Hey there PossumCatcher.
I feel your struggle. This game is very different if you have only experienced more tactical based RPGs.
Have you checked out this article: http://www.fantasyfl...s.asp?eidn=3976
If you listen to pod casts, check out the Order 66 Podcast. Your concerns and more are addressed in many of the episodes. There is also an actual play game a few episodes in.
Allow me to try and address your concerns to the best of my abilities.
Every character has 6 basic characteristics that all affect a list of skills. When you spend XP, either through character creation or when the GM awards it (generally after each session), you can purchase ranks into those skills. These will affect how your dice pool is built.
Skills, some talents, and characteristics build your positive dice pool. you want more and bigger of these dice.
If you want to make a skill check, Say Ranged (Light), you start out by building your dice pool. First you find your skill on your character sheet and determine the characteristic that affects it. Ranged (Light) is based on your agility. let's say Luke Skywalker has a Ranged (Light) of 1 and an Agility 3. Now that you have the skill rank and the characteristic that affects it, you take the higher of those two numbers and that determines how many ability dice (the green d8) you will be rolling. The lower of those 2 numbers will determine how many of those get upgraded to proficiency dice (the yellow d12).
As stated earlier, Luke's agility is higher than his ranks in Ranged (Light). So he will stat off by assembling 3 green ability dice, then he will turn one of those ability dice into a proficiency dice because of his 1 rank in Ranged (Light).
In many skill checks the GM will tell you how many and what kind of difficulty dice to roll, but for combat checks, the difficulty is generally determined by the distance between you and the target.
This game does not use a flat grid-based combat system and instead uses "ranged bands" which are vague ways of stating distance between targets.
Let's try and put it all together.
All weapons have a base damage. When you succeed in the appropriate check to use that weapon (Listed in the weapons stat block), you do the base damage as well as additional damage equal to the number of uncanceled successes.
X number of Successes cancel out X number of Failures and the same with Threats vs Advantages.Triumphs also count as a success and that success can be canceled out, but not the triumph portion of that result. The same with Despair and Failure.
So say I am firing my Light Blaster Pistol at short range from the enemy.
I assembled my dice pool (2 ability, 1 proficiency). Since it's short range, I know from the book that that is an easy check, which means my difficulty is only one 1 difficulty dice (1 purple d8). I Roll my 2 ability 1 proficiency and 1 difficulty dice. I score 4 successes, 1 failure, 2 threat and 1 advantage. The 1 failure is canceled out by 1 of my 4 successes, which leaves 3 successes left. 1 of my threat cancels out my 1 advantage leaving me with a total of 3 successes and 1 advantage.
My Light Blaster pistol has a base damage of 5 and I get to add my 3 uncancelled successes to that damage for a total of 8 damage. The GM generally tells me what happens because of my 1 threat. He might suggest that the sun got in my eyes and has me seeing spots for the next shot, giving me a setback dice (black d6) on my next attack, or maybe I see that my shot barely phased the stormtrooper and I take 1 strain damage (nonlethal damage) out of stress or frustration.
So to look at it from the Stormtroopers view points. Luke just fired at him and dealt 8 damage, but stormtroopers have good armor. They have a soak value of 5. So 5 of that 8 damage is negated, dealing on 3 total wounds to the stormtrooper.
There is more to learn such as minion groups, critical hits, and such. Much more than I can explain on a message board. I suggest you take a look at the rule book again, do a few dry runs of playing out a combat situation.
You posted on the Beginner game forum, so I wonder if you have checked out the Edge of the Empire Beginner Box. It contains an adventure that walks the GM and the players through playing a session, including building dice pools, combat, and vehicle combat.
It's an invaluable tool for learning the game.