The goal in Beta 1 was to put out the new underlying system and see how it stood to people. While it went relatively well, there were certain problems I had with it. Firstly, it was really generic and I felt that it had little soul to its part. Nobody complained about this, but I want it to stand out by fostering certain kinds of play, rather than performing narrative function-through-absence. Secondly, it had a lot of little mathematical bonuses to essentially create fake progress in a roadmap of +2s. Both of those things are getting fixed. As I said on Twitter, I decided to finally implement Expedition as a sort of Dice Pool system rather than straight numbers roll-over. Secondly, Perks are taking a backseat to a new form of advancement. Below you’ll find the introduction to the Odysseys of Expedition, and the first of the Odysseys, the Archmage. I hope this will make you excited for the eventual release of Expedition Beta 2 for public playtesting – and perhaps for the Kickstarter I am planning sometime in the near future!
A character’s Odyssey is his or her personal struggle through a game of Expedition. Each character selects one Odyssey at the start of the game, that includes certain discoveries and trials that the character will undergo as he or she Develops as a character. Each Rank in the Odyssey is unlocked by completing Expeditions and Personal Goals, which may reward Development Tokens. You can spend one such precious token to advance your character one Rank. Each Rank has a benefit associated with it that helps your character survive to the next.
Odysseys contain abilities and story inspiration exclusive to that Odyssey. When you spend your Development Token, you can use the flavor text of your Odyssey as inspiration to describe what happens to your character; what he or she has found that has moved him or her forward. In this way each Odyssey is a unique package that you play out across the game. It is up to you and the rest of the players and the GM to build a story around each other’s Odyssey, answering the questions and filling in the blanks it presents to play out your narratives.
Each character begins the game with the first Rank of his or her chosen Odyssey, and progresses his or her Odyssey through play. Whenever the GM rewards a Development Token, usually at the end of an important adventure, the player can build an Event that pushes the Odyssey forward to its next rank and incorporates the elements therein. Odysseys give a variety of named benefits as well as inspiration for events that can be used as part of the climax of an Expedition. For example, as an Archmage you could, during your first Expedition, unlock the second rank of your Odyssey through finding an ancient script that directs you to the power the Archmage craves. The Archmage’s arc is up to you to build and interpret whenever you gain a Development Token – what is the power you seek, what do you intend with it? The Odyssey gives you building blocks towards this.
While it would be best for each character to have a different Odyssey, having doubles is not a problem. The Odysseys are open-ended enough that you can spin many stories out of each one. Having two Disciples could be interesting – perhaps one Disciple is going through a crisis of faith, while the other is exuberant and steadfast. If they both come from the same organization, the changes that each of them experiences could cause friction in their relationship, making for interesting interactions. Similarly, two Slayers may seek after different monsters for different reasons, and feel differently about their calling.
The Odysseys are meant to inspire roleplaying, and are very malleable. The Ascendant could have been meant to “rule” anything from a small village, to a grand kingdom, to even literal rule over the heavens. The Maledicted could be a human with a curse, or even a classic vampire or a werewolf, especially with a little help from Fortune token effects. The abilities and flavor of each Odyssey are meant to add interesting and usable new options for the character to play with – they’re not meant to be all that your character is. Use your Potentials, Odyssey, Fortune tokens and other options to build a complete character.
Before your Odyssey began, you received information about a magical secret that led you to journey. What did the information say? Where does it lead?
Shape Spell: If you perform a Blitz using Complex Magic, instead of forming a result against each enemy target, you can form a result against two targets at a time. So if you roll 5d10, get 5, 7, 3, 9, 4, you can form 16 against two targets, or 16 and a very risky 9 against 2 targets each. Otherwise treat it as a normal Blitz. If you fail to Blitz this way, you deal a normal Attack Glance to each missed target.
II: ARCHMAGE’S AMBITION
Your information panned out, and you’re one step closer to the power you crave. What is it that you discovered? Where might it lead you?
Concentration: If you fail a Complex Magic test that you Held back at least one Feat Die for, you can dump those dice to use this ability. You cancel the failed test and incur no Complications, and do nothing this turn. During your next turn, you can retry the spell with +3d10 die in your pool, but cannot reuse this ability then. If you fail again, the GM gains a Nemesis Token and you incur a Complication.
III: WINDS OF FATE
You’ve suddenly tasted “the power,” and in that fleeting moment did something wonderful and terrible. How did you discover it? How did it slip away?
Spell Crush: Once per Event, you can reroll a failed Complex Magic test. If it fails again, you gain a Feat Die, and you can take a Feat Die or Nemesis token out of the GM’s Feat pool or Nemesis pool, respectively.
IV: LOCKED WITHIN
You have the power you sought, but cannot yet fully unlock its potential. What is it? What must you do to employ its full and unfettered abilities?
Overcharge: You must have suffered Hamartia within the last or current Round to use this. Add an extra die result to your next Complex Magic Damage roll (instead of picking two of your roll results for your Damage total, you pick three).
Spiraling Pain: You gain a Hamartia as part of this Rank that you can invoke as a Minor Action. Deal yourself or an ally 10 Reaving Damage as your newfound but unfocused power begins to spiral out of control and then gain a Feat Die.
V: ARCANE ASCENSION
You’ve achieved it at last. But now, what will you do with this power?
True Power: You gain a special power you can use by spending a Fortune token. It can be powerful and strange, and befitting the toil and trouble you’ve gone through to acquire it. If you do not use it responsibly, however, it can bring tragedy (the GM can create Complications or gain Nemesis around its use). Work with your GM to determine its exact nature, its effects on tests and combats (if necessary) and whether it stems from your own power, an item that could be lost, and so on. You do not need a Turning Point to invoke this power in a Conflict.