Happy Star Wars Day!
To celebrate, I thought I’d share a system I invented for the Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars RPG series: Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force and Destiny. As some may know, I’m running an EotE game. One of the great things about running any kind of game in a universe like Star Wars is the amount of information to create a campaign. Between the books, comics, TV shows, movies, video games, and other products that added information, there’s a lot of established lore. Even better, there’s a dedicated community that catalog this information in wikis and, even better, a full on google map of the galaxy.
But there is a down side too. To have all that information also means that there will be holes. Not everything in the Star Wars universe is fully fleshed out. This is a problem that my group stumbled on towards the end of a session. I’ll set the scene:
Our crew, gathered together to rig a one million credit Sabacc tournament, are surrounded by a platoon of Stormtoopers as soon as they unlock the docking bay that holds their newly won ship. They race on board where our Falleen smuggler, Barry Manilow, jumps into the pilot seat while our Toydarian mechanic tries to boost the engine start-up. It works and they rocket out of Kwenn Station at full speed. But a squad of Tie Fighters begin chasing them down. The group manages to take a few out and make it to a safe jump point, but they took a lot of damage from the fire fight. So they had to jump to a system close by. Here is where they were:
I said they could make it to any of the planets in this image, since they were with in the same space sector before bad conditions effect the ship. After a lot of discussion, they wanted to stay in Hutt space (dark gray portion) and want to use the safety of the hyperspace lane, so we ended up on choosing Nar Bol Sholla. Then we looked it up. It seems that barely anything happened here or was related to the planet. Most likely, it was a name that came up to add to dialogue for some event in some story. Instead of taking the time to go through all the planets to see if there were any that had pre-established info, I decided to stick with it and figure out how create a planet.
One of the aspects that set the FFG games apart from other games, Star Wars or otherwise, is the dice. The idea is that instead of rolling numerical dice that give a very defined result, you roll dice with various symbols to determine cinematic ebbs and flows of action. So, if you were playing D&D, you’d roll a d20 (twenty-sided die) and take the result and add what ever modifiers for skill or whatever, and you’d either succeed or fail, possibly in epic style if you roll a critical. In EotE and the other FFG games, roll a pool dice made up of stats and skills with these dice:
And you have six different symbols that work together and cancel each other out to determine the narrative action:
There is the possibility to failing, but setting up an advantage or creating a game changing moment, or to succeed, but make the situation worse. I really wanted to use this system in the creating of the planet. Eventually I came up with this system that let the players set up the backbone of the world then I flesh it out and tie it back to the storyline.
Each of the players choose a skill they want to roll (there’re a lot to list here but if you want a reference, try this). They roll that pool and the same pool if opposing dice (So, if they roll 2 green and a yellow, they also roll 2 purple and a red). The results of that roll will determine that aspect of the planet. For example, our Wookie Bodyguard rolled Pilot – Planetary to define the topography, geology, and points of interest of Nar Bol Sholla. You resolve the cancelling of results just like a normal roll in the game and then interpret the remaining results thusly:
- Success: A specific person, place, or thing that benefits you and/or the planet
- Advantage: A positive influence over the planet and/or the culture/society.
- Triumph: Add anything you want good for the party or something connected to the force.
- Failure: A specific person, place, or thing that’s a detriment you and/or the planet
- Threat: A negative influence over the planet and/or the culture/society.
- Despair: Add anything you want bad for the party or something connected to the dark side of force.
The player get to create up something for each remaining result of the roll. Two of the rolls there a handful of the same results that the players couldn’t come up with one for everything, so I said that the results are more like a hard limit, but if there is more that two of the same symbol, at least try to get two. The GM does not get to use left over results. You get to have fun with everything they come up with later, so you’ll get to add your mark to the planet then.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think to write down the dice results, but I thought I would at least share with you what my players came up with for our Nar Bol Sholla
Pilot – Planetary (topography, geology, POI)
- It’s an arid planet, much like the Arizona Badlands with large stone columns.
- There is regular seismic activity planet wide.
- The architecture has an asian influence.
- There are ruins of a Jedi or Force using group atop one of the stone columns.
Mechanics (industry and tech level)
- Hutts control all active mining.
- Imperials are keeping an eye on the Hutts activity.
- Hutts are keeping tabs on the Imperials.
- Imperials are keeping an eye on the Hutts activity.
- Swoop gangs have taken control of abandoned mines and gaining influence.
Knowledge – Criminal (criminal elements, illegal ventures, state of scum and villainy)
- Main swoop gang is the Bothan Battalion lead by a former friend of a PC.
- Swoop gangs are backing a burgeoning movement for union labor.
- They help make sure that pay is guaranteed.
- They are enforcers for workers on the planet.
Charm (elements that create interest to off worlders)
- Swoop bike gangs run on a matriarchal structure.
- There is a theme park being built.
- But it is a cover for a child slavery market.
- There is an established smuggling and fencing contact that has worked with a PC many times and has a good history.
From that, I created a world that, if the players want, could play a whole campaign here, or can easily be used only to get their ship repaired. This generation rolls took about an hour or two to do, after I explained how it worked and what the skills would represent in the context of the roll. We played the first session this past Saturday and the players really enjoyed everything I set up for them with what they gave me. If you a playing one of the FFG games, feel free to use this for any of the established empty planets in the lore, or to even create your own planets whole cloth.