Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG: Beginner’s Guide

Collection of dice

Fantasy Flight Star Wars role playing game comes in three flavors — Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, and Force and Destiny.

Each game has identical core mechanics and uses dices. However, that doesn’t mean they are all the same. It is important to understand that each version of the game builds a different perspective.

Edge of the Empire is more like the Wild West of the Star Wars universe, Age of the Rebellion offers an Empire-VS-Rebellion experience, and finally, the Force and Destiny is all about using force to seek the secrets while resisting the temptation to succumb to the dark side.

Sounds fun, right?

Some people like to view these games as “compatible”. Since the core mechanism and rules are almost the same, you can mix and match to come up with thrilling adventures. However, keep in mind that every game has some unique content.

There are 3 different core rule books, source books, and GM kits for Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG.

Find the Rules and other downloads here:

General Guidelines to Playing Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG

Playing this game is a lot of fun but if you are not well versed in the rules of the games, it can be a little daunting to play. So, once you get hold of the mechanics of the game, make sure you take some time to go through the rule books and the sourcebooks.

The core theme is the same for all the games. There is one Game Master (GM) and multiple players, who role-play different characters from Star Wars. Let’s learn a bit about some basic aspects of Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPGs.

The Game Master

Think of the GM as the narrator and controller of the game. They are responsible for creating and controlling the world in which the players interact. They can guide the players and make things interesting by introducing social or combat encounters in the game for the players. The task of determining the difficulty of player action is also a part of GM’s responsibilities. This allows them to determine if the player will succeed at the task which has been assigned to them in the game.


Based on the scenario of the game, players are required to play out their respective roles staying within the narrative set by the GM. Engaging in a thorough thought process, players make difficult decisions regarding character development to continue the game and finish their quest. The dice roll decides whether the decisions made by the players work in favor of their character or against it.

Character Characteristics

Each character has a set of 6 characteristics that help decide the abilities of the character. Think of it as a way of determining how good a character is at something. The six characteristics are:

  • Brawn
  • Agility
  • Intellect
  • Cunning
  • Willpower
  • Presence

The characteristics are graded, with 6 being the highest number or level. The higher the number for a characteristic, the better the character will be at utilizing that characteristic to set out of sticky situations in the game and complete their quest successfully.

For instance, a Cunning level 6 character will be able to manipulate other characters and talk their way out of most situations; a character with a high level of Brawn will be more of a fighter and will depend on his strength to survive and move forward in the game, and so on.

Dice Roll

The game-play revolves around the extensive dice roll system. This plays a huge part in deciding the fate of the character. While the dice roll system can seem a bit complex in theory, once you get the hang of it, you’ll never get bored again.

There are 6 types of primary dice, out of which 3 are positive and 3 are negative. A player rolls the dice depending on the characteristics of their character.

The Positive Dice

The three types of positive dice are:

  • Green ability dice
  • Yellow proficiency dice
  • Blue boost dice

The green dice is rolled based on the characteristics of the character and yellow dice is rolled keeping in mind the proficiency level for certain skills. The blue dice can be used based on the scenario to help a player out of a situation or in other words, boost their chances of success.

The Negative Dice

The three types of negative dice are:

  • Purple difficulty dice
  • Red challenge dice
  • Black setback dice

The purple die is added to the dice pool based on the difficulty level of the situation. The GM will tell the character to add these dice.

The purple dice is upgraded to a red challenge dice when the difficulty faced by the character is particularly challenging. Setback dice are added when the situation involves elements that can further setback the character’s quest.

Symbols on the Dice

The next thing you should know about is the various symbols on the dice. These symbols help determine the effects of the move on the character. Let’s take a look at different symbols that can alter the narrative of the story.

Success and Failure Symbols

Success symbols are present on the positive dice and failure symbols are apparent on the negative dice. When the dice are rolled, the failure symbols cancel out the success symbols. The remaining success or failure symbol that is not canceled out determines if the action taken by the character was successful or ended in failure.

Advantage and Threat Symbols

Just like success and failure symbols, the advantage and threat symbols also cancel out each other. The remaining symbol determines the flavor of the move. The flavor basically helps build the narrative of the game.

Triumph and Despair Symbols

Triumph and despair symbols represent critical successes or critical failure for the character. These symbols are present on yellow proficiency and red challenge dice.

White Force Dice

The white force dice is a special die. It is generally used with Force Powers in Force and Destiny. Apart from that, every player rolls this dice at the start of every session, regardless of the version of the game. It determines the number of destiny points that each player will start with.

What are Destiny Points?

Destiny points have many powerful functions. They can be used to upgrade dice during a roll, to activate hidden abilities, etc. In some scenarios, these points can also alter the narrative of the game. The players are responsible for controlling their light side points while the GM controls the dark side points for every player. Keep in mind that every time a light side destiny point is used, it becomes available as a dark side point for the GM and vice versa.

Rules of Combat

There are certain rules that you need to keep in mind when it comes to combat. Let’s take a look at a few things that you should consider to engage in combat.

Maneuver and Action

The combat is turn-based, which means that characters can engage in an action or a maneuver on their turn. An action refers to attacking the enemy or using a skill. On the other hand, maneuver simply refers to moving or aiming. The player can swap an action for a maneuver.

Range Span and Weapons

For instance, the difficulty level depends on the distance between the player and the enemy. These are the 5 range spans that need to be considered during combat:

  • Engaged
  • Short
  • Medium
  • Long
  • Extreme

The effectiveness of the weapons used during combat depends on these ranges. You can boost the weapon damage depending on the number of additional success of the character.

Types of Thresholds

Wound Threshold and Strain Threshold

Another combat rule that you need to keep in mind involves the wound threshold and the strain threshold of the character. Exceeding these thresholds leads to unconsciousness and if an unconscious character is attacked by an enemy, it results in a critical injury, which can even result in death.

Halt Trauma and System Strain

In the case of vehicular combat, the halt trauma and system strain are used to track vehicular damage. Apart from these basic combat rules, there are multiple rules to determine the damage

Time to Play!

This is all the crucial information that you require to start with a Fantasy Flight Star Wars role playing game. However, to play like a real pro, it is advisable to go through a core rule book. It will help you fully understand the rules, increasing the fun for everyone.

There’s a lot more that you can learn about the game but as a beginner, you are good to go on a star war adventure with this information. Remember, Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPGs are more than just a game, it’s a complete adventure. So, unlock the mysteries of the Star Wars universe and test your skills, fate, and destiny to be a true Star Wars hero!

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I'm a hobby enthusiast with a real love for painting miniatures. I also happen to run this site and write the majority of its content!