Category Archives: Edge of the Empire

Threat Assessment – Noghri Death Commandos

I’ve been doing a re-read of Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy and have found myself once again falling in love with the Noghri. They become such an iconic part of the Solo family in the later Expanded Universe that it has been a lot of fun to go back and rediscover their introduction into the greater Star Wars universe. It didn’t take me too long to realize that these guys needed some game stats to really irritate players that get on the Empire’s bad side in the implied time line of the games. And so, I put together a Rival and Nemesis level Death Commando that can be readily dropped into your campaigns.

Noghri Death Commando

Game System: Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny by Fantasy Flight Games

Loyal to the Empire, the Noghri Death Commandos were highly skilled, highly specialized agents that served the highest ranking members of the Empire, loyal to such people as Darth Vader and later Grand Admiral Thrawn, until they later joined the fledgling New Republic after evidence of Imperial treachery to keep them in servitude was uncovered. They were highly skilled combatants, trained in the combat art of Stava, allowing them to subdue opponents quickly with quick pressure point strikes and grapples.

Noghri Death Commando [Rival]

Characteristics

Brawn 3
Agility 4
Intellect 2
Cunning 3
Willpower 2
Presence 1

Soak Value 4
Wound Threshold 14
Melee/Ranged Defense 1|1

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 3, Cool 1, Discipline 1, Melee 2, Ranged (Heavy) 1, Ranged (Light) 1, Stealth, Vigilance 2

Talents: Adversary 1 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target once), Feral Strength 1, Lethal Blows 2 (+20% to any Critical Injury rolls made against opponents), Pressure Point (Brawl attacks may cause Strain damage instead of wounds, bypassing soak).

Abilities: Stava Training (the Noghri Death Commando’s Brawl attacks gain the Ensnare 1 weapon quality)

Equipment: Fists (Brawl; Damage 4; Crit 3; Range [Engaged], Ensnare 1, Knockdown), vibroknife (Melee; Damage 5; Crit 2; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2, Vicious 1), armored clothing (+1 soak, +1 defense), other equipment based on mission parameters

Noghri Death Commando Squad Leader [Nemesis]

Characteristics

Brawn 4
Agility 5
Intellect 2
Cunning 4
Willpower 3
Presence 2

Soak Value 5
Wound Threshold 16
Strain Threshold 12
Melee/Ranged Defense 1|1

Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 4, Cool 2, Coordination 1, Discipline 2, Leadership 1, Melee 3, Perception 2, Ranged (Heavy) 1, Ranged (Light) 1, Stealth 4, Vigilance 3

Talents: Adversary 2 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target twice), Feral Strength 2, Heightened Awareness (allies within short range add 1 Boost Die to Perception and Vigilance check, engaged allies add 2 Boost dice), Lethal Blows 2 (+20% to any Critical Injury rolls made against opponents), Pressure Point (Brawl attacks can cause Strain damage, bypassing soak)

Abilities: Stava Expert (The Noghri Death Commando Squad Leader’s Brawl attacks gain the Ensnare 1 weapon quality. Additional affected targets treat their Brawn score as if it were 1 point lower for the purposes of breaking free from the attack.)

Equipment: Fists (Brawl, Damage 6; Crit 3; Range [Engaged]; Ensnare 1, Knockdown), vibroknife (Melee, Damage 7; Crit 2; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2, Vicious 1), armored clothing (+1 soak, +1 defense), other equipment based on mission parameters

Design Notes: The Stava Martial Art was one of the defining characteristics of the Noghri in the expanded universe, and while the pressure point strikes and quick disabling were easy to replicate with the Doctor’s Pressure Point talent, the more narrative structure of Fantasy Flight Game’s new Star Wars game made it slightly more difficult to replicate their skilled grappling. I had originally toyed with the idea of allowing them to spend advantage on a successful Brawl check to force a target to take a second maneuver to break from Engaged, but that just didn’t feel clean enough. Then I remembered the oft-overlooked Ensnare weapon quality. What better method to represent skilled grappling locking a character down? Make the Athletics check to break free of the Ensnare harder for the expert level Stava Training in the Nemesis stat block and you’ve got something quick and clean that can really infuriate pistol and rifle shooters that want to stay at range. Beyond that, these guys can really put the hurt on a character by directly attacking their Strain Threshold and bypassing soak through their Pressure Point talent.

Enjoy.

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Filed under Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, Force and Destiny, Roleplaying

Heroes on Demand: Ardana Passik – Holovid Celebrity

Do not adjust your internet connections. There is no need to call your ISP. You are not seeing things. I am indeed back, and we’re going to kick things right into gear with another edition of Heroes on Demand! This time I’m bringing a character that I played  in a play by post game back in the early days of the Edge of the Empire Beta. When Far Horizons was released, I took one look at the new Performer career, and immediately knew that I needed to rewrite this character at some point. Today happens to be that day. Without further ado –

Ardana “Dia” Passik – Former Holovid Celebrity

Ardana (Dia to her friends) Passik was born into an entertainment family on Imperial City, and she grew up in front of a camera. By the time she grew into a young adult, she was already a fairly successful and recognizable commercial holovid actress. She enjoyed the recognition and fame that came with her choice of career, and she took full advantage, pushing herself higher and higher into the social stratosphere. Whether she had actually earned it or not was irrelevant.

But this all came crashing down around her ears when her contract with the studio came up for renegotiation. A small time crime lord had become obsessed with the young Twi’lek and wanted to buy her contract for an undisclosed sum in order to have her come and live at his growing palace as an entertainer. Her manager agreed, effectively selling Dia into glorified slavery. Instead of suffering the indignity, she fled Imperial City and to the mid-rim.

This is where her life took another drastic turn.

Desperate for money, she began to dance in a small cantina to survive. But it wasn’t long before someone recognized her and offered her a more lucrative job. The planet was under heavy Imperial occupation and a local resistance group needed new blood, and having the young former actress in their ranks might help to raise flagging morale. Given a choice between dancing for drunk, handsy spacers and doing something that might actually matter, she agreed. Besides, she figured it was only a matter of time before either her manager or the crime lord that had bought her contract started sending people to bring her back, so having some backup wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Her first mission was a disaster. The leader of the cell was killed in an Imperial ambush and several others captured. However, instead of scattering, the rest of the men and women started to look to her as a de facto leader, her charisma and spirit helping to keep them energized and focused. Over the next few months, she changed completely, from a spoiled wannabe aristocrat to a fighter that truly believed in the cause of the resistance, even becoming romantically involved with a young man in the cell named Stase Trebal.

This of course made it all the more bitter when this Stase betrayed the cell for a full pardon. Dia barely escaped with her life, and the rest of the members were killed. She fled to Nar Shaddaa, knowing that she could easily stay off of the radar there. She’s used her skills to get by, dancing in another spacer’s cantina for money, but also networking with some people to see where the planet’s loyalties truly lie. She wants to take down the corruption of the Empire to honor the memory of her fallen comrades, and to make up for her own failure in letting her emotions blind her. But she’ll settle for taking down Stase.

System: Star Wars Edge of the Empire by Fantasy Flight Games

Species: Twi’lek
Career: Colonist
Specialization: Performer
Obligation: Betrayal (+5 magnitude)
Motivation: Comrades

Characteristics
Brawn 1
Agility 3
Intellect 2
Cunning 3
Willpower 2
Presence 4

Skills: Charm 2, Coordination 1, Deception 1, Leadership 1, Negotiation 1, Streetwise 1

Talents: Distracting Behavior 1

Wound Threshold: 11
Strain Threshold: 13
Soak Value: 2
M/R Defense: 0|0

Equipment: quickfire blaster pistol (Ranged [Light]; Damage 5; Crit 3; Range [Short]; stun setting), heavy clothing (+1 soak), 2 stimpacks, hand-held comlink, datapad, backpack, 6 credits

Design Notes: Dia is a strong social character, able to use her charisma and social graces to cut through situations that others might not be able to.  She is not a front line combatant, but is able to serve in a strong support role with her Distracting Behavior talent, able to suffer up to 3 Strain to cause the same number of NPCs to suffer an automatic threat on all of their checks with no check involved on her part.  She can put herself into a tough spot if she’s not careful managing her Strain, but an automatic threat per roll is a powerful ability, and the more ranks she has the further away she can do it, and the Performer does provide some interesting options as far as recovering Strain is concerned.

As far as advancement is concerned, the Performers capstone abilities are all very nice and would fit for Dia. But she could also get some mileage out of the Politico specialization as a secondary career. In fact, Politico was her original specialization when I first played her back in the days of the Beta. Scathing Tirade and Inspiring Rhetoric both give her other options in combat to play with strain thresholds, something that is often overlooked. Otherwise, the Mercenary Soldier specialization would provide some interesting direct combat options while also bolstering her Leadership abilities. I’m sure there are plenty of other specializations that could be combined with this concept to take the build into different and interesting directions, based on how you want to play her.

I hope you have fun playing Dia. I know I certainly did.

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Threat Assessment: The Kouhun

Another installment of Threat Assessment for you boys and girls as I bring you the latest update to one of the beasts I wrote up back in the Beta period of the Edge of the Empire roleplaying game. Today I give you a look at the diminutive, but incredibly potent kouhun.

This may be the last sight you see. Or more likely won’t see.

The Kouhun [Minion]

Tiny, predatory, centipede like insects around 30 centimeters long, the kouhun are native to the jungle planet of Indourmodo, though they are capable of surviving in most any environment except for extreme cold. Small and swift moving, they also possesses an incredibly potent neurotoxin that can dispatch targets quite quickly. As a bonus, the effects of the poison mimic the effects of cardiac arrest in most sentient species, which makes this creature a very popular choice of weapon for assassins, bounty hunters, and other folks of ill repute. In addition, the kouhun’s natural white coloring meant they were often able to be dyed in the dominant color of the target’s surroundings, making them that much harder to detect.

System: Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion by Fantasy Flight Games

Characteristics

Brawn 1
Agility 4
Intellect 1
Cunning 1
Willpower 1
Presence 1

Soak Value: 3
Wound Threshold: 5
Melee/Ranged Defense: 0|0

Skills (group only): Brawl, Coordination, Stealth

Talents: None

Abilities: Agile Fighter (may use Agility instead of Brawn when making melee attacks), Poison (A successful melee attack that deals at least one point of damage from a kouhun injects a poison into the target. The target must make a Hard Resilience check. Failure deals 5 wounds to the target plus 1 strain per threat generated. Despair generated on this roll can be spent to cause the poison to remain in the target’s system, affecting him again next round.), Silhouette 0

Equipment: poisoned fangs (Brawl; Damage 2; Critical 4; Range [Engaged]; Pierce 2)

As you can see, these creatures don’t present much of a challenge on their own, especially to a character who has a high Brawn or wearing heavy armor. But then again, that’s not the creature’s real strength. One could easily argue that if the kouhun is going up against a character in full battle dress, his job has failed. The kouhun is as much a weapon as it is a creature, capable of being deployed by assassins and bounty hunters to take out targets while they are at home or otherwise not as concerned with personal defense. All it takes is a single bite to inject the poison, and that can be all it takes to kill a target. So make sure you check under you bed, shine a light in all of those dark corners, and make sure the windows are bolted shut before you go to sleep tonight. Or wear your armor to bed…

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Filed under Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, Roleplaying, Threat Assessment

Threat Assessment: The Wampa

During the Beta period, I had tried my hand at putting together several different stat blocks for the various beasts of the Star Wars universe for the Edge of the Empire roleplaying game as there were very few of them for public use, with mixed success. With a lack of anything better to do this evening, I started to look through some of them again. A few of them now have official stat blocks with the various releases, but a good number of them haven’t. So, I decided why not update a few of them and put them where the public can see them, use them, and abuse their players with them. I’ll start things out with the Wampa, guessing that it will probably only be a short few months before we see official stats for them in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook. 

The Wampa [Rival]

Carnivorous predators native to the ice planet of Hoth in the Outer Rim, the Wampa is a savage beast that will attack anything they come across. However, they’re favorite prey is the tauntaun, another creature native to the ice planet. The wampa have adapted to survive in the harsh weather of their native planet and have become consummate hunters, using the environment to their advantage and striking their prey from ambush. Luckily for their prey, they are usually solitary hunters, but have been known to travel in packs to take down larger game. The Rebel Alliance’s Echo Base fell victim to more than one wampa attack during it’s use as a base of operations. Though they were rarely seen off of Hoth, they were known to be used in underground gladiatorial combats and were considered to be a worthy trophy for the big game hunter, their pelts and other parts commanding high prices on the black market.

Characteristics

Brawn 4
Agility 2
Intellect 1
Cunning 1
Willpower 2
Presence 1

Soak Value: 6
Wound Threshold: 18
Melee/Ranged Defense: 0|0

Skills: Brawl 3, Cool 2, Perception 1, Survival 3, Vigilance 1

Talents: Adversary 1 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target once)

Abilities: Cold Adaptation (may remove two Setback Dice imposed due to cold environmental conditions) Camouflage (may add two Boost Dice when making Stealth checks in snowy environments), Ferocious (may use Brawn instead of Willpower when making Coercion checks), Follow Through (may spend Triumph on a successful melee attack to hit a second target engaged with it, dealing the same damage as dealt to the original target)

Equipment: claws and teeth (Brawl, Damage 6; Critical 3; Range [Engaged]; Knockdown, Pierce 1)

Ferocious is an ability I’ve been toying around with for a while, and it may simply become an ability that all beasts (or at least the more dangerous ones) get in games that I run, simply by virtue of the obvious danger they present to a person who is in their sights, allowing them to use their usually much higher Brawn characteristic to try to scare off potential foes instead of their often lacking Willpower. Only time and additional playtesting will tell if it stays or if it goes, but it’s a decent thought exercise.

Like what you see? Any suggestions? Play reports? Thoughts on Ferocious? Let me know in the comments!

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Heroes On Demand: Roq – Human Shockboxer

Author’s Note: This series originally had it’s inception over at The GSA at the very skilled hands of my good friend and fellow “incorrigible system tinker monkey” Donovan Morningfire, and it quickly became a very popular series that gave several of the site’s regular contributors – including your’s truly – a go to piece when things were rushed or in between larger pieces. And so, I have chosen to continue the find tradition here with some all new builds. Expect to see characters for different games covered as I feel the urge to write them up.

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for all week. Friday night. You’re looking to leave the work week on the floor behind you along with the carcasses of your enemies as you knock back a couple of brews with your buddies and sling some dice. Then your blood runs cold and a chill runs up your spine. You’re starting a new game tonight! And you don’t have a character!!!

Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered.

Roq – Disgraced Shockboxer

Roq had it all. He was finally a contender and was living the high life. The cuts and bruises, the concussions, the broken bones had all been worth it. His days were spent at the gym, his evenings in the shock boxing ring, and his nights at home with his wife and their newborn son. He loved every minute of it.

But it wasn’t meant to be. His lifestyle caught up to him. He began to spend more than he was bringing in, and both he and his manager saw that his star was beginning to descend. He began to get desperate, and did something that he still regrets to this day. He agreed to take a fall in the second round for a big payout and put a new, young shock boxer on the map. But the kid wasn’t cut out for it, and he wound up putting him down in the first round. Stories say the kid still hasn’t come out of the coma. Roq still swears that the kid should have never been in the ring with him. The syndicate head that wanted him to throw the fight lost a lot of money on the fight, and decided to take it out in blood. Roq returned home to the sight of a massacre. Several armed thugs were in his apartment, the bodies of his wife and son laid out on the ground. The put a gun to Roq’s head and he closed his eyes, accepting his death. And then the man with the gun said these words:

“I’m going to let you live. But we’ll be watching you. Not every day, but when you least expect it, we’ll be watching. If you try to connect with anyone, get any closer than paying a street vendor for a meal, and they will die. But it won’t be us killing them. It will be you. And we won’t stop until you stop. Until you choose to take your own life, we will not rest. You screwed with the wrong people. You have until tomorrow to leave this place before we start killing your neighbors.”

And just like that they were gone. Roq took what few possessions he could carry on his back and left. He’s since fallen off the radar. He hears his name every now and then, sees a story reference that fateful night in the ring, and he considers stepping in front of a train from time to time to be with his wife and child. But he doesn’t. He knows that he needs to take revenge on the bastards that did this to him, did this to his family. He’s not sure how, but he knows why.

Game System: Star Wars – Edge of the Empire by Fantasy Flight Games

RoqSpecies: Human
Career: Hired Gun
Specialization: Marauder
Obligation: Debt (+5 magnitude)
Motivation: Family

Characteristics
Brawn 4
Agility 2
Intellect 2
Cunning 2
Willpower 3
Presence 2

Skills: Athletics 1, Brawl 2, Coercion 1, Cool 1, Coordination 1, Discipline 1, Resilience 1, Vigilance 1

Talents: Toughened

Wound Threshold: 16
Strain Threshold: 13
Soak Value: 5
Defense: 0|0

Equipment: shock gloves (Brawl; Damage 4; Crit 5; Range [Engaged]; Stun 3, brass knuckles (Brawl; Damage 5; Crit 4; Range [Engaged]; Disorient 3), heavy clothes (+1 soak value), 4 stim packs, hand held comlink, 2 doses of synthskin, memento of his wife and child, 46 credits

Design Notes: Roq is an homage to several movie characters I’ve encountered over the years. The first is fairly obvious, and he takes his name from it. The second, and the core of his story, obligation, and motivation are taken from Jason Statham’s character in the movie Safe.

Roq’s obligation is a little twist on the debt. Even though he cost the crime lord a lot of money when he didn’t throw the fight like he was supposed to, his debtee isn’t interested in taking his credits. Instead, this is a debt that can only be paid in blood, and when his Obligation gets triggered, you can be sure there will be some goons looking to make good on their promise of killing those he gets close to. Paying down this Obligation can run the gamut of taking down high ranking members of the organization to taking steps to protect him and his friends by changing his identity. And should he forget why he puts up with it, there is always the memory of his wife and child who were violently taken away by these thugs to remind him.

Roq is designed to be an up close and in your face fighter. He’s not afraid to mix it up when blasters are drawn, and he’s confident of his ability to put down most foes before they can put up much of a fight. He can withstand quite a beating in combat, with a higher than average Wound Threshold and Soak. His main strength is his physical strength. Keeping along the Marauder tree will only help him put out more damage in combat through several picks of the Feral Strength and Lethal Blows talents. The many instances of Toughened and a few picks of Enduring on the same tree will continue to help him absorb more and more punishment to last a few more rounds in the ring. But he’s no slouch in the Willpower department either. This helps him keep an eye out for danger, keep a level head when danger does rear it’s ugly head, and also makes him an intimidating son of a bitch, all of which will help him stay alive. For further development, Roq could easily flow into the Commando specialization from Age of Rebellion, which would bolster his already high levels of damage resistance and melee prowess into nearly unstoppable levels. He could also benefit from some of the talents in the Bodyguard talent tree, and his high Wound Threshold and Soak make him a natural protector for squishier party members.

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Star Wars Edge of the Empire – Enter the Unknown

Enter the Unknown Cover ArtI finally got my hands on a copy of this book on Friday, and spent the weekend devouring it cover to cover, and I have to say that I am very, very impressed with the quality of material that Fantasy Flight Games has put forth in their first supplement. If I can look forward to the rest of their releases being just as good, they’ve made the decision to spend my money on them instead of another company a very easy one.

Enter the Unknown is billed as a sourcebook for the Explorer Career, and it does a phenomenal job of focusing in on this Career and the various Specializations that fall under it. The book itself is divided into three sections. The first section contains details on creating an Explorer character and includes write ups on various backgrounds that characters may have come from and ways they may have gotten into the lifestyle. This is followed up with Explorer focused Obligations, including several that aren’t included in the Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook: Fervor and Sponsorship. It also includes a new type of motivation that was written with the Explorer firmly in mind – Discovery. Whether it’s finding the ruins of a lost civilization that he’s been seeking his entire life, finding ancient tech that can be adapted to modern uses, or simply finding out what he is capable of, this helps provide the Explorer character a direction during play.

The chapter also includes three new species that fit the vein of the Explorer Career as well as three new specializations for it. The species are the Chiss, the Duros, and the Toydarians. The Specializations are the Archaeologist, the Big Game Hunter, and the Driver. Both the Duros and the Driver are exactly as we see in the Age of Rebellion Beta, so if you’ve read that material, there will be no surprises for you here, but the other two species and Specializations are brand new. The Archaeologist is you typical Indiana Jones type of character – someone who can one day be an academic sitting behind a desk and the very next be exploring a recently unearthed tomb of a long dead warlord on the Outer Rim. The Big Game Hunter is a very straightforward talent tree, and it includes everything the name conjures up. He’s tough, he’s good with a gun, and he can find, stand up to, and take on the toughest creatures in the galaxy – whether they be man or beast – without flinching. The Driver is the consummate wheel man. He is to speeders and swoops what the Pilot is to snub fighters and tramp freighters, and is capable of pushing vehicles beyond their factory limits as well as making them operable again when he pushes them just a little bit too hard.

The final thing included in the first chapter are our first glimpse at Signature Abilities. They take a lot of play and dedication to get to, and they are expensive to purchase and upgrade, but they are good. A player chooses which signature ability that he wants to attach to the bottom of one of his in-career talent trees. Each Signature Ability includes a basic form, and then has eight upgrades below it that can be purchased, making them an interesting cross between talents and Force powers. The two Signature Abilities included in this release are Sudden Discovery and Unmatched Mobility. These abilities are activated through the expenditure of Destiny Points, and each provide their own unique and powerful effect on the game. I won’t go into any more detail on them, but lets just say that I am very, very pleased with our first look at these and can’t wait to see more of them down the line.

 

Just one of the sights an Explorer gets used to seeing.

 

The second chapter of the book is nominally targeted towards Explorer characters, but most characters will find something of use in it, whether it is a new weapon or piece of gear. Simply put – there are a lot of fun new toys in this section of the book. There are several new blaster weapons, slug throwers, and melee weapons (including the vibrospear!) as well as a few new pieces of armor, and a lot of gear including portable perimeter fences, distress beacons, beast calls, and any number of other things designed to help someone survive in the unknown. It also includes several new droids designed for hunting and exploration as well as a dozen new profiles for vehicles and starships from fighters all the way up to capital ships. We are even treated to seeing the fan-beloved Ghtroc 720 make its reappearance into the game after it was cut from the Core Rulebook.

The final section of the book contains about 25 pages of advice for the GM on running adventures and campaigns for groups that contain one or more characters of the Explorer career, including how to get them into the action, how to keep them in the action, how to develop rivals and antagonists, adventure seeds and a small handful of groups that could be used as sponsors for the party. This section also includes some general advice on creating memorable NPCs that won’t overshadow the player characters as the stars of the game, tips and tricks on including horror and foreshadowing effectively in your game, and tips on designing an adventure.

All told, this book was well worth the price. It really sold me on the Explorer Career in a way that the Core Rulebook had been unable to – so much that I think the next character I roll up will use one of the new specializations. If you have any interest about any of the material that was announced with this book, do yourself a favor and pick it up. Fantasy Flight Games really outdid themselves in defining just what a sourcebook is and should be with this release, and it gives me a lot of hope that we’ll see a long and most importantly healthy line of products for not only Edge of the Empire, but also for Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny when we get those full releases. 

Until next time. I’ll see you out among the stars.

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