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Author Topic: Star Wars Returns as a Tabletop RPG - FFG's Star Wars Edge of the Empire  (Read 3935 times)
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kronovan
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« on: August 21, 2012, 05:08:09 PM »

Fantasy Flight Games has announced they'll be releasing Star Wars: Edge of the Empire some time in 2013. It's 1 of 3 Star Wars PnP settings they'll be releasing over the next 3 years. They've just announced a beta for Edge of the Empire which starts later this month, but I can't say I like the way they're handling it. The beta is in book form and it's fairly comprehensive at 224 pages, but the hitch it you have to pay for it at a cost of $29.59. Can't say I'd be in for that - heck I'm currently in the beta for 2 really excellent and very complete RPG settings and they were 100% free. As well, I can buy some published RPG system or setting books at a LGS for $30!

Not much is known about the setting except that EotE will be a bounty hunter themed setting and apparently there won't actually be Force players until FFG releases their 3rd setting. I guess some fans might like that, but my gaming group certainly wouldn't. From the minimal descriptions that have been circlating on the interwebs, it sound like its based quite heavily on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay v3. I've sat down to that tabletop at a local convention and I can't say I'm much of a fan of its quirky dice and overall play mechanics. As well, I've heard from many a fan that it isn't as good as the previous WHFRP v2. Would I play this over SW saga edition - mabye. Over WEG's d6 Star Wars - no way. Over any of the fanmade adaptations for Savage Worlds - absolutely no way. I think I've read enough already to know I'm OUT for this RPG.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 05:12:56 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2012, 05:32:29 PM »

Can't say I'm surprised they're doing this. They've got the license, after all. They seem to be following the successful model they've been using for the WH40k-RPGs, which is to release separate, but compatible core books for various specific parts of the setting.

Quote from: kronovan on August 21, 2012, 05:08:09 PM

Fantasy Flight Games has announced they'll be releasing Star Wars: Edge of the Empire some time in 2013. It's 1 of 3 Star Wars PnP settings they'll be releasing over the next 3 years. They've just announced a beta for Edge of the Empire which starts later this month, but I can't say I like the way they're handling it. The beta is in book form and it's fairly comprehensive at 224 pages, but the hitch it you have to pay for it at a cost of $29.59. Can't say I'd be in for that - heck I'm currently in the beta for 2 really excellent and very complete RPG settings and they were 100% free. As well, I can buy some published RPG system or setting books at a LGS for $30!

Nobody is forcing you to participate in the beta. It's an early access thing for the biggest fans. In this case you get an actual book of a (probably) playable product at a cheaper price than the final version. They're doing something similar for Only War, but there you get a PDF and a discount on the PDF version of the full game equal to the price you paid for the beta. Most people won't want to participate in a beta when they have to pay for it, and I think that FFG is not only okay with this, but want it to be this way. It's an effective way to make sure the beta isn't purchased by too many people, which could be a problem with the release of the final version if everyone is happy with the free product.

Quote
Not much is known about the setting except that EotE will be a bounty hunter themed setting and apparently there won't actually be Force players until the FFG releases the 3rd setting. I guess some fans might like that, but my gaming group certainly wouldn't. From the minimal descriptions that have been circlating on the interwebs, it sound like its based quite heavily on Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay v3. I've sat down to that tabletop at a local convention and I can't say I'm much of a fan of its quirky dice and overall play mechanics. As well, I've heard from many a fan that it isn't as good as the previous WHFRP v2. Would I play this over SW saga edition - mabye. Over WEG's d6 Star Wars - no way. Over any of the fanmade adaptations for Savage Worlds - absolutely no way. I think I've read enough already to know I'm OUT for this RPG.

I'm a huge fan of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Edition, and have absolutely no intention of trying the 3rd Edition of the system. It just doesn't look like Warhammer to me. This also makes me wary of using it for Star Wars, though I think it might be a much better fit for that setting. As with you though, I'm also a big fan of the D6 Star Wars system (I've got 20+ of the West End books), though that's getting a bit old in the tooth and has been contradicted in many ways by the newer movies. Especially the Force stuff, even if you disregard the Midichlorians. Take the Dark Side, for example. The D6 game assumed that you could be pulled towards the Dark Side of the Force merely by making certain actions that were deemed "dark", even if you weren't aware that you were doing so. Embracing the Dark Side would give you access to certain powers like Force Lightning, which you could then control at will at the cost of going further towards the Dark Side. The prequels ended up defining it in a different way. It no longer looks like you can fall by accident, but you must make a conscious decision to do so (Luke decides to use the Dark Side to defeat Vader, Anakin decides to use the Dark Side to save Padme, etc). Dark Side powers are no longer under the user's direct control, but are instead fueled by hate and/or fear. Only by carefully managing these emotions can you control these powers. If you lose control of your emotions, things can turn really bad. We see this happen to the Emperor twice, once in the old trilogy and once in the new, but before the prequels we didn't really understand what was happening. Now we know that when Vader tossed him to his death and when Mace Windu tried to kill him, he lost control of his Force Lightning because he was unable to control his fear. Or at least that's how I interpreted it.

In any case, these are a few of the reasons why I'm interested in seeing a new take on Star Wars. Fantasy Flight Games has some very good game designers too (even if they don't exactly have impressive post-release support of their products). I won't buy this day one, but I'll be keeping an eye on it.
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Turtle
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012, 12:34:40 PM »

That's some deep thoughts on the dark and light side there. Tongue

Anyway, you should give 3rd edition a try, it's definitely not the same as 2nd, I've never tried that. However, there's a really good set of youtube videos where someone who both liked 2nd edition, and loooooved Went End's D6 Star Wars is very much likes 3rd edition and explains not only his reasons but the whole game itself.

I came away very interested in trying WHFRP's mechanics, although I don't like the warhammer fantasy setting. The new Star Wars gives me a chance to try it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu6OgZNGheU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkCdyd9NTu8

People are initially turned off by the specialty dice. But honestly, it's basically using dice to turn fiddly calculations into simpler rolls and count ups, leaving room for GM interpretation. Some role players like fiddly calculations, but I was never a fan of using pure math and lots of special case rules to handle things as players could get lost in those calculations, and lose character in them as well.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 12:58:38 PM by Turtle » Logged
TiLT
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2012, 01:39:54 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on August 26, 2012, 12:34:40 PM

Anyway, you should give 3rd edition a try, it's definitely not the same as 2nd, I've never tried that. However, there's a really good set of youtube videos where someone who both liked 2nd edition, and loooooved Went End's D6 Star Wars is very much likes 3rd edition and explains not only his reasons but the whole game itself.

It's not the mechanics in Warhammer 3rd Edition that bothers me, it's the mood. Warhammer 1st and 2nd Edition was always about playing an average joe who was much more likely to die a slow, painful death from an infected wound than he was to ever become a hero. It was about playing someone at the bottom of the ladder, someone who'd never be able to reach the glorious heights of the Empire's great heroes, though the rules were there as a carrot on a stick before a lucky goblin eviscerated you.

In 3rd Edition, from what I'm told, you become a heroic character almost right away. It's not gritty. It's not dirty. It's just another fantasy game set in the Warhammer setting. I'm sure that'll appeal to those who approach the game fresh or directly from the miniatures game, but for someone who's played the roleplaying game for years, it's just not what I'm looking for. 2nd Edition does that right. As an experienced Warhammer player said (paraphrased): "It's not Warhammer if the players aren't worse off at the end of a session than at the start." My previous campaign followed that principle. The players couldn't even afford to buy armor, so they took any dirty mission they could get their hands on, bungled it, then spent the rest of their savings trying to clean up the mess. The only thing that kept them going was the thought that they could make it if they persevered. The only combat the group saw was a small skirmish against some Skaven, which resulted in the guy giving the players the mission dying slowly from a throat wound and one of the players being hit in the arm by a filthy sword so hard that his arm broke. Then the wound got infected and they had to spend money on alcohol and a doctor whose idea of medicine was anything but scientific. The players loved it.

Star Wars is more suitable for the heroic approach, which means the rules should work better there.
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« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 03:16:31 PM »

LttT, but sing it Brother TiLT!

WFRP is one of my favorite tabletop games as well and inspired my own designs (along with Earthdawn and TORG!) and you are exactly right. It is a bit like CoCthulhu in that way. I always loved that the most dangerous enemies you had to deal with in WFRP were almost always PEOPLE. If you ever saw actual monsters, you'd best run like hell.

I've never been into Star Wars tabletop, but you guys bringing up WEG makes me think how cool it would be to adapt the card system from TORG! For Star Wars use. I bet that would be completely awesome.
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Dreamshadow
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2012, 05:53:51 PM »

Quote from: Misguided on November 02, 2012, 03:16:31 PM

LttT, but sing it Brother TiLT!

WFRP is one of my favorite tabletop games as well and inspired my own designs (along with Earthdawn and TORG!) and you are exactly right. It is a bit like CoCthulhu in that way. I always loved that the most dangerous enemies you had to deal with in WFRP were almost always PEOPLE. If you ever saw actual monsters, you'd best run like hell.

I've never been into Star Wars tabletop, but you guys bringing up WEG makes me think how cool it would be to adapt the card system from TORG! For Star Wars use. I bet that would be completely awesome.

I had a GM who used the TORG cards in both a Heavy Gear and a WEG Star Wars game. IT was great.  we'd get a couple of cards, at the start of a scene or session, and could use them to boost rolls or events (good and bad) but we had to play them with flourish.  I couldn't just say I was playing a nemesis card for bonus XP.  I had to play it with the story.  Turned some throwaway NPCs into serious bad guys throughout the game that way.  Even got out of sticky situations several times with them too.  Great addition to the games.
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TiLT
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2012, 07:22:45 AM »

Quote from: Dreamshadow on December 05, 2012, 05:53:51 PM

Quote from: Misguided on November 02, 2012, 03:16:31 PM

LttT, but sing it Brother TiLT!

WFRP is one of my favorite tabletop games as well and inspired my own designs (along with Earthdawn and TORG!) and you are exactly right. It is a bit like CoCthulhu in that way. I always loved that the most dangerous enemies you had to deal with in WFRP were almost always PEOPLE. If you ever saw actual monsters, you'd best run like hell.

I've never been into Star Wars tabletop, but you guys bringing up WEG makes me think how cool it would be to adapt the card system from TORG! For Star Wars use. I bet that would be completely awesome.

I had a GM who used the TORG cards in both a Heavy Gear and a WEG Star Wars game. IT was great.  we'd get a couple of cards, at the start of a scene or session, and could use them to boost rolls or events (good and bad) but we had to play them with flourish.  I couldn't just say I was playing a nemesis card for bonus XP.  I had to play it with the story.  Turned some throwaway NPCs into serious bad guys throughout the game that way.  Even got out of sticky situations several times with them too.  Great addition to the games.

Edge of the Empire uses special dice to convey story aspects in a streamlined format, which is an interesting concept they took from Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Edition. The basic concept is that your dice can not only show success or failure symbols, but also complications or advantages. A single roll of your die pool could (with the GM's help) end up describing some very interesting situations this way. You may succeed at an action but receive complications, or fail at an action but still gain an advantage. Imagine rolling once and seeing things like "your shot misses the guy you were aiming at but hits a steam pipe behind him, forcing him out of cover" and "you did manage to steal the data you wanted from the computer, but somehow triggered an alarm as well". It gets my creative juices flowing just thinking about it.

The game itself is receiving very favorable feedback from test players btw. According to those who've played Star Wars d6, Star Wars d20 and Edge of the Empire, EotE is clearly the best of the three. I'm looking forwards to getting my hands on the finished product. I've done some light reading of the beta rules, but won't dig too deep since they've already changed quite a bit and will change even more before it's out.
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Turtle
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 11:46:04 AM »

Yep!  This is why I was interested in the system. I takes some burden off the GM and players, there's less initial calculations you need, just add or remove dice.

And not only that, the resulting roll comes up with useful hints to GM as to the outcome.

Or, if a player wants to try things like going faster, or slower in his action there are natural impacts to that without having to find the numbers, add them together, etc.

I really like any system that reduces the burden on GMs.
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2012, 05:38:23 AM »

Somebody should run a PBForum campaign. And by "someone", I mean NOT me.
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 07:12:37 AM »

Quote from: Misguided on December 11, 2012, 05:38:23 AM

Somebody should run a PBForum campaign. And by "someone", I mean NOT me.

Let the game come out first, eh? slywink We don't even know a release date at this point.
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 04:53:11 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on December 11, 2012, 07:12:37 AM

Quote from: Misguided on December 11, 2012, 05:38:23 AM

Somebody should run a PBForum campaign. And by "someone", I mean NOT me.

Let the game come out first, eh? slywink We don't even know a release date at this point.

What fun would that be?
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Turtle
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« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2012, 03:46:45 PM »

This is now out.

I'm willing to run a play by forum game if others are willing to play.
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« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2012, 04:15:27 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on December 19, 2012, 03:46:45 PM

This is now out.

I'm willing to run a play by forum game if others are willing to play.

For the record, Turtle is talking about the Beginner's Game, which is not a full RPG.

I'd be willing to join, btw. smile
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« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 06:24:40 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on December 19, 2012, 03:46:45 PM

This is now out.

I'm willing to run a play by forum game if others are willing to play.

Turtle, count me interested in a forum Star Wars game. I'm particularly fascinated by the story telling potential.
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Misguided
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« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2013, 06:20:29 PM »

Sure thing!
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« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 09:55:23 AM »

Bleh, this is sold out everywhere.

The moment it gets in store, it's gone before I can buy it.

Guess I'll wait for the full release.
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« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2013, 10:08:08 AM »

Speaking of the full release, FFG created a product page and forum for it yesterday. These are the first signs in a while that it's on its way. They say it's coming in Q2 2013, so I guess that means we'll get the game this summer. The price seems to be $60 for the 450-page book (and I thought the 400-page WH40k RPG books were huge!), and $15 for a pack of 14 dice and a few counters. Most groups will probably want two packs of dice. As is to be expected, a GM Pack will be released at the same time as the core book, containing a GM screen, additional information on the nemesis system, and a complete adventure.

I'm in for the whole package once it's out. In the meantime I've been able to have some fun with the Android dice app, which was updated today.
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« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2013, 10:11:31 AM »

Right now I'm torn between this and the new Fate system and its games. Both have a nice emphasis on storytelling, SWEotE with its dice abstraction, and Fate with its give and take, story as character sheet elements.
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« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2013, 04:00:22 PM »

Quote from: Turtle on January 17, 2013, 10:11:31 AM

Right now I'm torn between this and the new Fate system and its games. Both have a nice emphasis on storytelling, SWEotE with its dice abstraction, and Fate with its give and take, story as character sheet elements.

It's funny how prices have steadily climbed on RPGs in the last decade. People told me I was insane when I put out a 320 page HC book for 40 bucks, but here we are with 60 dollar books, 100 dollar box sets etc. (of course there's much, much more to it than just price point, I just find it interesting).
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kronovan
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2013, 03:21:21 AM »

Quote from: Misguided on January 19, 2013, 04:00:22 PM

Quote from: Turtle on January 17, 2013, 10:11:31 AM

Right now I'm torn between this and the new Fate system and its games. Both have a nice emphasis on storytelling, SWEotE with its dice abstraction, and Fate with its give and take, story as character sheet elements.

It's funny how prices have steadily climbed on RPGs in the last decade. People told me I was insane when I put out a 320 page HC book for 40 bucks, but here we are with 60 dollar books, 100 dollar box sets etc. (of course there's much, much more to it than just price point, I just find it interesting).

You're talking FFG pricing there though, who IMO really milk their customers on RPG product costs.

Someone brought the SWEotE beginners box to our last game meet, so we played the starter adventure. It didn't click with me at all - no surprise because WFRP 3 didn't either. There's no way I'd chose this over FATE. If I didn't already have RPG systems that I could run a good Star Wars campaign with, I'd be more inclined to homebrew one with FATE than use this system. To each their own though, and at least 2 of the regulars at our game meet enjoyed it.
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« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2013, 03:42:04 AM »

Fate I think is wonderful, but I think SWEotE is a nice balance between storytelling and D&D style crunch/gameyness.

Fate's all story and aspect based system is very nice, I love it, but some people just can't handle it. I know I've tried with my group.

I view this is a nice step, as the dice results can help get people used to the story oriented outcomes, that's when I spring Fate on them.

Oh, that reminds me, I need to up my FATE pledge to get the hardcover.
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« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2013, 05:38:19 AM »

Quote from: kronovan on January 21, 2013, 03:21:21 AM

You're talking FFG pricing there though, who IMO really milk their customers on RPG product costs.

Uhm no, they don't. Have you leafed through one of their Warhammer 40k RPG books recently They are hardcover, 400 pages, 100% color, printed on high-quality pages, and include a massive amount of wonderful art. Add in a huge license (WH40k can't be cheap or easy to develop for considering Games Workshop and their strict licensing history) and the costs really start to add up for them. Other companies can reduce costs by using lower quality paper, feature less or cheaper art, have only a few color pages, and so on. FFG doesn't skimp on any of this stuff. That's why they're expensive. They're not alone either. Their focus on quality means that other companies tend to have to do their best to follow if they want to compete, and that has raised prices all over the board.

The WH40k books are roughly 400 pages each, enormous tomes in comparison to most RPG books. The Edge of the Empire book is an insane 450 pages and features the Star Wars license, which is probably more expensive than WH40k.

FFG's books and games are very quality-focused, and have lifted the customer expectations of what to expect from an RPG book. If all you want is text and rules, this isn't ideal, but that's a train that has passed and never will come back. FFG's books are huge, high-quality and very thorough. Unlike most RPGs out there, you don't really need anything more than the core book to play a complete campaign.

FFG is not milking customers, but they are building expectations of quality that only FFG and a handful of other companies will be able to provide, which is good business sense.
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« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2013, 07:12:58 AM »

Those books are also a bit poorly edited, the systems unbalanced, and the campaigns are just plain rushed.

FFG is a great company, but their RPG department has really taken on too much for their editing staff to handle.
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« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2013, 08:26:04 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on January 21, 2013, 07:12:58 AM

Those books are also a bit poorly edited, the systems unbalanced, and the campaigns are just plain rushed.

FFG is a great company, but their RPG department has really taken on too much for their editing staff to handle.

That's been generally true about FFG for a while, but lately it seems they've gotten much, much better. Their most recent releases in the WH40k line have been more solid than the earlier ones, and lately FFG has also started doing public betas of these games to iron out the kinks before the main release. This has been done with both Only War and Edge of the Empire. Compare the Dark Heresy errata with, say, Black Crusade's errata, and you start to see how far they've come. Dark Heresy has 11 pages of errata with pretty small print. Black Crusade has 2 1/2 pages with large print, and these errors are typically less significant (instead of a completely borked skill that needs to be completely replaced, it might add a sentence of clarification to a paragraph, for example). It seems the RPG communities have started to pick up this change too. While there was a lot of complaining about errors and poor design in earlier FFG RPGs, recent ones haven't cased anywhere near the same level of complaining.
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2013, 01:44:23 AM »

I would have to agree with Tilt here. I recently picked up the newest 40k RPG 'Only War' along with the first of the supplement books they have made available. The whole mission was very well put together from start to finish, as was the main book, so I have higher hopes with the complete Star Wars rules when they come out.

I did try to run the expanded adventure FFG posted for Star Wars in an attempt to keep interest fresh for some friends while we waited for the main book, but even I will admit that it felt very frustrating to understand. Here is hoping they didn't backslide on SW just to make OW as well as they have...thus far!
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« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2013, 03:52:23 AM »

Keep in mind, they only started doing these beta tests in response to how bad their editing was getting, and their community was reacting, before that, they knowingly sold us some broken products.

And errata pages only fix typos and small errors, big core systems that have problems are left alone.

But, it's a good plan to help outsource testing of the game and make sure they catch issues well ahead of time, which is the only reason why I'm interested in buying another FFG RPG book.
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« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2013, 06:13:01 AM »

Quote from: Turtle on March 07, 2013, 03:52:23 AM

And errata pages only fix typos and small errors, big core systems that have problems are left alone.

That's not quite true. They've been willing to rework core systems when fans have discovered major flaws in them after release. Examples include Rogue Trader's rules for psychic powers, and Deathwatch's entire collection of weapon stats.
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« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2013, 05:10:21 PM »

Having broken systems in RPGs is a time-honored tradition!
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« Reply #28 on: March 08, 2013, 09:48:47 PM »

Boy isnt that the truth! Ive seen some systems that can be busted so easily it made me weep.

Steering back to the main subject though, considering how much FFG has sunk into Star Wars as a whole property should garuntee some pretty solid expansion. I cant wait to use my X-Wing stuff for a chase or attack situation!
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« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2013, 06:47:56 PM »

"Resurrecting" this thread since the other one is about a specific campaign. Let's keep this thread for general EotE talk. smile

The book, GM screen and dice are out in the US, it would seem. They haven't made an appearance in Norway yet, so I'm very envious. This kind of thing can go both ways. I've had access to FFG roleplaying supplements in Norway before they've been available in America before, so I was kind of hoping that would happen again. No such luck. Tongue
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« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2013, 07:49:55 PM »

Got the book, and wow is it nice.  I love the artwork so far.
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« Reply #31 on: July 09, 2013, 09:48:18 AM »

Yay, the book just showed up in Norway too. Ordered it along with the GM pack and two set of dice. Should get it all tomorrow. smile

Interestingly, the store got 4 each of the book and GM pack, but only 3 set of dice. That's going to be a problem.
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The Grue
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« Reply #32 on: July 09, 2013, 01:05:46 PM »

I get my DM screen, dice, and book today from Amazon, but sadly I could have picked it up when I went to Pathfinder Society at my local store and have it in my hot little hands.  I did peek through the book and definitely agree it's a nice book with nice art.
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TiLT
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« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2013, 03:40:34 PM »

The book is in my hands! Yay!

... And I thought the Warhammer 40k RPG books were large.
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MythicalMino
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« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2013, 02:43:17 AM »

my boys and I played our very first session ever of a tabletop rpg...and it was Edge of the Empire.

I have never played a pen-n-paper rpg, much less GM'd one, but I think I did ok. We had a lot of fun, in spite of my flubbing the rules and not doing a very good job (in my opinion) of telling the story. But, we still had quite a bit of fun, and I think it will only get better as I get more used to it, and learn more how to run a game.

One of the highlights?

They had made it to the Space Command building, needing to release the dock clamps on the Krayt Fang. They break in through a side door, and walk into the control room. The overseer is standing there, with her back to the players. Jacob (my youngest son) decided to get on the intercom and call the overseer to the cafeteria for her lunch break. Yeah...he failed it, but he did get some advantages out of the roll...so I had the overseer send one of the two security droids to go "see what the hell is going on out there".

At any rate...we laughed about that one.

We had a good time, like I said, in spite of my screw ups with the game. But, that is nothing that some practice won't take care of eventually...
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Misguided
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« Reply #35 on: August 24, 2013, 07:51:26 PM »

The best advice I can give you is to not let the rules get in the way of having a good time. If you don't know how to handle something, wing it. Don't sit there for 10 minutes trying to figure out a rule while everybody gets bored. Go back after the session and figure out what you should have done in that situation so you don't run into the problem again. And with this system, if you aren't sure how to handle a skill check, pick an attribute and skill that makes sense, and run with it.
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Blackhawk
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« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2013, 03:44:07 AM »

Just finished my third session as a player.  It's an inexperienced GM, but he's catching on and we're having a good time.  I am very, very fond of this system.  It goes fast, the rules are relatively simple, the action is fast paced and cinematic, and the rules encourage narrative.   
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