Abzu’s Bounty is a 131 page adventure for the Expanse RPG from Green Ronin Publishing. This adventure takes place across six distinct parts, taking the players from level one to level seven. This module has everything you need to understand the flow of the overall story, without bogging down any potential GMs with meaningless fluff.
As stated in the title line I’m not going to spoil the main story, but I will begin by saying that the story focuses on the acquisition of something that is very dangerous. Players will begin the tale working on an ice hauler called Abzu’s Bounty, and from there will begin a system wide adventure for the players culminating in a final epic climax that will test their skills like no other.
What is the Adventure Like?
For those of you wonder about the feel of Abzu’s Bounty (AB), I will say that the entire adventure fittingly resembles a season of the Expanse. So many pre-made adventures in other game systems rely heavily on a “sandbox” type of play wherein the players are trapped in the adventure until the conclusion. AB is furthest from this model, as each of the six parts of the story feel like a self contained episode of the TV show, and feed off of each other.
During the course of the adventure, the party will cover nearly every mechanical aspect that the Expanse has to offer. There is combat, space exploration, investigation, social encounters and the like. Each episode is distinct, and certainly non-formulaic.
Additionally, it assumes that there is going to be downtime between each adventure. Now you as the GM could certainly move from chapter to chapter, however it is not necessary. For the truly determined GM these interludes could also provide a chance to tell side stories or even run a few of the shorter published adventures like Salvage OP or The Ganymede Insurance Job.
Personally, I love the episodic nature of Abzu’s Bounty as it allows for pacing, and gives the GM a chance to only read a chapter ahead of time instead of having to memorize a tome sized adventure from cover to cover (although I would recommend at least reading the campaign summary before running the game). There are times I want to shudder when I think back to the amount of prep time I dedicated to running the Curse of Stradh.
Each of the six episodes are nicely laid out in a chronological fashion. There is a chance, for instance, that one episode will have you traveling to different destinations. So as a GM each chapter is subdivided by scenes, which are easily found in the table of contents.
One of the features that I happen to enjoy most are sprinkling of ideas for type of challenges that a player may face. In addition to that, there are occasional suggestions to help prompt the GM in case the players go off tangent or attempt “unique” solutions. In that regard it’s nice to be able to look at this quick reference and know for certain that if a players tries to do X they will then need to beat a roll of Y, and so on.
Green Ronin have done it again! I could not be happier to have read Abzu’s Bounty. It is a quality made adventure that makes your player’s feel like they are part of something that could shake the very fabric of the Sol System. There is enough variety in gameplay and tory to keep nearly even the most jaded player hooked. In fact, I will be running it very soon!