Monday, July 7, 2014

Age of Rebellion RPG Review

I feel a little strange reviewing the Age of Rebellion core rulebook, given that it uses mostly the same mechanics as Edge of the Empire. Even so, I thought it could be useful to do a chapter-by-chapter comparison of the two books, looking at what's the same and what's different. With that in mind, here goes.

0. AoR has an added introduction, eight pages long, with an example of play; it also talks about using this book with EotE.

1. Playing the Game
These chapters still introduce the core mechanics and concepts. Some of the flavor description is different, given the focus of each book, but they're still pretty similar.

2. Character Creation
Here we see the first big content changes. For AoR, the species included are Bothan, Droid, Duros, Gran, Human, Ithorian, Mon Calamari and Sullustan. Gran was the one big surprise in that bunch; I'm not sure that I've ever had somebody play one before. For careers, there are Ace, Commander, Diplomat, Engineer, Soldier and Spy. Not surprisingly, they are very much war-oriented. There's also a “universal specialization,” the Recruit, that seems easier for characters on other career paths to access.

3. Skills
This chapter in AoR seems quite similar to the one in EotE.

4. Talents
This chapter in AoR seems quite similar to the one in EotE, except that the talents described are ones taken from the careers and specializations. There is some overlap, but there are new ones, too.

5. Gear and Equipment
Although many of the presented in AoR are the same as in EotE, there are a few differences.

6. Conflict and Combat
These chapters seem to be very similar to each other.

7. Starships and Vehicles
While the rules portions of these chapters are very similar, the ships and vehicles presented in AoR focus much more on vessels of the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance. More starfighters, not so many freighters.

8. The Force
Age of Rebellion presents a new career, the Force-Sensitive Emergent. With it are three new talent trees, Move, Enhance and Foresee. These seem like a natural way to build upon the abilities of the Force-Sensitive Exile presented in EotE.

9. The Game Master
Much of the content is similar in these chapters, although there are changes for the different campaign emphases of the two games.

10. The Galaxy
There is a little bit of overlap here, when it comes to details about hyperspace lanes and the regions of the galaxy. Still, the focus is on the Galactic Civil War and what different places mean to that struggle. Additionally, the worlds that receive full-page write-ups are Alderaan, Byss, Chandrila, Dac (Mon Calamari), Hoth, Imperial Center (Coruscant), Sullust and Yavin IV, none of which received them in EotE.

11. Rebellion (replacing Law and Society from EotE)
This seems to all be new content detailing the structure of the Rebel Alliance and various Rebel activities.

12. Adversaries
Here again there's a lot more focus on the beings who make up both sides during the war, rather than those who live on the fringes of the galaxy.

13. Perlemian Haul
This is, of course, an entirely new adventure from the one, “Trouble Brewing,” presented in EotE.

All in all, Age of Rebellion is very well done. The rules are solid, the art is gorgeous and the book is put together well. It feels weird to pay full price for a tome that duplicates material I already have, but the book could be a stand-alone for players and GM's who want to play this style of adventure rather than the one presented in Edge of the Empire. At the same time, having both books can help present a more varied tapestry of the Star Wars universe in a campaign.


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