Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hired Guns in Edge of the Empire (Being mean and making green)

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 , we’re continuing with the Hired Gun career.  The Star Wars Universe is full of situations full of danger and potential situations where having someone who knows their way around a blaster is a necessity. Hired Guns can be essential to making sure that the mission you get sent on turns out positively rather than in shallow graves.

There is something to be said for a person who’s willing to apply harm and violence at the drop of a theoretical hat.  Edge of the Empire is a game for the people who don’t fit into the “normal” societal constructs and ideas for the Star Wars Universe, and that means that people can get hurt a lot, and with extreme frequency.  In cases like this, having someone who pushes back can be an essential investment for any up and coming group of folks living on the edge.

What this means in terms of the Edge of the Empire game is that there is a market for professional combatants.  Whether slick mercenary operators, rough and tumble brawlers, or professional soldiers, all of these characters fill a useful role of being trained in a variety of combat skills and capable of projecting some force when necessary.  

Hired Gun

The Hired Gun has 8 career skills that collectively represent the professional knowledge that all Hired Guns should have.  Those skills are:
  • Athletics
  • Brawl
  • Discipline
  • Melee
  • Piloting (Planetary)
  • Ranged (Light)
  • Resilience
  • Vigilance

Looking at the career skills for the Hired Gun, a couple of things come to the forefront.  With Brawl, Melee and Ranged (Light) the Hired Gun is ready for a fight at a variety of ranges and with several different weapon options.  .  Discipline, Resilience, and Vigilance are all skills that focus on pushing the character past the normal limits of endurance and willpower, and Vigilance enables the character to maintain situational awareness and keep an eye on the area around them.   Finally, the Athletics and Piloting (Planetary) skills focus on enabling the Hired Gun to get around on  the surface of a planet, which is an extremely useful set of skills when you put them all together.  

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

The Hired Gun’s Role

The Hired Gun has the skill set and motivation to make a pile of credits because everybody needs a professional combatant at some point in their lives.  The Outer Rim isn’t a safe place, and there’s a lot of people who are more than willing to take things from other people by force.  The Hired Gun gets to occupy the space of the sentient who’s taking the stuff in the first place, or the sentient that’s stopping that guy.  

These are the people who embrace combat as a fact of life.  Push invariably comes to shove, and someone’s going to have to shove back.  Through a combination of melee weapons, unarmed combat, and ranged weaponry, the Hired Gun is ideally a weapons expert for hire.  You need someone to watch your back at a business deal?  You need someone to go drive those squatters off your land?  You want someone to go shoot up a bunch of other people?  The Hired Gun is probably your best bet.  

How does this career interact with a group of characters in Edge of the Empire?  Hired Guns are an amazing resource for Edge of the Empire.  With their three primary skill areas, the Hired Gun can serve as either a bodyguard for other character, or a legbreaker/heavy hitter for the group.  The other thing to remember is that the specializations will give each Hired Gun even more resources to work with.  

Hired Gun Specializations

There are three Hired Gun 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 Bodyguard
  • The Marauder
  • The Mercenary Soldier

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 Bodyguard

Important people/things/places need protection, and the Bodyguard specialization is built for this specific situation.  With a skillset that emphasizes close protection, the Bodyguard is capable of securing a variety of different assets from hostiles across different theaters of engagement.  Let’s take a closer look.

The Bodyguard specialization adds Gunnery, Perception,Piloting (Planetary), and Ranged (Heavy) to the list of career skills for Hired Guns, 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 Piloting (Planetary) that come up every so often, if the Bodyguard puts a free rank from Hired Gun and a free rank from Bodyguard into it.  The talent tree for Bodyguard is focused on a mixture of protecting other characters from harm, and staying active long enough to make sure the client/package is secure.  

The Marauder

Marauders specifically choose an engagement range they prefer to operate within.  They are melee experts who prefer to settle disputes with blades, sticks, and a host of other personal weaponry designed to cut/pierce/break/destroy enemies up close and in the face.  Other Hired Guns may prefer to stand off and shoot people at a distance, but the Marauder is going to be fighting at a much shorter distance.

The Marauder specialization adds Coercion, Melee, Resilience, and Survival to the Hired Gun’s career skills (remember, you get a free rank in two of those if this is your starting specialization)..  This gives the Marauder some additional skills in Melee and Resilience, and gives them a way to help change someone’s mind at knife fighting ranges. The talent tree for Marauder focuses on making the Marauder more dangerous in their preferred combat zone and gives them options to deal heavier damage or survive terrible injuries.

The Mercenary Soldier

Star Wars as a setting has an amazingly diverse range of combat environments, and let’s face it, the Empire isn’t going to be everywhere, so someone’s going to have to be able to fight battles in those diverse engagements.  This creates both a need and a supply of trained soldiers who will jump from engagement to engagement as long as the credits are right, and the job is what it appears to be.  

The Mercenary Soldier specialization adds Discipline, Gunnery,Leadership, and Ranged (Heavy) to the career skills offered by the Hired Gun, and you get a free rank in two of these skills if this is your starting specialization.  The Mercenary Soldier’s talent tree is full of benefits that apply when the Mercenary Soldier is giving commands to others and taking the lead in situations.  

Hired Gun 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 Hired Gun.  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.  

  • Worthiness:  It’s a classic.This is especially common among species with warrior cultures or strong traditions of military service.  These Hired Guns are trying to live up to the reputation that precedes them by way of their cultural impact on the galaxy around them.
  • Conscience: The Empire is actively oppressing the galaxy and putting entire worlds under the thumb of its war machine.  Some folks inside that war machine reach a point where they can’t take the stress of those orders and enter the fringes where they put those skills to a better use.
  • Purpose:  Some folks have a natural aptitude for combat.  Some do it for the fun or the love of the situation, and these people often live extremely violent lives without direction or purpose.  The search for that purpose can tell some amazingly interesting stories along the Edge.

The Way of the Gun

Now if you’ve got some more questions or ideas about putting together a Hired Gun character don’t worry. Fantasy Flight Games released a book specifically for Hired Guns, Dangerous Covenants.  Featuring new species, specializations, and a host of new equipment options, this book also takes you into the edges of polite society and into the wilds where fists, blasters and blades settle the score.

Game on, Game Fans.  

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