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Robert Lashley: On the Table - Star Wars Force and Destiny

By Robert Lashley on January 01, 2016 | Columns | Comments

On the Table - Star Wars Force and Destiny

A long time ago (last year), in a galaxy far, far away, (Minnesota) Fantasy Flight Games released the core rulebook to their pen and paper role playing game, Star Wars: Force and Destiny. To continue on with our theme of Star Wars this month I’m going to take a peek at this RPG for this month’s On the Table.

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Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion are two other Star Wars RPGs from Fantasy Flight Games. Age of Rebellion focuses on the fight between the Rebellion and the Galactic Empire. Edge of the Empire turns its eye to the shadier side of Star Wars, think smugglers and bounty hunters. Force and Destiny can be treated as a standalone game, like each of the other two rule books, but it is also compatible with both of those source books. Its primary focus, however, is on force users.

Force and Destiny is one of the beefier source books I have read in a while. It contains a wealth of information on the Force, the Star Wars galaxies, and the adversaries you will find during your journeys. The main mechanic that sets Force and Destiny apart from other RPGs out there, like D&D, Pathfinder, and End of the World, is the use of a narrative dice mechanic. While I’m not a fan of having to buy proprietary dice when my cups of polyhedral plastic run over, you can get them as an app for your phone or just use regular dice and apply a conversion chart that is provided on page 18 of the source book.

Like in most other RPGs you will come across tasks or challenges that require you to make a skill check. It will be up to your game master to decide what, and how many dice you will use in your pool. It is one thing if you are trying to bust out of a trash dumpster, it’s another if you are trying to bust out of that dumpster while a monster is hidden inside of it trying to eat you. As such the number of dice that will allow you to either fail or succeed can be increased by the GM.

These dice won’t just determine if you succeed or fail, they will also assign a level of success or failure. You could spectacularly succeed or completely fail and fall flat on your face.  You could also find an unexpected surprise where you would have otherwise failed. These additional dice and their symbols help open up story telling opportunities for the player and the GM beyond just the standard, you pick the lock, you succeeded. Instead you could find yourself in an alcove that was otherwise more illuminated than you expected and it allowed you to pick the lock before a patrol noticed that you were even there. You also might find some additional information in the data terminal then your primary objective that could come in handy later on down the road. Could you do this in other systems without these dice? Probably. Do these serve as helpful reminders to more fully flesh out your adventure? Absolutely.

Coming in at $59.99 from your friendly local gaming store (and that’s without the dice) this tome isn’t cheap. With the amount of information provided by the book, the quality of the art, and the overall craftsmanship the price isn’t too bad for 440 pages though. I’d give this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Robert Lashley / Rob is a Staff Writer and jack of all trades for MMORPG.com. When he isn’t blinding people with the glare from his head in front of a camera you can chase him down on Twitter, PSN, XBL, and Nintendo @rant_on_rob.