Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Explorer Career for Edge of the Empire (Where we're going, we don't need roads)

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 Explorer career.  Now the Star Wars Universe is full of exciting and awesome places to see and find, and one of the most interesting aspects of the Outer Rim is that it represents the outermost perimeter of civilization, beyond that, who knows what’s lurking in space?

There is something to be said for a person who’s willing to pick a direction and just go.  These are the people who will define new space lanes, make contact with alien races no one’s ever seen and find wonders before anyone else ever considered the possibility that they might exist.  Vast fortunes and glory can be won for those willing to dare, but an unmarked grave around a dead star, or in the belly of a ferocious alien creature are just as possible.  

What this means in terms of the Edge of the Empire game is that there is a market for professional explorers.  Whether exploring lost moons, or navigating a group of mercenaries through a nebula, there are specific tasks that Explorers are extremely well suited to.  This in turn gives them a way to contribute to the galaxy’s shadow economy, and they can have some fun and make some credits along the way.


The Explorer has 8 career skills that collectively represent the professional knowledge that all Explorers should have.  Those skills are:
  • Astrogation
  • Cool
  • Knowledge (Lore)
  • Knowledge (Outer Rim)
  • Knowledge (Xenology)
  • Perception
  • Piloting (Space)
  • Survival

Looking at the career skills for the Explorer, a couple of things jump out at us.  With Astrogation and Piloting (Space) the Explorer is perfectly capable of flying and navigating a starship.  Cool, Perception, and Survival clue us in on the Explorer’s capacities to find things within a given environment and survive in a hostile one.  Finally, the Knowledge skills give the Explorer a well rounded base of information to shape their explorations and guide their searches
(Remember, when you build your character and select the Explorer Career, you gain a free rank in four of these skills)

The Explorer’s Role

The Explorer has the skill set and motivation to make a pile of credits because explorers are primarily gatherers of information.  Everyone wants information, from strange alien life forms, resource rich planets, to the comings and goings of other sentient creatures.  The Explorer’s job puts them out beyond the Rim, looking for a variety of things that can be turned into credits.  

These are the people who develop new hyperspace trade routes, map systems, and on occasion, find new species.  The mindset needed for this task isn’t for everyone because Explorers often have to be completely (or almost completely) self-reliant.  These aren’t the people that typically run for civilization when things break bad, they’re more inclined to figure it out for themselves.

How does this career interact with a group of characters in Edge of the Empire?  Explorers are an amazing resource for Edge of the Empire.  With their three primary skill areas, the Explorer can serve as either a backup or primary pilot for a starship, or a knowledge resource for a group, or a survival expert, depending on which skills the  Explorer picks.  THe other thing to remember is that the specializations will give each Explorer even more resources to work with.  

Explorer Specializations

There are three Explorer 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 Fringer
  • The Scout
  • The Trader

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 Fringer

The Edge of the Empire game revolves around the people who live in the edges of society.  The Fringer is built for this life, being part communicator, part explorer, and all around useful sentient.  Not quite a smuggler, nor anything else specific, the Fringer fits in everywhere because they possess a useful set of skills and talents that make everyone’s day easier.  

The Fringer specialization adds Astrogation, Coordination, Negotiation, and Streetwise to the list of career skills for explorers, 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 Astrogation that come up every so often, if the Fringer puts a free rank from Explorer and a free rank from Fringer into it.  The talent tree for Fringer is focused on a mixture of exploration talents and starship piloting boosts.  Sprinkled in are a few personal defensive boosts that can keep the Fringer alive.  

The Scout

Any sentient creature can find a new planet, but it takes a specific set of skills to determine whether or not a given planet has any intrinsic  value to the galaxy at large.  The Scout is the perfect combination of skill and talent to get dirtside and figure out what exactly is going on with any given planet.

The Scout specialization adds Athletics, Medicine, Piloting (Planetary), and Survival to the Explorer’s career skills (remember, you get a free rank in two of those if this is your starting specialization)..  This gives the Scout some additional options for getting around a planet and treating any aches, bruises, or native poisons/diseases they come across.  The talent tree for Scout focuses on surviving in unfamiliar environments, and giving the Scout the best possible chance of surviving to report back to his or her superiors.

The Trader

Star Wars as a setting has an amazingly diverse range of potential markets and resources.  Finding out how to turn that into a profitable empire is the goal of most Traders.  Focused on Commerce, especially developing new trade routes, the Trader is an expert at managing resources (both credits and raw materials) and finding out how to turn them into profit.  

The Trader specialization adds Deception, Knowledge (Core Worlds), Knowledge (underworld) and Negotiation to the career skills offered by the Explorer, and you get a free rank in two of these skills if this is your starting specialization.  The Trader’s talent tree is full of tricks to help the Trader make sure that they are never on the end of a bad deal, and options that allow them to get every last ounce of use out of their credits.  

Explorer 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 an explorer.  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.  

  • Wanderlust:  It’s a classic, but some folks just want to see the larger world around them.  These are the folks who won’t be stuck working moisture vaporators forever, and will always be looking for the next new thing, the next big adventure.  See the sights, and explore the galaxy.
  • Hunted: Some folks don’t have a choice in leaving home.  Something happened, and the Explorer is running as far and as fast as they can to avoid the hunters.  The Explorer gives a lot of options to get away from this kind of trouble, and the skills to stay one step ahead of the trouble that’s following in their wake.  
  • Quest:  The galaxy is a big place, full of hidden things and lost ideas.  Somehow, the Explorer has gotten onto the trail of one of these, and are pursuing this quest to find that which is lost.  In situations like this, there are always rival explorers, so grab your fedora and get looking.  
  • Profit:   With a near infinite amount of space out there, the possibility for a clever person to turn rocks into credits exist everywhere.  New markets, new trade routes, and new products all can turn a poor kid from the backwoods of Dantooine into a mercantile powerhouse.  

The Unknown Awaits

Now if you’ve got some more questions or ideas about putting together an explorer character, Fantasy Flight Games released a book specifically for Explorers,  Enter the Unknown.  Featuring new species, specializations, and a host of new equipment options, this book also takes you into the edges of known space and helps you hop across the boundary into unknown space.

Game on, Game Fans.  

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