“Jabba’s through with you. He has no time for smugglers who drop their shipments at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser.”
–Greedo, Star Wars: A New Hope
In our last preview of Edge of the Empire, we began exploring the ten steps of character creation. Along the way, we started building our own character, a silver-tongued miscreant. The first several steps have begun to give shape to our idea, and we’ve given some flesh to a Rodian scoundrel, a quick-witted liar with a penchant for talking himself both into and out of trouble. He’s a scrawny fellow, but he’s survived the violence of Rodia because of his nimble mind and convincing lies.
We ended our last article with a review of steps four and five of the character creation process, and today we’ll resume by giving our Rodian a career and a specialization.
Applying a Career and Specialization
Our Rodian is a quick-thinker, fast-talker, and natural-born liar. He’s a perpetual underdog who grew up amid violence and managed to come away from it confident in his ability to think ahead of the situation. These talents lend themselves well toward the Smuggler’s career, so that’s our choice.
Selecting the career allows us to make some initial decisions about allocating one rank each to any four of the following skills: Coordination, Deception, Knowledge (Underworld), Perception, Piloting (Space), Skulduggery, Streetwise, and Vigilance.
Each specialization opens up a talent tree.
The choice also allows us to choose from any of the career’s three specializations: Pilot, Scoundrel, and Thief. We see our character as a perpetual underdog who’s always ready to exploit someone’s weakness, so the Thief specialization is tempting. However, it’s more physical than our character concept. On the other hand, the Scoundrel specialization reads almost like our character’s personal history.
Thus, our Rodian becomes part con artist and part gunslinger. The choice of Scoundrel as our starting specialization allows us to allocate one rank each into two of the following skills: Charm, Cool, Deception, and Ranged (Light). Notably, our Rodian receives free ranks in Deception from both his career and his specialization, and this helps us make him an excellent liar without having to spend experience points.
Step Six: Invest Experience Points
Now that we have selected the foundational elements of our character, we can further customize him by using our experience points in any of four areas of character development: improving characteristics, training skills, acquiring talents, and learning new talent trees.
We have one-hundred experience points to spend because our character is a Rodian, but our GM is willing to allow us to gain ten more experience points by taking ten additional Obligation. Well, our Rodian wouldn’t be the Scoundrel he’s become if he hadn’t taken a few risks and incurred a few debts. He takes on the additional Obligation and the risks it entails in order to better reflect the skills, talents, and abilities he honed while living amid the violence of Rodia.
Looking at the skills we find most compelling, we discover that most of them use Cunning, so we boost that characteristic. We add some skill ranks, buy some talents, and we move closer and closer to our concept of the fast-talking, quick-thinking liar and Scoundrel.
The Scoundrel talent tree provides us ways to spend experience points to further customize and define our Rodian Smuggler. The Quick Draw, Rapid Reaction, and Quick Strike talents provide him with both mechanical advantages and new insights into his personality.
Step Seven: Determine Derived Attributes
There are several important statistics for each character that can only be determined after investing experience points: wound threshold, strain threshold, defense, and soak value. These values are all derived from our character’s attributes and help further define his resilience and combat abilities.
Step Eight: Determine Motivations
Your character’s Motivation helps provide flavor and distinction by helping define what makes him “tick” and what distinguishes him from another character with the same race, class, and skill mix.
Additionally, in the same way that Obligation gives characters a series of concrete goals they need to resolve, Motivations provide additional story elements from which both the player and GM can draw. Each character selects first a general Motivation and then a specific Motivation within the larger category.
Again, we can choose our character’s Motivation or roll for it on the Motivation chart. Our Rodian’s getting pretty well-rounded by this point, but a random Motivation might help us think about him differently. We roll on the chart, and get a “9,” which corresponds to “Relationship.” Before we get too caught up in what that might imply, we roll on the next chart for his specific Motivation, and our result of “42” indicates that this “Relationship” Motivation is tied to “Sibling/Siblings.”
With a couple rolls of the dice, and a little bit of imagining, we discover that our Rodian is motivated to free his little sister, Greeota. She was kidnapped after he was caught cheating during a gambling tournament. The Rodian crime boss who caught him recognized our character’s talent and, rather than having him eliminated, kidnapped his younger sister and blackmailed him into working for him. Now, if he wants to see his sister released, he needs to satisfy the crime boss’s outlandish demands. Of course, if he wants to free his sister, he’s going to need to pay back his debt, but given the rate of interest the crime boss has decided to put on the debt, our Rodian needs to score big and do so quickly!
Step Nine: Gear and Description
Once you have determined all of your character’s other characteristics and derived statistics, you can flesh out any number of defining cosmetic details, such as your character’s gender, height, weight, build, hair color, and planet of origin. These details adds richness and depth to a character’s existence. Here, you’ll also assign your character a name.
Our character is an outsider among his own people, and we can solidify that premise by making him a rare albino Rodian. This difference likely spurred a youth full of taunts and mistrust. It gives him a reason to be distrustful of other members of his own species. It helps set him against them and justifies his efforts to cheat them. Most importantly, his differences provide us a reason to have him act nobly when given the opportunity to do so in a different context, one in which he’s understood and accepted. Meanwhile, we give him a blue mohawk to reflect his edgy attitude and vibrant self-confidence. Finally, he needs a name that evokes a character who’s both scrawny and quick, and we settle on Ween Tanwa.
Meanwhile, as you choose those details that help you envision your character, you can purchase his signature weapons, tools, and other equipment. Characters in Edge of the Empire receive a budget of 500 credits to spend on starting gear before gameplay begins.
While it’s possible to increase your starting budget by undertaking additional Obligation during Step Two of character creation, we’ve already capped the Obligation our GM intends to allow us. Thus, we pick up just under 500 credits worth of gear well-suited for Ween, our Rodian Scoundrel. His penchant for gambling means he’s likely to own a sabacc deck and set of chance cubes. He’ll need rations to get by, and for those rare times he can’t talk his way out of trouble, he’ll need a blaster and some heavy clothing to use as armor.
Newly geared up, Ween hopes to work a big con and make a big score to free his sister.
Step Ten: Selecting a Ship
Finally, characters in Edge of the Empire are assumed to be independent freelancers and have the advantage of starting play with their own starship to move from place to place (and from adventure to adventure).
After all of your group’s players have developed their characters, you’ll work together to select the starship you’ll use as your characters’ “home base.”
Since we decided that Ween is scarcely able to think ahead of his own debts as he tries to free his sister, we let our friends choose the ship. Ween is just happy that his new companions have room for him in their YT-1300 transport!
The Galaxy Awaits
As you’ve seen, the ten steps of character creation in Edge of the Empire carry us through a relatively quick and robust character generation. Coming out of the process, you’ll have a character who, like Ween, has a meaningful history that connects him to his world and adventures in meaningful ways. In short, you’ll find your character has adventuring in his blood.
Then, once you and your friends have finished with character creation, the galaxy awaits, and you and your GM will have plenty of hooks that you can use to steer the course of your ongoing campaign!
In our next preview: We look at the lives of Force sensitive characters in Edge of the Empire!