Star Wars – Edge of the Empire – Special Modifications review
By now, those of us who have purchased a sourcebook or two (or ten) for this system are familiar with the typical Fantasy Flight Games formula for their supplements to the Edge/Age/F+D system: Add a few new species, three alternate specializations for the career, and some specific gear, weapons, and vehicles that compliment the specializations. Throw the GM a bone with the last section on building encounters specific to the career, and maybe some adventure seeds and you have a sourcebook.
Until now. FFG broke the mold for the technician sourcebook Special Modifications. It is still in three familiar sections, and it adds a few new species, three new specs and some career-specific gear, but then it goes further. The crafting section at the end of the book allows for true customization and building of weapons, droids, gadgets, and even cybernetics! It provides several basic templates for each category, as well as tables to spend results from the crafting check to add qualities and characteristics to the creation. For weapons this means positive effects like Accurate, Knockdown, Ion, Ensare, Stun, Pierce, etc. On the negative side it could add inaccurate, slow-firing, difficult to repair, expensive, prepare, etc. This is a tinkerer’s dream, and allows careers like outlaw tech and gadgeteer a lot of awesome new options.
Just after the crafting section is expanded rules on slicing. It includes actions for both an ‘intruder’ and ‘defender’ which allows for the PC to play either side, and could involve several intruders and defenders depending on how complex you want to make the encounter. I think I personally would save this for a special occasion for a very important slicing mission, preferably during a fire-fight, so the rest of the party isn’t just sitting around. Otherwise this could fall quickly into the Shadowrun trap of PCs in cyberspace playing one game, and PCs in meatspace playing another. I do appreciate the stats and descriptions of computer spikes (previously seen in Jewel of Yavin) which I believe first appeared in Knights of the Old Republic as a way to slice into computer terminals.
Beyond that there are a ton of new vehicle and weapon attachments, and a few vehicles that can serve as mobile workshops, as well as a highly-customizable fighter that can use different attachments and modifications depending on the mission.
The three new specs are Droid Tech, Cyber Tech, and Modder. Cyber Tech focuses mostly on self-modification through cybernetics, but adds Medicine, Athletics, Mechanics, and Vigilance to the base skills of a technician. The tree also contains talents like Surgeon which helps on medicine checks, so this could be a strong choice for a mechanic/doctor combo. Droid Tech is the technician’s technician (with a focus on droids of course) adding another Mechanics and Computers, as well as Cool and Leadership. Some of the talents deal with directing NPC droids, so I would assume Leadership would play into that. Modder is similar to the Age spec of Rigger in the Ace sourcebook. To the regular technician skills, Modder adds Gunnery, Mechanics, Piloting (Space) and Streetwise. Seems like a very playable combo to me. Much like the Rigger, the Modder has many talents that focus on a signature vehicle.
The new species are Dug (Sebulba from pod racing), Besalisk (Obi-wan’s buddy Dex), and two flavors of Mustafarians, Northern and Southern. Despite mechanics and medicine both being intellect based, none of the presented species start with higher than 2, which seems surprising given the focus of the book.
Overall, if you have been holding back on sourcebooks, I would recommend getting this one. I would even go as far to say if you were to only get one sourcebook, I would make it this one, just for all the customization/crafting tables. At least until FFG finally releases the one career that doesn’t have a sourcebook yet: Bounty Hunter. I can’t wait!