Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Star Wars The Edge of the Empire

After three play sessions and having incorporated the full rules here are my thoughts from a game masters perspective of the SW:EoE from Fantasy Flight Games.

The book layout is very nice but sometimes particular things are a little hard to find. They also have these grey boxed text areas that contain some important game information (like how to manage a chase) but when I am reading  rules I tend to read the main text and don't look for rules in these aside areas so that took some getting used to. Also the equipment section seems a little weak.

The game mechanics themselves are very easy and if you can't find that particular rule you were looking for it is very easy to make up a ruling on the fly that will work perfectly fine without taking players out of the game. I have played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd edition which uses a similar dice pool mechanic so I had an idea how it would work. The tweaks they made for SW:EoE make the system streamlined and fast but if you are looking for a system that gives precise measurements on a grid or anything like that this is not the system for you. I have incorporated maps and figures in play and will probably be doing it even more so in the future but you don't need them and I use them to show where the PC's are relative to terrain and other characters not to measure distance(at least not in a precise way). That way the players know exactly what is going on.

The Dice. You play with a set of special dice and pick out the dice to match the ability of the PC performing an action as well as dice that determine the difficulty of the task then you throw in some for situational bonuses or difficulty. Green dice and yellow dice are your skill dice. Green represents your basic ability and then you replace a number of the green with the better yellow dice for your skill level. Purple is the basic difficulty. The more difficult the more purple dice. Sometimes these are replaced by red dice to represent your opponent's skill. Then you can throw in some black dice for negative modifiers like fighting in the dark or blue dice for positive mods like "I have night vision goggles". Once you have this in your hand you roll the dice and look at the symbols. Successes cancel Failures. Threat cancels Advantage. If you have more Success than failure you succeed. And then there may be a good benefit if you have some extra Advantage (you see garbage compactor door you could escape through)or something not so good if you have some left over threat(maybe you cannot contact your droids to stop the compactor). This system is actually very quick to use during play which makes for a smooth running game and also I find that it keeps you in the game, in character, in action because it's fast to do and you are not doing math no matter how easy it may be. Just the statement of saying you have to roll a certain number on a certain type or number of dice tends to break up the narrative just a bit. The problem with the dice mechanic is thinking of the good and bad side effects that come up from the Advantages and Threats. There is a chart of some basic effects to help out. There is also two symbols, one on each of the yellow and red die which means something really good happens(yellow die) or something really bad(red die). These can be fun but can take some creative thought.

If you want to run a Jedi character you are out of luck, you can run a minor force sensitive character but the force won't be filled out till the next core game and probably not a full Jedi till the third core book in a year or so. 

I played the first session using the beginners rules and scenario. The full scenario took us two and a bit sessions and by the second session we had switched to the full rules. Everyone got quite comfortable with the dice mechanic within the first session and I was comfortable enough as the gm by the 3rd session to(hopefully) put more energy into describing the action and environment.

We are continuing the adventure with the online adventure "The Long Arm of the Hutt" and the players are going to convert the pre-generated characters provided with the quick start game to full game rule characters.

The players range from one with only a little rpg experience, two with mostly d20 experience, one with lots of experience but mostly as a gm and one player with extensive knowledge of the Star Wars universe and all seem to be enjoying the game.

So I would say if you like Star Wars(and who doesn't) this is probably worth giving a try, if you like a sci-fi 
you will probably also like this unless you want a hard science game or if you just want a fun and fast game this should hit the mark as well.

As a quick note I got back into the painting mode a bit so bashed out some fantasy figs which I haven't done in a very long time before I switch into continuing painting my 28mm WWII Canadians.

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