Edged by the Empire
Episode 01 Escape From Mos Shuuta
During the events of the previous blog entry, the GOKL gang also presented me with an early birthday: A Star Wars Edge of the Empire Beginner Game boxed set.
At first the Star Wars RPG used the D6 system when it was licensed to West End Games. Then it used the d20 system when it was with Wizards of the Coast. The latest role-playing game to be adapted from Star Wars by Fantasy Flight Games now uses the special dice with symbols instead of numbers, much like the Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 3rd edition.
You’d think it’d be complicated, but when I ran it the Beginner Game’s scenario entitled “Escape From Mos Shuuta” for Irfan it felt easy enough after we both got the hang of the rules. At some points Irfan was interpreting the dice rolls faster than I was.
There are positive dice and negative dice. To help you suceed at stuff like shooting Gamorreans, hiding from Gamorreans and throwing pie at Gamorreans, there are d8 Ability dice, d12 Proficiency dice and d6 Boost dice. Their evil counterparts are the d8 Difficulty dice, d12 Challenge dice and d6 Setback dice. Symbols on the faces of the positive dice are Success, Triumph and Advantage. Their evil counterparts are Failure, Despair and Threat.
A basic roll would be a pool of Ability dice and Difficulty dice. The higher your ability is at a skill, the more Ability dice you include in the pool. Conversely, the more difficult the task at hand is, the more Difficulty dice you would roll. Count the Success and Failure symbols. Not all faces have them, and some faces have two symbols. Every Failure negates a Success. If you have one Success left after the count, then you succeed in your task.
Proficiency dice is used if you are trained at a skill. Boost dice is used if you have situational advantage.
You can succeed at a task, but you may experience a negative side effect if there is a Despair symbol in your roll.
There is also a Force Die which gives you Destiny Points at the start of the game, but I don’t want to prattle on about the rules.
The adventure was written so that GMs and players can learn how to play the game as they play it. Encounters are fashioned so you would learn what skills to use, what dice are rolled and when. Combat is introduced in the second encounter. Outwitting a minor NPC is taught in the third, and so forth, until ultimately you would run simple space combat in the final encounter.
However, I wished there was a way to create your own characters instead of using the pre-generated characters. On the other hand, the system tutoring included the need for a tightly made pregen sheets. They factor in Talent Trees in the sheet and teach how to advance your character depending on which pregen a player chooses.
At first I thought it was quite railroad-ish. But after some encounters it I was able to improvise using the map, additional stats in the rulebook, additional location descriptions in the adventure book and some common sense. And boy, did I need to improvise.
If you wish to play “Escape from Mos Shuuta”, don’t read further because SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT!
I SAID, SPOILERS!
Irfan played the smuggler Pash, on the run from Hutt crime lord Teemo on the mesa settlement of Mos Shuuta on Tatooine. He needed to get off the planet but he had no ship. A daunting task seeing as Teemo’s Gamorrean Guards are combing Mos Shuuta for him.
This adventure was run in three different sessions over two days. Apart from the character tokens, I also used the paper minis I made from Ryan’s drawings.
- Cantina encounter: Pash convinced the Devaronian barkeep Rann to hide him in his storage closet just as Gamorreans entered. Rann’s hate for Teemo made him go above and beyond to protect Pash. When Pash tried to exit the cantina, there was single guard with his back to him outside. A single blaster shot felled him. Rann came out to tell Pash that the Krayt Fang, a YT-1300 light freighter was berthed in Landing Bay Aurek, captained by a Trandoshan named Trex. Trex was loyal to Teemo. His ship was grounded because of a busted Hypermatter Reactant Igniter (HMRI). He would have to steal the ship, repair it and release its docking clamps from the spaceport control centre.
- Junk dealer encounter: Pash visited the junk dealer Vorn to look for an HMRI, but Vorn – after mistreating and kicking his R5 astromech droid – refused to have anything to do with Pash, so Pash left.
- Spaceport control centre encounter: Pash crept into the control centre and noticed a single droid manning the station right before the large windows facing the desert above the mesa’s ciff. He tried to blast the droid, but missed. The droid turned and called Overseer Brynn who had been unnoticed in the central office. Drawing a blaster, the droid succeeded in putting a smoking hole in Pash’s shoulder. Pash retreated through a door and found himself trapped in a supply cabinet. Brynn returned to his office to call for help. Then, Pash made a dash past the control console to the side door that led to an alley. The droid tried to shoot him, but missed.
- Street encounters: Pash was chased by Gamorreans on foot. He was also hit by a cudgel during a melee. He ducked into an alley and hid in a pile of junk. Then he slipped into the late afternoon crowd and thought it would be wise to retrieve the HMRI from Vorn first.
- Junk dealer encounter 2: Pash tried to bribe Vorn into giving him an HMRI but he laughed at the pittance offered. Pash decided to wait for Vorn to leave and then break into the shop and steal it. After the junk dealer had left, Pash had a difficult time hotwiring the door panel. Suddenly, the R5 appeared and helped Pash to unlock the door. Thanking the droid, Pash quickly located the HMRI and slipped it in his pack and left. (Why Pash did not steal any other useful stuff I’ll never know.)
- Spaceport control centre encounter 2: The entrance was blocked by Overseer Brynn speaking with a couple of Imperial Stormtroopers, obviously reporting to them on Pash’s intrusion earlier. Pash circumvented them and tried to enter from the door he had exited earlier. The droid was still at his post, directing traffic. Pash’s blaster bolt tore its left arm off. The droid then spun, firing and missing. Another shot from Pash and the droid exploded into pieces. Brynn and the Stormtroopers rushed in. Pash quickly covertly released the Krayt Fang‘s docking clamps and smashed through the big viewing window, falling to a ledge not far beneath. Pash then climbed the side of the cliff and arrived at the Western Shantytown bridge.
- Shantytown encounter: Climbing up to the top, Pash tried to blend in with the crowd, but a pair of Stormtroopers guarding the Shantytown bridge spotted him. They fired at him, pushing him into Shantytown. He found a rope ladder by the side of the satellite mesa and slid down onto the desert floor. At the base of the Mos Shuuta mesa, he was unable to find a way up. So he circled the base until he discovered something strange: a door in the cliff wall and an old beat-up RA-7 droid standing before it. At first it did not let Pash enter, but then it mistook Pash for a former master and gladly stepped aside for him. The RA-7 also gave him a box, a blaster pistol and a grenade, saying this was for his old master if they met again.
- Return to Mos Shuuta: Pash thanked the droid, entered the door and climbed a spiral staircase that led upwards. It was so tall that he was exhausted when he reached the top. (He lost some Strain points here.) The Krayt Fang (a rust-painted freighter looking like the Millennium Falcon, but even more beat up than it) was in Landing Bay Aurek. The bay’s entrance was guarded by 2 Stormtroopers. Pash climbed to the roof of an adjacent building, opened up the box and found a 10 metre rope. He threw the rope across (using the extra blaster as a weight) and climbed to the open rooftop of the Landing Bay without alerting the Imperials.
- Krayt Fang encounter: Pash snuck aboard the light freighter, but a spaceport security droid surprised him within, They traded blaster fire, attracting Captain Trex’s attention. The droid was dispatched quickly and Pash intimidated Trex into becoming his hostage. But Trex had quietly signalled for help. A host of Stormtroopers, Gamorrean Guards and spaceport security droids flooded into the Landing Bay. Pash took off immediately, but a Gamorrean was able to get aboard beforehand. The Gamorrean attacked Pash in the cockpit, but Pash blasted him with a single shot. The Krayt Fang almost crashed into the desert because of the disruption, but Pash managed to pull up in time and headed for space. Then he locked up Trex in a cargo bay.
- TIE Fighter encounter: In space, the sensors warned Pash that a pair of TIE fighters were closing in on him. He rushed back to the engine room to install the HMRI successfully. In fact he fixed it so well that it would take less time to jump into hyperspace than it normally would. But the fighters had come into range and began firing their cannons. Pash evaded the cannon fire for several heartbeats, then when the hyperdrive showed him a green light, he pressed a button and the Krayt Fang jumped into hyperspace and into safety.
This game was only designed with Fringers (bounty hunters, smugglers, mercenaries) in mind. Like their WH40K RPG products, I assume Fantasy Flight Games will eventually release different books using the same rules to feature different aspects of the Star Wars universe like a book for Military (Rebels, Imperials, etc) and Force Users (Jedi, Sith, Nightsisters, Jensaarai, Matukai, etc.)
Although it was a limited game compared to a standard role-playing game, we had fun with this and I hope to run this for the GOKL gang when I have the chance! Thanks again for the early birthday present!