Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Character Creation in Edge of the Empire (Part III)

Art by Ralph McQuarrie (1929 - 2012)
After last week's post, I thought some more about Saun Dann and decided to change a couple of things.  Specifically, I considered forged identification because “Identification is very important.”  The only skill that I could find that might cover forgery is 'Skulduggery.'  According to page 80 of Fantasy Flight Games' Edge of the Empire (Beta) roleplaying game:
Skulduggery encompasses a broad range of skills that are crucial to performing criminal actions.  These include the abilities to perform a crime as well as the mental familiarity with different techniques.  This ranges from picking pockets and locks, breaking into and out of secure facilities, sleight of hand, disguise, setting traps, and sundry other mischievous actions.
It turns out there is a 'Forger' henchman described on page 198.  Among the Forger's listed skills, 'Skulduggery' is the skill most likely to be used for forgery.  Even if Skulduggery didn't encompass forgery, this is still the type of skill Saun Dann might have.  The skill is associated with Cunning, which is one of Saun Dann's improved characteristics.  Also, Saun Dann's Convincing Demeanor talent removes a setback die from Deceit or Skulduggery checks.

Skulduggery is not an Explorer career skill.  This makes sense, but it seems odd that one of the Trader talents would enhance the use of a non-career skill.  Perhaps I'm expecting too much in terms of integrated synergy.  Anyway, purchasing the first rank of a non-career skill costs 10XP.  At the end of last week's post, Saun Dann only had 5 XP left.  Of course, I could swap out either Streetwise or Mechanics, the free non-career skills I selected for Saun Dann by virtue of his human 'Special Ability.'  Instead, I decide to forgo one rank of the 'Wheel and Deal' talent.

As a result of this alteration, Saun Dann now has two 'first row' trader talents:  Know Somebody and Convincing Demeanor.  Know Somebody is the only first row talent that has a link to a second row talent; that talent is Wheel and Deal.  (There is an instance of Wheel and Deal on the first row and a separate instance on the second row.  Saun Dann is bypassing the first row instance.  Yes, the second row instance is twice as expensive, but it's a bottleneck talent; Saun Dann has to take it in order to get any talents on the third row or any other talents on the second row.  Saun Dann can always buy the first row instance later.)  Because he has (second row) Wheel and Deal, Saun Dann can get a rank of Grit (a second row talent).

The final version of Saun Dann appears below.  Let's recapitulate the process that brought us here.  Characters start with 500 credits, but Saun Dann took on an additional ten points of Obligation to have 2500 more credits.

Saun Dann improved his Intellect and his Cunning ratings to 3; for each characteristic so improved, there is a cost of 30 XP.  As a human, Saun Dann has 110 'starting' XP.  After improving his characteristics, he has 50 XP remaining.

In terms of skills, he gets four career skills (Astrogation, Pilot (Space), Knowledge (Outer Rim), and Charm), two bonus 'Trader' career skills (Deceit and Negotiation), and a choice of two non-career skills because of the special ability for humans (Streetwise and Mechanics).  Saun Dann opts to purchase one rank each in two career skills (Cool and Perception) at 5 XP each and one rank of a non-career skill (Skulduggery) at 10 XP.  He has 30 XP left.

Saun Dann purchases two first row talents (Know Somebody and Convincing Demeanor) from the Trader talent tree at 5 XP each.  He then buys two second row talents ('Wheel and Deal' and 'Grit') at 10 XP each.

But wait, there's more!  Investing experience points is only Step 6 in the ten steps of character creation.

Next we determine Saun Dann's 'derived attributes.'  We discussed Wound Threshold and Strain Threshold previously.  His Wound Threshold is 12 and his Strain Threshold is 13 (including the bonus from Grit).  Soak Value is equivalent to Brawn and indicates “how much incoming damage a character can shrug off before being seriously wounded.”  Defense is zero by default but can be increased by certain talents, “wearing armor, or by adopting a defensive position in combat.”

In Step 8 of the character creation process, players determine the Motivation for their characters.  A p[layer can always choose a Motivation, but the rules provide the means to determine Motivation randomly.  There are three categories of Motivation:  Ambition, Cause, and Relationship.  If rolling on the random Motivation table, it is possible to have two Motivations.  After determining a Motivation category, a player must determine a specific Motivation.  Examples of specific Motivations are 'status' and 'wanderlust' (Ambitions), 'local politics' and 'droid rights' (Causes), as well as 'childhood friend' and 'mentor' (Relationships).  Given Saun Dann's association with the Rebellion, let's just say he has adopted the 'Overthrow the Empire' Cause.

Step 9 is called 'Finishing Touches' and consists of physical description and personality.  Physical description is easy:  Art Carney circa 1978.  I guess that wearing spectacles in the Star Wars universe is kind of distinguishing.  With regard to personality, we can say that he is a kind-hearted soul who affects an ingratiating – if not bungling – aspect in order to distract from his activities on behalf of the Rebel Alliance.

The last step in the character creation process is to select a ship.  Yes, each player character party starts the game with a starship.  The text explains that the cost of the ship is subsumed into the party's Obligation.  It's a far cry from trying to cultivate mustering out benefits in Traveller.  There are three ships from which to choose.  We won't select one for Saun Dann because the rest of the party needs to be taken into account.  However, we can quote the brief descriptions of the craft from page 68:
The [GHTROC 720 Light Freighter] is primarily a cargo hauler, but reasonably modifiable.  The YT-1300 [Light Freighter] is even more modifiable, making it the most flexible option for a group.  Finally, the Firespray [System Patrol Craft] is probably the most dangerous ship, but also the least modifiable of the three.  It's also fairly limited in the tasks it can perform.

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