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Start of an Imperial Campaign


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#1 Lieutenant Darnex

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Posted 21 July 2014 - 10:36 PM

Greetings, loyal citizens of the Empire.

As a chief recruiter for the Imperial Armed Forces, it falls on my shoulders to increase the ranks of the Emperor's fighting men and women in these troubled, turbulent times. Recently, I've found it quite difficult. The prevalence of pro-Rebel propaganda by many of this sectors publishers is astounding. Rest assured, COMPNOR agents will soon be visiting the planet of Roseville and... re-educating... the media outlets there. However, for the purposes of this discussion, and to show you the heroics of the brave men and women wearing the Imperial uniform, allow me to instead regale you with this series of insights into the exploits of one such group.

Adventure I

I met this group of heroes shortly after the end of the Clone Wars and the institution of the New Order. Three years, to be exact. You may remember those heady days. The galaxy was actually a relatively peaceful place. Oh sure, the remainders of some of the Separatist armies still thrashed about in their death throes, causing minor destruction and sowing chaos in isolated sectors. And, of course, the mewling of certain Senators in the Galactic Senate caused no end of irritation. But their ineffectual braying gained scant footholds in the wider populace. We finally had peace. True, lasting, peace. As the increased aging effects of the clones fighting in the armies of the Empire began to effect the fighting capacity of our armed forces, the Emperor recognized the need to increase the recruiting of civilians into the ranks of our armed forces. This was a genius masterstroke by the Emperor; it increased the public's involvement in the protection and maintenance of the Empire, while at the same time providing massive employment for troubled sectors and making the military more human. It limited the desire of radicals to strike at targets that had families. Any act of terrorism against military targets would now create outcries. At least... we thought so.

On the planet of Dejero, one small military academy had opened its doors to the first volunteers seeking entrance into the ranks of the Imperial Armed Forces. These recruits had just passed muster, and were preparing to depart from Dejero Academy and transfer to the larger Imperial Academies. On the day of their departure, with thousands of parents and siblings watching in admiration, the first brave sons and daughters to make the final parade march to the shuttles began. And the first seeds of what we would later come to learn of as full-scale Rebellion struck a perfidious blow to the Empire.

A small group of dissidents infiltrated the open-air ceremony, and at a pre-determined time, triggered remote thermal detonators both on the parade grounds, and, horrifyingly, in the stands. The dissidents, later confessed to wanting to kill high ranking Dejero government officials, but even now, Imperial Intelligence is having trouble tallying the civilian casualties. Many of the recruits were killed outright, and many others were cut down by blaster fire from the stands. A small pocket of survivors rallied, showing all the quick-thinking initiative of seasoned veterans. While some brave souls dove unthinkingly into the path of blasters in an effort to dig surviving spectators from under debris, or carrying women and children to safety, others scrambled over rubble to ****** at whatever weapons they could find to return fire. After a short engagement, the cowardly terrorists retreated into the wilderness through makeshift tunnels, leaving the arena a smouldering ruin.

With the peace-loving Dejero governor under-manned, and the local Imperial presence partially crippled by the attack, the squad of recruits suddenly found itself on the front lines of tracking down the terrorists. With many of their friends and family killed in the explosion, they turned their eyes to the rolling foothills of the Dejero Badlands, with vengeance in their hearts, and the chance to prove their mettle in battle for the Empire!

Sorry for the poor grammar and narration in advance. I'm typing this on my lunch break and I'm five minutes over-due. Off the cuff writing is the worst writing!

Edited by Lieutenant Darnex, 21 July 2014 - 10:39 PM.

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#2 Shakespearian_Soldier

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 01:21 PM

Good luck with the game, and be sure to regail us all with stories about your valiant Imperial heroes! =D


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#3 KRKappel

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Posted 22 July 2014 - 03:18 PM

I actually ran an Imperial campaign for the 501st as a thank-you for helping me with the Suns of Fortune book release party I had in Chicago. Since it's the 501st, it started out with the taking of the Tantive IV, which led them to a scouting mission on Dantooine, which held no Rebel base, but set the troopers on a trail of clues that led them to Yavin IV, just in time to see the Death Star explode, and a lone TIE fighter tumble wildly away. Their daring rescue of Darth Vader earned them all medals to end the adventure.


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#4 swheelock

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 09:47 AM

While some brave souls dove unthinkingly into the path of blasters in an effort to dig surviving spectators from under debris, or carrying women and children to safety, others scrambled over rubble to ****** at whatever weapons they could find to return fire.

 

Nice story. What, though, is the word getting censored?



#5 kaosoe

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 11:45 AM

 

While some brave souls dove unthinkingly into the path of blasters in an effort to dig surviving spectators from under debris, or carrying women and children to safety, others scrambled over rubble to ****** at whatever weapons they could find to return fire.

 

Nice story. What, though, is the word getting censored?

 

 

I'm guessing the word rhymes with catch. Just a guess.


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#6 segara82

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:01 PM

It does sound interesting.

Althoug a few questions:

How long do you want this campaign to run?

How grey/dark is your Empire?

How much influence on the story of the movies can your party gain?


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#7 swheelock

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

 

I'm guessing the word rhymes with catch. Just a guess.

 

 

Ah, thanks. I kept wondering why 'grab' would be censored.

 

This revelation will make posting my Guy Ritchie/EotE conversion difficult.


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#8 Maelora

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 02:29 PM

I can see why some people might want to play the other side, but aside from the whole 'playing as the bad guys' thing, isn't it a bit easy?  The 'rebels' thing works because you kinda start as a recruit with a slugthrower rifle, signing up to battle the odds as part of the plucky underdogs. 

 

If you're just a cog in the wheel of a pitiless dictatorship, backed up by all the firepower and troops, isn't that going to feel a tad easy for the players?

 

If I was running an Imperial campaign, I'd make sure the players were far more afraid of their superiors than the enemy.  These guys aren't precisely renowned for rewarding success or forgiving failure.  And getting ahead in that kind of environment would probably involve screwing over the other PCs, especially when things went wrong. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm always interested in people's alternative campaigns.  But this version of the Empire sounds too whitewashed... Where's the challenge in playing the overdog, if it doesn't come with its own inherent issues?


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#9 Sylpheed

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 03:06 PM

If you're just a cog in the wheel of a ...military machine..., backed up by all the firepower and troops, isn't that going to feel a tad easy for the players?

Fun though.




Edited by Sylpheed, 23 July 2014 - 03:36 PM.

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#10 Maelora

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Posted 23 July 2014 - 04:16 PM

These are admittedly cool videos, Erik, but I have to admit I'm surprised to see you endorsing an Imperial thread.

 

Unless you've turned to the Dark Side? :)


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#11 Ghostofman

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 10:44 AM

Well it is Erik we're talking about, somehow I suspect he'd be willing to consider a +1500XP game with PC Storm commandos, Emperors hands, and Inquisitors...And he'd probably be whole-gamorrean for a Jedi/ARC Trooper game, as long as he got his precious dumptruck of starting XP.


Edited by Ghostofman, 24 July 2014 - 10:57 AM.

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#12 Sylpheed

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:02 PM

These are admittedly cool videos, Erik, but I have to admit I'm surprised to see you endorsing an Imperial thread.
 
Unless you've turned to the Dark Side? :)


What annoys me is people who won't own up to wanting to run an imperial game, and instead claim they want stormtroopers to act like US marines and TIE defenders to be uber and the empire to be grey instead of black because that will make games where people are playing rebels more fun.

If we had a separate forum for people playing imps or people would use tags like (imperial+) things would be better.

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Zero dark thirty is essential viewing for running an Empire is the USA/the Rebellion are insurgents game.



#13 segara82

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Posted 24 July 2014 - 01:30 PM

I am not currently running an imperial campaign, simply an EotE one where my PCs do all kinds of legal and illegal stuff.

But my Empire is heavily influenced by the old Legends EU and what i as the GM consider appropriate for the in-game sense of fantastic realism.

According to the old EU a white hat usually went through 4 years of training, so that he could use any kind of gear he was given or found, and could survive in every enviroment.This also includes extensive weapon training and team-work since they usually work in half-squads of 4 people or full squad of 8 + sergeant.

Not highly educated but far from stupid (or as stupid as so far seen in the Rebels trailer).

They are however few compared to the masses of the 'normal' Imperial Army soldiers and do not get sent unless it's deemed important.

The TIE/D in my game is an elite craft, produced in very few numbers, only issued to proofen aces and the beast that it was in the PC game and in the old WotC. Again they are only deployed when it is considered important.

 

Most of the time my Empire has to make due with Imperial Army soldiers and TIE/IN and TIE/In.

Controlling about 75% of known space requires a lot of personell so they are stretched a bit thin.

 

I picked up what Zahn mentioned in the Hand of Thrawn Duology: The Empire is using about 75-80% of it's ressources to quell internal quabbles.

Not against the Alliance/Rebells, but to keep conflicting parties/planets apart who would otherwise start an inter-system war. After all, nearly all members of the Republic/Empire have a millenia long history, with rivalries, wars and other forms of conflict.

I mean, look at us humans ... only one planet but we can't let old wounds heal and have to bash each others heads in.

A galaxy full of planets with very different 'intelligent' lifeforms is suppossed to do better? Not in my book.

 

That is what I as a GM would point ot to my players if they were Rebells. Pick your fights well, plan ahead, and don't get backed into a corner. Slowly build your forces. Wear the Empire down, humiliate them and convince others to join your cause. If you try to go toe-to-toe you will get smacked around by their superior firepower.

 

Edit: fixed some typos and words.


Edited by segara82, 24 July 2014 - 01:33 PM.

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#14 Joker Two

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 09:54 PM


What annoys me is people who won't own up to wanting to run an imperial game, and instead claim they want stormtroopers to act like US marines and TIE defenders to be uber and the empire to be grey instead of black because that will make games where people are playing rebels more fun.

 

I want Imperial Stormtroopers to be represented as the competent and disciplined personnel that any serious interstellar fighting force would need, even in Star Wars, where FTL travel is trivial.

 - That doesn't mean they are all expert or fanatical, nor does it mean they are incapable of error or cruelty.

 

I want the TIE Defender to be represented as the most effectively armed and shielded variant of the most maneuverable mass-produced starfighter series in the galaxy.

- But it is still only a starfighter, and starfighters need pilots.

 

I want the Galactic Empire to be represented as a vast bureaucratic organization made up of numerous diverse individuals with their own personalities, beliefs, motivations, and goals.

 - Grey does not replace black, morally.  It merely reveals the existence of white.

 

I believe all of the above will make Smuggler, Rebel, and Jedi campaigns more fun, because I will be able to offer my players dynamic foes, challenging encounters, and dramatic roleplay opportunities.

 - I also want to run an Imperial campaign.

 

 

And frankly, between EotE and AoR, X-Wing, and the SWLCG, FFG has achieved the first three to my satisfaction, even without any dedicated Imperial releases for any of their products.  The fourth is entirely up to me and my group.


Edited by Joker Two, 25 July 2014 - 10:27 PM.

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#15 Lynata

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:15 PM

If you're just a cog in the wheel of a pitiless dictatorship, backed up by all the firepower and troops, isn't that going to feel a tad easy for the players?

 

Depends on where exactly you're stationed, and what your job is. In the movies, the Empire comes across as an omnipresent, omnipotent and robotic threat that keeps the entire galaxy in an iron grip. Yet once you factor in realism, as the EU does/did, you realise that the Empire is attempting to control a huge area of space with a comparatively tiny amount of resources. And then you'll invariably end up with numerous minor conflicts and posts far away from the galactically important stuff, yet where nonetheless there are still lives on the line, or even the fate of entire worlds - even if it's just a fringe world that nobody in the Core really cares about.

 

The adventures of a lone Patrol Boat's crew that juggles maintaining order with simply staying alive. A company of Imperial troops responding to a distress call of settlers attacked by hostile natives. A squadron of TIE pilots stuck with boring customs duty, when suddenly they are looped into a pirate chase. The list goes on. And even if you want to bring up the Rebellion (either right away, or by having the campaign slowly shift into this direction), you could simply have the game focus on an undermanned garrison that suddenly sees itself confronted with an unexpectedly violent uprising engineered by a rebel cell, or requisitioned to hunt down a dangerous rebel operative simply because they are the only troops in the area and it's going to take a few hours until reinforcements arrive.

 

If anyone here has played the old TIE-Fighter computer game, I'd say its early campaigns are a good example of what I mean.

 

 

Or how about a ground forces unit assigned to urban policing/peacekeeping?

 

 

The Empire's vast military power is more propaganda or an illusion than an actual issue that would make an RPG campaign pointless, simply because it cannot bring said power to bear everywhere it would be needed. All you have to keep in mind are ways to prevent players from doing stuff like simply calling in artillery support from an orbiting star destroyer - which could range from the area being too important (urban cityblock) to said starship not being present in the first place, because the number of star destroyers, while large, is not sufficient to have one at every single world of the billions of systems that make up the the galaxy. Keep your players far away from convenient reinforcements, and there will be no problem. Certainly, there are enough real world examples for powerful militaries still not being powerful enough to make it a breeze for each of their soldiers.

 

And that's before we touch upon the option of playing in a different era, such as Post-Endor, where numerous warlords attempt to carve out their own little realms, in the process ripping the Empire apart. Or the New Republic era, where the so-called Imperial Remnant struggles to keep what it has, being granted reprieve only because the Republic has trouble getting its act together. Or even the Legacy-era, where a Sith-engineered civil war saw massive changes in the galaxy's geopolitical structure, culminating in the formation of an entirely new galactic power that soon has to face the challenges of post-war reconstruction to usher in a bold new era of peace and stability at a time where the military is weakened and many smaller factions, from political activists to simple criminals, perceive a window of opportunity.

 

 

On a sidenote, some of you may find this interesting - some background about Imperial TIE training, and Imperial propaganda about the pilots of the 181st:

 

http://www.starwars....e-of-the-empire


Edited by Lynata, 30 July 2014 - 12:34 PM.


#16 Maelora

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 12:32 PM

I'm not saying you couldn't do it, Lynata.  You mention a whole bunch of different ways. But the original post sounded a bit 'Mary Sue' to me. 'The PCs are happy and contented Imperials who easily squash the underfunded Rebels and then get a hug and a cookie from the Emperor'.

 

I personally feel that you have to challenge the PCs, and there should be drawbacks to being on the side with the most ships and weapons and resources... By canon (as if that matters!) the drawback is that the Empire expects success rather than rewards it, and is very casual in dealing out lethal punishment for failure.  If I ever ran an Imperial game, I'd be sure the players were a lot more scared of their peers and their superiors than their enemies... As with 40K, you can play the bad guys, but you should have to make some very uncomfortable choices, and should understand that you are a disposable cog in a pitiless machine....


Edited by Maelora, 30 July 2014 - 12:34 PM.

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#17 KRKappel

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 02:53 PM

There are also morally reprehensible choices to be made, the PCs might be expected to slaughter civilians, or perform other acts that they find troubling. If I was running this type of campaign, I'd probably draw up some kind of house rules similar to obligation to deal with the various insanities and self-loathing that can come with performing such evil acts on a regular basis.

That said, if someone wants to run a sympathetic Imperial campaign, particularly as a one-off adventure, I can totally see that being a very fun time. I know those 501st guys LOVED blasting rebel scum in the one off module I did for them.


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#18 Lynata

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 08:46 PM

I'm not saying you couldn't do it, Lynata.  You mention a whole bunch of different ways. But the original post sounded a bit 'Mary Sue' to me. 'The PCs are happy and contented Imperials who easily squash the underfunded Rebels and then get a hug and a cookie from the Emperor'.

 

Oh - it didn't come across that way to me, but it might just be a matter of interpretation. I certainly agree about the "challenging your players" bit! Effortless victories tend to get bland pretty soon, and take the suspense out of the story.

 

There are also morally reprehensible choices to be made, the PCs might be expected to slaughter civilians, or perform other acts that they find troubling. If I was running this type of campaign, I'd probably draw up some kind of house rules similar to obligation to deal with the various insanities and self-loathing that can come with performing such evil acts on a regular basis.

 

Very true - though I'd probably make it depend on the group's mindset.

 

Technically, the Rebels don't always have to be the heroes either .. off the top of my head, I remember a rather "unconventional" Star Wars story about an Imperial officer who felt guilty about being responsible for an airstrike on a civilian hospital - though the hospital was hit only because the local Rebel cell used a signal scatterer to mess with the Imperial forces' targeting equipment. Later, the Rebels suicide-bomb a civilian power station, Taliban-style, just to undermine local stability. Would you add this to your game, too?

 

Generally, I feel there's two ways to run a Star Wars campaign:

 

Black and White, like in the movies, where every Rebel is a hero and every Imp is a heartless bastard who shoots unarmed protesters for sports - or with reversed roles in an Imperial campaign, where the heroic Imperials are protecting a galaxy from a bunch of misguided but well-organises terrorists.

 

... or, and this is my preferred version

 

Shades of Grey, like in the Expanded Universe, and which should be much more realistic and, for most people, immersive. Where you realise that there are bastards on both sides of the war, be it as a product of a cycle of violence or simply because they grew up this way. By all rights, an Empire campaign would run a higher risk of witnessing or even being ordered to engage in atrocities by your faction, but this is mostly because certain powerful groups and individuals in the chain of command (Imperial Intelligence, the ISB, Vader, etc) are extremely ruthless in their tactics, rather than the troops themselves being evil automatons.

 

Thus, the Galactic Empire of the Palpatine-era tends to cover up or even (secretly) reward atrocities rather than to investigate and punish them, though this only means that a courageous officer's efforts to protest against what he or she considers "unlawful orders" might end up getting squashed by shadowy figures in the bureaucracy, and the officer themselves being punished on trumped-up charges such as insubordination or unbecoming conduct, or possibly reassigned to an asteroid-based communications relay. Without a doubt this fosters a rather dark and nasty culture within the Imperial military, but that does not change that the majority of soldiers entering service still do so with naive ideals of protecting galactic peace and bringing law and order to anarchic systems just begging to be liberated from their corrupt criminal overlords. Exactly as the Imperial propaganda tells them. ;)

Besides, let's not forget that the Imperial military was born out of the Old Republic's. You don't just flip a switch and suddenly all those Republic heroes turn to the Dark Side overnight.

 

I hesitate a bit to bring up WW2 comparisons, but historians found that whilst ordinary soldiers were occasionally ordered to participate in mass-executions of civilians, those who refused were usually never punished. I could easily draw parallels to the Imperial situation - including some units retaining a "white vest" throughout their service whilst others (in particular the Waffen-SS, obviously) became infamous for committing massacres.

 

A Rebel campaign, on the other hand, would probably have a much "cleaner" cause because the top brass is uniformly made up of actually good people. That being said, let's not forget that the Rebels are collaborating with smugglers and pirates, and that high ideals often get sabotaged by convenience or necessity. Your new allies are brutal child murderers? Well, you still need them to have a chance in your fight, so grit your teeth and shake their hands.

 

All of this can indeed add a lot to a roleplaying campaign - if the players are interested in such aspects, and able to handle them.

 

I'll conclude with a short excerpt from one of the aptly named "Imperial Perspective" comics:

 

whatsinloyalty.jpg

 

It's all about perspective, innit?


Edited by Lynata, 30 July 2014 - 09:02 PM.

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#19 Ghostofman

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 09:56 PM

There are also morally reprehensible choices to be made, the PCs might be expected to slaughter civilians, or perform other acts that they find troubling. If I was running this type of campaign, I'd probably draw up some kind of house rules similar to obligation to deal with the various insanities and self-loathing that can come with performing such evil acts on a regular basis.
That said, if someone wants to run a sympathetic Imperial campaign, particularly as a one-off adventure, I can totally see that being a very fun time. I know those 501st guys LOVED blasting rebel scum in the one off module I did for them.


You'll have to tell us more about that sometime.
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#20 KRKappel

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Posted 30 July 2014 - 10:41 PM

I might run that module at GenCon, either in my official AOR games for FFG (if the players prefer to try that over the adventures FFG provides) or after hours, in pick-up games.


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