Welcome to what hopefully will be a continuing sporadic series. Silk & Durasteel is a chronicle (campaign) set in Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars Edge of the Empire role-playing game. It is my first chronicle set in the Star Wars universe, much less using this excellently crafted dice engine, but it is far from my first time game mastering. I hope that it will help those who are just starting out or those interested in whether or not to purchase the game.
To answer that last questions first: If you like cinematic game systems you owe it to yourself to run out and buy it from a friendly local game store. You can read a short review of it that I wrote if you would like a few more details.
Being the first time that we have played the game, we are opting to play it without any modifications or house rules for the first two adventures. We are also staring out using two pre-made adventures from the Core Rules and the GM Screen to help us familiarize ourselves with the very different dice system. After that, we will be treading into unknown territory…unless of course I am tempted by the “Beyond the Rim” supplement coming soon.
All of my players are veterans of other games, so no one needed basic concepts related to them. If you do have new players, you really should explain how a role-playing game functions and why they shouldn’t simply treat it like a board game or video game. The Read this First section that comes with the core rules is pretty good at whetting the appetite of a potential player, but nothing will replace the moment when the truly understand that they could do almost anything in the game. If you are a new GM, you really should read the Game Master section. While it doesn’t have the room to discuss everything a game master will need to know or learn, it is excellently written.
My group of four players and I currently have three core rule books to share amongst us and five sets of dice in total. It took a bit of coordination, but everyone had the opportunity to read over the book and make a character in the intervening period before the first session. My wife is more of an auditory learner, so she really loves Order 66 and Skill Monkey podcasts for learning about the rules and how to treat them cinematically. They make for excellent learning aids once you get some of the basics down.
The players had no difficulties in creating characters for the game. Walking two of them through the step by step system was easy enough, and still game them plenty of options for personalization. Each player took about 2 – 2.5 hours to create a character and explain some of the basic mechanics for every step. Once additional career supplements are released, this will likely take a bit longer for players who wish to peruse and deliberate every option.
There are only a couple of oddities in character generation that my group and I noticed. The first, Motivation, seems like it should be sooner in the character creation process. My wife and I kept wondering why it isn’t right next to Obligation. It seems that both would help define a character and shade every other choice down the line.
The second deals with attribute points aka Characterstics. An average Characteristic is 2 in this game. Unless you play as a non-human, you can never get a poor rating in an attribute. We suspect that the rule is there to prevent min-maxers from using one of the characteristics as a dump stat, but a player could still easily play a specific race and get the same end. Just a little strange.
The other oddity of Characteristics is that they can only be purchased at creation, and only increased during play with the purchase of a specific talent which is costly and not easy to reach on the talent tree. While I like this idea, it almost forces players to forgo the available skills and talents in order to purchase Characteristic points that offer a bigger net increase in efficiency. Even the Developers mentioned that players should do this on a Q&A session on the Order 66 podcast.
The Cast of Scoundrels
All of the players seemed to have fun creating their shadier alter-egos. There was some talk about what roles each player would cover, but this was less pronounced with the final characters.
The first character is the ever helpful M2-LD. Designed as a emerald green R2 series Astromech Droid, this character is heavy on the intellect and mechanical skills but light on everything else. This droid was never manumitted and is currently owned by the other player characters. It was mind wiped (Obligation – Betrayal) and quickly sold through an irreputable dealer of starships and accessories. It is motivated by its Friendship with the rest of the crew.
The next character is the rough and tumble Bren Mastigar. Bren is a big game hunter who is obsessed (Obligation) with big game hunting and feels duty bound (obligation) to fulfill contracts. Both of these obligations may be difficult to reduce during game play, but he thought they would best reflect the character. He has recently turned to bounty hunting and is motivated to “be the best”. I made him an NPC to reflect his obligation in a more physical form.
The third on the list is Kyra Malric, a classy and beautiful Twi’lek gatherer of information from high-society. She went with the Scoundrel specialization, but craves the finer things in life. She seems determined to work her way into the upper classes to garner every dirty little secret she can. She owes a favor (Obligation) to a yet to be defined local politico and is a religious zealot (Obligation) of an unknown religion. Her motivation is her strong feeling for her comrades in arms.
The final player character is Kothri Yab’ia, the daughter of a murdered and disgraced Bothan representative in the Imperial Senate. While she is on the run from certain Imperial factions, she is determined to undermine and overthrow the Empire (Motivation). She is the other half of the social coin presented by Kyra, and she focuses on the criminals and other fringers in the galaxy. Unbeknownst to the rest of the crew, she is being blackmailed (Obligation) to keep her family ties a secret.
The crew selected the balanced option for star ship at creation: the YT-1300fp that they have named the “Last Call“. They haven’t yet bought any attachments, having spent most of any additional starting obligation on personal gear and weapons. Only the droid opted not to select any additional obligation for character creation, which places them at a safe 65 points of total party obligation.