A Look at Building Epic Adversaries and Campaigns for Edge of the Empire (TM)
“Stopped they must be. On this all depends. Only a fully trained Jedi Knight with the Force as his ally will conquer Vader and his Emperor.” –Yoda
Every great hero deserves a worthy adversary. In fact, many would claim that a hero is only as memorable as the enemies he faces. Fortunately for those players and GMs interested in the Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Roleplaying Game, there are few places with more amazing heroes and villains than the Star Wars universe.
From the moment Darth Vader first strides through the battle-strewn hallways of the Tantive IV until the moment when Luke Skywalker confronts a hunched and cackling Emperor Palpatine, the original Star Wars trilogy dazzles with its depiction of noble heroes and black-hearted villains. As fully as the exciting battles and drama that surrounds them, such characters are responsible for lifting the Star Wars movies to epic heights. They are an integral part of what it means for something to be a part of the Star Wars universe.
Accordingly, the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook and the Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Game Master’s Kit offer plenty of advice for creating truly epic villains to challenge the heroes in your campaign. These tips are included among the nearly one-hundred forty pages of materials the two resources devote to fleshing out your Edge of the Empire campaigns.
Our last preview explored the ways that a GM can use the game’s unique dice system, its Obligation and Motivation mechanics, and the Destiny pool to shape an Edge of the Empire adventure during a session and create a highly customized, story-driven, and player-focused experience. Most of the advice we reviewed comes from Chapter Nine of the Core Rulebook, “The Game Master,” and it’s full of useful advice once again as we turn our attention toward structuring adventures, developing larger campaigns, and inventing the epic nemesis who will raise your campaign to greatness.
The word “nemesis” means two things in Edge of the Empire. First, it is the name of one of the categories of NPCs found in the game.Minion Minions are the most common adversaries encountered in the Star Wars universe. These are nameless individuals who provide muscle to flesh out encounters. Their only real threat is in numbers, and a minion is not expected to stand toe-to-toe with a Player Character. Example: Pirate Crew Rival Rivals are more dangerous than minions but still inferior to most Player Characters. Rivals are very similar to Player Characters in many respects, being generally more innately gifted and well trained than minions. They operate individually rather than in groups, but they are generally less skilled than the PCs, seldom possessing more than two ranks in any one skill. Example: Imperial Stormtrooper Sergeant Nemesis The nemesis is the opposite of the Player Character. They are identical to them in virtually every respect and frequently possess a number of talents, high characteristics, and skills. Additionally, their equipment can often rival that of even the most well supplied parties. Example: Forsaken Jedi
However, the word can also refer to a campaign’s major villain, one who thwarts the Player Characters at key turns, haunts their movements, and earns their ire. This is the type of “nemesis” that truly engages players and drives their imaginations.
Accordingly, “The Game Master” helps GMs imagine some of the details that may make their Nemeses stand out from crowd of NPCs that the Player Characters encounter through the course of their adventures. It can also help you identify whether you’d prefer to run a liner or non-linear campaign, and as you structure your campaign, you’ll find some of the best opportunities to work with your group’s nemeses.
GMs who pick up the Edge of the Empire Game Master’s Kit will find six more pages of useful insight into the nature of the nemesis. What type of nemesis will provide the best challenge for the Player Characters in your campaign? How will the story of your nemesis intertwine with the Player Characters’ actions? How will your nemesis change over the course of the story and his interactions with the Player Characters? Addressing these questions, and others, can help you develop a truly awesome adversary for your campaign’s heroes.
In the end, Star Wars isn’t just about space battles, blasters, and Stormtroopers. It’s epic because it’s full of rich, compelling characters, and an Edge of the Empire campaign typically culminates in a climactic confrontation between the Player Characters and their primary nemesis, winner takes all. That’s why you want to make sure your nemesis is the sort of character your players love to hate, and that’s why the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook and Game Master’s Kit offer so many pages of helpful information to guide you through the process of creating a truly memorable villain.
The Expanded Galaxy
Once you dream up the main plot points and villains of your campaign, you’ll need to flesh in some of the details. Fortunately, the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook contains nearly one-hundred pages of setting and background information about the galaxy and its laws and societies.
Chapter Ten, “The Galaxy,” addresses noteworthy hyperlanes, planets, and history from the Deep Core to the edges of Wild Space. It explores the differences between the Core Worlds, the Colonies, the Inner Rim, the Outer Rim, and more. Divided into twenty useful sections, this chapter can help players better shape their characters and offers GMs a wealth of campaign ideas, as well as interesting locales for adventures.
Meanwhile, Chapter Eleven, “Law and Society,” is full of information about the Empire, Black Sun, the Hutts, and other key galactic societies can help players and GMs identify a framework for their actions. Player Characters don’t live in a lawless vacuum. Rather, they live and adventure on the edges of a society bound by definite Imperial laws, and this chapter explores those laws, as well as the operations of the black market, criminal organizations, and the Rebellion.
It’s All in the Details
As you explore the opportunities for Edge of the Empire roleplay beyond the game’s published adventures, you’ll find that the Core Rulebook offers you a tremendous wealth of resources to transform your group’s Player Characters into the central figures of an epic Star Wars space fantasy.
You can devise your own plot, or take your lead from a character’s Obligation. You can send the Player Characters on missions that range across numerous systems, leading them from the Outer Rim to the Deep Core and back. You can challenge them with numerous minions, rivals, and nemeses. You can develop major villains that rival the likes of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Jabba the Hutt.
We love Star Wars because of how it captures our imaginations. We remember the blue and orange hues of the carbonite chamber as Luke Skywalker dueled Darth Vader. We remember Darth Vader’s imposing silhouette and his mechanical respiration. We remember Han Solo’s witty banter, Boba Fett’s terse confidence, and Jabba the Hutt’s slow, menacing laughter. And as you work to introduce such notable characters and moments into your campaign, you’ll find support from the wealth of information and guidance in the Core Rulebook and Game Master’s Kit.
It’s not too early to start dreaming up your Star Wars campaign. The Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook and Game Master’s Kit are on their way, so head to your local retailer to pre-order yours today!