Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hammered out the rest

Managed to hammer out the Universal Trees Recruit and Force Sensitive Emergent as well as the two new force powers.

Recruit is pretty cool..
It feels and sounds like the kind of thing that you would START as... too bad the rules say you have to pick a career first, then buy in to the Recruit tree. that makes it expensive to start in this tree. The tree is obviously meant to be a Military Recruit, not like a noob character starter spot, so I suppose I can forgive the fact that its initial impression doesn't line up with its actual play style. Of course, if your an already established character, then the real appeal of the Recruit tree falters since you should already have many of the skills it grants access to, and probably one or two of its other Talents.
so, i guess Recruit is... only... kind of cool?...
cool in concept.

Force Sensitive Emergent is.... basically Force Sensitive Exile, with a couple different force only Talents. naturally, they are neat talents. over all though, the only significant thing this tree has to offer is a +1 force rating.

Force Power Enhance is circumstantially mediocre. If you invest heavily it could one day save your life and the rest of the time it will still provide you with a neat trick to grab the attention of every imperial who sees you .... oh..

Force Power Foresee.
If your a player this is awesome.. get to know bits about your future, and become the master of initiative and going first, maybe even going first before you go first.
If your a GM, you're going to hate this power with a passion. Get ready to call a time out and think up some way to give your force using character a hint good enough to let him feel his power was useful, without giving him enough to completely murder your carefully laid plans. why does the hint have to make him feel his power was useful?? because there isn't a limitation on it.. 
If i was a Force user with Foresee, i would spend the vast majority of my time in meditation... basically just rolling a Foresee check as often as possible to troll for information before my GM finally gets mad enough to tell me I have to spend a destiny point in order to use the power at all. of course, maybe you'll get lucky and your players won't be dicks... maybe....

anyway... the point is.. I got all the Careers, Specialization and Force powers up on the Fillable Sheets page.
You no longer have a good excuse to purchase the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook.
you're welcome.

rest of the base AoR careers.

The Diplomat.
The Engineer.
The Soldier.
The Spy.

These are all great classes that take a bunch of the material released in EotE, reorganize it and compile it in a way that makes way more thematic sense. Each career has only a few new things but don't worry. They make up for the lack of new material by using their efficiency of organization to make your EotE character seem like a fool who cant find real direction in life.

The only reason not to like these classes is that each new class takes a bunch of the material released in EotE, reorganize it and compile it in a way that makes way more thematic sense. Each career has only a few new things. They make up for the lack of new material by using their efficiency of organization to make your EotE character seem like a fool who cant find real direction in life.

You can look at any of them on the Fillable Sheets page.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ace and Commander

The first two careers out of Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook have been added.

look for them on the fillable sheets page.

The Ace is a nice career.. focused and to the point.. very cohesive concept. Fly anything and be able to shoot shit while you do it.

The Commander is a nice career too. you can lead your fleet, or your squad and do it well. only complaint here is that the three specializations within this one career, seem to have a lot of Talent overlap. Talent over-lap can be good, or not...  I'm not sure yet in this case.

anyway.. I will try to get all the new Careers done up as soon as I can.
I want to do my part to make sure no one else really needs to buy Age of Rebellion.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook: review 2 of 2

a book so duplicitous I had to review it twice.

Review 2.
1* The buyer is not new to role playing games.
2* The buyer owns the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook (possibly some other edge of the empire books as well) or at the very minimum is aware of and familiar with (has played extensively) FFG’s Edge of the Empire product line.


I remember when I was a kid maybe 7 or 8 years old. I was obsessed with action figures, specifically alien and predator action figures. I waited for the new ones to come out, kept track of the Toys-R-Us delivery schedule to make sure i could get mine. Each time a new one came out I was ecstatic. My favorite was the special mail away Cloaked Predator figure. it was AWESOME... then I started growing up, and suddenly had the realization that... wait a second.. this is the same exact figure as one that I had from a different pack... then i realized that several of the things i owned were just re-paints of other figures.. and i thought... wow.. I've sort of been cheated here.. i payed money for this stuff that they marketed as cool NEW products... but they are the same damn thing, they just slapped a different color on it and called it by a different name. And my fancy Cloaked Predator that i mailed away for was the worst culprit..  i thought i had something super special and new and different.. when really.. they tricked me in to paying more money for something that in the end, was basically an unfinished version of something i already owned...
That is basically what buying the Age of Rebellion core rule book feels like.
except, now I'm an adult and the regret/disappointment/anger was virtually instantaneous.

Age of Rebellion contains no compelling new material.

If FFG can sue themselves for plagiarism they should.
Here is the first paragraph from chapter 9 'the game master' in the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook.

 Welcome to the first step in becoming an EDGE OF THE EMPIRE Game Master. While running a role-playing game can be challenging, it is also rewarding in ways different from those associated with playing individual characters. This chapter walks new Game Masters through the information needed to become an accomplished and entertaining Star Wars GM. Novice and experienced GMs alike should find useful information and advice for running this game from both a storytelling and mechanical point of view.

and Here is the first paragraph from chapter 9 'the game master' in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook.

Welcome to the first step in becoming an Age of Rebellion Game Master. Running a role-playing game comes with both challenges and immense rewards. This chapter focuses on helping a new Game Master get the information needed to run a successful Age of Rebellion game that captures the feel of Star Wars. Both novice and experienced GMs should find that this chapter contains useful information for handling both the rules and the storytelling aspects of the game.

Seriously? This is reminiscent of high school book report plagiarism and the vast majority of the book is like this. Ok, so lets ignore for a moment that you already purchased the vast majority of the information in this book when you bought the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook and try to focus on what new and different things the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook brings to the table.

Here is the grand total of NEW material you will receive from the Age of Rebellion core rulebook.
1 new Skill.
6 new Careers, comprised of 13 new Specialties.
17 new Talents.
3 new Items.
2 new Universal Specialty trees.
2 new Force Powers.
21 new ships.
1 new ship attachment.
47 new bad guys.
1 Story.

ok so now your thinking "hey, that's a fair bit of stuff there guy. I think I probably DO need this book". but... sadly, your WRONG. i'll explain. i'll go point by point on the new stuff.

The new Skill is Knowledge (warefare). Sounds neat but the skill itself is somewhat vauge. It might help support your character to say he has the Knowledge (warefare) skill. If roleplay is your focus though, what knowledge the skill does represent can easily be folded into the other skills like Lore and Education thus making this skill completely un-neccessary.
The new Careers aren't too bad really. they offer new progression options and their Specialty trees are more focused to help support the concepts of each career far better than in Edge of the Empire. You still don't need the book though.. because the Specialty tree pages can be copied and you can find them freely on the interwebs (i'll have my own versions up soon). So, you don't need the book to get 90 percent of the info you need to utilize these new Careers. there are 5 duplicated Specialty trees :(
New Talents is always good, they are a sweet honey that we all desire. there are only 1.3 new talents for each new Specialization tree, so that's kind of a bummer. You don't need the book for these either though. Like most talents the blurbs in the Specialty tree lists contain the gist of each talent. You can use the Specialization tree you copied or found on line to get the idea. if you have a question about the details, someone will have answered it already on the forums i bet.
the new items are: Anti-Vehicle Mine, Anti-Personnel Mine, Armor-Piercing Grenade. These are all extremely circumstantial and not terribly likely to come up very often, so feel free to improvise if you like.
The Universal Specialty Trees are the Recruit and the new Force Emergent tree. both pretty cool but again, they are Specialty trees and free to copy. Get yours on-line.
New Force Powers include Foresee and Enhance. I look forward to hearing of all the games ruined by the Foresee power, but once again, you can get these on line just like the Specialty trees.
New ships. ok, there are fair amount of new ships.. and i do love me some ships.. you get some really iconic stuff stat'ed out here. like the AT-AT or star destroyers. not a lot of small or mid-range stuff though. so unless you're group is in the habit of hunting down giants, these aren't likely to come up. If they do, there is ONE new rule called 'Massive' and a couple new ship actions to help you deal with their immensity. When they do though, you'll likely be running from them anyway, so having them all stat'ed won't be insanely important to your game experience. "holy fuck! a star destroyer showed up, lets get the fuck out of here.   it's shooting towards us!   I know! that's why we are leaving!" and then you're gone or dead or captured, and I'm guessing any way that plays out, the stats of the ship weren't super important.
The new ship attachment is the upgraded Comms Array..  nice.. but..... not necessary. There's other important shit you need those hard points for anyway.
New bad guys. 47 new bad guys. most of them are naturally from the rebel and imperial ranks. I admit, that having pre-made baddies on hand is incredibly helpful and useful. Sadly, most of these aren't all that interesting. I know that making bad guys yourself is a pain, but really, you can do it and if you do, your baddies will likely fit your story, your objectives and your needs better than the pre-made guys anyway.
The new story. the 21 page Perlemian Haul story is... well, i'll let you make up your own mind. You don't NEED it though... you can make up your own damn story (isn't that half the point of these games).

so yeah... if you already own the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook...
Maybe you have a friend, who is a sucker like me and already shelled out the money.
if that's the case then YOU REALLY SERIOUSLY DON'T NEED THIS BOOK AT ALL as you can simply borrow it for a moment to fill in the gaps.

don't get me wrong though, the new material is compatible with all the old material, and it does allow you a few more options. options are nice. variety is nice.. variety...
This book is a virtual carbon copy of the first core rulebook.
It provides very little new material. The new material it does provide is superfluous, or easily obtainable (legally) without purchasing this book. This book has NO defining characteristics to separate it from EotE or justify calling it a Core Rulebook.

I will use this book... but every time I play my Ace character, i'll shed a small tear inside that will slowly drip down in to the pool of disgust and distrust that is building in my gut for the FFG star wars role playing game franchise(s)

Star Wars Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook:   3/10

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook: Review 1 of 2

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.. so I decided to review it twice.
you may see why after reading both reviews.

Review 1.
1* The buyer is new to role playing games.
2* FFGs’ Star Wars: Edge of the Empire product line does not exist (or at minimum, the buyer has and never will have any desire to purchase or utilize any of that product lines material.)
 Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook provides everything needed for both players and Game Masters alike to jump in to the Star Wars universe at one of its most exciting times. From the introduction, the reader is thrown into the Rebel ranks and sets the on an adventure to defeat the evil Empire.
The rules clearly state that the focus is on Role-Play and the heavy use of Narrative to keep things moving along smoothly. Like most RPG’s the rules can take a while to master but in Age of Rebellion they are clearly written and you will quickly pick up the basics. The dice system is interesting as well as dynamic, supporting the narrative style of the game and pleasing those of us who enjoy throwing fistfuls of dice down as frequently as possible.
As players begin to create characters they will find several options from race selection to careers and specializations. There are 8 familiar and recognizable races to choose from including the Gran, Droids, and even the race of our beloved Admiral Akbar, the Mon Calamari.
There are 6 Career path options each with 3 specialization trees as well as a ‘universal’ tree for those who are just starting out, or just can’t decide yet. Maybe you’d like to be a Diplomat who dabbles in computer hacking, or maybe augment you’re Ace Pilot’s skills by learning some Scout Talents. With the games system designed to let players branch out however they like over time, players will find there are plenty of options to keep them interested for quite a while. The special abilities you gain from your Careers Talent trees help separate you from the commoners, but don’t forget your basic skills.
A large list of Skills are the core of what your character can do and how well it gets done. Purchase up to 5 ranks in a skill to roll more dice and have the advantage. Skills vary from combat skills such as Melee and Gunnery, to more esoteric skills like Knowledge (core worlds) and Astrogation.
The skills are described in detail. You’ll learn what each one is good for, what it can and in some cases can’t, do. The book even gives options on how to interpret dice results for certain kinds of skill checks, which helps both players and Game Masters keep things moving smoothly.
Once you get past the character creation, there is a fairly standard fair of gadgets and gizmos, arms and armor that are available to the players. Save up and buy that fancy armor, if you don’t you might want to invest in a Bacta Tank. Even the weapons and armor in this game can be further modified. The modification options are somewhat limited, but even the small selection dramatically increases the overall number of ‘options’.
Of course, no Star Wars universe would be complete without some of those iconic Spaceships and imperial walkers. Fear not, Age of Rebellion provides stats for speeders, AT-ATs and even Star Destroyers. The ship combat rules are a bit less streamlined than the rules for personal combat, but they still get the job done. I imagine that most combat would not be ship combat though as player characters would be hard pressed to purchase a ship that would last more than a round against a star destroyer. Even in smaller ships though it’s still a generally dangerous and final a prospect to have your ship blown up in space seeing as how, when that happens you rapidly go from ‘meat bag in a box’ to ‘meatsicle out in the cold depths of space’ assuming of course that you aren’t immediately turned into ‘meat mist’ by the initial blowing up part…. Aaaanyway.
One thing that is likely to disappoint players is the apparent lack of Force related powers or abilities. There is a singular Force related Talent tree, and three basic powers you can acquire. You can move things with your mind, use the force to enhance your own physical abilities, or see the future. The powers here can be quite powerful, but the players won’t be able to just pick up a lightsaber and have the powers of Vader. Of course, that all makes some sense, since the Age of Rebellion is set in a time when there are no Jedi and the Force is a nearly forgotten thing.
The Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook has a nice section to help Game Masters set things up and lead a group of players. It’s not the most in depth help I’ve ever seen, but it’s a start.
There is a starter story in the back, a short mini-campaign that your GM can run called the Perlemian Haul. Its got bad guys, good guys and other stuff I won’t spoil for you, but it’s pretty well done even if it is fairly short.
When your done with the Perlemian Run, there is also a moderate helping of bad guys and locations to choose from that are already stat’d up and ready to go.
All the pieces are there. Good concepts, good rules, lots of choices, no glaringly horrible oversights, a little bit to get you started and a boat-load to keep you going.
For new GMs and new players who love the Star Wars universe Age of Rebellion is going to be a ton of fun.

-1 for not having more… stuff (just in general, more stuff is nice)
-1 for minor gripes about ship combat rules and very minor gripes about the books organization.

As far as Core Rulebooks for a new RPG goes, this is pretty great. 8/10

Review 2 still in the works. Should find time in the next couple days.