Star Wars Fantasy Flight RPG — Dice System Explained

Back when Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars tabletop RPG series was announced, they changed the way dice games were done. They promised to deliver something completely unique from the other RPG tabletop games and they truly did deliver on it.

It let to the introduction of three tabletop RPG’s in the Star Wars Series. Today, you can pick from the following:

Due to this, the Fantasy Flight Star Wars series stands out from its predecessors for a number of different reasons. However, the biggest reason why it stands out is that is has a completely unique dice system.

This means that there can be a bit of a learning curve, especially if you’re used to playing with the systems that the previous ones incorporated.

The Inception of the Dice System

This unique dice system, also known as the Narrative Dice system was originally created for the 3rd edition of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay game by Flight Fantasy. When the Star Wars game was made, the dice system was incorporated into it because it made storytelling easier.

The dice also accounted for skills such as the Force, the Dark side and other attributes that the Star Wars characters posses. It also accounts for non-tangible skills, like the Force. For newcomers to the tabletop RPG world, these dice might appear easier to use than other systems.

Unfortunately, seasoned players struggle the most with this new dice system. They have to unlearn previous systems which applied not just to the Star War games but to other tabletop RPG’s. Luckily, we are here to help you understand this area more.

So, let’s take a closer look at the dice system of the Fantasy Flight Star Wars series:

First Glance – The Dice in Fantasy Flight Star Wars

At first glance, you will see that the game involves the use of 6 dice. However, not all of them are used at the same time. The dice are custom made and polyhedral in shape. If you picked up the beta version of the Star Wars: Edge of the Empire pack, you can also get some dice stickers.

The rule book of this pack included 14 stickers which allow you to convert any regular polyhedral dice into one which you can use for this board game. The dice focus on the results for your luck and your skill levels. Each time the dice are used, it is known as a skill check.

The story will have key moments where some or all the dice will be used to see how the character’s skills can help them navigate through the scenarios.

The Symbols on the Dice

When you take a look at the dice, you will notice that instead of numbers, it has a lot of symbols on it.

Knowing what those symbols mean can help you to interpret the success or failure of the skill check. Additionally, the symbols also cancel each other or boost the attributes of the players.

Symbols on the dice

We’re listing down those symbols mean – follow the chart above from green to purple or from left to right:

1. Success

These are the most common symbols and they denote the chances of success a person has. These can only be canceled out by the Failure symbol. At the end of each check, if there is even one Success symbol left, the check will be a success.

2. Triumph

For non-special events, these will be viewed upon as Success symbols. However, Triumph symbols can also be used to trigger a positive but powerful consequence.

3. Advantage

The advantage is a positive symbol and will prevent the negative consequences from affecting you, even if the check was a failure. This means the outcome is still in your favor. The Advantage symbol is not affected by the Failure symbol but can be canceled by the Threat symbol.

4. Failure

These are another common symbol and they are used to oppose the success of a person. Failure symbols will actively cancel out the Success symbol. If all the Success symbols are canceled out, then the check will be a failure.

5. Despair

Despair is a negative symbol and will cancel out Success as well since they count as Failure symbols for non-special events. These can also be used to trigger events with negative but powerful consequences.

6. Threat

The last symbol is ‘Threat’ which is used to establish a negative consequence or the side effect. This can apply even if the check was successful.

These can cancel out the Advantage symbol. However, the Advantage symbol can also cancel it which means if you have enough Advantage, the Threat will be canceled.

Now that you understand what the symbols on the dice mean, let’s interpret what the colors mean.

The Colors of the Dice

When you first notice them, the colors of the dice won’t make any rhyme or reason to you. Luckily, it is easy to learn just what they mean. Each dice will have the symbols we discussed earlier etched on their sides.

The following is what each color dice means and what it is used for:

1. Green – Ability Dice

This is an 8 sided dice and will have black markings on it. This directly corresponds with the character’s attributes level. These only have the Advantage and Success symbols on them along with blank sides. Each character will get an additional green dice for their skill check based on how much they raise their attribute level from their base stats.

2. Purple – Difficulty Dice

The difficulty dice are an 8 sided dice and has white markings on its surface. Since this dice corresponds with the difficulty level of the skill check, they only have the Failure or the Threat symbol along with various blank sides. The purple dice will also be used when a Non-player character (NPC) is opposing the player. In this case, the purple dice will correspond with the NPC’s attribute level.

3. Yellow – Proficiency Dice

This is a 12 sided dice with black markings on the yellow surface. This dice is used to indicate the skill level of a character. Each time the skill level increases, the player will get another yellow dice for their skill check. Since these are positive dice, the yellow dice has the Advantage and Success symbol on it. It also has the Triumph symbol on one side.

4. Red – Challenge Dice

The red dice also has 12 sides but has white markings. This dice is used for extremely difficult levels. It functions much like the purple dice except that it also has the Despair symbol on one side. When a player faces an NPC, the red dice will be used as the NPC’s proficiency dice and will correspond with the NPC’s skill level.

5. Blue – Boost Dice

The blue dice is a 6 sided dice with black markings on it. The blue dice is used to get an advantage in a skill role. As a positive dice, it only has Advantage or Success symbols and blank sides. Other characters who are of greater or equal skill can also aid a character by giving them a blue dice for a particular event.

6. Black – Setback Dice

The black dice is a 6 sided dice with white markings on the surface. This dice can be used to penalize or ruin advantageous skill checks. As negative dice, they have Threat and Failure symbols and blank sides.

The dice also functions like the boost dice but only for NPC players who are in opposition to the characters. Similarly, antagonist players can offer other antagonists (if they have greater or equal skill) a black dice to disrupt the action of the main characters.

7. White – The Force Dice

With 12 sides and one or two black dots on each face, the white dice is used less frequently than the other dices. It denotes the Force in the Star Wars universe. It can be used to gauge the Destiny tokens of each player before the game starts.

It can also be used in-game but only during special events or if the character is Force Sensitive and can use their Force Powers.

8. Percentile – Critical Dice

This consists of two 10 sided dice that have different colors on them. One dice has the tens on it whereas the other one only has 00’s on it. It is used to determine critical hits or injuries – this dice is usually not included in the game set of the Star Wars dice.

That’s all the dice that you can expect to find or play with when you’re playing the Fantasy Flight Star Wars tabletop RPG games.

How to Use the Dice for a Skill Check

It’s another thing to know what the colors and dice mean and quite another to use it. That’s why we’ll pretend to do a mock skill check to help you understand how you will be using the dice. So, let’s suppose that you throw the dice.

First of all, look at the symbols and cancel them based on it. It will go something like this:

  • Blank faces have no value and no penalties – they are just blank.
  • Failure and Success cancel each other – If you get 5 Success and 2 Failure, your overall result will be 2 Success.
  • Threat and Advantage also cancel with each other – So, if you get 2 Advantage but 5 Threats, your result will be 3 Threats.
  • Despair and Triumph also have to be canceled – They can also function as Success and Failure. However, if you get no Triumph and 1 Despair, it will transform into 1 Critical Failure and give +1 to normal Failure. This means that you lose one more success point.

So, the skill roll will show that you ended up with 1 Success. Congratulations! You cleared the skill check! But you also got 1 Despair and 3 Threats which will have negative consequences for you. What does this mean for your character?

We can’t tell you that, your Game Master is the one who can interpret it for you. But, now that you know how to use the dice, it’s time to start playing.

Have fun and may the Force be with You!

Image Credit: Dave Banks