This topic will really only be of interest to those players who, like myself, have experience with the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition game that FFG produced and that was, in fact, designed by the same fellow (the very excellent Jay Little, who I was pleased to have the chance to chat with at GenCon).
When FFG announced its intention to do a Star Wars role-playing game, I was immediately curious about what form it would take. Would they follow in the footsteps of Black Industries' work on the 40K line, which FFG has since inherited? Or would the new game follow a design closer to that of WFRP3E, an FFG original game.
I would have been happy with either answer, since I like both product lines. However, I did have one gripe with WFRP3E, and that was the extremely component-heavy nature of the game in its first incarnation, that huge boxed set. I found that we needed a ton of table space for the game, and it was often time-consuming to manage large combats because I was often juggling a bunch of action cards, timing tokens and so on.
In my ideal world, a new Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight would use the great "narrative dice" design philosophy while almost completely removing the excessive components of WFPR3E. Well, from what little we know so far, it does look like my ideal world is the one that came to pass, as the final retail release of EotE has been described as a book (and not a boxed set), which, as far as I can tell from reading EotE, will use custom dice and little else in terms of components.
(Though I admit I will miss those nifty Wound cards that you can flip over to reveal a critical – that was pretty slick.)
So it looks like we won't have to deal with action cards, all the various mini cards for corruption, mutation, insanity and so on, the timing counters for action cooldown and the management of such concepts as Aggression, Cunning and Expertise on monsters. Fantastic. These were all things that slowed me down as a GM and I won't miss them. I want my Star Wars game to move fast, maybe even frantic, as the character race form danger into danger while my John Williams soundtrack blares with heroic blasts of brass in the background. More than maybe any RPG out there, Star Wars has cinematic melodrama in its DNA, and the rules need to reflect that.
So, I'm very encouraged by the small glimpses I've had into the new Edge of the Empire game, and I'm looking forward to taking it to my table.
How about you guys? I'd be curious to hear the thoughts of those how have played WFRP3E and have been able to make a comparison with EotE.
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Same. I liked the dice in WFRP3, but stopped running it after a while because of component fatigue (I realise that's a matter of preference).
From what I've learnt about EotE so far, I also like how they dropped stances and shrunk the pools by having the ability dice convert to proficiency dice. Not to mention it adds another narrative to the table IMO (Brawn 4 / Melee 1 character and Brawn 1 Melee 4 character both roll 3 greens and 1 yellow, but their performance comes from different sources, thus allowing me to interpret advantages/threats in an interesting way). Good stuff!
Can't wait to get the book! :)
I read the hell out of those rules and watched a handful of WHF3e videos, but never found the traction with local players, so I have hands off experience with the game. But I loved all the dice, and the Cunning/Expertise/Aggresion or however those NPCs were calculated, I thought that was incredible. The idea that the NPCs run out of narrative importance and after a few rounds become pushovers makes me think of cartoons, where the villain is unstoppable until the heroes find their weakness then it's all over -- BAM! No d*cking around! And I love resource allocation games, be they video board or card, why shouldn't I like them in an RPG? In fact, most RPGs do have resources, like spell slots/magic points, hero points, powers/day etc, so I thought it was pretty nifty.
Now, you're totally right, Star Wars should prolly be one of the most frantic games to play out there, RPG wise. SAGA had a lot of wonderful things going for i, but frantic was not one of them. So far, the new Marvel Heroic RPG seems to do SW the best, but I think this FFG rendition has a lot of potential. I could totally see our group printing up some wound cards, though. I love the idea of physically holding your health in your very own hands. I'll probably also use distance tokens, if the rules use similar range rules to WHF3e.
I keep track of my campaigns on obsidian portal, some more than others… same screen name if you're interested in hunting down the game logs etc
Comparing WFRP 3ed to Edge of the Empire demonstrates how much FFG learned from Warhammer. Some of the differences between the two games I think improve Edge of the Empire, but there are other things I miss from WFRP 3ed.
As many people have probably noticed the number of components (action cards, talent cards, tracking tokens, etc.) is greatly reduced. You can truly play Edge of the Empire with nothing more than dice and character sheets. This makes for quicker set up and breakdown, and honestly, probably makes the game more appealing to a casual observer (but this is just speculation on my part).
Star Wars games don’t need complex rules for disease or insanity. You could easily add these to a game, but I do not think these are as necessary for a Star Wars game as they are for a Warhammer game. Star Wars probably does need rules for some form of corruption in the sense of being tempted by the dark side of the force, but those are not explored in Edge of the Empire.
A/C/E budgets and the fortune pool on the party sheet have in some ways been combined into the Destiny pool. GMs no longer have to track how many A/C/E dice her NPCs have, she can just look at the Destiny pool to spend Destiny Points, which do many of the same things that A/C/E dice accomplished. Similarly, GMs don’t have to track when to give PCs fate points. It is now automatic. If the GM spends a dark side Destiny Point, the PCs get a light side Destiny Point, simple and straightforward. When running games, I often prefer systems that automatically reward players with resources as opposed to ones where I have to track when to award those resources.
Like Venthrac, I really enjoyed the damage/critical injury system from WFRP 3ed. This system was even incorporated into the fantastic X-Wing Miniatures game by Jay Little. Sadly, the system has not quite been incorporated fully in Edge of the Empire. In terms of recovery from critical injuries, the system is similar to WFRP 3ed, but otherwise it is fairly different. I’m still reserving judgment because I’ve only played one session so far, but performing a roll and look up for critical injuries seems like it could slow down what otherwise is a fast paced and engaging combat system. I really enjoyed pulling cards from the wound deck in WFRP 3ed as it kept things moving. Maybe a POD expansion could give us a critical injury deck.
The minion, henchman, and nemesis rules in WFRP 3ed have been carried over nicely into Edge of the Empire. Minions have received a slight tweak that grants them skills based on the number of minions in a group, but otherwise it is very similar. I enjoy the fact that minions act in groups and that damage is never wasted on a minion. Not only do players not feel like they wasted a good damage result on a minion, but it also helps them understand that their action is more than just one swing of a vibroaxe or one shot from a blaster. This rule reinforces the fact that an action could be several shots from a blaster or a rapid exchange of swings from a vibroaxe.
Opposed checks are also more straightforward in Edge of the Empire. No longer do players compare the relevant characteristic to determine if the two are equal, greater, but not more than twice as much, or lesser, but not more than half as much. Instead, the active player adds dice based on her characteristic and difficulty dice for the opposing characteristic. Simple and straightforward.
The last issue is perhaps a technical point and others may not have an issue with it. It can be resolved fairly easily by acknowledging that in Edge of the Empire the individual dice in the dice pool are not directly representing something about the character, like they do in WFRP 3ed.
One thing I am struggling with is the switch from expertise dice to proficiency dice. In WFRP 3ed a character adds her characteristic dice, converts based on stance, then adds expertise dice. These dice each mean something different and success on these dice mean something different. One of my favorite sidebars from WFRP 3ed can be found on p. 23 of the Tome of Adventure (p. 27 of the GMs Guide). This shows how success can be interpreted differently based purely on what dice show success symbols. Some of this is lost in Edge of the Empire because the dice pool is composed of a number of green Ability dice based on the higher of the skill or characteristic, and a number of these are upgraded to Proficiency dice based on the lower of the skill or characteristic. Where as expertise dice in WFRP 3ed always represent a character’s skill, proficiency dice do not always represent a character’s skill. It is perhaps a minor issue, but some of the ability to narrate based on what dice show what symbols is lost in Edge of the Empire.
On a related note, the critical success symbol (the Triumph) only appears on the Proficiency die (similar to Sigmar’s Comet only on the expertise die). But the Proficiency die is added for different reasons depending on the dice pool. This means that sometimes a character’s characteristic can generate a critical success and sometimes it cannot, depending on the skill the character is using.
Given that there will be a significant lapse between SW core releases, I'm wondering if I might be able to get some additional use out of my pile of WFRP stuff. Sadly, my WFRP group scattered to the corners of the globe for the foreseeable future, so being able to make some lemonade out of my sour lemons with Star Wars might be pretty cool.
To that end, how are actions parsed out in Star Wars? Will it be simple enough for me to take some cross-applicable actions and talents from WFRP (stuff like Sudden Knife or Chink in the Armor) and do a passable conversion to a SW Action?
For stuff like the critical wound tables, it might be fun to throw together an expansion for Strange Eons so that people can add a little bit of clunk to their games by having a critical deck (I never dealt wound cards in WFRP unless there was a critical involved anyway). Might even be able to pull over some severe wounds and begin lopping off hands in cantinas :-)
"One fled, one dead, one sleeping on a golden bed" ~ Rogues in the House, R.E. Howard
Where as expertise dice in WFRP 3ed always represent a character’s skill, proficiency dice do not always represent a character’s skill. It is perhaps a minor issue, but some of the ability to narrate based on what dice show what symbols is lost in Edge of the Empire.
I initially had the same reaction. The more I think about it though, this isn't actually lost.
A character with brawn 3 melee 1 makes an attack. In this case the ability dice represent his natural strength, and the proficiency die represents the edge he gets due to his training. The other side of the coin, a character with melee 3 brawn 1, is the opposite - the ability dice represent his melee weapon training, while the proficiency die represents the edge he gains due to his brawn.
It's not as intuitive/obvious as the WFRP system, but you can still make those sorts of interpretations of the dice, and in some ways it's even more empowering because there is a bit more flexibility in the interpretation.
I completely agree with you gribble I think it is just my personal hangup. The more I play Edge of the Empire the more accustomed to it I'm sure I will become.
I do wonder how they make all the difference between actions if they have got rid of the action cards. Do you just have to make it all up yoursel'?
I think a lot of the differences between actions will be handled by the talents. Instead of an action card that allows a player to spend a Triumph to do X, a character will have a talent that allows a player to spend a Triumph or a Destiny Point to do X. Also, the game adopts the houses rule many WFRP 3ed game sues where every success counts as additional damage. Talent cards might make a great POD expansion for those of us who want to have them though.
On a somewhat related note, I think I like the fact that action cards have been removed. For some of my players there're was always a sense that their action cards represented THE things they could do. Obviously, WFRP 3ed allowed players to try almost anything, but there is a certain mentality that can come with handing players a menu of choices. Sometimes, they forget that they can do things outside of that menu.
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