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Is a story-telling resource. It is the external pressure that is bearing down on your character.

One of the elements that make character in Edge of the Empire unique is the concept of Obligation. During character creation, players not only customize their PCs by selecting skills and talents, but by choosing what sort of Obligation the PC has. A group can share the same Obligation, or each PC may have his own. Narratively, the Obligation can come in many forms. An Obligation might represent a large outstanding debt or that the PC is blackmailed. A PC could owe a crime boss a “favor” or have a bounty on his head. Obligation helps tell the character’s story and reinforces the gritty experiences that characterize Edge of the Empire.

Over the course of a campaign, Obligations can come into play in several ways-either as plot hooks and character motivations, or as compelling PC decisions. For example, the characters complete an assignment and receive a sizable payment. Do the characters spend those credits to make repairs on their ship- or make a payment to the Hutts for their outstanding loan? Obligation helps provide short-term decisions, long-term goals, and story hooks that tie together campaigns and shape the “fringe” style experience.

Obligation in play

In addition to the narrative implications. Obligation has mechanical impact, as well. Before each session, the GM makes a percentile role and compares it to the group’s current outstanding Obligation. If the roll is greater than the total Obligation, they’ve stayed off the grid or under the radar enough that it doesn’t come back to haunt them yet. If the roll is equal to or less than the total Obligation, it comes into play and impacts the session in some manner. The character whose Obligation is triggered feels the heat, and may suffer penalties or strain under the scrutiny or pressure of his Obligations.

While players create Obligations for their characters, Obligation is another tool for the GM to help reinforce the story, motivate characters, and even provide rewards. Players feel a real sense of relief when they have the opportunity to pay down or settle part of their Obligation.

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Hope's Edge BillyGee