The first sourcebook for Edge of the Empire, Enter the Unknown, focus on the Explorer. A 93 page full color hardcover, it is arranged in 3 chapters: Galactic Sojourners covering new mechanics, Outfitted for Adventure with new gear, and Grand Expeditions covering motivation and GM material. It retails for about 30 credits.
The first chapter, Galactic Sojourners, presents new mechanics for Explorer characters to use. First come new background and obligation ideas focused on the types of things Explorers are apt to do that other Edge characters will not. Next comes one of the few parts non-Explorer characters might be interested in: 3 new races. Chiss, Duros and Toydarians are now mechanically explained for your Edge games. Not only that, but a (very) brief blurb on each race is included providing insight into the race’s character.
After the new races are three new career specializations: The Archaeologist (in case you want to play Han Solo as Indiana Jones instead), The Big Game Hunter, and The Driver. The Archaeologist plays mostly as a rough and tumble barroom brawler who knows about old stuff and how to find it. (Not kidding about Indy) Meanwhile The Big Game Hunter does exactly that: hunt Big Game. If you want to go after Rancors this is the specialization for you. The Driver, of course, specializes in planetary craft. Whether you want to Transport something or simply be Fast and/or Furious, The Driver can get you there while on the surface of a planet.
The last mechanic is an entirely new one: the signature ability. Designed to be tacked onto the end of any Explorer talent tree, signature abilities provide an exciting new ability to high level Explorers. Like the Force powers, once you unlock the ability itself you also gain access to new talents to improve the ability in various ways. They also have an interesting mechanic of acquiring: each ties in to two different spots on the talent tree, such that you need to have already acquired both talents to unlock the ability.
Chapter two provides new gear focused around Explorers, though nothing of it is technically limited to them. A few new weapons primarily aimed at the Big Game Hunters, armor, scouting gear, hunting lures, and other personal gear you’d expect to find for Explorer types is presented with very nice descriptions provided for each piece. In addition to the personal gear several new speeders and space ships are provided stats and descriptions.
Finally, Chapter 3 feels more like a GM chapter than an Explorer’s chapter. It does provide some advice on Explorer motivations. Mainly, though, it provides good GM advice on scene structure, foreshadowing, and making good enemies. While all of the examples are Explorer based, this really felt like content that should have been in the GM screen/ GM chapter of the core book but was cut for space. That said I do feel it’s good content, especially for new GMs.
After the generic GM info is more specific to Explorers GM advice. A number of adventure ideas that would particularly appeal to Explorers are presented in enough detail to get you started without locking you into anything. Ideas for a few Nemeses specifically pitched for Explorers are presented. As are general ideas on how to incorporate Explorers into your campaign.
In all I found this a very valuable book for both Explorers and their GMs. I especially liked the GM advice presented in chapter 3, though I find its placement in this book odd. Explorers should certainly look into acquiring a copy of this book, especially those at the top of the talent tree who can take advantage of the signature abilities. And who doesn’t want to play Indiana Solo?
May the Force be with you!