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Kirdan Kenobi

What roles are necessary in Edge?

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In D&D and similar games you have a classic party of 4 consisting of a melee character, a skillmonkey, an arcane caster, and a divine caster because in D&D, there are certain roles every party has to have.

I'm curious if there are any such roles or particular skills that are necessary for a party to have filled in Edge of the Empire. It would seems apparent at least one character would need to have the piloting (space) skill, and you'd need to have at least one character decent in a fight, but I wanted to know what was needed beyond that. For instance, mechanics, medicine, and social skills I would guess are important for at least one character to have. What are your experiences?

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In my experience...

 

Pilot

Mechanic

Rifleman (very good ranged attacks)

Face of the party (social skills; charm, negotiate, deception, streetwise)

Doctor (or buy a medical droid)

 

When my group was working on creating their characters I told them these are not REQUIRED, but would certainly help.  Either I may work around them, offer NPC's to help...but its possible those NPC's (even droids) will require $$$ for their services.  For instance, if they didnt have a pilot, they may come across pilot willing to join the group but he takes a % cut of the credits & loot.  A droid of any kind will require regular maintenance and parts or be prone to breaking down (challenge dice on his skills).

 

I let them know its a good idea to pick 1 primary skill your character is the BEST at, then 2 secondary skills that you are pretty well-versed in as well.  Try to not step on each others feet with redundancy.

 

Its also possible to have more than 1 role.  For instance, the Doctor in my group also has 3 presence and is pretty good at the social skills, so he naturally represents the party most of the time.

Edited by Diggles

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Edge of the Empire is very much more a game about storytelling than it is about matching things like encounter balance.

 

Obviously, there are some roles that are handy to have (damage-dealer, social skills, piloting), but it's not like D&D where you've got encounter design based around the idea that your group has certain classes in the party.

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I agree with both of the above posts: the latter in that, as a narrative game, there doesn't need to be a perpetual concern about encounter balance; however, knowing that certain roles are catered to by certain PCs does allow you to rest assured that a) certain PCs will be able to shine expertise-wise when faced with certain problems, and b) that you won't end up throwing in a problem that the party can't reasonably face (at least when you don't mean to).

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The beauty if the Edge of the Empire system is that you don't need to gave certain roles for a successful party. You don't have to have the piloting skill to pilot, ranged to fire a pistol/rifle, or social to wheel & deal. Additionally, you can train non-career skills any time if you'd like your toon to know something.

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Very true! But I, at least, like to have my character approach a problem and be able to think, "THIS is what my character excels at... watch the almost-certain magic happen..." You don't need to be geared toward that task to be able to do it, but there's a certain pride that comes from knowing that your techie with Mechanics 4 is about to work wonders with a faulty hyperdrive, especially when that faulty device is the only thing stopping your crew from escaping the clutches of the Empire...

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The class system in Edge is far more flavor oriented then D&D. Remember the D20 critical roles were based heavily on how its combat system works. Edge, not so much. Missing a role isn't as critical because in most cases a few extra skill ranks will usually fill the gap enough to get the players through.

As a bonus, Droids. These fantastic pieces of property make grade A NPCs when you need a role gap filled. Missing a mechanic, or slicer, R-series. Need a face? 3P0 unit will do. Getting shot up all the time? I've got a great deal on a 2-1B unit for you. Pilot? RX units are great...

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It's also easy for a character to double up on roles, for example the doctor makes an excellent mechanic (and vice versa) because they both just need high Intelligence. The Talents are mostly icing on the cake and it's not hard to unlock a new specialization quickly.

 

I like the Pilot specialization and think they're important for the feel of a game, but anyone with high Agility can do it reasonably well "unskilled" (especially if they flip a destiny point to upgrade)...just not as well as a dedicate pilot, and that would reflect in the balance of ship-/vehicle-focused encounters.

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On the subject of droids... Anyone else love the inclusion of a HK unit picture in one of the EotE books (I fail to recall which one it was)?

 

The image you're thinking of (assuming there aren't others in other books) is toward the beginning of the gear chapter, right before weapon qualities are listed.

Edited by Otzlowe

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I don't think it matters in EotE like it did with D&D.  I GM most of my games with my son, who plays a human Explorer with a droid sidekick, which means melee, brawling, and social skills tend to suffer, while piloting, shooting, and mechanics tends to shine.  But I find the story creation process is different in EotE, and it's easier to steer away from certain challenges and focus on things that can make the character shine.

 

Obviously some things are complementary:  if you had group playing a SWAT team, always in fights and needing patches, then having a medic or reasonable access to such technology prevents the game from bogging down in healing time.  But it's nothing like D&D4e, where you needed a leader to coordinate, a defender to take damage and hold positions, a controller for crowd control, etc.  All that stuff is handled by technology that any character can get (auto-fire weapons, armour, thermal detonators).

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It's also easy for a character to double up on roles, for example the doctor makes an excellent mechanic (and vice versa) because they both just need high Intelligence. The Talents are mostly icing on the cake and it's not hard to unlock a new specialization quickly.

 

I like the Pilot specialization and think they're important for the feel of a game, but anyone with high Agility can do it reasonably well "unskilled" (especially if they flip a destiny point to upgrade)...just not as well as a dedicate pilot, and that would reflect in the balance of ship-/vehicle-focused encounters.

I'm going to disagree that Talents are the icing on the cake. To me, they are what really shows dedication. Anyone can do first aid, anyone with high Intellect can do it better, throw in ranks of Medicine and its even more so, but... The Talents found on the Doctor tree (particularly Surgeon) make a huge difference. Combat actually shows this even more, and talents like Deadly Accuracy and Point Blank Shot can matter far more than a better base dice pool.

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I don't think it matters in EotE like it did with D&D.  I GM most of my games with my son, who plays a human Explorer with a droid sidekick, which means melee, brawling, and social skills tend to suffer, while piloting, shooting, and mechanics tends to shine.  But I find the story creation process is different in EotE, and it's easier to steer away from certain challenges and focus on things that can make the character shine.

 

Obviously some things are complementary:  if you had group playing a SWAT team, always in fights and needing patches, then having a medic or reasonable access to such technology prevents the game from bogging down in healing time.  But it's nothing like D&D4e, where you needed a leader to coordinate, a defender to take damage and hold positions, a controller for crowd control, etc.  All that stuff is handled by technology that any character can get (auto-fire weapons, armour, thermal detonators).

 

I dont think that role matters at all in EotE, just like it didnt matter in D&D. It is the fallacy of modern gaming that role is important, or that it should be included in the rules. Role should come out of character backstory and desire, not some rules framework that lessens options for arbitrary reasons.

 

Even in 4e, a game uncompromisingly (now a word!) designed around role, it was possible to play without certain roles or even with only one role present. Why? because there is a meatbrain running the game. Tailoring the game to the players, and to make sure they have fun is the whole purpose of the GM.

 

All it requires is a GM who is willing to think, so think (the criticism that got me on HappyDaze ignore list, as childish as it is to announce that fact)

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I do agree that role isn't as important. I, personally, love a system that allows you to make characters more versatile and believable rather than pigeon-holing PCs into a pre-determined "focus"; however, it does sometimes help to know that you have all your bases covered as a GM, so that you can throw encounters in that won't prove to be too challenging for a group.

 

Though, after the beta, I tend to change my approach to campaign planning now: instead I make a note of the highest skill rank possessed by the group in skills, talents, etc, so that I've got a rough idea of group limitations and capabilities. Just knowing that someone in a group has Medicine 4 - regardless of perceived 'role' - means that you can challenge the PCs accordingly.

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I've always detested games that hardwire a 'role' into the concept. Yes, it was possible to play 4E with different characters, but the game tries to pigeonhole you into a 'leader/striker/defender/controller' role from the start, it was built in to the system.  It's an ugly concept that comes from things like MMOs and shouldn't have a place in RPGs.

 

EoE doesn't really have that, as a GM can build a game around the players.  They chose to play a Pilot, Mechanic and a Fringer? They're telling you they want to spend a lot of time on a ship.  They chose a Trader, Politico and a Slicer? They're saying they don't want lots of combats.

 

That said, there's already a good summation of this on p54 of the EoE rules.   It breaks down what each career is good at in an EoE game. 

 

Personally, I especially dislike having a party 'Face', where one character specialises in diplomacy skills and when it's time to interact with NPCs, the rest of the party just stands around doing nothing, having dumped their Charisma stat. I punish this pretty hard personally.  I always get all the players involved in an interactive scene, so they'd best have some kind of diplomacy/negociate/coerce/leadership skill if they want to do well. The 'skill challenges' in 4E were actually a good concept, even if the execution and the maths were abysmal.  The idea was sound - get everyone involved rather than having PCs standing around doing nothing.      

Edited by Maelora

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Even in 4e, a game uncompromisingly (now a word!) designed around role, it was possible to play without certain roles or even with only one role present. Why? because there is a meatbrain running the game. Tailoring the game to the players, and to make sure they have fun is the whole purpose of the GM.

 

Yes, but the entire game was mathematically designed to revolve around these issues.  The structure of encounters, rest spots, daily uses, magic items, character roles... You could try and strip that element out by writing your own adventures, but then you find you're just fighting the system.

 

Now that's possible, but it's much nicer to have narrative things like 13th Age, One Ring and Edge of Empire where each character is not expected to have a certain level of skill or a certain amount of shiny items. Which is the exact opposite of some iterations of D&D, and what the new D&D edition seems to be trying to get away from.

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Well 4e got pretty bad. I really liked what they did with powers and the compressed skills, and the (original) digital tools were fantastic.

But running anything except a dungeon crawl was a little awkward, and dungeon crawls were so tightly managed that you really didn't even need a gm that much, and combat could just drag on... It sometimes felt like the system would have worked better as the foundation of an MMO programming teams design document. Which is possible considering what their original online tabletop looked like.

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I told my group that they could play anything they wanted as long as they had helpful skills beyond combat or they will find themselves unable to handle very well many of the problems they will face. I then let them know that it was highly advisable to have a Pilot because there will be situations that only a decent pilot will do, plus it's a pretty good jack of all trades career.

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I'm going to disagree that Talents are the icing on the cake. To me, they are what really shows dedication. Anyone can do first aid, anyone with high Intellect can do it better, throw in ranks of Medicine and its even more so, but... The Talents found on the Doctor tree (particularly Surgeon) make a huge difference. Combat actually shows this even more, and talents like Deadly Accuracy and Point Blank Shot can matter far more than a better base dice pool.

 

Right, but talents like Surgeon effectively improve things you can even if you don't possess a rank in the relevant skill. Compare with those like Pressure Point, which are useless unless you have skill ranks.

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I've always detested games that hardwire a 'role' into the concept. Yes, it was possible to play 4E with different characters, but the game tries to pigeonhole you into a 'leader/striker/defender/controller' role from the start, it was built in to the system.  It's an ugly concept that comes from things like MMOs and shouldn't have a place in RPGs.

That isn't from MMOs. D&D has had that issue since the get go back in the late 70s. To handle the general encounters designed in the various adventures it really did require the party to have the Fighter/Rogue/Cleric/Wizard combo to make sure that they could get through each one. 3rd Ed in the early 2000s just made it more clear with their encounter level design for a party of 4 as the baseline. 4th Ed just generalized the roles from the classes to a position instead, but it was still basically the same four core classes.

So, to say it has no place in RPGs doesn't make any sense since it has been there this whole time. Now, it isn't needed in every RPG, but it does have a place and serve a purpose, such as making sure that your bases are covered in a world where your group is generally on their own and expected to get through everything by themselves.

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Have 3 different groups.

 

First group has an assassin exile, gadgeteer, body guard, scoundrel, and a slicer.

 

The second group has a doctor, scholar and a marauder.

 

The third group has an explorer, pilot and a mechanic.

 

 

 

All three groups get along just fine. Ironically the first group has the most combat potential and probably gets into the fewest fights. They are really good about intimidation, ambushing and disarming opponents before anyone knows what is going on.

 

The second group the doctor is a pacifist and the marauder is all about putting the hurt on. Its the scholar that picks all the fights.

 

The third group is all about flying to unknown and uncharted locations and exploring them. Very different vibe but still so very star wars.

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Well 4e got pretty bad. I really liked what they did with powers and the compressed skills, and the (original) digital tools were fantastic.

But running anything except a dungeon crawl was a little awkward, and dungeon crawls were so tightly managed that you really didn't even need a gm that much, and combat could just drag on... It sometimes felt like the system would have worked better as the foundation of an MMO programming teams design document. Which is possible considering what their original online tabletop looked like.

 

 

Some of the concepts were sound, the skills were focused (Gods, how I wish EoE had half the number of skills it has!) and the original character generator was fantastic.

 

But every fight lasting an hour? 'Adventures' that were nothing more than twenty dull combats strung together, with not one single interactive scene? Somebody summed it up perfectly by saying it was 'the slowest game of WoW he'd ever played'. The PHB read like a strategy guide for a new MMO, dull lists of powers and items with nothing to inspire imagination. 

 

Interesting to note that the industry as a whole seems now to be going the other way, towards story-based games like EoE.  

Edited by Maelora

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The third group is all about flying to unknown and uncharted locations and exploring them. Very different vibe but still so very star wars.

 

Oh, so much this.  There's far more to The Fringe than hutts and bounty-hunters.

Edited by Maelora

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Compare with those like Pressure Point, which are useless unless you have skill ranks.

 

Yeah, this is the 'hobo under the bridge' problem, in which the talents and skills for each career or specialisation rarely line up.  It's the biggest issue I have with EoE, that you pretty much have to buy non-career skills just to make use of your baseline abilities. You're pretty much forced to multi-class, which is unfortunate if you want to play a 'pure' single class character.

Edited by Maelora

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