interested in this discovery, Sangra chose a private means of transportation–your ship.”

 

Mysteries aplenty lie beyond the Ring Gates. Secrets of Lemuria is the first adventure for The Expanse RPG that begins to explore those mysteries. The adventure is intended for a crew of 4 to 6 1st to 3rd level Expanse characters (although it would be easy enough to increase the danger for higher-level characters.) The story begins with a simple passenger transport and escort job. Independent reporter, Sanga Velazquez, has a meeting on Medina station with a scientist who claims to have made an incredible discovery on Lemuria, one of the many planets beyond the ring. Of course, things don’t go exactly as planned, and the PCs find themselves in a cross-fire between an OPA gang and another mysterious (and violent) group…. I don’t want to spoil the story here since some of you, undoubtedly, may end up playing the adventure. Suffice it to say there’s plenty of action and intrigue and stakes that could change the course of human history.

Oh, and did I mention that it comes with a preview of Beyond the Ring? If you haven’t yet ordered a copy,  Lemuria gives you a sneak peak at Medina station —a pressure cooker of merchants, explorers, colonists, businesspeople, gangsters, smugglers, and spies from Earth, Mars, and the Belt. You could easily run an entire campaign on Medina alone, and of course, you have the mysteries of Ring space, the hub, and gateways to 1300 worlds right on its doorstep.

Secrets of Lemuria is the first in an upcoming series of PDF-only releases for The Expanse RPG. We have lots of plans, including new adventures and even a new series we may be announcing soon. Stand by for more information about that!

So, keep your eyes open, and your sensors active. Secrets of Lemuria is available now as a PDF in the Green Ronin Online Store and on DrivethruRPG!

<end transmission>

Back Into The Expanse: Worlds and Systems

Some of you may have seen the recent actual play of Cthulhu Awakens that I ran in conjunction with the Kickstarter. I really enjoyed running the game, but after that brief foray into the realms of eldritch horror, I’m excited to say that it’s time for me to get back to The Expanse!

Colony worlds and systems in the Expanse

During my first official visit to ThursdAGE last week, we talked a little about the new Expanse sourcebook, Beyond the Ring. (Check it out if you want to see some of the amazing art in this book) We also did a bit of a deep dive into Chapter 5: System & World Creation in Beyond the Ring. If you check out the stream, you’ll get a behind the scenes look as I go through both the system and world creation systems step by step. One of the challenges I have as the developer for The Expanse RPG is where to draw the line between story and science. This chapter, in particular, proved to be quite a balancing act in that arena. After all, this is a game about telling stories, not a science textbook. But on the other hand, The Expanse novels are heavily grounded in real science. Creating your own systems and worlds is an excellent opportunity for bringing a little more science into your games.

In Chapter 5: System & World Creation, we do our best to give you all the pertinent information needed to create your own worlds and systems without getting too bogged down. All of the charts and tables might look a little daunting for someone who doesn’t know much about the science of spectral types, orbital zones, or atmospheric compositions, but I promise you don’t need to know any of the science. Just follow the steps, and you can design a system without any difficulty. Truthfully, the luminosity of the star or a planet’s orbital period probably won’t come into play in your story, but being able to provide all of the star system information to your players lends a sense of authenticity that this is a real system with real planets. Your scientifically minded players will love it, and your story-driven players will appreciate the attention to detail.

One question I’ve been asked is whether science 100% accurate all of the time? My simple answer is: I’m sure it’s not. But it’s pretty close and certainly more than enough for telling a good story. Ultimately even The Expanse is about the story and the characters. The science is there to give it a backdrop of realism and authenticity, but in the end, it’s a good story that matters.

So, do you want to know more about Beyond the Ring and how you can use it in your own campaign? Well, you’re in luck! My appearance on ThursdAGE was just a teaser for what’s to come. In the following weeks I’m going to be running an actual play of The Expanse RPG that showcases a lot of the key systems in Beyond the Ring, especially colony creation and advancement. In Session Zero we’re going to build the colony that the PCs are going to be connected to using the rules in the book. Sessions 1 and 2 will be a story that centers around the colony. Finally, Session 3 will be the finale, and we’ll go through colony advancement, including the repercussions of the PC’s action during the adventure. So, keep your eyes peeled for the exact dates.

There will also be opportunities for those of you watching live to ask questions, and maybe even some audience participation. So, if you’re considering purchasing Beyond the Ring and want to know more this will be an excellent opportunity to see what it’s all about.


You can Pre-Order the print version of Beyond the Ring right now and receive the PDF for just an additional $5! But we understand that shipping internationally is a little difficult at the moment, so our overseas fans can also get the $5 PDF add-on by just letting their Friendly Local Game Store know that they would like to Pre-Order the book there. Just ask your store clerk to contact us, or their games distributor, and mention the Pre-Order Plus program, we will take care of the rest!

Beyond the Ring: Available Now

Beyond the Ring Available Now!

Available for Pre-Order Now!

The ring gates have opened up opportunities on 1300 worlds for scientists, adventurers, explorers, and colonists. Royal Charter Energy is seeking brave and bold individuals of many diverse backgrounds for colony and mining operations beyond the rings. Be the first to set foot on a new world. Make new discoveries. Explore. RCE is currently hiring scientists with backgrounds in geology, chemistry, as well as those with mining, agriculture, and security experience. Stuck on Basic Assistance? We may have a place for you. Find yourself on a new world.

Applications are being accepted by our offices in Lovell City, Luna, either in person or electronically.

 

Ever wanted to run an off-world colony? Beyond the Ring presents a whole new way to play The Expanse RPG. Instead of traveling the Sol system, the player characters can be a part of a new colony. They get to make decisions about the colony’s advancement and deal with issues and threats as they arise. Chapter 4: Colonies opens with rules for designing your own colonies. Colonies have abilities just like player characters.

You have three options for creating colonies, freeform (basically make it up), point allocation (you get a number of points to spend) or random (speaks for itself). There are five core abilities for colonies: Economy, Force, Infrastructure, Media, and Science. In addition to these, every colony has three additional statistics: Size, Stability and Resolve, which help determine how resistant the colony is to disasters and setbacks. Colonies also have Focuses that represent things like specialty installations (like greenhouses), extraordinary knowledge (like local ecology), special resources (like lithium), or colonists with specific expertise (like a doctor or security forces). Disasters can have an impact on both these abilities and Focuses.

Once your colony is established, you get to see how your colony grows or fails. The rules for running a colony exist to provide new opportunities for adventure, provide a sense of investment in the protagonist’s community, and help players feel like an important part of the dynamic and ever-growing Expanse universe. The colony rules interact with the rest of a campaign in two ways: growth checks and plot actions.

For a colony to survive, it must endure the harsh realities of an alien world, grow to support itself, and thrive in the face of adversity–growth checks represent this. The frequency of these checks is usually from one to three months and can result in the colony growing or expanding or suffering a mishap. Mishaps can lead to adventure opportunities as players can sometimes take plot actions to mitigate their effects.

While growth checks represent the everyday ebb and flow of life in a community, plot actions represent deliberate efforts by the colony leadership toward specific goals. Often plot actions are made in response to a threat or rival colony, but colonies may also be proactive, attempting to undermine rivals or build new projects to improve conditions. Successful plot actions can hurt rivals, disarm threats, and make headway on projects, while failed plot actions do the opposite. The GM also gets to take plot actions. A group of pirates that the PCs previously tangled with past might become a direct threat to the colony.

Finally, this chapter offers a few sample colony operations that were built using these rules. These can be used as a guide for building your own colonies or plugged directly into an adventure if a GM finds they need a colony. As you can see, an entire campaign could be built around a crew starting and managing a colony in the worlds beyond the rings.
If you’re looking for inspiration for telling your own colony-based stories, Cibola Burn offers a lot of good material on what it’s like to live in a colony under threat from multiple directions. The novella Strange Dogs offers a good look into the early days of Laconia. And I was super excited to see that the final Expanse novella, The Sins of Our Fathers, is set entirely on a colony world. The story presents some of the difficult choices colonists might be forced to make. We can’t wait to hear the stories of the colonies on new worlds that you and your players create!


Expanse Beyond the Ring on ThursdAGE

Tune into ThursdAGE this Thursday, April 7th at 2p Pacific to catch designer Ian Lemke as he walks us through star system creation and world building in Beyond the Ring, with your pals Owen KC Stevens and Troy Hewitt

You can watch us on Twitch, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and don’t forget to subscribe to Green Ronin’s official streaming channels to be notified when we go live with The Expanse RPG: Beyond the Ring Actual plays throughout the month!

The Expanse Meets Cthulhu Awakens!

Expanse meets Cthulhu!

Art by Tentacles and Teeth

The Kickstarter for Cthulhu Awakens, which brings cosmic horror from the unimaginable past, through the 1920s, and into the 21st Century, is now live! Both The Expanse RPG and Cthulhu Awakens are powered by AGE: the Adventure Game Engine, which opens new realms of possibility for both universes.

Cthulhu Awakens: On Kickstarter Now

Live on Kickstarter now!

The stars have truly aligned….

Part of the appeal of The Expanse are the elements of horror carefully blended within a science fiction setting. Certainly, some chapters are as chilling and terrifying as any horror novel. The changes that the protomolecule causes in humans are ghastly and reflections of Frankenstein’s monster can be seen in Project Caliban. And, of course, the entities beyond ring space could step right from the pages of the Cthulhu Mythos. By now, I suspect you know where I’m going with this: how can Cthulhu Awakens be used with your Expanse game? Even if you don’t want to bring the eldritch horrors into the Expanse universe, Cthulhu Awakens offers both players and narrators some intriguing new possibilities.

Alienation

Let’s start with the good stuff. In Cthulhu Awakens, alienation represents the influence of eldritch forces on the psyche. Through Holden’s eyes, we see throughout the Expanse series how much effect close encounters with the protomolecule can have on an individual, particularly through his ability to communicate with “ghost” Miller. A protomolecule connection like Holden’s could easily be replicated by the use of Enlightenment stunts which give Cthulhu Awakens characters insight into the Mythos. The other aspect of alienation—terror—could also be implemented to manifest the primal fear and horror resulting from many encounters with the protomolecule.

Bonds

Cthulhu Awakens has Bonds that are very similar to Relationships in The Expanse, but they are greatly expanded in both concept and utilization. Personal Bonds, which are much the same as Relationship Bonds in The Expanse RPG, are broadened to include a character’s ideals, oaths, or beliefs. There is also a completely new kind of Bond called External Bonds. These represent involuntary influences on characters and can be used by the GM to generate Stunt Points that put characters at a disadvantage. Interestingly, External Bonds may appear on the surface to be advantageous (membership in an OPA faction, a close relationship with a friend or sibling), but the GM controls them. Examples of External Bonds might be ties and obligations to organizations (the OPA, religious group, or employer), or individuals(someone you care about so much that it can become a detriment to you). And as with personal bonds, they could also be personal ideals, beliefs, or oaths. Alienation is also a form of External Bonds.

Talents

The talents in The Expanse are tightly focused and allowing some of the new talents from Cthulhu Awakens could offer some diversity that could make for interesting character development. Talents such as Bootlegger, Emergency Care, Esthete, and Hard Case could all fit quite comfortably into an Expanse campaign.

The Mythos

Finally, Cthulhu Awakens contains an enormous amount of information about the Mythos that has been adapted for the Adventure Game Engine. The two games are compatible and require very little tinkering to tell Mythos stories beyond the Weird Century. Or perhaps you want to take your Expanse campaign in a completely different direction and surprise your players with true cosmic horror. Perhaps the entities beyond the gate are something other than described in the novels and are, in fact, the Outer Gods, now awakened after untold millennia of slumber. Or maybe the Ring builders were the Mi-Go or the Elder Things. The possibilities are endless. The universe is yours to make as you will.

Bundle of Holding Encore!

The books may have come to their conclusion, but you can keep the story going at your own game table with The Expanse RPG available now for an amazing deal at the Bundle of Holding!

Check it out Right Here!

In case you missed it when this bundle was previously available at the end of 2020, it’s back for an encore!

From the Bundle of Holding page:

For just US$19.95 you get all six titles in this revived offer’s Modern Collection (retail value $84) as DRM-free ebooks, including the complete Modern AGE Basic Rulebook and the Modern AGE Companion; the cross-dimensional campaign setting ThreefoldEnemies & Allies for Threefold and other Modern AGE games; the adventure Missions: Warflower; and the Modern AGE Game Master’s Kit.

And if you pay more than the threshold price of $31.60, you’ll level up and also get this revival’s entire Expanse Collection with four more titles — the entire Expanse RPG line to date, worth an additional $60 — including The Expanse RPG standalone core rulebook and Game Master’s Kit, the full-length six-scenario campaign Abzu’s Bounty, and the short adventure Salvage Op.

And that’s not all!

Ten percent of your payment (after gateway fees) will be donated to this offer’s pandemic-related charity, Direct Relief. Direct Relief sends protective gear and critical care medications to health workers, with emergency deliveries to medical facilities across the US and Canada and to regional response agencies around the world.

The Expanse comes to Foundry VTT!

Introduction

Earlier this year, there was a Ronin Round Table that introduced the VTT team. Since then, we’ve had the release of the Mutants & Masterminds 3e sheet on Roll 20 along with various Danger Zones and the Condition Cards. We have revisited Freeport with the 5e content, also on Roll 20. Ahpook and Jonesy were the driving forces behind those projects respectively. After some discussion, Troy felt that we were in a good position for an update, so Charlotte spoke the 4 magic words.

The Expanse on Foundry VTT!

Current Status

We are happy to report that all systems are within optimal operating parameters, and we are go for launch for The Expanse system for The Foundry VTT!

During development, we made a strong effort to maintain a balance between gameplay and automation. It was our intent from the very beginning to not turn everything into a function of the system where the game can play itself with a click of a button, but rather maintain the feel of playing The Expanse at the table, just virtually.

What does that mean in a practical sense? As players, your rolls will be calculated step by step so the GM can provide information as needed. Rolls have the option to have modifiers, and/or additional dice added to the roll. Each character sheet has automated rolls for abilities, attack to hits, damage rolls, and income rolls. GMs have the added feature in NPCs to roll both the attack and damage rolls at the same time, to make their rolls a bit easier. Conditions have some functionality to them besides just being a checkbox. Some conditions are linked to attributes or other conditions to help make tracking easier. There are many other features that are implemented, and we can’t wait to get feedback from everyone once the system becomes available.

Foundry exampleFoundry exampleFoundry example

Timing

The release of The Expanse system, and The Expanse Quickstart module will be the first products available on The Foundry VTT, with core book, Abzu’s Bounty, and other adventuress scheduled for a later date.

How can people engage?

If you’re ready to start a life of adventure outside of the gravity well, You can find The Expanse system and Quickstart ready for download on the Foundry VTT system and module installer, and then come join us on the GRAAD server!


Charlotte is the tabletop dilettante, dabbling in all things tabletop roleplaying. From running communities in TTRPG spaces, games in her free time, and creating content for VTT’s, she’s doing it all. You can find her and her various projects on Discord: https://discord.gg/MJQQd6H or Twitter: https://twitter.com/foxfyre22

Beyond the Ring

<Incoming transmission.>

Beyond the Ring for the Expanse RPG! COMING SOON!

(Cover is not final)

It’s been a long haul, but we’re getting close to sending Beyond the Ring to print. This sourcebook advances The Expanse timeline, taking us to Ring space and the 1000 worlds beyond the rings. This book joins Abzu’s Bounty and Ships of the Expanse as the third major release for The Expanse RPG. While this book focuses primarily on material for GMs it contains a wealth of background material that could be useful to players and of interest to fans of The Expanse novels.

 

Beyond the Ring contains exactly what its name implies―a detailed guide to everything beyond the Sol Ring and much, much more. Besides pages of descriptions and data for new worlds, Ring space, and Medina Station, you’ll find rules for creating your own planets and systems. You’ll also find rules for an entirely new way of playing The Expanse by creating and managing your own colonies.

Before I ramble on too much, I’ll let the book speak for itself with a high-end overview:

Chapter 1: After Venus

This chapter pushes the timeline forward into the months and years after Eros crashes into Venus and launches what becomes the Ring gate at the solar system’s edge. You’ll find details on the Ring, the Ring Space, the Control Station, as well as how each of the factions (Earth, Mars, and the Belt) respond to this new reality.

Chapter 2: Medina Station

Everything you ever wanted to know about Medina Station! You’ll find plenty of details on the history, politics, and layout of the station and a lot of story seeds for running campaigns set on Medina. As a side note, the (upcoming) PDF adventure, Secrets of Lemuria is primarily set on Medina.

Chapter 3: Worlds Beyond

This chapter is split into two sections: Featured Worlds and New Worlds. The Featured Worlds section gives a brief overview of systems described in the novels. New Worlds opens up over twenty brand new worlds, which includes system data, information on the biosphere, alien artifacts, and story hooks for each.

Chapter 4: Colonies

Here, you’ll find new rules everything you need to know about creating and managing your own colonies.

Chapter 5: System and World Creation

Finally, create your own systems and worlds for characters to discover. Either roll randomly or choose from a wide variety of possibilities.

That’s Beyond the Ring in a nutshell. Look for future transmissions where I dig deeper into the colony creation and system creation rules systems and explore some of the new worlds in greater detail.

Over and out!

<Transmission ends.>

 

Weapons and Tech in the Expanse RPG

Amos Burton has some thoughts on Weapons in the ExpanseThe Expanse RPG is designed to tell stories in the universe of The Expanse novels, not to be a tactical simulator.” I can’t count how many times I’ve written or uttered this phrase since becoming the line developer.  It’s the best answer I can give when people ask why The Expanse RPG doesn’t have a more detailed space combat system, long lists of the different guns, or pages filled with wonderous technological devices. The AGE system and The Expanse novels are focused on the narrative and characters, not the tech. The tech is there to support the story, not the focus of the story. I discussed this in a previous RRT Here. So today, rather than going on further about that, I’m going to offer a few ideas on ways you can bring the tech to the foreground if that’s what you want for your campaign.

First, lets talk guns. This is an easy one. If you want to track ammo, you can certainly do that. All you need to do is look up some basic gun types and list the ammo capacity for each. The rulebook already states that reloading a gun is a minor action, so that’s already covered. If you decide to track ammo, you may want to ignore the Weapon Capacity rules, although you could still use this to indicate that the weapon jams. Then you need to decide how many rounds are expended for different stunts. Probably four for a short burst or suppressive fire and maybe double that for a long burst or spray and pray. Ultimately this is up to you and what works best for your campaign, but if you’re going to track ammo, you’ll want to set something definitive so that players know what to expect.

There are plenty of resources online for how many rounds different types of weapons carry. Also, some other sci-fi and futuristic RPGs have extensive lists of gun types. They often even have cool names that you could easily co-opt for your Expanse game. The core rulebook provides all of the tools necessary to create unique weapons and ammo.  The Item Qualities and Flaws and Weapons Qualities and Flaws sections in Chapter 4: Technology and Equipment can be used to flesh out individual weapons to make one pistol different from another.

Weapons aboard Ships of the Expanse

These guidelines work well for Ships and their weapons as well. Even the Qualities could be applied to different ship weapons or ammo to create a wider diversity for the players to choose from and something for characters to spend their Income on. For ammo, it is up to you to decide how many PDC bursts a ship can fire and how many railgun rounds and torpedoes they carry. Some details are mentioned in the novels, and real-life naval ships can also be used as a guide. Modern submarines generally carry from 12-38 torpedoes, so that can give you a starting point. Keeping PDCs and railguns somewhere in line with that makes a certain amount of sense. (Although PDCs fire thousands of rounds per minute so ites probably best to just determine how many “bursts” they can fire rather than worry about the exact number of rounds.) The important thing to remember if you decide to track rounds instead of using the narrative system is to make sure that it adds to the fun and doesn’t diminish it. Limiting rounds should be used to enhance the tension but never to punish players. It also adds another step of bookkeeping that many players might not find enjoyable. Read your table and make sure everyone is having fun.

Ultimately it is up to you and your players to decide what works for you. We’ve designed a game that we believe is fun to play. And while we occasionally add some more detailed optional rules, our focus will always be on the story. Speaking of story, look for the PDF adventure Secrets of Lemuria, coming soon!

Salvage Op: An Adventure PDF for The Expanse RPG

Salvage Op: A short adventure PDF for The Expanse RPGIt can be hard to keep track of the days when you’re on the float, but our hand terminals tell us it’s Monday. In honor of another week spent breathing recycled air, we’ve put  Salvage Op, a short adventure PDF for The Expanse RPG, up for sale.

(If you backed our Kickstarter campaign for The Expanse RPG you should already have this PDF as a part of your backer rewards.)

Salvage Op is a short adventure for The Expanse Roleplaying Game intended for a crew of four to six 1st to 3rd level characters. The characters encounter a small ship floating dead in space. Salvaging the ship’s cargo could be an opportunity for riches, but what danger awaits onboard? What happened to the crew, and why is it here? This adventure works well as a one-shot or can be easily inserted into an existing campaign.