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how would you save the table top rpg?


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#1 chojun

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 04:46 PM

 The fact is that FFG wants to make money by selling games. modern games that are designed with knowledge that they are going to be in competition with quick to jump into, quick to learn video games.  They have aquired the rights to do the WFRP games.  and they are going to do it their way.  with a lot of visual aids and bits that makes it easy for the players to process information and get things  moving quickly. 

i'm an older gamer. A D&D gamer mostly, but I love the warhammer setting.  i remember when you could spend two hours to roll up new characters for the players around the table.  it was a part of it, it was apart of the appeal.  rolling the dice and seeing what you come up with and comparing it to what your buddy got.  then you looked up spells and read the long descriptions and bought your equipment. it took a while, but it was part of it. then you finally went on the adventure and in 30 minutes you were dead and then you rolled up something else.  this was before video games and MMOs.

if you are an older gamer and you are pissed off that WFRP is being changed then dont buy the new edition. its not for you. and you were only a small factor of the equation.  they arent trying to win over someone who has played the game for twenty years. they are looking at their base FFG customers. the people that like their games and will buy their games.  they are looking for new blood.  they are looking at the 15 year old kid with a wad of birthday money that walks into the comic book store and sees the boxes on the shelf.  they are looking at the older gamer who has kids that they want to introduce to RPGs. they are looking for the gamer who likes to buy games period and will buy anything new and shiny and exciting.

I fit two categories.  i like games and i like trying new games, and i also want to play games with my younger nephews. so im going to buy it.  I liked runebound and I liked descent and I cant tell you how excited I am to try this game. I like that I am going to get what I pay for with FFG. they dont cheat you on components. I'm going to buy it and im going to take the risk that it may suck, but something tells me I'll get my moneys worth.

But i understand the grumbling hold outs from the 4e D&D.  to me the bastards at Wotc put together a clunky pile of crap. i can only imagine what a die hard WFRP pen and paper gamer would think if he sat down to play a ffg bits and cards WFRP. it would be a shock, especially if they dont know what FFG is all about and what kind of games they produce.

from a business standpoint most people believe that pen and paper, table top,  RPGs are not where the money is. but they are a lot of fun to play, and they keep players playing for years.  so if you were a company like fantasy flight, and you wanted to sell RPGs and make some money how would you do it?  If you wanted to reboot the whole, dieing industry how would you do it? 

 



#2 vyrago

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 06:38 PM

I dont know how I would SAVE the RPG but I know how I would market to an older audience.  Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader are great examples of mature RPGs.  As is Vampire and Scion.  Books is the answer.  no cards, no bits and tokens, no party sheets, no encounter levels.  just juicy, fluffy background info with a decent system to play with. 

 

 



#3 Blue Wizard

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 07:11 PM

First, I would avoid rebooting the games every few years.  I think that only functions to divide the fan base.  Don't have to look to far in the forum to see that.  Some day we may see WFRP 7, 8, or 9.  Do we really want the fanbase so fragmented.  You have to have people to play with in order to play the game, and in my experience with WFRP that is one of the main difficulties.  

I think you have to accept the fact that you are not starting out with a big piece of the fantasy fan pie.  The number of WFRP players are limited, don't let them become divided based on what edition they play, which only keeps them from playing together.  The MMO player doesn't need to go looking for other players in order to play as does the WFRP player.  Let the game grow over time.  Be patient.  Recognize that there will be dry spells.  Preferences and tastes for settings and mode of play will come and go.  If new players see a united, solid core of veteran players who can trace back a long history that's going to have somewhat of a draw and hopefully the dedicated fanbase can slowly grow.  Don't try to go for a big killing.  Accept that the RPG industry currently is not one that is full of multi-million dollar blockbusters.  Don't kill off all of Autobots in order to replace them with new ones for fans to buy, if you know what I mean (Hasbro).  New mechanics are usually only different, and whether they are actually better is a matter of preference.  You can still sell new editions of all of the books with updated art and source material, and even additional options or slight changes to the rules, all while maintaining the same core rules.  If kids see cool new artwork and a product that looks new, they will want to buy it even if the mechanics aren't.  In addition, WFRP has one of the fastest and easiest ways to roll up a character.  A new player can really start without much problem with a very basic knowledge of the rules.

Second, try to do a little more to promote the product.  Look at Meetup, Facebook, Myspace.  Lot's of D&D, very little WFRP.  It's been pretty tough for me finding other WFRP players on these sites (I live in LA), and the Friend Finder on this site for me has been of no help whatsoever.  What good is it to have a list of the 500 people playing in my state?  I cannot see who lives within a feasible distance from me.  Fix that, and get one of your people to open up some groups on Meetup, Facebook, etc. at least in the large cities if the fans are to shy to do it.  Also, I don't seem to see any scheduled events for WFRP or DH for that matter, at any of the shops in my area, just D&D, Magic, and Gamesworkshop battle games.  Maybe the fan base for WFRP is just too small at this point to be relied upon to be doing all the promoting of the product.  Even at a large upcoming gaming convention near the LAX I see nothing for WFRP.  Don't let the name completely die before the 3rd edition comes out.  

When I go to Borders or Barnes I head straight for the Fantasy/Sci Fi section.  The Warhammer novels are the ice cream, and the scanty collection of RPG books is the cherry on top.  If I were to see the new box for WFRP3 there I would have to admit I would be pretty excited and would pick it up.  I would be very tempted to buy it and might hesitate a little at the price.  The deciding factor in the end would probably be the question of "when before the next Geheimnischnacht will I be able to find someone to play this with?"

Just my personal thoughts and experiences.  



#4 Ravenheart87

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 02:24 AM

 Books is the answer. no cards, no bits and tokens, no party sheets, no encounter levels. just juicy, fluffy background info with a decent system to play with.

So you say, that Spirit of the Century (FUDGE dices), Savage World (cards, beans), Castle Falkenstein (cards again) are immature roleplaying games? What a pity...

 

 

 

 



#5 jadrax

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 02:40 AM

Ravenheart87 said:

 Books is the answer. no cards, no bits and tokens, no party sheets, no encounter levels. just juicy, fluffy background info with a decent system to play with.

So you say, that Spirit of the Century (FUDGE dices), Savage World (cards, beans), Castle Falkenstein (cards again) are immature roleplaying games? What a pity...

I am pretty sure he is referring to custom cards, not a traditional pack of cards.



#6 chojun

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 04:35 AM

vyrago said:

I dont know how I would SAVE the RPG but I know how I would market to an older audience. 

 

 

 

Maybe save wasnt the best choice of words.  it was late when i posted.  how would you from a game companys viewpoint reinvigorate a game and bring more people in to play it. ? 

I think that FFG wasnt looking at the old WFRP customer.  I think it was looking at its base, the FFG customer.  and I'm guessing on this. thats where the flash and bits come in.  and for a hundred bucks i would want some flash and bits.  But with warhammer the fluff is the good stuff, and i hope they can keep that up too.



#7 jadrax

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 05:02 AM

chojun said:

I think that FFG wasnt looking at the old WFRP customer.  I think it was looking at its base, the FFG customer.  and I'm guessing on this. thats where the flash and bits come in.  and for a hundred bucks i would want some flash and bits.  But with warhammer the fluff is the good stuff, and i hope they can keep that up too.

It seems pretty clear they are doing both. If they only cared about new players then they would not have felt the need to attach the game to an established brand name. The idea is a game that both New and Old players can enjoy.



#8 Sythorn

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:14 AM

First of all, I don't think the industry is necessarily dying and in need of saving.  Roleplaying is a niche hobby because it requires the player to find a group of people willing to commit to a semi-consistent schedule, making it very hard to get into unless you already know people who play or where to look if you don't.  For this reason alone, RPGs will never be as popular or as profitable as other forms of entertainment.

That being said, there is room for improvement and I've always thought the hobby needed a cheap entry-level product that would highlight the strengths of the tabletop roleplaying format.  It's bad enough that someone who knows little to nothing about gaming sees several expensive books when looking at the RPG section at their local bookstore, especially when many of them are for the same game line, which can be very overwhelming to the uninitiated.  But that game line isn't doing the industry any favors by imitating an MMORPG, because despite any short term success, a game that requires the consumer to purchase several books and coordinate with other people that have a consistent schedule so they can sit down to play a neutered version of the latest online game will not advance RPGs in the long term.

To me, the answer is a cheap game (my definition of cheap is $30 or less) licensed from a popular brand name that has simple but complete rules that highlight the free-form nature of tabletop roleplaying and make it easy for new players to get started.  For example, think of a Harry Potter or Twilight boxed set that's conveniently placed next to its respective line of books, that retails for $20-30, and comes with everything you need to play.  And by "everything you need to play" I actually mean that it literally has everything, not that the company has advertised you only need what's in the box to play, but if you want additionally stats or information on something from your favorite book in the series, you have to buy more supplements.  Even better, the box comes with one of those "choose-your-own-adventure" books, written by the author of the series, and the pre-made adventure in the box continues from where this book leaves off.

Ideally, the industry should have products like this to bring in the new blood, games like D&D and WoD to let them know this is a fun hobby that can stand on its own and not just a cute party game made to cash-in on their favorite book series, and more niche products that show their are many different styles of play for those willing to dive deep enough.

A truly healthy industry has products appealing to every level of consumer, and that's what tabletop RPGs are missing right now.  The movie industry has summer blockbusters, indie and foreign films, as well as a large number of movies that cover the middle ground: straight-to-DVD productions with a decent budget and theatrical releases that aren't trying to out perform the blockbusters, but simply make a good film that attracts a nice audience and goes places a summer blockbuster won't.  Roleplaying games have edgy indie products, mid-level games that offer a balance between system and setting, and generic titles that feature tactically complex rules that appeal to a wide range of current gamers.  But we're still missing our summer blockbuster.



#9 Blue Wizard

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:22 AM

 I'm not familiar with Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader, but as I understand those games have been very successful without the use of cards and bits, is this right?

I think if you're talking about drawing a younger crowd 12 and under, you really have to stick with simple rules, lots of graphics, and minimal reading.  I have difficulty imagining an 8-10 year-old kid plowing through 300-400 pages of rules and lore, child prodigies aside.  They just don't have the attention span or patience.  You would probably have to have very basic rules that would take no more than a page or two to describe, and maybe an optional 25 page booklet for supplemental background material on the setting.  Basically you end up with WFRP Lite, otherwise known as WF the Boardgame.  People may have been able to play D&D back in the day when they were only 9 years-old, but RPGs have arguably gotten a lot more complex since then if not simply more massive in terms of text to be read.  Just my opinion, but I also think WFRP and the descriptions of chaos might be a touch too "dark" for very young kids, no?  

Anyway, you might not have been talking about attracting kids that young to the game, but I have seen plenty of RPG posts out there where people describe trying to get their 8 or 9 year-old kid into the game. 



#10 Callidon

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:32 AM

I've been role playing long enough that the last ten years have seemed like a very odd boom in RPG popularity.  I can remember taking my fair share of harassment in grade school for playing something without a stick and a ball.  That being said I have enjoyed the ease with which games are attainable now and would hate to have to resort back to clandestine downloads and shivving fellow gamers for a last remaining copy of <insert supplement name here> on my local gamestore shelf.  Roleplaying doesn't need to be saved (it's always depended on us), but widely published distribution should continue. 

In that light, I would do what I needed to do in order to stay up with current market trends in gaming (what a rediculous concept 20 years ago).  With a positive financial outlook I would then move forward with supplements on elves, dwarves, lustria, cathay, ind....on down the line for as long as the financial success of a new edition would take me.

3e might rock, or it could suck like D&D 4th edition.  What I will be excited for is the vast amounts of brilliant fans of this game that will shred through any new mechanics and have a conversion for v2 or v1 for any new supplements/adventures/splat books that are released under the 3rd edition binding.  FFG can no more kill 2nd edition than Green Ronin killed 1st edition.  This game was essentially built and maintained on the shoulders of the rabid fans of this game world. 

I have grown into the 2nd edition rules and will probably while away my years GM'ing that system with personal or other fan conversions of any substantive new material.  I might even take a few forays into any new edition and have a freaking blast doing so with a casual group....even if it does become a board game with a top hat, a race car and a model of tzeench to choose from.

Anyone that thinks a new revitalized printing of WFRP material will kill their hobby are lazy gamers and I won't shed one tear at seeing them go.  They were either fair-weather fans or reproductive cells back when roleplaying was limping into some semblance of an organized hobby anyway.  If FFG intends to release a new edition every few years then I will continue playing my version of choice and converting new material up or down as I need it.

No one can take WFRP from me.  My players will always know that when we saddle up to play WFRP that they are probably going to die ingloriously of the pox in some sweltering hell hole while the villains drink wine and draw mustaches on icons of Sigmar.


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#11 superklaus

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:44 AM

jadrax said:

 

Ravenheart87 said:

 

 Books is the answer. no cards, no bits and tokens, no party sheets, no encounter levels. just juicy, fluffy background info with a decent system to play with.

So you say, that Spirit of the Century (FUDGE dices), Savage World (cards, beans), Castle Falkenstein (cards again) are immature roleplaying games? What a pity...

 

I am pretty sure he is referring to custom cards, not a traditional pack of cards.

 

 

 

jadrax said:

 

Ravenheart87 said:

 

 Books is the answer. no cards, no bits and tokens, no party sheets, no encounter levels. just juicy, fluffy background info with a decent system to play with.

So you say, that Spirit of the Century (FUDGE dices), Savage World (cards, beans), Castle Falkenstein (cards again) are immature roleplaying games? What a pity...

 

I am pretty sure he is referring to custom cards, not a traditional pack of cards.

 

 

 

 

No entirely true. Savage Worlds has very important custom cards too. The Savage World Adventure Deck which can only be used for SW. And it is genius! You can also buy special plastic noppels (bennies) and initiative card decks for the different SW settings. Eg. I use a transparent futuristic plastic card set for my Savage Worlds SF games and a typical US civil war motive Deck for my Deadlands game. Some players also use real (empty) bullet casings as bennies for Deadlands Reloaded. So its save to say that the usage of additional material is not important at all if a game could be called a roleplaying game or not.



#12 Necrozius

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 06:52 AM

Books only? No trackers, maps or handouts?

I have to say that my magnetic initiative tracker has been praised by everyone I've played with. It has saved us lots of time.

http://paizo.com/sto...s/v5748btpy7uvm

Custom made rule cheat cards (about the 4 inches by 5 inches) have sped up combat and skill tests greatly.

Also, combat has become a heck of a lot more interesting since I printed out a list of all the manoeuvres outlined in the rulebook but in point form. Each player has their own to review.

Player aids =/= immature. They're insanely helpful, while pouring through rulebooks slows everything down and can outright ruin the immersion.



#13 jadrax

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 07:20 AM

superklaus said:

No entirely true. Savage Worlds has very important custom cards too. The Savage World Adventure Deck which can only be used for SW. And it is genius! You can also buy special plastic noppels (bennies) and initiative card decks for the different SW settings. Eg. I use a transparent futuristic plastic card set for my Savage Worlds SF games and a typical US civil war motive Deck for my Deadlands game. Some players also use real (empty) bullet casings as bennies for Deadlands Reloaded. So its save to say that the usage of additional material is not important at all if a game could be called a roleplaying game or not.

Savage Worlds custom cards are optional, many people don't use them. Bennies again do not need a physical representation any more than fortune points do. All you need to play SW is a $10 book.



#14 Hellebore

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 01:50 PM

Either by giving RPGs to small companies that can make a profit on them, or having big business realise they DON'T make the money they want and adjusting their strategy accordingly.

 

Because they treat them like multimilliondollar computer games or whathave you but end up not getting the money for their troubles. So the solution is to try and make them LESS like an RPG in order to get them into a bracket that sells more. When instead they could simply make things IN that bracket in the first place for far less effort.

 

RPGs are niche hobby within a niche hobby. They won't ever sell in the millions because they require effort. Even with the effort saving of WFRP3 it still won't be absolutely massive.

 

They are a cottage industry product that big business has tried to turn into a mainstream consumable by throwing money at it. Most likely because they saw how well D&D was doing and thought "I want me some of that". Despite the fact that it was just a higher percentage of the same sized demographic.

Hellebore



#15 GreyLord

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 04:21 PM

Callidon said:

I've been role playing long enough that the last ten years have seemed like a very odd boom in RPG popularity.  I can remember taking my fair share of harassment in grade school for playing something without a stick and a ball.  That being said I have enjoyed the ease with which games are attainable now and would hate to have to resort back to clandestine downloads and shivving fellow gamers for a last remaining copy of <insert supplement name here> on my local gamestore shelf.  Roleplaying doesn't need to be saved (it's always depended on us), but widely published distribution should continue. 

In that light, I would do what I needed to do in order to stay up with current market trends in gaming (what a rediculous concept 20 years ago).  With a positive financial outlook I would then move forward with supplements on elves, dwarves, lustria, cathay, ind....on down the line for as long as the financial success of a new edition would take me.

3e might rock, or it could suck like D&D 4th edition.  What I will be excited for is the vast amounts of brilliant fans of this game that will shred through any new mechanics and have a conversion for v2 or v1 for any new supplements/adventures/splat books that are released under the 3rd edition binding.  FFG can no more kill 2nd edition than Green Ronin killed 1st edition.  This game was essentially built and maintained on the shoulders of the rabid fans of this game world. 

I have grown into the 2nd edition rules and will probably while away my years GM'ing that system with personal or other fan conversions of any substantive new material.  I might even take a few forays into any new edition and have a freaking blast doing so with a casual group....even if it does become a board game with a top hat, a race car and a model of tzeench to choose from.

Anyone that thinks a new revitalized printing of WFRP material will kill their hobby are lazy gamers and I won't shed one tear at seeing them go.  They were either fair-weather fans or reproductive cells back when roleplaying was limping into some semblance of an organized hobby anyway.  If FFG intends to release a new edition every few years then I will continue playing my version of choice and converting new material up or down as I need it.

No one can take WFRP from me.  My players will always know that when we saddle up to play WFRP that they are probably going to die ingloriously of the pox in some sweltering hell hole while the villains drink wine and draw mustaches on icons of Sigmar.

Oddly enough, I fit many of the categories that the original topic starter lists, but even though I may be in the target group, the product doesn't appeal to me because

It's not easily transportable from what I've seen

Requires MORE stuff than I can easily carry and transport to other locations

Is too costly

I think that ties directly into the RPG things now as well.  From what I can see, RPGs are more popular now amongst ADULTS than ever before, but are far less popular amongst teens.  If they were nerds before in the 90s, they are FAR more considered that way now.  Furthermore, with all the stuff that they need, it makes them stick out like a sore thumb.  Do you really think a game like this is one that they are easily going to carry to the lunch cafeteria to play during lunch, or even if they do manage to carry it to school minus ALL their books, do you really think they are going to be thrilled with setting it up on the lunch table whilst everyone else laughs?

The trends in the RPG industry isn't one of a healthy industry from what I see, but the trends of people trying to MAKE trends, instead of actually develop them from what teens or young adults really want.  Kids ARE into video games, and as such really enjoy playing them.  Video games are flashy, but they also don't treat kids like idiots.  Kids don't like people treating them like junior level, they like being treated like every other customer.  Video games don't differentiate, a game of Halo will be just as punishing from a kid as from an adult.  Kid's don't like being tailored too, they like to do what everyone else does.  This is where some of the stuff looses it's luster.  Don't cater to a kid by thinking it's the flash that attracts them, it's not really the flash, it's the even footing, the ability that a game challenges their mind, their abilities and their skills, and that they can get better with practice (at least in many fps games and action games) to become better then others, kids and adults alike.

So, to make a successful RPG, you need something that will appeal to adults, I would center on the 18 to 30 aged crowd since they will be the most likely to spend the money.  There is a trend towards dark, grim and dirty these days.  NOT towards the glorious hero, aka...movies such as the Dark Knight.  They WANT heroes, but not heroes that are so gloriously awesome and bright that they outshine the world, but ones that get down and dirty.  They want games that are challenging, and push the limits.

How many RPG's actually get anywhere close to this.  Now I know many will disagree, but I think the current industry leaders in RPGs tend the MOST  (meaning they STILL largely miss the mark) towards these goals whether they realize it or not.  However, it's still not enough, and RPG's are more niche amongst teens then ever before.

Amongst adults however, I think it's FAR more popular then it's ever been.  That's the base audience for the crowd that already exists.  You need to appeal to that crowd, whilst getting the other elements.  Remaking a game is not a good idea unless it's somehow going to give you an edge in the other above areas.  If it won't, it will only alienate your own base whilst NOT drawing in other customers, or enough to counter the losses.

Then, how is this new WFRP game going to actually appeal to this.  From what I can tell, right now I don't feel as if it's going to acheive that appeal, but I could be wrong.  We'll see I suppose when it comes out.



#16 Steerpike

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 08:52 AM

I don't know that they need saving.  It's sad in a way to see one's favorites go by the wayside, but there are plenty of great games around.  Anyone who played older editions of D&D and liked them - I recommend Castles & Crusades.



#17 onlinechaos

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 09:20 AM

chojun said:

 they are looking for new blood.  they are looking at the 15 year old kid with a wad of birthday money that walks into the comic book store and sees the boxes on the shelf.   

 

I agree it seems they've dumbed down the game to target young 15 year old kids, but how many 15 year old kids are going to have $100 to spend on a game they have no clue about and can't even look at due to it being in a box?  The way they're spliting out material into toolkits, specialty dice, and game aids that you'd have to purchase seperate to allow more players access seems to target people with jobs and a lot of cash to throw around. 



#18 Necrozius

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 03:43 AM

onlinechaos said:

 

 they are looking for new blood.  they are looking at the 15 year old kid with a wad of birthday money that walks into the comic book store and sees the boxes on the shelf.   

 

 

I started playing WFRP v1 when I was 15 years old.

Why is this such a bad thing?



#19 Callidon

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 04:29 AM

Necrozius said:


 

 

I started playing WFRP v1 when I was 15 years old.

Why is this such a bad thing?

My great grandfather:  "Because kids today have no respect for their elders"

My grandfather: "Because kids today have no respect for their elders"

My dad:  "Because kids today have no respect for their elders"

Me:  "Because when we were 15 we were geniuses for picking up roleplaying...kids today have no respect for their elders"


STUFF:

Edge of the Empire: Talent Trees; Force Powers; Character Sheet

 





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