On Honorable Mentions, 2015

This is the other backlogged post I have, then we’ll be into more recent things. At the end of January we did a Games of the Year show, and there are a few things I really enjoyed in 2015 that didn’t get much time on that one. Some of these made brief appearances on the blog, and some of them in the podcast; I consider all of these worth trying if you get a chance.

Evoland 2

The subtitle of this game is “A slight case of spacetime continuum disorder”, and it does live up to that. It takes probably the best segment of the first Evoland (the time travel section where you’re moving between 3D and sprite graphics) and uses it as the central premise of the game. For most of the game you are moving between the past, present, and future, occasionally messing things up enough that it affects a later era. Where Evoland mostly stuck to pretending to be Zelda or Final Fantasy, Evoland 2 is less restricted, and borrows from things ranging from Street Fighter to Puzzle Quest (in addition to a core that is mostly Zelda). It also has a card game that isn’t a triple triad knock-off, and I really enjoyed it. This just barely missed the cut for top 3 last year.

You got Gravity Looks familiar... Coll guys don't look at explosions

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon

The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games have generally been pretty good, and I would call the DS series (Explorers of Time/Darkness/Sky) some of the best games with pokemon in them. The previous title, Gates to Infinity, was much less outstanding, but this one’s a return to form. For those unfamiliar, the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games involve playing as a pokemon, working through a series of randomly-generated dungeons towards some goal. This tends to be save-the world-type stuff, and a lot more story (and more serious story) than the main series. This one features all of the pokemon revealed at its release (all 720 of them) and features a story that is far better than the main games. It eliminates the random element of pokemon recruitment found in previous Mystery Dungeon games, which is nice, because there are plenty of other random things to worry about. This is my top 3DS game from last year.

Discovery Connection Orb Meeting in a Dungeon

LBX

I mentioned this a bit earlier. LBX is a solid mix of RPG and Robot Fighting game. Even though the actual robots are only about a foot tall, the battle system most de-emphasizes this by placing you on artificial terrain, so it feels like you’re still piloting giant robots. It has an obligatory tournament arc, and is full of other cliches, but it’s not really any worse for it. The story also goes a few places I wouldn’t expect for a kids game. Add in the large number of postgame activities, and there’s a lot here. Give this a shot if you like Level-5, action-RPGs, and/or customizable robots.

Pre-battle vs. Infinity Net Yet Another Hallway Sword Special Move

Star Wars: The Old Republic

This got revisited when I was going Star Wars crazy right before The Force Awakens came out. The Knights of the Fallen Empire content is one of the best pieces of narrative I’ve seen in an MMO, and some of the system revamps that go along with this (allowing you to use any companion for anything) were really appreciated. Changes to the leveling content also mean that you don’t need to do all of the (generally lower quality) side quests when levelling a character, and it gave me a chance to see some of the class stories that I did not have the patience to complete when the game came out. I’ll admit that other than the story content, there’s not a whole lot here that interests me, and the F2P model is still “please subscribe”, but it’s still worth checking out. The next chapter came out somewhat recently, so I’ll pop back in at some point to check that out.

Knights of the Fallen Empire title A bit exposed Meatbags can't fly

On San Antonio, Redux

Relatively recently (okay, not that recently anymore), I spent some time in San Antonio, at PAX South, where I hung out with some awesome people and saw some interesting things. PAX South seems to be at a bit of an awkward time of year for game studios, and the only major video game publisher that was there was Capcom. As a result, there was a lot of opportunity to see indie games. This is a few weeks late, so I’ll skip mentioning Ultimate Chicken Horse, which you should buy. Here are some of the others:

Stories: The Path of Destinies

First, the name of this game makes me really sad, because it’s very generic and unmemorable. The game itself looks like it will be quite good. It’s an isometric action-RPG that is not really in the Diablo-style, although it looks like it at first. The story involves a fox named Reynardo, with choose-your-own-adventure storybook segments between levels. Combat is kind of reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed (the first one) or the Arkham series; countering enemy attacks is the most important element. It feels good to get a hang of the combat, and you’re graded at the end of every combat based on how well you strung together your attacks (more is better) and how much damage you took (less is better). This was announced for PC and PS4, and looks like it has a release date of April 12.
Stories

Just Shapes And Beats

Exactly what it says on the tin. This bullet hell-esque game involves shapes dodging other shapes to music. There is local multiplayer, and players can (if they’re quick) revive others. It sounds simple, and in a lot of ways it’s like a bullet hell shooter where you can’t shoot, but the PAX demo was quite difficult. I’m a bit concerned that this one would only be fun in multiplayer, and with a lack of online (citing latency concerns), my personal future with this one is undetermined. Release date and platforms are TBA (it was demoed with a 360 controller).
JSnB

Pixel: RU Squared

I actually saw this for the first time at PAX South 2015, and I thought it looked kind of uninteresting, although it had some neat ideas. It’s come quite a way in the year between shows, and now I think its worth a mention. It’s a little unfair to call this VVVVVV with some additional mechanics, but that’s what it really reminds me of. It’s even more abstract (you play as a square) and the player has the ability to jump and eventually shoot. Color also plays a role in the puzzles in the game, and the level can rotate around at times. It’s shaping up to be an interesting puzzle-platformer, and it’s on Early Access on Steam.
pixel

Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok

This is not a video game, but instead a tabletop RPG. I was drawn to the theme (Norse mythology) and the mechanics of this one. Instead of dice, this uses a set of runes for action resolution. The composition of this set is based on your character, so a tough character might have more ability to fight things based on what their runes are. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the demo while at the show, but I’m interested in taking a closer look. Post-convention researched told me that this is actually a re-imagining of a fairly old game (1993) with this system. This edition is also a few years old, but it was still my first time seeing it. This one’s available in multiple forms from DriveThruRPG.

Pushfight

Also not a video game, this is a 2-player board game with very simple rules and very simple pieces. It was originally released in 2008, and produced by Penny Arcade starting last year. With 5 pieces, figure out a way to push one of your opponent’s pieces off the board. Actions in a term are limited, so a lot of though has to go into what you’re going to do on a particular turn. When we played, defeat tended to be somewhat sudden, as keeping track of which of your pieces is one turn from being trapped while trying to mount an offense of your own is a lot more complicated than it sounds. It was still fun, and the game can be picked up on the Penny Arcade store.

On 2015

I had an interesting time over the holidays, and I was going to write a highly personal post about it that I decided not to finish. 2015 was an interesting year for games in general, so I’d like to focus on that first.

AAA where?

Personally, I did a whole lot of not playing AAA games this year. The GOTY contenders I keep seeing mentioned by big publications are Witcher 3, Bloodborne, and Undertale, and I haven’t played any of them (and I only own the last one). Other big releases I ignored include Splatoon, MGS 5, The Order: 1886, Batman Arkham Knight, and Star Wars Battlefront. I did pick up Dragon Quest Heroes, and we played Fallout 4 for our Game of the Month(s) for November/December. Xenoblade Chronicles X is probably the only other $60 release I devoted a lot of time to, so I didn’t miss all of the big games, just most of them.

Geocide
Part of this is because I played quite a lot of portable games this year, some of which weren’t even released this year. Radiant Historia, Breath of Fire 3 (which I still haven’t beaten), LBX, Puzzle and Dragons Z, and Majora’s Mask all saw playtime this year. Another reason is definitely the Game of the month, which saw me play some things I definitely would not have tried. Secrets of Grindea is probably a game I would have picked up after it came out, but I’m not sure I would have ever acquired Tron 2.0 or Hatoful Boyfriend on my own. A third factor is the MMO Factor, I spent a lot of time playing Final Fantasy 14, and poked my head into a few other games too (Marvel Heroes, Wildstar, Star Wars: The Old Republic).

Posting

My posting remained pretty sporadic. I did Blaugust, and wrote a bunch of posts for that while on the plane to Seattle for PAX Prime. Outside of Blaugust, I still haven’t quite gotten it through my head that not everything I write needs to be a well-researched article, or a guide I put a bunch of work into, or a short novel. I have 2,942 screenshots of Evoland 2 that I intended to use in a post at some point (I still might). Just figuring out where to start on that kept me from saying much about it here at all.

I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I’m saying whenever I hit publish. I’m kind of just throwing my words out and seeing where they stick. I tend to like it if someone finds what I’m writing helpful, but I realize that won’t always be the case and it doesn’t necessarily need to be. Just getting thoughts on screen is helpful to me personally, and sometimes that’s what matters.

Deal_with_it_dog_gif

On Continued Evolution

One more of these, then I think we’ll do something else.

Pretend there’s a plot

Get the Amulet, defeat the bad guy. The first half is in the time travel area...
Get the Amulet, defeat the bad guy. The first half is in the time travel area…

And the second half is in a different area. I'm pretty sure this is the wrong choice, but it's the one I made.
And the second half is in a different area. I’m pretty sure this is the wrong choice, but it’s the one I made.

A few UI tweaks later, and you're playing something that looks suspiciously like Diablo.
A few UI tweaks later, and you’re playing something that looks suspiciously like Diablo.

It wouldn't be a compete simulation without loot. Unfortunately, nothing you can pick up has any effect on your character.
It wouldn’t be a compete simulation without loot. Unfortunately, nothing you can pick up has any effect on your character.

One boss and one town portal later, the second half of the amulet is acquired.
One boss and one town portal later, the second half of the amulet is acquired.

I didn’t feel like coming up with another synonym for Final Fantasy

The evil force reveals his name, and it's time for a boss fight. Sadly, you can't win this one, and after a certain point he'll spam an attack that gets stronger each time he uses it.
The evil force reveals his name, and it’s time for a boss fight. Sadly, you can’t win this one, and after a certain point he’ll spam an attack that gets stronger each time he uses it.

After which Kaeris follows in the footsteps of her namesake. It's hard to call this a surprise in any way.
After which Kaeris follows in the footsteps of her namesake. It’s hard to call this a surprise in any way.

You do get to go back to the fight with Kaeris's heal ability, and a little bonus.
You do get to go back to the fight with Kaeris’s heal ability, and a little bonus.

This has an animation that is about as over-the top as one would expect from a summon. It also does enough damage to finish the fight in one hit.
This has an animation that is about as over-the top as one would expect from a summon. It also does enough damage to finish the fight in one hit.

But we can't end there, so there's one more thing to do.
But we can’t end there, so there’s one more thing to do.

The Final Battle

You have to take an airship to the final boss, but it's also a wonderful opportunity to clean up anything you might have missed from earlier in the game. In particular, you have bombs and can open passages in the Zelda dungeon.
You have to take an airship the the final boss, but it’s also a wonderful opportunity to clean up anything you might have missed from earlier in the game. In particular, you have bombs and can open passages in the Zelda dungeon.

The first form is pretty straightforward. Avoid the bad stuff, beat on the hands. When they're gone, run around behind and beat on the core.
The first form is pretty straightforward. Avoid the bad stuff, beat on the hands. When they’re gone, run around behind and beat on the core.

Then get your Ganon shoes on, because you have to reflect his projectiles back to finish him off. There are two colors, and you can only reflect one of them, so I took a few hits figuring that out.
Then get your Ganon shoes on, because you have to reflect his projectiles back to finish him off. There are two colors, and you can only reflect one of them, so I took a few hits figuring that out.

Actually, I was pretty bad at that fight all around, but a victory is a victory.
Actually, I was pretty bad at that fight all around, but a victory is a victory.

That’s it for Evoland. I wasn’t terribly completionist, and there are a both stars and cards to collect, but I can do without. Maybe I’ll try this for something else later.

On Evolution

Assembling these is kind of fun, so the screenshot posts will continue for a while. Here’s more of Evoland. This is going up later than planned because reasons.

The Next Dimension

When you get the crystal, this happens. With one exception, we'll be in 3D from here on out.
When you get the crystal, this happens. With one exception, we’ll be in 3D from here on out.

In 3D, you can actually move over things. You also earn the ability to not die in one hit.
In 3D, you can actually move over things. You also earn the ability to not die in one hit.

This is the visual style the game uses from here on out. We're back to pretending to be Zelda for a bit, including...
This is the visual style the game uses from here on out. We’re back to pretending to be Zelda for a bit, including…

...a Zelda-style dungeon. Trapped rooms, bomb-able walls, puzzles, it's all here. You don't have bombs yet, so there are some secrets here if you come back later.
…a Zelda-style dungeon. Trapped rooms, bombable walls, puzzles, it’s all here. You don’t have bombs yet, so there are some secrets here if you come back later. The boss reminds me more of Ys than Zelda, however.

Ultimate Illusion

At this point the game swerves hard back into Final Fantasy, arriving squarely at FF7.
At this point the game swerves hard back into Final Fantasy, arriving squarely at FF7.

Can you feel the power of the original PlayStation? The funny part is that this section is mostly about getting bombs, so you can move on to the game's strongest moment.
Can you feel the power of the original PlayStation? The funny part is that this section is mostly about getting bombs, so you can move on to the game’s strongest moment.

This sections is... not that. Once you get past the FF7 joke, it's actually kind of annoying.
This sections is… not that. Once you get past the FF7 joke, it’s actually kind of annoying.

There is this, if you missed FF8 that much.
There is this, if you missed FF8 that much.

Spacetime Continuum Disorder

Once you have the bombs, you can move on. To pretend like there's a plot, this area is withered compared to the start of the game.
Once you have the bombs, you can move on. To pretend like there’s a plot, this area is withered compared to the start of the game.

The gimmick here is that you can switch between the past and present. In the past, you can't travel over "dimensional stones". In the present, trees have grown to block your path.
The gimmick here is that you can switch between the past and present. In the past, you can’t travel over “dimensional stones”. In the present, trees have grown to block your path.

You also complete your link outfit by getting a Bow here. Once you have it, you can start messing with the environment.
You also complete your link outfit by getting a Bow here. Once you have it, you can start messing with the environment.

Shoot an arrow through a torch in the past, and...
Shoot an arrow through a torch in the past, and…

...That tree will no longer exist in the present. This makes for a pretty neat puzzle section. The game's entire sequel takes this idea and runs with it.
…That tree will no longer exist in the present. This makes for a pretty neat puzzle section. The game’s entire sequel takes this idea and runs with it.

Looks like it’ll take one more to finish this one. See you next time.

On Relative Worth

As you may be aware, November is National Novel Writing Month. This is the time of year where hundreds of thousands of writers attempt to put together 50,000 words in 30 days. (If you’re interested, you can find out more here.)

I don’t see myself doing this ever, but Bel did in 2013. But they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so this year Chestnut suggested International Picture Posting Month. I don’t think I’ll be officially participating, but I will be using this month as an excuse to post about the games I’ve been playing in a more visual format. We’ll start with Evoland.

The Beginning

Evoland First Screen
This started as a Ludum Dare project. You unlock mechanics in treasure chests (mostly).

These start off very basic, like "screen scrolling" or "save points"
These start off very basic, like “screen scrolling” or “save points”

They make lots of jokes about this. The game plays a bit like Zelda for most of it.
They make lots of jokes about this. The game plays a bit like Zelda for most of it.

First Transition

Once you get to the world map, the game gives you turn-based random battles. The chest seems optional, but you need them to get money.
Once you get to the world map, the game gives you turn-based random battles. The chest seems optional, but you need them to get money.

You can't advance until you get the Armor. You also grow older during this part of the game.
You can’t advance until you get the Armor. You also grow older during this part of the game.

No attempt is made at pretending you can influence the plot, basic as it is. It's actually kind of refreshing.
No attempt is made at pretending you can influence the plot, basic as it is. It’s actually kind of refreshing.

This part plays out a bit like the start of a Final Fantasy game...
This part plays out a bit like the start of a Final Fantasy game…

...complete with boss fight where you have to hold your attacks.
…complete with boss fight where you have to hold your attacks.

Beating the boss takes you to the next section of the game, but I’ll save that for another day.

On Unexpected Additions

This is me expanding on a podcast comment, so if you’ve already listened, this might be old news.

Recently I started playing the DS release of Mega Man Battle Network 5, which was thoughtful enough to contain both of the Game Boy Advance games released as Battle Network 5 (they started splitting them with 3). As I mentioned on the podcast, Battle Network 5 is pretty good. The Double Soul system returns from 4, and the Navi Customizer returns from the previous two games. Liberation Missions are kind of a drag, but it does kind of break up the Internet -> Dungeon -> Boss -> Repeat cycle of 2 and 3. (4 did something else, but 4 is not a good game.) The DS release also made a few changes to the game, and they aren’t all for the better.
double team DS

“Battle Routine Set!”

For starters, they added voice acting. The Mega Man series has a bit of a history with the subject, and it’s not much better here. My #1 Objection is the “Jack-in! MegaMan! Execute!” every time you jack into something. It’s not just because it;’s a bit annoying, but because you have to wait for the line to finish, it’s slower than it used to be in the GBA version. It’s an action you do frequently, so this feels like it adds up. Also annoying is MegaMan’s tendency to shout when using chips in battle, especially if you are somewhat good at getting counterattacks in. One place that I actually mind less is the voice acting added to the standard boss battle intro. This is something that happens at climactic moments and not “every time I want to go to the internet” or “Every time I hit the L button by mistake”.

Party Battle System

It’s not all bad. Battle Network 5 is primarily about assembling a team, and Double Team allows you to actually switch between members of the team while on most of the internet. (It doesn’t work in Liberation Missions or in dungeons.) If you’re in Full Sync when you switch, you also get a special attack to go along with it (but this means you don’t get the double damage that Full Sync would normally give you). In addition, during Liberation missions, you have a limited ability to swap a character out for the one filling the same role in the other version of the game. For example: Team Colonel uses KnightMan for defense, so you can switch him with MagnetMan, the defensive option in Team Protoman.
DTDS_LeaderRaid

Balance is a Fool’s Master

Battle Network 5 wasn’t exactly the most balanced game to start with, and this feels like it’s even farther out of line. The chip pictured above is new to the DS version, is accessible before you even have half of your team, and instantly ends random battles for a decent portion of the game. The Party Battle System features a Support program, that when installed will make party members show up in battle for specific effects. Instead of dropping the standard 40 damage “Cannon” chip expected near the start of the game, the familiar enemies drop the auto-targeting, 70 damage MarkCannon instead. If you’re playing Team Colonel, this will even be in S code, so you can use it with the Sword and WideSword chips you start with. (LongSword is available in the second dungeon, so you can have the 400 damage LifeSword PA extremely early.) I’m hoping for Battle Network 6 to show up at my doorstep at some point in the near future, but until it does, I’m finding this version of 5 pretty enjoyable.

Screenshot and video taken from the Let’s Play Archive.

On Sense and Probability

Generally speaking, I’d like to know what my chances of success are for things I might do in a tabletop RPG, because I like making informed decisions. (That’s not to say I won’t do something off-the-wall with a small chance of success if it would be either awesome or funny.) I also like interesting dice mechanics. D&D 5e’s Advantage/Disadvantage system is actually one of my favorite things that was introduced in that edition. I have, several times, made use of anydice to either figure something out or compare options.
what advantage
Dice pool systems obscure this somewhat by usually not having a fixed threshold, or not revealing the threshold if it is fixed. Even then, you will usually still know what an “average roll” looks like. Shadowrun 5 doesn’t use exploding dice for normal rolls and only counts 1s as special if you roll a lot of them, so generally speaking an average result is that 1/3 of your dice roll successfully. (Interestingly, the glitch rules make rolling small dice pools somewhat more risky than you might expect. Be aware of this if you have cause to roll a dice pool smaller than about 5.) Fate dice are even simpler, as no matter how many you have your average roll is going to be zero. (This is why Fate Points and aspects are so important in that system.)
spot hidden

And then there’s this

The new star wars RPG seems specifically designed to mess with my sense of chances of success. As we examined before, you’re slightly more likely to roll a success on a green die than you are a failure on a purple die, but the addition of advantage, threat, and the ability to upgrade/downgrade dice types all interfere with this. It’s also not a big enough difference to matter: 2 green dice vs. 2 purple dice is a little worse than a coin flip, since you need more successes than failures for a roll to succeed. 2 purple dice is a nice benchmark, since it’s the difficulty of a melee attack or a ranged attack from medium range against a target with no defense, which isn’t an uncommon situation.
tie fighter
In order to figure this out, I stuck some idealized SW dice into anydice. I made the assumption that as a starting character, you have a single point in the skill you’re attacking with, and a value of either 2, 3, or 4 in the relevant attribute. It’s possible for these numbers to be different on either side, but this should cover most starting characters. The results surprised me a little: With an attribute of 2 and a skill of 1, your odds of success are about 50%, and you don’t break a 75% chance to hit (a reasonable goal for D&D starting characters vs. AC 10) until you have 4 points in a stat (or enough skill investment to hit this dice pool from the other side). That last part is actually kind of important, because enough skill investment can do a lot for you. It starts earning you extra dice (instead of just better dice) once you pass the relevant stat value. Since you can raise skills easily with XP, it’s pretty important to do that with anything you’d like to use that you might not be naturally inclined to. Going from 1 point to 4 points in a career skill costs 45 XP, and that 4th stat point (at creation) costs 40 by itself, so this is a perfectly valid way to get good at something.
sith lord
The framework I set up can be used for other rolls, but they tend to be a little less predictable, and you’re always subject to the GM’s whims (via Destiny Points) anyway. It also doesn’t take into account advantage/threat at all, especially considering that die faces with successes tend not to have advantages. It’s still an interesting bit of information, and it’s really hard to accurately guess. I hope your dice treat you well.

On Creation, Part 2

…and we’re back!

Obligation

Each of the three core books has a unique mechanic for player characters, intended to guide their actions in subtle and sometimes not-subtle ways. Age of Rebellion uses Duty, to represent your affiliation with the rebellion. Force and Destiny uses Morality, which tracks where you stand with respect to the Light or Dark side of the force. Edge of the Empire Uses Obligation, which is a representation of the debt (real or figurative) that your character owes. This could be actual debt, or a price on your head, or even something like a strong sense of accountability to something. In addition to a description, it also has magnitude that may have mechanical effects. Higher values mean you’re more worried about whatever it is, and it’s more likely to come up in play.

The suggested order of character creation has you determine your obligation as the first step, which can be chosen or rolled randomly. We’re going to go with the Dutybound obligation for Aragos, representing the bounties he is supposed to be out pursuing while the party’s interests may or may not align with this goal. The starting obligation value for a group of 4-5 players is 10, but that number isn’t necessarily fixed. For additional XP or credits at character creation, you can take additional obligation, up to your starting value. The starting value of 500 credits is rather low, so for Aragos we’ll take 5 more obligation for 1000 more credits.

As for your character’s specific motivation, there is a mechanic to roll this randomly if you wish. I personally would rather just build it into the background of the character. This is really the only part that varies depending on the core book you’re using.

Starting Gear

Unless you take additional obligation (or make similar decisions re: Duty or Morality), you’ll start with 500 credits, which really isn’t a lot. It’s somewhat unlikely that your character will be able to avoid conflict altogether, so you may want to put some of this into a weapon. Armor is more optional, as it tends to be heavy, expensive, and of questionable effectiveness, but you’ll probably want at least basic clothing. (Some specializations can use armor more effectively, however.) A comlink is also suggested, as it’s cheap and very useful. From there you can take other things that suit your character.

For Aragos, we’ll keep it relatively simple. A Blaster Rifle is 900, Heavy Clothing is 50, a Comlink is 25, and a Combat Knife is another 25 (I started with one of these and never used it). For other gear we’ll take 2 sets of Binders (50), A utility belt (25), Extra Reloads (25), a Datapad (75), a few Glowrods (30), Scanner Goggles (150), and a Backpack in case I have to carry all of that at once (50). That still leaves 95 credits for anything that might come up. You will also start with 1d100 additional credits that can’t be spent on starting gear, and whatever miscellaneous small items that you might think of that aren’t large enough to be tracked on your character sheet.

Finishing Touches

To finish up, a character needs a name, a description, and a personality. The Obligation and Motivation steps are actually somewhat helpful at filling in the gaps here, but this is really up to you. As mentioned, I tend to do that in reverse.

There’s also a group component, in that you can start with a particular resource that also varies by books. I’m not sure how this would be handled in a case where a group had mixed characters, but this is usually either a ship of questionable quality (except for maybe the YT-1300 in Edge of the Empire, and even then you’re gonna want a mechanic) or a justification for a party bonus (which may have other benefits). Decide among your group and GM what you’re going to take here.

On Creation, Part 1

Star Wars Fever seems to be going around the Aggrochat crew, and we’re all dealing with it in different ways.SWTOR has been a thing for several of us, as has Disney Infinity 3.0 (AKA the one that added Star Wars characters). Another thing is that because we’re about to hit a point of relative calm in Shadowrun, we’re looking at spinning up a Star Wars game. Character Creation is interesting here, so let’s take a look:

Concept

I’m going to cheat a bit here and just use the character I played in the Saga Edition. For some background, Aragos was a bounty hunter who was first and foremost, a sniper. Thanks to background, he was also a bit of a survivalist and big game hunter. As the game went on, he acquired more technical ability and eventually silly movement tricks. (In a game where standard movement was 6 squares, Aragos could move about 30 in a turn and still act.) But for now, we’ll start with the base. Our Saga Edition game used rolled stats, and Aragos ended up with all of his stats in the 11-15 range, so I was able to get fairly well-rounded despite the racial -2 INT.

Mechanics

There’s a suggested order for character creation that I’ll be largely ignoring, it’s more helpful when you don’t have a concrete concept in mind. As such I’ll be starting with species. I didn’t stat out a Cathar for nothing, so we’ll be going with that. Edge of the Empire also provides the useful Bounty Hunter career. Aragos had a bit of both the Survivalist and Assassin specializations, but Assassin fits better as the starting one. Skills come along with this: 4 from career, 2 from specialization, and one from species. These are going to be Perception (career), Streetwise (career), Vigilance(career), Ranged (Heavy) x2 (career, specialization), Stealth (specialization), and Athletics (species). It’s worth noting that the second rank in a skill is normally more expensive if taken later, so any ability to double up like this can save you XP in the long run, at the cost of reducing the breadth of your starting abilities.

That still leaves 90 XP to spend on attributes, skills, and talents. It’s worth noting that the only time you can spend XP on attributes is character creation, so you may want to dedicate a decent portion of your XP to this. Attributes aren’t cheap, at 10 times the new value. They’re also limited to 5 at creation. Career skills are 5 times new value, but cannot go above 2 at creation. Non-career skills cost 5 extra points per rank, so you should think long and hard if you want to take any of these (especially if you intend to take a specialization that includes them as career skills later, or you’re in one of the specializations that contains the “Well Rounded” talent). An exception might be for a combat skill if you are in one of the careers that doesn’t have one. For Aragos, we’ll buy off that intellect penalty and then some, spending 50 XP to get Intellect up to 3. 40 XP goes into putting more eggs in the “solve problems by shooting things” basket and raising Agility to 4. (Aragos did not start as a nuanced character.)

More to come…

I’ll go into Obligation and starting gear next time. From here, character creation diverges a bit depending on which book you’re starting with. The “mechanic” for Edge of the Empire is Obligation, so we’ll see what impacts that has on creation.