Intriguing, but with little substance

Some time ago, I promised a review on the latest and now second-to-last book released by Wizards of the Coast, Galaxy of Intrigue. This is a rather new thing for me, though I would like to do this for all of the books, all twelve of them when they come out when I have a bit more experience in these things.

This is a little delayed as it took longer than I thought it would for a copy to get into my hands, ordering and stuff, but having it is a mixed blessing as I will now explain.

In many ways this book is what I expected and wanted it too be, there are some rather juicy mechanics in terms of talents, feats as well the nine new species that are introduced (or in the case of some like the Neimoidian reintroduced). There are also quite new items such as poisons and new weapons that I know will excite my players if they get their hands on this book. And, last but definitely not least, are the chapters on skill challenges and intrigue-style campaigns that I will devote an entire post to at a later stage.

But what I thought remarkable about this book was what was missing, and by rights it should have been included.

For instance, why is there not an additional Prestige Class for the Noble? They are pretty limited to Crime Lord if they stay with their class, but why not something that say a senator or planetary leader would have taken levels in? I think this is really where the system has failed the Noble class, and for all it’s vulnerabilities it’s attractive to players. And mainly to those who love to roleplay.

The lack of a Noble Prestige class is nothing compared to the big gaping hole in Chapter 5 on “Factions and Organizations” [sic]. Now, a similar chapter is found in most of the books, barring only a few. Along with a description of the group and how it can be used by a GM, there are a number of “stat blocks” detailing the various NPCs and archetypes that can be used in conjunction with the organisation.

Not a single stat block appears in this chapter. Not one! And with all the characters that are decsribed in this chapter I find this, very very surprising. Thrackan Sal Solo, Finis Valorum, Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus (though why Ben Skywalker* and quite a few others are omitted from the Galactic Alliance Guard entry is beyond me), Ta’a Chume (but not Tenel Ka), Ysanne Isard (though I think she is in Rebellion), Jar Jar Binks, Sio Bibble, Nom Anor…it makes me want to vomit! Why were these not calculated by Wizards? It’s a lot more than an intentional oversight here and one that I cannot forgive.

I understand that including it would have made the book considerably thicker, but to make such a promise without delivering is worse.

Aside from this, and it’s a very big aside, I rather enjoy this book. The write up of the planet Nyriaan, done in the style of Point Nadir in Scum and Villainy is a real gem.  Also are the eight mini-adventures towards the end of the book, which I will not spoil and the full adventure The Perfect Storm, which I wouldn’t mind using myself.

All in all, it’s not a bad book as there are some parts that I really, really like. But there’s so much more that it could have been which leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. More of a book for GMs than players, I’d say.

*As far as I am aware, Ben Skywalker is completely omitted from the series as are his cousins Jaina, Jacen and Anakin and many others of his generation. I doubt this will be fixed in Wizards final book, but it remains to be seen.


~ by katanageldar on February 2, 2010.

2 Responses to “Intriguing, but with little substance”

  1. I hope you do get around to reviewing the other books. I was able to dabble briefly in Star Wars, but I don’t think I’ve really been able to absorb how to navigate and process the supplements in my head as I currently do with 4e.

    Sometimes though, I think Star Wars could benefit from digital tools and adventure building components than 4e does, simply because the game feels less burdened with clerical nuisances that make the 4e tools so buggy and cumbersome.

  2. I have dabbled in a bit of 4e and know the power of character builder and wish I had something of the like to pass on to my players. I do have a spreadsheet, but you still have to use the book.

    And we’ll not be getting something like that anytime soon, will we?

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