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Some Rules Questions: Chases and Gravity

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  • Some Rules Questions: Chases and Gravity

    Hi Everyone!

    I’m a Kickstarter backer but new to the AGE system and I have some questions:

    1) How do you handle/record reputation on the character sheet?
    2) Why do we have Speed, Move and Run stays when Speed=Move and Run is just 2x Move?
    3) With Chase scenes, do you just play out until one or other has reached the target Drama Die score? Or is there a way to acknowledge that the runner has been caught?
    4) How does the game handle gravity mechanically? Particularly thinking of, say Martians or Earthers in combat in free-fall or the microgravity of a spaceship or space station? Would you ask for a movement roll for any move in microgravity?

    Any help would be really appreciated

  • #2
    Hi there,

    I think I may be able to handle some of your questions. I have found that The Expanse is best used with liberal application of the rules however they do get granular if you wish to play this way. Theater of the mind is the (IMO) the best play style for this game unless you are running an indoor Op. I have been playing with a solid group for a few months and these are the things I learned.

    1) I found that recording reputation is mainly just that, write it into your characters story area or just on the back of your character sheet or in a notebook (if you are player and use a notebook.) As a DM, I actually use just a plain college ruled book and I record all of these for my characters as it will matter more to the DM than it will to the characters. For example, after my groups first mission, they helped save some belters (my group consists of two Dusters and an Earther.) So, typically, Beltalowda are not necessarily going to be the friendliest to them, once they received their "Loyal to the Belt" reputation, those Belters on the station where the mission was complete spread rumors of their valiant efforts and now are more friendly towards them. They could use their title reputation in RP heavy areas if they wish to get more influence over characters.

    2) Speed is measured in Meters. I believe that if you are using a Hex map (which I would recommend for this game and not a grid map) each space is considered 6meters. When using the Move Minor Action you can also perform a Major Action. On a PC's turn, they are able to perform one Major Action and one Minor Action, however if you take the RUN Major Action, this is all that you can do. It specifically states that you cannot take another action (which I take as even another minor action.) Run, as you stated is just 2x your Move. I believe that the only reason that Run is on the PC Sheet is so that you remember. In a homebrew sense, I guess you could say that someone cannot run as fast as their 2x Move, thus you would want a seperate stat to remember maybe if you created a different type of conditional effect or if someone is wearing something like a Power Armor, are encumbered, or anything else that you can think (broken leg, wounded, low stamina/constitution.)

    3) To put it simply, Yes. You set a threshold. Once the threshold is met, you figure out how you would like to resolve. Now, to understand this you will also need to understand advanced tests (I had some difficulty at first but I like the way it is designed.) I will make a random example. Let us say that the Target Number (TN from here on out) is 13 because the terrain is considered Rough. I will consider this a foot chase for all intents and purposes. There are regular obstacles in the way such as crates and boxes. Once someone takes the RUN action, a chase could occur. The PC's or another character on their next turn must also take the Run action to pursue. You have now entered a chase. I, the GM, have set a secret TN of 13. Now, on each of their turns, they must make a Chase Roll. The NPC being chased goes first (or whatever initiative you have) and rolls his chase roll, they get a 13, barely makes it. First, in an advanced test, you must succeed on the TN, which was 13, so they succeeded the chase. Then, you record their Drama Die score, which lets say was 3. Now, the Drama Die TOTALS over the course of the chase will need to reach 13 as well, since that is the TN. Now, the PC's turn. They roll a 12. They failed the chase, so they do not advance and the Drama Die Totals reflect 3 to 0 in favor of the NPC. NPC goes again, they roll a 9. Fails again. Still at 3 to 0. PC's Turn. They roll an 18, with 6 on the drama die. Now, It is 6 to 3 in totals in the PC's favor. This is where you as the GM comes in. It is an abstract type of play so you make the rules! If it is a foot chase, let the chase play out until someone reaches the target number. So in this case, I would consider them Neck and Neck and they can use Melee Attacks on each other at this point or any type of weapon at their disposal. If they wish to fire a weapon, they are up 3 and have time to spare their chase test, and can opt to skip their next chase to make an attack. If this were a vehicle fight, I would consider that their ship/vehicle has overtaken the other and is now in front of them, maybe giving them a tactical advantage over the other ship or vehicle. Now, if you let the whole encounter play out, I would consider that the first PC or NPC to reach the TN goal for totals on the drama die rolls over the course of the chase to decide the outcome of the chase. Do they catch up and tackle the perpetrator or do they take off and get a clean getaway? Since this is an abstract rule you can really choose to do this anyway that you wish...Apologies for the long form answer, however I hope that assisted in Chases.

    4) In my opinion, this is a hard one to answer as I have stated before that most of this game is abstract and best played in theater of the mind. This would all be circumstantial. The game handles micro-gravity in many ways. Part of the game is interluding, a very important aspect of the Expanse (I believe as a reader of the books and watcher of the TV show) is body and ship maintenance. Characters should be spending a portion of their down time exercising. I know, this sounds kind of boring and maybe too granular of play for most, however when you are traveling between planets or going out on an Op in space, your body requires tuning and maintenance as much as your Space Ship does. If my group didn't exercise, I may apply certain conditions to them such as fatigued from space travel (depending on the G they were traveling at) or exhausted once reaching a different gravity well. In the book, Martians seem to be the most balanced character and if you are new to the game and want to Min/Max characters, I would consider picking Martian, reason being is that their bodies can handle different types of gravity better than the other two factions/races. Earthers, need regular bone density treatments to stay in space for elongated periods of time as well as exercise to keep their physique able to handle Earth's (1g) gravity while Martians live in 0.3g and train in 1g. Belters are the most restrictive of the races/factions and will actually receive detrimental conditions if they enter an area with 1g without proper preparation or training, this would also be considered when pulling high-G flight maneuvers before using The Juice. Anyways, to get to your question, No. It is a situational focus (free-fall). If characters are in Microgravity and there is short chance they would be without an EVA Suit or similar environmental suit which in my game and based on the source material have small thrusters for manuevering unless you are wearing a basic suit stolen from an emergency kit or in your prepped bags. The times I find myself frequently using the Free-Fall focus is when in a Chase that is in Free-Fall or when fighting in an area that requires Magnetic Boots. I will give an example. Let's say, the situation is you are fighting in a corridor of a spaceship not in flight, there is no gravity and typically you would be wearing Mag Boots to orient yourself to the floor/ceiling (I would say for most, Earthers and Martians like to be on the "Floor" while Belters will not be disoriented mag booting to any portion of the ship due to their history in space.) I have a Martian PC that has taken Free-Fall focus. The PC says to me, the GM, "I would like to detach my mag boots and push off behind cover. Sure, I would allow that and then I would ask if they could make a Dexterity Throw adding their Free-Fall focus. I would set a TN based on difficulty. Let's say their route to the cover is clear, TN is set to 9. They roll, they get a 7 on the die, 1 + 2 + 4Drama + 2 for Free-Fall Focus. They have reached the TN with a throw of 9 and 4 on the drama die, they kick off their mag boots and push with all their strength to shoot behind cover and reorient themselves clicking to the mag boots down on the other side of the corridor. Another way I would use Free-Fall is during Investigation Checks. Are they exploring an abandoned asteroid mine without gravity, in order to use their body to clamor through the mine they will need to make a series of ability checks that are focus'd on Free-Fall. You ask, "In particular, Martians or Earthers in combat in Free-Fall or Microgravity of a Space Ship." I have answered about how I would use it in Combat more as an ability check to see if they can use their Minor Action - Move. If it is a passive, non-combat type of situation, there slim circumstances that your PC's should be without Mag Boots. This is a pretty universal item in the Expanse that is not talked about much in the book, however is implied in the starting gear. I consider everyone to have mag boots, a hand terminal, whatever starting weapons are reasonable for the character to have, as well as their desired clothing.

    If you have any other questions, let me know I have been enjoying this game since it's release. What I would suggest to you, is homebrew. How do YOU want to use these statistics and then speak with your group in a session zero or a side conversation on how you wish to run the game. Happy playing and be careful of The Churn!


    • #3
      Wow, thanks LazySabaka for that lengthy response! I’ll have to digest some of that at a later date (waaaay too much text for my phone screen!).


      • #4
        The above response notwithstanding, here are what I believe to be definitive answers to my questions:

        1) How do you handle/record reputation on the character sheet?

        In the “Notes” section. Reputation may be complicated and so should be recorded on a case by case basis.

        2) Why do we have Speed, Move and Run stays when Speed=Move and Run is just 2x Move?

        Still not sure about this. This may be a hangover from previous AGE character sheets. However, here is a breakdown of how the movement works:

        Pg 43 speed (meters) = 10+dex.

        Pg 85 move and run are actions.So, if PC has Dexterity 2, speed is 12 meters.

        Let's say the PC is relaxing on the sofa, when someone busts in the front door. PC leaps up and runs to pickup a pistol on the bar between the kitchen and living room. 1st Action (minor): move (leap up from sofa) uses half of speed.

        2nd Action (major): run (sofa to bar) doubles remaining speed (from 6 to 12) but 3rd Action (minor): pickup pistol on bar takes half of that.

        So, we determine that it is 5 meters from the sofa to the bar that means the PC can make it from the sofa to the bar and pick up the pistol between the time the door crashed in and the enemy rushes into the room.

        3) With Chase scenes, do you just play out until one or other has reached the target Drama Die score? Or is there a way to acknowledge that the runner has been caught?

        If any character reaches the Chase Threshold, they have escaped. (Page 94)

        Setting chase threshold: see page 19

        If all of the fleeing characters reach a lead of 12 on the drama die, they have escaped by having too great a lead (Page 94)

        While drama die differences are within 2, characters may perform melee or ramming attacks (Page 92).

        While drama die differences are within 5, characters may perform ranged attacks at normal range

        While drama die differences are within 10, characters may perform ranged attacks at maximum range (-2 to attack, page 86) see page 92

        I would house rule that if the chasing character hits the Chase Target before the fleeing characters, they cannot escape.

        4) How does the game handle gravity mechanically? Particularly thinking of, say Martians or Earthers in combat in free-fall or the microgravity of a spaceship or space station? Would you ask for a movement roll for any move in microgravity?

        Space stations, Mars and ships under acceleration have ‘low gravity’. This is the standard gravity for most encounters and movement under this acceleration requires no special test. (Note Belters will require some tests under 1g Page 28).

        For freefall/microgravity of non accelerating space ships:

        Most characters will probably have magnetic boots and can move normally (this is well established in the fiction but only subtly referenced in the rules Page 205).

        Otherwise, freefall movement is a Dex test TN7 (Or 13 for more challenging manoeuvres) Page 205. Belters get a bonus in character creation Page 28.