Star Wars Campaigns Revisited #3 – The Beginner Games

Here is a review of how my groups worked with the beginner game. While I may have been the Games Master for these games, finding players willing to play required some concessions that I was not happy with at the time and in the end it split the group losing half the players. This will be discussed why during Age of Rebellion.

Back to the game… the first thing to understand is the differences between the beginner games and the amalgamation of the three core rules are the skills.

  • Coerce is changed to Coercion
  • Deceit is changed to Deception
  • Knowledge is expanded to the following
    • Core Worlds
    • Education
    • Lore
    • Outer Rim
    • Underworld
    • Warfare
    • Xenology
  • Negotiate is changed to Negotiation
  • Pilot is expanded to Piloting in the following
    • Planetary
    • Space
  • A new skill is also added called Lightsaber

The second difference to understand is that the pre-generated characters represent one career in each book and they have only one specialisation tree combining elements from the three they come from which are limited to Tier 3 talents. So if you are looking to learn how to play the game, these sets give you a very good grounding in how the system works so when you build your first character you have some idea of what you want and why.

The third difference is critical injuries, the basic game has limited injuries based on how many you have taken, the next one is a step worse up to incapacitation. In the full game it is a chart that goes from inconsequential to instant death.

The fourth and last difference is that there is a mechanic for each rules set. Obligation for Edge of the Empire, Duty for Age of Rebellion and morality for Force and Destiny. I will go into those more in another blog.

Edge of the Empire Beginner Game

Edge of the Empire beginner game.

Run from the 31st of July 2015 to the 25th of September 2015 over 5 sessions.

This game’s concessions was to allow players to build their own characters under the condition that they only use the Core Rulebook. This was away from the beginner game ideal, as it provided four balanced characters in the box and two downloadedable characters to expand the group out to six characters which seems to be a good fit for Star Wars tables.

The unfortunate side is that players (being who they are) did not listen and cherry picked from all the books. What this means is they found races, gear and talents that were not in the Core Book and brought them into the game. I was given an ultimatum to accept it or they would not play. This was also put forward in a way that meant that if they could not cheat then the rest of the players would also pull out. This is actually a form of GM Bullying and while I allowed it as they were supposed to be friends, I was not happy with this group and was considering options of cancelling the game as it had over stepped the mark with this treatment. I thought if I could get through the game and talk it through with the players they would be more accepting and work with me for the next game.

The pre-gen characters in the box:

  • Bounty Hunter (Twi’lek) – Oskara
  • Colonist (Droid) – 41-VEX
  • Hired Gun (Wookiee) – Lowhhrick
  • Smuggler (Human) – Pash

The expanded characters from the website:

  • Explorer (Human) – Sasha
  • Technician (Human) – Mathus

These are fairly balanced characters and I expect the core character to be Pash in this storyline, though you could do without him, it makes easier work for the GM.

The box also comes with a map of Mos Shuuta and The “Krayt Fang” a YT-1300 in the same series as the Millennium Falcon, though a rusty orange colour. You also get a set of Dice and counters, which is cool as all the other bits of the box are worth far more than just the Dice and its comparable in price ($10 more US) so quite good playability to introduce players and have dice for the table.

The box comes with an adventure “Escape from Mos Shuuta” and you can continue the story with “The Long Arm of the Hutt”.

Characters start on Tatooine and spend the first adventure trying to escape the planet learning the base rules as you go. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • Teemo the Hutt (Background story only – no stats)
  • Gamorrean Thugs
  • Vorn Tel-Ovis, Human Male Shop Owner
  • Spaceport Security Droids
  • Overseer Brynn
  • Stormtroopers (minion)
  • Trex, Trandoshan Slaver (nemesis)
  • Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot (minion)

And the following vehicles:

  • TIE Fighter (TIE/LN Starfighter)
  • Krayt Fang (Customised YT-1300 Light Freighter)

Once they start “The Long Arm of the Hutt” they travel to Rodia, then to Geonisia before heading back to Tatooine. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • B’ura B’an (Twi’lek no stats)
  • Thwheek – Kubaz Spy
  • Nyn Kablo (Twi’lek no stats)
  • Bounty Hunters
  • Human and Aqualish Thugs (minions)
  • Angu Drombb (human)
  • Duke Piddock (geonosian no stats)
  • BG-222 (J9 worker drone no stats)
  • Mu Nanb (Sullustan no stats)
  • Vrixx’tt – Gand Findsman
  • Maru Jakkar (human no stats)
  • Anatta (Toydarian no stats)
  • Orpa and Wex Vio – human smugglers
  • Geonosian Soldier
  • Gamorrean Guard
  • Teemo the Hutt (refers to rulebook)

And the following vehicles:

  • Thwheek’s Custom G1-M4-C Dunelizard
  • The Lucky Guess – Customised Nova Courier

Age of Rebellion Beginner Game

Age of Rebellion beginner box.

Run from the 9th of October 2015 to the 20th of November 2015 over 3 sessions.

The box comes with 4 pre-gen characters in folio’s, a set of dice, a map of an imperial base, an adventure teaching players how to run the setting and counters for characters to use on the map.

The pre-gens in the box are:

  • Ace (Human) – Zal
  • Engineer (Mon Calamari) – Tendaar
  • Soldier (Human) – Cael
  • Spy (Duros) – Vendri

The expanded characters from the website:

  • Commander (Bothan) – Arkhan
  • Diplomat (Human) – Jin-Rio

Adventure in the box is “Takeover at Whisper Base” which occurs on the planet Onderon. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • Whisper Base Sentries
  • BX-2R “Toor” – Refitted Battle Droid
  • Launch Pad Guards
  • Stormtroopers (minions)
  • Scout Trooper Speeder Bike Pilot (minion)
  • Lieutenant Sarev (nemesis)

And the following vehicles:

  • Aratech 74-ZB
  • Slightly Rusted AT-ST Walker
  • Comm Station

A free downloadable adventure Operation: Shadowpoint was used to complete the storyline. This also provides new rules of Duty for your rebel characters. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • Deil Kadru, Village Elder
  • Darrastead Villager (minion)
  • Beast Rider Warrior
  • Ruping
  • Gaav Fennro, Rebellion Intelligence Officer
  • Kavia Slen, Junk and Tech Dealer
  • Imperial Army Veteran Scout
  • Cannok (minion)
  • Boma
  • Immature Zakkeg (nemesis)
  • Mature Zakkeg (nemesis)
  • Moff Dardano’s Bodyguard
  • Moff Dardano (nemesis)

And the following vehicles:

  • T-16 Skyhopper
  • Retroffitted AT-AT
  • Modified TIE Bomber

Now this was the most interesting of the beginner adventure for me to run as it included rebels, many side quests and a final battle against the Empire. Unfortunately my players were eager to do the force and destiny rules so killed off their characters early into the combat with the empire and found themselves replaced with other players who wanted to play the setting and respect it for force and destiny. I had given them many chances, but the last chance was lost when they told me they wanted to be force users to abuse the powers and kill and maim everything. They were also unhappy with my discussion about abuse of the force will lead to the empire sensing them (as part of the setting theme) if they used the force excessively. I had some rules in the works called “Awareness” which used some of obligation and duty to work with. These players then pulled out and have not heard from them since. I took a break from Star Wars and ran Fragged Empire and Traveller before coming back to Star Wars with a new group.

Force and Destiny Beginner Game

Force and Destiny beginner box.

1st July 2016 to 9th September 2016, 5 sessions

The pre-gens in the box are:

  • Guardian (Human) – Sarenda
  • Mystic (Zabrak) – Dao
  • Seeker (Togruta) – Kaveri
  • Sentinel (Kel Dor) – Tarast

The expanded characters from the website:

  • Consular (Mirialan) – Belandi
  • Warrior (Nautolan) – Pon

Adventure in the box is “Mountaintop Rescue” which occurs on the planet Spintir. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • The Gatekeeper, Echo of a Long-Dead Jedi Master (Holocron)
  • Hunters
  • Advozse Mercenaries
  • Spintiri Icewolves (minions)
  • Malefax (nemesis)

A free downloadable adventure “Lure of the Lost” to complete the storyline. It also introduces the Morality mechanic into the beginner game. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • The Gatekeepers: The Curator, The Warden and The Jailer
  • Frostwall Villager (minion)
  • Corrupted Icewold (minion)
  • Corrupted Den Mother (nemesis)
  • Underworld Operator
  • Heavy Gan
  • Imperial Patrol Trooper (minion)
  • Pinder Ukka, Rebel Agent
  • Heder Brant, Ambitious Imperial
  • Palace Guard
  • Kaina Forrel, Chief of Security (nemesis)
  • Rav Naaran, Fallen Jedi (nemesis)
  • Crazed Prisoner

It was amusing to note that Edge of the Empire dealt with space flight, Age of Rebellion vehicle combat and Force & Destiny mainly melee combat. Together they make a good mix of storylines and adventure seeds. The next one is set 30 years later…

Force Awakens Beginner Game

The Force Awakens beginner box.

Run from the 9th of September to the 7th of October 2016 over 3 sessions.

The pre-gens in the box are:

  • Ace (Human) – Mhar’li
  • Colonist (Abednedo) – Bormo
  • Explorer (Human) – Tiras
  • Soldier (Human) – Fira Bon

No extra characters to be downloaded for this one, so I made use of characters from the first two beginner games that were not used.

The poster map of the galaxy was the best purchase in this series, as I could put it up on the wall and show all the players exactly where they were in the galaxy for each of the storylines. Also this book uses a lot of stills from the movie, unlike the rest of the series which uses artwork. I don’t mind, but it does stand out for that difference.

Adventure in the box is “Discovery on Jakku” which occurs on the planet Jakku. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • Strus Clan Gangster
  • Misha Vontoba
  • Jax Torani
  • Strus Clan Enforcers (minion)
  • Dokar Venas
  • First Order Junior Officer
  • First Order Techs
  • First Order Stormtrooper (minion)
  • Captain Pharasma (nemesis)

A free downloadable adventure “A Call for Heroes” was used to complete the storyline starting on the planet D’Oar, then travel to GH-531, then a remote system and finishing on Jakku. You get to meet the following characters in the adventure (Rival unless specified):

  • First Order Stormtrooper (minion)
  • First Order technician (minion)
  • Captain Talkar
  • Wol Kessix, Resistance Agent
  • First Order Recon Agent
  • Wild Crawler (minion)
  • Decrepit Security Droid
  • Brana Tsaro, Mecenary Leader
  • Jakku Mercenary
  • Strus Clan Enforcer (minion)
  • Strus Clan Warrior
  • Dokar Venas
  • Strus Clan Leader

This extra scenario was also not done by my group as they were ready and willing to build their own characters and take on the adventures in the Beta books.

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