10 Of Our Favourite Sci-Fi Themed Roleplaying Games

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I will readily admit that the 10 games listed here may divide some in terms of whether they could be truly defined as sci-fi, and some may be even further divided when the list here may omit their particular favourite (As our previous, D&D alternatives, fantasy and horror lists certainly did). But you know, that’s ok as it’s just my subjective list of what I love. Are they the best? Are they the definitive 10 titles? Probably not. But they are a list mainly off the top of my head of games that I have played, or intend to play after collecting PDF’s and physical copies galore of the subjects. Oh, and I’ve also not included any sci-fi titles included in the D&D alternatives list.

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This gut feeling choosing method as resulted in one coincidental anomaly, in the form of 3 games from Free League Publishing. So while I will freely admit (as my previous reviews will acknowledge) that they are pretty much the prime publishers of consistently high quality material, it was purely by chance that so many of their products appear here. If truth be told, there could have been more if Coriolis – The Third Horizon and Death in Space had made my personal top 10.

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So I’m more than happy your you to include in the comments below suggestions for other titles that should find their way into future lists…… I’m sure there’s loads that I’ve ‘missed’!

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Blade Runner
(From Free League Publishing)

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This is the BLADE RUNNER roleplaying game – a neon-noir wonderland that’ll take your breath away. One way or another. An evocative world of conflicts and contrasts that dares to ask the hard questions and investigate the powers of empathy, the poisons of fear, and the burdens of being human during inhumane times. An iconic and unforgiving playground of endless possibilities that picks you up, slaps you in the face, and tells you to wake up.

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Time to live. Or time to die.

The official Blade Runner RPG will propel players into the streets of Los Angeles as Blade Runners with unique specialties, personalities – and memories.

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The core game and its line of expansions pushes the boundaries of investigative gameplay in tabletop RPGs, giving players a range of tools to solve an array of cases far beyond retiring Replicants. Beyond the core casework, the RPG both in setting and mechanics showcases the key themes of Blade Runner – sci-fi action, corporate intrigue, existential character drama, and moral conflict – that challenge you to question your friends, empathize with your enemies, and explore the poisons and perseverance of hope and humanity during such inhumane times.

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The rules of the game are based on the acclaimed Year Zero Engine, used in award-winning games such as the ALIEN RPG, Tales From the Loop and Forbidden Lands, but further developed and uniquely tailored for Blade Runner.

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Starfinder
(From Paizo)


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Blast off into a galaxy of adventure with the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! Step into your powered armor and grab your magic-infused laser rifle as you investigate the mysteries of a weird universe with your bold starship crew. Will you delve for lost artifacts in the ruins of alien temples? Strap on rune-enhanced armor and a laser rifle to battle undead empires in fleets of bone ships, or defend colonists from a swarm of ravenous monsters? Maybe you’ll hack into the mainframe of a god-run corporation, or search the stars for clues to the secret history of the universe or brand new planets to explore. Whether you’re making first contact with new cultures on uncharted worlds or fighting to survive in the neon-lit back alleys of Absalom Station, you and your team will need all your wits, combat skill, and magic to make it through. But most of all, you’ll need each other.

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The massive 528-page hardcover rulebook is the essential centerpiece of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with rules for character creation, magic, gear, and more—everything you need to play Starfinder as either a player or Game Master! The next great adventure in science-fantasy roleplaying takes off here, and the Starfinder Core Rulebook is your ticket to a lifetime of adventure amid the stars!

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Inside the book, you’ll find:

All of the rules you need to play or run a game of Starfinder.

Seven character classes, from the elite soldier and stealthy operative to the physics-hacking technomancer and mind-bending mystic.

Character species both new and classic, from androids, insectile shirrens, ratlike ysoki, and reptilian vesk to the dwarves and elves of the distant future.

An in-depth exploration of the Starfinder setting, including its planets, gods, factions, and threats.

Hundreds of weapons, spells, technological gadgets, magic items, and other options to outfit any character.

Complete rules for starships, including customization and starship combat.

Rules and tips on using Pathfinder RPG content with Starfinder.

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Cyberpunk Red
(From R. Talsorian)

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Welcome to the Time of the Red, Choomba! The Megacorporations spent decades wrecking everything and in the aftermath of their last War, everyone has to fend for themselves.

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But that’s just fine. You can handle it. After all, in a world of vicious boostergangs, rampaging cyborgs, corporate assassins, and nihilistic doomsday cults, there’s only one rule: Always take it to the Edge.

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Take the big risks, get the big rewards. Be the action, start the rebellion, light the fire. Never drive slow when you can blaze a trail.

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You’ve hooked your Militech pistol to the interface in your brain; upgraded your cybernetic fist with carbo-glas blades; and installed cybereyes that can pierce through the red haze like morning fog. There’s a world full of opportunities out there, just waiting for the right Edgerunner. Maybe that’s you.

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Cyberpunk RED is the latest edition of the classic tabletop roleplaying game of the Dark Future and encompasses everything you need to explore the post-War world of the Time of the Red, including:

A dense, deep-dive into the history and geography of Night City and the greater Cyberpunk world, and plenty of the lore about the Time of the Red.

Ten unique Roles for you to play: charismatic Rockerboys, lethal Solos, quick-hacking Netrunners, inventive Techs, lifesaving (and taking) Medtechs, hard-hitting Medias, duty-bound Lawmen, scheming Execs, clever Fixers, and range-riding Nomads.

A huge collection of useful tools, powerful weapons, protective armor, and gleaming cyberware to help you rule the Street.

Three Screamsheet adventures to show you what Cyberpunk is all about.

Pregenerated opponents perfect for populating the Combat Zones and Corporate compounds, plus encounters that use them to bring the City to life.

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Want to try out Cyberpunk RED but not ready to take the big plunge? They’ve got you covered. Check out the Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit, the perfect introduction to the Cyberpunk universe. Or, if you want to go classic, you can always pick up the legendary previous edition of this game, Cyberpunk 2020.

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Star Trek Adventures
(From Modiphius)

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Starfleet needs a new crew!

Welcome to your new assignment, Captain. Your continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before… Star Trek Adventures takes you to the Final Frontier of the Galaxy, where new discoveries await keen explorers of Starfleet. Your duties may take you to the edges of known space, or to Federation colonies in need, to the borders of neighbouring galactic powers or into the eye of interstellar phenomena. Your ship and your crew epitomise the best Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets has to offer, and you are needed more than ever.

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A new threat looms from across the Gamma Quadrant, as it is confirmed by Commander Sisko and his crew that the Dominion, led by the Founders, represent a significant threat to the Alpha Quadrant. Tension is already high in the region of Bajor and Deep Space 9, as the Maquis continue to act against the Cardassian-Federation peace treaty, with Captain Janeway and the crew of the U.S.S. Voyager preparing for their mission in the Badlands. It is a volatile time for the Federation and new crews have never been in higher demand.

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The Core Rule book contains:

• Create your own Star Trek stories of discovery and adventure on the Final Frontier with 368 pages of content (check out the sample spreads in the images). Full colour hardback, features a matte laminate cover. 

• Complete 2d20 game system from Modiphius Entertainment adapted for Star Trek Adventures, used in Mutant ChroniclesConan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of, John Carter of Mars and the Infinity RPG.

• An extensive exploration of the United Federation of Planets and its galactic neighbours in the Alpha, Beta and Gamma Quadrants.

• Guidelines for Gamemasters old and new, on how to run an adventure of exploration and discovery for the crew of a Federation starship.

• A full catalogue of aliens and antagonists including Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, the Borg and the Dominion.

• Brought to you by a team of expert Star Trek writers including writers from previous editions of Star Trek roleplaying games and other gaming talent.

• Personal logs and intercepted communications by Starfleet Intelligence provide a new perspective on Star Trek and its events.

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Cy_Borg
(From Free League Publishing)

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The world is ending. ⸐

Again and again and again and again and again a̶n̴͗d̵̥͒ ̸̎ă̶ġ̸a̵̢͗i̶͙̓n̸̡̔ ă̵̢̫̥̺̻̞n̵͔̽̿̏̓͋͠͝d̴̢̪̟͊ ̵̡̺̖̰̯͖̞̓̑̐̈́̍̋a̶̤̘̖͗͐̀̔̚̚g̴̛͇̻̦̻͇̲̈́̏à̷̩̫͒ḯ̷̡̱̀̀̀͠ṇ̶̦̔͜.

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Constantly in flux; shifting, d̵̃is̴to̴rt̷in̶g̷, always reborn as something worse. Destruction by ecological catastrophes, the fallout of history’s belligerence; by modern man-made Miseries or the blood spilled by the reckless machine of capitalist supremacy. Mankind’s greatest ability truly is to destroy itself in creative ways. Designer demise, consumer-customized death, endlessly on repeat.

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Poisonous space rocks, nuclear weapons, cyclical revolutions, warring nations, warring corporations, warring neighbors; pandemics, tsunamis, volcanoes. In between it all: direct person-machine interfaces, tactical neural implants, and bacteria from outer space hijacking intercellular nanorobotics. And the sky is full of ads. Everyone is interfaced/injected/in̴fe̴cted̶/infested with something. Everyone wants something from everyone else. Everyone is a liar and a cheat. Everyone wants more creds. ¤¤¤¤¤¤¤

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Welcome to the year 20X3.

Welcome to the City of Y!̸͆̅̌”̶͌̉#̸͇̞̻̌̚”̶̨̻̘̇̉̊͆̈́͒̌̆̓̕͜#̶̖̣̘̻͖̥͕̙̀̃̈́́̄̕̕͜͠2̶̧̻̺̝̥̮̣̒͒̂͐͐̍́́͘̕̕4̴̿̌’̷̛̙͍̠̙̿

The Cy.

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CY_BORG is a complete rules-light, rage-heavy tabletop roleplaying game based on and compatible with MÖRK BORG. Easy to play, easy to hack.

In it you’ll find:

A drive-by description of the megacity Cy after the Incident: from its rotting slums where gangs, cults and military corporations wage war, to the blinding scraper forests, neon cathedrals and holo-shimmering arcologies of Central and the toxic industrial hell zones shrouding it all in poisonous (but CYstainable Planet™ Certified) death smog.

Quick and dirty character creation where the roll of the dice determines who your punk is, what they’re capable of and who they owe money to.

d66 Miserable Headlines making the rounds on the news and feeds with varying regularity, each one heralding chaos and destruction wracking the city until the cataclysmic conclusion seven headlines in. 

A minimal, simple system designed to stay out of the way and to be easily modded and customized. Rulings before rules. MÖRK BORG at its core, with a few tweaks and updates.

Optional rules and tables: Add tactical crunch to your violence with combat mods for cover, suppressive fire and more. Six classes for your class war, including the Forsaken Gang-Goon, the Shunned Nanomancer and the Renegade Cyberslasher. Tables adding depth and character to your punk, such as Style, Quirks and Current Obsession.

Random Generators facilitating near-endless play: missions, locations, corporations, cults and npcs populating the accelerating apocalypse.

Equipment (of varying legality) like guns and specialized ammo booster plug-ins, intelligent body armor, cybertech, decks fitted with custom Apps, and almost-controllable Nano powers with their latent infestations.

25+ foes to fight. From the countless soldiers of the SecCorps and gangs to corrupted Nanophreaks, soulless drones and cydroids, state-of-the-art combat vehicles and the ethereal, digital apparitions classified as Ghosts.

The introductory heist Lucky Flight Takedown. Scope and infiltrate the Lucky Flight Casino, clear the debt data and/or shut the whole operation down. Should be a quick and easy job, right?

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Tales From the Loop
(From Free League Publishing)

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Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was

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In 1954, the Swedish government ordered the construction of the world’s largest particle accelerator. The facility was complete in 1969, located deep below the pastoral countryside of Mälaröarna. The local population called this marvel of technology The Loop.

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Acclaimed scifi artist Simon Stålenhag’s paintings of Swedish 1980s suburbia, populated by fantastic machines and strange beasts, have spread like wildfire on the Internet. Stålenhag’s portrayal of a childhood against a backdrop of old Volvo cars and coveralls, combined with strange and mystical machines, creates a unique atmosphere that is both instantly recognizable and utterly alien.

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Now, for the first time, you will get the chance to step into the amazing world of the Loop.

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In this  game, you play teenagers in the late Eighties, solving Mysteries connected to the Loop. Choose between character Types such as the Bookworm, the Troublemaker, the Popular Kid and the Weirdo. Everyday Life is full of nagging parents, never-ending homework and classmates bullying and being bullied.

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The Mysteries let the characters encounter the strange machines and weird creatures that have come to haunt the countryside after the Loop was built. The kids get to escape their everyday problems and be part of something meaningful and magical – but also dangerous.

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The core rulebook contains several complete Mysteries to play and a complete campaign setting, based on the Mälaröarna islands outside of Stockholm. In addition, the core rulebook includes an alternative campaign setting in a US locationbased on Boulder CityNevada. The US setting text is written by the award-winning game writer and author Matt Forbeck.

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Traveller
(From Mongoose Publishing)

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This is Free Trader Beowulf, calling anyone…Mayday, Mayday… We are under attack…Main drive is gone… Turret number one not responding…Mayday… Losing cabin pressure fast, calling anyone…Please help… This is Free Trader Beowulf……Mayday…

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Traveller is a science fiction roleplaying game of bold explorers and brave adventurers. The Traveller Core Rulebook Update 2022 contains everything you need to create one of these adventures and begin exploring the galaxy.

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Spaceports, ancient civilisations, air/rafts, cold steel blades, laser carbines, far distant worlds, and exotic alien beasts – this is the futuristic universe of Traveller, the original and classic science fiction roleplaying game.

Come visit the far future.

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The Traveller Core Rulebook Update 2022 has been fully revised for this edition and contains many tweaks and rules updates, as well as a brand new, highest quality interior format with lashings of top tier art to immerse you in the far future.

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Scum & Villainy
(From Evil Hat Productions)

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Unwise deals. Blaster fights. High adventure among the stars. Welcome to the world of Scum and Villainy.

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Scum and Villainy is a Forged in the Dark game about a spaceship crew trying to make ends meet under the iron-fisted rule of the Galactic Hegemony.

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Work with the members of your crew to thrive despite powerful criminal syndicates, warring noble families, dangerous aliens, and strange mystics. Explore the ruins of lost civilizations for fun and profit. Can your motley crew hold it together long enough to strike it big and insure your fame across the sector?

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Scum and Villainy is a stand-alone RPG based on the Forged in the Dark game engine. In this book, you’ll find:

A clear gameplay structure that puts the focus on the criminal undertakings of the crew. A session of play consists of a job followed by recovery, downtime projects, and advancement.

Ship “character sheets” that allow for XP spends, upgrades, and leveling up alongside your characters.

Crew advancement opportunities to reflect the change from a ragtag group barely flying in the black to a reputed crew that has built a name across the sector.

Forged in the Dark tools to help keep the focus on the action of the job rather than the extensive planning needed to make it happen.

Character and ship types to help create a unique and interesting crew at light speed.

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May your ship fly true, and may your blasters never jam.

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Warhammer 40,000 : Wrath & Glory
(From Cubicle 7 Games)

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A GRIM FUTURE OF GLORIOUS ADVENTURE

The sinister schemes of the Chaos Gods have shattered the galaxy. The Great Rift tore through space and reality, pushing mortal life to the precipice of oblivion. The Gilead System has lost contact with the vast Imperium, trapped in the silent darkness. As the shadows of extinction loom, hope fades but is not yet entirely extinguished.

Rallied by the Rogue Trader Jakel Varonius, a disparate group are dedicated to doing what must be done to keep the Gilead System from being consumed by the darkness. Can they resist the machinations of Chaos as well as the plots of those who see the rift as an opportunity to further their own power?

Time is running out in the 41st Millennium. This accursed age needs heroes more than ever before.

Will you answer the call?

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Wrath & Glory is the story of the Gilead System, eight Imperial worlds cut off from the Emperor’s light by the Great Rift. The new Rulebook focuses on the Gilead System, allowing you to tell your own stories in a society beset by daemonic invasion and internal corruption.

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Character Creation has been streamlined, with a focus on Frameworks. With so many choices of who and what you can play, you’ll want to decide the focus of your game early!

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The Factions Chapter is a primer on life in the 41st Millennium, detailing each of the organisations vying for supremacy in the Warp-torn Gilead System. Here you’ll find expanded background options for every Faction, each of which provides a bonus during play.

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The Archetypes you know and love have been presented in an easy-to-read, single-page format. All requirements have been removed, and extra bonuses have been added to complement the slight changes to Wrath & Glory. The Attribute, Skill, and Talent suggestions are ideal for guiding new players through making a character, or building quick NPCs on the fly.

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The Wrath & Glory Talent list has been massively expanded into an entire chapter for a greater range of character customisation. Some of these are classic Warhammer fare we know and love — tearing through armour, proficiency with blazing promethium, and, of course, MORE DAKKA! There are other choices for investigative or social-based games. Talents like Conversational Cogitator bring the focus back to roleplaying, letting you use the augmetics of your mechanised mind to calculate the best response in any conversation.

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Once you’ve survived a few adventures (hopefully without losing too many limbs), you’ll have gathered some Experience Points (XP). The new Advancement chapter has overhauled the Ascension system, allowing you to change Archetypes, take new Ascension Packages, or just spend your XP on cool stuff. The system is designed to be both robust and flexible to suit any group.

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The essential Rules have been reviewed, edited, playtested, and presented with a focus on clarity and quick understanding. Very little has changed bar a few simplifications, which will mean you’re using the book less and your imagination more.

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Combat is around every corner in the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium. We’ve gone through all the errata for Wrath & Glory, taking the same approach as with the Rules. Combat is largely unchanged, apart from simplification, clarification, and some cool new optional rules, including an entirely new Stealth system.

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Star Wars: Edge of The Empire
(From Fantasy Flight Games)

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Enjoy grim and gritty adventures in places where morality is gray and nothing is certain. Ply your trade as a smuggler in the Outer Rim, collect bounties on the scum that live in the shadows of Coruscant, or try to establish a new colony on a planet beneath the Empire’s notice. The Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook provides everything you and your friends need to experience life in the shadiest and most remote locations in the Star Wars universe…

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Explore locations where the Empire’s laws and influence are dimmed or muted. Meet shady characters, independent thinkers, and insurgents looking to break free of Imperial law. In an Edge of the Empire campaign, bounty hunters, smugglers, mercenaries, and explorers may find themselves working alongside doctors, politicians, and scholars.

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All characters in Edge of the Empire begin with an Obligation that compels them forward. You may owe thousands of credits to a Hutt, or you may have a bounty on your head. Perhaps, you’re still trying to kick a nagging stim addiction. You may even be bound by a sense of duty, looking for every opportunity to aid the Rebels who saved your family from a Stormtrooper brigade.

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Edge of the Empire uses a unique Obligation mechanic to hook you into its stories and to define the smugglers, scoundrels, outlaws, and other souls willing to assume the risks inherent with adventures in the galaxy’s most shadowy locations. Throughout your campaigns, you can work to fulfill your Obligation, or you can take on new Obligations. But beware, in Edge of the Empire, everyone’s got a past, and characters’ pasts have a way of catching up with them!

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Edge of the Empire adds to the narrative impact of your skill checks with the addition of “advantage” and “threat” results. Your character may successfully repair the transfer circuits in his ship just in time for a dramatic jump to light-speed only to come out of hyperspace in the middle of an asteroid field. He may take a wrong turn into a dead-end alley while trying to outrun a pair of Gamorrean mercenaries but discover that the Gamorrean’s are susceptible to bribes. No matter the situation, your skill checks do more than just resolve a single action; they help drive the story forward!

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