The Path Less Traveled is a regular series in which I’ll be examining a single specialization from the Star Wars Edge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny lines of games. The purpose and hope is to take a look at a specialization that perhaps many players might overlook, or ones that are somewhat new to the game lines. We will look at strengths and weaknesses, synergies with other species and specializations, roles in a party, how to incorporate them into a campaign, and perhaps some uses which are not always obvious at first glance.
This Path Less Traveled was a bit of a surprise request. I have had several come in during the past weeks, and I was surprised to see it rise to the top of the requests. The Infiltrator was one of the first Specializations that I noticed when I cracked the Age of Rebellion core book for the first time. The Infiltrator is the quintessential spy. He’s a fast talker and can B.S. his way past anyone or anything. He has the ability to break into places, sneak by enemies, and eliminate the target or grab the wanted information. To me that seems like an iconic character concept that many would flock to. Perhaps they have. Nevertheless, without further ado, here is an examination of how to build and implement an Infiltrator into your games.
Which Species to choose is generally tied to what characteristics and skills are important for the build that you’re putting together. For an Infiltrator, it’s all about Cunning. Well, Agility and Intelligence come in second, but Cunning is definitely a go-to characteristic for an Infiltrator. So, species with high Cunning would fall under Bothan, Chevin, Devaronian, Gossam, Togruta, and Weequay builds to name a few. Of these, the Bothan has an Agility of two, as do the others besides the Chevin. The Munn and Neimoidian are interesting because they both have 3’s in Cunning and Intelligence, making for some interesting character choices. If you’d like Stealth and Coordination to be your focus, then a high Agility is what you need. Of the species that have a 3 in agility, a few also have a 2 in Cunning. The Aleena, Chadra-Fan, Dug, Rodian, Sathari, Shistavanen, and Xexto all meet that criteria. The Chadra-Fan and Shistavanen are interesting here because they both have 3’s in Agility and Intelligence, and a 2 in Cunning that could be bumped up during character creation. These species chould be the focus of your concentration as you look at making an Infiltrator.
Talents and Skills
The Infiltrator gets all the skills you’d need to be a great spy from their career. Computers, Cool, Coordination, Deception, Knowledge (Warfare), Perception, Skullduggery, and Stealth are all career skills for a Spy. As an Infiltrator, Melee and Streetwise can be added to the mix. As you can see, a great deal of those skills link to Cunning, Agility, and Intelligence, making species choice more key for this specialization than others. All these skills are tied to being able to break in, sneak around, and get out, while also being able to lie and talk their way out of just about any situation.
For talents, the Infiltrator tree is rather unique in its construction. The talent tree has two paths, and there is really no connection of the two paths. The left side of the tree is an s-curve connecting the left three columns. You cannot skip over any talent to make your way to the bottom of the tree. You will be winding your way down the left side for a while, making the bottom tier talents some of the most expensive when it comes to how much XP it takes to get to them. However, let’s take the right side of the tree to start. The right side of the Infiltrator tree is a straight shot downwards. The talents in the right side of the tree are designed to keep the Infiltrator alive and upright during fights. Defensive Stance, Jump Up, and Dodge are all there to make your PC hard to hit and able to stay up. At the very bottom, Natural Rogue lets you re-roll any one Stealth or Skullduggery check each session.
But the real content of the tree is connected up in the left three columns. All the talents being in the s-curve makes this a linear progression, with no ability to skip over or around any talent as you go. Surprisingly, the left side of the tree has no real stealth or infiltration skills until the 4th row. All the skills, aside from Grit, Toughened, etc. are all based on melee combat. Frenzied Attack and Stunning Blow let you upgrade the check for an attack and increase damage. Improved Stunning blow is also in this side and, to be honest, this talent throws me. It allows you to spend a Triumph to stagger an opponent for one round. But, unless I’m missing something, any PC could use a Triumph to stagger their opponent for a round. At least I would let someone spend a triumph in that way, anyways. So, I might perhaps allow GM fiat here and alter the effect of that talent.
When you get to the bottom, however, you run into Clever Solution, allowing you to use Cunning for any skill check as opposed to its normal characteristic. This is pretty powerful, and once per session when you get hit with a skill check you aren’t good at, you can throw Clever Solution at it! You also hit Master of Shadows, letting you lower the difficulty of any Stealth or Skullduggery check for two strain. These two talents, plus the two ranks in Frenzied Attack are the bread and butter talents for my money.
I personally think the Infiltrator tree is more fighting focused than it is sneaking and infiltrating focused. But when coupled with other specs, you can make a quite potent PC. Combining them with other Spy specs like Slicer or Scout is too easy so let’s look elsewhere. The Sentinel career in Force and Destiny is a potent choice. The Shadow would combine to make a quite nasty Infiltrator. Combining with the attacking capabilities of the Infiltrator could be a good combo. Any of the Sentinel specializations would be a good match I think, besides the lightsaber form.
The Bounty Hunter career is also a fantastic choice to look for a specialization to pair with an Infiltrator. The Assassin is a natural choice, and the Skip Tracer or Operator also make a great character that can hunt down the best of targets and get close to them.
The Hired Gun’s Marauder can be scary if you want to be a melee combat specialist. A combined 5 ranks of Frenzied Attack would allow you, if you needed, to upgrade a melee skill check 5 times! True, for 5 strain, but wow! If you’re more interested in combat than stealth this is the way to go. If this is your desire, the Commando is a strong choice as well. Able to fight up close with several talents in this regard would create a strong fighter. If Soldier is a career to look at, the Trailblazer might work great too. With talents around sneaking and stealth, ambushes, and firing from cover, the Trailblazer becomes a very interesting choice.
Well those are some insights if an Infiltrator is for you. But what about your games and experiences? Have you ever run an Infiltrator? What did you pair it with? How would you navigate the odd talent tree? Have you ever had an Infiltrator in your group? What fun character concepts have you come up with for an Infiltrator?