Seth is back with more insight into the Star Wars RPG’s from Fantasy Flight Games, this time taking our first look at character creation!
“I’m Han Solo, captain of the Millenium Falcon.”
Character Creation Part 1
By Seth Glenn
Character creation, in any Roleplaying Game, is one of the best parts of the entire genre. The idea of creating a new identity and injecting a fun and different personality other than our own is the driving force behind the concept of role playing. To be someone else; that is the goal when creating a character for an RPG. To this point, the next few articles will give an overview of the Character creation process for the Star Wars RPG by Fantasy Flight. At the very least, players will still need to consult one of the three core rule books for specific details about their characters, but the goal of these articles is to help them understand and streamline the process. There are many supplemental resource books with more species and career specializations available, but the core rulebooks for Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny are the best place to get started. Talk with your GM if you wish to look elsewhere for creating your character.
The Star Wars RPG guides players through character creation in each of the three core rulebooks: Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, Force and Destiny. Each book has easy to understand steps for creating a character. While these articles will not go into detail, they will attempt to give an overview of each step. The first step in the process is to create a character concept. To create this concept, the first question a player needs to answer is what do they want to do? Does the player want to be a smuggler running cargo from world to world; or an ace pilot in the Rebellion against the Empire; or a Force sensitive trying to discover the ways of the Force without attracting too much of the wrong attention?
These are just a few of the many character types possible in the Star Wars RPG. Players should be encouraged to use their imaginations and play a character they think they will enjoy. In other RPG systems, players can feel like they must fill a specific role like tank, healer, and melee or ranged damage dealer. It can feel frustrating to be forced to play a role just because the group composition demands it. Another frustrating thing a player can face is to find that another player is creating a similar or almost identical character type. One player is generally forced to choose another career or role, and this usually results in hurt feelings are a player not really enjoying the game. In the Star Wars RPG however, this should not be seen as a hindrance, and no player should feel like they have to change their character just to fill a perceived role.
The great thing about Fantasy Flights RPG system is that traditional combat roles are not as important, as the Star Wars RPG focus more on the Narrative. Group composition could consist even of all the same career, with each player making their own character unique by choosing different talents and abilities. For example, a group could be five soldiers, but one might specialize in combat medicine, one might specialize in demolitions, and one might specialize in leading the group. All characters would still have the same or similar combat abilities, but would enhance combat with unique abilities the player chose to learn. Some of these abilities and choices can be determined by the character’s history, so it is important for players to develop their characters unique background.
The Character Background will form the basic narrative elements as a player develops their character’s concept. Since the story will be focused on the group of Player Characters, having a background to pull from helps not only the GM but also the players as they can make decisions based on what their character’s past might suggest. When doing this, players need to keep in mind a few key factors for their Star Wars character. What is the character’s relationship with the Empire or Rebellion? Do they have criminal entanglements? Are they from a wealthy family or from the streets? These elements will form the core of where the PC came from.
They can also be useful in determining a PC’s Obligation, Duty, or Morality. These three elements have actual game mechanics associated with them and can be chosen by the player or rolled for on a table listed in the core rulebooks. Obligation is explained in the Edge of the Empire rules, and often implies something that drives the PC like, for example, a financial debt to a crime lord. The PC could be running away from such a debt, only to face a bounty hunter who might be looking for him. Duty is the mechanic used in Age of Rebellion. This mechanic is measured in the why and how a PC is fighting for the Rebel Alliance. It is the main focus for a PC and determines his success in serving the Rebellion. Morality is described in the Force and Destiny rules. This mechanic is more fluid than the others, and can more easily be applied in any campaign. Morality looks at the decisions PCs make and how it supports or conflicts with their character’s chosen path; the Light side or the Dark side. This applied to all PCs as well, not just Force users, though it is easiest to understand in that context. Choosing to finish an enemy, or let him live is an example of Morality in a play session, but could also be as simple as choosing to steal supplies or buy them. Players will usually only use one of these motivation mechanics. Which one is chosen most often by the GM to benefit the narrative of the campaign and the group as a whole.
Choose a Species
The next step in character creation is to select a species. This step must take place before even choosing a career, because the character species determines the initial characteristics like Brawn and Intelligence as well as the starting experience points (XP). While choosing a species is important and goes hand in hand with choosing a career, the player can choose to spend XP to gain desired skills and talents, and so should not feel they must choose a specific species just to gain access to these options.
Each of the core rulebooks introduces several different species, but since each book is also made to be a stand-alone rulebook, there are some overlapping species. Other supplemental resource books also introduce new playable species and there are many unofficial species stats as well. For the purpose of this article however only the core rulebooks will be referenced. If a player desires to use a species not listed, he should consult with the GM about using that species. Species from any Fantasy Flight Star Wars sourcebook or rulebook can be used with any other regardless of being within the Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion or Force and Destiny expansion. Below are the playable species listed in the core rulebooks. Use them to get ideas and start forming your own character concept. Each species has unique traits and even sometimes abilities that can be used during the campaign. Some species start with more XP, allowing them to customize their talents and abilities more. Be creative and have fun when choosing a species. The Star Wars galaxy is wide and diverse in its sentient species. In the next article we’ll look at choosing a Career and specializations.
May the Force be with you!