Why must everything Star Wars fill me with conflict these days?
It's so hard resisting something that has been hard wired into my geekdom since I was three years old. Much like Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Batman, and Spider-Man, not only was I exposed early, but my obsession was fed by older siblings who also loved said aspect of geek culture.
In case you are wondering why I'm yammering about Star Wars, today, at Gen Con, Fantasy Flight released their softcover beta rules for Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, the Star Wars RPG that they are publishing first.
They are using a similar model to their Warhammer 40K games, where they will be using the same basic system, but releasing three RPGs, each with a different Star Wars theme. Edge of the Empire will focus on bounty hunters, smugglers, scoundrels, and people that hang out in wretched hives of scum and villainy. The next two games will focus on Rebel agents and Force users.
My first bit of consternation is the game's default setting. I would have much preferred the wide open Old Republic era, or even the Knight Errant "everything is about to fall apart" era to the Rebellion era. Yes, it's the era we all know and love from the original trilogy, but it's also the era that has the most stuff that people know is "suppose" to happen, and the most prominent heroes.
You might say to me, "but KEJR, are you saying you couldn't run a good game in this era?" Nope, not at all. In fact, it's close enough to the Dark Times era that I'd probably bump it back a few years, making it easier for heroes to be isolated and not part of a functioning Rebellion, and having more room for half-trained Jedi to not have to explain why they aren't Luke. They just have to be "not hunted down and killed yet."
You might also say, "just because they are releasing Rebellion era books first, doesn't mean they won't get to Old Republic era material." To that, I'll say . . . I'm not so sure. The current schedule shows the full (non-beta) Edge of the Empire in 2013, with the Rebel game in 2014, and the Force game in 2015. From WOTC's licensing, it seemed like Lucas likes to have very specific time chunks for their RPG licenses, and I'm betting 2015 is when the licence is up, meaning we might get more, or we might get three and out.
Now, where were those other misgivings . . . I know I left them around here somewhere . . . oh, there they are . . .
Next up, apparently Lucasfilm still has definition problems with PDFs and what exactly they are. I'm saying apparently, because I haven't seen in confirmed, but given that Fantasy Flight released the Only War Beta in PDF form with a discount on the final product, but is putting out this beta in softcover with no mention of PDFs, I'm betting the issue still exists. What issue? Lucasfilm considers PDFs to be electronic games, even if it's just a virtual version of a book. Since it's an electronic game, in order for it to be a licensed Star Wars product, a licensee needs to have a separate license with Lucasarts, the video game arm of the Lucas Empire. Which means if you want to put out PDFs, the Star Wars license costs you about twice as much.
I could be wrong, and there may be other reasons PDFs weren't mentioned, but it was the reason offered by WOTC when asked about the lack of PDFs on their Star Wars Saga line (again, before WOTC saw that legal PDFs are the root of all evil).
That means, as I stated in the commentary here in this very blog about The One Ring, I'm not really too hip to pick this up. I like having my PDFs of rulebooks. I like having my gaming library on my laptop and my tablet, and I like getting it slightly cheaper to see if I'm interested in the full physical game. I don't know if I can violate my new habits just to pick this thing up.
And what's the final issue I'm having? Proprietary dice. Yup. Special wonky dice that can only be used for Star Wars RPGs. Fantasy Flight seems to love them these days, and while I can't say they are abjectly horrible, as the owner of a million crazy limited use dice, I'm not sure I want dice that are that limited in use.
Strangely, the beta book has stickers to transform your normal dice to Star Wars dice, and there is also a dice app available for the game (wondering how that fits into the electronic game mind set, or if Lucasfilm just hasn't realized what apps are).
So, overall, interested, very interested. But conflicted. Revealed my feelings are.