Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) publishes the third incarnation of the Star Wars RPG ; with a 3rd rule system.
I played Star Wars RPG in the 80’s and 90’s using the D6 System as published by West End Games starting 1987 (and by Descartes Editeur for the French version which was the one I had). This was before the dreaded Episode 1 was released. I might do a retro one day about this version as it has significant relevance for the verse.
Initially this game was not on my list, but I sumbled upon a group that was looking for a GM to play the FFG version of Star Wars. As it was an opportunity, I took the plunge and bought Star Wars Edge of the Empire and Star Wars Age of Rebellion core rulebooks, as well as a set of dice.
The FFG version of Star Wars is now four distinct games. In order of publication, Edge of the Empire (EoE) is about adventure on the edge the the Empire, in the outskirt of the galaxy, where crimelord make the law and population is sparse. PCs are scoundrels, outlaws or explorer through the rim of the galaxy away from the conflict — kinda like Han Solo and Chewbacca’s life before they got hired by Obiwan on Tatooine.
Age of Rebellion (AoR) came next and is about playing adventure as part of the Alliance to restore the Republic, that rebellion movement that fight against the empire ; mostly what’s happening after the battle of Yavin that led to the evacuation of the Rebel base and the destruction of the Death Star.
The third is Force and Destiny (FaD) and is centered around the Force, its mysticism and the Jedi order, where PCs are Jedi or still in training. FaD even offers a Knight level of play for highly powerful characters and epic adventures.
Each game come as a hardcover rulebook of about 450 pages in full colour, following a similar structure. At least 2/3 of the content is the same, albeit some chapters differ from one and another ; different set of Force powers, different spaceships and planets. All three have a matching beginner game in the form of a 48 pages rulebook (a simplified version) and a 32 pages adventure, as well as dice and accessories in a box, meant for beginners as an introduction. I haven’t any of these.
The fourth one break the rule by being only in the form of a beginner game, like all three have, set in the time of The Force Awaken. Any of the other three game can be used to continue further. Note: I do not have this one.
Each book is divided in 13 chapters:
Chapter 1 explain how to play the game, including the basic dice mechanism, and character progression.
Chapter 2 layout the character creation. While the chapters are similar in EoE, AoR and FaD, they differ in the races they offer as well as career and specializations, as well as the party resources. The other difference is EoE obligation vs AoR duty vs FaD conflict, we’ll see about that later.
Chapter 3 list the skills and chapter 4 list the talents.
Chapter 5 is the equipment, how the galactic economy works, how weapon maintenance work as well as how customizations are done.
Chapter 6 is the conflicts and combat resolution, and their consequence. What would be Star Wars without blasters.
Chapter 7 is about spaceships! spaceships! SPACESHIPS!. And vehicles. It explain how space ship battles happen, how interstaller travel works. It then list a bunch of vehicle and starships, as well that modification for this. The list is different for EoE and AoR with some overlap notable with the fighters and freighters. A serious missing piece is the stats for the Millenium Falcon that the old Star Wars from West End Games had.
Chapter 8 is about the Force. While neither EoE nor AoR are focused on the Force and Jedis, they both have possibility to have Force users as PCs with a career for Force user with a talent trees. The books also differ in which Force power are described. FaD on the other hand has much more information.
Chapter 9 explain the role and tasks of the game master. The chapters in EoE and AoR differs on several aspect, mostly because of the difference between obligation and duty, also difference in setting. AoR also has a section about compatibility with EoE.
Chapter 10 is the Galaxy. This chapter also differ between EoE and AoR by which planets get featured and more emphasis on some outer region for EoE.
Chapter 11 as the background. For EoE it is Law and Society, with some large organizations and how law and order is maintained. In AoR it is The Rebellion, talking about its organization, its bases and tactics. Expectingly, FaD chapter is about The Jedi and the Sith.
Chapter 12 is about adversaries. A bunch of ready made NPCs and obviously EoE and AoR have different overlapping lists. More outerworlders in EoE, more rebels in AoR.
Chapter 13 is the adventure, each a different one.
All three books feature gorgeous art, none taken from movie stills, but with sometime familiar faces. There are some references to episode 1 to 3, including Naboo, Coruscant (which appeared after the original trilogy in the cannon), as well as a nod to “Mid Chlorians” in FaD.
The three core rulebooks formula is designed for simplicity in getting into one game. It seems to be a setback for those like me that would play a mix and want more material, but on overal I think it make it more accessible than having a gigantic book cumulating EoE, AoR and FaD that wouldn’t be clearer. And splitting 4 way with a core book and a sourcebook for each three wouldn’t be better either causing uncertainty at purchase time.
Just keep in mind, they are fundamentally the same game with a different flavour, which could work better for some players.
The system of Star Wars FFG use a set of proprietary dice, they are a set 6, 8 or 12 sided dice with specific symbols and colour, and they are called the narrative dice. The best explanation of how they work, beyond the first chapter of the core rulebook, is found in the web comic upto 4 players: part 1 and part 2, the authors even put it up as a PDF for our own use. The system, called narrative dice, is an improved version of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying Game, and uses different dice.
The specialized dice was originally for me a deterant, as FFG has the exclusivity on the supply. As a matter of fact, the FLGS I bought the books from was out of dice. And when they had stock a couple of month later they had very little of it. In the mean time I ordered one set on Amazon, and wrote a web based dice roller to get started. Also to be comfortable you need two sets because you might not have enough dice. A difficulty of daunting require 4 difficulty (purple) dice while a set has only three. Also an untrained skill with a 4 attribute require 4 ability (green) dice, while the set has only three. My recommendation, get 2 sets if you are a GM, and see about having your player 2 sets available.
The character creation involve a setting the background of the character, then selecting a an obligation (EoE), a duty (AoR) or morality (FaD). Then the player pick a race, and then choose a career and specialization. Each specialization provides a talent tree that allow picking up talents in exchange of XP; it will also determine the skills that are part of the expertise as you can bump some for free when taking the career and specialization. While still class based, it allow more flexibility during character creation and later spending experience points.
We played Age of Rebellion. The actual play shouldn’t be different with Edge of the Empire, the difference is more about the stories than the rule system.