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Ilinoris

Two Players Darkside campaign?

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I had the idea of running a person campaign for darkside. One apprentice and one Master. My thoughts were that they would represent a Sith who had been biting his patience and appear about the same time Force Awakens. Their objects would be about building a strong enough 'empire' and oppose Snoke and everyone else really.

However with the current mechanics that's abit of a hassle, right? The morality would be bonkers to keep track off..
I was hoping someone might have some ideas how to hack it around for Dark Side centric campaigns?
And maybe also an idea for how much extra starting experience the Master should have..? 

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This sounds like an "epic" level campaign. The problem I see here is that the master will far outstrip the apprentice in terms of xp and power level. A true sith lord should be somewhere around 1500 xp - and potentially much higher. This makes for a difficult situation. What point does the master have to dive into the field? His apprentice should do all that work, while the master sits in his palace. This makes for a tough campaign - you're always splitting the party.

 

You could put the apprentice at any xp level, but if you want a "Jedi" power level you're looking at least 500 xp.

 

The players may be far beyond field adventuring and have moved on to having minions that do jobs for them. More like a planning and executing type game, as opposed to a digging in the dungeons type campaign. Maybe occasionally the PCs dive into a battle, but only as commanders or maybe against a supremely powerful foe.

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It also doesn't really have to be strictly a rule of two; strictly speaking these guys being around would have meant at some point there was more then just two. It might be even be an idea to have a small sith cabal, with a couple of NPC's with their own drives and motivations. Kind of like diet siths, quad the numbers but halve the flavour. XD

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The Sith is not the only organization of Darksider force users (not by far). There is absolutely no reason they need to obey those doctrines and follow that structure, unless you for some reason can't envision anything else.

The morality shouldn't be an issue at all. So what; they're racking up dozens of points of Conflict per encounter? They're darkside, of course they are. You really don't even have to roll or track it after a point, cuz they'll probably just tally so much.

If you don't do a Sith thing, you don't have to separate them XP-wise at all, and I wouldn't recommend doing so either, I think it's a very fun part of the experience using the Force when you're not very powerful in it and slowly growing. I mean, give them the 150 bonus for "Knight-level" play, sure, which is actually more like Padawan, and just let them enjoy the game as a full experience?

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I remember reading on this very forum a truly epic way of doing this: the Master is not a player, but an NPC. The two players are the Apprentice and his/her secret apprentice.

The goal of the game is to overthrow the Master and for the two players to become the new Master and Apprentice.

It sounded really awesome. The thread was titled "The Rule of Two," I believe. I'd see if you can search it out of you want more info.

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I remember reading on this very forum a truly epic way of doing this: the Master is not a player, but an NPC. The two players are the Apprentice and his/her secret apprentice.

The goal of the game is to overthrow the Master and for the two players to become the new Master and Apprentice.

It sounded really awesome. The thread was titled "The Rule of Two," I believe. I'd see if you can search it out of you want more info.

 

This would probably be the best way to do it, so that one player doesn't feel like the other player is "in charge" of them.  Which typically isn't a good idea in a small-party game because things can get very personal.  Having "apprentice and secret apprentice" would keep the players on an even footing, but the downside is that you're playing them against each other.  PvP in TTRPGs does not, in my experience, go particularly well together.

 

I would second emsquared's point about there being lots of different darkside force users.  From fallen jedi who don't align with sith ideology to groups like the witches of dathomir and numerous other groups, some who follow sith-variant codes, some who are just natural force users who use the darkside and some with completely different codes.  It may be worthwhile to look into those groups or even invent one (hey it's a big galaxy!) that would be "dark side" but shy away from the inter-party conflict that being true Sith followers would entail...and some of the baby killing too.  

 

As a general rule, "evil" campaigns are not for the faint of heart and I typically suggest people go a more "politics and espionage" route than a "town burning and village killing" route.

 

Perhaps that could be a good way to generate conflict and make the morality system relevant for your players?  Adopt more of a Mass Effect style "paragon/renegade" system where people who follow the codes, play the dark games, etc... move towards being a paragon of evil, while those who take the "kill everything in my way" route move towards being a renegade, ignoring the code when it suits them for personal gain.

 

The Sith are just as much about rules, tradition and codes as the Jedi are, they're just different rules.

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As far as conflict, there's been a lot of debate on this forum about its implementation.  Unless you plan for your Sith to have a chance at redemption, I'd advise you to just avoid the conflict system entirely and treat both characters as dark side paragons from the outset.

 

Otherwise, running a dark side campaign isn't terribly different than running any other campaign.  Give your characters goals and let them be the heroes of their own story.  They may be antiheroes, but if they're Sith then they're about bringing the rule of the Sith to the galaxy.  So far Palpatine and Vader have come the closest (as they succeeded in their goal for a little less than a generation) so in popular culture they're going to be the ones to emulate.  Hence why Kylo Ren is such a Vader fanboy.

 

That said, a holocron left over from the hyperspace wars, one before Darth Bane created his rule of two, would teach a renegade Sith to recruit many apprentices as a sign of power, thus forging a powerful Sith Empire like in the old days.  Certainly, if the master was rebuffed by Snoke in this regard then Snoke would become the master's rival and your campaign would be afoot.  Since Kylo Ren has the knights of Ren at his disposal, I think we can pretty much kiss the Rule of Two goodbye as of TFA.

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If you are playing it in the Rebellion Era you can make the PCs an Inquisitor and "apprentice" that way their power levels don't need to be as far apart. Also Inquisitors can work together because of their loyalty to the Emperor in spite of their competitive nature. Or two apprentices currently in a position that finds themselves better off as allies than enemies.

The biggest issue I think you will have to deal with is that competitive nature of the Dark Side and falling prey to backstabbing, however subtle. The other issue with a Dark Side campaign is some player confusing Evil with Chaos and Pragmatism with Psychotic murder... Evil is a point of view and not an absolute (Lucifer refused to bow to Humans which can be seen an Evil from the Human perspective but it's not so black and white from an Angelic one...). A villain may kill, torture, etc., even to the point of enjoying a little, but they don't do it for pleasure, it's a means to an end (Pragmatic).  Drawing on Anger and Passion to obtain Power isn't Chaos, it's just freeing oneself from the denial of desire. Player's may not get this aspect of the Darkside and just equate it with killing all the time go all Murderhobo on you.

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When running my Imperial based campaign I had my PCs working as part of a clandestine Intelligence operation (Imperial Special Service) working for high-ranking Imperials such as Vader, the Emperor, Thrawn etc through a Colonel (Jorrun Stern) of my own creation. They were kind of like Inquisitors or Imperial hands with a range of freedom that allowed them to pursue their own missions most of the time but still taking special operations as directed by their shadowy superiors.

 

To get around the Dark Side corruption (and the inevitable decline into Sith-Murder Hobos), the Force Users of the group new that if they fell to the Dark Side they became a threat to the Emperor and to Vader and would disappear much like others before them. I never told them what would happen and they assumed it meant they were executed. It made a good story-telling arc and kind of kept them in check, especially when they had to deal with Vader who always seemed too interested in the Force Users and their descent to the Dark Side...

Edited by Ebonwarlock

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