Previously on Triumph & Despair, I had taken a stab at an aspect of the Star Wars Edge of the Empire rules that I found a bit lacking. Namely, the overall utility of the knowledge skills. I wanted to elevate them, give more reasons to consider spending the XP on Knowledge (Underworld) and not on something a little more crude and obvious, such as the combat skills. I think I succeeded there, and am happy with what I did. However, as both my face-to-face and play-by-plus campaigns begin to really gear up, I find that I’ve created a mountain out of a molehill and have something a little too cumbersome and unwieldy to really use properly. So, back to the drawing board!
“It’s alright, I know a guy.”
Knowledge skills are a vital tool at the disposal of the Crew, an invaluable part of their livelihood and one that cannot be ignored. All too often, knowledge skills are used exclusively to recall bits of information in an encyclopedic fashion. While this is very useful during a tense heist when the Crew cannot access computerized databanks, it falls far short of the true potential of this set of skills; core worlds, outer rim, and underworld. These skills form the foundation of how a Crew sniffs out successful heists and discards the duds. How a Crew is able to avoid a trap, and how they are able to maximize their profits. These three knowledge skills are used at the end of every session in a sandbox style campaign to seed the upcoming heists to be used during the next gaming session.
Knowledge (Lore) will be elevated and expounded upon in a future Edge of the Empire Alphabet article, A is for Artifacts.
In a sandbox-style campaign, each heist begins and is finished in the span of exactly one session. In the hands of a skilled Galaxy Master, the Edge of the Empire ruleset enables a quick-paced style of play that can explore an entire contained, complete adventure in one session with no trouble. When we take this idea and merge it with the easy-to-use Edge of the Empire Alphabet random tables, we can create a system that promotes real choices for the players in terms of story, while at the same time making the Galaxy Master’s job easier with the combination of random and player-driven impetus that goes to form the next heist.
At the end of each heist, Galaxy Masters can spend about 5 minutes to make some quick rolls and determine the setup for the next session’s heist using the following steps:
- Each participating player makes a Hard (ddd) Knowledge check; their choice of either core world, outer rim, or underworld.
- A successful check allows that character to track down an old acquaintance, a rumor, word on the streets, or some other means of finding a new lead for a job. An unsuccessful check nets nothing. If no one in the Crew can find a heist, the Galaxy Master will assign a heist of his own devising with two Unforeseen Consequences and with the lowest monetary reward possible; 3,000 credits base fee.
- Players whom have discovered a heist on their own must then roll 2d10 twice to determine the heists Action and Client, as set forth in H is for Heists.
- A successfully discovered heist with any Advantage has multiple angles and an additional piece of Inside Information. A successfully discovered heist with any Threat is a trap, perhaps the result of some sort of betrayal, and has an additional Unforseen Complication.
- A successfully discovered heist with Triumph has one Unforeseen Consequence become known in advance. However, a discovered heist with Despair indicates that the Crew has made their presence a little too well known, has alerted the local authorities to their disreputable dealings, and immediately bestows one Crew Member with 5 Obligation.
- The clients offering heists can have a range of monetary reward to offer. One of the biggest advantages to having multiple heists available is the ability to pick and choose the most lucrative of leads. For each discovered heist, roll a Force Die. On a result of two Dark Points, the heist offers a base reward or 3,000 credits. On one Dark Point the base reward is 3,500; on one Light Point the reward is 4,500 credits, and on two Light Points the reward jumps up to a sizeable 5,000 credits. Each of these rewards can be modified by the Negotiation skill, using rules as written.
- A smuggling or delivery heist done with a Ghtroc 720 freighter earns a bonus 500 credits base reward due to its increased cargo capacity. Likewise, the Firespray System Patrol Craft earns 500 credits less on such heists due to its limited cargo capacity.
- A heist found via Knowledge (Core Worlds) must be located in a star system in the core worlds, and likewise for Knowledge (Outer Rim). A heists discovered via the Knowledge (Underworld) skill can be located anywhere in the galaxy. The star system location can then be located on the Galaxy Map via random dice rolls.
- Lastly, the Crew decide on which lead to follow up on, jump to hyperspace, and play that heist during the next gaming session. During the time between, the Galaxy Master fills out the remaining details of the heist, including if any Crew will advance in their D is for Destiny.