Adventures on the Outer Rim is the umbrella term that I’m using to refer to the loosely linked series of trilogies and one-shots for the FFG Star Wars RPGs that I’m going to be running over the next year and possibly beyond. When I first signed on with the Tides of Change FB group, a community dedicated to running Star Wars games Continue reading “What is Adventures on the Outer Rim?”
I thought that I’d put a post up today to give a shoutout to an excellent game I’m playing in at the moment, the ‘Heart of the Empire’ game GMed by Michael Lashambe, it’s a Star Wars game (run under the auspices of the Tides of Change group) using the Age of Rebellion rules from Fantasy Flight Games. In it we play a motley cell of rebels who had just arrived on the Hoth garrison shortly before the famous Imperial attack (as seen in the movie Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back), without any idea of where the rebel fleet was meeting, we stolen a Lambda class shuttle and fled the system, heading to the nearest rebel base that we knew of.
When you make a character in one of the FFG Star Wars games (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion or Force and Destiny) you receive a baseline of characteristics determined by your race and than an amount of experience points to spend on improving characteristics, buying specialisations and other such things. Droids start off with all of their characteristics at one and you have to spend to buy them up whereas other races generally have some slightly higher scores in that species area of expertise. I’ve seen a few forum posts decrying the droid build saying that you can only be as good as a non-droid character in a relatively narrow area of expertise, TBH I have no idea if this is true or not since my own choice of droids as a species has nothing whatsoever to do with the characteristics that you get. Continue reading “Why I love droids in FFGs Star Wars games”
So I played Edge of Empire for the first time earlier today (you can see the video of the hangout here), great game hosted by Runeslinger and I really enjoyed it; the game uses dice with special symbols on them to build up a narrative around a dice roll rather than a simple success/failure dichotomy. I love this as an idea and think it could be adapted to be used with Fate.
This is by no means a tested system, just a few ideas I’m jotting down whilst they’re in my head, I might revisit it later when I have more time to playtest.
Okay so you’ll need some knowledge of the EoE dice mechanic to understand this but here goes…
Dice: Instead of rolling 4DF you choose a number of green ability dice equal to your skill/approach; for each stunt you have that is applicable to the situation you upgrade one of your dice pool to a yellow proficiency dice.
You then add a number of purple difficulty dice equal to the difficulty of the task (as per the EoE book) if unopposed, or equal to the opponents skill/approach if they are directly opposing you.
For each stunt the opposing NPC (if applicable) has that applies to the situation one of the purple dice is upgraded to a red challenge dice.
If you have an aspect that is applicable you can spend a Fate Point to add a blue boost dice to your roll, these are also added for other beneficial conditions; for every negative condition or aspect/fate point combo the GM uses you add a black setback dice.
You then roll the dice pool and determine results as per the EoE rulebook; I haven’t considered what the various extra symbols (triumph, despair) could be spent on yet.
Fate points: Characters get Fate points as normal, although if you wanted to represent an ebb-and-flow in the way destiny points work in EoE, you could combine the player Fate Points into a single pool; when they spend a FP from the pool it goes straight into the GMs fate point pool, and when the GM spends a FP the spent points go into the players pool.
Compels: These would work as per the Fate rulebooks, however you could also accept additional setback dice in your pool in return for fate points.
Every year my FLGS Spirit Games hosts a gaming convention at the local town hall called Beer & Pretzels; I normally have a wander down each year and this year was no exception, after trundling down to the store to buy Age of Rebellion myself and Hannah (my lovely wife) headed back to the town hall and stopped in.
There is normally far more wargaming and boardgaming than RP that goes on at the convention, it’s good fun if you love those things, but as anyone who knows me will tell you, my wargaming years are far behind me and i’ve never really been one for boardgames; the idea of spending hours allocating resources and pushing playing pieces around a board may be some peoples idea of fun (and if you love that stuff, go for it, have fun) but to me it sounds like being trapped in some unfathomable level of hell (that’s right i’m looking at you Settlers of Catan). However today I was feeling decidely chipper with an excellent one-shot of Edge of Empire under my belt, a great number of energy drinks quaffed and the prospect of purchasing a copy of Age of Rebellion in the near future, so my wife persuaded me to give some boardgames a go.
I must say that in the few hours we spent there I actually had a great deal of time, perhaps my previous grumblings about board/card games (except Battlestar Galactica and Family Business, those games are ace) were unfounded, or rather only applied to a few games in particular.
First of all we played a game called Librium, it’s basically a cool variant on Jenga, where you put cards with slots into a centre card mounted on a magnet (normally stuck on a bottle top or from a pendulum, we bought a set that comes in a can serving as the base – well cool); we actually met the creator there and also spoke to him the previous year, very nice bloke and he gave me a complimentary clear plastic laser-cut keyring which is has now proudly taken it’s place on my big bunch of keys (love a freebie).
We then went on to play a game called Trax which is all about building the longest line of your colour out of tiles in an eight-by-eight grid, i’m sad to say that this game looked a lot more fun than it turned out to be; originally it looked like there was a limit on the types of patterns you had on your tiles but it turned out each one was double sided and had the same design. It was an interesting concept but not one I’ll be racing back to revisit.
Myself and Hannah then returned this game to the extensive lending library of games that is provided at Beer & Pretzels (a great feature of the convention that, whilst not possible at larger cons, does make B&P stand out) and pulled out a game called Forbidden Island.
Forbidden Island turned out to be an excellent co-op game where you race as a team (playing randomly dealt character each with a special ability) to collect four mysterious treasures and escape in a helicopter as the island sinks around you. This was a great fun game, simple to understand that we played a number of times, the first we escaped with a sizable time margin, the second we lost because in the first couple of turns Hannah’s character drowned as the part of the island she stood on sank and, if a character goes out of the game then it’s game over. Our friend Guy turned up just as we were about to pack the game away so we had another game, this time missing out by the narrowest of margins, the helipad sinking as we ran towards it; although we’d lost we reversed that turn and did things slightly differently (christening it a ‘directors cut alternate ending’) to see if we could’ve won. Turns out we could have, but I suppose that’s the benefit of hindsight.
Another cool thing was one of my friends from LARP, Andrea turning up and say hello so that was cool; unfortunately Hannah had work to do and I was itching to read some Starwars goodness so we heading home at about 5pm.
Overall a very enjoyable day and, if you’re ever in the Burton area of the UK around this time of year I highly recommend you give Beers & Pretzels a look.
You might be wondering what i’m doing posting at such an early time in the morning (UK time)?
Well, I was lucky enough to playing in my first Edge of Empire game this morning, a one-shot kindly ran by Runeslinger (a member of the RPG Brigade), you can find a link to his youtube channel and blog here; the game was a one-shot and has been recorded on Runeslinger’s channel.
The game featured myself playing Jummuri a Twi’lek smuggler who was trying to find a way to free his tribe from the yoke of Hutt slavery and Shivox a gand seeking to make a name for himself (played by Jason of Mr Mephisto’s Geek Manifesto); this was my first game using the system, I own the corebook for EoE but hadn’t really tried it out yet but was looking forward to giving the game a try, in particular the narrative dice mechanic (dice with a variety of strange symbols) intrigued me.
To summarise the session, we were on Viv station in the Korla Sector, a place known for it’s criminal enterprises but that faced the encroaching darkness of an Imperial presence including a large blockade capable Imperial vessel; a Bothan contact of ours named Rek was supposed to have arranged repairs to our vessel, but they hadn’t been carried out. Eventually we located Rek and it was revealed that he was on the run after falsely being accused of killing the hencman of Hutt crimelord called Jabba; an out of control bounty hunter known for unauthodox disintegrations was on Rek’s tail so he offered to trade ships with us (switching our small Firespray for his customised YT-1200) if we’d provide a distaction whilst he escaped.
We agreed and ended up fleeing the station ahead of bounty hunters tracking Rek (believing him still onboard), at one point even having to make a scary ride into the icy ring of one of the systems planets to shake off someone magnetised to the hull of our new ship and trying to burn their way through. We got barely escaped the icy asteroid belt with our necks, although we did manage to lose our unwanted passenger, only to be confronted by the Imperial blockage ship as the session drew to a cliff-hanging close.
So how did I find the game?
Well without beating around the bush I absolutely loved it, Jason was a pleasure to game with, a great deal of banter developing between his serious and social inept Gand and my smooth talking but ultimately insecure Twi’Lek, Runeslinger had a very engaging style of gamesmastering and was quite willing to take into account suggestions from the players (always a good sign in my book); this lead to a very enjoyable gaming experience that was well worth getting up early and consuming a large quantity of energy drinks for.
The system itself seemed fairly easy to understand (although I think there are some areas where Runeslinger did a lot of the heavy lifting mechanics-wise) and I felt that by the end of the session I was really starting to understand how they worked.
The process was made a great deal easier by the fillable EoE character sheet that I downloaded (you can find it here) and the rules reference sheet (available here) that I got off the internet and had open whilst the game was running.
But what about the funky dice mechanic?
Edge of Empire (and the other FFG starwars games) use special dice with various symbols on them:
I’m not going to go into exhaustive detail about what these dice and all the symbols mean (if you want more of an idea then the reference sheet should help, as well as the books of course) but basically you create a pool of dice, some positive and other negatives, you then roll them and the symbols determine not only whether you succeed or fail but also whether any complication, bonus effects or such-like occur.
I have to admit to being a little skeptical about this at first, any mention of buying special dice tends to make me a little uneasy, however this feeling was eased slightly by my discovery of the Edge of Empire dice app for Google Hangouts; however in game I found that, even by the end of this one-shot, the use of the dice was becoming fairly intuitive and after a few early checks of my reference sheet I was starting to remember the names of the different dice and being able to read the rolls very quickly. The mechanic seemed to add an extra dramatic/narrative element to the game, every time you made a roll it wasn’t just either (A) you’ve succeeded or (B) you’ve failed but it gave the GM guidelines as to how to add extra touches of narration and entertainment into the scenes.
Overall I am very impressed with EoE based on this first play and am going to be playing in a bi-weekly campaign soon which i’m looking forward to; it’s definitely becoming a strong contender for a future campaign (although not for a while since I’ve got a lot of Jadepunk to run first).
What can I say? Daring flights from bounty hunters and whizzing through asteroid fields at death-defying speeds, what better way is there to spend a Saturday morning?