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knasserII

Basic questions and do I need "decks"

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I haven't seen the book in real life yet and I'm wondering whether to purchase it on a gamble or not. I know some people who would like me to run it for them, but a few things have made me wary of risking the cash without having seen it.

 

Firstly, what's with the "Specialization Decks". Do I need these? I have a big dislike of where RPGs have been turned into card games (loathe with great intensity what they did to Warhammer FRPG which I played in first edition and now is all cards). If it's an unnecessary play-aid, I don't mind, but if the game is geared to expect you to buy "decks", I would resent that.

 

And I guess along that theme, will I need to buy a lot of specialist dice? The site I'm looking at has packs of dice for the game at £11 each. I'm imagining I'd need at least a couple of packs of those for a group of five players plus GM?

 

Final question, I've been unable to find good reviews of the game that went into detail on the rules. But one did say it's very restrictive in playing particular types of characters. You get to play the character that is "like Han Solo" or the one that is "like R2-D2", that there isn't a lot of flexibility.

 

Sorry to lead with all this negativity in a place which is going to be all fans of the game, but there's nowhere I can look before I buy around here and I'm trying to decide whether to spend £40 on a core rule-book and these are the things that I'm worried about. It would really suck to waste my money when I found I really hated the rules or I had to spend a lot more to get the necessary play-aids. That happened once before and once-bitten and all that.

 

Thanks for any replies!

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I would say that the decks are really not necessary.  They're more memory aids like the flash cards that some of us are old enough to have used as a way of learning basic math and such way back when.  They've got pretty little pictures and descriptions of the talents from the talent trees and pretty much that's what they're good for.  If you have a rough memory that's getting rougher as you get older (like I do  ;) ), then they'll come in handy.  Otherwise, you'll never actually need them.

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First the specialization decks are not needed to enjoy this game. The Core Rule Book(CRB) has a skill tree for each class/specialization, the decks just provide a way for players to have all the rules for the talents they have bought with out having to look them up in the CRB or write them down.

 

As for the dice. i would suggest getting 2 maybe 3 packs. I GM for a group that is 4-5 players (including my self) and i have 2 packs and that seems to be enough. There are not a lot of situations where everyone needs to roll at the same time.

 

As far as flexibility goes. The system allows you to create almost any type of character you want. It does lend its self to moments where the players will think wow I'm just like "Han Solo." However, it is very possible to play a character that is not like "insert any person from the movies here"

Edited by w1r3d0n3

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Thanks both of you. It's a relief about the decks. I was hoping they were just part of the current vogue for sticking everything on cards. Actually Niklarus, I think it works the other way around - us old gamers are so used to having everything buried in a morass of different rule books we ought to be the least in need of rules cards. ;)

 

That really sucks about the dice, though. The rule book is forty pounds and then two or three packs of dice adds another £22 to £33 pounds which is pretty outrageous. Has anyone done a website that does dice rolls for this game? If not, I have a friendly programmer who I can probably chivvy into doing one for me.

 

I'm glad to hear the roles aren't too straight-jacketed. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the reviewer meant as they didn't go into detail. They just said you could only play clones of characters from the movies and it was a game for people who wanted to be like Han Solo or other characters. I wasn't sure how that worked, but I guessed they meant it was very class-based.

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Pretty much what was said by the other posters, but a point of clarification. 

 

In one aspect it is very restrictive in the types of characters you can make.   The game has redefined the concepts of good and evil to mean anything Imperial is "evil" and anything opposed to the Empire is "good". 

 

For instance the careers and specializations are (core book):

 

BOUNTY HUNTER

Assassin

Gadgeteer

Survivalist

 

COLONIST

Doctor

Politico

Scholar

 

EXPLORER

Fringer

Scout

Trader

 

HIRED GUN

Bodyguard

Marauder

Mercenary soldier

 

SMUGGLER

Pilot

Scoundrel

Thief

 

TECHNICIAN

Mechanic

Outlaw Tech

Slicer

 

So you can be an Assassin but there is no provision to be a Sector Ranger or any kind of law enforcement or detective.  Even a private eye is out.  Oh, you can make something else and call it a PI or Sheriff or what ever, but there are no skills or talents for detective work.  

 

Anyway, it is a great game, but you will need to remember that criminals are 'good' and law enforcement is 'bad'  :ph34r:

Edited by SSand

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The specialist decks are a print on demand product, that should tell you that FFG have deemed them useful for some, but not everyone.

I have 3 sets of dice myself. When I bought them I was figuring I would be the only one kf my group buying them, so I got lots for the entire table.

The character creation is really good. You can take any skill you want, but they cost more if not a career skill. The specialties offer talents that are abilities, either passive or active, that are themed by career. You can buy a specialty outside of your career, but it does cost more.

Keep in mind that even if you don't have attributes or skills maxed out, you will always be able to do something in combat.

If you are unsure about the game, buy and run the beginner box, while it does use pre generated characters, it costs less than the core book and comes with a set of dice. If your group likes it you can buy the core book and you'll have a set of dice. If your players don't min/max one set of dice is fine.

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There are also free online dice rollers that use and auto-sum the special dice. I prefer this to using real dice, tbh. Less of a pain especially when you have big pools, and MUCH preferable to using normal dice and referencing the conversion charts every roll.

Edited by Kshatriya

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 The game has redefined the concepts of good and evil to mean anything Imperial is "evil" and anything opposed to the Empire is "good". 

 

I disagree with this. It depends on how your players want to play there characters. The game is not meant to have an impact on the events in the movies/books. Also keep in mind that the majority of the empire is made up of people who are not "evil" and most of the time the characters will only interact with low level commanders and soldiers anyways. It is very easy for you to allow you players to help the empire if that is what they want to do.

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There is a rice roller online. Just google it.

 

Also there's an App for iOS and Android devices.

 

The good news is that you don't really need more then the number of dice recommended above. So once you've bought the core book and dice, you've essentially spent all you must to play. Additional books are awesome, but not required.

 

And yeah, there's "classes" but they aren't restrictive unless you try and apply the class name literally for some reason. The Smuggler:Pilot for example could be an actual smuggler pilot, or a mercenary starfighter pilot, or any other kind of pilot really...

 


 

So you can be an Assassin but there is no provision to be a Sector Ranger or any kind of law enforcement or detective.  Even a private eye is out.  Oh, you can make something else and call it a PI or Sheriff or what ever, but there are no skills or talents for detective work.  

 

I disagree in every way possible. Smuggler:Scoundrel or Thief are both perfect for a PI, and the talents fit detective work quite well. And a Sector Ranger could be represented by several possible classes.

 

You need represented skill sets to create a character concept, not specific titles and names. Being able to take something like "thief" and realize that a PI would have the same kind of skills and traits is a sign of good game design.

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 knasserII, great avatar. ;)

 

There are plenty of player created aids on this site. I'm a huge fan of the Talent Trees. We print them up and use highlighters to track our progress. Just as good, if not better, than those cards.

 

As for the dice, I'd recommend checking out the EotE Beginner Box. It comes with dice, an adventure, and a short version of the rule book. I picked it up for my group so we could have a second rule book to pass around and it wasn't too much more expensive than just buying the dice alone. If you like it, and enjoy pre-built adventures, then wait to pick up your second pack of dice for when the AoR Beginner Box comes out.

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Anyway, it is a great game, but you will need to remember that criminals are 'good' and law enforcement is 'bad'   :ph34r:

You absolutely do not have to play it that way. This game allows for people to play ISB assets or Imperial Survey Corps if they want. It totally depends on the game the GM wants to run.

 

I disagree in every way possible. Smuggler:Scoundrel or Thief are both perfect for a PI, and the talents fit detective work quite well. And a Sector Ranger could be represented by several possible classes.

 

You need represented skill sets to create a character concept, not specific titles and names. Being able to take something like "thief" and realize that a PI would have the same kind of skills and traits is a sign of good game design.

This, exactly. Career/spec are broad templates of skill and competency, the foundation on which you build your character's personal story. A sector ranger built as a Bounty Hunter/Gadgeteer could likely have a license to hunt down criminals, even if it's not an official bounty hunter's license (or maybe he does have that too).

 

But this game isn't restrictive as to "what you are" even in the way d20 is restrictive, and d20 still leaves a lot of leeway. Even in Saga, taking the "Jedi" class did not limit your fluff options except to say you joined the Jedi order. Personality, goals, methods - all open to the player still, and this game is even broader.

Edited by Kshatriya

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Thanks both of you. It's a relief about the decks.

 

I too hated that about WFRP, which is why I couldn't get anyone to play.  EotE is probably the cleanest game I've played, you only need the special dice.

 

 

That really sucks about the dice, though. The rule book is forty pounds and then two or three packs of dice adds another £22 to £33 pounds which is pretty outrageous. Has anyone done a website that does dice rolls for this game? If not, I have a friendly programmer who I can probably chivvy into doing one for me.

 

The dice are fun, I prefer the physical touch.  There is the iPhone and Android app though, it's only $5.

 

Since you are new to the game, I'd suggest getting the Beginner Box in addition to the rules.  It comes with an extra set of dice, and is perfect for introducing new players to the system.  Plus there is a free PDF followup adventure you can download.

 

I'm glad to hear the roles aren't too straight-jacketed. To be honest, I wasn't sure what the reviewer meant as they didn't go into detail. They just said you could only play clones of characters from the movies and it was a game for people who wanted to be like Han Solo or other characters. I wasn't sure how that worked, but I guessed they meant it was very class-based.

 

I don't know who the reviewer was, but he's a loon.  This is a very open system, you buy what you want, and if you start out a thief and want to be a bodyguard, and then a doctor, and then a big-game hunter, there is nothing to stop you.

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The reviewer might have looked at the Beginner game which only has the stock pregens, but that's simply for design.

As a long time gamer, this has to be one of the freshest approaches to an RPG I've seen in a long time, and there's a huge amount of freedom for both players and GMs. It is distinctly not in the d20 approach, and so standard meta gaming approaches don't really work. It's not to say that there isn't meta gaming, but generally comes up in different ways, and doesn't influence the playing of the game nearly as much.

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 The game has redefined the concepts of good and evil to mean anything Imperial is "evil" and anything opposed to the Empire is "good". 

 

I disagree with this. It depends on how your players want to play there characters. The game is not meant to have an impact on the events in the movies/books. Also keep in mind that the majority of the empire is made up of people who are not "evil" and most of the time the characters will only interact with low level commanders and soldiers anyways. It is very easy for you to allow you players to help the empire if that is what they want to do.

 

 

And your point?  I am not the one that likes it or even enforces it.  It just is. 

 

Your disagreeing with it will not make the Marshall career appear or add any investigation skills or talents.  So?

 


 


 

So you can be an Assassin but there is no provision to be a Sector Ranger or any kind of law enforcement or detective.  Even a private eye is out.  Oh, you can make something else and call it a PI or Sheriff or what ever, but there are no skills or talents for detective work.  

 

I disagree in every way possible. Smuggler:Scoundrel or Thief are both perfect for a PI, and the talents fit detective work quite well. And a Sector Ranger could be represented by several possible classes.

 

You need represented skill sets to create a character concept, not specific titles and names. Being able to take something like "thief" and realize that a PI would have the same kind of skills and traits is a sign of good game design.

 

But that is the problem, there are NO investigation skills.  At all.  Even the Thieves and Bounty Hunters lack any skills or talents to actually initially find their targets, which is one of the primary purposes of a PI.  So no. Emphatically not.  The Scoundrel and Thief in EotE are most emphatically not perfect for a PI.  They may be the closet thing, but I've seen someone haul gravel in the back of a Pinto, but that doesn't make the Pinto into a dump-truck.     They only have skills and talents to follow or chase the target after it was found (the exception being the Survivalist who has hunting skills an tracking for the wilderness).  No amount of wishful thinking will make Forensics suddenly appear as an Ability ;)

 

Everything else needs to be ad-libed or made up by the GM on the fly. 

 

Even Age of Rebellion doesn't allow you to make a Imperial trooper, though the Trooper turned freedom fighter is a really old trope.

 

That is not to say I don't like the game, I do.   But it has issues and no amount of personal opinion or wishful thinking will magic that away. 

 

But we beat this to death in another thread and the universe still hasn't changed....

 

 

@knasserll

 

The spec cards are completely unnecessary and the career roles are designed to promote the intended tropes the game was written for.  And it does that very well. 

 

But in EotE you will not find any careers or specialties for the Imperial Security Bureau, Imperial Intelligence or civilian law enforcement.  And while the expansion specialization Big Game Hunter adds talents like tracking, hunting and natural hunter.  Of the Career/Specializations for Bounty Hunter only the Survivalist spec has anything to assist in locating a target such as Hunter, Outdoorsman and Tracker.  

So if you envision Han Solo and company or Mal and the Firefly crew keeping one step in front of the law, you are golden.

But if you are envisioning a Blade Runner'esq bounty hunter tracking down a target in the urban abyss of a corporate world, you will be doing a lot of house ruling.  There are simply some adventure types it was not built for.   ;)

 

Not good, not bad.  Just is. 

 

Is the game worth it?  Absolutely. I think so.  I think it is a very very good game. 

 

But since you asked the question, you should be aware it does have a few flaws and few areas it was not designed to fill.  Nothing you can't house rule your way around, but not sometime the RAW cover.   :P

 

 

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Okay. You all persuaded me. I'm going to grab it. To those telling me to get the Beginner set, yes, it might be a good introduction, but it would put back the purchase of the actual set. Finite funds!

 

They don't seem to have an app for Windows phones, but maybe I can persuade my mate to do a website version and I'll just use the phone's browser.

 

The character classes do sound a bit restrictive and it sounds a bit fiddly that new skills can be introduced as you go along (tracking in a supplement? so what if someone has invested a lot in whatever skill the GM was using as a proxy before buying the supplement and finding an official skill?). But I'll go ahead and buy it and judge for myself. At least I know for certain it has a helpful community around it. ;)

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But in EotE you will not find any careers or specialties for the Imperial Security Bureau, Imperial Intelligence or civilian law enforcement.  And while the expansion specialization Big Game Hunter adds talents like tracking, hunting and natural hunter.  Of the Career/Specializations for Bounty Hunter only the Survivalist spec has anything to assist in locating a target such as Hunter, Outdoorsman and Tracker.  

So if you envision Han Solo and company or Mal and the Firefly crew keeping one step in front of the law, you are golden.

But if you are envisioning a Blade Runner'esq bounty hunter tracking down a target in the urban abyss of a corporate world, you will be doing a lot of house ruling.  There are simply some adventure types it was not built for.   ;)

 

I don't get the problem, I think you're approaching it with an eye towards too much specificity.  First, anyone can track, it would be a combination Streetwise, Perception, Charm, Survival, etc, depending on context.  You might need to follow a social trail, or a physical trail, and both are accounted for.  These are all generic capabilities, having a special "Tracking" skill would be kind of ridiculous...might as well add Cooking, Dancing, and Flute playing while you're at it.  The Talents certainly help, but you can always buy into that specialization tree, no matter what career you start in.

 

In short, I think you're overstating the restrictions, which is ironic given that your desire for specificity would impose more restrictions than currently exists.

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But that is the problem, there are NO investigation skills.  At all.  Even the Thieves and Bounty Hunters lack any skills or talents to actually initially find their targets, which is one of the primary purposes of a PI.  So no. Emphatically not.  The Scoundrel and Thief in EotE are most emphatically not perfect for a PI.  They may be the closet thing, but I've seen someone haul gravel in the back of a Pinto, but that doesn't make the Pinto into a dump-truck.     They only have skills and talents to follow or chase the target after it was found (the exception being the Survivalist who has hunting skills an tracking for the wilderness).  No amount of wishful thinking will make Forensics suddenly appear as an Ability  ;)

 

...

 

But in EotE you will not find any careers or specialties for the Imperial Security Bureau, Imperial Intelligence or civilian law enforcement.  And while the expansion specialization Big Game Hunter adds talents like tracking, hunting and natural hunter.  Of the Career/Specializations for Bounty Hunter only the Survivalist spec has anything to assist in locating a target such as Hunter, Outdoorsman and Tracker.  

So if you envision Han Solo and company or Mal and the Firefly crew keeping one step in front of the law, you are golden.

But if you are envisioning a Blade Runner'esq bounty hunter tracking down a target in the urban abyss of a corporate world, you will be doing a lot of house ruling.  

Not only do I think you're wrong, I think you're viewing this game through a really restrictive, literalist lens. Just because there's no "ISB Agent" spec somehow means you can't have that as a backstory with an appropriate existing career spec? There's no "Stormtrooper" spec but Hired Gun/Bodyguard or AoR's Soldier/Commando aren't good enough because they don't use the exact word you think is needed? Just because there's no skill called "Investigation" or "Forensics" means you can't competently conduct investigations using just the existing RAW? 

 

Well **** looks like my group's been Doing It Wrong with successfully performing investigations all along, sans any house rules adding skills. Thanks for pointing it out!

 

In seriousness, the social/knowledge skills, not to mention Perception and Streetwise are all "investigation" skills appropriate to a PI, and "Forensics" is actually a super-broad subject that encompasses existing skills like Computers, Knowledges, Perception, and Medicine...this all without even an interpretive stretch from the GM. The skills that are there allow you to play pretty much anything but super-Force Jedi/Sith Force/lightsaber masters (and even the lightsaber side is easy to rule in), but only if you look beyond the name and into what each skill can actually do - most of them quite broadly. If you can't see that, I don't know what to say and I doubt you're open to being convinced.

Edited by Kshatriya

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Okay. You all persuaded me. I'm going to grab it. To those telling me to get the Beginner set, yes, it might be a good introduction, but it would put back the purchase of the actual set. Finite funds!

 

They don't seem to have an app for Windows phones, but maybe I can persuade my mate to do a website version and I'll just use the phone's browser.

 

The character classes do sound a bit restrictive and it sounds a bit fiddly that new skills can be introduced as you go along (tracking in a supplement? so what if someone has invested a lot in whatever skill the GM was using as a proxy before buying the supplement and finding an official skill?). But I'll go ahead and buy it and judge for myself. At least I know for certain it has a helpful community around it. ;)

One thing about the dice is that, while you don't need many at the start (you can get away with one set), you'll want more as experience levels increase. I started with 3 myself, just because I didn't have an FLGS at the time. I'm at 4 now and will be at 5 with the Age of Rebellion Beginner box. As players start rolling 5 positive dice per action, and your enemies start getting Adversary ranks (things that start happening as power levels increase) you'll be needing to reroll dice to get it all. For a target number, though, I really recommend 3. 4 and 5 sets is really just insurance for blue moon occurrences.

 

I'm not sure why you say the classes seem restrictive. I find this a very free form system (maybe I've only played some of the more restrictive ones) where you can make whatever kind of character you want. The ability to buy trees out of whatever career you feel like really makes your character yours to customize.

 

Expert Tracker (which I assume is what he's talking about) is a talent that improves a character's ability to track things. Out of the corebook, a character would use either Streetwise or Survival skills to track someone, and the supplement didn't change this. So your hypothetical about wasted investment can't actually happen in this way.

 

On the flip side, another book recommends introducing a Cybernetics skill to the game as they say it is sufficiently different from Medicine. But it is wholly optional, and up to the GM to decide if that makes sense for their game (it didn't make sense for me, so I left it as is).

 

@SSand

I think you're just looking for a very different kind of skill list. So you decry the lack of a forensic skill instead of trying to work within the game to see there are several. This game uses a relatively short skill list with broad applications. Does your character want to determine what kind of explosive was used in an attack? Use Mechanics or Skulduggery depending on the flavor of explosive. Want to dust for fingerprints? Use Perception or Vigilance depending on the size of the area being swept. Want to look for tracks to follow? Use Survival. Want to canvass a group of witnesses? Use Streetwise. Does the information you're looking for rely on the correct use of forensic equipment? Computers or Mechanics.

 

Now I want to run a law enforcement game... I promise it would be easy.

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But that is the problem, there are NO investigation skills.  At all.  Even the Thieves and Bounty Hunters lack any skills or talents to actually initially find their targets, which is one of the primary purposes of a PI.

 

Streetwise? Criminal Underworld? Education? Core Worlds? Rim Worlds? Make up your own?

Edited by Desslok

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No, you don't need the decks.  Just the CRB.  There are online rollers that are free.  The app is cheap and also includes the dice for X-wing, as well as, all polyhedron dice.  If they were to make a deck I'm pretty sure everyone would buy it would be an adversary deck, just my opinion.

Edited by 2P51

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Okay. You all persuaded me. I'm going to grab it. To those telling me to get the Beginner set, yes, it might be a good introduction, but it would put back the purchase of the actual set. Finite funds!

 

They don't seem to have an app for Windows phones, but maybe I can persuade my mate to do a website version and I'll just use the phone's browser.

 

The character classes do sound a bit restrictive and it sounds a bit fiddly that new skills can be introduced as you go along (tracking in a supplement? so what if someone has invested a lot in whatever skill the GM was using as a proxy before buying the supplement and finding an official skill?). But I'll go ahead and buy it and judge for myself. At least I know for certain it has a helpful community around it. ;)

 

The character careers/specializations aren't as restrictive as they sound. Some of them are quite broad. For example, the Broad career of Smuggler can have specializations of a Pilot, Thief or a generalist Scoundrel. While they may have common points, a Smuggler/Thief is a very different "character class" than a "Smuggler/Pilot" because of how the talent tree shakes out. In addition, each career sourcebook that has been released so far (there have been two) add three more specializations for each. There's every reason to believe this trend will continue, and each career will get three more specializations.

 

As for things like tracking or other investigative skills, they already exist within the current skill set. FFG's design was to keep things as broad as possible. Skulduggery, for example, includes lockpicking and other acts of subterfuge, but can easily be used as an investigative skill to figure out how a criminal might have pulled something off. After all, it takes a thief to know a thief by some accounts. Its a matter of applying skill use creatively. Because of the way the system works is that even someone who is unskilled at a particular area may still try their hand at it and may actually succeed at easier difficulties.

 

Years ago, I played Rolemaster, that had an ultra-specific skill list. With if one didn't have "Left handed nosepicking" any such attempts meant a -25 modifier to the roll, which generally meant one might cut their own nose off if unsuccessful or worse yet, doing it with their right hand. I've seen what specific skill lists can do for a game, I would much rather see creative use of a general list as FFG has done.

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But that is the problem, there are NO investigation skills.  At all.  Even the Thieves and Bounty Hunters lack any skills or talents to actually initially find their targets, which is one of the primary purposes of a PI.

 

Streetwise? Criminal Underworld? Education? Core Worlds? Rim Worlds? Make up your own?

 

To me the biggest issue with inventing your own skills is deciding what Careers/Specs (if any) should get it added, and at what cost (replacing an existing skill), and if it's not included as in-Class for anyone, why not if it's a pretty broad skill (which I think an "Investigation" skill would be). IIRC there's only one skill that nobody gets in-Class and that's Lightsabers, for the obvious reason.

 

Oh wait there's also Cybernetics, right? But that is, frankly, a pretty niche skill - we're not playing Shadowrun, not every doctor has experience replacing flesh with metal or even caring for patients with implants. I can't see "Investigation" being so niche and specialized, though.

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