N is for Nemesis


by Ralph McQuarrie

The design of a Nemesis to the Crew, a true villain that thwarts their every move and hounds them through the entirety of the campaign, is one that should be approached with great detail. A Nemesis is more than just a regular thug to be defeated and forgotten. A Nemesis is a recurring thorn in the Crew’s side and a major component to the story that unfolds during your game. As such, this entry into Edge of the Empire Alphabet has been broken up into 3 sections: Minion, Rival, and Villain. Using all of these components will help Galaxy Masters create rich, diverse antagonists that will challenge the players and make for more memorable games. Each of these sections contains a list of two different qualities. The Galaxy Master is encouraged to selectively build up an opponent by using the list of qualities needed to fit the level of complexity of their adversary.

Each of the following six qualities may be determined randomly by rolling 2d10, or simply chosen by the Galaxy Master.

A very special thank you to Triumph & Despair author Mark DesLauriers for his helpful suggestions in filling out the columns.


Creating the most basic type of enemy is a simple affair of determining the Species and one significant aspect of their Personality or interesting part of their Appearance. For simple Minion and Rival type enemies, only one selection from the Species Column and Personality & Appearance Column is necessary. For a full-blown Nemesis, Galaxy Masters are encouraged to create a character with two selections from the Personality & Appearance Column, blending them together as needed to form a more complex and interesting individual.

2   Mon Calamari   cautious
3   Weequay   insightful
4   Defel   vocal quirk, such as a stutter
5   Ithorian   superstitious
6   Sullustan   distinctive dress, usually of high quality
7   Wookie   appreciably older or younger than the Crew
8   Gamorrean   dismissive
9   Gand   reckless
10   Trandoshan   calculating
11   Human   hideous facial feature
12   Droid   passionate
13   Rodian   Z is for Zealot
14   Gran   distinctive scar or tattoo
15   Twi’lek   unique accessory, heirloom, or armor
16   Bothan   distinctive hair style or color
17   Quarren   xenophobic
18   Davaronian   diplomatic
19   Aqualish   dim-witted
20   a strange new alien;   open-minded
    see X is for Xenology    


When more complexity is called for in an opponent, the Galaxy Master is encouraged to apply additional details and move towards a character with both more depth and more danger. Using the table below, select the most applicable, generalized description of the Nemesis’ role in society from the Career Column. Then, select what driving force motivates this character to action with an item from the Destiny Column.

2   a hidden J is for Jedi master   Anarchy
3   Imperial Intelligence / Inner Circle   Love
4   Information Broker / Spymaster   Family
5   Arms Dealer   Expertise
6   Planetary Governer   Fame
7   Galactic Senator   Non-human Rights
8   Military Leader (Rebel Alliance)   Mentor
9   Military Leader (local)   Power
10   Military Leader (Imperial)   Religion
11   Crime Boss *   Support the Empire
12   Bounty Hunter   Greed
13   Space Pirate   Overthrow the Empire
14   Con Artist   Human Destiny
15   Rival Smuggler   Former Nemesis
16   Professor or non-medical doctor   Droid Rights
17   Medical Doctor   Place of Origin
18   Celebrity   Local politics
19   Elite Pilot   Childhood Friend
20   Roll twice, the Nemesis leads a double life   Pet or Droid Companion
   * Treat Species rolls of 02 – 10 as Hutt.    


Lastly, we come to Triumph & Despair. A truly memorable villain goes through the story of the game world in phases, not too unlike a dramatic arc. At the introduction of the Nemesis, he or she uses one or more powerful and unfair advantages to challenge and outright defeat the Crew. A key word here is unfair: the Nemesis has access to resources and abilities simply beyond the pale of the Crew. A Nemesis that fights fair cannot realistically pose a serious threat to a group of smart players. As the campaign progresses, however, the Crew will need to find the weaknesses or limitations of the villain, their Achilles’ Heel. When this vulnerability is found, the Crew can then exploit it to gain back the upper hand when dealing with this Nemesis and prevail. This level of detail and work is only useful to an antagonist that vexes the Crew through several Heists. Reserve it for the most special of enemies so as to have the most dramatic impact.

To fill out the remainder of your Nemesis, select or roll randomly for one of two options from both the Despair Column to determine what means and methods the Nemesis has to thwart the Crew. Then, select or roll randomly for one or two points from the Triumph Column, to represent the means and methods by which the Crew may turn the tables on the Nemesis and achieve victory. When in doubt, roll a Force Die and let the number of pips shown indicate to you how many elements from each column to use.

2d10     DESPAIR
2   Unassuming No one believes the crew. All skill checks made to sway others against the Nemesis are downgraded.
3   Beloved The difficulty of all skill checks made to interact with the local populace is upgraded.
4   Bodyguard The Nemesis has one or more henchmen of Rival quality that never leaves his or her side.
5   Ancient Weapon The Nemesis bears an ancient weapon of power and quality unmatched in the modern age. The weapon gains the Accurate 3 quality, Vicious 3 quality, and has a Critical value one lower than normal (minimum 1)
6   Swordsman When making a Melee skill check, the Nemesis gains 3 Boost die.
7   Artificial Limb Cybernetic enhancements give the Nemesis a rating of 7 in the Brawn and/or Agility characteristics.
8   Force Sensitive The Nemesis is secretly Force Sensitive, gaining access to one Force Power and increasing his or her Force Rating by 2.
9   Hostage The Nemesis holds a hostage in a secure location who is strongly connected to at least one Crew Member’s Motivation.
10   Strong with the Force When the Galaxy Master uses a Destiny Point on the Nemesis’ turn to upgrade a skill check, that skill check is upgraded twice.
11   Terrifying The mere mention of this Nemesis is terrifying. All Discipline or Cool checks made to resist fear are Formidable (ddddd) difficulty, upgraded thrice.
12   Hidden Army The Nemesis has covert power and control over a large military force.
13   Clones The Nemesis utilizes clones or another means to endlessly sacrifice others for his protection.
14   Cybernetic Cybernetic enhancements give the Nemesis a rating of 7 in the Intellect and/or Cunning characteristics.
15   Advanced Shielding The Nemesis and/or his or her primary starship has an advanced shielding system and increases Defense by 4.
16   Prototype Weapon The Nemesis bears an advanced new prototype weapon. The weapon deals an extra Wound on attacks that hit and gains the Superior, Sunder, and Knockdown qualities.
17   It’s a Trap! Always one step ahead, the Crew are subject to a T is for it’s a Trap! whenever confronting this Nemesis.
18   Gadgeteer This Nemesis has an assortment of mechanics tricks up his or her sleeve at all times. As a Maneuver, he or she can create a single-use item that replicates the effect of any equipment.
19   Pet The Nemesis has an unassuming, non-humanoid pet that is used either as a distraction and for spying, or it is a ferocious B is for Beast.
20   Extra Limbs The Nemesis has extra arms and/or legs allowing him or her to carry additional equipment and does not take any Strain for taking a second Maneuver each turn.
2d10     TRIUMPH
2   Phobia The Nemesis has an unnatural fear of a certain object and must make a Formidable (ddddd) difficulty Discipline or Cool check or suffer 3 Setback dice when confronted by this object.
3   Gluttonous Overindulgence and sloth plague this Nemesis, and he or she takes 2 Strain for every Maneuver taken.
4   Poor Health The Nemesis fails all Resilience checks and has a Brawn characteristic of 1.
5   Blackmail There is some secret out in the Galaxy that makes this Nemesis susceptible to crippling blackmail.
6   Criminal The Nemesis has a hidden past of crime that he or she has fled and is wanted by authorities.
7   Duty A serious oath, code of honor, or other duty binds this Nemesis’ actions in a significant fashion.
8   Addiction The Nemesis has a crippling addiction to a harmful substance or self-destructive behaviorand must make Discipline checks to resist temptation.
9   Obsessive Obsession clouds the thoughts of this Nemesis and he or she finds their judgment hindered.
10   Burned Bridges Poor decisions made in the Nemesis’ past have left a wake of bitter enemies seeking retribution.
11   Overconfidence This Nemesis enjoys gloating; delaying lethal attacks, providing more time for his enemies to escape, and revealing his or her secret plans before they come to fruition.
12   Missing Limb The Nemesis has one or more missing limbs, severely restricting his or her mobility and ability to manipulate equipment and weapons.
13   Blind The Nemesis is blind, but has adapted somewhat to the condition. He or she adds 3 Setback dice to all skill checks that require sight and also upgrades the difficulty of Vigilance and Perception checks twice.
14   Betrayal A close ally or friend will betray this Nemesis at a most inopportune time, providing the Nemesis’ enemies with valuable aid or information.
15   Debt The Nemesis has mounting debt, no doubt from his or her sinister activities. Bounty Hunters and other collection personnel hound the Nemesis’ every move.
16   Allergy A particular substance has a strange reaction with this Nemesis. While at Engaged range to the substance, the Nemesis is disoriented. If the Nemesis is tricked into consuming the substance, he or she is stunned and takes 10 Strain.
17   Envy The Nemesis is envious of the Crew and can be easily duped under the guise of gaining access to their personal equipment, close friends, family, or lifestyle.
18   Vanity The Nemesis places far too much importance on his or her personal appearance and looks and must succeed on a Formidable (ddddd) difficulty Discipline check when attempting an action that puts those things in danger, or else refuse to do that action.
19   Tell The Nemesis has a noticeable tell such as a facial twitch. He or she automatically fails all Cool and Deceit checks.
20   Cheap Corners were cut and shortcuts taken. All of this Nemesis’ starships and equipment gain the Inferior quality.

About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

2 responses to “N is for Nemesis

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