Tzaph Plays… Edge of the Empire

I did intend for the following to be the first of a series of videos, but after a wasted evening of fiddling around with lighting, positioning, video editing, and generally being awkward in front of the camera, I’ve instead decided just to write a normal post. But Tzaphovision will come, one day…

So let’s talk about my new favourite RPG.

Star-Wars-Edge-of-the-Empire-Beginner-Game

 

Edge of the Empire is Fantasy Flight Games’ latest RPG, and as you may have guessed, this one is based in the Star Wars universe. However you won’t find any Jedi or clone troopers here; Edge is set, as the name suggests, on the edge of the Empire.

In Edge, players are smugglers, mercenaries, traders, and freelancers; characters who operate on the fringes of society and generally get into all manner of shenanigans with Hutt crime lords, psychotic bounty hunters, and Imperial lawkeepers. This gives Edge a kind of Wild West in space in feel, very similar to Firefly. Some may (and have) bemoaned the lack of Jedi, but Edge is part of a planned trilogy; as I understand it, two further books for playing as soldiers in Rebel Alliance and as Jedi will be released. Until then, players will have to make do with Edge and make interesting unique characters, rather than Mary-Sues with robes and a glowstick.

Now, unless you bought the Beta rules, there isn’t a big main rulebook for Edge yet. At the moment, there’s only the Beginner box, similar to the D&D Red Box of old. This however is in no way a bad thing. In the Beginner box, you get a nice, slim rulebook, a booklet with an intro adventure, some snazzy folios for the four pre-generated characters for the intro adventure, some tokens, and the custom dice, which leads me on to why I love Edge; the rules system.

Edge uses a dice pool system very similar to Fantasy Flight’s Warhammer Fantasy RPG; you have an assortment of custom dice, some marked exclusively with beneficial symbols and some marked with detrimental symbols. The general gist is that you roll good and bad dice at the same time (the number of each type you roll depending on how skilled the character is and how difficult the task is), and try and roll at least one Success symbol. One part of the dice system that lends itself very well to storytelling and imagination – which is ultimately what an RPG should be about – is the inclusion of Advantages and Threats. Rolling Advantages doesn’t necessarily mean that the character was successful, just as Threats doesn’t necessarily mean that they failed; it’s possible to be unsuccessful at something, but still have something good happen because of Advantages (and vice versa for Threats).

Combat is nice and quick, as no players or enemies are walking blobs of health points as you’d have in D&DEdge also uses an abstract range system, so although you can use a map and models to visualise the action, you don’t need to worry about characters moving a certain distance per turn, or whether or not a particular attack is a few squares out of range. After the boardgame-like drudgery of D&D 4th edition, this is a breath of fresh air.

I have a few tiny quibbles with rules such as non-threatening critical injury rules and the inclusion of the barely-used Destiny dice (though the Destiny point system in Edge is the best example of a “luck point” mechanic I’ve seen in an RPG), but those are minor issues; it’s not like Dark Heresy or D20 Modern which I felt the need to house-rule into oblivion. I ran Edge for the first time last Saturday and there were no issues and my group had a great time; the example adventure included with the Beginner box is great for teaching new GMs and new players about how to get into roleplaying. I’m running Edge again on Thursday for a group of RPG virgins, so we’ll see how that goes.

The most exciting thing about Edge isn’t the background in my opinion; it’s the rules system. I’m looking forward to using the Edge rules to run adventures of Victorian gothic horror, steampunk Wild West, paranormal investigation, swashbuckling piracy, and more besides. Obviously this’ll take a little bit of customising and tweaking, but I’m comfortable with that. Edge has eclipsed D20 Modern as my generic go-to system to run any game with.

If you’re a gamer, I highly recommend giving Edge a go. Even if you’re not too interested in Star Wars, Edge is well worth it for the game mechanics.

 

Tzaph

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