Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Beta (Careers)

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Star Wars: Edge of the Empire brings a new twist for character creation and development. In Star Wars D20 (Original Core Rules, Revised Core Rules and Saga) characters had classes and levels. In West End Games Star Wars characters could be built from a starting template and then expanded by the selection of skills.

In this version from Fantasy Flight Games, players choose a starting Career. Each Career, at least those presented in the Beta guide, have three Specializations to choose from as a starting Specialization. Each Career grants a character certain skills as career skills and the specializations add their own unique set of skills. Career skills cost less to improve, but that doesn't prevent a character from getting lots of skills that aren't part of the Career or Specialization during creation or in play.

Specializations are what define the character as each specialization grants the character access to a Talent tree. Within the Talent tree are 5 tiers. Each tier is composed of 4 abilities whose cost is set by the tier (5 for level 1, up to 25 for level 5). Within a tree some talents might have prerequisites. This is shown by having connecting lines leading to the abilities that you have to buy before you can open up access to this specific Talent.

Talents are either Ranked or Non-ranked. Ranked means that if they appear multiple times or in different trees, they have to be bought to open up other things in that tree they link to, but they also stack with each other. One example of this is Grit. Each time it is bought the character gains a point in their Strain threshold (mental damage a player can absorb). Non-ranked Talents need only be bought once. Other appearances of that Talent in a tree are also considered as bought by the player for purposes of determining if they meet the prerequisites of following the tree.

Characters can have access to up to three Specializations at a time. To gain access to a new Specialization the player pays either 10XP for a Career Specialization, or 20XP for a Specialization in another Career. Buying access to the Specialization grants the character access to the skills as Career skills and now Talents from that tree can be purchased. If a player wishes to access a fourth or later Specialization, then they have to give up access to an already accessed Specialization. This means that all the purchased Talents from that Specialization are lost, unless they are marked as being permanent Talents.

Overall this is an interesting system for allowing characters who are unique, yet not railroading characters down an overlly narrowly defined pathway as the older Class/Level system would do. Players are able to gain access to Force abilities, but since this is set in the Rebellion Era, the main book does not provide for full-blown Jedi as only two are known to exist during this time frame, Obi-Wan and Yoda.