Review – Beyond the Rim (Star Wars RPG)

At GenCon this year, in addition to the Age of Rebellion Beta book, Fantasy Flight also released an adventure module for Edge of the Empire. I know it’s taken a while (I blame real life. When did it become almost November?) But I’ve managed to finish and review it. Beyond the Rim is a 96 page full color hardback that retails for about $30.

This book is purely an adventure book. It contains a three act adventure for new characters, though if your party has some adventuring already under their belts there’s advice on how to alter the difficulty to properly challenge them.

Since this is an adventure book I’m going to attempt to avoid spoilers, but I do have to mention at least some of the content. If you’re the type who doesn’t want any spoilers at all, consider yourself warned. Otherwise I intend to divulge no more than the back cover does.

SPOILER BREAK — MILD SPOILERS BELOW

The adventure starts on the Wheel, a space station on the outer rim, apparently from the 70s era comics. A Twi’lek merchant calls in a favor from the PCs (via the obligation mechanic) to hunt down a mythical treasure ship about which a new lead has just surfaced. Act 1 takes place on the station and ends when the party sets off. Act 2 takes place on a remote and wild world full of beasts to attack the players and wilderness to explore. While there the players need to deal with what remains of the wreck, as well as others who have heard of the find and would also like to profit from its return. Act 3 has the players returning what they found of the crash to their employer at his base on Raxus Prime, which of course comes with its own complications. (Just once I’d like things to go according to the gorram plan)

In addition to the adventure the book includes information on all of the planets featured, stats for a number of new adversaries and vehicles, and a few other crunchy bits you could use outside the game. As you’d expect from a Fantasy Flight RPG the book is beautiful, full of wonderful art showcasing the Star Wars universe, including a few maps for the game. If you’re willing to cover text several pages will give nice visuals for the players to stoke their imagination. Or you can just keep them to yourself as the GM.

The adventure includes many different divergent paths – places where the PCs can alter the flow of what is to happen, either by influencing events that otherwise occur on a timetable or choosing how to approach the task at hand. The writer obviously has experience with players and knows how inventive they can sometimes be, giving lots of different ways to solve several of the problems presented. You can fight your way out, sure, but the non-combat PCs will find plenty to do in this campaign, with many skill checks available throughout the campaign that aren’t just combat checks. And these aren’t just bones tossed to those players, there are a few places where a successful non-combat check can drastically alter the flow of the campaign in ways that a combat check would end up much less favorably for the players.

That’s actually one of my favorite things of this adventure book: it gives concrete examples of how to use many of the skills. When I first read the core rule book I thought Astrogation checks seemed superfluous, the profession skill of the system, but I now see the point of that skill and why a pilot player should invest a few points into it. Also good in the adventure is the showcase of planets. An excellent job was done bringing in the feel of Star Wars locations, such as the Jungle planet of Cholganna. Good detail was also spent on the character background. Many pages are spent throughout the book detailing the backgrounds of the places you’ll go, people you’ll meet, and beasts you’ll kill.

In all, Beyond the Rim presents a solid adventure for your players, with enough twists and turns to leave them guessing without pulling twists out of left field (assuming the PCs were paying attention). It doesn’t really contain anything you’d miss out on if you don’t care for adventure books, but if you want a good mission to begin your campaign with this seems a fine choice, giving the players plenty of time to shine while feeling part of a larger universe. The story and setting feel right at home in the Star Wars universe without being too on the nose about it, and the options presented for continuing adventures all seem like excellent seeds for the GM to pick up or drop as fits their campaign.

If you’re stuck for adventure ideas for your party of rogues and smugglers I’d definitely recommend this book to give you not just a starter campaign but ideas and seeds for many more adventures to follow.

May the Force be with you!

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