The Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Beginner Game is nearly here! The perfect starting point for roleplaying adventures in the Star Wars galaxy, the beginner game includes a complete, learn-as-you-go adventure, plus all the references and components three to five players need to experience it.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve explored what new players can expect when opening their Beginner Game and we’ve discussed the core dice mechanic that gives Edge of the Empire its unique narrative focus. Today, we’ll continue our tour with a deeper look at the game’s detailed Character Folios, and we’ll focus on what happens when a Hero Player is ready to take his character to the next level.
In our first preview, we were introduced to Pash, the roguish smuggler with a more than a few Imperial entanglements under his belt. We caught a glimpse of the first two pages of his Character Folio, which provide a guide to the custom dice system, an overview of each player’s turn, and all of Pash’s starting skills, characteristics, and equipment.
Tempting us from the lower right corner of that first spread, however, were the words “Stop Here: Don’t turn the page until instructed to by the GM.” But under what circumstance would the Game Master give such instructions? And what exactly happens when he does?
Turning the Page
Before we answer that, let’s first meet Lowhhrick, a hired gun whose considerable size makes him a valuable ally when diplomacy fails. As we can see below, Lowhhrick’s strengths lies in skills like Athletics, Resilience, and Brawl.
Although he’s a disciplined pilot with some weapons experience, he truly shines in close-quarters combat, where he can grapple with his foes or slash them with his vibro-axe.
As with Pash, the first spread of Lowhhrick’s Character Folio (seen above) shows the Wookiee as he is at the start of the adventure. At some point in his journeys (based on instructions provided in the Adventure Book), the Game Master will inform Lowhhrick’s player that he’s earned his first ten experience points (XP). Then, it will be time to turn the page.
This exciting moment represents the first time that Lowhhrick’s player will have a hand in his character’s development. While in-game narrative decisions like where to hide and which Gamorrean to attack can have important consequences, how a player spends his experience is even more vital. It speaks to his personal playstyle, and it permanently shapes his character in a way that will affect every subsequent encounter.
This first advancement, therefore, presents the process of XP expenditure in the most basic terms possible. Lowhhrick’s player has ten points to spend, and a relatively (compared to later advancements) narrow list of choices.
Lowhhrick’s player can now “purchase” one or more of four upgrades, in any combination totaling ten experience points. If he’s especially partial to his vibro-axe, he could simply spend them all on his Melee Skill, improving his dice pool for all melee-based attacks. Otherwise, he can select any two of the Coerce Skill, Toughened Talent, or Feral Strength Talent (of course, these options are different for each character). As the two-page spread above shows, depending on the choices Lowhhrick’s player makes, he’ll also circle or check the applicable sections of his character sheet.
Let’s imagine, for example, that Lowhhrick’s player enjoys close-quarters combat with his bare hands. He might therefore place a checkmark next to the Toughened Talent for five experience points, increasing his wound threshold to 19. Wanting to give as good as he gets, he might also check the Feral Strength Talent, adding +1 to his damage for both his vibro-axe and his fists.
Did Lowhhrick’s player make the right choice? Only time (and the circumstances of the story) will tell, but he may well have cause to ponder the road untraveled. Since he didn’t select the Coerce Skill upgrade, Lowhhrick’s player should circle the less favorable dice pool in the “Coerce Skill” row of his Skills section. Having not chosen the Melee Skill upgrade either, he’ll do the same in both the “Melee Skill” row of the Skill section and the dice pool for his vibro-axe. With these selections made and recorded, Lowhhrick is now ready to continue his adventures in Mos Shuuta, for better or worse.
One of the included maps depicts a Mos Shuuta cantina where Lowhhrick must hide from a band of Gamorrean thugs. As deceit is not his strong suit, perhaps posing as a bartender isn’t the best idea. Perhaps he should have opted for using his athletics skill to climb into the rafters.
Looking Toward the Future
Beyond this two-page spread in the Character Folio awaits yet another, with even broader and more open-ended opportunities for character advancement. In fact, the final two pages of Lowhhrick’s Character Folio exist solely to lay the groundwork for adventures beyond “Escape from Mos Shuuta”!
For more on that, however, you’ll have to check back. If you’ve been following this exciting upcoming release, you might be wondering whether the fun ends if and when your group finishes the included adventure. In our next preview, we’ll see how the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game can be used to enjoy even more adventures in a galaxy far, far away!