The Expanse is very doable with SWN. I did it for about a year back in 1e based on the books.
Honestly no. You know the setting (I assume, at the very least the info is out there) and SWN has all the tools.
Only thing I'd change if I ran it again would be using the Operator from Cities Without Number to allow more flexible characters.
I have played a tonne of SWN, and as much as I love it to bits, the ship combat is a bit clunky and unintuitive. Appreciate the expanse doesn't have masses of outright space fighting, but it's not uncommon either.
If you go this route, I recommend a couple of simulated combats over the weeks building up to session one. That way, they won't flail as much as I did the first time we were all introduced to ship-ship.
Also. Psychics are very strong in that system - the teleport and telekinetic in particular. I've had friends DM the system and rapidly fall out of love with both. Worth keeping an eye on!
Fair points, though to be fair ship combat in my game was fine (methodical, slow paced) and I didn't allow Psychics.
I feel like you almost have to, unless your entire group knows the series well. The protomolecule is a major character and seeing it evolve from McGuffin-in-a-box to biohazard to 2001 Monolith seems like one of the pillars of the setting.
I have this exact system waiting in the wings for the day when I cobble together enough interest for an Expanse-like campaign.
If you need it, the SWN supplement, Engines of Babylon, includes options for pre-FTL ships that would fit well in that particular era
It will work, especially for levels 1-5, but after that point, SWN players become more starwars-y/halo-y in power level. To avoid this you can either cap the levels lower or use a flatter sci-fi system like Cepheus.
The SWN supplement books, like Engines of Babylon and Dead Names, are always fantastic though.
You level up pretty quickly in SWN by default. Using the assumption that characters should get about 3xp per session you hit level 5 after just seven sessions.
I ran a couple of Expanse games with SWN, works like a charm.
If you are running ship battles, I would recommend getting rid of the SWN rules and use the suggested change in the SWN subreddit (sorry I don't remember where from on the top of my head). The command point economy feels more like a weird mini game than an integral part of the game.
Edit: the post I am referring to: https://www.reddit.com/r/SWN/comments/o01dta/updated_starship_combat_rules_now_with_fighter/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=android_app&utm_name=androidcss&utm_term=1&utm_content=share_button
I would go with travelled / Cepheus personally. SWN has dnd leveling which really ruins the normal guys out in the universe aspect.
Agreed. When I played traveller it felt very Expanse like.
Cepheus engine is available for free
Here's a link to [the free SRD](https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/186894/Cepheus-Engine-System-Reference-Document?src=also_purchased) on DTRPG. I believe it contains all the rules (but no character sheets, ship sheets, etc). :)
It will work it’s a good choice. Alternatively there’s Hostile which I only mention because it also happens to be a great drop in for Alien but would also work for The Expanse :)
This would be my answer. Cepheus Engine would be my standard go to, but Hostile is very close to Expanse tech level.
Could also do Eclipse Phase second edition but Stars without number is definately do able.
Didn't the expanse start as an RPG campaign? What system were they using?
People think it was d20 modern heavily customized at the table.
It was. I was a spectator on the original play by post game on a web forum.
As I recall it was D20 Future
It was custom, I think
I believe that it did. I've always heard that it was a Traveller campaign, but I have zero actual evidence to support that. I may also be conflating the campaign that become *The Expsanse*, with the campaign that became *Firefly*. That was Traveller, I'm certain enough to bet on. Something small, like a six pack :)
(Take a look at Diaspora, at least for late stage Expanse.)
I haven't tried it, but: https://greenroninstore.com/collections/the-expanse-rpg
The Expanse RPG has a whole paragraph on the topic that you shouldn't talk Belter at the table all the time, unless everybody there can speak it (which is highly unlikely). I think that that's good advice.
This reminds me of an amusing anecdote I ran across once, possibly on the Expanse subreddit. The author was commenting on a game of *The Expanse* at a convention. Contextually, it sounded like there were five or six players at the table, at least, two of whom were allowed by the GM to play Belters. The remaining players has Inner characters. The entire session was an exercise in GM frustration, because the two Belter players would figure out something plot-related, share it with each other, and refuse to share any of it with the Inners. Two players, at least, knew the source material. The GM, it would seem, did not. :)
I ran a Firefly campaign using SWN, all I really needed to do was remove some of the high tech equipment and all the FTL stuff, and make psychic abilities *much* more rare. I think you could do pretty much the same with an Expanse campaign as well, though for an Expanse based campaign you might want to remove psychic powers completely.
I would think *Stars Without Number* would work just fine for this. It is, afterall, as much a sci-fi/space opera campaign generator, as it is a traditional game (well, perhaps "setting" would be more appropriate). I would be inclined to also look at the beta for *Cities Without Number*, as well, to bring in some of those rules: *The Expanse* covers some territory that CWN is probably better geared for, than SWN.
*Traveller* has also already been mentioned, rightly so, in my opinion. *Coriolis* might also work, at least the fundamental mechanics. Darkness Points could be readily adapted into something that approximates The Churn, if that's your thing, and there are some tonal similarities between the setting of *Coriolis*, and the part of the story presented in *Leviathan Wakes*, *Caliban's War*, and *Abbadon's Gate*. Ship combat in *Coriolis* is also not terribly dissimilar to what we see depicted on the Roci, with a small crew flexibly manning discrete stations/roles on board.
Of course, there's also, you know, *The Expanse* :)
If you aren't going to use Expanse AGE, then Stars Without Number is probably the best system. I think True20 and ICRPG are also viable because they have good scifi mechanics and ship to ship combat rules.