Sunday, November 10, 2013
First thoughts about Edge of Empire
I've actually been on a bit of a RPG-buying kick lately, a sure sign that I'm either a bit depressed or just suffering from the wandering foot of my hobby tendencies. Edge of Empire is the latest iteration of a Star Wars RPG, this one by Fantasy Flight Games.
I own every Star Wars RPG out there, from the first edition by West End Games to FFG's new stop-a-high-caliber-bullet tome, and I may like this one the least, which is saying a lot since I'm including Wizards of the Coast's d20 version in there. Why? I'll tell you.
It's not, as it turns out, because of their dice that are game-specific and damned expensive ($18 for a set), although that does cheese me off. It's even not the way that they reduce all social interaction to a die roll, with little in the way of in-character roleplaying affecting the outcome.
No, it's the way they chose to settle into the Star Wars universe. In EoE, the PC's are all smugglers, soldiers, bounty hunters, etc. existing in the gritty fringe of the galaxy and struggling to raise money to hold off various creditors and bulk up their inevitable tramp freighter to bigger and better things. At best, the PC's are picaresque. At worst, they are "murder hobos."
What they really are is indistinguishable from every other boring merchant marine campaign this side of Traveller. The real joy of Star Wars is its conflict between good and evil played out on a mythic level against a science fiction (or more correctly, science fantasy) landscape. Han Solo isn't appealing because he's the world's coolest rogue, he is because he transcends his self interest to not only find love but also become a hero. How would the story look if, at the end of Episode IV the big climax is that Han takes the payment from the Rebellion for rescuing the princess and uses it to pay off Jabba the Hutt or upgrade the Millenium Falcon's turbolasers into something better?
I say that because that's the direction the game is geared. Oh, I hear you cry that a good GM could piece together a meaningful story of heroism out of the grist of Edge of Empire, but I have said many times that it really isn't worth the trouble to go that much against the grain of a game sometimes when there are others that are going in the right direction.
And my God, how many pages of equipment, weapons, and gear does a lightweight science fantasy game need anyways? I'm at the point now that having to get the players up to speed on 20+ pages of gear is one of those pains in my backside that I have no interest in getting into any more.
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