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elderrook17

Where to start? SHOULD I start?

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I've been roleplaying since I was a young teen in the early 1980's. I began with D&D and played a variety of games over the years. I played the original Star Wars RPG from West End Games when it was released in 1987, and have continued playing it up until last year. I've also played the various versions of the Star Wars roleplaying game released by Wizards of the Coast, although I've often found the older versions from WEG to be more friendly to newer players.

Recently, I purchased the Star Wars Age of Rebellion starter set from FFG, solely based on the wonderful job they've done with X-Wing and Armada (of which I have purchased a large number of ships). I've tried the game out, read through the material, and did some online research, discovering that the Star Wars Age of Rebellion game is one of three separate games produced by FFG for roleplaying in the Star Wars universe.

Up until now, I've been used to the model of a core rule system with supplements to add more to the game. I've never tried a system where you have three separate core systems. I also see that there are supplements already released and more on the way for each of the three systems, as well as a fourth system, based on the newer timeline of The Force Awakens.  What I'm worried about is the fact that my play-style has always incorporated a bit of what all three of the core systems include. That would likely mean I would need to acquire all three core books, which as a price point of around $60.00 US, would get very expensive, very fast.

Then I start seeing things like the Game Master's Kit ($20.00), the Specialization Decks ($7.00 each and there are 36 of them) and a lot more, and I begin to wonder who can afford to buy all these products in order to play the game.

So I'm turning to you, the people who've already plunked down some cash, played the game, and know a lot more about it than I seem to. Where does one begin to delve into this game system? How different are the Core systems? Is there a way to afford to play the game on a working man's salary? What makes the game superior to the prior versions that have come before it? I've learned that newer isn't always the same thing as better, and I'm going to need some advice on which way to go here.

 

-ElderRook

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Posted (edited)

You have a good start with the Beginner's Box.  Add a core rulebook and you can play.  Everything else is optional (but cool and addictive).  

If you are used to Xwing, the expansions are like buying a new fighter.  Even if you don't plan on fielding that fighter, there are expansion cards you may want to use.  The RPG supplements are like that.  You may not have a Scoundrel in your party, but the Scoundrel book has gambling rules. 

Your biggest question is how do you want to play.  Edge is for scoundrels, normal people, and those that aren't allied with a "government".  Age of Rebellion is the classic Rebellion vs. Empire, it is assumed you are a member of a large group/government.  Force and Destiny is for heavy force users.  All 3 books are fully compatible.  Edge and Age both have some Force rules, but not nearly everything.  

Specialization Decks are totally optional.  It reprints material from the books, with some nice art.  Same for the Encounter and Critical decks.

Specialization Books expand each career with 3 new specs, more gear, a lot of fluff, and usually 1 or 2 significant nuggets of "rules" which are very generally applicable.

Adventures are just that.  But they too, often have an expansion to the rules.  I like to read through the adventures and mine for ideas.  They also give examples of how some of the less clear rules are supposed to work.

Region Books detail out locations to visit, include adventure ideas, gear, and some rules expansions.

If  you are used to WEG Star Wars (which I was), you probably will like it.  Like any system, though, there are pros and cons.  I know WEG had some pretty horrific problems that every GM I have seen had to have some house rules to correct.  FFG is no different.  But the narrative nature of the dice allows for more cooperation between players and GM's than any other system I have worked with.  

Lastly, I highly recommend the FFG Dice App.  It cancels dice automatically (if you want), allows unlimited dice pools, and includes standard dice, and all specialty dice that FFG uses for Star Wars (including Xwing, Armada, etc).  An amazing value.

TLDR; Yes go for it, no you don't NEED to buy everything (although you may end up doing so).

Edited by Edgookin
whafrog, Nytwyng and MGChrist like this

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from the perspective of someone that splurged and bought a bunch of books and digested over time, you ONLY need one of the core books to get started, and it's all dependent on the flavor of the campaign you plan on running. If I knew then what I know now, I would have bought the EotE core, the FaD core, then the various career or sector books, depending on what I needed or what would have been fun.

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I also got my RPG start on the WEG system and I think this system is the only one even close to comparing. It does a great job at replicating the feel of SW. Honestly, I would just buy ONE core book that most closely aligns with what you want to play (personally, I think EotE and AoR are more useful overall than FaD unless all your players want to do is be Jedi all the time). The system is so light and flexible that you can just about recreate anything with just the main rulebook. I don't really think the Splat books for each class are really worth the money- as I said the rules are so light there is really no reason to pay hundreds of dollars for ships and rules that you can easily kit-bash yourself. I do think that the locations books are pretty useful, but also not essential if you are cash-strapped. If you like pre-made adventures, the ones FFG makes are really excellent, in my opinion (though, again if you are looking to conserve money, you can do everything with the one book). 

TLDR; Just choose one core book and you should be all set for a good long while. 

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Everyone's pretty much already covered what I'd say.

I will add this, though. In late 2015, I was planning - after many years of not playing any RPG's - to launch a Star Wars RPG campaign, and was intending to use the WEG D6 system, for much the same reason you mentioned: it's very new-player-friendly. While still planning (with only one or two players having made characters), I was invited by friends to join a new campaign in the FFG system in January 2016. After my second session, I made the decision to change to the FFG system. WEG is still a great system, and I'll probably always consider it my favorite SWRPG system, but FFG almost immediately became a very close second. The dynamic of success/advantage/failure/threat allowing for amazing and fun combinations is what made the decision for me. (If it's any indication, I'm now a player in 4 campaigns, GM for a campaign, just started occasionally running the Beginner Games at the comic store I go to, and the recent EotE BG session may have me launching a new campaign as GM for the players there. As you can see, I hate the system.)

As others have said, one Core Rulebook is plenty to get you started, and you'll just want to decide which one based on the kind of campaign you're going to run. (Or, if time isn't a huge factor, you can watch for a good sale and get all three. A local comic/game store runs a "buy 2/get 1 free" sale in the whole store every Free Comic Book Day and from Black Friday through New Year's Eve. I hadn't sold myself on the system in December 2015 to take advantage of it, but Free Comic Book Day 2016 saw me buying all 3 for the price of 2. Still a somewhat hefty price tag, but....) Just research which book(s) will be most beneficial for you, and don't feel the need to buy everything right away.

Personally, the specialization and critical decks don't benefit me at all. However, the adversary decks (ordered directly from FFG as print-on-demand through the web site) are golden.

Welcome to the fold, and you'll also find that the members of the forum here are quite helpful with any questions that you have.

SFC Snuffy likes this

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Like others have said, buy what you need to get started.  The core rulebook at a minimum.  GM screen really isn't needed, but is helpful.  You could try running a rebellion game, that could morph into the other settings.  Rebels that decide the war is unwinnable and go rogue, becoming criminals, or they all discover they're force sensitive and go down that line.  The options are boundless.  I don't think I'll be purchasing the specialization decks, as my players all have a pretty good grasp on their talent trees.  But the NPC cards are very helpful, especially when your players decide to go off on a tangent that you have not prepared for.  And with RPG games, that tends to happen a lot.  My best piece of advice though, take it out for a test drive.  Don't sink any money into a system you may not even enjoy.  Play the beginner box with some friends and see if it's well liked.  If it is, then put money to it.  But like others have said, it's little purchases over time, not a bulk $1000 buy.

Nytwyng likes this

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I have all of the currently released books, all 3 gm kits, 3 specialization decks, a signature ability deck, 3 npc decks, 2 beginner games (edge of the empire, and the force awakens), plus 7 additional packs of dice (2 set aside as a gift after the system is out of print)

There is only 1 system but 3 games using the 1 system.

Skip the specialization decks

In my opinion the AOR gm screen is the best of the bunch

It's nice to have 5 or 6 sets of dice (7 is unnecessary)

The worst of the so far released career books in my opinion is lead by example, buy that one LAST but they are all worth buying... objectively I think that fly casual is the best career book followed by no disintegrations and special modifications, keeping the peace, endless vigil, dangerous covenants, stay on target, disciples of harmony, forged in battle, far horizons, savage spirits, desperate allies, enter the unknown, lead by example.

I think that lords of nal Hutt is the best of the region books, followed by suns of fortune.  My favorite adventure book is friends like these, it has a few plot holes, and is a little railroady at the end but it is an amazing resource to integrate pieces of into your own game (some cool ships, mandalorían humans, characters to reuse)

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You've already started out in the best place possible, that being to purchase one of the Beginner Box sets.  Give that a whirl with your group, using the pre-gens and even the free online follow-up adventure if you want to try it a bit further beyond what the Beginner Box offers.

As has been said, this isn't three systems, but rather three books in the same system, with each book reflecting a particular facet of the setting.  Age of Rebellion is probably the closest to "classic" Star Wars in that it puts the PCs into the role of Rebels fighting against the Galactic Empire, which a lot of old-timers familiar with the WEG version of Star Wars are both familiar and entirely comfortable with.

Beyond the core rulebook and the GM's Kit (which itself is nice to have for the various charts as easy reference and the very solid adventure that's included), you really don't need that much else.  The career supplements are nice and add extra options for players and campaign advice for GMs, but you certainly don't need any of them to play a fun and exciting Age of Rebellion game, if that's the flavor you choose to go with.

Just bear in mind that Force users in both Age of Rebellion and Edge of the Empire are going to be minor players, as their options are fairly limited in terms of advancement.  If you're planning to include the Force as a major element of your campaigns, then at some point you'll probably want to pick up the Force and Destiny core rulebook, which provides a plethora of options for players that want to be Force users, bearing in mind that said PCs are NOT starting out as Jedi such as we see in the prequels and media associated with that time frame, but rather take their cues from Luke's path in the OT and slowly grow into capable students of Force; even Ahsoka Tano in the start of Clone Wars is probably more capable than your typical starting Force and Destiny character.

SFC Snuffy likes this

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I wanted to thank you all for the feedback. I'm sorry it took so long to reply, but mother nature has not been kind the last few weeks.

I'm not sure which way we'll go moving forward. We're still sticking to the old d6 system for now while we decide. Maybe when Christmas comes, we can hope to find some new game material under our trees. :)

Thanks again everyone, it was indeed helpful. It's also nice to see a friendly, inclusive player base rather than the alternatives.

Happy adventuring,

-rook

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Rook,

I think any of the core books are fine but I went with Age of Rebellion for my first one and then got Force and Destiny and Edge of the Empire. I was just going to stick to the one core book, but I needed the careers and the Force stuff. I then felt I had to get No Disintegrations for the BH stuff, but while it does have some good stuff in it I probably could have lived without it.

I would say that you probably know what kind of campaigns you are likely to run based on your knowledge of yourself. It sounds like we are the same age roughly, so one of the things I know that I do after all of these years is a lot of tinkering or filling in the blanks with my own stuff.  This game was designed to bring a paycheck to the designers, and they deserve it as well as need it to pay for that license I'm sure, but old gamers like us can usually divine the nature of the system well enough to model stuff on your own. The modules and books have overlarge boxes to put the few numbers and stats for each adversary, and there is usually a lot of descriptive content in the modules I have read (which I don't use) so you can fill in that info yourself too. The adversary section in the core books is a good place to see how the game builds monsters, so you can just change the name and keep the stats, or you can build new ones. Galaxy map and Wookieepedia can fill in a lot of the other stuff you need.

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No one has mentioned that Force Awakens Beginner set is more of a combination of the three core rules. It is not a core set in its own right.

But should still be good value for money. There is an adventure, set of dice, Map of the Galaxy and tokens. Regardless of how you feel about the adventures, getting a couple of beginner sets for dice, maps and tokens is good value for money. If you like the physical items. 

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The 3 core books center in different aspects of the SW universe. What kind of stories do you want to talk about?

If it is all 3, I think that force and destiny would be the best option as a general book. I dislike force sensitives, but that is me.  the supplements from each fgame can more or less be used with the mechanics in the 3 core books. 

Edited by MonCal

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On 8/8/2017 at 2:20 PM, Edgookin said:

TLDR; Yes go for it, no you don't NEED to buy everything (although you may end up doing so).

Yikes. When the miniatures folks are saying "****, bro - that looks EXPENSIVE!" you know we are in an all new world of crazy.

Edgookin likes this

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I have almost all the books, but not a single one of the decks. Some might find them useful as reference material, opposed to flipping through the books or scouring the GM screen. but in the end a couple of dice, and a Core book (which one depends on the type of campaign you want to play) shared between your friends will be enough. Elaboration through the sourcebooks later on, to my opinion, is very nice as well.

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