Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Star Wars (Taking Wounds and Stress)

Hey Game Fans, we’re back with another look at the Edge of the Empire Star Wars Roleplaying Game from Fantasy Flight Games.  So far we’ve covered a lot of the rules for how equipment works, how to build a character, and a host of other topics.  Today we’re going to take a look at how characters take and absorb damage, and what happens when you take too much.  Let’s dig into strain and wounds, and see how they affect your character.


Some characters (primarily through the use of talents, or armor) have a Defense value.  Defense represents an increased difficulty to hit.  Whether this is improved combat awareness, camouflage obscuring your outline, or a variety of other potential options, for every point of Defense your character has, they add a setback die to every combat check that targets them.  (Vehicles and Starships also have Defense Ratings, and these are typically provided by Shields on those craft.) Now there are three distinct types of defense, and they are categorized by the combat checks they help against.

General Defense

General Defense (or just Defense) applies to all combat checks that target the character.  

Melee Defense

Melee Defense applies to any/all melee attacks that target the character.  (they do nothing against Ranged attacks).  

Ranged Defense

Ranged Defense applies to any/all ranged attacks that target the character (as expected, they are ineffective against melee attacks).  

Now, these stack when appropriate.  For Example, a character has a Defense rating of 2, and Ranged Defense of 3 and is shot at by a squad of storm troopers.  Those troopers are adding 5 setback dice to that combat check to shoot the above mentioned character.  If one of them got close enough to make a melee attack, the character’s Defense rating of 2 would be used, but not the Ranged Defense.


Soak is a character’s (or object’s, in the case of a vehicle or starship) ability to shrug off and ignore damage.  The default Soak a character has is equal to its Brawn attribute, (you can increase this value with talents and armor).  Different sources of Soak stack.  After calculating damage dealt by an attack, subtract the character’s Soak from damage dealt, and that’s how much damage the character ends up taking.  If the Soak reduces the damage to 0, no damage is dealt.  

Soak does not reduce Strain damage except when specifically noted (most frequently the Stun Damage ability).

Wounds (Wound Threshold)

It was bound to happen throughout the course of a game set in a violent universe, you’ve just been hit by the first attack that successfully hit you.  Don’t panic yet.  First things first, subtract your Soak from the Damage dealt.  This saves you 3 points of damage.  You’re still going to end up taking 2 points of damage from the attack.  First things first, those 2 points of damage convert into wounds, which you track on your character sheet.  

The first thing to keep in mind is that your character has moved from the Unwounded status to the Wounded status.  The second thing to keep in mind is any of your talents or traits that activate if you are wounded.  The third to keep in mind is a little more complicated.

You have a Wound threshold (which was determined in character creation way back).  Up until you exceed that threshold, your character can do just about anything.  Wounds don’t degrade your abilities until you have taken enough wounds to equal or exceed your Wound Threshold.  When this happens, your character is Incapacitated, and you immediately take a Critical Injury.  (Critical Injuries are bad, and can have additional effects on your character beyond just wounds)

NPCs who suffer wounds (and strain) that exceed their wound threshold are considered to be defeated.  (Nemesis NPCs track Wounds and Strain separately).  Characters who suffer wounds track them up to twice their threshold, and will have to heal back to under their threshold to clear the Incapacitated status.  (Bob has a Wound threshold of 9, He suffers 16 wounds.  He’ll need to heal at least 7 to be able to act again).  

Strain (Strain Threshold)

Strain is tracked the same way wounds are but is focused on the mental trauma and other factors that will impair a character’s ability to function.  Strain can be handed out from a variety of vectors, but all erode the character’s mental health and ability to function.  The body may be willing, but the spirit and mind are bruised.  If you ever exceed your Strain Threshold, you are incapacitated just as if you’d taken enough wounds to exceed your Wound Threshold.  This may mean the character is unconscious, but it’s just as possible that the character is so stressed out that they aren’t focusing on anything and are incapable of acting.  

Critical Injuries

When a character suffers a critical injury (whether from being incapacitated or from an activated critical hit from a combat check), roll D100 and consult the chart on page 217.  Things to keep in mind about Critical Injuries, first, they don’t heal the same way as wounds, and you need specialized treatment to heal them.  Second, while you have an unhealed critical injury, you add +10 to every Critical Injury roll you have to make, meaning that eventually you’re going to end up quite dead if you don’t find doctors and healers to fix these.  Third, if your Critical Hit roll is 141 or higher, your character is dead.  

There are some other status effects to bear in mind (check out Page 218), but these are the nuts and bolts of taking damage.  These are very cinematic feeling injuries and with the nature of Edge of the Empire they feel right.  Characters can get hurt without getting seriously injured, but when they do, they are potentially fatal.  Characters can be super tough, depending on the choices they made in talents and equipment, and they can shrug off obscene amounts of punishment.  , Next time we’ll go over healing and recovery.  Game On, Game Fans.  

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