Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? (Careers in Edge of the Empire)

Hey Game Fans, today we’re back with another one of our articles on Edge of the Empire, the wonderful Star Wars roleplaying game from those fine people at Fantasy Flight Games.  Last week we talked about the many different types of interesting species you could choose to build your character from, and this week we’re going to follow that thought down a different line.  Today we’re going to take a look at the various careers that you can select and what the basic ideas behind a career are.  

Careers in Edge of the Empire represent a grouping of compatible skills and abilities that are representative of a specific profession.  They are a fundamental identifying characteristic of a character, like a class in Dungeons and Dragons.  Some characters identify themselves by their career in the Star Wars universe, we’ve seen countless examples of smugglers, bounty hunters, technicians, and hired guns, for example.  These are a part of the underlying fabric of the society that makes up the Edge of the Empire game environment, and each career covers a fairly broad niche of roles in game.  Further, each career has a variety of specialization that refine that niche into a fairly tightly focused grouping of skills and potential abilities.  

Let’s take a look at the components of a career, and then dive into specializations.

The careers that are available in Edge of the Empire are:
Bounty Hunter
Hired Gun

Career Name

This one’s pretty simple and tells you what members of this given career are called.

Career skills

Every career has a group of 8 skills that every member of the profession should know.  These represent acquired knowledge from formal schooling or on the job training, depending on the circumstances.  From a game perspective, this has two benefits.

First, the eight skills that a career offers are as it’s starting skills are cheaper to improve than non career skills.  That makes these skills easier (because of their reduced cost) to increase as the game progresses.

Second, the player chooses four of those starting eight skills and gains a free level in each one.  

These are the skills that are expected for members of this career to have at least a cursory understanding of, and with experience and time, these are the skills that a character can be expected to master.  

A Career’s Role

The next section of each career writeup goes into a fair amount of detail about what the setting expects of members of that career.  Each career has a brief explanation of the typical tasks associated with the career (smugglers gonna smuggle, for example), but it also breaks down how the career fits into the ecosystem of Edge of the Empire.  Everyone has their own niche, and things that they do very well.  The section further goes into the details about specific members of the career, like Guild Bounty Hunters and what the professional expectations for them are.  

The section then moves on to player character members of the career and offers a wealth of ideas on how those characters got started in the career and some ideas on fleshing out their background.  Once the role is explained, it’s time to take a closer look at the Specializations within a given profession.  

Specializations and You

A Specialization takes the broad idea behind a career and focuses it into a very specific idea.  In doing so it unlocks some more career skills and a talent tree of useful abilities and benefits that help a character focus on their chosen task.  Let’s take a look at what this looks like a little closer.

The Technician career is a repair specialist who can be counted on to fix a lot of broken things from starships to droids, and some could be expected to build their own, (with enough resources).  Within that broad spectrum of technical abilities are three specialization offered in the core rules.  

The Mechanic is literally Mr./Ms. Fixit, and has additional career skills and abilities that make them ideally suited to handle the repair and restoration work that comes with being a technician.  

The Outlaw Tech is a different specialization that focuses on being a technical expert that upgrades and customizes gear.  Not content to just fix a gizmo, the Outlaw Tech will always try to make it work more effectively or more powerfully.  

Finally, the Slicer is a Technician that focuses on the wonderful world of computers and how to make them work for the slicer.  Hackers without equal, the Slicer is a dedicated security specialist that can find all sorts of creative ways into secured systems.  

Each one of these characters specializes in a particular expertise, but the underlying skills that connect them all come from their career.  Each Specialization adds four additional career skills, and a free rank in two of them.  (This does mean that some combinations of Career and Specialization can begin the game with two ranks in a skill, which is nigh impossible otherwise.)  Finally, the Specialization allows access to a specific talent tree that a character can make selections off of to enhance themselves.  Some of the talents represent increased stamina or willpower, while others give specific benefits for actions and checks that are representative of what the specialization traditionally does.  

A character can pick up an additional specialization by spending experience points, and this is a fairly friendly way to expand your character’s capabilities.  As long as you can keep earning experience points, you can purchase additional specialization to unlock new career skills and access to additional talent trees.

Career Stories

The final section of each career focuses on the interesting stories that you can tell from that career’s perspective.  This can be a very useful tool for bridging the gap from backstory to the 1st session of the game, and can help you figure out what you’re going to do for life goals, and it can help you figure out your current motivation.  

Read through them, and see if you find something you like.  If you’re looking for an interesting twist, find a career story from a different career and see how it might applicable to your character.  Sometimes Technicians want to be Bounty Hunters, or Smugglers are looking for that one big score so they can become a Politician (The Politico specialization from Colonist).  


Ultimately, a player has to make a decision about how their character started their life in Edge of the Empire, and after the choice of Species, Career and Starting Specialization are the most defining choices available.  Like picking your race and your class in a Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons game, Species and Career establish your character and their expected role in both the party dynamic and the galaxy as whole.  Finding interesting combinations that you would like to play is just part of the fun of building a character for Edge of the Empire.

That’s our brief write-up on how careers and specializations work, and we’ll be back next week with something else that’s kind of fun.  Game on, Game Fans.  

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