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HappyDaze

How Corrupt Was Your Republic?

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The Empire is bad. It is filled with bad people making decisions and countless others "just following orders" until evil ends are met. I'm not here to really debate this.

Instead, I want to focus on the Republic. This will be about the "recent" Republic, not the Old Republic (and no, we don't need history dumps here telling about the dates and ages of such). I'm talking about the Republic that the Alliance is so eager to restore. How do you portray it in your games? Was it truly a great place that only suffered corruption because of a few bad apples (including Granny Sith apples), or was it really rotten to the core and proponents of it are in denial simply because the Empire is so bad? I tend to prefer the belief that the Republic was terribly flawed. It was simply too big to function effectively. In my Republic, there were all sorts of injustices inflicted all over the galaxy with many marginalized groups.

As one example, I had a group of old Zabrak colonies that were effectively managed by their local (Sector-level) government as a marginalized group with almost no say in their governance. These Zabrak were allowed to maintain their enclave worlds, but they were treated in a manner I patterned loosely on the Indian Reservations of the United States. As a result, these worlds were exploited of their resources and isolated by the Sector government. This sad state of affairs was allowed by the Republic as it was a 'local matter' that had been worked out in treaties that predated the formation of the (current) Republic.

Similar patches of cancer existed all through my Republic, so even when it looked healthy on the surface, the rot wasn't too hard to find. This type of injustice caused the Jedi no end of grief, and it was a big reason why they had to abandon attachments if they were to continue serving the Republic in an official role. These issues also gave the Separatist cause room to grow in the  hearts of the common people all over the galaxy and directly led to vicious localized fighting (that had nothing to do with the GAR or Droid Army) during the Clone Wars.

So, how about your Republic?

Edited by HappyDaze

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I've never really run any games set in that period... I do like your take on it though! I did amend my canon to state that there were no droid armies involved in The Clone Wars as that always seemed like a massive cop out to me. My Clone Wars were fought between the Republic's Clone Army and the citizen's of those planets that joined the CIS.

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My thinking is that no matter how cunning Darth Sidious was, even one man couldn't be responsible for so much corruption and evil. It had to already exist. Otherwise, the Separatists wouldn't have been nearly as effective: content worlds don't rebel, after all.

In my Republic, corruption is rampant in most areas of space. It takes the shape of special interest lobbying in the more "civilized" worlds, such as the Core, the Colonies, and the Inner Rim, since it's easier for the Judicials to investigate outright bribery that close to the heart of the Republic. However, in the Expansion Region, the Mid Rim, and the Outer Rim, it's way more overt. The Senate rarely follows up besides token investigations, though they often respond forcefully to perceived "insurrection" when locals take it upon themselves to act.

Sidious, in his guise as Palpatine, took advantage of the status quo to stoke the fires of separatism and deepen the rift between the Core and the Rim. When the Clone Wars ended and he declared the Galactic Empire, it gave him the excuse to crack down on the Empire's far-flung citizens, expand his borders, and still support the corruption that continued to make his Imperialization "necessary."

Basically, I believe the Separatists had legitimate concerns and weren't entirely manufactured by the Sith. Instead, both Sidious and Tyranus accelerated an existing crisis.

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6 minutes ago, CaptainRaspberry said:

Basically, I believe the Separatists had legitimate concerns and weren't entirely manufactured by the Sith. Instead, both Sidious and Tyranus accelerated an existing crisis.

I would say it was more than just accelerated the crisis, but they manufactured a Galaxy wide Crisis from a number of smaller ones. Those Smaller Crises by themselves wouldn't be more than the Jedi and Republic Judicial Department could handle. What disenfranchised the various systems is when they would be addressed.   What was needed was an overwhelming Crisis that demanded the reestablishment of the Republic Military Forces. 

Sidious was the mastermind behind the disenfranchisement of necessary worlds in order to create the power base for the Separatist Movement. Using both his public and secret personas to target and manipulate Crises to push the plan forward.  This allowed Tyranus to be the face of the Separatist movement.  Being a Disenfranchised Former member of the Jedi as well as his family background. He easily was able to bring those disenfranchised by the Republic together in a way that might not have happened organically.  Many of those groups wouldn't have come to the table otherwise. 

If anything Accelerated the time frame of the Clones Wars, I would say it was Naboo.  The no confidence vote would have happened and Senator Palpatine would have been made Chancellor, but it would have taken a lot longer.   The actions in the Phantom Menace were too effective in settling the situation and the unexpected introduction of Anakin would causing Sidious to accelerate his plans.

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2 hours ago, Yaccarus said:

The Republic is a fundamentally corrupt institution: Its purpose is to allow the Core Worlds to exert control over the Rim.

True. The modern Republic is somewhat of a thin veneer of civility over a galaxy that's had > 25,000 years of conflicts. The Republic likely had all sorts of localized internal warfare occurring and it was simply accepted so long as it stayed small and out of sight. The blockade of Naboo was probably fairly normal, business-as-usual-in-the-Mid-Rim except that it was manipulated by Palpatine into being a bigger deal than it actually was. Once scrutiny was directed on bits of ugly, it had to be dealt with (and meanwhile everyone hoped their own bits of ugly stayed hidden).

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The republic itself? Variably, where a lot of it depended on the individual member states/planets. I think the republic as a whole had very little power to deal with internal matters of individual members and the power it had was rather slow an unwieldy due to massive size of the republic and senate. This was probably by design. I don't see the republic as much as single state as much as an alliance or a union, much like the EU or UN, concerned mostly with inter-member policy. However, contrary to the UN it didn't have easily defined super powers with veto rights. On the whole, members of the republic had pretty much equal say in matters (in theory at least), which meant that a tiny member planet with perhaps just a couple of hundred thousand or million citizens would wield equal power to powerhouses like, say, Corellia or Coruscant. This could of course be exploited by a much richer planet essentially buying the small planets vote with advantageous trade deals, foreign aid, military alliances and whatnot. This is of course, not good, and there's also not that much the republic could do about it.

On the other hand, the republic's insistence on committees provided a lot of oversight and insight on the decision-making process, making it harder to get away with the most blatant kinds of individual corruption. The empire of course did away with with this oversight in the name of efficiency and so corruption could run pretty much rampant there.

As for the separatists, I don't see them as much as disenfranchised minor powers, but more like corporatist powers that chafed under republic regulations that limited their ability to throw their economic weight around. And as we see with the EU and UN today, it's quite easy to whip up a populist outrage against someone presented as foreign overlords far away that interfere with the local way of doing things.

2 hours ago, Yaccarus said:

The Republic is a fundamentally corrupt institution: Its purpose is to allow the Core Worlds to exert control over the Rim.

I'm sure they were painted that way, and while true to some extent, it was the Empire that started to outright invade planets like Kashyyk, Mimban and Ryloth. That's a whole new level of exerting control compared to forcing regulations on someone through a quasi-democratic system.

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My Pre-empire Republic isn't that corrupt on the ground, but higher up... yeah, lots of corruption. Mostly on the level the players will never directly interact with - Very much more of a "Rich get richer, people in power stay there, meet the new boss same as the old boss" kinda thing. 

So the players might be hired to do a "Shadowrun" or something, but Blastech being illegally favored for a contract over Merr-Sonn because of an under the table kickback arraignment with a Senator usually won't come up in a typical game.

 

And while we're on it....

My Empire is actually fairly functional, mostly because of the Authoritarian "just get it done" approach to things. Of course "just getting it done" usually mean stepping on plenty of people. There's still ample corruption, and on a lower level its much more prevalent, but the internal bureaucracy flows a little faster on projects that are important to the Emperor, and without the senate there's no procedural delay between conception and execution.  I also try and keep infighting somewhat plausible, and take an older view of things. For example I could totally see an ISB sting operation running headlong into a military intel honeypot. And I totally have the Stormtroopers there to ensure every major organization has an in-house fighting force loyal to the Emperor first and foremost.

Again, typically not gonna matter to the players, but It's just how I envision it.

 

My New Republic is still corrupt, but it's not as bad as the Old Republic or Empire. Lots of carpet bagging going on. But in general there's sufficient checks and balances in place to keep gross and prolonged corruption from working out. On the other hand it's very stovepiped with lots of little empires, redundancy, and political turf-wars.

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, AceSolo5 said:

I've never really run any games set in that period... I do like your take on it though! I did amend my canon to state that there were no droid armies involved in The Clone Wars as that always seemed like a massive cop out to me. My Clone Wars were fought between the Republic's Clone Army and the citizen's of those planets that joined the CIS.

 

I've never set a game in that period either. Maybe that would be fun to do using Genesys.....

 

I also like your idea on no droid armies. It's similar to my own idea that the droids and clones got the lion's share of the attention, because they were the big, monolithic armies and let's face it, they're easy. Easy to identify, easy to pigeonhole, etc. It's much harder to do so with the 3rd Celessian Longblaster Regiment. Who's side are they on? What motivates them to fight? You know, the important questions. The clones might as well just be droids, the way they're treated. I had an idea for an AoR character that was a child soldier fighting on the side of the Separatists and is now a medic for the rebels. He's seen far too much death, and the only reason he's involved with the rebellion is to save lives. And he'll save Stormtroopers just as readily as rebel soldiers. And he only uses non-lethal weapons.

 

As for the question that the topic asks...

 

My answer would be "Corrupt AF". Imagine the US, UK, EU, and UN all mashed together, now add even MOAR banana republic style corruption, graft, and all-around sleaze. The Republic basically exists so that the Core worlds can legislate themselves access to the resources of the Colonies, Expansion Region, and Rim. And if the people of a Rim planet don't like it, well, that's just too bad, you should have taken it up in the Senate. Oh, you did? Well, you were voted down. Now sit down and shut up while we strip-mine your planet and guarantee that the next thirty generations of your people live in poverty on a toxic, barely-habitable drekhole. Ain't democracy grand?

 

This is an organization that created a slave race to fight a war for them so that they didn't have to deal with the discomfort and inconvenience of doing the fighting themselves. A war that was basically fought to keep the Rim under the thumbs of the Core, and keep the riches flowing *from* the Rim *to* the Core.

 

2nhhwp.jpg

 

Hmm. I never really thought about this that much before. This could be a very interesting era to set a campaign in. Especially if it were more EotE instead of military-based. Or started off as military-based (non-clone or droid soldiers) and then went and explored all the stuff that's glossed over by the films and a lot of the other material.

 

Looks like I might be dragging out the Genesys book and creating a Clone Wars setting for after the game I'm currently running ends. Whenever that is.

Edited by the mercenary

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My PCs recently had a conversation with an elderly gentleman who worked in the senate building prior to the Clone Wars.  He stated, in a nutshell, that the Empire was an inevitable backlash to how rotten and useless the Republic had become; with the most of the senators caring far more about money, reputation, and/or their pet special interest agendas than the good of the people.  

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1 hour ago, Vorzakk said:

My PCs recently had a conversation with an elderly gentleman who worked in the senate building prior to the Clone Wars.  He stated, in a nutshell, that the Empire was an inevitable backlash to how rotten and useless the Republic had become; with the most of the senators caring far more about money, reputation, and/or their pet special interest agendas than the good of the people.  

I think it's important to note that the Republic couldn't care for the good of the people (singular) since it was about so many peoples (plural). Many senators no doubt worked for the betterment of their peoples without working for the betterment of the Republic as a whole. Consider the needs of individual countries vs the needs of the UN (or even the needs of UK vs the needs of the EU) and multiply that a million-fold. This isn't necessarily right or wrong, but it certainly makes those Rebels look like idealistic dreamers that want to restore a fantasy government that never was.

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The Core and Colonies were fairly well-represented, but I think that a majority of Expansion Region/Mid Rim/Outer Rim Senators in the Republic either

a. Were corrupt, didn’t care about their own people, and were more focused on special interests (Core World Corporations)

b. Were gridlocked by bureaucracy

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On 11/27/2018 at 7:28 AM, HappyDaze said:

I think it's important to note that the Republic couldn't care for the good of the people (singular) since it was about so many peoples (plural). Many senators no doubt worked for the betterment of their peoples without working for the betterment of the Republic as a whole. Consider the needs of individual countries vs the needs of the UN (or even the needs of UK vs the needs of the EU) and multiply that a million-fold. This isn't necessarily right or wrong, but it certainly makes those Rebels look like idealistic dreamers that want to restore a fantasy government that never was.

 

Also a good point. I think the big thing the rebels are wanting to restore is the representative aspect of the republic, where there was at least lip service paid to anything other than the desires of one supreme being (the Emperor), as well as a judicial system that at least pretended to be based on something other than Imperial edicts. 

 

But that's just a WAG. And after watching The Clone Wars and reading comics and a few novels, I'm not convinced that the republic was THAT much better than the Empire in every way. Is an elected senator who's quickly bought by megacorps or Core interests better for the people of a Rim world than an appointed Moff, who can be bought off by the same Core world? Especially when it is in that Moff's best interest to make sure that the people are at least content enough to be productive, law-abiding little sheep rather than rebel insurgents? Is it better to have one tyrant a thousand light years away, or a thousand tyrants? Is the tyranny of the majority any better than a tyranny of one? 

 

This is why my current character's main goal in life is to make enough dishonest money to buy a ship, some droids, seeds/saplings/whatever, and building materials, generators, what have you, and just leave the galaxy and its problems, head somewhere that there's no republic, empire, or rebellion, build a farm, and live out the rest of his days. 

Edited by the mercenary

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On 11/27/2018 at 11:02 AM, the mercenary said:

This is why my current character's main goal in life is to make enough dishonest money to buy a ship, some droids, seeds/saplings/whatever, and building materials, generators, what have you, and just leave the galaxy and its problems, head somewhere that there's no republic, empire, or rebellion, build a farm, and live out the rest of his days. 

So this guy?

 

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Thanks for the inspiration @HappyDaze

I am currently running Friends Like These with my group, which I know you're not a fan of... 

In the next game they will be starting the Zygerrian chapter.  I might add in a Republic Senator into the room that can help the players get a meeting with the Prince.  He will seem helpful, but of course, he is corrupt and is just manipulating him for his own purposes.  He can then be an NPC in the broader campaign...

The campaign is set approx 1 or 2BBY, so this will work well.

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On 11/26/2018 at 3:26 AM, HappyDaze said:

So, how about your Republic?

My Republic was a representative democracy doing what its' people asked of it to the best of its' ability.  The fact that it ran on chattel slavery (re: droids), slave armies (re: clones), super-powered assassins (re: jedi) and varying flavors of economic and military adventurism ... well!  The representatives are merely people, after all.  Can't be too harsh on them.  They're just doing what they can with what they have.  Right?  Heh.

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I love this thread! I'd encourage you all to pick up the Clone Wars sourcebook when it comes out (which I worked on), especially considering this paragraph in the latest article: 

Rise of the Separatists looks in-depth at the origins and organization of the biggest players in the Clone Wars, from the Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems to the Jedi Order and the secretive Sith. Game Masters will benefit from a deep dive into the political structures of the Republic, from the past and present factions of the Senate, to the committees and bureaucracies that oversee Republic policy. A cast of political aides and NPC profiles for prominent figures like Padmé Amidala allows GMs to craft their own intrigues and double-crosses involving threats of corruption, sedition, militarism, or secession.

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45 minutes ago, KRKappel said:

 I'd encourage you all to pick up the Clone Wars sourcebook when it comes out (which I worked on), 

 

I ordered it. Now it's just a matter of waiting for Amish Express to bring it from China.

 

It would really be great if FFG would switch to a printing company in North America. 

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I follow the mindset of the Republic being a heavily corrupted entity in its own right, with Sidious being the lighter to a prefilled keg and the Empire being better in some ways, worse in others, and ultimately a positive by comparison. The Separatist movement and the rise of a New Order were natural reactions to what the Republic had become, and I think with or without Palpatine it wasn't going to last much longer than it already did. Yet, it's the one thing tying all three "overthrow" groups. The Confederacy, the Rebellion, the Empire; all were built on the idea of bringing back glory days that in reality never existed, but through the fantasy idea of a perfect government that everyone in the galaxy's happy with they all tried to make that reality themselves. Not that the Republic didn't have its good traits, though.

Edited by Galakk Fyyar

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I think my Republic is pretty bad.

Senators are embezzling funds from the treasury, useful legislation is gridlocked, false accusations of impropriety are being leveled against good and honorable people to silence their objections to corruption, and the bureaucracy is rife with corruption and selectively enforces laws with the effect of persecuting minorities and political opponents.

In the game, we're playing ABY so my campaign is dealing with the Empire.  ;)

Edited by Mark Caliber
Edited for incorrect grammar and punctuation.

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Our Republic wasn't corrupt at all. Mostly because I didn't understand what it meant for something to be corrupt. So as a GM at age 16 leading this group, the missions for the Republic were very straightforward and the government was 100% good.

Today I would play it a lot different.

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My own Republic is a Superhighway to **** paved with the Greater Good.

Ultimately, the republic's goals were stability and peace through the galaxy, by any means necessary. From a macro scale, they managed fairly well, but had to hide innumerable small evils under their shiny robes until anyone who peaked under would see a feted swamp of corruption and amorality. They achieved their goal of minimizing chaos in the galaxy, but did so by gradually eroding its own foundations

Now, going into less flowery language, it suffered four critical problems:
1. Lack of national identity. The people of the Galactic Republic considered themselves members of their own worlds first, leading to rampant sectionalism, where worlds would push for policy to benefit their own constituency, even at the cost of their less influential people, neighbors and the republic as a whole.

2. Simultaneously too centralized and too independent. The Republic ruled over a vast territory, but mostly as an absentee parent, setting regulations, taxes and laws, but simultaneously lacking the centralized power to enforce its edicts and not permitting the member worlds enough autonomy to handle it themselves. This resulted in situations like Naboo, where a world would be infringed upon, but lack the ability to effectively defend itself, then needing to crawl to the senate, beg for them to honor their duty to defend their client world and hope its foe was not sufficiently important or influential to ignore or buy the government.

3. The Greater Good considered more important that simple Good. In situations like the above, stability of the galaxy was often considered before principles. Should one party be more powerful or represent a greater risk to the galactic economy, the greater good would win out. "Is there a race taking slaves from their neighbors? Hmm, those neighbors are primitives and the slavers are the driving force behind their sector's economy. We will ask them nicely to stop and maybe send a representative to insure humane treatment, but, even though grossly illegal and amoral, we will not make the entire sector suffer for it, so no further action will be taken."

4. No monopoly of force. The Republic held back its neighbors through sheer mass. Each world may generally posses a token militia, if genuinely threatened by an external force, it could bring millions of worlds worth of militia down on its foe, in theory, inevitably drowning lesser powers in bodies. The threat of this martial wave was utterly useless for internal struggles, making the Republic ultimately toothless to enforce policy, beyond the Jedi and a glorified police force. Due to the fear of Imperial style totalitarianism and the advantage a weak central authority presented to the more martial member worlds made it very hard, if not impossible to officially correct the issue.

As a result of all these, less valuable, usually rim worlds would find themselves taxed into oblivion, predated upon by their stronger neighbors and when they came to the Republic, they would either be met by deaf ears or become the a target of disciplinary actions should they dare to strike back as their aggressor in kind. Ten billion have been beaten, broken and reduced to all but slaves in their own homes, so Ten trillion can flourish across the galaxy. The Republic is doing its job.

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