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Tedward777

New GM, New Players, Interesting Story Help?

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Hey FFG community new GM here,

 

I seek help, ideas and support for a new campaign I've been thinking about running. I have 4 people signed on to join on the adventure. We are all relatively new to RPG games. I've played this game for a few session, and we all have introductory experience with D&D. We are all huge Star Wars fans and wanted to try this out. I wanted to propose an idea for a campign and see what you all think... or if you think it is even possible. 

 

The idea is pretty basic (and I know many of you are tired of the whole young jedi training stuff, but this group loved the idea). 

 

Act I: The first session would be set from the Jedi Temple to Ilum, where a group of younglings (with careers they have chosen) would be journeying to find their lightsaber crystals and construct their own lightsabers (Inspired by "The Gathering" episode of the Clone Wars series). Each of them will have to give me an internal fear or weakness so I can craft scenarios for them to find their perfect crystals. After they attain their crystals... however that is done decided on the die, they will craft their sabers on the ship. While on their way back to the Temple they receive a distress call to return quickly. As they arrive they are ambushed by their clone friends who have just been ordered to wipe them out. After a combat encounter they will head out in their ship where they will experience a starship combat encounter in space (all of this is done with the help of the Jedi Leader NPC taking them on their quest to get their crystals to make it easier for a group of younglings [also may help balance the team]). This leads to the end of their youngling adventures.

 

Act II: 20ish years after the fall of the Jedi. This is where game rules shift... While each player would have their F&D career and specialization... they will choose an additional career and specialization as Jedi living under the radar. One may be a Mechanic (at the same time being a Sentinel Artisan) and one may be a Colonist Doctor (at the same time being a Counsular Healer). They will be a team of old Jedi misfits who have to disguise themselves in a world where Jedi are almost nonexistent. Because it is about 20 years later I would give players some extra XP and Credits to work with as well... logically one does not stay within the same amount of experience and skill in twenty years. However because Force Powers would be suppressed to an extent those may not have evolved  all that much.

 

From there they would be traveling throughout the galaxy as private contractors, they will provide services for folks while also striving to take down the Empire who has betrayed them.... more could happen from their, join the Rebellion?

 

So... is this possible, will this work? What am I missing? Is this lame? Thoughts?

Edited by Tedward777

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It could work. And could be a very interesting game. However it sounds like you are running a knight level game. which if you and your players are new to the system I would recommend against. The slower progression of a basic game will help you and your players get a better handle on the system and how various talents work. 

I would recommend you give a listen to the Order 66 podcast. I can also recommend the Tales from the Hydian way. 

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Reads fine to me.  Your Act I sounds a lot more like a prologue, and probably something that can be discussed in a purely narrative way as a session zero to collaboratively establish the fictional elements of each PC and how they get along with each other.  In other words, character-building.  At least, that's how I'd run it.  Your 20-years-after is really your starting point, and you honestly don't need to give them a bunch of "earned XP" if those 20 years have been spent piloting garbage scows.  Just have them start with non-lightsaber specs and the crystal they gathered in the prologue. If they're starting with Morality = 50, they should have plenty of starting cash, too.

 

As Daeglan also notes, you could start them at Knight level, but since these are beginning players (and GM!) specifically without Force powers, that wouldn't be my first instinct.

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I'll third the "start slow" comments.  It's hard to know what the impact of a Talent might be until you've played a while.  Some of them don't jump out at you.  For example, a lot of Talents help remove setback dice...at first glance it's hard to see how useful that is, until the GM starts handing out setback like candy...which they should totally do  :)

 

Take a few sessions as a "prequel", or maybe run one of the beginner boxes before launching into a story that will go on for a while.  And don't be afraid to let a player revamp their character once they learn more, so long as they can justify it narratively.

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Thanks for the help friends. Really appreciate it. So as Lorne proposes, I could run A1 as a prologue and AII as the actually first session play? They could eventually unlock their force sensitive powers and whatnot? I don't want to completely ditch this story because all of our players were excited for this idea; one of the reason I convinced one of them to play. But if one thinks it will be a total train-wreck with new players I don't want to ruin their experiences. Plus I have invested hundreds into FFG books and don't want to lose my friends who would play because they have a crummy experience!! 

 

Next week we are playing the F&D Beginner Game to learn a lot of the basics, which will be helpful whatever we do. 

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Sounds good. In fact, sounds like an enticing campaign concept. Do not worry about using tried and tested ideas at all. If this is the first Jedi training you guys play, everything is new to you anyway; what others have already played does not matter. And even if a concept is known, your own spin can always make it new and interesting again.

I agree with Lorne and would call Act I a prologue, too, due to the narrative shift afterwards, but that is more a matter of taste, I guess. EDIT: You can narrate it, but if your players are looking forward to actually playing it, it is probably best if you do.

Have fun playing your game!

Edited by Franigo

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I like this idea a lot- I would however instead of going with a narative prologue-

 

stretch out the first act into three acts, then let them begin knight play after having set it up nicely.  Ideally run the first three acts before a break - say before the winter holidays?

 

ACT1: Give them a sense of dependence and camaradarie with the clone troopers. This would make the impact of order 66 much more powerful.  Give them identities, have them confide in the PCs.  At best, have the troopers be protecting the PCs while on their fledgling missions- along with the Jedi mentor.

 

ACT2: The Lightsaber mission and their ultimate betrayal.  maybe not all of the troopers try to kill them- maybe some join them in exile

 

ACT3: The path to exile- Where the PCs find a place to hide and escape the empires notice.  Perhaps having to finally put down an inquisitor-esque jedi hunter who had been tailing their mentor (and killed)- and abandon a place they had found and thought safe.  Perhaps they will have to leave what few friends they know (any troopers who didn't turn on them) and their lightsabers behind as they sign on with a crew of vagabonds.

 

----

 

Open later at knight level with their new careers established.

 

Anyway i really like this concept.  It would make sense that now that the empire is reeling from the death star attack they feel more brazen- or perhaps their smuggling days uncovered a relic from the days before the empire, perhaps even from before the republic.

 

Hope that gives you some ideas you can use :)

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^^^ A fine idea, too.  Caveats: players can go way off the rails from what the GM had planned, especially in this system; 20 years is a lifetime, so if they're too old in the prologue, they're going to be married with children when you pick up later.  Really, the OP's story seems like one of Innocence Lost, mirrored by the Republic's own loss of innocence, so to me that screams tweens/early teens at most.  That's just my impression, though...

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... and Lorne, they will definitely be a young group tweens most likely as very young younglings. It also probably won't be 20 years later but some years later where the rebellion may start to pick up. We will see I guess. 

Edited by Tedward777

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One question also might be how much to discuss with your players in advance. If they're aware that they'll be doing a pre-66 and then a post-Yavin game, they'll likely be fine with staying somewhat on the rails.  

 

For plot-rail games like this, its a really good idea to plan out your key plot points you want to occur during your game and give several possible outcomes that actually will matter to the game long term.

 

For example, you could plan to have NPCs, items, ships or locations come into play during the pre-66 story and implement them with the idea that players will likely evoke a change in regards to the major action by scene's end.  I usually try to have 3 different avenues, like a high-middle-low: maybe on an axis of morality, or one on an axis of success/failure at a task- etc

 

Then, in the post-Yavin time frame, have those things crop back up again, complicated by the time that has passed, but also with the experience remembered or recounted from when a group of troopers and their jedi charges passed through.

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As previously mentioned, I wouldn't boost the characters up if you are all quite new to the game. It will just make it more complicated for you all and less fun.

 

On a general note I would also advise against quite rigid "set pieces" or scenes you as a GM might have planned. Players have a habit of bypassing, breaking or abusing all the GMs best plans for them.

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It's a fine idea. I really like it As Is. Definitely play through the prologue. One suggestion, add some meaningful choices to the first act. For two reasons - one, it's a rail road prologue so adding some choice and consequence counters that. Secondly, it's a nice connection that can tie things together later.

 

So for example, maybe there's an NPC youngling and the meaningful choice is whether they manage to save him or not. Perhaps they fail and see him dragged off by Clone Troopers, or trapped on their ship, hiding, as they leave. Later on, they meet the adult version now one of Palpatine's Inquisitors. If they do save him then he's a helpful NPC contact. Or maybe he dies there in the caves, unable to escape due to the clone attack. Years later the adventure takes them back to Ilum and they find his body frozen at the door. (Or creepier - "Gollum", tuned to the Force energies of the place and living off fish there in the deep pools.). Or maybe they don't all get their crystals. Make the prologue a genuine test with the possibility of failure. Years later, the PCs are ready to start taking in the Empire, but one or two of them still feel the need to take their trial and face those fears. Have you ever seen Steven King's "It"? Where they have to return to their childhood town and face the thing they fear? If not all have their crystals then Return to Illum makes for a good part two adventure - seeing it again from the adult point of view and this time also having to make it past Imperial guards.

 

Or combine all of them! Your idea is really good. I like it alot. But it would be nice if you added some real choices / difficulties that echo down into the future game. Emotional ties like each of them sharing the guilt of failing to save their fifth member, or knowing their master is still alive as a hidden mentor to them because they managed to save her, or whatever, really make things pop. People love connections above all things.

 

 

EDIT: I see I was kind of Ninja'd by DivisionArchitect. Great Minds, I guess... ;)

Edited by knasserII

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Thanks KnasserII. Very helpful directions to take this. I love the idea of adding in an extra youngling whose fate is decided on the teamwork of the group. This could be really good. 

 

Does anyone use a specific program or guideline when creating your own narrative and campaign... for example making maps, the classic Star Wars scroll, narrating strategies or anything else? Do you use a similar model to the pre-made modules of FFG?

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This is a great premise.  Sounds like it will be a really fun game.

 

One thing I'd offer for your consideration is how to use the group resource gained from "character creation" and how this might influence Act II.

 

The players may want to continue their Jedi training - and not be limited in the Specializations available - and this is where a Mentor or a Holocron can come into play to let them continue their path.  The group resource - and a group discussion about what they want - is a great way for players and GM to hash out what people at the table want the the story to be about.

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Thanks KnasserII. Very helpful directions to take this. I love the idea of adding in an extra youngling whose fate is decided on the teamwork of the group. This could be really good. 

 

Does anyone use a specific program or guideline when creating your own narrative and campaign... for example making maps, the classic Star Wars scroll, narrating strategies or anything else? Do you use a similar model to the pre-made modules of FFG?

I'm glad that was helpful. I don't know if it's of interest, but I am in the habit of presenting a very short vignette at the start of each session. It both gives people something to read whilst players are still settling down, unpacking, asking questions of me, etc., and it also gives me an opportunity to broaden the setting with things their characters may not be directly involved with (though some of the vignettes are about them). They're usually just a few paragraphs.

But you'll have enough on your plate with the adventure writing and running the game, I imagine. Best suggestion is to be as organized as possible - group the stats you need for each set of NPCs / Enemies in a handy sheet so you can reference everything quickly. Get to the next set of NPCs? Cast it aside so you're not leafing through tonnes of paper and maps, etc. I also keep a quick bullet list of the NPCs and locations they'll go to with some descriptive notes next to each so I can keep everything fresh in my mind and not skimp on the descriptions just because I'm under pressure. So for example:

*Han Solo (cocky, abrasive, irritates everyone with smart-mouth. brown hair, good looking, motivation: self-interest)

*Dagobah (overgrown jungle, fetid, smell of leaf mould everywhere. clouds of biting gnats now and then. Difficult Terrain mods for combat)

I keep an eye on that summary sheet whenever they go somewhere or meet someone to help me describe things and keep everything atmospheric and real.

Edited by knasserII

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I dont understand the need of a second career. You can handle this narratively. A consuler healer can act as a normal doctor and a sentinel shadow can smuggle items without the need to throw a second career to your players

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Thanks all for the help so far! We played the Beginner Box Monday and last night. The team of four really enjoyed it and said that was easier than just jumping right in. I, and they, feel like they have a better handle on things. We are meeting next Wednesday to create their characters. I have every Sourcebook available to date so I am giving them a wide range of species, careers, specializations and more.They are excited to get to make their own characters. 

 

I am thinking about making some NPC's including their Master, another youngling, a droid who will help in potential construction of lightsabers (if the story leans this way), and a team of 4/5 clone troopers who they will befriend (for now). Should I use the same method to construct these NPC's as we usually would PC? Any other suggestions? 

 

I asked them a few things that could be helpful to the players to make the games go smoother. For example, making a list/cheat sheet of how they could use their triumphs and advantages; making maps and visuals for them to see; etc. What else may be handy for the PC and their players? 

 

I have been impressed with how my group was using their force abilities. For example, to get out of a dark deep hole he used move on a few rocks to quickly jump up, up and up, until he reached the top. My wife used her focus and jump ability to jump high and land on a few minions causing damage. I am excited to see where they will take this idea I have, and lead it to some epic places. 

 

As vilainn6 mentions, I am assuming my group doesn't need two specializations/careers? I have not decided if I am going to do the time jump to adulthood. I don't know how I feel about them playing as younglings for the whole thing however. But we will see... any suggestions? 

Edited by Tedward777

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It's always tricky getting a group of Jedi together in a post yavin game.

 

I had a similar idea except using a flashback instead of a 20 year gap.

 

The premise was that when alderaan was destroyed it sent out a shock wave through the force, "like a billion voices crying out and then being silenced".

 

On planet X four strangers, at a large gathering, suddenly cried out in pain and collapsed.

They were rushed to hospital and the story made the local news.

 

ACT 1 (betrayal) is a flashback to the fall of the Jedi, with the party playing the part of padawans on their way to building their lightsabers.

It's a chance for the party to play with different force powers before their real-life characters have to decide on what to learn.

This will be done with a trippy dreamlike quality with them being hunted down by friends all sharing the same faces.

If any of the padawans survive order 66 they may show up later to act as mentors or inquisitors, depending on how the party play them, most will end up dead in the crystal caves.

 

ACT 2 (the trials) has the party waking up in a hospital isolation lab being tended to by a medical droid. The MD explains that they collapsed close together and they were shuttled directly to the hospital, they are being held in isolation because no cause had been detected yet.

 

The is the first time the party will get to know each other, after they've had enough time they are interrupted by an emergency broadcast on the imperial news network "yesterday terrorists calling themselves the rebel alliance destroyed the planet alderaan". With this they realise that they must have felt the destruction through the force and they must be descended from Jedi, but if they've made the connection the empire could as well.

 

Troopers can be seen arriving through the window and surrounding the hospital, it's time to leave. The only option is to leave on the same shuttle they arrived on, luckily the hospital provides care to the orbiting space stations and emergency care to inbound ships so the shuttle is space worthy and has a hyperdrive.

 

Using clues from the dream sequence they are able to follow the journey of the padawans to the Jedi temple.

At the entrance they find a holocron with a message "this is a warning to all surviving Jedi..." Kenobi had left a warning at this temple just like on coruscant, along with some helpful information for any surviving padawans.. lightsaber construction, beginner force powers and plot hooks.

 

They enter the temple and undergo the trials, gathering the crystals and finding the bodies of the padawans they played in ACT 1 who still have their lightsaber parts. Using the holocron they are able to complete the lightsaber construction.

 

ACT 3 (the awakening) with only one holocron the party is forced to stick together if they want to learn the ways of the force.

 

Throughout the galaxy the lost children of the Jedi have begun to realise that they have a connection to the force, unfortunately some were awakened in a way that exposed them to the empire.

 

The party needs to find and protect these potential Jedi, this is to be a tale of the rise of a new Jedi order.

Although new to the force their lightsabers and holocron will make them some of the more powerful of the new Jedi order, and at the forefront of the fight against the empire.

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Thanks all for the help so far! We played the Beginner Box Monday and last night. The team of four really enjoyed it and said that was easier than just jumping right in. I, and they, feel like they have a better handle on things. We are meeting next Wednesday to create their characters. I have every Sourcebook available to date so I am giving them a wide range of species, careers, specializations and more.They are excited to get to make their own characters. 

 

I am thinking about making some NPC's including their Master, another youngling, a droid who will help in potential construction of lightsabers (if the story leans this way), and a team of 4/5 clone troopers who they will befriend (for now). Should I use the same method to construct these NPC's as we usually would PC? Any other suggestions? 

 

I asked them a few things that could be helpful to the players to make the games go smoother. For example, making a list/cheat sheet of how they could use their triumphs and advantages; making maps and visuals for them to see; etc. What else may be handy for the PC and their players? 

 

I have been impressed with how my group was using their force abilities. For example, to get out of a dark deep hole he used move on a few rocks to quickly jump up, up and up, until he reached the top. My wife used her focus and jump ability to jump high and land on a few minions causing damage. I am excited to see where they will take this idea I have, and lead it to some epic places. 

 

As vilainn6 mentions, I am assuming my group doesn't need two specializations/careers? I have not decided if I am going to do the time jump to adulthood. I don't know how I feel about them playing as younglings for the whole thing however. But we will see... any suggestions?

That sounds great. I really liked the idea of using Move to create a platform game to escape the pit. Never seen or thought of that anywhere before.

I see no reason that the players will need a second specialization. In F&D everyone has a base level of competence. Have them put a couple of skill points in whatever their cover trade is and it'll be fine.

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The is the first time the party will get to know each other, after they've had enough time they are interrupted by an emergency broadcast on the imperial news network "yesterday terrorists calling themselves the rebel alliance destroyed the planet alderaan". With this they realise that they must have felt the destruction through the force and they must be descended from Jedi, but if they've made the connection the empire could as well.

This is a tangent but the above doesn't make sense to me. You're having the Empire blame the destruction of Alderaan on the Rebel Alliance? Firstly Alderaan was far from an Imperial sympathizer. That's why it was chosen to make an example of as much as anything. But more importantly, the whole point of the Death Star is that the fear of it will keep the planets in line. Thinking the Rebellion are the ones able to destroy planets has entirely the opposite effect.

Also, again a personal one but I really dislike the idea that if you're Force-sensitive you're descended from Jedi. Anakin and his kids may both have had the Force and it may be strong in their family. But I find the idea of Force use being some hereditary family thing rather disempowering for people. The Force should be able to arise anywhere and in any living, sentient being.

Edited by knasserII

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...

ACT 3 (the awakening) with only one holocron the party is forced to stick together if they want to learn the ways of the force.

 

Throughout the galaxy the lost children of the Jedi have begun to realise that they have a connection to the force, unfortunately some were awakened in a way that exposed them to the empire.

 

The party needs to find and protect these potential Jedi, this is to be a tale of the rise of a new Jedi order.

Although new to the force their lightsabers and holocron will make them some of the more powerful of the new Jedi order, and at the forefront of the fight against the empire.

I love much of this idea.  The only points I'd make are as KnasserII made below and I would focus on the force in the second Act- save lightsabers for later.  There are so many good resources for this.  In fact you might have their discovery involve THE Kyber crystal.

 

...

I am thinking about making some NPC's including their Master, another youngling, a droid who will help in potential construction of lightsabers (if the story leans this way), and a team of 4/5 clone troopers who they will befriend (for now). Should I use the same method to construct these NPC's as we usually would PC? Any other suggestions? 

 

I asked them a few things that could be helpful to the players to make the games go smoother. For example, making a list/cheat sheet of how they could use their triumphs and advantages; making maps and visuals for them to see; etc. What else may be handy for the PC and their players? 

...

As vilainn6 mentions, I am assuming my group doesn't need two specializations/careers? I have not decided if I am going to do the time jump to adulthood. I don't know how I feel about them playing as younglings for the whole thing however. But we will see... any suggestions? 

I wouldn't build them as PCs, too much work.  Use pre-built NPCs.  For badass troopers protecting younglings, use Stormtrooper Seargents, for the Master use a Dark Jedi with simple tweaks for being a Jedi master.  Play it loose- also you may want to foreshadow the death of the Jedi by having him or her injured repeatedly in the mission.

 

Cheatsheet on manuevers, and space combat if you're expecting it- in fact only when you're expecting it haha.  I don't make maps- I just use soda cans, tissue boxes whatever and the tokens from the beginner game.  Best version of "maps" i've played with.

 

Two specs is really fine.  Worst case is it takes longer between sessions to decide on what traits.  I really think its a great idea and a fun way to show the passage of time.

 

This is a tangent but the above doesn't make sense to me. You're having the Empire blame the destruction of Alderaan on the Rebel Alliance? Firstly Alderaan was far from an Imperial sympathizer. That's why it was chosen to make an example of as much as anything. But more importantly, the whole point of the Death Star is that the fear of it will keep the planets in line. Thinking the Rebellion are the ones able to destroy planets has entirely the opposite effect.

Also, again a personal one but I really dislike the idea that if you're Force-sensitive you're descended from Jedi. Anakin and his kids may both have had the Force and it may be strong in their family. But I find the idea of Force use being some hereditary family thing rather disempowering for people. The Force should be able to arise anywhere and in any living, sentient being.

Agreed on both of these

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Descended from the Jedi is an assumption and a plot hook, not a scientific fact.

It gives PC's a reason to explore their origins without a disappointing "sorry Luke, your father really was a moisture farmer" ending.

 

The death star was a secret when alderaan was destroyed, it was still secret on the way to yavin so it could maintain the element of surprise.

 

If yavin had been destroyed tarkin would have revealed the death star.

But once the death star was destroyed it would have been humiliating to reveal it, the next best thing is to blame the rebels.

In between alderaan and yavin the news that a planet had been destroyed would get out and the news agencies would have to come up with a story... rebels are the obvious choice.

Edited by mulletcheese

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I'll third the "start slow" comments.  It's hard to know what the impact of a Talent might be until you've played a while.  Some of them don't jump out at you.  For example, a lot of Talents help remove setback dice...at first glance it's hard to see how useful that is, until the GM starts handing out setback like candy...which they should totally do  :)

 

Take a few sessions as a "prequel", or maybe run one of the beginner boxes before launching into a story that will go on for a while.  And don't be afraid to let a player revamp their character once they learn more, so long as they can justify it narratively.

Sound advice that I would take.

As far as your story idea goes, I really like the premise.

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Descended from the Jedi is an assumption and a plot hook, not a scientific fact.

It gives PC's a reason to explore their origins without a disappointing "sorry Luke, your father really was a moisture farmer" ending.

 

The death star was a secret when alderaan was destroyed, it was still secret on the way to yavin so it could maintain the element of surprise.

 

If yavin had been destroyed tarkin would have revealed the death star.

But once the death star was destroyed it would have been humiliating to reveal it, the next best thing is to blame the rebels.

In between alderaan and yavin the news that a planet had been destroyed would get out and the news agencies would have to come up with a story... rebels are the obvious choice.

I just realized this event was pre-Yavin. That sounds better realizing that. I am still not sure on the imperial stance of it. But it seems reasonable.

More importantly- I just really love the "save the children" idea. I kind of hope more adventures that get published use this idea. We have waaaaaaay too many holocron and lightsaber stories. Do you have any other ideas for Force Sensitives to pursue?

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