Star Wars – Rules Update
Edge of the Empire – Obligation Revisited
- Base Obligation
- Party Obligation
- House Rule Changes
- Obligation Options
- Design Details
- Content Updates
The mechanics of Obligation are in the Edge of the Empire rules, the mechanics for Duty are in the Age of Rebellion rules and the mechanics of Force Awareness are a house rule based on the other two mechanics and fluff in Force and Destiny. Morality is the mechanic that is separate to the others but unique to Force and Destiny meant for force sensitive characters only.
Obligation is a penalty mechanic for the party. Obligation is gained and lost via NPC interaction in the storyline usually related to a quest.
- Obligation is a threshold for level of criminal infamy and social standing.
- Obligation is a resource to obtain information, gear and favours.
- At character creation it can gain you additional starting XP or credits.
- A character can have more than one obligation.
- A character can never remove an obligation completely.
A percentile is rolled against party obligation to see if it affects the adventure. The obligation is stacked from the highest to the lowest. If party obligation is rolled, the character in question reduces their strain threshold by 2 and the rest of the party by 1. This is doubled if the dice rolled double digits. Exceeding 100 party obligation means that no one can spend XP, this affects even characters without obligation.
House Rule Changes
Incorporating rules from Age of Rebellion I have built levels into the obligation and not punishing the character for taking on more obligation than they expected. So as part of the house rules the following applies.
- No limit on XP spending
- Every 100 points of group obligation creates Reminder Squads.
- Every 100 points of a characters personal obligation gains a Personal Bounty.
- Only 5 points for any obligation is use on the obligation table.
Once you reach the 100 party obligation threshold (or more) for the first time then the new rules take effect, up until then it is rules as written.
Each character with obligation gains a banked personal pool of obligation equal to the amount of obligation they currently have minus five (cannot reduce current obligation below five). This amount represents how far your have personally gone into your obligation. Once this has been done, the team gain their first rank in the Team Obligation Level and the characters who have a banked personal pool of obligation are each assigned a “Reminder Squad” to arrive with the order based on who has the highest total pool.
The next time the team reaches 100 obligation, the obligation is added to the banked personal pool amount of obligation on top of what was already there. If the banked personal pool equals or exceeds 100 points, then that character is assigned a “Personal Bounty” relating to their obligations. The team then gains another rank in the Team Obligation Level, and each character with a banked personal pool of obligation receives a “Reminder Squad”.
Note – by limiting the obligation to only 5 points for any given obligation, it allows for some sessions to have no pressure, but still have a chance to happen. If this still exceed 100, then other complications do indeed happen every session.
Team Obligation Level
This is a reminder on how much of an issue your team is causing in the underworld and with those you are doing business with. Each rank in your Team Obligation Level has the following effects.
- Cost of Black Market dealings multiplier increased by 1 per rank
- Reminder Squads rating equal to rank
- Negotiations with authorities gain setback dice equal to rank due to notoriety
- Intimidation checks can gain boost dice equal to ranks where appropriate
- Each rank represents how far your group is recognised
Banked Personal Pool of Obligation
This represents how much your obligation is causing issues for you behind the scenes. For every 100 points this has reached you treat it as having 1 rank and have the following effects:
- A personal bounty relating to your obligation is posted at 1,000 credits per rank (or increased by)
- Associates relating to your obligation “remind” you of your obligation and depending on your interactions may attempt to collect
- Rivals attempt to collect on the obligation or hinder your ability to reduce it.
When you reduce your obligation in normal game play, it comes from the Banked obligation first, giving you a reprieve from effects, such as a suspension of the bounty for a time in days equal to the reduction in the obligation.
Note: You have one Banked Personal Pool of Obligation for each obligation your character has.
Every time the group equals of exceed the threshold of 100 points of group obligation and gains a rank of Team Obligation Levels, each character with a Banked Personal Pool of Obligation has a squad sent after them with a rating equal to the rank of the Team and Personal Obligations.
They remind the character of their “obligation” and how they can help reduce it. They might try and collect on the bounty, but will require the character to spend time dealing with them and working out a resolution that will appeal to the obligation.
Defeating the reminder squad in combat will gain the character a personal bounty (or add to the existing bounty) a price equal to the rating of the squad by 100 credits.
For every 100 points a character gains in a Banked Personal Pool of Obligation generates bounty related to the obligation. The follow takes effect each time a character exceed this threshold.
- The bounty starts at 100 credits per personal and team rank.
- This bounty increases by 100 credits per personal and team rank each time you exceed the threshold. This counts for buying off to drop it below a threshold then exceeding it again. You can trigger the same threshold multiple times.
- If you reduce your obligation the bounty is suspended for days equal to the reduction.
- The bounty is cancelled if you ever clear your Banked Personal Pool of Obligation.
- Every rank represents how far you are recognised
Reducing this obligation may not actually remove the personal bounty. This is part of the agreement a character must make with the source of the obligation.
Rank Recognition Table
- Rank 0 – Unknown to anyone but your superiors, who you have an obligation with and those you have met along your way.
- Rank 1 – Notoriety in your circle, enough for people to take notice of you with people looking for you in places associated with your obligation.
- Rank 2 – Notoriety extends to competitors, and people start to look for you in places associated with your known interests.
- Rank 3 – Notoriety extends to bureaucracy, and people start to look for you in places associated with those you have worked for.
- Rank 4 – Notoriety extends to military, and people start to look for you in places associated with those in your team.
- Rank 5 – Notoriety extends to the public, and everyone is looking for you to make a quick buck.
Characters can choose one of the following Obligations of have one or more assigned to them based on how they play the game,
Addiction (ee-cr) The character has a strong addiction he must keep feeding. Whenever it’s a physical addiction to stims, dust or alcohol, or a mental addiction such as gambling, law-breaking or priceless antiques, the character devotes a lot of time, energy, and resources to pursuing or obtaining the object of his addiction. Avoiding this Obligation has an almost immediate result – withdrawl. The exact nature depends on the addiction, but the character finds it increasingly difficult to concentrate on even mundane tasks, often reflected in the GM adding anywhere from One Setback (black) dice to three Setback (Black) dice to skill checks.
Betrayal (ee-cr) This obligation can work in one of two ways: either the character is the target of a deep and personal betrayal, or the character is the one who betrayed others. Whether it’s as simple as a betrayed confidence or broken promise or as serious as treason or mutiny, the betrayal eats away at the character and affects his everyday life. The target of the betrayal may seek answers, compensation, or simply revenge.
– as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) In the course of the job, the character has either suffered some kind of deep personal betrayal at the hands of another bounty hunter, or is the perpetrator of such a betrayal. The betrayal affects the character’s day to day life, whether through physical reminders, emotional scars, or some combination of the two. If the character was the betrayer, the victim may come looking for answers, compensation, or revenge at any moment.
Blackmail (ee-cr) Someone gas discovered one of the PC’s dirty secrets and is using that knowledge for some sort of gain. To make matters worse, the blackmailer possesses evidence that could possibly leak out – a holovid, bank records, a weapon used during a crime, and so on. In order to keep the secret safe, the character must do what he is told, although the blackmailer is savvy enough to keep the demand simple enough to maintain the blackmail for as long as possible, generally demanding money of favours.
– as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) Some group or individual has dirt on the character, and is using it to the greatest advantage possible. Perhaps they killed another hunter and claimed the bounty, or maybe they are operating in the Core Worlds without the required Imperial Peace-Keeping Certificate (IPKC). However this power is leveraged – money, favours, services rendered – the character is subject to the blackmailer’s moods and whims, lest the dirty secret become common knowledge.
Bounty (ee-cr) For some reason, the character has a prince on his head. This may be in the form of a legal warrant or a contract by criminals, collection agencies, or even someone who felt his honour violated in some way. What he did to earn this mark is up to his background, and the severity of his actions can be based on the size of his Obligation.
Contract – as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) A powerful and strict contract binds the character to a specific employer. This could be a crime boss, an Imperial courtier, or a wealthy corporate CEO. Whoever holds the character’s contract has nearly total control over the character’s future career. All bounties are furnished by the contract holder, and deviating from the terms of the contract can lead to a number of potentially harsh fines and punishments.
Criminal (ee-cr) For some reason, the character has a criminal record, or was accused of a crime (perhaps one he didn’t even commit), and is somehow embroiled in the legal system. Obligation may be settled by paying ongoing legal costs, making attempts to bury evidence, or efforts to prove his innocence.
– as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) The character has been accused of committing a crime during the collection of a legal bounty. This could be anything from stealing a speeder in order to chase a fleeing fugitive, or interference with bonded law enforcement to killing innocents during a shootout. Whether the accusations are true is irrelevant, the character has been accused and there is an outstanding warrant that makes the PC an appealing target to other bounty hunters.
Debt (ee-cr) The character owes someone a great deal, whether that debt consists of money or something else. Perhaps the PC has a huge gambling debt to a Hutt, is indebted to the Czerka Corporation for his starship, owes a wealthy family for patronage, or has some other serious financial obligation. To make matters worse, depending on who owns the debt, even fully paying it off might not get the character completely off the hook – If the character can get that money, he can surely get more.
– as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd)The character owes quite a bit of money to one or more individuals. This could be money owed to a shipyard for some expensive modifications done to the character’s ship on credit, or funds put forth by a patron who backed the character’s entry into the bounty hunters’ guild and expects to be repaid or services rendered.
Dutybound (ee-cr) the PC has a deep sense of duty that he feels compelled to fulfill, such as military service, making good on a contract, or following some sort of thieves code. Unlike the Oath Obligation, a Dutybound character has some legal or ritualistic bind to an organisation or cause making it extremely difficult or detrimental if he fails to live up to that commitment.
Fame – as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) The character’s reputation casts a long shadow. Perhaps the PC took a famous and difficult bounty, or owns a recognisable and deadly ship, or has beaten another well known hunter to the punch in the past. Whatever the case, it is hard for the character to move unnoticed throughout the galaxy. This makes covert operations more difficult, but also means that informants are more likely to spill
Family (ee-cr) The character has deep ties with his family that require a great deal of time an attention. This could include providing care for or assistance to siblings or parents, the management of an inheritance, trust or family business, or simply mediating between squabbling family members.
– as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) This hunter’s family holds an incredible influence over the character. perhaps the PC comes from a long line of bounty hunters, whose honour must be upheld. Alternately, the bounty hunter could also be supporting a struggling family, and is always eager to pick up contracts to send money home.
Favour (ee-cr) The PC owes a big Favour. Perhaps officials looked the other way when he smuggled in goods, or a friend got him out of prison. Regardless, the favours are stacking up, and soon he ‘s going to be asked to pay them back or return the favour. This favour may be called in a little at a time, prolonging the Obligation.
– as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) The character owes a favour to someone in a position of power. however this favour came about, whether personally or professionally, repayment of that favour is coming due with interest. This favour may be called in all at once, or a little at a time, prolonging the characters Obligation.
Keeper of the Faith – as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) Much to many other freelanders’ amusement, this character has sworn to faithfully uphold both the spirit and the letter of some code of honour. The PC believes very strongly in these edicts and adheres to them with an almost religious fervor. The character never knowingly breaks any of the rules laid down in the code, and may turn on colleagues who do so.
Oath (ee-cr) The character has sworn some sort of oath that dictates his thoughts and actions, shaping his moral view of the world. This could be an oath to a deity, a way of living (such as the Jedi Code), or a willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of some group of cause. Whatever the case, the Oath should be both serious and make life difficult in some ways for the character. It is a personal and deep undertaking possibly without a truly obtainable end goal in sight. Character who do not live up to this oath face an internal and moral struggle.
Obsession (ee-cr) the PC has some unhealthy obsession that tends to interfere in his life, whether with a celebrity, a region, a political movement, a cultural icon, or some other facet of society or life. He must pursue this possibly to the determent of his health, finances, or well being. A character with this Obligation tends to get along well with others that share his interest, but is looked at with pity, amusement, or even a bit of feat from others who don’t understand.
Responsibility (ee-cr) A character with this Obligation feels a strong sense of accountability or relationship to a person, place, or thing (a responsibility to kin falls under the Family Obligation). This could include a strong connection to a mentor, a strong desire to care for orphans in a given location, or taking on the needs of an underrepresented minority.
Rule Beaker – as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) Either the character very publicly and flagrantly broke one of the rules laid down in the bounty hunter’s code, or everyone wrongly believes they did. Whatever the case, the breach of the rules of the code affects the character’s personal and professional life in a very real way. Contracts dry up, colleagues refuse to speak to or help the character, or the character is treated in a condescending or irritating sympathetic manner.
Thrill Seeker – as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) Some people are addicted to alcohol or chems, others to gambling or other seedy vices. This character, however, is a confirmed adrenaline junkie, and chooses bounties not by their challenge or price, but by how exciting or dangerous they are. Avoiding the Obligation – perhaps by being a responsibility business operator and considering every job’s cost benefit analysis – results in an Almost immediate case of excitement withdrawal. When inactive, the character is edgy, moody, easily distracted,and generally unpleasant to be around.
Vigilante – as a Bounty Hunter (ee-nd) The character has seen the wheels of justice grind up the innocent and let the guilty walk free. The character has sworn to take the law – and bring justice to those who deserve it. When taking on contracts, this character tends to pursue hardened criminals.
Notes – It is possible to have more than one obligation. Base starting Obligation is usually based on party size: 2 PCs (20), 3 PCs (15), 4-5 PCs (10), 6+ PCs (5).
Starting Characters: +5 to Obligation for +5 starting XP. +10 to Obligation for +10 starting XP. +5 to Obligation for +1,000 starting credits. +10 to Obligation for +2,500 starting credits.
The idea behind the changes here was to make the Obligation mechanic less punishing, and more of a roleplaying opportunity, as well as connect it to how I have also modified Duty and created Force Awareness for the setting.
The benefits are that those who push the obligation are the ones who suffer the most, while those who manage and maintain it hardly feel the sting of it during play.
- 2022-04-03 – Added in Obligation Options section.
- 2021-08-15 – Update to layout and menu.
- 2020-08-27 – Added in a Rank recognition table.
Game Management: Annotated Stat Block, Character Creation, Choosing a New Campaign, Creating a Galaxy Map, Ending three year campaign, GM’s Luck Roll, Running Games over Skype, Tracking Experience, 2016 Campaign
References: for Characters, for GMs, Dice, Items (Lightsabers, Modifying, Purchasing, Qualities), Knight Level Play, Mechanics (Awareness, Duty, Morality, Obligation), Movement (Personal, Planetary, Vehicles), Roles (Bounty Hunting, Investigations), Secrets (Empire, Jedi, Rebels, Sith)
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