Star Wars: Exiles
Game System Overview
Edge of the Empire uses the Star Wars Narrative Dice system. This involves rolling a number of dice: ability and proficiency dice (representing your skill and ability) and a number of difficulty and challenge dice (depending on how hard it is to accomplish the action you attempt). The results are compared, with failures taking away successes, which determines your final result.
Ability (Green) and Difficulty (Purple) Dice
The Ability and Difficulty dice are eight-sided dice that are paired off against each other. These represent the innate qualities of a challenge. The Ability dice are a reflection of a character’s characteristics, such as how strong, smart, or willful the hero is. The Difficulty dice set the inherent difficulty of a task – slicing an outdated security terminal would likely feature fewer Difficulty dice than slicing a high-end security terminal.
Proficiency (Yellow) and Challenge (Red) Dice
The Proficiency and Challenge dice are twelve-sided dice that oppose each other. These represent significant improvements to Ability and Difficulty dice. The Proficiency dice are “upgraded” versions of Ability dice, reflecting a character’s level of skill or specialized training applied to a task. The Challenge dice are “upgraded” versions of Difficulty dice, indicating that a task has greater risks involved or is being actively opposed by another character.
Setback (Black) and Boost (Blue) Dice
The Setback and Boost dice are six-sided dice that thematically mirror each other. They are generally added to a dice pool to represent minor situational modifiers or influences. For example, if a character was attempting to slice a security terminal, the GM could grant him an advantage and a Boost die for having the right tools for a task. Likewise, the task may be made more complicated by disadvantages – like trying to slice the computer under a hail of blaster fire – and the GM would add a Setback die to the dice pool.
The dice don’t generate numbers, but instead a number of symbols, which direct the course of the narrative:
Really, it’s kind of a rock-paper-scissors, since opposing dice just cancel each other out. After you remove everything that was cancelled out, you’re left with your result. As you can see from the results, there are many degrees of success that add to the narrative flow due to the advantage and threat results — for example, rolling to find an underworld contact, you could succeed at the roll but also roll a threat, implying that there’s some unforeseen danger involved. Determining what those threat and advantage dice mean is left up to the imagination of the group.
Three sample dice pools, along with both their mechanical and narrative results:
Calculating Your Dice Pool
When you want to accomplish something in EotE, you need to figure out which dice you’re rolling.
First, find the relevant Skill and Characteristic for the action you’re trying to accomplish, then compare to see which is higher and which is lower. The higher number determines how many green Ability dice you’re rolling; the lower number “upgrades” a number of green Ability dice into yellow Proficiency dice.
So let’s say Bob wants to shoot a stormtrooper with his pistol. The skill used for pistols is Ranged (Light), and its attached characteristic is Agility. Bob has an Agility of 2 and a Ranged (Light) of 1. Bob’s higher stat is Agility 2, so he pulls out two green dice; since his lower stat is Range (Light) 1, one of those green dice is replaced with a yellow Proficiency die.
So far, Bob is rolling one green die and one yellow die, but there’s at least one other thing he needs to add to his dice pool: difficulty dice! (Yeah, sucks, I know.) Difficulty is determined by a number of factors (see below); in this case, since his target is at medium range, Bob adds two purple Difficulty dice to his pool.
In most cases that’s about it for Bob’s dice pool and it’s time to roll, though there are two types of dice that act like situational modifiers. If Bob had an advantage of some sort — taking aim, for example, or having certain talents or types of gear — he would get a blue Boost die to add to his pool. If Bob was at a disadvantage (or his adversary was at an advantage) — for example, if he was shooting at someone behind cover — he’d add a black Setback die to his pool. These two dice are six-siders that tweak your end result marginally in one direction or the other.
Let’s look at one more situation. Bob wants to find one of his underworld contacts, with Cunning 2 and Streetwise 3. He takes three green Ability dice, then upgrades two of them to be yellow Proficiency dice, and the difficulty is determined to be three purple Difficulty dice due to an Imperial lockdown on this planet. Bob’s looking for a specific contact — someone he helped out a few story arcs back — and since he knows some of the contact’s haunts, the GM gives him a blue Boost die. Bob’s final dice pool would be a green Ability die, two yellow Proficiency dice, three purple Difficulty dice, and the blue Boost die.