Star Wars Wednesday - SWRPG: Edge of the Empire Beta Announced!

FFG Demo at their booth at GenConGenCon proved to be even more exciting than I anticipated. I was reasonably sure that the new Star Wars RPG from Fantasy Flight Games would be announced - something I was greatly looking forward to because I'm one of the writer/developers on the product. Having been under a non-disclosure agreement, I couldn't say a word throughout the process.

Prior to the announcement, FFG hung a black banner over one of their Star Wars banners, with a sign that said something along the lines of "new game to be announced at the In-Flight Report," which is their product seminar. The seminar room was very full. FFG walked through their various product lines, production updates and the occasional question. Once they got to the end, they had "one more thing" and announced three Star Wars RPG core rulebooks, each a standalone game.

The first, Edge of the Empire, is focused the scum and villany side of Star Wars - bounty hunters, smugglers and the like. They announced the Beta test version. They then followed up with Age of Rebellion (Rebel v Empire, 2014) and Force & Destiny (Jedi, 2015). But there were surprises in store, even for me. It turns out, not only was the Beta coming out - it was printed and available at the show, that day. A stormtrooper delivered the first copy to the CEO making the announcements. They announced that a new dice rolling app would be available that day for Android and IOS. Even better, they gave everyone in the room a free copy - as they left. After an excruciating wait thorugh the question and answer session, occasionally moderated by effective use of Stormtroopers, we had our copies in-hand. It was a blast.

So, instead of having a simple announcement and upcoming product to dicuss at the show, I suddenly had an actual product in hand. There was a lot of interest, and it was fun to be able to discuss details. To be clear, I can only discuss what is actually in the book, and nothing about future products or sections that will be in the final product, but not included in the Beta. Also, no details about the design process itself.

My sections of the book include the Game Master chapter, the Beta test adventure, and some others that were not included in the Beta. I also gave a lot of comments as well as some playtesting.

Those interested in checking out the game can order it from the FFG website, as well as some select retailers. It is a beta, but it includes a complete, playable game. Art, advice and other sections will be in the final product, but were largely cut from this book, to keep it more rules focused. Beta participants can send in comments to FFG (see the front of the book). I encourage everyone intersted to try it out and respond with useful feedback.

In future blog posts, I'll get into aspects of the game itself, though of course, I'm just a freelancer and won't have offical answers. I would point those towards the FFG beta forum or feedback email address.

My protoype dice - blank+sharpie.Just to start everyone off, though, the first thing to do is get a handle on the narrative dice system. Try it out, and experiment with it as you read about the details of the symbols, die types and how they are used. It is easier to use than it might seem when you first read the details. It's also a different take from previous systems, but it provides a new framework for creating the story between GM and players. Warhammer Fantasy RPG players will recognize some similarities, but it is not the same game.

The Beta comes with a sticker sheet to use on blank or older dice. There is also a conversion table, to use regualar dice. During the design process, I marked up blank dice with a sharpie to make prototype dice. This worked ok, but the sharpie tends to rub off with use, and fade over time. It performs somewhat better if the die is washed first.

Want to know more? Check out the following two episodes of the Order 66 podcast:

  • Episode 162 - Live from GenCon - With recording an actual play demo session in the FFG booth.
  • Episode 163 - Edge of the Empre - Interview & discussion of the game with lead designer Jay Little and myself. This one gets into a lot of details, as well as general questions about the game itself.