I am posting this in Game Mechanics because most of it will be about game mechanics, but first, I ran my first session of EOTE monday and it went rather well the players seemed to like it, though it forced me to realize that I have far fewer D8 than I thought I had. now in roughly chapter by chapter order.
Playing the Game
Over all I was very hesitant to use these new dice but I found it actually fun, though It might get tougher in a long running game to keep the advantage and threat results fresh I am hoping to recruit my players to do part of the work there. I also noticed that you will quickly need more than the default dice given in the game, really there isent much to say here that hasen't been gone over a dozen times.
Creating a Character
I found starting obligations perhaps too high but that might just be due to the very low starting credits every one of my 4 players felt it was nessesary to upgrade there obligations just to get enough money to own a blaster and a few utility items like tools to fix the ship and com links to communicate with each other. On the other hand only one of them though that the 10 extra xp for upping there obligation was even remotely worth it and I have to agree roughly one sessions xp at the cost of what could take many many sessions of obligation to try and work there way out of. So ultimately I understand that starting characters in this game are supposed to be a bit broke but Star Wars has never really been a setting where gear and its aquisition was considered a major factor, A bit higher starting credits would be a good thing or perhaps take a page out of WEG D6 and let them start with whatever seems reasonable to the GM plus a bit of spending money, the hardened bounty hunter who wants weapons and armor may be a concern but I had a wookie pilot/mechanic who went into major debt so that he could afford tools to fix his ship, a data pad and a few other odd items that I would expect most mechanics should have. So Ya I would probeblly up starting funds to 1000 credits.
Two other things, first the Obligation mechanic I wonder if latter games will have a similar mechanic if the three games are going to be truly capable of mixing it requires that you not have weird systems only used in one of them see the rules for squad mode in Deathwatch it being one of a dozen things that makes that game not work well with others. I would either drop this system or make sure each game has a similar one perhaps each one haveing an obligation but the specific charts being diffrent with each game to reflect the types of things they are involved in.
Second the hard limit of no more than 3 talent trees at one time seems very artificial and mechanical, I cant see any real game balance reason it should be limited like this, they already raised to cost to 10/20 xp to get into them it just seems unnessesary, yes there may be a few talents that are ranked that you might be able to get too many ranks in but most of those talents should probebly have a limit to there ranks anyways, tied into this is the division between career skills and non career skills this two things can cause massive diffrences in XP over the course of a game dependent on ones system mastery and ability to carefully plan out what order and when to purchase things, as it stands now a player who carefully plans out exactly what order and where to spend there xp will create a far more efficent and powerful character than one who purchases skills and talents based on what they feel there character would have learned at that time.
The limitation on only spending XP on characteristics at character creation also leads to characters who are forced to dig there way through tree after tree just to get that one stat bump heck alot of the NPCs at the back had to have spent hundreds of xp in talents not listed under there stat blocks just to get there characteristics to there current levels.
I would remove the 3 specialization maximum on characters, drop the concept of in career and out of career skills, at character creation you would get a few free skill levels in things relevant to your career and starting specialization chosen from a list (basicly the same as things are now but without the surcharge for learning skills) The order in which you learn your skills would not really matter nearly as much as it dose now and it would allow players greater freedom in picking up skills they find themselves useing regularly.
Many skills could use side bars suggesting alternate characteristics that could be used in connection with them infact int+most any skill would be good for knowing about that field, sure you could force your smuggler to learn Knowledge: gun manufacturers, if he wanted to know about guns but in a narritive system its probebly best to keep the skill list short and instead have him roll int+ranged light to know something about blasters.
All my players agree for a narritive game EOTE has too many skills, some of them cover wide rangeing actions and others only very very narrow fields. I would consider placing astrogation into the computers skill Astrogation is a skill that represents your ability to program your nav computer for a jump alternativly I could see it as part of the Knowledge outer rim and core worlds skills. Pilot is another duo that I see little reason to keep seperate, if the movies are any indication people who are good at flying space craft are also good at flying land speeders, luke's experiance flying his skyhopper back home translated into being a very skilled x-wing pilot even though he had never been in one till he flew against the death star, the same with anakin and most other characters, I would combind them in a heartbeat. Several People have brought up Knowledge underworld and streetwise I agree they really don't need to be seperate skills keep streetwise and fold knowing about the criminal element into it.
Social Skills, wow there are 5 active social skills, Charm, Coerce, leadership, decite, and negotiate, I would cut this list down to two skills, Charm and Coerce, Charm would be used for most positive interaction flattery, honest dealings, supportive comments, exc. Coerce would be used when threats, negitive comments and other verbal assalts are used. Lieing as used to be coverd by decite would be covered by makeing a cunning+Charm or Coerce check rather than there normal Characteristics, Leadership would be a standard charm or coerce check but with a boost die or two mabye a upgrade die representing the bonus you get to bossing them around due to your rank this check might be made with a extra set back die or two and useing cunning if your lieing about your status. Negotiation would be dealt with similarly, are you playing up how useful you are and your long history of working together, charm test, are you acting like you could do better elsewhere and they better sweeten the pot if they want you to help coerce, perhaps modified for deciteful actions by useing cunning if you really do need the job.
The only other Skills Issue I have is with perception, sureviliance and vigilence it seems like too many skills all related to, do I see something. In a way I understand the idea to break down active and passive noticeing skills but in this case we have surveillance for actively looking for something, perception for passivly noticeing something and Vigilence for reacting to noticeing something passivly, also vigilence and cool have alot of cross over, one is about your ability to suddenly react to a situation you didnt know was about to happen the other is about suddenly reacting to a situation you knew was about to happen. I think I would drop surveillance and vigilence. cool can easily be used for your ability to remain cool and collected when surprised and thus react properly, and given that surevillance already gives you a list of other skills you will usualy need to use it, (streetwise, stealth, survivial) I would just make it a series of rolls useing disciplin to stay awake, preception for keeping a look out and streatwise/stealth to stay unseen in a stake out.
Very little experiance with them so far though I would suggest changeing the talent trees to give little to no information about what the talents do but give there page number, as it is now my players and I where frequently confused by the almost compleat descriptions you get in the talent trees compared to the full ones in the talents section.
Gear and Equipment
also little experiance but just to nip this one in the bud I would change lightsabers to crit 3, and remove one rank of defensive and Deflection 1. Right now Lightsabers are among the easiest weapons to use well with a crit 1 its easy even without training to hit and crit someone, increasing the crit makes it a weapon that requires dedication to be good with. the removal of deflection and one rank of defensive brings it down to the same defensive abilites as a vibro sword in the hands of a common swordsman, but leaves room for talents and force powers to boost that, the movies and books are pretty clear, anyone can pick up a lightsaber and slice open a taun taun but it takes years of traing and the force if you want to deflect blaster fire.
Combat and Conflict
I really liked this section my only issue being how often you take wounds, this on its own isent a bad thing if its made clear that suffering wounds isent the same as being solidly hit by a blaster bolt in the movies the only times main characters get hit it results in injuries that would best be described as critical hits, if the wound threashold was defined as the point at which luck runs out and you finally really take a solid hit it would better repersent the source material. perhaps add to this allowing two advantage symbols to be traded in for one wound reduction, and increase natrual healing rate a bit, perhaps to brawn per night, right now a doctor often heals more with first aid than 3 or 4 days of rest, and a stimm injection once per day is better healing that bed rest.
I also dislike giveing droids the exact same methods of healing as biological beings, very very few droids in the books have any form of self repair systems and dumping them in an oil bath is nothing like a bacta tank, I would simplify them droids can only be healed by being repaired but unlike biological beings you can just keep working on them till there fully fixed, one quick patch up like first aid after an encounter and after that every half hour to hour of work allows another mechanics roll to restore wounds.
Starships and Vehicles I have to admit I still haven't read this section I was running short on time before my game and knew my players wouldent get to the space combat section so I skipped it but I will be getting to it soon.
This is the last section I am going to go over there has been alot of talk on the boards about some of its problems, (Unresistable powers, limited leveling potential, exc) My personal concerns are that the use of force powers is handeled in a compleatly diffrent manner than any other check in the game, similar to how Dark heracy had a special system for psykers and we all saw how that worked out. Useing the force is the one place in the game where one die roll can simply do nothing, and even when something happens its very binary, your power works or it fails the end. where as the rest of the system is full of setbacks, advantages, threats and triumph.
My suggestion is simple, make useing force powers just like taking any other action, your force rateing becomes the characteristic which gets paired up with a skill like disciplin or perception, various other factors could contribute to success or failure just like any other action and you could end up spending advantages to add options to the activation whail the dark side could twist you with dispair.
maintained powers would still reduce your force rating essentialy down grading your pool.
for example in that classic scene where luke is levitateing the boxes and R2, right now this would just be luke rolling 3 force dice and looking for light side points instead if it where part of the normal resolution system for the game luke force rating 3, disciplin 3, is trying to move these boxes so he builds his die pool in this case three proficency dice, but thats not all the GM has him upgrade one die, adding a ability die for yoda's presence and council, he also adds one setback die due to the near by dark side cave, as well as two difficulty dice for the effort of lifting those objects well holding a handstand, luke rolls and the force is not with him today 2 success but 3 failures as well as two threats and one triumph, Luke fails to maintain his concentration and allows the boxes to fall the threats cause him two strain due to the shock of it but most importantly the triumph grants luke a vision of his friends in dire peril.