Some of you might remember my high opinion of the then-new Star Wars roleplaying game, Edge of the Empire. Now, after one campaign and a lot of reflection, I can state that the system is flawed. And not in the way that Storyteller is flawed (if you ignore everything but the character sheet, then it is playable), but flawed in the way that even considering playing the system is a daunting task.
The sole culprit is the combat. Edge’s dice mechanics are still brilliant and the best for narrative play. They give a lot of information which the players can use to narrate the situation and are best suited for very light and narrative play. The combat, however, is very detailed and rules-heavy. Every shot or strike is rolled. Damage is recorded, critical hits are rolled, advantages and threat generated and rolls modified. It is a slog similar to D&D, which slows down the flow of the game.
Even worse, it cannot be ignored, for about half of the character classes in the game are combat-specific, with lot of talents that allow the character to tweak and tune their combat performance. If I were to implement a quick combat system, these characters would be essentially worthless, or a lot of their abilities would just ignore one black die or add one blue die in specific circumstances. So that is not an option.
The only remaining option for running Edge without the cumbersome combat system would be to ignore most of the content of the game, and that is a very poor option. Or you could just avoid combat altogether, but then again it is Star Wars. That would be like making a pizza without the tomato sauce.
Then there is the Obligation system. I still like it, but using it means not having any overarching plots in the game. With 50 Obligation the players will spend 50% of their time running their Obligation’s errands. My Space Station campaign suffered a bit for it, because the characters did not have time to spend on the station itself. So if you don’t have an idea for a plot for the game, Obligation is a blessing. The errands give the players something to do and when the Obligation does not trigger, I’m sure the players have accumulated some backlog to keep themselves busy. Nice.
But. As I said, I love the dice. Right now I have made a ruleset for Endless Adventure, a roleplaying game set in the galaxy of Endless Space. I tested the core with a quick Deus Ex-inspired campaign and it worked to my satisfaction. I’ll write about it later.