Hey Game Fans, we’re back with another look at a component of the Star Wars Edge of the Empire game from Fantasy Flight Games. Today we’re going to take a look at stuff, and equipment, and how they interact with the Star Wars universe. Stuff is a catchall category that i’m going to use to describe goods of varying qualities and values. Equipment is a more immediately usable piece of technology that enables a character to perform a task that they otherwise would either be incapable of doing, or would be less able to do.
Stuff includes cargo like raw materials, unfinished gems, foodstuffs and other items that generally have a value to someone, somewhere. These things often don’t do anything on their own, and that’s why they’re stuff. Stuff is one of the things that fuels the economy of Edge of the Empire, and there are dozens of different interesting stories you can tell about moving Stuff from one place to the next. There are also several specializations that lend themselves to this type of a campaign, and smugglers are probably going to be front and center to this story. Explorers and Traders can also have a lot of fun with this area of the economy.
Equipment is immediately usable pieces of technology that performs a specific task or function. This can be as simple as the rope line used to climb up a building to as complex as the navcomputer that plots hyperspace coordinates. Some equipment requires an operator, like a weapon or a vehicle, but other pieces of equipment are self operating (mostly droids). Equipment has an amazing range of customization options and characters that have the skills to perform these modifications can find a lot of work in Edge of the Empire. Equipment can also have a lot of value, and you can make money moving equipment from point A to point B.
Finding the right balance between work that pays and work that’s not extremely dangerous is something that every Edge of the Empire crew is going to have figure out for themselves. The game wants the characters to be looking for new gigs and new sources of cash, so don’t be surprised if the jobs aren’t high paying. Find the margins where you can squeeze some extra cash out, and you’ll be proper entrepreneurs in no time.
Let’s look at some key terms.
Some things are just not as common as other things. Glow rods are easier to find than blaster weapons, and blasters are easier to find than high explosives. Each item (Stuff & Equipment) has a given rarity value. There are modifiers that can shift rarity up or down, depending on a number factors including location, local availability, and legality. Rarity adds a number of purple dice to the pool to locate the item, with easier things adding fewer dice.
Rarity also affects buying and selling things, but you need to remember that the prices and such listed in the book are suggestions, and the Gamemaster has the final say over what affects price and how much things end up costing to buy and what price you can get for them. Commercial ventures are a part of the Edge of the Empire experience, but probably aren’t the total experience.
Stuff and Equipment both have Encumbrance values. Encumbrance is a combination of weight, bulk, and mass that determine how hard a thing is to carry or move. The higher the value, the harder something is to carry, and some things just can’t be moved without assistance or specialized equipment. A person (droids included) can generally carry an Encumbrance of 5 plus their Brawn attribute without any trouble. More Encumbrance causes the addition of setback (black) dice to any agility or brawn checks made while encumbered.
Ships and vehicles also have an Encumbrance value, which should give some enterprising folks some ideas of how much cargo they can move from one place to another. Any hidden smuggling compartments likewise have an encumbrance value, detailing how much illegal cargo can be stored inside.
As stated above, Stuff is my term to cover any and all materials, foodstuffs, or other things that have either an intrinsic or extrinsic value. This includes materials needed for heavy industry, water for arid worlds, components to build more complex circuitry, foodstuffs, medicine, and a host of other objects. If you’re entering a port for the first time, it pays to check out what’s available in the local markets and what’s missing. Edge of the Empire is a game that rewards clever thinking and opportunities, so if you can pick up a little extra cargo that you know has some value someplace else, by all means.
Stuff is likely going to be a recurring plot element in Edge of the Empire because there are always going to be people who need things moved quietly and without any entanglements from authorities. Embrace the plot hooks and chaotic elements that your GM is going to throw your way, because making a Blue Milk run gets boring after a while.
Equipment comes in a variety of types and flavors, so i’m going to talk about the basic categories and what’s in them. I’ll do a more detailed breakdown of each category later, and Vehicles and Starships are going to get their own article anyway.
The other thing to remember with equipment is that almost all of it can be customized/modified or improved. Finding the right mods is as easy as finding the money to pay for it and the skilled hand to perform the work.
Weapons are a very common component of Edge of the Empire, and realistically, everyone and their cousin should be packing at least some kind of weapon for personal safety. Society in the shadows is a rough and tumble place, and folks who can’t protect themselves are likely going to be targets of frequent violence or crime. Weapons are broken down by the skills needed to use them, and you can sort of pick through the list of the generic weapons that way. My advice, as always, is to find the skills you have the best access to and see what weapons fall into that skill area.
The counterpoint to “Everyone should carry a weapon,” Armor is reinforced clothing designed to either deflect attacks, or to absorb the damage caused by the attack. Each armor has a specific purpose, and range of intended use, so try not to use armor the wrong way. Don’t count on armor that deflects attacks to soak damage and vice versa. You can usually find an armor for a specific range of needs, and go from there.
Gear is a catchall category for tools and other devices that make life easier. Categories include Communications, Poisons, Cybernetics, Observation Gear, Medical, Security, Survival, and Tools. All of this equipment has a specific purpose and use, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find something else to do with it. Also keep in mind that each one is probably of value to someone else in the universe.
Black Market Items
There are a host of items that are considered quasi-legal or restricted in some systems. There are also some items that are pretty much illegal everywhere. Drugs, stolen goods, specific technological items that are used only for criminal activity and a few other unique items all fit into this category. These can be very lucrative cargos to move from place to place, but they are the last thing you want to have on your ship when an Imperial Customs Vessel comes calling.
Droids technically are considered equipment because they are a valuable piece of technology that perform tasks that make life much easier for the people around them. They can be cargo and they can be bought and sold, but the personality and intelligence of droids often makes them mascots or companions for operators. This puts them in a unique category like Vehicles and Starships as more personal resources.
That’s a very brief look at how things interact with the Edge of the Empire game. We’ll do a more comprehensive look at the individual categories of equipment and a theoretical look at how Stuff can be used as part of the game. Hope that helps some of you get an idea for the fun you can have with items in Edge of the Empire. Game On, Game Fans.