Previously I mentioned I was working on the second beta document for Expedition. The first beta did an admirable job and a bunch of people sent me nice feedback about it (and can still do so by downloading it and giving it a looksee). However as we went along and I began to see similar criticism and appeals, I decided that I could do better to make some more widespread changes to Beta 2 than just incorporating erratas and adding new Perks. So Beta 2 is going to have mostly the same system as before, but the way that Potentials are made and Perks used will be changed.
Things that were predominantly in people’s minds from the Beta document were:
•It’s cool that you can make your own character’s skills as Potentials: but it’s also really confusing and daunting and you easily feel like you’re making up abilities that won’t have a use in the end. Much of the questions I’ve received are “is this potential correct?” and I found myself answering “it is, but its use will depend on the campaign.” Which is really not an acceptable answer, and the range and description of these has to be tightened up.
•The interaction between Perks and Maneuvers is interesting, but Maneuver A giving you a +2 bonus and Perk B also giving you a +2 bonus renders both seemingly redundant or less exciting, especially because Maneuver A is free to use, while Perk B requires you to burn Action Points to get the same bonus. Using a different action makes it only marginally easier, and in the end just getting +2 to something isn’t exciting, especially when you spend 50 words getting to that conclusion. Perks have to be more useful than that, full stop, and they also have to be cleaner and shorter.
While we’re at it, Action Points were kind of annoying and often became a binary state of “do I have 2 points, or do I use Ready to gain a point and then I do have two points!” So in Beta 2, I’m thinking most Perk actions just key off something you have to do to set them up. For example instead of spending 2 AP to gain Superiority, you can gain Superiority by keying off an enemy being Vulnerable. So Action Points are gone and you just have to set up your moves right by creating the conditions to pull them off on the battlefield – rather than hoarding chips until you can pull off the move.
•The Key Words on the Maneuvers don’t seem like they mean anything, and all the +2 untyped bonuses could become actual meaningful Key Words in much the same way that “reroll and use the best or worst result” is in Beta 1 as “Superiority” and “Inferiority” conditions. The little bonuses to this or that should become Condition keywords like they were in Copper Coins and other games I wrote in the past. They were easier to track that way – you either were Hindered (-2 Armor) or you weren’t and that was easier and conveyed much the same. Stacking will have to be rethought though.
•Monster stat blocks are immensely huge and not just because I’m horrible at document formatting.
I’m going to try to address these in Beta 2, to make the game both easier to get going but also really interesting during play. I’m also doing a bit of unasked for revamping of Fortune and Favors just because I’m not really satisfied with the fiddly nature of “collect 50 points to coerce the mayor into telling you where the Dragon is hiding” and so on. I’m thinking of just knocking this down to single digit costs in “tokens” or “chips” or something you earn in play.
People were overall satisfied with the game, which I’m happy about! It’s a rough-looking little document and I’m happy that people downloaded it, looked at it and said something to me.