The way roleplaying games use skills and the amount of skills – tells you something about them.
I remember – from the Golden Age of my roleplaying (the 90’s) – how the amount of skills increased as new splat books were added, and soon we had a “Light a fire” skill, which many a characters excelled in.
So when reading the skills chapter in Star Wars: Edge of the Empire (hence SW:E) I asked myself a number of questions. Number of skills? Weighting between social and combat skills? One or many knowledge skills? And finally the description of skills – e.g. did they have explanations for how to interpret extra symbols in a roll.
For a start – these are the actual skills in the core book: astrogation, athletics, brawl, charm, coerce, computers, cool, coordination, core worlds, deceit, disciples, education, gunnery, leadership, lore, mechanics, medicine, melee, negotiate, outer rim, perception, pilot (planetary), pilot (space), ranged (heavy), ranged (light), resilience, skullduggery, stealth, streetwise, surveillance, survival, underworld, vigilance and xenology.
Quite a few in other words, but on the other hand quite a few skills involved in social conflicts, and also a box and table describing how the different social skills (coerce, deceit, leadership, charm and negotiation) interact with two opposing skills (discipline and cool).
Six knowledge skills, and the possibility of adding more – might not be my cup of tea, but doable. The risk being that some of them wont be used even if players have them.
Regarding the combat skills – there is nothing out of the ordinary. Other things I noticed include the possible overlap between Cool and Discipline (could have been one skill), the use of Surveillance to use ship sensors and that it seems you use different skills to oppose in social conflicts (rather than using the same skill or at least having that option).
Each skill has a description of the use of symbols (e.g. success, triumph, threat) or referral to the combat or space travel chapter. But once again all this data is hidden in plain text, instead of using small tables or boxes. I sincerely hope they will change this.
So, all in all, the skill chapter didn’t hold any real surprises and I think its okay although I would have preferred fewer skills.