One of the most anticipated sourcebooks for the Star Wars RPG Fully Operational is the official sourcebook for engineers and provides the rules for crafting custom vehicles. Like the other books it begins with a short story and proceeds to break the book into 3 main parts. It gives information about utilizing engineers in the Alliance and what their roles in it might be.
The first chapter of the book focuses on the roleplay and character creation aspects of the engineers. It provides new backgrounds and examples of how each can be used with the specializations available. The information is clearly organized and easy to search through for what might apply to a specific character. It also gives new duties that engineer characters may attain. There are 3 new species brought in, with the most well known possibly being the kaminoans (Seen in Attack of the Clones and Clone Wars). The other two are the bith (seen with the cantina band in A New Hope) and the Skakoan (Briefly seen in Attack of the Clones and Clone Wars). Like most sourcebooks there are also three new specializations, Droid Specialist, Sapper, and Shipwright. Along with them are new motivations in an easy to read table, and the two signature abilities.
The second chapter of the book provides new gear, attachments, and vehicles to the players and GMs. The weapons are fairly standard though there is an interesting focus given to explosives with the book taking additional time to describe the types of explosives available. The information is easy to read and is able to handily differentiate the different compounds and devices for the player and GM. Some of the things present in this book have already been seen in other books such as the modular base structures, already introduced in Age of Rebellion: Lead by Example. The most interesting gear added are the new weapon and armor attachments. Continuing from where Edge of the Empire: Special Modifications left off there are now droid brain attachments for armor, grenades, and weapons. The new vehicles and space dock added are nice though feel almost a little unnecessary next to the new ruleset for making your own.
The third chapter is the most awaited and wanted chapter. This chapter focuses on the new crafting rules and other game mechanics useful for engineers and crafters in general. It opens with a breakdown of potential origins for each engineer specialization before introducing new ways to spend advantage, triumph, threat, and despair on mechanics, computers, and some knowledge checks. They’re laid out in a chart similar to how it’s presented in the core book for combat checks. The book then gives a nice section on how different terrains affect mechanics checks before covering the crafting section. While the focus of the book is the construction of new ships there is also a small section beforehand that covers converting civilian vehicles and facilities for military use. The facility refits are given a full table of upgrades to purchase from making it very easy to read. Unfortunately the vehicle refits are not given that same luxury and are instead treated as a singular overhaul that is covered by a bullet list.
Finally there is the vehicle crafting section and it is by no means a simple one. The full process of crafting a single vehicle can be arduous. While the tables and charts given do make things easier the amount of steps is rather staggering. In order to create a single vehicle a player will have to perform the following steps:
- Select a template
- Acquire the materials
- Roll mechanics for the template
- Spend your advantage, triumph, threat, and despair
- Select your engine
- Roll mechanics for the engine
- Spend advantage, etc.
- Decide on hyperdrive
- Select hull template
- Roll mechanics for hull
- Spend advantage, etc.
- Consult the assembling table
- Roll mechanics for assemblage
- Spend advantage, etc.
Again, though the information is laid out well the sheer number of steps can be imposing and difficult to make it through as you keep track of bonuses, costs, and time necessary it can quickly devolve into a spreadsheet of information and math. Constructing even a single vehicle is something that should probably be handled outside of any given session due to the sheer amount of work required. After the crafting section is a section dedicated to engineer campaigns with three sample campaigns. Finally the book closes with a brief section covering rewards for engineer characters .
Overall the book is exceptionally useful for engineers but the complexity of the crafting system and amount of time needed to work through it makes it difficult to recommend to those who are not already intimately familiar with the Star Wars RPG. But for those who are or for those who really want to craft their own unique vehicle then this is a sure buy. You can buy it here.