|What Really Happened to the Sa Nalaor?
A Look at Beyond the Rim with Adventure Writer Sterling Hershey
|Star Wars: Edge of the Empire | Published 16 July 2013|
“The Sa Nalaor is infamous for disappearing. Well, and the way it disappeared.”
–Grinner, ex-smuggler and infochant
The Star Wars galaxy is vast and rife with opportunities for adventure. It’s not hard to find them; you just have to keep your eyes and ears open…
Beyond the Rim is the first full-length adventure for the Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™ Roleplaying Game. When you overhear the rumors of a long-lost, Separatist treasure ship, the Sa Nalaor, you and your companions can take your shot at the adventure of a lifetime!
Written by veteran Star Wars adventure writer Sterling Hershey, Beyond the Rim leads characters from the corridors of the seedy hub-and-spoke space station known as the Wheel all the way to the very edge of Wild Space. There, you and your companions will explore distant planets, encounter fearsome jungle predators, and delve into mysteries that have remained unsolved for decades. Along the way, if you’re careful–and a little lucky–you’ll even find fame and fortune, as well as an opportunity to pay back old debts.
Today, Sterling talks with us about the opportunities for adventure in Beyond the Rim and what makes it a true Star Wars adventure.
Sterling Hershey on Beyond the Rim
FFG: You’ve done a lot of work with Star Wars roleplaying games through the years. What do you feel distinguishes an adventure that truly feels like Star Wars from an adventure that just happens to be set within the Star Wars universe?
SH: The best Star Wars adventures engage with central elements in the universe. They might highlight such thematic elements as the light and dark side of the Force, or they might engage the universe in a more tangible fashion by featuring a specific species or locale. With Beyond the Rim, we're using iconic locations and creatures, layered with events inspired by the Clone Wars and the current "classic era" state of the galaxy.
FFG: As the Player Characters of Beyond the Rim explore more and more of the mystery of the Sa Nalaor, they encounter adversaries and information drawn from both the Clone Wars era and the Rebellion era. How did you approach the challenge of bridging those two eras?
SH: Using Clone Wars elements within the story was my idea. Some of the interaction that I wanted to include between the PCs and other characters in the adventure limited how long ago the Sa Nalaor could’ve disappeared. The time frame fit well with end of the Clone Wars, and I was able to work out some ideas to tie those events into the mystery of the Sa Nalaor.
FFG: Beyond the Rim fleshes out a number of smaller, remote locations at the edge of Wild Space. What do you feel is the best part of being able to contribute such details to the Star Wars galaxy?
SH: It is a lot of fun to get the chance to create new elements in Star Wars. Sometimes, it’s like working with a big jigsaw puzzle of continuity, but other times, you have more free reign. Sometimes, some worlds or other elements don't have very much detail, which gives you some more leeway. It still has to fit and feel like Star Wars, though.
FFG: Edge of the Empire places a heavy emphasis on narrative, even within its ruleset. As a storyteller, what do you feel are the system’s greatest strengths, and how much did they shape your work on Beyond the Rim?
SH: The narrative dice are definitely one of the system's biggest strengths. One of my challenges, then, was to find ways to allow the Game Master as much freedom as possible to work with the dice results. Providing interesting suggestions for dice results was another. Because exploration is such a big theme in the adventure, it helped me look at ways to use dice results to give the characters the freedom to pursue different approaches.
FFG: It’s interesting to note that the first full-length adventure for Star Wars: Edge of the Empire isn’t a tale of smugglers or bounty hunters, but a mystery filled with epic exploration at the very edge of the galaxy. While you were writing, how conscientious were you about giving each type of character the chance to shine, and how much were you just writing toward the commonalities shared by all characters in Edge of the Empire?
SH: Tim Huckelbery and FFG came up with the name, Beyond the Rim, decided it would be an exploration adventure, and decided to place it at the outer reaches of the galaxy. Tim and I traded ideas and hammered out a rough outline based on some partially developed material from an earlier idea. I picked out the time frame and scoured Star Wars: The Essential Atlas for new adventure locations that fit some of those ideas. Cholganna was great for our purposes: a minimally known location that featured a very well-known Star Wars creature, with lots of wilderness and little existing lore. We could have made up our own world, but it’s nice to use and add to existing material when it works out.
As for designing for various character types, the adventure definitely gives different careers and specializations the opportunity to do what they do best. It was a deliberate effort to do so. Working to establish this variety also inspired the use of different types of encounters and locations.
FFG: Is there anything that you would like to share with the world about your work on Beyond the Rim?
SH: Beyond the Rim takes a really layered approach to its story, and a Game Master can add even more levels of intrigue. The adventure includes a lot of ideas and suggestions for incorporating the Player Characters’ Obligation and Motivations into the story. There are opportunities for the GM to adapt the adventure if the players want a deeper or more personal connection to the story, to its locations, or even to the Non-Player Characters. However, the adventure doesn’t rely on those deeper connections, so GMs and players who don't want to customize their characters to the adventure aren't losing out.
We also included a lot of information about every major location in Beyond the Rim, so GMs and PCs can visit them again in future adventures. Depending on the the turn of events, the players might have reason to return to any of the adventure’s locations to pursue new adventures, to tie up loose ends in a longer campaign, to profit from their activities, or even to establish a base of operations.
When you finally discover to the Sa Nalaor, will you take your money and run? Or will you look for additional intrigues and the chance to establish a new base in the remote corner of the galaxy detailed in Beyond the Rim?
Pre-Order Your Copy Today
This epic tale of exploration and mystery is on its way, so start packing your stim packs, your scanners, and your weapons. Then, head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy today!
Participate in grim and gritty adventures on the fringes of the Star Wars universe with Star Wars®: Edge of the Empire™. Edge of the Empire is a complete standalone roleplay system that transports players to some of the shadiest locations in the Outer Rim, the underbelly of the Core Worlds, and everywhere else in-between!