It has been a wild couple of weeks, with GenCon, Star Wars Celebration and the release of the new Star Wars Edge of the Empire RPG beta test. Now it's time to jump into a bit of the beta.
First, Fantasy Flight has already responded to some beta comments, in the form of the Week One Update. They expect to provide ongoing updates, so check back regularly. Also remember that it takes time to print a book like the beta, and development in house doesn't stop just because the book went to print.
Next, FFG has announced that the beta has sold out from their website. However, copies may be available at some retailers and some may still be in the distribution channel, so check with your favorite game store if you haven't picked up a copy.
FFG has also posted PDFs of the character sheet and the dice sticker sheet on their support page. FYI, the support page appears to be the one stop shop for all updates. If you're a beta tester, bookmark it now.
Other websites are diving into the game's detail. For an example, the Gamer Nation's (d20 Radio) Gaming Security Agency website has an example of character creation. Take a look if you can't get the beta, or just want to get a feel for the character creation process.
This week, I'm going to talk more about the custom dice the game uses, as they are different from other RPGs, and draw a lot of attention initially from new players.
First: Do not freak out about the dice.
Second: Get the dice, in one of the many available forms:
- When the final version is released, the actual dice will be available at that time.
- The Beta comes with a, um, die cut sticker sheet you can use on blank dice (or dice you don't like). I converted some of my prototype blank dice, covering the sharpie drawn icons. They look good, but you'll be stuck sticking them together for longer than you'd think or like. You will then be ready to...never do that again. Get some friends to help, and don't wait until the last minute before playing to do so.
- There is an android and iOS app called Star Wars Dice that is available for purchase. The app includes dice for Edge of the Empire, the X-Wing Miniatures Game, plus regular polyhedral dice suitable for use in other RPGs - so even D6, d20 and Saga players can use it if they so desire. The app looks great, complete with a Star Wars look and sound effects. There are also ways to save dice configurations you commonly use.
- If all else fails, there is a conversion chart in the book if you need to use regular polyhedral dice.
Third: Do not freak out about the dice. Yes, they look different from most other RPGs. And yes, they are used differently than most other RPGs. Yes, there are a lot of different colors, types and symbols. And yes, it takes a lot of words to describe what each type is for and how to read it and interpret it.
They are far easier to use than to read about.
Seriously. Most people pick it up after a session or less. Some of the nuances take a bit longer, when using certain skills or weapons.
Fourth: The system uses dice pools, with positive and negative dice. Positive dice have success and advantage symbols, negative dice have failure and threat symbols (some also have Triumph and Despair for bigger effects). Positive dice generally come from the player character, whereas negative dice come from the GM and opposing circumstances.
Now, for a basic example. I'm not going to get into how each die is selected for the pool here. I'm just explaining the effects.
Really Basic Dice Pool: Roll two Ability dice (d8) versus two Difficulty dice (d8). Compare the number of success symbols versus failure symbols. Each failure cancels one success. If at least one uncancelled success remains, the check succeeds. Then count the number of advantage symbols versus the number of threat symbols. Again, each threat cancels one advantage. Whichever symbols remain uncancelled indicate how good or bad the success or failure was...or may activate a critical. Most often, these are interpreted by the GM or players to inform the story and alter the immediate circumstances and actions.
From here, there are ways to manipulate the dice pool and what dice end up in the pool. Some are dictated by character abilities, talents and skill difficulty. Some are added by GM decree for the particular circumstances of that specific story or moment. Dice pool
So, don't freak out about the dice. They're one of the most fun and unique aspects of the game. They're great for influencing and informing the story.