This afternoon two friends and I dived head-first into my pal Dennis Santana’s alpha of his Expedition RPG. We had a good deal of fun, and much hilarity ensued as we tried to work out how to put what was on paper into practice.
Character creation went smoothly enough. Expedition has only four Archetypes, which roughly correspond to the classical base classes of D&D with some interesting twists. For instance: the Fighter is actually quite knowledgeable about traveling and is good with people. Compare this to the typical bland meatshield niche that warrior-type characters typically fill.
My friends created a Fighter and an Oblate, which is a divinely inspired archetype who has the gift of prophecy. Since fantasy races don’t factor in to the mechanics of the creation process, I got some odd results: the Fighter is a two-headed ogre named Grok von Pintel, and the Oblate is a ghostly being of light known as Rad. This is all a bit silly, but it is also an alpha test of the game so to some extent that is to be expected.
As a quick aside: I have to give kudos to my players. Generally one thing that bothers me about those who claim to be ardent “roleplayers” in RPGs is that they attempt to use their character concept or play-acting to gain mechanical edges beyond those allowed by the rules. Despite my players’ rather interesting choice in species, neither even hinted at wanting some kind of special treatment beyond the scope of their archetype. Considering I never mentioned this to them, I find myself full of respect.
Characters made, we proceeded to THE ADVENTURE!
Grok von Pintel and Rad began in the town of Lacrimose, one of the rough-and-tumble settlements in the Bastion of Sorrows. Both came to be there due to circumstances beyond their own control, and frankly wished to be gone again as soon as possible. Doing so would require a bit of wealth, and thus they would put their skills to use delving in the ruins of the Bastion.
A little bit of research turned up the Castle Barderin, the former home of a human warlord who held the Bastion of Sorrows under his sway over a century ago. Rumor had it that elves–vile creatures disliked by all within the Bastion–had set up shop. Rad had a vision of a scarred elf in a room full of gold donning a crown of iron, and that was about all the reason the pair needed to choose the castle as their destination.
With some use of the Persuasion skill, they were able to rouse some of the local populace into funding their expedition. Grok sought the help of some of his ogre relatives, acquiring a small boat and some equipment. In addition, he foraged for some rather hearty mushrooms to keep him and his luminous friend well-fed. For his part, Rad received a blessing from his nameless god, as well as food and prayers from the local temple of Kardiff. The two then spent a few days helping a local blacksmith, gaining further gold to purchase much-needed delving equipment.
Preparations made, the two set off. What did they encounter? Well, you’ll find out in my next post.