Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Character Creation in Edge of the Empire (Part II)

Last week, we discussed species, careers, specializations, and skills in Fantasy Flight Games' Star Wars:  Edge of the Empire Roleplaying Game (Beta) – particularly with regard to character creation.  This week, we continue with our effort to define Saun Dann in game terms.

Beginning characters have experience points (XP) to allocate among various abilities.  Although called 'experience points,' they define a background for the character.  'Beginning' experience points function just like experience points awarded for participating in adventures except in one respect.  Only during character creation can experience points be used to improve characteristics.  Because of this, we should first and foremost consider applying experience points to Saun Dann's characteristics.

Saun Dann should have greater than average Cunning.  Increasing Cunning to 3 costs 30 points.  We could spend another 40 points to increase Cunning to 4, but perhaps we should consider another characteristic.  Among the skills he currently has, three are associated with Intellect – Astrogation, Knowledge (Outer Rim), and Mechanics – so it might be wise to invest in Intellect.  Thirty points brings Saun Dann’s Intellect to 3.

Saun Dann has fifty XP left to spend.  Let's look at talents.  Each specialization's talent tree has twenty available talents; some are duplicative of one another and can be purchased multiple times.  The twenty talents are arrayed in five rows of four talents each.  Talents have a cost based upon the row in which they reside.  Each talent in the top row cost 5 XP.  Each row adds an additional 5 XP; talents in the bottom row cost 25 XP.  A character can purchase any 'top row' talent in his or her specialization, but additional talents must be 'linked' to a purchased talent.  The various links between talents make talent trees resemble flow charts and the links may be structured so that a character may need to follow a labyrinthine path to 'reach' a desired talent.  For example, the Slicer specialization of the Technician career offers two (stackable) 'Technical Aptitude' talents.  One instance is in the top row and costs 5 XP.  The other instance is on the second row and costs 10 XP; however, the most direct path to the second row instance would require the character to spend over 100 XP in purchasing the 'prerequisite' talents on that path.

Let's have Saun Dann buy three of the four top row talents on the Explorer/Trader tree.  At five points each, that's 15 XP.  These three talents are:  Know Somebody, Wheel and Deal, and Convincing Demeanor.  For every rank of 'Know Somebody,' Saun Dann can (once per adventure) reduce the rarity of “a legally available item” he attempts to purchase.  For every rank of 'Wheel and Deal,' Saun Dann obtains “10% more credits“ when “selling goods legally.“  For every rank of 'Convincing Demeanor,' Saun Dann removes a setback die from “Deceit or Skulduggery checks.“

The remaining top row talent is 'Smooth Talker' and it seems kind of bogus to me.  If Saun Dann were to obtain this talent, he would choose a skill from among Charm, Coerce, Negotiate, or Deceit.  For the sake of example, let's have him choose Deceit.  When making a Deceit check, Saun Dann may “spend“ a 'Triumph' result to gain an additional number of successes “equal to ranks in Smooth Talker.“  It seems that 'Smooth Talker' is only useful with multiple ranks.  There is one more 'Smooth Talker' talent in the Trader talent tree and it does not appear in any other trees.

Saun Dann has 35 XP left.  He could acquire one of the other two Explorer specializations for 10 XP or he could acquire a specialization from another career for 20 XP.  However, there are no other specializations which would seem to be necessary for our conception of Saun Dann.

What about some more skills?  Well, as of yesterday's update, Surveillance is no longer a skill.  This would seem to reduce the efficacy of the 'Street Smarts' talent and the good people at Fantasy Flight have not yet given a substitute career skill to the Scout specialization.  Of course, this doesn't have anything to do with Saun Dann; I'm just griping.  Oh, I don't care about the Surveillance skill, but if Fantasy Flight is going to get rid of something, they should address all of the repercussions.  So, for Saun Dann, how about a Gambling skill?  Sorry, no Gambling skill in EotE-B.  Hello, Fantasy Flight!  How did Han get the Millennium Falcon?  How did Lando get Bespin?  It seems to me that gambling has a place in the Edge of the Empire milieu.  Well, 'Perception' and 'Cool' are both career skills for Saun Dann, so purchasing one rank in each would be a total of 10 XP.

Going back to the talent tree, Saun Dann can buy an additional rank of 'Wheel and Deal' for 10 XP and obtain the 'Grit' talent for another 10 XP.  (Grit improves Strain Threshold.)

Saun Dann has 5 XP left, but he can just have them “carry over into the game“ like it says on page 64.

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