Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Another RPG bundle offer - Modern AGE and The Expanse RPG

This is an offer for a system I don't know much about - AGE, the Adventure Game Engine. The basic part of this is Modern AGE, role playing for periods from the start of the Industrial Revolution onward. And for those who want to spend more there's a licensed game based on The Expanse books and TV series.

"This all-new Modern AGE & Expanse RPG Bundle presents two RPGs that use the Adventure Game Engine (AGE) from Green Ronin Publishing: Modern AGE, for high-power action from the Industrial Revolution onward (2018), and The Expanse Roleplaying Game (2019), based on James S. A. Corey's mega-popular The Expanse science fiction novels of diplomacy, discovery, and danger in the future Solar System. This bargain-priced offer is timely, as Season 5 of The Expanse TV series (shown in North America on Amazon Prime TV) debuts December 16.

The AGE rules system powers the Fantasy AGE and Dragon Age RPGs (both presented in our Feb 2018 Dragon Age Bundle) and Blue Rose (presented this past March). AGE is a traditional roll-high system where you roll 3D6, including an off-colored Stunt Die, against a target number. The Stunt Die breaks ties and generates Stunt Points, which let you pull off special maneuvers or earn extra benefits in combat and social encounters. Every action type has a menu of Stunt effects.

Modern AGE characters have a Background (social class), any of two dozen Professions, and a Drive (motivation) like Achiever, Caregiver, Rebel, Visionary, or Ecstatic. Any d20 or 5E player should find the straightforward combat system comfortable, and you can tweak the damage rules for Cinematic, Pulpy, and Gritty campaign styles.

Funded in a stellar July 2018 Expanse RPG Kickstarter campaign, The Expanse RPG is a standalone adaptation of the Modern rules. Expanse characters have a Native Gravity, Income level, and Fortune points you can spend to reduce damage and change die results. Advanced Challenge Tests may have a Success Threshold with degrees of success. Combat inflicts damage as various conditions, including Hindered, Deafened, and Free Falling. The extensive chapter on space travel presents scientifically accurate travel between planets, communications times, and ship construction rules -- no warp drives or deflector shields here. Forty pages of the 260-page core rulebook cover the Expanse setting, and another 40 give gamemastering advice. The chapter on Threats is twice as long as the one on Rewards, which will sound right to Belters grousing about their low wages mining ice for Mao-Kwikowski Mercantile or Pur'N'Kleen.

The Expanse novels present wheels-within-wheels plots with dozens of characters doing lots of things everywhere. Likewise, the RPG supports many campaign frameworks: freelance traders, paramilitaries, Belter rebels, political operatives, or investigators tracking the mysterious Protomolecule. In a June 2019 Gnome Stew review of The Expanse RPG, Jared Rascher said, "I think this is my favorite iteration of the AGE System rules. There are so many useful tools, and enough bits to make a game interesting without adding in bells and whistles like powers or magic. [...] Not only is it a solid game for presenting The Expanse, but it is a good ruleset for hard sci-fi games in general."

We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their devices.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's pandemic-related charity, Direct Relief. Direct Relief gets protective gear and critical care medications to health workers, with emergency deliveries to medical facilities across the US and to regional response agencies across the world.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$144. Customers who pay just US$19.95 get all six titles in our Modern Collection (retail value $84) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Modern AGE Basic Rulebook (retail price $19); the Modern AGE Companion (retail $18); the cross-dimensional campaign setting Threefold (retail $20); Enemies & Allies (retail $18) for Threefold and other Modern AGE games; the short adventure Missions: Warflower (retail $5); and the Modern AGE Game Master's Kit (retail $4).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $29.95 to start, also get our entire Expanse Collection with much of The Expanse RPG line to date -- four more titles worth an additional $60, including the complete standalone The Expanse RPG core rulebook (retail $27), The Expanse Game Master's Kit (retail $10), the full-length six-scenario campaign Abzu's Bounty (retail $19), and the short adventure Salvage Op (retail $4)."

I'm slightly hampered here by lack of familiarity with the AGE system, but my impression on a quick look is a fairly playable game that for once doesn't need a huge variety of dice - everything is rolled with 6-siders. The combat rules don't seem to take up a ludicrously large portion of the system, and explanations seem to work reasonably well without going into impenetrable gamespeak. Presentation is good too, with nice artwork and a reasonable balance of male and female characters represented. I found that the font used for the rules is a little hard to read on screen - I had to up the magnification more than usual - but otherwise have no particular problems. The font size may be a consequence of the fairly high word count for these rules, and I suspect that it was the best compromise for the printed version - larger text would have upped the page count considerably. Unfortunately I don't feel that it's a particularly good font from a legibility viewpoint, which isn't helping.

My visual problems aside, this looks to be a pretty good bundle, and probably a must-buy for anyone liking The Expanse. Recommended!


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Tags: rpg

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