Ten Questions About Edge of the Empire

An Overview of FFG's Upcoming Star Wars (TM) Roleplaying Game

“Clear your mind of questions."      –Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

In January, Fantasy Flight Game announced the upcoming release of Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™, a roleplaying game that invites players to experience the thrills and adventures of life on the outskirts and the fringes of the Star Wars galaxy.

Today, we’re pleased to present an overview of this exciting title in the form of ten questions and answers. Many of the concepts overviewed here will be expanded upon in our upcoming series of web previews, but for now, let us guide you through the perils and adventure of the Outer Rim.

What is Edge of the Empire’s setting and theme?

Set just after the destruction of the first Death Star, the Edge of the Empire Roleplaying Game focuses on the grim and gritty portions of the Star Wars universe. Characters exist in places where morality is gray and nothing is certain, and the game’s focus is on those that live on the fringes of both the galaxy and its society.

In thousands of locations across the galaxy, the Core Worlds’ laws and regulations are barely enforced. Such shady locations attract shady characters, but they also lure those independent thinkers and insurgents who seek to break free of Imperial law. In an Edge of the Empire campaign, bounty hunters, smugglers, mercenaries, and explorers may find themselves working alongside doctors, politicians, and scholars. Ply your trade as a smuggler in the Outer Rim, collect bounties on the scum that live in the shadows of Coruscant, or try to establish a new colony on a planet beneath the Empire’s notice!

How is Edge of the Empire related to the other two planned Star Wars games?

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is the first of three epic roleplaying game installments. Each will be a standalone core rulebook, but will be fully compatible with the other two to form a single game system. You will be able to mix and match the elements you enjoy most to tailor your own Star Wars roleplaying experience!

Each of these three planned core rulebooks presents the Star Wars galaxy from a different point of view, and they all take place during the height of the Rebel Alliance’s struggle against the Galactic Empire.

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is the first of these installments, focusing on the fringes of society, the scum and villainy of the galaxy, and the explorers and colonists of the Outer Rim. In the second installment, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, the players take the fight to the oppressive Galactic Empire as cunning spies, cocky pilots, and dedicated soldiers in the Rebel Alliance. Finally, in Star Wars: Force and Destiny, the players become figures of legend. Hunted by the Empire, they must stay alive, and more importantly, stay true to the ideals of their forebears—the fabled Jedi.

How is the Force represented in Edge of the Empire?

Edge of the Empire is set during an age in which the Jedi and their order have all but been eliminated from the galaxy. Still, the Force penetrates and binds all things, and in Edge of the Empire, it is a mysterious power. Even at the height of the Jedi, only a handful of individuals among all sentient life were capable of mastering use of the Force, but after their fall, Force users are truly unique. Edge of the Empire includes rules that allow players to take the roles of Force sensitive exiles, galactic fugitives who must learn how to hide their powers. In order to avoid being discovered and hunted by the Galactic Empire, they rely upon stealth and guile to keep low profiles.

Just as Force users are unique in the galaxy, the mechanics for the Force in Edge of the Empire function differently than the game’s other mechanics. We’ll explore these mechanics further in a future preview, so be sure to check back often.

What sort of characters can I play and what sorts of things am I likely to do?

You will begin by taking the role of one of eight unique species, then you will choose one of six careers (each of which offers three specializations) to create a character as distinctive as your individual play style. As a Bounty Hunter, you might take on the Gadgeteer specialization, and keep a trick up your sleeve for every possible challenge. Or, you might master the wilderness of countless worlds as a Survivalist, and specialize in tracking your prey wherever he chooses to hide. Looking for something more subtle? As a Colonist, you’ll play as one of the Core World’s elite, an educated Imperial citizen seeking a new life far from the bustle of Imperial Center. But will your specialization make you a Doctor, bringing your healing arts to those who need them most, or a Politico, introducing law to the lawless wilds?

Whatever path you choose, you and your fellow fringers will often find yourselves facing any number of challenges, from repairing a damaged starship or slicing your way past a security panel to exchanging blaster fire with hired gunmen out to collect a bounty. With little law or order on the Outer Rim, you must rely on your innate abilities, trained skills, and special talents to survive. With eight species, six careers, eighteen specializations, and countless other defining characteristics, your character creation options are limited only by your own imagination.

What is Obligation and how does it work?

One of the cornerstones of the Edge of the Empire experience, Obligation represents a debt, nemesis, duty, or other motivating factor that drives your character’s efforts on the fringes of galactic society. After all, while many beings venture to the Outer Rim to satisfy a pioneering spirit of exploration, others are not so free. Obligation is a mechanical and narrative concept, established during character creation, that answers one all-important question: Why are you here?

Whether it’s blackmail, favors owed to a crime boss, or good old-fashioned debt, Obligation is the shadowy predator that stalks you throughout your successes and failures. A group may share the same Obligation, or it may be a deeply personal factor in each character’s background; it may be a tangible entity such as spice addiction, or something deeper like an unpaid favor to a dear friend. Over the course of a campaign, however, it’s always there, putting pressure on the group and providing the Game Master with a range of useful and engaging plot hooks.

Why does Edge of the Empire use custom dice?

The custom dice used during games of Edge of the Empire are designed to permit gameplay not possible with standard polyhedral dice, and these mechanics help make Edge of the Empire a wholly new roleplaying experience in the Star Wars universe.

The use of standard polyhedral dice encourages a system built around relatively binary results; players and GMs compare numerical totals against their targets, and they determine whether each action results either in success or failure. Edge of the Empire dice also permit the clear determination of the success or failure of each action, but their unique symbols allow groups to simultaneously track whether each action has favorable or unfavorable peripheral effects. Sometimes, these peripheral effects can be as important as the success or failure of the action itself.

What’s more, rather than adjusting and tracking large series of dice modifiers, GMs can simply add or remove dice from a player’s pool. This also makes the system more intuitive, and additional beneficial dice become a more tangible reward.

What do I need to own in order to play?

Beginning an Edge of the Empire game requires very few materials. Besides a copy of the Core Rulebook, players will need pencils or pens and copies of the character sheets found in the book or on FFG’s website. The group will also need access to one or more standard 10-sided dice, which are used for Critical Hits and Critical Injuries. Two standard 10-sided dice per player is recommended.

The players and Game Master should also own the special custom dice designed specifically to manage the unique task resolution system used in the game:

  • Packs of dice (seen at the right) will be available for purchase at local hobby game retailers or on our webstore.
  • Each Edge of the Empire Beginner Game comes with a set of dice.
  • Players can purchase the Star Wars Dice app for iOS, Android, and Kindle devices.

However, if these dice are not available, a chart in the Core Rulebook shows how players can use standard six-sided, eight-sided, and twelve-sided dice.

While it’s not necessary in order to play, the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Game Master’s Kit (below) includes a GM screen that keeps a host of useful pieces of information right at the GM’s fingertips during gaming sessions, and will be available when Edge of the Empire releases!

What sort of content is included in the Core Rulebook?

The 448-page hardcover Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook includes complete rules for character creation and advancement (including eight species, six careers, and eighteen specializations!), gear and equipment, combat, vehicles and starships, details on the Star Wars setting, a complete adventure, and much more.

To see exactly what is included and how much of it there is, download the Table of Contents (pdf, 2.1 MB) by clicking the link to the right!

What did the beta accomplish for this game, and how is this game different from the beta?

The Edge of the Empire Beta was a stripped-down presentation of the core rules and mechanics that the design team used to test the basic structure of the game, including the skill mechanics, character concepts, character generation, and the game’s most important gear. To put the focus on those elements the design team wanted to submit for public testing, the Beta eliminated a lot of helpful content about setting and backgrounds, as well as extra vehicles, spaceships, weapons, and gear.

That said, players who took part in the Edge of the Empire Beta contributed valuable insight that helped the design team adjust a lot of the game’s rules. While the basic framework and rules remained relatively unchanged, the designers reviewed the comments about a wide variety of individual rules, then balanced and tweaked them so that the Edge of the Empire core experience would better fit their vision for the game.

The 224-page softcover beta, pictured above, provided invaluable feedback for the upcoming Core Rulebook.

The result is a beautiful 448-page hardcover Core Rulebook that includes:

  • Convenient charts of weapons, gear, devices, starships, and vehicles
  • Rules for conflict, combat, and Force Sensitive Exiles in an Edge of the Empire campaign
  • Extensive background information on the Star Wars universe, its systems, laws, and criminal organizations
  • A wealth of advice for GMs on how to create and run an Edge of the Empire campaign
  • A complete, introductory adventure to launch players into action
  • And much more!

How is the Core Rulebook related to the Beginner Game?

The Beginner Game, seen above, is a simpler version of the Edge of the Empire Roleplaying Game.

While both games use the same dice and the same core dice mechanic, the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game is a simpler and easier-to-learn version of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. In short, it is designed to be ideal for players new to roleplaying games, and therefore offers only the content necessary to that goal.

Players of the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game will find that the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook unlocks whole new worlds and fantastic opportunities for adventure. Whereas the Beginner Game is designed to introduce players to the most basic concepts of roleplaying in a Star Wars setting, the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook provides all the materials that players and GMs need in order to continue their adventures or begin new ones.

The Core Rulebook’s rules for character creation and advancement allow players to invent unique characters to suit their tastes, and its rules for character Obligations and motivations add layers of excitement and engender storytelling. With additional careers, weapons, ships, talents, and much more, the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook provides a more comprehensive roleplaying experience than the Beginner Game.

Prepare for Adventure

Get ready for life as an outlaw, a scoundrel, a colonist, or one of the many other characters living at the fringes of the galaxy. You’ll need your wits, your blaster, and your companions because action and adventure await those who live at the Edge of the Empire.

Look for the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook, Roleplay Dice, and Game Master’s Kit to arrive at retailers everywhere in the second quarter of 2013!

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