|Edge of the Empire for Novices
What New Roleplayers Can Expect from the Beginner Game
|Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game | Published 12 November 2012|
In September, we announced the upcoming release of the Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Beginner Game, the perfect starting point for roleplaying adventures in the Star Wars galaxy. This standalone roleplaying game (RPG) experience features a complete, learn-as-you-go adventure; pre-generated character folios keep rules right at the your fingertips, while custom dice and an exciting narrative gameplay system make every roll into a story. The rules provide hours of entertainment as you tell your own tales of a galaxy far, far away
Veteran roleplayers might be interested in the Beginner Game for its abridged introduction to the Edge of the Empire rules, as well as its complete set of dice, maps, and other components (which can be used with the upcoming Core Rulebook). Today’s preview, however, is not intended for those veterans. Rather, today we’d like to address players who are totally new to RPGs. If that's you, keep reading as (over the course of the next few weeks) we’ll take you through exactly what you can expect from the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game.
Opening the Box
Upon opening your copy, you’ll find an array of booklets, folios, punchboard, and custom dice. On top of it all is a four-page foldout sheet with “Read this First” conspicuously printed across its front.
This “Introduction Sheet” is your first step toward roleplaying adventure, and if you’re still a little uncertain about how RPGs work – what they actually look like while they’re being played – these four pages will help put your apprehensions to rest. Chiefly, this booklet contains an example of play, a script in which five players (one Game Master and four Hero Players) play through a brief dramatic scene.
To reinforce your understanding of RPGs and how they work, you’ll next open the somewhat thicker “Adventure Book” (marked “Read this Second” on its front cover) and peruse its welcome page. You’ll be invited to choose roles; one player, the Game Master, will officiate the game and set the scenes. The other two to four players will each take on the role of an individual character in the Star Wars galaxy. Next, you’ll take a moment to better understand your individual function in what is about to take place.
Split Up and Meet Back Later
From this point forward, the Adventure Book is off limits to Hero Players, as it contains plot elements that should only be read by the Game Master. But while the GM is familiarizing himself with the story to come, the Hero Players will have plenty to keep themselves busy.
They must each choose one of the four pre-generated characters included in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game. This is an important decision, since these characters will serve as the players’ in-game avatars. The Hero Players should talk the matter through, as they each read the characters’ backstories. Then, they should each take the Character Folio matching the persona that appeals to them most.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Game Master and Hero Players do to prepare for the start of the story:
The Game Master’s Experience
Over the next four eyes-only pages of the Adventure Book, the Game Master will find a component list and a “How to Use This Book” section. This handy overview explains the use of color-coded sidebars throughout the product as a whole (subtle features like these work intuitively to keep the focus off the rules and on the story).
The two pages after that provide the “lay of the land,” a guide to both the overall setting of the adventure and the structure of the story that’s about to begin. This section instructs the Game Master on setting up the play space and establishing the narrative context, and it presents the “opening crawl,” that iconic and recognizable method of exposition. Do you have a copy of Star Wars soundtrack? If so, play its famous introductory score, start reading the opening crawl, and immerse your players in a galaxy far, far away!
Pash the smuggler is one of the four characters available to Hero Players. Click the image above to read his backstory.
The Hero Players’ Experience
While the Game Master is setting up, the Hero Players have important decisions to make. Wookiee mercenary or a human smuggler? Droid colonist or a Twi’lek bounty hunter? Each character has his or her own unique strengths, and the convenient character folios present all the information players will need.
Let’s imagine, for instance, that you choose Pash, the roguish smuggler. On the back of Pash’s eight-page Character Folio, you’ll find his backstory; from his expulsion from Imperial flight school to an unfortunate incident with an Alderaani noble’s daughter, Pash has had a tough existence on the fringes of galactic society. Next, you’ll open his Character Folio, take on this role, and see if you can improve poor Pash’s fortunes.
The Character Folio itself is largely self-explanatory, and it’s full of handy reference information that will lead you through skill checks and other important mechanics. Click the image below to see a closeup of Pash’s Character Folio, where you’ll find a definition of each of its main sections and a guide to the symbols on the custom dice. How do your character’s experiences help him learn and grow? We’ll look at the Character Folio, as well as the custom dice, in greater depth in a future preview. For now, suffice it to say that character advancement is as simple as turning a page and making your selections!
Time to Reconvene!
Once the Game Master has read the first six pages of the Adventure Book and the Hero Players have selected and briefly studied their characters, the story starts! Remember, it isn’t necessary for the Game Master to read the entire Adventure Book in advance...far from it. With its learn-as-you-go adventure, the Beginner Game allows for all players, including the GM, to experience the mechanics as the plot moves forward.
For now, the players will simply reconvene and begin. The GM should move gradually, reading ahead slightly as the players discuss their next move, and sharing information from the Adventure Book with them only as required. This is usually accomplished by reading the “read-aloud” sidebars when instructed by the book.
There’s far more to the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game than we’ve discussed here, but for more, you’ll have to check back. In the coming weeks, we’ll look at the core dice mechanic, character advancement, and a few more character backstories. We’ll also examine the included Rulebook (marked “Read this Book Last”), and we’ll see how it lays the foundation for new adventures in the Star Wars universe.
Look for the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beginner Game on store shelves next month!
The Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Beginner Game is a standalone roleplaying experience that features a complete, learn-as-you-go adventure. Pre-generated character folios keep rules right at the your fingertips, while custom dice and an exciting narrative system make every roll into a story. Begin your adventures in a galaxy far, far away!