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Rebels as Antagonists / Adversaries

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#1 DarkLanternZBT



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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:30 AM

Greetings, fellow GMs!

I'm writing an adventure post-Long Arm of the Hutt, and plan on using the Rebellion as a foil to my players. I was curious if anyone else considered using the Rebels as adversaries rather than allies, how you went about doing so, and what the reaction from your players was like.

Anyone who's looked into the expanded SW universe knows the Rebels don't always play nice, and smugglers don't always stick around after getting their reward for the suicide missions. Edge of the Empire creates some excellent opportunities, in my opinion, to explore this dynamic.

My specific adventure has the players delivering a droid from a Black Sun contact to a third-party buyer. When they arrive in the system, the players are greeted by Rebel fighters who threaten to shoot them down and demand they hand over the droid. The Rebels are actually the ones who arranged to buy the droid, but don't have nearly enough credits to do so, and set up the ambush because their commander thinks criminal scum don't deserve to be bargained with fairly.

I don't plan on bloodthirsty Rebel fighters here, either: they shoot to disable, using Despairs/Triumphs to knock out ship systems. Any Rebels shot down either limp away from the fight or eject their pilots, obviously saving their lives. If the players choose to go for the throat they can, but I plan to GM it at the start so they know they can defend themselves fairly without crossing a line or seriously pulling their punches.

So, what other ways could or are the Rebels creating friction in your games?

#2 Yoshiyahu



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Posted 05 April 2013 - 05:44 AM

If you've ever read the Han Solo Trilogy, there are a few excellent examples of rebel agents double-crossing fringe/smuggler types. Specifically, Bria Tharen comes to mind. I'm sure you could adapt that quite easily to an EotE campaign.

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#3 DarkLanternZBT



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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:06 AM

That's exactly what inspired me for this thread and adventure.

#4 Leechman



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Posted 05 April 2013 - 06:34 AM

I just started a new campaign tonight, and plan to use both rebels and imperials as varying levels of allies or enemies.

The first session saw the rebels attacking the prison asteroid/mining colony the PCs were meeting on.  The Rebels were not only attacking from orbit, but also had men on location attacking imperials and the PCs (who they assumed were imperial to some degree) on top of staging a prison break.

The PCs had to fight through more than a few rebel agents, and had to hold off some rebel ships as they computed the hyperspace jump.

I thought it was a really interesting method of exploring the setting.  I feel it showed the rebels for what they probably were to many people in the galaxy: a nuisance, and helped establish a more neutral starting tone for character attitudes. (If my PCs support/denounce the rebels or the empire, I want it to develop through their actions in the campaign as opposed to starting with such biases)  

#5 whafrog



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Posted 05 April 2013 - 08:57 AM

Great topic and ideas…if only I could find a group that likes roleplaying SW!

#6 Donovan Morningfire

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Posted 06 April 2013 - 03:27 AM

You certainly could use the Rebel Alliance as adversaries for your party.

As high-minded as the Alliance High Command might be, there's a lot of smaller cells that are willing to sacrfice the moral high ground if it means advancing their cause.  Especially if their cause is more "vengence against the Empire" than "liberation of the galaxy."

By the same token, you could use an attack by Rebel agents/troops as a possible indicator to the party that they're getting involved with something that's seriously questionable on the ethics side of things, even if their current job seems innocuous on the surface.

What if that secretive passenger they're ferrying is actually an ex-Imperial officer responsible for a serious atrocity against sentient life?  The Rebels have gotten wind of who that passenger is and are looking to ensure that justice is served rather than let the Emperor's corrupt system transfer the guy someplace else so that he can commit more atrocities.

Or those crates of "medical supplies" are actually a refined version of an already highly addictive narcotic that's even more addictive and will drive whatever planet its introduced to into utter ruin and societal collapse.  Again, a Rebel operative gets wind of this, but if the party has shown in the past they're not the type to worry about the moral ground (especially if they have debts to pay to various criminal figures), then the Rebel might very well take some drastic measures to keep those "medical supplies" from reaching their destination, even if it means putting the PCs in the cross-hairs.

Or could just be the party are patsies for a high-ranking Imperial's side business, using proxies to maintain enough "plausible deniability" regarding his or her involvement in such illegal or questionable activities.  The PCs may be targeted by a Rebel strike group simply for being the wrong people in the wrong place at the worst possible time.

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#7 Barefoottourguide



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Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:08 AM

There's even a pregen from the Beginner Game who was a rebel agent whose cell was sacrificed, so she has a bone to pick with the Alliance. Great use of the Rebellion as antagonists. Remember the westerns? Full of angry outlaws whose Civil War units were led to ruin… or their commanders froze/ran, causing great loss. The outlaws hunt down these former generals. That would work for this kind of campaign.


#8 Yoshiyahu



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Posted 06 April 2013 - 04:49 AM

There are a lot of great concepts being tossed around here. One thing that always struck me about the Rebellion is that they were using force and violence to try to overthrow the legally elected (albeit, evil and corrupt) government of the galaxy. While they may represent "freedom" to eachother, to the rest of the galaxy (who has largely never been the direct victim of Imperial atrocities) they might come across as terrorists. ("I had friends on that Death Star.")

This dynamic can be explored through a variety of means. One might have family, friends, or contacts that become so-called "collateral damage" in rebel raids. Kyle Katarn believed that his father was killed during a rebel raid on Sulon- it turned out not to be true, but it was certainly believable. Another way might be having civilian-owned goods being stolen by the Rebellion "for the greater good." Imagine your players have just taken a contract from either a company or an individual to deliver some cargo to an Imperial garrison on a nearby moon. Before they can deliver the cargo, they're intercepted by rebels who (using overwhelming force) board the ship and steal the cargo from the players "for the greater good."

Now your players are really in a bind. The person who contracted them is angry at them for losing the shipment, and wants to be compensated for the value of the cargo (and his lucrative Imperial contract!), the Imperials are suspicious of your group for potentially having collaborated with the rebels, and their obligation score goes that much higher.

A great many on the fringe were distrustful of the Rebellion to start with- remember, while in the early days, the rebels had no problem dealing with the fringe- (unfairly sometimes, but they did have a relationship) but as they get more control and power, they quickly become the "devil you don't know." It was probably common knowledge in certain circles which Imperials could be bribed or who was "on the take." In a Rebellion controlled area, this becomes less likely, and entire markets for illegal goods might dry up under rebel control. Admiral Ackbar (and all Mon Calamari, really) intensely disliked smugglers and fringe types, so depending on who they were dealing with, the animosity might already exist.

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#9 Callidon



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Posted 07 April 2013 - 04:24 AM

I ran a one-shot Star Wars scenario years ago where the PC's got caughtin the b---s--- between the Empire and the Rebellion.  The Empire was blockading a major side route of the Perlemian Trade Route due to a hotbed of Rebel Activity.  Ofcourse there wasn't much actually going on, the Empire had simply decided to capitalize on the destruction of the Death Star by making it seem like the Rebels were everywhere and thus the need for buckledown policies and increased military funding.  Anyway, the PCs had been sent to secure advanced medical tech for the needs of a small smuggler planet (run by a much loved NPC) making a go at being legit, and acting as something of a haven for refugees from the civil war.  So they had to run the blockade which was full of Imperial entanglements.  Then had to go through my typical array of "trouble" to get the much needed medical tech.  They then made a second run at the blockade, and were waylaid by rebels looking to acquire the meds "for the cause!"  So they fought and shook off the rebels by running them all smack into an Imperial patrol.  They managed to make the jump and left the rebels to their fate.  And their friends got the much needed tech to help their little world make it a bit longer amidst the backdrop of galactic war.

It was a fun way to have the rebels become an obstacle without them being the big bads.


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#10 DarkLanternZBT



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Posted 07 April 2013 - 05:01 AM

Callidon said:

It was a fun way to have the rebels become an obstacle without them being the big bads.

That's why I'm glad FFG started with the fringers rather than the Rebels or Force-users: there's an encouragement to do so much more gray-area stuff like this. Not everything has to be genocides, planets blowing up, and stark good vs evil. You can put a "good" force in the way as an obstacle without being forced to make them baby-eating evil.

#11 Genghis12



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Posted 08 April 2013 - 03:17 PM

From WEG's "Heroes and Rogues"

"Acceptable and unacceptable, right and wrong, depend on how players run their selected characters.  An Imperial TIE pilot, for example, may be hailed as a hero within the Empire.  The same character may be seen as the worst sort of villain within the Alliance.  Similarly, a Rebel resistance leader can be viewed as a dedicated patriot by those he leads.  The Imperial troopers charged with his capture will see things differently. . .

Players and gamemasters alike should bear in mind that the Star Wars universe has a clear cut view of what is right and wrong. . . blatently evil acts will have severe consequences. . .

Complicating matters are the independents who come in all shapes, sizes, and political stripes. . ."

Some character concepts:

"Rogue military: You joined the Rebels and after field training, got sent to Yavin IV as a Y-wing pilot.  To your eternal shame (or maybe relief), you broke your leg in a wrestling match two days before the Death Star arrived in orbit, and missed out on the Battle of Yavin.  You were the only surviving member of your squadron as a result.  Did you stay with the Rebels after the evacuation, or move on to something else?

You were recruited by Rebels on your homeworld, and joined a local Rebel cell.  From your cover job, you were able to channel invaluable information to other cell members until your network was infiltrated by Imperial spies and you all had to make a run for it.  What kind of cover job did you have?  Did you relocate to another Rebel cell, or get out of the spy business?  Do you still have friends in captivity, or did you all get away?

You joined the crew of a pirate ship and spent several years plying the spaceways looking for ships to hijack.  The pay wasn't nearly as good as you had been led to believe, but you did get some good piloting and combat experience, and met some fairly interesting people.  Life was not boring.  Did you leave the pirate band, or was it forcefully disbanded?  Did you betray your comrades to collect a bounty, or did someone else turn the rest of you in?  Are your former shipmates after your hide?  Are you after theirs?  Or did you part company amicably?

You joined a company of mercenaries.  You worked for minor nobles, did dirty work for Moffs, ran bandits out of towns on Outer Rim worlds, and anything else remotely military the person paying your fees asked.  Are you still employed by the company?  Or did you leave?  If so, why?  Was it because the nature of the business began to leave a bad taste in your mouth?  Were you sold out by employers?  Defeated by enemies?  Or did the company peacefully disband to pursue other interests?"

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