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May 2016

Desperate Allies

In a universe filled with Jedi Knights, daring smugglers, cunning generals, starship aces, and warrior princesses being a diplomat can sometimes seem like a less than worthwhile pastime. Sure Leia Organna spent years in the Imperial Senate trying to effect change from within the system, but otherwise much of the picture of the diplomatic process painted by the Star Wars universe isn’t a favorable one. That’s one reason why I love Desperate Allies so much. It’s a source book for Diplomats from fantasy Flight’s Age of Rebellion and it also happens to be one of my favorite books for the series to date.

The book provides statistics for three new races Caamsi, Gossam, and Nemoidians. Caamsi are furred humanoids who excel in diplomacy but they were adamant opponents to the military buildup that occurred throughout the Republic during the Clone Wars. Just after Emperor Palpatine dissolved the Republic he also ordered the destruction of the Caamsi’s home world, although he took steps to ensure his involvement wasn’t public knowledge. The Gossam are members of a small reptilian species who colluded with Count Dooku and the Separatists during the Clone Wars. Their involvement resulted in their planet’s occupation by Imperial forces, and their entire species being banned from Coruscant. Nemoidians are relatives of the Duros species, a race of spacefaring mercantile schemers who are almost universally despised. Many blame them for helping to create the conditions that allowed the Empire to rise to power, and others simply distrust them due to their poor reputations.

Three new specializations for the Diplomat career are presented for those who didn’t find what they were looking for among the options in the Age of Rebellion core book.  The Advocate, Analyst, Propagandist are all new options that offer different avenues for those wishing to explore a career in politics. The Advocate is part advisor part strategists who utilizing insight and debate to highlight the flaws in the opposition while enhancing the arguments of their political allies. They usually aren’t the forefront of the movement, preferring to be the power behind the throne rather than taking a seat themselves. Analysts are experts in collect and utilizing raw data to inflict maximum effect politically. These are the people who can turn otherwise meaningless information into a weapon. Finally the book presents the Propagandist experts at shifting the truth to support whatever causes they want it to. During the Rebellion they utilize their talents to rally support for the rebels while painting the Empire as an even more tyrannical government than they already are.

For players there are a number of interesting pieces of equipment presented including: ceremonial weapons and clothing, pieces of commonly used technology like datatpads, a number of non-lethal grenades and blasters, as well as a few other interesting items to make a day at the Imperial Senate more lively to say the least.

If you listened to our Counterforce podcast a few months back you might remember a protocol droid named BU-GY who joined the party on their adventure. The stats for the LOM-Series protocol droid can be found in the book along with several other variations for other types of protocol droids.

Vehicles used to shuttle diplomats and their staff across and between planets can also be found in abundance here. Luxury landspeeders rest side by side with such vessels as the J-Type Diplomatic Barge that once carried Queen Amidala safely away from Naboo. Also included are some options for modifying existing starships for diplomatic missions, whether you want to ass luxury compartments or an advanced encryption array.

In truth I think Desperate Allies is something that the Diplomat could really use to make it a more worthwhile career. Excelling and really throwing yourself into the theme of the character could set you apart from a sea of other players who want to make the next Princess Leia. Signature abilities such as Diplomatic Solution and Unmatched Insight give players the options to add a unique ability to their skill trees.

Rating: 5/5

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Lords of Nal Hutta

Lords of Nal Hutta

Easily one of my favorite source books for Edge of the Empire is Lords of Nal Hutta, a book that gives a detail explanation of all things Hutt. While this book doesn’t provide any new specializations for careers it does provide a lot of other useful information. For anyone planning to run a game set in or around Hutt Space this is an invaluable tool filled with tons of great information.

There are some stats for new races presented, most of them being species commonly found in Hutt territory. Details for the Hutts, Ganks, Niktos, and Sakiyan species are provided giving you some interesting options for new player characters and NPCs in the service of the Hutts. Ganks are a species of mercenaries and bounty hunters clad in heavy armor, and they are also unique in their proclivity for cybernetic enhancement. They are known for being some of the most dangerous hired guns and killers in the galaxy. Niktos are sturdy slave soldiers who toil for their Hutt masters. The book provides statistics doe the Nikto subraces, each of which traces their origins to a different region. Sakiyans are among the best trackers and hunters in the galaxy rivaling the Trandoshans and the Gand, fortunately they rarely taken an interest in galactic affairs. The Sakiyan code of honor which is central to their way of life is also explained. Personal honor and the honor of their clans are both highly prized, and any minor slight could lead to bloodshed. The Hutts are of course ponderous crime lords with considerable strength, cunning, and personalities.

A lot of time and attention is devoted to explain how the various Hutt crime families interact with one another. The personalities the drive the families are also explored and their motivations are thoroughly examined. It’s interesting to see how the Hutts stack up against one another, because even though the families are technically allied with one another they’re also vying for power against each other. Details for some of the major planets in Hutt space are also provided, making it practical to run a game on or among them. Nal Hutta is the seat of the Hutt’s power, a swampy world the Hutts conquered it and eventually. Nar Shaddaa is the largest of Nal Hutta’s five moons and it is a major center of trade and wealth in for the Hutts. Varl is the Hutt’s homewolrd but it was devastated and reduced to a wasteland unfit for habitation. Whether this was the result of a natural disaster or a conflict between the clans known as the Cataclysms remains a point of debate. After the Hutts abandoned the planet it was deemed off-limits. Kintan is the homeworld of the Kintan and it was here that the species was exposed to the radiation of a supernova that splintered them into five subspecies. Klatooine is a world with a single true spaceport that serves as another base of operations for the Hutts, the Trade Guild, and pirates of smugglers hoping to take advantage of the isolated planet. Saki is the homeworld of the Sakiyans is a lush world and nearly every inch of its surface is covered in jungle, the Sakiyans built urban centers that float over the surface so as to leave the environment undisturbed. Sriluur is a harsh world that the Hutts once conquered in order to exploits its mineral resources and to make slaves of the local inhabitants. Toydaria is a bog planet that provides food and a resort to the Hutts. The book details locations and information on each of these worlds and more.

For GMs looking for more ships to add to their potential fleets there’s a small selection of Hutt ships and vehicles. Most of these would only rarely be seen outside of Hutt space, but maybe you have a smuggler who did business with the Hutts in the past?

In all I do think this book is more useful for GMs than it is for players, but anyone with an interest in the mysteries of Hutt Space will find something worth looking at here. Most of the races here are pretty exotic and wouldn’t appear commonly throughout the rest of the galaxy. There are some sample encounters provided as well, so it is useful as a jumping off point for a campaign set on around Hutt worlds.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Episode 71: Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG

I this episode of the podcast I discuss my like and dislikes in relation to Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and Force and Destiny from Fantasy Flight.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/378906-episode-71-fantasy-flight-star-wars-rpgs-let-the-hate-flow-through-you

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