The Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta from Fantasy Flight Games has continued to be a hot topic in the roleplaying community, although – thankfully – most of the talk has moved from whether you should do an RPG beta or not to whether or not the game has a sufficient amount of character differentiation, which is to say whether or not you have enough options during the character customization process, so I thought I would explain what options you have during character creation in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta.
First, the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta character creation process has eight species/races to choose from (Bothans, Droids, Gands, Humans, Rodians, Transdoshans, Twi’leks, and Wookiees, for those looking for the complete list). Each of the species has different starting scores in the six attributes (3 is the highest starting score, and raising it beyond that gets very expensive very quickly. A character might get one attribute at 5, but you’re not going to get many more skills, which is not great because the game rewards a balance of skills and attributes because of how you get to upgrade dice in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta). Each species also has a different amount of wounds/strain (Wookiees are the hardest to knock out, but the easiest to stun), a special ability (starting with a rank in a skill mostly), and an amount of starting experience that you use to upgrade skills and attributes. As mentioned, you can upgrade skills, but going much over a 3 in an attribute in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta will generally result in a dearth of skills.
After you select your species in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta, you choose from one of six classes (called careers here). Each career gives you a list of skills that become your ‘career skills’, which you get to upgrade for less experience and you get a rank in to start with, and then a specialization that adds another choice of skills to start with. The important thing to note here is that while a given class gives each player the same list of skills to choose from, you only get to start with half of the career skills and each of the specializations comes with multiple talent trees that gives you different active and passive abilities, each of which costing experience (and with more powerful talents costing more experience and having different prerequisites). Over time, you can also gain access to different talent trees through spending experience.
So that’s how character differentiation works in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta character creation process. The game is a pretty ‘traditional’ RPG, so it does have the classic race/class structure, but it looks like it does a pretty good job of allowing you to build a pretty wide variety of characters with the choices. I was pretty concerned when I read some of the early information (some of it mis-information) about character creation in the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG beta, so I was pretty pleased with the range of differentiation available.