Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Character Creation in Edge of the Empire (Part I)

Art by Howard Chaykin

Contrary to the “Part I” in this post's title, last week we began to create a character for Fantasy Flight Games' Edge of the Empire (Beta) roleplaying game.  Specifically, we sought to define the beloved Saun Dann in game terms.  In our efforts, we managed to get as far as 'Obligation.'

The next step is 'Selecting a Species.'  Saun Dann is – of course – human.  Other options for player characters in EotE-B include Bothan, droid (class four), Gand, Rodian, Trandoshan, Twi'lek, and Wookiee.  The names of all species, except for droids and humans, are capitalized.  The eight species are differentiated from one another in terms of characteristics, derived attributes, starting experience, and special abilities.

EotE-B characters have six characteristics:  Agility, Brawn, Cunning, Intellect, Presence, and Willpower.  A value of 6 is the ceiling for characteristics and no characteristic can be increased beyond a value of 5 during character creation.  Not surprisingly, humans provide the standard against which other species are compared.  Humans have a default value of 2 for each characteristic.  Other species vary from this by having a value of 3 for one characteristic and a value of 1 for another; for example, Wookiees have a Brawn of 3 but a Willpower of  1.  Droids are the only exception to this pattern; they start with a value of 1 in each characteristic.  I am pleased to announce that – as of yesterday’s update – Gand now have a default Presence of 1 instead of a default Intellect of 1.  This means your humble host will forgo his planned hunger strike.

The derived attributes influenced by one's species are 'wound threshold' (ability to withstand physical injury) and 'strain threshold' (ability to withstand mental/ psychological injury).  Wound threshold equals a given species-defined number plus Brawn.  Strain threshold equals a given species-defined number plus Willpower.  For humans, wound threshold is 10 + Brawn; strain threshold is 10 + Willpower.

Humans have 110 starting experience points (XP).  Most speicies have 100 starting XP; Wookiees and Trandoshans start with 90 XP.  Droids have 175 XP but – remember – they start with low characteristics.  To appreciate the utility of starting experience, we must skip ahead to careers and specializations.

EotE-B offers six careers:  Bounty Hunter, Colonist, Explorer, Hired Gun, Smuggler, and Technician.  Each career has three specializations; for example, the Colonist career has the specialization of Doctor, Politico, and Scholar.  Players select a career and a specialization within that career for their characters.  Each career has eight 'career skills.'  Upon choosing a career, a character receives one rank in four career skills.  Each specialization has four skills that are considered career skills for a character with that specialization.  Some specialization skills might overlap with the skills offered by the career.  For instance, 'Skulduggery' is a Smuggler career skill and it is also one of the four skills associated with the Smuggler specialization of Thief.  Anyway, characters receive one rank in two specialization skills.  Also, each specialization has a 'talent tree.'

Characters can use starting experience to purchase and/or improve skills.  For career skills, a rank costs 5 XP times the rank to be attained.  Each rank must be purchased separately and no starting character may have more than two ranks in a skill.  For example, if a character possessed one rank in a given career skill and wanted to have two ranks, it would cost 10 XP; getting a third rank would cost an additional 15 XP.  Non-career skills cost 10 XP times the rank to be attained.

Characters can gain additional specializations with experience.  According to yesterday's update, purchasing a specialization within the character's career costs 5 XP times the total number of specializations the character has, including the specialization to be purchased.  Buying a specialization outside of the character's career costs 10 XP times the total number of specializations, as above.

Characteristics can also be improved with experience.  According to page 64, increasing a characteristic costs...
Ten times the purchased rating in experience.  Each rating must be purchased separately.
The catch is that experience points can only be used to improve characteristics during character creation.

Let's get back to Saun Dann.  We know he is a Trader, which happens to be a specialization of the Explorer career.  Saun Dann gets one rank in four Explorer career skills, specifically Astrogation, Pilot (Space), Knowledge (Outer Rim), and Charm.  From the Trader specialization, we choose Deceit and Negotiation.  As a special ability, humans have “one additional rank in each of two different non-career skills…”  It would likely be effective for a character to have a combat skill; however, so as to be true to Saun Dann's concept, we choose Mechanics and Streetwise.

Next week, we shall invest Saun Dann's experience points.  Until then, may the Force be with you.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting... you chose the right character to experiment with.