I always have the wonderful and frightening option to visit my cousins every Christmas; the test of time and natural progression lending to the idea of “Oh wait, we actually run this thing now?”. It’s up to the children of old to wrap the latest Chinpokomon, or carefully burn the least amount of food that should have been thawing yesterday, but no one listens to me, Cousin Alvin. Really, my only solace in all of this is to see my goddaughter, a literal pop culture sponge who is just barely grasping the art of addition. I mean, we have to start them early; we’re “Asian”, after all.
She is old enough to eat by herself, but has me feed her nonetheless, asking for different transportation scenarios to deliver to her sound-hole. In these precious moments, over bites of rice and eggroll recipes guarded by mother-assassins, she says the DUMBEST STUFF EVER. For example, as I’m taking a picture on my phone to capture these fleeting memories, she asks the method of which I will be sharing on social media. “Tagging’s really old now, Tito Jason. You should really just snap it, and then hashtag on Twitter and Instagram so everyone can see us.” What the hell? Half of those weren’t even real words. I just figured out Angelfire for God’s sake.
Let’s face it, you guys: we are living in the freaking future. This is one of the deepest reasons most people crave A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away.
When I’m not sounding like a pretentious neckbeard over who put together the best combination of words and pictures, my silver medal in the Nerd Olympics goes to tabletop roleplaying games. There’s a sense of elegance and prehistorics to me for some reason, like placing a monocle on the screen as The Land Before Time plays and hoping for the best drinking game ever. So naturally, when Star Wars: Edge of the Empire was released in July of this year, I had to shatter the proverbial piggy bank.
This system is the Macbook Pro of roleplaying systems: it’s streamlined, has little to no learning curve, and uses the best ideas of its predecessors while creating a few of its own. Yes, I do understand the irony of that last statement, but I love me some analogies. The very first thing you notice is the dice system: using symbols instead of numbers, it generates a sort of dummy-proof phenomenon that’s never condescending. If you get more good symbols than bad symbols, you get that effect. If the opposite is true, I hope you wore your helmet. Gone are the days of weapon and armor class bonuses that channel Pythagoras's ghost be be solved. There is only the idea of if the task is completed or not, and how advantageous or sloppy the process was for your Player Character.
The concept of Destiny and its mechanics in the game is nothing new, but its use places it more towards the progressive end of the scale. In actuality, the game experience that affects the ebb and flow of the game feels new; the collective nerdgasm which is The Force pervades the Player Character atmosphere. I want that to sink in for you. The Force guides your character, for good or for ill. This is illustrated for Player Characters in one of three ways: upgrading good dice to be better dice, upgrading bad dice to be even worse dice, or (in some rare and creative cases) affecting pieces of the story that would benefit the group. So if a certain Trandoshan slaver desperately needs a laser burn in its cloacal-region, a Player can choose to use a Light Side point in the collective Destiny Pool to make him a lizard-eunuch. This also ensures though, that a Dark Side point will be accessible by the GM for their own roles, solidifying the hope that the Trandoshan can live to see its clutch. (Do they lay eggs? That makes me feel weird now. I don’t want “Trandoshan mating and fruition” to be in my search history.)
This is a fairy-tale combination of an easy-to-grasp mechanics system, creative character building and development, and familiar source material. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is a love letter to Gygax and Arneson’s original goal: to build a world where literally anything could happen, where fantasy and real-world consequence blend into a satisfying yogurt swirl of an experience. Whether your party wants to travel the galaxy in their junker of a YT-1300, or save a Wookiee sex trade harem (seriously, I think I’m going on some sort of Watch List), this system will take care of your deepest Outer Rim desires.