Today Fantasy Flight Games announced the Age of Rebellion Beta for their Star Wars RPG. You’ll be able to get your hands on the book soon via the FFG web store or at GenCon among other places. I had the privilege of editing the beta book, but I am by no means an official spokesperson for FFG. I only know what I saw months ago and so I will preface this by saying much may have changed and much has not been revealed yet. Therefore I will talk only about those portions FFG has shared with the community to this point. Once the book is officially out, we can then begin digging in to the finer details.
To begin with, I’m going to talk about the 5 biggest question from today’s announcement:
1. Not Obligation, Duty.
In Edge of the Empire, all characters are required to take on some Obligation as part of their character creation process. Obligation represented things that had happened to your character in their past that would have an impact on the further adventures of your character. Han Solo’s Debt Obligation to Jabba is a prime example of this, why did Han get involved in all these adventures? Because he needed money to pay back Jabba for a deal gone bad.
In Age of Rebellion Obligation is no more, at least for new characters created within the AoR book itself. Duty comes to the fore and reflects the focus on the more military side of the later conflicts in the Star Wars universe. Duty is less about the past of your character and more about why he joined the Rebel Alliance in the first place. They still have follow on effects that will have a bearing on your character’s story, but now they serve to drive your character forward in his commitment to the Rebellion.
Duty can encompass anything from Combat Superiority (the need to be victorious against the Empire at all times) to generating Political Support (bringing new planets, systems, people and allies to the side of the Rebellion) to Sabotage and Tech Procurement (destroying the enemy’s ability to make war and acquiring the means to prosecute the war respectively).
Your level of Duty is something you actually want to see increase rather than decrease as Obligation did. Duty rolled means your crews Wound Threshold will be going up instead of Strain Threshold going down. Think of it as taking pride in fulfilling your Duty.
We’ll look at other benefits of Duty, such as rank and promotion, in future articles.
2. The People of the Galaxy
You’ll be seeing some new species in Age of Rebellion. Humans and Droids are there, of course, but there are some new ones for you to use as well.
Bothans return as a playable race. Though officially neutral as a planet and species in the Galactic conflict, some see their individual duties in serving the Alliance. They seem particularly suited to information gathering and will see some boost to Streetwise to reflect this.
The Duros are here as well. Long known as talented pilots – and credited with developing the first hyperdrives – you can expect to see them most effectively used in pilot and mechanic roles. They receive some bonuses to Piloting and Astrogation checks.
The Gran have a naturally communal and peaceful nature. This has allowed them to take on roles as negotiators and ambassadors. You can expect the Gran to be particularly adept when it comes to skills in related fields such as Negotiation and Charm.
Ithorians, the ‘Hammerheads’ of our youth, are normally seen as environmental caretakers in the galaxy at large. They tend vast garden ships and are, perhaps, the species most interested in the effects of the war upon all things green and growing. Which is not to say that they do not make for fearsome foes. You’ll see ranks of Survival for them as well as their signature Bellow ability – a formidable attack that is not to be laughed at.
Mon Calamari are not limited to recognizing traps. Some of the most feared and respected military minds in the galaxy are to be found among their number. In addition to being Amphibious, you can expect to tailor your Mon Calamari PC with choices in the Astrogation, Leadership, and Mechanics fields among others. Mon Calamari truly interested in the tactical side of battle may find Stroke of Genius useful as well.
Sullustan are in the mix. Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot abord the Falcon in RotJ was one. Gifted with an innate sense of direction this is reflected in bonus ranks in Astrogation and a Master Starhopper talent, making them exceptional navigators under even the most difficult of conditions.
No. However, keep in mind we have been told that this would be the case. We’ve also been told that Jedi only make their appearance in the final core book, Force and Destiny, but we can begin the journey to Jedi in any earlier book. Edge of the Empire has this as the Force Sensitive Exile. In Age of Rebellion you can take the next step on the journey, or begin it, as a Force Sensitive Emergent with an associated Talent Tree.
4. Everything Old is New Again
Of necessity, a portion of Age of Rebellion will repeat things we already know, such as the core mechanics, including dice interpretation. All the books are meant to stand alone and yet be usable together. You can expect to see some repeated chapters on How to Play the Game, Skills and Talents, and Combat Mechanics. It just has to be that way to bring everyone up to speed. However, there is enough new material and meat in the other sections to interest everyone who has already seen Edge of the Empire and get them excited all over again. Look for new gear, vehicles, and adversaries to spice up not just Age of Rebellion games, but also your current Edge of the Empire games as well.
5. Future Plans
You can expect to see The GSA incorporating Age of Rebellion material into our usual selection of columns and articles as our authors get their hands on things. Look for future reviews in greater depth when AoR is officially released at GenCon in just a few days. Rest assured we will cover it just as much as we have covered Edge of the Empire and then some.
We’ll talk careers and specializations, interesting new twists, and discuss how you can migrate your existing characters into the Age of Rebellion with a minimum of fuss. Expect to see developers and others associated with creating the game from time to time discussing their efforts on these pages as well. And, as always, keep an ear on the Order 66 podcast for even more material and advice as things progress.
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