Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bounty Hunter Career for Edge of the Empire (Something Something Something Bounty Heads)

Following up from last week, we’re going to take a bit of a deeper dive into the specific careers that you can pick up for Edge of the Empire. In alphabetical order (and owing nothing to the fact that Bounty Hunters are awesome), we’re starting today off with the Bounty Hunter career.  Now the Star Wars Universe is full of really cool Bounty Hunters, and there’s a reason for that.  When the lawful authority is such an evil, invasive force like the Galactic Empire, there are going to be criminals and crimes that slip through the cracks.  

Some people aren’t going to report a crime because they don’t want the Empire up in their business.  Other crimes aren’t really considered crimes by the Empire.  The other aspect to keep in mind is that most of the planets in Star Wars are basically on their own in terms of managing crime, keeping the peace, and making sure the Empire is happy with the status quo.  Rampant crime can easily be mistaken for rebellion, and no one wants that label being applied to their homeworld.  

What this means in terms of the Edge of the Empire game is that there is a market for highly skilled professionals who can hunt down fugitives and in a pinch, can help put a beating on a criminal or two.  As long as the money flows, the Bounty Hunter is effectively law and order for hire.  Some of them have better morals or codes of conduct they follow while some of the others are just in it for the creds.  The Bounty Hunter is necessary for society to function (especially in the Outer Rim) and they provide an extremely necessary service.  Let’s take a little bit of a closer look at how they function in the game.  

Bounty Hunter

The Bounty Hunter has 8 career skills that collectively represent the professional knowledge that all Bounty Hunters should have.  Those skills are:
  • Athletics
  • Brawl
  • Perception
  • Piloting (Planetary)
  • Piloting (Space)
  • Ranged (Heavy)
  • Streetwise
  • Vigilance

These skills clue is in to expect that Bounty Hunters are capable of punching their way out of a fight, noticing things of several different varieties, can fly/operate most vehicles, and know where to find illicit goods.  Combined, these look like wonderful skills for a cop for hire to have.  

(Remember, when you build your character and select the Bounty Hunter Career, you gain a free rank in four of these skills)

The Bounty Hunter’s Role

As i said above, a Bounty Hunter’s intended role is threefold.  First, a bounty hunter needs to be able to find/track down criminals and other people who are being “looked for”  These skills also lend themselves to finding things as well.  Second, a bounty hunter has to be capable of overwhelming the target and take physical ownership of them.  Third, the bounty hunter has to be able to bring them back to the original person/agency that offered the bounty in the first place.  

This means the bounty hunter has to deal with a lot of different mission tasks, most of which involve finding things, shooting things (occasionally punching things) and bringing things back.  The motivation behind the bounty hunter doing that is probably separate from the actual role, but it depends on the bounty hunter.  

How does this career interact with a group of characters in Edge of the Empire?  Well, having a friendly bounty hunter can be really helpful for scaring the crap out of people who may be wanted.  Just the word that a bounty hunter has rolled into an outlying system and is asking questions can trigger all sorts of interesting reactions.  Beyond that, a bounty hunter is a pretty solid character with a blaster, and can potentially fly the ship if needed.  The other area a bounty hunter excels at is noticing things.  With two potential skill selections in the actively looking for stuff, and just happening to notice stuff departments, a bounty hunter can go a long way towards making sure no one gets the drop on his or her companions.  

Bounty Hunter Specializations

There are three Bounty Hunter Specializations offered in the Edge of the Empire core book.  Like other games that offer specializations or archetypes, these are primarily intended to strengthen an existing concept, or push the core career in a slightly different direction.  The three specializations presented are:

  • The Assassin
  • The Gadgeteer
  • The Survivalist

Remember, Each one Specialization offers four additional career skills, (1 free rank in two of those skills) and access to a talent tree linked to that specialization.  Let’s dig a little deeper into each of these.

The Assassin

Let’s be honest, some bounties are for dead people only.  The Assassin is a bounty hunter that specializes in some ugly contract work, and will exchange credits for the life of other sentient beings.  It’s not necessarily a pretty line of work, but there are situations in Edge of the Empire where someone has to die, and why shouldn’t someone make some hard credits off of it?  

The Assassin specialization adds Melee, Ranged (Heavy), Skullduggery, and Stealth to the list of career skills for bounty hunters, and they will gain a free rank in two of those skills if this is your starting specialization.  This is one of the ways that a character can start with two ranks in Ranged (heavy) that come up every so often, if the Assassin puts a free rank from bounty hunter and a free rank from Assassin into it.  The talent tree for Assassin is focused on ranged combat, and gives several options for increasing lethality with ranged weapons.

The Gadgeteer

Bounty hunting is rarely going to be a fair situation, and the Gadgeteer accepts this fact of life.  They use high tech and other options to either level the playing field, or tip the scales heavily in their favor.  Using droids, high tech electronics, and a host of other customized tools, the Gadgeteer is an excellent resource for adding a little tech to the fields of law and order.  

The Gadgeteer specialization adds Brawl, Coercion, Mechanics, and Ranged (light) to the Bounty hunter’s career skills (remember, you get a free rank in two of those if this is your starting specialization)..  This gives the Gadgeteer some additional capacities in building and repairing gear, which means the Gadgeteer can serve as a backup ship’s mechanic in a pinch.  The talent tree for Gadgeteer focuses on adding gear improvements and fixing things, with some defensive buffs added for flavor.  

The Survivalist

It’s a fact of life in the Star Wars universe that a vast number of planets exist, and while only some of them are habitable by most sentients, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be used as places to hide.  Criminals think that raging firestorms and toxic jungles mean that they’re safe from the long arm of the law.  The Survivalist is more than happy to prove them wrong, and loves nothing more than dragging a confused criminal back to civilization for a reward.

The Survivalist specialization adds Knowledge (Xenology), Perception, Resilience, and Vigilance to the career skills offered by the bounty hunter, and you get a free rank in two of these skills if this is your starting specialization.  The Survivalist talent tree is loaded with options for making the bounty hunter a better tracker, and much more capable of dealing with hostile environments than others.  

Bounty Hunter Stories

I always feel the urge to describe Star Wars and its sprawling universe as one of the greatest westerns of the genre.  It’s filled with tiny towns (independent worlds) who are just trying to survive in a hostile universe.  There are bandits, criminals, oppressive governments, and a host of other things that are actively trying to influence the larger universe around them.  In that context, there are a lot of interesting stories that you can tell with a lawman for hire.  The ones offered by the book are fairly straightforward ideas that you can probably work something out with.  Everyone has their own reason for entering the trade, but here are some interesting options.  

  • Revenge:  Someone’s wronged you, and in the pursuit of righting that wrong, you’ve developed a very special set of skills that make you invaluable to the universe at large.  This has a tendency to create more revenge seekers, but hey, it’s a fun background.
  • Disgrace: Honor is a powerful motivator for some of the sentient beings in the galaxy, and a stain on that honor (true or false) is a mark that drives people to desperation.  Serious enough disgraces can completely destroy a family or entire clan of sentients, and some turn to bounty hunting as a way to get away from that, or build a new life.  
  • Honor:  Conversely, there are some folks who see the Honor in the job of finding and returning criminals to justice.  These characters see the inherent good in the job and behave honorably towards everyone they encounter.  These characters can come from a point of disillusionment (especially from characters who find out the the world isn’t as honorable as they are), and provide justice as only they can.  
  • Aggression:  Some folks just aren’t cut out for the regimented life of punching a clock and taking orders.  They don’t fit into the structure of how life is supposed to work and they push back against the universe around them.  For these folks, the appeal of being able to go punch  the bad guys and get paid to do it is a powerful motivator.
  • Legacy:   “My parents were bounty hunters, just like their parents”  For some folks, it’s a family thing, and trying to live up to the legacy of that is a story of its own.  Legacies are a powerful thing in the Star Wars universe, and being an heir to a legacy can be an amazing thing.

No Disintegrations!

Now if you’ve got some more questions or ideas about putting together a bounty hunter character, Fantasy Flight Games just released a new book specifically for bounty hunters,  No Disintegrations.  Featuring new species, specializations, and a host of new equipment options, this book also takes you into the bounty hunter life and can let you get a much firmer feel for it.  

Remember, you want to be Boba Fett, not Greedo.

Game on, Game Fans.

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