Edgerunner is a tabletop, pen & paper role playing game, of the kind that you play with a few friends, gathered around a table, trying to form an interesting story out of a loose set of rules over the course of an evening or several.
If you have never played a role playing game before; a role playing game is a social activity where friends around a table portray fictional characters in a fictional game world, determining their characters' actions in response to story events. This involves some strategic decision making by the players, and maybe some acting(voice-acting mostly) to portray the character. There is also a pre-designated special player, called the referee in Edgerunner, also known as the gamemaster in many other games. The referee is tasked with arbitrating the game, and playing everything and everyone else in the game world other than the players' characters.
Characters are represented by some numbers and text detailing their characteristics on a character sheet, according to the rules. These details are essential in determining the capabilities of a character in the game world.
The rules in a role playing game are there to determine how the story resolves when critical things happen. Roleplaying games are freeform, non-deterministic games where the outcome of any game action depends on the interpretation of the players, and there are many opinions on how rigid/flexible or elaborate/abstract the rules should be. Edgerunner is based on the FATE system of rules, which are somewhat simple, rigid and abstract. Simple here means that there are few rules to learn to play the game, and rigid means that they are not meant to be overridden in specific situations. Abstract means that these rules do not try to model and resolve every detail in the game world. The rules provide a resolution mechanism for general results, and the details are left to the players' imagination and narration.
To play a game of Edgerunner, you will need;
- A few friends, 3-6 recommended, more is possible but harder.
- Some printed character sheets and other sheets, available for download and printing on this website. You may just use blank paper as well but it is easier to use the printed sheets.
- Pencils for everyone, and some spare paper to take notes or draw maps
- These rules, though you probably will no longer need to look them up after a few sessions of play.
You may also want to have;
- A set of tokens, approximately 10 per player, to keep track of fate points. Fate points continuously change hands during the game, so this is better than using pen & paper to keep track of them.
- A whiteboard and a dry-erase marker to draw the map and note other details. You will be altering the map and taking transient notes on it, so this looks nicer than a paper map with lots of scratches or erase marks on it. It also helps you to use less paper, a rare resource in 2030.
If you have played role playing games before, you may find that Edgerunner may be a bit different than the ones you have seen before. It is a game where players collectively try to form an interesting story with their characters, rather than play their characters in a simulated game world. This form of gaming is often referred to as narrativist games, where telling a good story is the objective of the game, in contrast to gamist games where the objective is to gain meta-game benefits like points or levels, or simulationist games where the objective is to portray the fictional game world as precisely as possible.
Edgerunner is also somewhat different than other narrativist games you may have encountered, where the burden of story-forming is mostly on the shoulder of the gamemaster, while players only contribute only when their characters act directly. In this game, every player contributes to the game world and story in an equal manner. All players have the power to affect how any story unfolds, or even establish facts about the world.
A game of Edgerunner starts with all the players working together to create the world they will be playing in, and the characters they will play. This is a collaborative activity, where everyone gets to define a part of the game world. It should take about 2 hours the first time you do it, and around an hour once you become experienced with the system. Once you have your world and characters set up, you can keep playing with them indefinitely in subsequent game sessions, without having to go through the same process. Of course you are encouraged to extend and enrich your world occasionally with more mini-sessions of world-building later.
After the initial world and character building process, you should pick one player among your group to act as the referee. The referee is supposed to control and run the game from this point on, and give life to the game world by playing everything in it. All other players assume control of their characters, which will be the protagonists of the story that is about to unfold.