Sunday, 18 January 2015

Review - Star Wars Force and Destiny Beta rulebook




By Fantasy Flight Games

The Force and Destiny Beta Rulebook is the precursor to the full roleplaying game due out from Fantasy Flight Games soon. It’s the final book in the series of core rulebooks and it’s probably one that a lot of fans have been waiting for. This rulebook covers the powers of the Force and the people that wield these mysterious abilities.

First off, the cover is really cool and atmospheric. The image of the Jedi Temple with an Imperial shuttle parked outside is impressive and very telling; the Empire control everything, and this former bastion of the Jedi Order is now in their hands, their power gone from the universe. It’s a very good indicator of what to expect in the book.

And what you get in the book is just that – the era when the Jedi Order was diminished and the only two fully-fledged Jedis were hiding on a desert world and a swamp planet. The players get to play force users not at the height of their abilities, but fledgling force users in danger of being hunted and destroyed by the agents of the Empire. If you had any ideas about your PC giving someone a hard stare, igniting your lightsabre and leaping impossibly high into the air to bring untold lasersword destruction on your foes, you may be somewhat disappointed.

The game is written with the idea that the PCs can use the Force and are trying to keep true to the old Jedi way, hunted and constantly in danger. This makes for some great roleplaying opportunities; do you use that power and give yourself away? Are the people trustworthy, or will they sell you out to the Imperials for a few creds? Are your team members trustworthy? It certainly would make for some great drama, but this is Star Wars and jumping about the place Force-pushing bad guys off ledges and blazing a trail through the enemy with a sabre is pretty much a must, surely. This book doesn’t really cover that but that’s not to say that you can’t adapt it to take place in your chosen era, such as the Clone Wars or The Old Republic. It’d take a lot of work but it’s totally possible.

There are new rules for using the Force, as well as a new mechanic about Morality - so that you know if you’re bending to the Light or the Dark side of the Force. This is a nice little mechanic that encourages roleplaying so that PCs don’t just turn into Force-choking killing machines, and it even encourages playing the Dark side of the Force so that you can have a go at being devious and calculating, and even allow for the age-old redemption storyline.

There are six Careers in the game; Consular, Guardian, Mystic, Seeker, Sentinel, and Warrior. Along with these we get Force powers to use, all in line with the original film trilogy.

So, what we have here is a good book with the atmosphere and feel of the previous two rulebooks, with some nice extra rules for Force users but limited access to what a Jedi can really do. The PCs you’ll be able to play will not be as powerful as the Jedi or Sith – heck, they’ll not be as powerful as Luke Skywalker in the movies – but you will get to touch on the all-encompassing Force and create some really good characters and adventures to roleplay out.

This is just a precursor to the full rulebook, but if it follows the same track as the previous books then there won’t be too much difference between this and the final release. If this is the case, then this promises to expand the character options of the gaming group even further, and in turn help to expand the fun you’re going to have with the Star Wars roleplaying game.