I’ve been re-watching The Expanse while doing copious housework and, knowing that it began life as an RPG campaign, I’m trying to spot the moments that were likely artifacts of actual play.

Three episodes in, the only thing that leaps out at me is Holden’s “insurance policy” transmission from the Knight as the Donnager bears down on them. I can’t help but think that was one of those moments when, at first, the GM panicked because it was so unexpected, and then seconds later was jumping in joy, seeing the golden opportunity he’d just been handed. So much campaign fodder spirals off from this moment.

64 thoughts on “I’ve been re-watching The Expanse while doing copious housework and, knowing that it began life as an RPG campaign,…

  1. Christian Griffen I posted before that the Roci seems to me like an award — “treasure” — from the GM, one of those, “Oh, shit we get to keep it!?!?” moments. It’s when the campaign shifts “tiers” and now the PCs can take prestige classes and whatnot. “So, now you have a ship. What are you going to do with it?”

  2. The Roci being a Martian warship that was officially destroyed (so nobody is looking for it) and disguised as a freighter, has PC ship written all over it.

    Also the moment after the escape the destruction of the Donnager, when they need to decide whether to go to Mars as agreed and stop the war, or ignore the war and talk to a known war criminal who desperately wants to talk to them for some reason, the choice they made was a choice for agency and adventure, but it seems very out of character for Holden, who was grateful for the Martian sacrifice, and fully understood that they needed to tell the truth about the mysterious attackers.

  3. Aaron Griffin Spy-dude there isn’t in the books, though. He’s one of the changes in the adaptation, along with Bizi Betiku the ill-fated slingshotter, and Chrisjen Avasarala being an active character in the first season/book.

  4. Martijn Vos I swear I read an interview with the authors in which they something like, “Holden is what it’s like having a paladin in the party.” I can see this being one of those times when the rest of the group just flat-out overruled him.

    I watched “CQB” today, and I have to wonder if the escape from the Donnager was an encounter set piece. “Okay, all hell is breaking loose as the ship is boarded and the CO sets the self-destruct sequence. Let’s see if you can get off the ship alive. Roll initiative.”

  5. Christian Griffen you’re so right. He’s totally the guy that left. The fifth player! His character died and then in between sessions he probably emailed the GM to say that he couldn’t make next week and then just never showed up to the following sessions. Game obviously wasn’t his cup of tea.

  6. I believe the game was on an online forum, not at a table. And Shed indeed dropped out.

    Another very RPG moment is when they meet Miller and immediately trust and accept him, like you do when a new PC is introduced. Except I believe Miller was from a separate campaign and never met the original players.

  7. I watched “Salvage” today.

    I love that there’s no music or anything during the gunfight. So tense! We’re focusing on every movement just like the players would have been if it were an encounter. “GM: A woman in a tight dress shows up and sits down in the lobby.” Rounds pass… “Now two guys in overcoats come in and start fidgeting by the drink machine.”

    You can also see Amos totally nailing his Sense Motive check. (I love Amos.)

    And when the spy bolts: “Roll initiative!”

    And, yeah, it’s a total RPG moment when Miller shows up. “Ah, this must be the new PC.”