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There is something I have been curious about for a while now. What did the average Galactic citizen know/think about the Emperor? Did they know he was force sensitive? Did they know he was a Sith? Did they know about Vader? (about his existence -- as a military commander or Imperial leader, not as being Anakin :P ). Was the attitude similar to real-world historical accounts of average citizens under Nazi rule? (the "everything is running smoothly for us, so we can overlook the atrocities" attitude that was prevalent or even the "true believers" who believed in the cause) I know the senate obviously had their issues with the new regime, but did the people they represented care about the change in government?

Anyone got any answers based in canon/legends material?

Edited by McHydesinyourpants

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 Yeah, that does seem to be an ignored topic. I always presumed that everyone knew about Vader, but didn't know what he did. (I think that's legends)  I seem to remember reading somewhere that some people thought that Vader was the real ruler and the Emperor was being manipulated by him, but I don't remember where.

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I feel like it would be a bad idea to have Vader be a "public figure". Seen as the Empire spread a lot of propaganda about lightsaber wielding religious zealots, having one in a public place of prominence would probably look bad :P That could also be the source of the "Emperor being manipulated by Vader" rumours/accounts.

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2 hours ago, Vestij Jai Galaar said:

True, but Vader doesn't really have a lot of self restraint. I'm not sure how he could be 'hidden'. 

 

sure, but it's not like he's going into clubs on Coruscant and demanding table-service, and also

1 hour ago, McHydesinyourpants said:

I suppose you don't hear the name of every general or commander though.

bingo - with the exception of those giving televised interviews, how many names does the average person know of military leaders?

My guess is that within the Imperial forces he is well known, not sure if the average person would ever have a reason to hear of his existence, except in story?

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35 minutes ago, MonkeyInSpace said:

sure, but it's not like he's going into clubs on Coruscant and demanding table-service, and also

bingo - with the exception of those giving televised interviews, how many names does the average person know of military leaders?

My guess is that within the Imperial forces he is well known, not sure if the average person would ever have a reason to hear of his existence, except in story?

Luke didn't seem to be remotely familiar with who Vader was when Obi-Wan first mentioned him.

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41 minutes ago, Nytwyng said:

Luke didn't seem to be remotely familiar with who Vader was when Obi-Wan first mentioned him.

That is a very good point!

40 minutes ago, Imperial Stormtrooper said:

The books Thrawn and Lost Stars both have a scattering of how the average citizen saw them depicted, from what I've seen Vader is known only to members of the Imperial Navy, and even then only some of them.

That is interesting. Does it mention anything about public opinion or even knowledge of the Emperor?

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In the Extended Universe, the Emperor's force powers were absolute secret.  Darth Vader though was widely visible and celebrated as the Jedi that came to his senses and ended the corruption of the order.

In the new Canon, Emperor's force powers being secret is still very much a thing.  Vader's reputation though is a little more up in the air.

Edited by Sephirex

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54 minutes ago, McHydesinyourpants said:

That is interesting. Does it mention anything about public opinion or even knowledge of the Emperor?

In Thrawn the Emperor is depicted to the galaxy as an old stately politician/leader (not scarred by force lighting just older), no one has knowledge of his force powers. Opinions on the Emperor seem to vary by planet.

Edited by Imperial Stormtrooper

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Here's how I'd play it.

Senator/Emperor Palpatine has always been well known. In the age of the Empire he's seen as an iron willed man trying to bring order to the galaxy. Whether he's a benevolent dictator willing to break a few eggs to bring about peace for the largest number of people possible, or a power hungry tyrant is going to depend on the viewer and his past experiences. I'd say his force powers are a secret outside of the upper upper echelons of the Empire.

 

Vader isn't nearly as well known as Palpatine, outside of the Imperial military/intelligence apparatus or the rebels. His reputed force use however is better known, but given the general view of "sad devotion to that ancient religion" how much stock people put in his "supernatural powers" is up for debate. He is generally seen by those that know of his existence as the Emperor's personal enforcer, there to keep things in line and root out traitors, incompetents, and the inefficient.

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I think some of Vader's reputation depends on where in the timeline you are.  I feel that in Episode IV, Vader was considered by the Death Star commanders as the Emperor's Lapdog, providing oversight for the Emperor.  He commanded a single ship on a single mission, at the Emperor's order, but not as a Navy commander, more of a civilian in charge of a mission.  He still had a captain for running the ship itself.  He just "ran" the captain.  

In Episode V, he became a de facto "Admiral" in charge of the Death Squadron.  But still not directly commanding a ship or even the fleet.  Ozzel was in charge, initially, then Piett.  At this point, the entire Navy would know of him, which means the rebels would know of him.  His force use was still not common knowledge, although rumors would abound.  Most citizens would not be aware of him, although I suspect the Imperial nobility and planetary governors would know.  Lando seemed to know who he was, in general.  

Knowledge of him would have spread through Episode VI as well, but just more of the same.  The average citizen, if he heard of Vader, knew of him as the Emperor's enforcer, and that crossing him would be the end of you.  Rebels would know more, but I suspect his Force use was downplayed as much as possible, except for Rebel force users.  Otherwise "May the Force be with you" could be bad for morale, after all, clearly the Force is with him.  

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9 minutes ago, Spatula Of Doom said:

Here's how I'd play it.

Senator/Emperor Palpatine has always been well known. In the age of the Empire he's seen as an iron willed man trying to bring order to the galaxy. Whether he's a benevolent dictator willing to break a few eggs to bring about peace for the largest number of people possible, or a power hungry tyrant is going to depend on the viewer and his past experiences. I'd say his force powers are a secret outside of the upper upper echelons of the Empire.

 

Vader isn't nearly as well known as Palpatine, outside of the Imperial military/intelligence apparatus or the rebels. His reputed force use however is better known, but given the general view of "sad devotion to that ancient religion" how much stock people put in his "supernatural powers" is up for debate. He is generally seen by those that know of his existence as the Emperor's personal enforcer, there to keep things in line and root out traitors, incompetents, and the inefficient.

Makes sense, though I was looking for the canon/legends story out of personal curiosity more than it being game world related :P

My own in game interpretation of the Emperor and Empire is similar to yours; the Empire was a politician who got tired of the corruption of the Republic -- reliance on intergalactic mega-corps, hypocritical injustices (slavery is outlawed but the Republic does little to stop it), militant religious zealots with too much power, etc. He over threw the Republic and changed things with a vision; to stomp out corruption and restore order. In my game, the Empire is largely seen as a step up from the Republic; they are making an actual effort to pursue crime throughout the outer rim and not just the core world territories, they have placed massive restrictions on mega-corps, and have made huge efforts to wipe out many forms of slavery in the galaxy (they still used forced labour as punishment for subversive individuals though :P ). The Empire is largely pragmatic and prefers to use aggressive negotiations backed by the threat of force rather than just force. In my campaign, the ISB have only been seen to be rounding up genuine criminals and are largely just idealistic intergalactic police.

The atrocities committed by the Empire are covered well by a mask of cover ups and propaganda justifying harsh crack downs. Most people believe the propaganda and genuinely believe that when the Empire cracks down it makes them safer. Planets like Ryloth, that are under full Imperial martial law view the Empire as an occupying force, but other planets view Ryloth as a planet full of agitators and ingrates ("how dare they after all we've done for them?!")

The rebels are viewed as agitators and terrorists. The Empire comes down hard on them. My campaign is set 9BBY, right at the height of Imperial power, where the rebels are still disjointed -- no Rebel Alliance as of yet -- and most rebel activities tend to be bomb attacks on Imperial facilities that see many civilian casualties, as well as Imperial soldiers and personnel.

The PCs are a group of criminals, smugglers and mercs whose main interaction with the Empire has been because they are genuinely on the wrong side of the law, but this has worked well so far as they find it hard to see the Imperials as the bad guys :P This is exactly the tone I was looking for for my campaign.

It is also why I started getting curious about the actual canon public opinion on the Emperor.

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A Star Wars lore YouTube channel I've been following just posted a video that actually answers some of my questions :P I find it interesting that according to what this guy says, Tarkin's and many of the other Imperials' view of themselves matches up with what I have been writing in my own campaign :D

 

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Well as far as Vader, in new canon as of the end of Vaders comic arc, he is now the defacto leader in charge of the fleet.  Taking over from Grand General Tagge several months after Yavin.  Up until that point I believe he was mostly a figurehead, but also a leader of men, being that enforcer of the Emperors will.  The comic series was a good read, and reaffirmed that no one knew about the Emperor.

I'm slowly making my way through Thrawn now.

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8 hours ago, kaosoe said:

Based on some scenes in Lords of the Sith the emperors abilities were a closely guarded secret.

Luke looks astonished when Palpatine telekinetically removes his restraints in RotJ. 

Might have been nice for Yoda to mention "Oh, by the way. A powerful Force-user the Emperor is...mess you up with Sith lightning, he will." :)

Edited by Daronil

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1 hour ago, tehRJ said:

Well as far as Vader, in new canon as of the end of Vaders comic arc, he is now the defacto leader in charge of the fleet.  Taking over from Grand General Tagge several months after Yavin.  Up until that point I believe he was mostly a figurehead, but also a leader of men, being that enforcer of the Emperors will.  The comic series was a good read, and reaffirmed that no one knew about the Emperor.

I'm slowly making my way through Thrawn now.

He certainly seemed subordinate to Tarkin in ANH. I haven't read any of the new canon novels (except Ahsoka), but it seems that until the destruction of DS1, Vader was kind of a personal troubleshooter for the Emperor. If His Majesty needed a job done fast, dispatch Vader and the Devastator and the 501st. After the senior Imperial command was destroyed at Yavin, Vader seemed to step into the vacuum. 

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1 minute ago, Daronil said:

He certainly seemed subordinate to Tarkin in ANH. I haven't read any of the new canon novels (except Ahsoka), but it seems that until the destruction of DS1, Vader was kind of a personal troubleshooter for the Emperor. If His Majesty needed a job done fast, dispatch Vader and the Devastator and the 501st. After the senior Imperial command was destroyed at Yavin, Vader seemed to step into the vacuum. 

Rogue One also makes it felt that Vader was really only important in dealing with the Emperor, and whatever the Emperor sent him to do.  I haven't read any of the novels yet either.  But the Vader comics go into a fun ride after ANH.  It was very interesting watching him not be the total man in charge. If you get a chance to read them, you'll see him step into that spotlight.

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Yeah, I get the feeling Vader spent the years between Episodes III & IV as the Emperor's enforcer. In Lords of the Sith, IIRC, Cham Syndulla & co. knew about Vader - though they weren't aware of his capabilities. (They also knew nothing about the Emperor's Force powers.)

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11 hours ago, McHydesinyourpants said:

A Star Wars lore YouTube channel I've been following just posted a video that actually answers some of my questions :P I find it interesting that according to what this guy says, Tarkin's and many of the other Imperials' view of themselves matches up with what I have been writing in my own campaign :D

 

 

 

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I am not particularly up-to-date with Disney canon so here is the old stuff:

The Emperor is, as he was always known, as a politician from Naboo who through sheer will and determination brought order and stability to the galaxy following the chaos of the Clone Wars and the bureaucratic mess that was the Galactic Republic. No one knows him to be a Sith Lord outside of his inner circle and a handful of Jedi who survived: his closest advisors [Sly Moore, Mas Amedda, etc] (not even Tarkin was aware of the Emperors true nature) and his agents (Vader, etc).

Vader is at least somewhat known to the public - the Jedi who saw through the lies of the old order and saved the life of Palpatine. A former Jedi, but otherwise an enigmatic figure, not an explicit member of the military, but with military command (sort of like the President of the United States). He acted with the authority of the Emperor, depending necessarily on what that entailed. During A New Hope, he was assigned to assist Grand Moff Tarkin, hence Tarkin ordering him around. Obviously very few people were actually aware of his real identity as Anakin Skywalker.

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I think there is at least some known information about the workings of the Emperor, and tons of rumors of course.  I mean, the members of the Imperial military do have families, and they do have time off.   So it's not unreasonable to think that some soldiers here and there, might tell stories of some of the things they'd seen, or heard of from other soldiers.  Rumors of a man clad all in black, who left a trail of corpses in his wake, and answered only to the Emperor.   Rumors of strange people coming and going from the Emperor's palace, aliens (some of the Dark Side oriented species), seeming to have the ear of the Emperor, who is normally very human-centric.    

And of course, don't forget stories from the surviving rebels, who were attacked and escaped.  Plenty of them still lived within the realm of the Empire.  
As the GM, I would, as most, have the average citizen probably be familiar with the name Darth Vader, if only from word of mouth.  Plenty of Hitler's officers were well known by the public, even if they didn't know what they did specifically.   

I would create rumors of weird stuff, just to flesh out the public gossip mill, but I would likely make them incredibly ludicrous in scope.    "My uncle's step-sister's roommate said he saw that Vader guy in a cantina on *Insert Planet Here*,  he said the waitress brought him the wrong drink, and he killed the entire town for the insult!"  kind of thing.    The idea that Vader killed the town isn't out of the realm of possibility, but over a drink?  Seeing as he doesn't drink, that's clearly BS, but maybe he killed them for something else?  Or maybe it's entirely fictitious?  Who knows?

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On 16/05/2017 at 2:53 PM, KungFuFerret said:

I think there is at least some known information about the workings of the Emperor, and tons of rumors of course.  I mean, the members of the Imperial military do have families, and they do have time off.   So it's not unreasonable to think that some soldiers here and there, might tell stories of some of the things they'd seen, or heard of from other soldiers.  Rumors of a man clad all in black, who left a trail of corpses in his wake, and answered only to the Emperor.   Rumors of strange people coming and going from the Emperor's palace, aliens (some of the Dark Side oriented species), seeming to have the ear of the Emperor, who is normally very human-centric.    

And of course, don't forget stories from the surviving rebels, who were attacked and escaped.  Plenty of them still lived within the realm of the Empire.  
As the GM, I would, as most, have the average citizen probably be familiar with the name Darth Vader, if only from word of mouth.  Plenty of Hitler's officers were well known by the public, even if they didn't know what they did specifically.   

I would create rumors of weird stuff, just to flesh out the public gossip mill, but I would likely make them incredibly ludicrous in scope.    "My uncle's step-sister's roommate said he saw that Vader guy in a cantina on *Insert Planet Here*,  he said the waitress brought him the wrong drink, and he killed the entire town for the insult!"  kind of thing.    The idea that Vader killed the town isn't out of the realm of possibility, but over a drink?  Seeing as he doesn't drink, that's clearly BS, but maybe he killed them for something else?  Or maybe it's entirely fictitious?  Who knows?

Reviving my dead post after being trapped under essays for weeks :lol: I recently read the Tarkin novel and am currently reading Lords of the Sith. They give some great insight on this; rebels are aware of Vader but only as a rumour. Very few have seen him. Usually those who encounter him die. They might get some comm messages off but those usually consist of muffled screams for help and lightsaber sounds. Otherwise he serves as this sort of boogey man -- a ghost story amongst the rebels -- this thing capable of horrible superhuman feats of cruelty.

You kind of have it spot in. This is also the feel I wanted to have. I keep a rumours page on my campaign wiki. I might start adding in a few tall tales about a man in a black cape for the sake of flavour :D

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