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Beyond the Rim review: Star Wars Edge of the Empire

December 2, 2013

SWE05-book-leftOur group recently completed Beyond the Rim. This will be a detailed review of the content and as such, spoilers will abound. If you plan on playing this, I would not suggest reading further. If you plan on running, or are considering buying it, read on.

Just us GMs, now? Good. I’ve been a big fan of Edge since its debut, and have played quite a bit with various groups both running and playing, so at this point I feel like I can give a proper review of this adventure compared to other published material for Edge. Overall I was a bit disappointed. It isn’t bad, per se, but needed a lot more home-brewing than I would have imagined at first glance. I’ve run the beginner box and the free RPG day adventure, and while smaller in scope (if you don’t count the very generous Long Arm of the Hutt extension to the beginner box) they both seemed to capture the spirit and the flavor of what I think of as Star Wars more than Beyond the Rim. Granted, Beyond the Rim is more of a wilderness/survival adventure, but even the opening act doesn’t really start with a bang. When I think Star Wars, I think action! This start with more of an exploration of the setting and NPCs.

In my opinion, the best Star Wars adventures/books/movies/episodes all start with a little bit of setting the scene, and then an explosion or a battle. In medias res is always the order of the day. This adventure starts with a The Wheel, very cool location, but as written, it takes awhile to get to any action. Most of the first act is just exploring the wheel, shopping for supplies, learning who is who and what to do when, THEN the Yiyar clan makes their move for IT-3P0. GM confession time: I did not tie in the obligations and sub-plots as well as I probably should have. The first session of this for our group was the first Edge session for many players so there were more pressing concerns like, “What do all these crazy symbols mean on the dice?”

sa-nalaorWe had all that ironed out by the time we got to the second act. Here again, it starts out with a series of dice rolls to scan for the wreckage on the planet. YAWN. I spiced it up by immediately having the empire attack with a lambda-class shuttle. The party failed to detect the maintenance droid attaching the tracking device (hey, I warned about the spoilers), so rather than start the session out with a bunch of rolls to determine how much time you waste tracking down the wreckage, I started with a battle! I would highly recommend this to make sure you have your players attention when starting Act 2. It was pretty awesome.

The second act is really the heart of the adventure, as the party searches the planet, gets jumped by wild beasties of Cholganna, and explores the various wreckage sites. By far, the highlight was surprising the party with the cybernetically-enhanced nexu. Nexu themselves are challenging for the party, but with the enhancements it made for a very challenging and memorable fight. Our astromech droid combat-sliced into one of the collars controlling the nexu and made it his pet for awhile, before setting it free. He was nearly smashed in the process, but it was pretty incredible. We also had fun encounters with the Yiyar clan and the Nightflyer, and had a fun time exploring the survivors camp and learning more about Captain Harsol and Cratala. Once the empire arrived, that battle could have been closer, but I held the second lance of scouts in reserve to warn Imperial stations about these troublesome interlopers.

The third act was a lot of fun as well, because finally we start off with a battle! Not only that, but we had a fascinating astrogation roll to start out the session. Astrogation in this instance determines which side of Raxus Prime you end up on: the side near the IsoTech base, or the side near the Imperial shipyard. The check was a spectacular failure, with threat, but also a triumph! We interpreted that as them dropping in to normal space and immediately smashing into one of two TIE fighters patrolling the area, destroying it completely. That led to the very cool chase scene thru the canyons, and I utilized the ships from the X-wing game to represent distances and relative positions.

The team had a bit of a break once they landed and explored scrapheap point. Some of the team went off to gather some salvage, while others remained behind to repair their ship after the chase with the TIEs. This lead to a really close battle, because half the party got jumped by “Too-low” Talo and his “Jawas” and the other half were attacked by the Trandoshan mercenaries. It was touch and go for a bit, but the party persevered, and were able to launch the Blockade Bandit and their own freighter while under imperial attack. Our astromech M1-K3 made such a great missile spoofing roll (two triumphs) I ruled the imperial patrol craft ended up shooting missles at each other as the corvette split the space in between them. A very cool ending!

Overall, I think Edge adventures are what you make them. But in this case, I would encourage GMs running this to try and start each session with a bang, boom or battle! I would NOT recommend this as people’s first adventure with the Edge system, and would recommend the very awesome beginner box instead. I may run this again for a different star wars group I’m playing with. We’ll see how it stacks up when run a second time. It took about five four-hour sessions to run. At an MSRP of $29.95 and weighing in at 96 pages, I think its worth buying. Just make sure you have plenty of time to read everything over, and spice it up if you get stuck in what could be a dull spot.

Categories: Adventure, Books, Reviews, Star Wars
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  1. December 12, 2013 at 4:01 am
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