Creating characters with prior carreers

By Kergala, in Star Wars: Age of Rebellion RPG


I'm new to the game, and i'm french, so please pardon my english, and pardon if the same question exists somewhere on the forum.

I'm starting a campaign as GM, and I would like to offer to my players the possibility to create a character who has prior carreer's experience. No problem with out-law carreers, or even a possible jedi in exil, because the Obligations and Morality systems allow to create a system where the player has to augment his Obligations to obtain more ranks/skills/talents from his prior carreer as smuggler, mercenary, etc. (for jedi, I think paying skills/ranks/talents with Morality is a good way to introduce a more balanced/unbalanced Force character and making his past as Force sensitive more pregnant in game).

But for those who would like to be Rebellion (or ex-Imperials) veterans, I can't find a way to give them the possibility and adding considerations like the two other cases (out-laws and jedi). I mean, just giving them extra XP to spend in a prior carreer would be too easy and would make the two first options less appealing... I thought to the possibility to determine the number of talents/skills/ranks they have from their precedent carreer with die, and offering the possibility to increase the chance to have a high number by paying with starting XP (like using 1D3 - 1 to 3 ranks - to determine the number of ranks available, using 1D4 - 1 to 4 ranks - by paying 10XP, 1D6 by paying 15XP, but I find this system pretty unbalanced and unfair...)

What do you think and what do you suggest ?


Hm maybe let them take one of the Academy Cadet / Recruit Universal Specialization (either for free, or for more fairness bought from their starting xp)?
Another solution could be, if every player has some kind of prior career: Give everyone a Universal Specialization of their choice at start.

I think this would be my approach since these Universal Careers are (in my opinion atleast) exactly for adding prior training / careers like this and in the most cases don't really fit the narrative when buying them later on.

Edited by Fl1nt

Important to draw a distinction between Careers and Specializations.

@Kergala , are you referring to prior careers as in Soldier, Spy, Commander, etc. or Specializations?

I concur with Fl1nt's suggestion of the universal specializations. I would suggest giving everyone a free universal specialization.

Give every character one free choice of career skill if they can link it to their background. Lots of RPGs have used a system like this.

Depends on how long they had the career for. If they were a veteran inside that career, they shouldn't really be a starting character anyways. If they started a different career, but found out it wasn't for them, then buying ranks in skills that aren't from the new career could represent having and old career well enough.

I like my players/characters to have stories and a life before they became "adventurers". I have a couple campaigns going with my current group, and to support this, I gave each character 500 xp and required them to spend it on completing a specialization purchasing a couple specific skills and one skill up choice up to rank 3 (limit rank two for other skills) and purchasing a couple extra specializations. I also assign them some real gear; I refuse to believe the rebellion (or any other military or criminal group) sends new recruits/initiates into dangerous situations with less combat gear than the typical group of teen ruffians.

This lets each character be good at something vs. being mostly useless random vagabonds meeting in a canteena and deciding to go rampaging across the galaxy together. They each have a past and something unique to contribute as well as something in common that binds them as allies. The power gamer in the group always manages to find something to abuse with this, but otherwise this seems to be a better starting power level than the base game suggests.

I limit how high players can buy their character's skills, characteristics and force rating up during the campaign, which does a good job gating power levels. I find that with the few exceptions found by our resident power gamer, talents other than dedication and force rating add more fun for players without adding a ton to power.

Do not use random die rolls to increase individual stats (whether skill ranks or anything else). Whatever is given should be given to everyone equally. Granting extra XP is usually the safest option because it can be spent in whatever way the player feels is appropriate to the character.

What isn't clear to me is why the characters had different careers in the past. If the concern is that the player wants to use a career from a different core book, that's not a problem at all: you can use an EotE or FoD career in an AoR campaign without any changes.

Obligation/Duty/Morality aren't required to make any of them function. In an AoR game you can have all of the characters use Duty regardless of which book their career came from, and that is generally the simplest thing to do, especially if you are new to the system.

Most character concepts can fit pretty well among an awful lot of careers, so I don't see why this is necessary. One of my players has a would-be Jedi Knight, who was formerly an Imperial Officer. There's no real reason why he would need to take a career or specialization from Age of Rebellion to reflect that. He made a Guardian with the Peacekeeper spec (or was it Warleader?). That doesn't sound much like an Imp, but he took ranks in Leadership and a few other key skills, and it works out just fine. He also could have easily taken the Warrior career, if he imagined himself a ruthess Aggressor or leading a squadron of TIEs as a Starfighter Ace.

Choose your Career and Specs based on what you want your character to become. Toss in a few skill points to show who he used to be.