Star Wars Roleplaying Game (Fantasy Flight Games)

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Star Wars
Roleplaying Game
Edge-of-the-Empire-Corerulebook FFG 2013.jpg
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (core rulebook, June 2013), the first of the three standalone games which constitute the FFG Star Wars roleplaying game.
Designer(s) Dave Allen, Shawn Carman and Jay Little
Publisher(s) Fantasy Flight Games
Publication date August 2012 (1st Beta)
June 2013 (1st Edition of the 1st Rulebook)
Genre(s) Science fiction (Space opera)
System(s) Custom

The Star Wars Roleplaying Game is a tabletop role-playing game set in the Star Wars universe first published by Fantasy Flight Games in August 2012. It consists of three different standalone games, each one conceived to play a particular type of character:

  • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (for playing smugglers, bounty hunters, pirates etc.)
  • Star Wars: Age of Rebellion (for playing rebel soldiers and freedom fighters against the evil Galactic Empire)
  • Star Wars: Force and Destiny (for playing the last Jedi Knights under the Empire's rule)

A fourth line, based in the era of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was released in September 2016. It currently only consists of a Beginner Game with no announced plans to expand the line with any other products.[1]

Development[edit]

In the 2000s, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) owned the license for all Star Wars' collectible card and roleplaying games. When the license expired in May of 2010, WotC declined the offer to renew it.[2] In August 2011 Fantasy Flight Games acquired the license to produce Star Wars related games from Lucasfilm Ltd. Upon acquisition, Fantasy Flight announced two Star Wars gaming products: the miniatures game X-Wing and the card game Star Wars: The Card Game.[3] A role-playing game was rumored to be in the works until a year later, in August 2012, when the Fantasy Flight announced the publication of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Edge of the Empire was to be the first standalone game in a series of three, constituting the Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game. The first installment of the "trilogy" was first sold in a beta version (Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beta) in late 2012.[4] The completed version of Edge of the Empire, nearly double the size of the beta, was released on June 25, 2013.[5] Age of Rebellion's beta version was released in October 2013, a beginner set released on April 25, 2014,[6] and the final version of the game, the Age of Rebellion core rulebook, released on July 3, 2014.[7] The third line of products, Star Wars: Force and Destiny, for playing Jedi characters, was released in beta in September 2014.

Fantasy Flight initially drew criticism for releasing a beta version, making people pay twice, and for the extra expense of the unusual custom dice; but reviews after launch were enthusiastic about the dice, with Game Informer saying "In practice, this system offers tremendous flexibility to allow the players to participate in the storytelling process, rather than just waiting for the GM to respond after a die roll. The players talk together about how to interpret a roll of the dice, and shape the results to make the most exciting story. It also speaks strongly to the cinematic nature of the Star Wars universe; characters in the movies often succeed or fail along with potent side effects."[8] and Penny Arcade saying "This dice system is designed to facilitate awesome storytelling and it worked great!"[9]

Beta edition of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (August, 2012).

Release timeline[edit]

In the following release timeline, supplements are not included, however the timeline includes dice sets and the principal rule-containing products from all four lines of standalone games, including beta versions, beginner games, and core rulebooks.

  • August 2012: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beta Version
  • December 2012: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game, a boxed set including the first mass-produced official dice of the game.
  • January 2013: The standalone official dice sets from the game are released.
  • June 2013: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire core rulebook
  • September 2013: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beta Version
  • April 2014: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game
  • July 2014: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion core rulebook
  • July 2014: The official dice sets from the game are re-released, this time with the label Star Wars Roleplaying Dice.
  • September 2014: Star Wars: Force and Destiny Beta Version
  • June 2015: Star Wars: Force and Destiny Beginner Game
  • July 2015: Star Wars: Force and Destiny core rulebook
  • September 2016: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Beginner Game

The setting[edit]

All three installments of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game are set within the time period of the Star Wars original trilogy. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is set shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star, and deals with characters on the fringes of galactic space. Age of Rebellion is set around the time of The Empire Strikes Back, and allows players to join the Rebellion. Like Edge of the Empire, Force and Destiny is set shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star and the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi, when the force sensitive and Jedi slowly start to re-emerge in hopes of rebuilding the Order of the Jedi.

Characters are created by first specifying their species, then their initial profession (a general Career with a narrow Specialization). Players can spend experience points increasing Skills or gaining Talents (special Career-based abilities) gained from their profession. As in some other career-based RPGs your current career and specialization indicates what you do and what skills you can learn easily. Characters can buy other Specializations after character creation and can use the Skills and Talents they grant without closing the character's original Career Specialization. Having a Specialization from the same or a similar career narrows the character's selection of available Career Skills and Talents, while taking a Specialization from a different career widens the field of Career Skills and Talents and rounds the character out more.

The Force Awakens Beginner Game[edit]

The Force Awakens Beginner Game is based upon the era of the 2015 movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with the adventure provided taking place just before the events of the movie. This places the adventure at roughly the same time as of the movie at thirty years after the events of Return of the Jedi.

The system[edit]

Attributes and Skills[edit]

Attributes[edit]

The Attributes are Brawn (Strength), Agility (Dexterity), Intellect (Intelligence), Cunning (Wisdom), Willpower (Mental Focus), and Presence (Charisma). Attribute levels range from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 6. Each character race has different base Attribute levels, though additional levels in each attribute can be gained during or after character creation, at the cost the value of the next level times 10. For instance, a Human who wants to upgrade their Brawn from a base level of 2 to a level of 4 during character creation will pay 30 pts. (3 x 10) for level 3, plus 40 pts. (4 x 10) for level 4 for a total cost of 70 points. Attributes can only be increased after character creation by buying the 25-point Dedication talent on the character's career specialization tree, which raises one Attribute by one level (up to the Attribute maximum of 6).

Strain is a derived attribute based on a Racial minimum plus the character's Will that determines how much physical, mental or emotional stress a character can take before collapsing. Wound Points are a derived attribute based on a Racial minimum plus the character's Brawn that determines how much physical damage a character can take before passing out or slipping into a coma. Soak is the protection granted by the clothing or armor a character is wearing and/or the character's natural toughness.

Skills[edit]

The game's rules assume that all characters have all the listed skills at "zero level" if they do not have a level in it. (A real-life equivalent would be how the average person vaguely knows how to give CPR even if they have never performed it before; meanwhile, a person who took an annual CPR certification course would be qualified to do it correctly and an EMT would be an expert from performing it all the time). The character's default skill level is equal to the skill's governing Attribute score. "Default" skill rolls use one green 8-sided Ability die per Attribute level.

Purchasing a level in a skill makes the character an expert in it. Skill levels can be purchased for five points times the level for career skills, with the additional cost of five additional points for non-career skills. For instance, buying level one in athletics skill would cost no points if it was a selected career or specialty skill during character creation, 5 points (5 x 1 = 5) if it was a non-selected career skill during or after character creation, and 10 points (5 x 1 [+5] = 10) if it was a non-career skill. Buying level two would cost 10 points (5 x 2 = 10) for a selected or non-selected career skill and 15 points (5 x 2 [+5] = 15) for a non-career skill. Skills have a maximum level of five. Regular Skill rolls use a yellow 12-sided proficiency die per Skill level in the place of a green ability die. It can also add an ability die if the skill level is higher than the character's attribute level. For instance, a character with a level of four in computers skill and a level of 5 in Intellect would roll four Proficiency dice and one Ability die. However, a character with a level of five in computers skill and a level of 4 in intellect would still roll four Proficiency dice and 1 Ability die rather than five Proficiency dice.

Templates[edit]

The player begins character design by selecting a Racial Template. Each race has different racial attribute minimums and maximums. Some races also have a free level in a racial skill (usually up to a maximum of Level 2 at creation) or have a racial talent. As an example, humans[10] have a racial template that has a score of 2 in all Attributes and can have any two different skills of the player's choice at the start of play. Characters can also pay points to increase starting wealth (a baseline of 500 credits) or racial advantages.

The player then picks a career, which grants career skills. Then they pick a specialization - which grants more career skills and a specialization tree (which grants specialization-based talents). Characters cannot buy a new career but may buy additional specializations.

Example: The Engineer Career narrows down to the Mechanic, Saboteur, and Scientist Specializations. If a character wishes to buy another Specialization, it costs less for one under their Career than for one under another career. For instance, an Engineer - Mechanic who wants to add the Engineer's Scientist Specialization would pay less than if they wanted to add the Technician's Slicer or Ace's Pilot Specialization.

Career Skills grant the first level free during initial character creation (but cost points later on if a newly purchased career specialization grants them). They also cost less than regular Skills when buying additional levels in them. The character's career grants four Career Skills from the Career template skill list and their career specialization grants two more career Skills from the Specialization template skill list. For instance, an Engineer-Mechanic and Technician-Mechanic have the same specialization tree but have different specialization template career skills to choose from to depict their different character concepts.

Talents are what gamers call "crunchy bits": advantages with cool names (like Gear Head or Hold Together, Baby) that add flavor to a character and either grant bonuses, benefit allies, remove penalties during play, or penalize adversaries. They cost experience points to buy, and must be unlocked in the order they appear on a diagram called a "Specialization Tree" (similar to those found in video games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic). The further down the diagram, the more expensive (and powerful) the Talents become. This means that sometimes a player has to buy Talents that they do not want or require in order to get to desired talents further down the same branch. However, it avoids having the character cherry-pick the more powerful talents and leaving the rest. The player can only buy a talent on the tree once (but can buy it again if it appears elsewhere on the diagram); when the tree is all filled out, the character cannot buy any more talents from that specialization tree.

Talents are split into two groups. "Passive" talents (which have a blue code) denote abilities that are considered always on and can be used for the entire duration of the session. "Active" talents (which have a red code) denote abilities that require a difficulty roll to turn on prior to use, and in some cases can only be used a limited number of times in a given session. Some talents have levels and can be purchased more than once. The talent's levels stack, even if they are bought at different amounts of experience points.

Example: If a character bought three levels of Grit (a Talent that grants a bonus of plus one per level to the character's Strain) from one specialization tree at a total cost of 45 points and bought it at one level on another Specialization Tree at a cost of 10 points, it would stack as four levels of Grit (granting a total of plus four to Strain).

Disadvantages can be taken during character creation to offset point costs. Edge of the Empire has Obligations, something the character is forced or compelled to do. Age of Rebellion has Duties, something the character wants to do. The number of Player Characters in the group set the base disadvantage number, as the Game Master rolls at the beginning of play to see which character's disadvantage will be used during the session. The character can pay off the disadvantage with experience points in gameplay.

Force and Destiny has Morality, which governs how close to slipping over to the Dark Side the Force using character is. Unlike the other two games Morality is governed by a character's actions during gameplay, with conflict being generated whenever they choose to perform a morally questionable action or choose to use the Dark Side of the Force in order to power their abilities. Morality cannot be 'bought' with XP, instead a player wanting to change their alignment must actually role play a more aggressive character to turn Dark, or perform acts of compassion to become a paragon of the Light.

Motivation is the character's guiding principle (a Belief, Personal Connection, or Quest). If the player uses the character's Motivation during gameplay, they get an experience point bonus.

The Custom Dice[edit]

As in Fantasy Flight Games' edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the system requires custom polyhedral dice, or dice modified with stickers to play (the beta version came with stickers to convert ordinary dice of the right size to Star Wars dice).[11]

The custom dice enable the dice having results on two axes; how successful the skill check was, and how lucky the attempt was with other factors–normally only one success on the pass / fail axis is needed to succeed. There are both positive and negative types of dice, which can be added to a roll represent advantages or disadvantages in a skill check.

White Die (The Force Die) (12-sided white die with one or two black or white dots per facet) are used to calculate the number of Force Tokens granted at the beginning of the scenario. The Player Characters' party gets some of one color and the game master gets the tokens of the opposing color. White Tokens (The Light Side) are for the Good Guys and Black Tokens (The Dark Side) are for the Bad Guys; the party's affiliation determines which color they get. Every time a token is used by the party or the game master, it is flipped over to change its color and awards either a bonus die (Green or Yellow) for a character's action, or a penalty die (Purple or Red) for the opposition. The tokens can also be used to change the situation ("I'm drawing my pistol..." "Did you remember to retrieve your pistol when you fell down that hillside last scene?") or cancel out or re-roll an unfavorable result like a fatal hit or pivotal skill-check failure.
Green Dice (Ability Die) (an 8-sided green die with black markings) are based on the character's Attribute level. They only have success, advantage, and blank faces.
Purple Dice (Difficulty Die) (an 8-sided purple die with white markings) are based on the difficulty of the skill roll. They only have failure, threat, and blank faces.
Yellow Dice (Proficiency Die) (an 12-sided yellow die with black markings) indicate the character's level in a skill. Each level in a skill substitutes a yellow die for a green die in a skill roll. The yellow dice are like the green ability dice, except they have a "Triumph" (critical success) result on one face.
Red Dice (Challenge Die) (a 12-sided red die with white markings) are used with an opposing skill level or extreme difficulty. Red dice are like the purple difficulty dice, except they have a "Despair" (critical failure) result on one face.
Blue Dice (Boost Die) (a 6-sided light-blue die with black markings) are used to aid a skill roll due to advantageous factors. They only have success, advantage, and blank faces. Player Characters with equal or greater skill can take an action to aid another Player Character who is using a skill to perform a task by granting them a blue die.
Black Dice (Setback Die) (a 6-sided black die with white markings) are used to penalize a skill roll due to disadvantageous factors. They only have failure, threat, and blank faces.

The results on the dice are Success (explosion symbol)/Failure (caltrop symbol), Advantage (a pip in a wreath)/Threat (a pip on the central facet of a faceted sphere), or Critical Success ("Triumph", a starburst in a circle)/Critical Failure ("Despair", a triangle in a circle). Blank faces confer no benefit or penalty. The result depends on subtracting the lower result from the higher result on an axis. A result of 5 Successes and 3 Failures is a Success of 2. A result of 2 Advantages and 5 Threats is a Threat of 3. However, Triumph and Despair do not cancel each other out and double as a Success or Failure result; a result of no Triumphs and 1 Despair is 1 Critical Failure / +1 normal Failure. These results mean that the character made the Skill roll with a bonus of 1 Success, but suffered 3 Threats and 1 Despair as well. The Game Master would interpret the result to indicate what problems and difficulties would happen next.

For example, a Rebel commando bumps into a squad of Stormtroopers turning around a corner and he shoots his blaster at them. The player rolls the 1 Success, 3 Threats, and 1 Despair from the above example. His blaster shot hits (1 Success) and does the blaster rifle's base damage +1 (from the number of Successes). The Game Master interprets the negative results to mean that the commando suffers 1 point of Strain (1 Threat), suffers 1 Black Die on the next skill roll (2 Threats), and the power cell in his blaster ran out and needs to be reloaded (1 Despair).

Careers and Specializations[edit]

Edge of the Empire[edit]

  • Bounty Hunter: Assassin, Gadgeteer, Survivalist, Martial Artist, Operator, Skip Tracer
  • Colonist: Doctor, Politico, Scholar, Entrepreneur, Marshal, Performer
  • Explorer: Fringer, Scout, Trader, Archaeologist, Big-Game Hunter, Driver
  • Hired Gun: Bodyguard, Marauder, Mercenary Soldier, Demolitionist, Enforcer, Heavy
  • Smuggler: Pilot, Scoundrel, Thief, Charmer, Gambler, Gunslinger
  • Technician: Mechanic, Outlaw Tech, Slicer, Cyber Tech, Droid Tech, Modder
  • Universal: Force Sensitive Exile

Age of Rebellion[edit]

  • Ace: Driver, Gunner, Pilot, Beast Rider, Hotshot, Rigger
  • Commander: Commodore, Squadron Leader, Tactician, Figurehead, Instructor, Strategist
  • Diplomat: Agitator, Ambassador, Quartermaster, Advocate, Analyst, Propagandist
  • Engineer: Mechanic, Saboteur, Scientist, Droid Specialist, Sapper, Shipwright
  • Soldier: Commando, Medic, Sharpshooter, Heavy, Trailblazer, Vanguard
  • Spy: Scout, Slicer, Infiltrator
  • Universal: Force Sensitive Emergent, Recruit

Force and Destiny[edit]

  • Consular: Healer, Niman Disciple, Sage, Arbiter, Ascetic, Teacher
  • Guardian: Peacekeeper, Protector, Soresu Defender, Warleader, Armorer, Warden
  • Mystic: Advisor, Makashi Duelist, Seer
  • Seeker: Ataru Striker, Hunter, Pathfinder, Executioner, Hermit, Navigator
  • Sentinel: Artisan, Shadow, Shien Expert, Investigator, Racer, Sentry
  • Warrior: Aggressor, Shii-Cho Knight, Starfighter Ace

Official games and supplements for Star Wars Roleplaying Game[edit]

  • Accessories
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Characters - Critical Injury Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Ships and Vehicles - Critical Hit Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Citizens of the Galaxy Adversary Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Imperials and Rebels Adversary Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Scum and Villainy Adversary Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Creatures of the Galaxy Adversary Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Imperials and Rebels II Adversary Deck
    • Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Hunters and Force Users Adversary Deck

Official games and supplements for Star Wars: Edge of the Empire[edit]

  • Rulebooks / basic sets
    • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire - Beta
    • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire - Beginner Game
    • Star Wars: Edge of the Empire - Core Rulebook
  • Accessories
  • Adventures
    • Beyond the Rim
    • The Jewel of Yavin
    • Mask of the Pirate Queen
  • Rules Supplements
    • Enter the Unknown (Explorer Career Book)
    • Dangerous Covenants (Hired Gun Career Book)
    • Far Horizons (Colonist Career Book)
    • Fly Casual (Smuggler Career Book)
    • Special Modifications (Technician Career Book)
    • No Disintegrations (Bounty Hunter Career Book)
  • Sourcebooks
    • Suns of Fortune (Corellian Sector Source Book)
    • Lords of Nal Hutta (Hutt Space Source Book)

Official games and supplements for Star Wars: Age of Rebellion[edit]

  • Rulebooks / basic sets
    • Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Beta
    • Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Beginner Game
    • Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Core Rulebook
  • Accessories
  • Adventures
    • Onslaught at Arda I
    • Rescue at Glare Peak (Rebellion Day Supplemental Adventure)
    • Friends Like These
  • Rules Supplements
    • Stay on Target (Ace Career Book)
    • Desperate Allies (Diplomat Career Book)
    • Lead by Example (Commander Career Book)
    • Forged in Battle (Soldier Career Book)
    • Fully Operational (Engineer Career Book)
  • Sourcebooks
    • Strongholds of Resistance (Alliance Worlds Source Book)

Official games and supplements for Star Wars: Force and Destiny[edit]

  • Rulebooks / basic sets
    • Star Wars: Force and Destiny - Beta
    • Star Wars: Force and Destiny - Beginner Game
    • Star Wars: Force and Destiny - Core Rulebook
  • Accessories
  • Adventures
    • Chronicles of the Gatekeeper
    • Ghosts of Dathomir
  • Rules Supplements and Sourcebooks
    • Keeping the Peace (Guardian Career Book)
    • Savage Spirits (Seeker Career Book)
    • Endless Vigil (Sentinel Career Book)
    • Disciples of Harmony (Consular Career Book)
  • Sourcebooks
    • Nexus of Power (Worlds Strong in the Force Source Book)

Official games and supplements for Star Wars: The Force Awakens[edit]

  • Rulebooks / basic sets
    • Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Beginner Game

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official page for The Force Awakens Beginner Game
  2. ^ "Wizards of the Coast Drops Star Wars License". The Haunted Game Cafe. The Haunted Game Cafe LLC. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ News section in the Fantasy Flight Games official website: August 2, 2011.
  4. ^ Jay Little (2012). Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (Beta). Fantasy Flight Games. p. 224. ISBN 1-61661-581-8. 
  5. ^ Jay Little (June 25, 2013). Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. Fantasy Flight Games. p. 448. ISBN 9781616616571. 
  6. ^ Fantasy Flight Games news (April 25, 2014), "Begin Your Service in the Rebel Alliance: The Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Beginner Game is Now Available"
  7. ^ Fantasy Flight Games news (July 3, 2014), "Enter the Age of Rebellion: The Core Rulebook, Game Master's Kit, and Roleplaying Dice Are Now Available"
  8. ^ Top of the Table: Star Wars Edge of the Empire review - Game Informer, July 2013
  9. ^ Star Wars Edge of the Empire review - Penny Arcade, December 2012
  10. ^ Note: Humanoids (Human-appearing races) like the Corellians and Chiss are not Humans in the Star Wars universe and they use different Racial Templates in the game.
  11. ^ Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beta as presented in the Fantasy Flight Games official website.