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#1 cparadis

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 04:45 PM

I ran a game for five friends Saturday night of GenCon after picking up the book on Friday.  I only had a chance to read through the book once, and then double check a few things before the game.  However, I found the game to be very simple to run.  [[Full disclosure: I own all the WFRP 3ed materials so maybe I had a head start with the system.]] 

 

This is not to say I did not make several mistakes or that I knew the rules perfectly, but as one of my players said, there were no obvious points where the game fell flat because we did not know the rules.  This is a credit to the game not to me, since the game does a good job of keeping the story moving without getting bogged down.  I’m fairly confident that anyone could run this game after a single read through and then, after the game, check on issues that came up that caused questions.

 

Character Creation

 

Character creation took about 30 minutes and would almost certainly have gone more quickly if we had more books and if we had played the game before. Character creation is laid out in a sequence of steps, and it is important to follow these steps.

 

Making characters for the first time in a game is often challenging.  Edge of the Empire gives some loose guidelines about what a good score is for a characteristic, but I think almost every one of my players said at some point in the game that they wish they had spent their XP slightly differently in character creation, either on skills or characteristics.

 

To that end, I would recommend GMs advise their players to hold back 20-30 XP or so in character creation to allow the players to do a little on the fly creation in the first session.  Also, allowing players to completely respec their characters after the first session might not be a bad idea.

 

Highlights from character creation:

 

Obligation - Everyone at the table grooved on this both in character creation and in actual play.  This is like the advantages/disadvantages you see in a lot of games, but with more mechanical and narrative weight.  Also, almost all of my players took on extra obligation, which virtually insured their obligation would come in to play. I have to say as a GM, a big part of me smiled as they did that.  Aside from the dice mechanic, obligation is my favorite mechanic in this game.

 

Talent trees - Yes, these trees are somewhat restricting, but it is a format that anyone who has played an MMO can understand and it really cuts down on power gaming and searching for the most broken combination of talents.  Also, having a simple tree to choose from really seemed to speed up character creation as my players did not have to hunt for what talents to take.

 

Force-Sensitive Exile - I liked that the Force-Sensitive Exile talent tree was not included in the character creation section, but rather was in the Force section. It reinforced that Edge of the Empire is a game about smugglers and bounty hunters, not Jedi.  However, it was nice to have the rules for force users for those players that really want to play one and to make it possible to give feed back on force users.

 

Lowlights from character creation:

 

Gear - As someone else on this forum has said it was hard to figure out how much starting gear/credits the players begin with.  We went with 500 credits based on the table on page 31, but this could have been more clear.

 

No example characters - It would have been nice if the book had a couple of example characters to go along with the included adventure in the back.  We could have either picked this up and played right away or used them as a template to assist in character creation.

 

Play

 

The actual play of the session went fairly well.  No one else had played WFRP 3ed and only one person had played the Edge of the Empire demo at the Con.  Yet, everyone was able to pick up the system by the end.  This game was run from 8 p.m. to midnight on the third day of the con, and when my players showed up at the game, they were already half asleep.  On any other day, I bet they would have picked up the system even quicker.

 

Highlights from play:

 

Combat - Combat in Edge of the Empire is fast-paced and evocative.  We had some great cinematic encounters that were fun and interesting and felt like Star Wars.  This feels right.  After the game we discussed the issue of miniatures, and I think we settled on the majority saying that using miniatures for visual representation and relative position would be nice, but that the engaged, close, medium, etc. range bands were effective and kept combat moving.  Blaster rifles are incredibly effective.

 

Vigilance vs. Cool - Great to see two skills that represent initiative based on the situation the players face.  Even in our one session we did have situations where different players were using different skills to determine initiative based on the situation. This leads me to …

 

Initiative - It’s one of the things I really like about WFRP 3ed, and I was really glad to see it incorporated here.  My players picked this up immediately, and they all said they liked it.  It gets rid of holding an action or delaying, and allows for more dynamic combat where the characters are not locked in to one order.

 

Destiny Points - Here is one area I made a mistake.  The rules clearly state that both sides can each spend one Destiny Point.  For some reason I didn’t retain this in my first read through so I made an incorrect ruling on this. However, we still really enjoyed moving the Destiny Point back and forth between the light side and dark side.  I also, really enjoyed encouraging my players to spend light side Destiny Points to give me more dark side Destiny Points.

 

Lowlights from play:

 

None yet, but it is still very early.  Also, the newness of the game may have interfered a little with critical analysis. I will have to supplement after more play.

 

Some additional thoughts:

 

The Force Die - This is very cool.  It has only a few uses in Edge of the Empire, but you can already see the thought that went into this.  The Force Die does a great job of randomizing the amount of Destiny available in the game as well as the ratio of light side to dark side destiny at the start.  This is great, but its use in activating force powers is even more thoughtful.  

 

As one of my players pointed out, the Force Die has more dark side faces than light side faces.  I pointed out that it still has 8 light side pips and 8 dark side pips.  I thought that this was a nice representation of the sentiment that the dark side is quicker and more seductive.  If a player has patience and just keeps rolling the force die she will roll just as many light side points as dark side points, but if the player tries to rush into it, she may have to rely on using the dark side.  Very cool and very Star Wars.  

 

This is a beta - This game is a true beta. There are errors in the book (nothing I haven’t  done myself and probably no more than are in this post), and there will be problems.  Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good though. 

 

A game for all editions? - While I think comparing the different Star Wars games is beyond the scope of this beta, I think it is worth mentioning that this game clearly has looked at other Star Wars RPGs from WEG d6 to Saga Edition.  My players and I have played just about all of the Star Wars RPGs, and there were a lot of times we could see the influence.  I think this is a good thing.



#2 bladerunner_35

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:20 PM

 Great writeup, thanks man!


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#3 taintedcereal

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:58 PM

Thanks for this. The more I read about this newe RPG, the more anxious I am to play it. I have a question for you…

How does edge of the empire handle gear and weapons? Does it refer to specific weapons from the star wars universe (Like ee3 carbine or DH17 blaster) or is it generic? ("blaster pistol" "blaster rifle") 

I'm in the middle of a Saga edition campaign with some friends, and one of the things that bugs me is that there is no differentiating between weapons. You get a generic light, or heavy "blaster pistol". Heavy is always better than light - it's just a straight upgrade without any tradeoffs. I'd much prefer having to choose between specific weapons, like a D18 or a DL44 -where each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses. Thanks!



#4 borithan

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 11:43 PM

If it is very similar to WFRP 3rd it will be generic weapons. At the level of abstraction that system makes there will be little functional difference between most models of "heavy blaster pistol" or "blaster rifles". Some particular stand out items might get something different, but they would be unlikely to turn up in the core game.



#5 GoblynByte

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:22 AM

In this book, the weapons and gear is completely generic. However, they don't include a lot of the "thematic material" in the Beta book, so maybe this stuff will sneak into the final product.  I also wonder if they'll eventually release a gear book that will detail specifics.  I agree, though, that giving specific brands and models would go a long way towards adding to the flavor, especially if those models bring certain benefits or quirks that present mechanically.



#6 jamesewelch

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:50 AM

Wow. Great write up. Thanks for posting your first impressions.



#7 cparadis

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:03 AM

taintedcereal said:

Thanks for this. The more I read about this newe RPG, the more anxious I am to play it. I have a question for you…

How does edge of the empire handle gear and weapons? Does it refer to specific weapons from the star wars universe (Like ee3 carbine or DH17 blaster) or is it generic? ("blaster pistol" "blaster rifle") 

I'm in the middle of a Saga edition campaign with some friends, and one of the things that bugs me is that there is no differentiating between weapons. You get a generic light, or heavy "blaster pistol". Heavy is always better than light - it's just a straight upgrade without any tradeoffs. I'd much prefer having to choose between specific weapons, like a D18 or a DL44 -where each weapon has its own strengths and weaknesses. Thanks!

One of the things we did not touch on in our first session was the ability to modify gear, weapons, and ships.  I will discuss this more once I have had a chance to use the system.  To answer your question, the game does not refer to specific weapons from the Star Wars universe.  The weapons are currently generic, i.e. light blaster pistol, heavy blaster pistol, bowcaster, etc.  However, every weapon has a certain number of hard points, which represents the ability to add modifications to a weapon, by first adding attachments. These attachments could be scopes, under-barrel grenade launchers, marksman barrel, etc. So while the weapons are generic, it looks like there will be a lot of ability to modify the weapons to differentiate them.  Since you only have so many hard points to upgrade your weapon with, players will have to make choices about how to modify their weapons.

Hope this helps!



#8 Venthrac

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 07:31 AM

Excellent post, CParadis. Also, I see you have set your eagle-eyes on Chapter 1 and submitted a gigantic list of editorial corrections.

If I may say so, you're exactly the kind of player who will help the beta make the transition into a great final product. Kudos to you sir, and keep up the good work.



#9 taintedcereal

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:38 PM

cparadis said:

 

One of the things we did not touch on in our first session was the ability to modify gear, weapons, and ships.  I will discuss this more once I have had a chance to use the system.  To answer your question, the game does not refer to specific weapons from the Star Wars universe.  The weapons are currently generic, i.e. light blaster pistol, heavy blaster pistol, bowcaster, etc.  However, every weapon has a certain number of hard points, which represents the ability to add modifications to a weapon, by first adding attachments. These attachments could be scopes, under-barrel grenade launchers, marksman barrel, etc. So while the weapons are generic, it looks like there will be a lot of ability to modify the weapons to differentiate them.  Since you only have so many hard points to upgrade your weapon with, players will have to make choices about how to modify their weapons.

Hope this helps!

Thanks everyone for the answers!

It's not a huge issue, but I am kind of disappointed with the generic weapons. In Saga the generic weapons seemed to be there to avoid over complication (at least until the other source books started adding more weapons and gear), however, in this case it seems strange that they would add customizable generic weapons, rather than specific weapons with varied stats. Oh well, I guess the customization rules should make it more interesting.



#10 Venthrac

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:03 PM

What do you mean by "generic weapons"? The weapons I am seeing in the book are about on par with those in other Star Wars RPGs that have hit the market.



#11 Ghosttusk

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 01:07 PM

 Thank you for the great write up. I just ordered my copy of the demo from fog, just waiting for it to arrive. 

 

Could you explain how the new dice system work ? I have no experience with war hammer fantasy and could use a tutorial. Also did the needed dice come with the demo?

 

Neel



#12 BrashFink

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:05 PM

Nice! Thanks for the info. Very insightful.

I have a question about your destiny point mistake. You said only use 1 destiny point… do you mean per action?

 



#13 cparadis

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:23 PM

 Yes, I believe the rules state that each side may use one Destiny Point in each action (provided they have the appropriate Destiny Points in the Destiny pool).  I incorrectly thought only one side was able to use Destiny Points in an action, and that it could use more than one. So I had the rule TOTALLY wrong.

The correct rules appear on pp. 23-24, and I believe are very clear.



#14 BrashFink

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 02:36 PM

Yeah that sounds correct to me. Cool thanks. Just wanted to make sure I had it correct.

The thing I found very confusing at first… and had to re-read it a few times is… each CHARACTER does not get the pool, and not only does the Characters share the pool, so does the GM (and the GM does roll, which is clearly stated).

I read this like 3 times, then just moved on. I was kind of confused how the GM gets the points if they were in the players hands but they could not spend them. After reading a couple more paragraphs I realized it was a shared pool. Then the whole mechanic made sense.



#15 taintedcereal

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 03:23 PM

Venthrac said:

What do you mean by "generic weapons"? The weapons I am seeing in the book are about on par with those in other Star Wars RPGs that have hit the market.

That's exactly what I'm disappointed about. I can't speak for WEG version, but I didnt like the way Saga Edition handled weapons. I was hoping that instead of getting just a generic "blaster pistol" you would instead choose between specific blasters seen in the star wars movies. For instance, in star wars lore there's a huge variety of specific weapon models and brands (like the DL-44 that Han Solo used or the D-18 that Luke Skywalker used). I was hoping that they would reflect the many different weapons in the star wars universe through the game mechanics. It's not a huge thing I'm concerned about, but I thought it would be cooler if they had made a distinction between blaster pistol models.



#16 cparadis

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 03:26 PM

Ghosttusk said:

 Thank you for the great write up. I just ordered my copy of the demo from fog, just waiting for it to arrive. 

 

Could you explain how the new dice system work ? I have no experience with war hammer fantasy and could use a tutorial. Also did the needed dice come with the demo?

 

Neel

Ghosttusk said:

 Thank you for the great write up. I just ordered my copy of the demo from fog, just waiting for it to arrive. 

 

Could you explain how the new dice system work ? I have no experience with war hammer fantasy and could use a tutorial. Also did the needed dice come with the demo?

 

Neel

 

The dice do not come with the demo, but the demo does come with a sticker sheet that you can use to convert your normal dice to dice suitable for Edge of the Empire.

The mechanic is fairly straight forward.  Without going into specifics too much, here is a brief description of the mechanic.

The active player gathers a pool of dice based on his character's abilities, skill training, and applicable factors determined by the GM or opposing characters. The active player rolls the pool of dice.  The dice have special symbols denoting success and failure.  These symbols cancel each other out.  If after all factors at least one success symbol remains, the action succeeds.  There are some nuances, but that is the core mechanic.

 



#17 borithan

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 02:02 AM

taintedcereal said:

Venthrac said:

 

What do you mean by "generic weapons"? The weapons I am seeing in the book are about on par with those in other Star Wars RPGs that have hit the market.

 

 

That's exactly what I'm disappointed about. I can't speak for WEG version, but I didnt like the way Saga Edition handled weapons. I was hoping that instead of getting just a generic "blaster pistol" you would instead choose between specific blasters seen in the star wars movies. For instance, in star wars lore there's a huge variety of specific weapon models and brands (like the DL-44 that Han Solo used or the D-18 that Luke Skywalker used). I was hoping that they would reflect the many different weapons in the star wars universe through the game mechanics. It's not a huge thing I'm concerned about, but I thought it would be cooler if they had made a distinction between blaster pistol models.

How much difference is there though? Han Solo has a heavy blaster pistol and the the others tend to be just generic blaster pistols. Unless the system is very granular there is just not enough difference between them to justify different stats. However, if, as it sounds like, there is an extensive modification system, it would allow you to quite easily add all the significant mods that a certain model had and just call it a KP-43c (or whatever). Some supplements in the future might do this for you saying "The model DL-9 has an inbuilt drift compensator and scoped infraction modulator." However, for the core set it makes sense to leave things entirely generic, with things that can make do, or with rules that allow modification (which apparently they do). Saga edition did actually give details for some specific guns, but it was only those that differed enough to make a difference under the rules, and even then they were not that distinctive.



#18 JohnKellyDesign

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 04:00 AM

 I played in this session as the fast talking type of scoundrel (Explorer with Trader speciization). 

I really like the game and just to touch on a few things that weren't already mentioned.

The system really feel like Star Wars should. You feel heroic and can do amazing things. It isn't like a d20 based system when going up against a group of grunts you can still only kill as many as shots you are able to take, with a good enough roll you might be able to take out the entire group.

One thing that I really liked about the game is that since it is so cinimatic that talking can be just as effective in combat at shooting - by using deciept I was able to make grunts run away. 

 

I was very much against the idea of custom dice at first but by the end of the session I barely had to think about what each symbol meant. It really didn't take long to have their meaning memorized.



#19 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 22 August 2012 - 06:06 AM

JohnKellyDesign said:

One thing that I really liked about the game is that since it is so cinimatic that talking can be just as effective in combat at shooting - by using deciept I was able to make grunts run away.

This reminds me of a time when one of my players used deceit during a fire-fight to help his friends get away from stormtroopers: whilst crouched behind cover, he snatched a datapad off the floor, and then launched it in the air towards the troopers whilst yelling, "GRENADE!" The stormtroopers dived behind cover out of reflex (it was a VERY good deception roll), and the PCs ran for their lives.


"Beg for your life. No, doing so won't save you - but it will make your death more amusing to watch."
- Vago the Hutt; Star Wars: Edge of the Empire


#20 JohnKellyDesign

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:23 PM

 Basically the same idea, announced that we would shoot them with the ships turboblasters despite the fact that none of us had the ability to shoot them.






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