What is Your Signature Move?
An Edge of the Empire: Dangerous Covenants Designer Diary
With three new specializations, new equipment and vehicle options for all players, and advice for GMs, Dangerous Covenants will turn any Edge of the Empire player into a force to be reckoned with. Dangerous Covenants also introduces signature abilities for Hired Guns. For more on these abilities, we turn to developer Sam Stewart.
A Word From the Developer
When it comes to a fight, the Hired Gun is likely the most dangerous character in the room. Thus, it stands to reason that their signature abilities only make them that much more deadly.
Generally, when we design signature abilities, we create one that is more narrative in design, and one that is more mechanical.
The narrative ability allows the player to pretty much re-write the ongoing story, changing a crucial plot point in some way. The mechanical ability is equally powerful, but designed to enhance the player’s character within the rules. Thus, in Enter the Unkown (the supplement for Explorer characters) the two signature abilities were Sudden Discovery and Unmatched Mobility.
Sudden Discovery allowed characters to immediately come across some lost item or location, avoiding long and potentially tedious trips through dianoga-infested swamps or frozen tundras.
Unmatched Mobility, on the other hand, granted characters the ability to use a third maneuver in a turn. This is equally powerful, but focused on the mechanical side of the game, rather than the narrative side.
Signature Abilities for Hired Guns
In Dangerous Covenants we did the same thing, and since this is the book for Hired Guns, we decided to focus on combat. We also decided to break the two signature abilities down into two further focuses—offense and defense. To that end, we created Last One Standing and Unmatched Protection.
Last One Standing lets Hired Gun players reenact every glorious last stand depicted in books and film—and still walk away. If the character activates this signature ability, he eliminates every minion in the current encounter. How he does it is up to the player. The Hired Gun could decimate them with heavy blaster fire, cooly shoot them from afar with precision sniper shots, or take them on hand-to-hand in a blaze of martial fury.
In contrast, Unmatched Protection makes the Hired Gun close to invincible. This ability halves incoming damage from certain attacks, meaning that if he’s lucky, the Hired Gun can walk through explosions or shrug off disruptor shots. Unmatched Protection can even allow the Hired Gun to help bodyguard his allies, taking shots meant for them, then reducing the damage with his ability.
Both of these abilities are extremely potent, although GMs can ensure they allow their players to use them without overwhelming the game. Last One Standing, for example, specifically eliminates minions (and can be upgraded to eliminate one to two rivals), but cannot effect Nemeses. It also, importantly, takes the Hired Gun out of the encounter for two rounds. GMs can create situations where the Hired Gun needs to eliminate the hordes of minions while his allies deal with some rivals, nemeses, or both. Alternatively, the Hired Gun can engage in a desperate holding action while his allies complete some equally vital task such as hotwiring a starship or stealing a valuable corusca gem from a vault.
Likewise, Unmatched Protection makes the Hired Gun nearly invincible (for a couple rounds, anyway), but still is designed so the player has to think quickly to get the most out of it. For example, the Hired Gun may have to distract or taunt an especially dangerous enemy, convincing it to attack him instead of his somewhat more vulnerable friends. In addition, the Hired Gun can still be overwhelmed by shear volume of fire, so must take care not to become outnumbered.
With a little thought and planning, these signature abilities can generate incredibly fun and cinematic highlights in the middle of a campaign. Have fun with them!
Thanks, Sam! Pre-order Dangerous Covenants at your local retailer today, and keep checking back for more news and previews for Dangerous Covenants and Star Wars roleplaying games!
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