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DreamingGod

The Rule of Two, a Sith game.

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My two players and I have been discussing what to do with Force and Destiny now. We ran an intro adventure, and they are hankering for something all together grander. And for a bit of dark side action. We brainstormed the outline of a game, taking place some hundreds of years before The Phantom Menace. One player takes the role of a Sith apprentice who thinks they have learned all they can from their master and wishes to dispose of them, and the other plays that characters secret apprentice.

Now, my initial thought is to have each character has differing levels of experience totals, with some caveats to allow the student to catch up faster, with the game ending when the apprentices displaces the master; each of them playing the frenemy relationship of the sith, and scheming.

The most inexperienced character, the secret apprentice, is one who is supposed to be trained, but not yet full. Probably not even Dooku's level (Sidious was a bad ass among badasses) so I was looking at Knight-level play. From a first glance that 150 XP points goes fast, and I don't think it would get a Sith apprentice to where I think they narratively should be. But I may be wrong here, we learned the mechanics and did a short light-sider gain, but from what I could tell it takes a lot of XP to make an actual, fully trained Jedi/Sith. With that in mind, my second thought was to bump it up to 250 XP... but I'm not sure where that would get them.

For the Master I was thinking 400-500 XP points, maybe more, since they will have stunted XP gain.

Another idea that was discussed was the ability of the master to actually train the apprentice, but I'm not sure how to represent that mechanically. Any help here?

And with that, any thoughts on how the Galaxy would be about five hundred years before the Clone Wars? It doesn't seem to be touched upon, but it'd be easy to use the ships stats from the Imperial era and re-skin them. I'm trying ot think of some things for Sith to do. One of my cautions to my players was that I want them to scheme, plan and seek; while I throw some complications their way. Which leaves off with a final thought; what would the Sith hiding in the background do to attain power? What kind of adventures would they have? Sith seeem, story-wise, to be very active. Very much seeking and doing things.

 

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Sounds interesting. On limited time so can't talk extensively, but a quick few pointers.

 

What is the master and the main apprentice's rappore particularly? Do they meet in person often? Does the master have a secret apprentice of his own? Or a rappore of potential resources he can draft in?

 

Campaign ideas should be all about gaining money/resources to spend later. The sith likely didn't have a core goal established beyond concentrating their power and gathering resources, so the sith Lord in particlar might be a CEO in a company or working their way up one of the central firms or an underworld empire to use the resources on a later endeavour. Thus the key question becomes not whether the apperentis can best the master, but can he get away with it once he does to inherit the position? Are they part of the same firm or does the master keep him out of this? What is their role's? And how does this secret apprentice fit in all this? Or is he completely uninvolved. does the master keep a sith vault somewhere where these treasures and knowledge is stored? That could be a very key questline for the apprentice as this knowledge would allow them to grow at a unrestricted rate.

 

Have your sith apprentice write notes about his apprentice for the DM only to read, does he intend on hiring the secret apprentice as a real companion? To inherit the mantle of two with him? Or is he a danger to the apprentice and thus was only intended as a scapegoat for the master? The secret apprentice may or may not suspect this, but he in particular is the disposable one and thus playing a dangerous game.

 

Perhaps consider using obligation for this; set 1 aside for the apprentice and some aside to the characters personal obligations; being in a position of power requires a degree of involvement and sometimes you have to balance the books while keeping true to your ultimate duty. The secret apprentice should have an obligation that is potential danger to the real apprentice, if it's rolled the master will get suspicious and send a trusted retainer to check it out. Perhaps this could be a force sensitive candidate that he would trust to check this out, and upon being successful might make things especially complicated and force his hand on the matter. Basically, there should be a real tension in the air if he suspects.

 

Ultimately, even though your objective is to replace the master the jedi and your survival should take priority. Perhaps have Jedi come in at some point for something completely unrelated and unintentionally makes concealing the sith somewhat more difficult. It doesn't mean that they can't be exposed, how else would Yoda know about the rule of two? Perhaps this was but the first of many close encounters over the years. One thing for everyone to consider is if the republic discover your identiries, this puts the entire legacy of the sith in danger, thus be detrimental to teir surivival.

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Why don't you have them both be the "Secret" apprentices, with the Sith Master & Apprentice being NPC's.

The PC's begin the campaign essentially competing for the Aprentice Siths attention, possibly at Knight Level if you feel you want a little bit more beginning power.

Part way through the Campaign the Apprentice kills the Master, then the PC's can either duke it out or team up to kill the Apprentice...

Edit: or during the campaign the Master discovers the PC's and kills the Apprentice, then comes after the PC's

Edited by Richardbuxton

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Why don't you have them both be the "Secret" apprentices, with the Sith Master & Apprentice being NPC's.

The PC's begin the campaign essentially competing for the Aprentice Siths attention, possibly at Knight Level if you feel you want a little bit more beginning power.

Part way through the Campaign the Apprentice kills the Master, then the PC's can either duke it out or team up to kill the Apprentice...

Edit: or during the campaign the Master discovers the PC's and kills the Apprentice, then comes after the PC's

Mainly because the ending of two rival apprentices is not what my player's have in mind. More... drawn out scheming and power dynamics is what they are interested in.

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Sounds interesting. On limited time so can't talk extensively, but a quick few pointers.

 

What is the master and the main apprentice's rappore particularly? Do they meet in person often? Does the master have a secret apprentice of his own? Or a rappore of potential resources he can draft in?

 

Campaign ideas should be all about gaining money/resources to spend later. The sith likely didn't have a core goal established beyond concentrating their power and gathering resources, so the sith Lord in particlar might be a CEO in a company or working their way up one of the central firms or an underworld empire to use the resources on a later endeavour. Thus the key question becomes not whether the apperentis can best the master, but can he get away with it once he does to inherit the position? Are they part of the same firm or does the master keep him out of this? What is their role's? And how does this secret apprentice fit in all this? Or is he completely uninvolved. does the master keep a sith vault somewhere where these treasures and knowledge is stored? That could be a very key questline for the apprentice as this knowledge would allow them to grow at a unrestricted rate.

 

Have your sith apprentice write notes about his apprentice for the DM only to read, does he intend on hiring the secret apprentice as a real companion? To inherit the mantle of two with him? Or is he a danger to the apprentice and thus was only intended as a scapegoat for the master? The secret apprentice may or may not suspect this, but he in particular is the disposable one and thus playing a dangerous game.

 

Perhaps consider using obligation for this; set 1 aside for the apprentice and some aside to the characters personal obligations; being in a position of power requires a degree of involvement and sometimes you have to balance the books while keeping true to your ultimate duty. The secret apprentice should have an obligation that is potential danger to the real apprentice, if it's rolled the master will get suspicious and send a trusted retainer to check it out. Perhaps this could be a force sensitive candidate that he would trust to check this out, and upon being successful might make things especially complicated and force his hand on the matter. Basically, there should be a real tension in the air if he suspects.

 

Ultimately, even though your objective is to replace the master the jedi and your survival should take priority. Perhaps have Jedi come in at some point for something completely unrelated and unintentionally makes concealing the sith somewhat more difficult. It doesn't mean that they can't be exposed, how else would Yoda know about the rule of two? Perhaps this was but the first of many close encounters over the years. One thing for everyone to consider is if the republic discover your identiries, this puts the entire legacy of the sith in danger, thus be detrimental to teir surivival.

 

And this is a goldmine. I'll digest this, and get back to you shortly. I like all these ideas presently. Thank you.

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I believe a Revan/Malak relationship would work pretty well.
One being the Master, but only being slightly more powerfull.

That way both could be apprentices (one could be the secret apprentice of the real apprentice), who want to cast down their former Master.
However at one point the (secret) apprentice starts potting against his master (the former apprentice, who killed his master) for "unlimited poweeer"

You could also do multiple plots, like the master searching for a replacement for his ambitous student etc etc. Everyone has secret goals and means to reach them.


Furthermore I believe about 500-1000 years before Ep I would be the age of Darth Bane (the founder of the rule of the two) but I could be mistaken

I'll admit, all those apprentices, it's confusing

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I believe a Revan/Malak relationship would work pretty well.

One being the Master, but only being slightly more powerfull.

That way both could be apprentices (one could be the secret apprentice of the real apprentice), who want to cast down their former Master.

However at one point the (secret) apprentice starts potting against his master (the former apprentice, who killed his master) for "unlimited poweeer"

You could also do multiple plots, like the master searching for a replacement for his ambitous student etc etc. Everyone has secret goals and means to reach them.

Furthermore I believe about 500-1000 years before Ep I would be the age of Darth Bane (the founder of the rule of the two) but I could be mistaken

I'll admit, all those apprentices, it's confusing

 

All right, the thematic element I was going for was the fact that the Sith have a master/apprentice cycle, and starting the game off at the very END of the last one drives home the point that only the worthy will continue on being sith, until they too train a more worthy Sith, Showing a comfortable, decadent Sith master who has outgrown his time, it gives warning and echoes what the end of the game will be. The Master's PC sitting comfortable, right before the apprentice offs him. I feel starting them at near-equal footing destroys that, because if the more experienced Sith is so close to his apprentice, then he has obviously not learned everything from his master.

As for the Rule of Two, it was put into effect 1,000 years before the Clone Wars. This game takes place at about the halfway point.

One of the things I'm thinking of is the master having a replacement apprentice in case the PC fails or dies, one who is more blindly loyal, and a hindrance to the PCs when they find out. I envision the master being aristocratic, part of the Core World in group, making just killing him more of a delicate matter.

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Read the tales of the Jedi comics.

The main plot involves 2 Jedi knights (same power level) who become master and apprentice of the Sith.

Maybe a similar plot line would work for you.

Revan and Malgus.

However, that won't work for a game set during the Bainite Sith, they are different. Their relationship isn't ideal for how the Bainite's did it, and is actually pretty  bad by their view point. The master holds the power to spur the apprentice to obtain as much strength as they can. To have master and apprentice be on equal footing is blasphemy in their eyes. It'd be easy for a game, yes, but not all good things come from ease. 

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It was ulric and exar kun.

 

If I recall correctly that situation came about because they were both fighting for power, and a sith spirit essentially had to step in to give his blessing and gave them ranks so that they would turn away from power struggles and deal with the republic. So that one wouldn't kill the other and essentially waste really good talent.

 

It was a fairly exceptional circumstance, though back then they didn't have the rule of two either.

Edited by Lordbiscuit

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They had both fallen to the Sith independently of one another, one was forced to turn to the dark side in order to save his life and the other chose to infiltrate a group of Sith to avenge his Jedi master but Sith poison unleashed his rage and led to his downfall.

They had each found a Sith amulet to amplify their powers, when they tried to kill each other the amulets reacted and released a message from the distant past.

The ancient Sith had the power to see the future and the message proclaimed exar kun to be the new dark lord of the Sith and ulric to be his apprentice. All the other Sith were just pretenders to the title and should be destroyed.

Something similar could be used to bring a party together and bind them to the Sith as master and apprentice.

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The original set of Tales of the Jedi comic's is overall an amazing set of comics. A lot of people kinda forget them in favor of the KOTOR games but really those comics do a good job of setting the tone for falling to the dark side. 

 

I would consider starting them both at even pacing and consider maybe having a Sith spirit decide that the current Master/Apprentice aren't really worth of the title so these two are now being trained to replace them. If they are both equal in power from the start it gives them both more of a chance to compete over who will be the new Master and who will be the Apprentice once they replace the old set. Since neither are the Master yet they have more reason to work together, but because each wants to be proven to be the Master they also have reason to scheme against each other and to sabotage the others progress. Or they could both be appretences of a single Master who is trying to decide which one will be the true successor.

 

I know you wanted one more experienced, but you lose something when one PC is obviously destined to fall. Starting them equal means that neither player truly knows which one is going to succeed. It heightens the overall tension in the game and the narrative itself if there is a question on which player will be the Master and which will be the apprentice. Furthermore being on equal footing gives them real reasons to start out working together and over time you get to see how they each will develop in regards to how they want to gain the final control. Which seems far more intriguing prospect for a Sith game than knowing from the start that Player A is destined to be defeated by Player B by virtue of the Rule of Two. 

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I'm not big on Sith spirits being like Force Ghosts, as far as I can tell in new canon, they are more like poltergeists or vengeful ghosts. Not something you can have as a mentor, but something that hinders and scourges you. 

As for a living master, I don't really wish for the game to end when one becomes an apprentice. It may be interesting, but my player's don't show interest in that. One of my player's wants to be the secret apprentice badly.

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They don't have to be like Force Ghost in order to influence and push characters into action. An unhappy Sith spirit may manifest as a vengeful ghost, but if the only way to get a good nights rest is to do it's bidding you might seriously consider it. 

 

Also I wasn't suggesting the game ends when one becomes Master and the other an apprentice. My suggestions would actually increase the length of the game as it can be broken down into two parts, the period of time when they fight to become top dog and the period of time in which they fight to hold onto what they have. But I'm just offering up ideas on how to do a Sith game *shrugs* 

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As far as strength and knowledge in the Force, it's difficult to say if Revan was stronger in the Force. Certainly in the KotOR game, Revan defeats Malak, but video games tend to side with the protagonist. However, it's clear that Revan is the superior strategist, and that alone, may grant him the title of master.

 

Revan may have inspired the Rule of Two, but it really wasn't a "rule" until Darth Bane.

Edited by kaosoe

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I really like the concept of this story and would like to hear how it goes when you get started.

 

An idea for if you don't want a Sith Spirit perhaps you could use a Sith Holocron of a very notable Sith of that time as their teacher perhaps even Darth Bane himself.

 

And just to get into this Fanboy/girl Revan vs Malak debate I would say in the times of KotOR and the time leading up to it they were very close in power of the force but yeah I agree in terms of leadership abilities, charisma and what not Revan was way above Malak.

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In TotJ the master and apprentice had very different skill sets, the master knew a lot about Sith magic and technology but the apprentice was a great warrior and commander.

Neither could have defeated the Jedi alone and they had to stick together to succeed.

The master wasn't more powerful than the student, but did know a lot more about the Sith.

Maybe they could start with the same amount of exp but the apprentice would be limited on what he could spend on force powers while the master would have a minimum amount to spend on force powers.

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Thinking on this, I had an idea. I have yet to pitch it to my player's so, I want to know what ya'll think. 

Basically, the Jedi knew about the Rule of Two, and still thought the Sith extinct, which means they would of had to run into Bainite sith, and thought them exterminated. My idea is that the game takes place after that, with one PC playing the old secret apprentice and the other one a fallen Jedi (or something equivalent) as they seek to rebuild their power base and get revenge. 

Also, I'm thinking of using Morality, Obligation and Motivation. I see Sith Lords being pretty busy characters. So they have an Obligation (Oath: Sith Code) with Motivation (Belief set on 'Sith') that they personalize, while also choosing their Morality. All this coloring their character.

Edited by DreamingGod

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May I suggest having the GM make a "Character" and be the Master with both PC's being apprentices vying for his attention. The game ends once a set EXP cap is hit then the two PC's are free to try to kill each other during the next few sessions.

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