The Rebellion Era Campaign Guide for the Star Wars RPG lets you play out all your childhood fantasies of helping Luke, Han and Leia defeat the forces of the oppressive Galactic Empire. When I finally got my hands on it, I had a certain, “It’s all been leading up to this,” feeling of excitement. Truly, this is a crucial sourcebook, but you might notice that some things are missing.
This book has many strengths and only one serious weakness. The weakness is subtle — you might be well on your way through the pages before the feeling that something is just a little off creeps up on you. Why? Because in a book devoted to the most famous and classic Star Wars era, most of the most famous and classic characters and ships are missing.Â No Vader, Obi-Wan or even a basic stormtrooper. No X-Wing or Millenium Falcon. The reason is that most of these characters already appeared in earlier campaign guides, Threats of the Galaxy or Starships of the Galaxy. In fact, a lot of them show up in the core rulebook. If you’re a hard core Star Wars RPG player, you probably have most of them in other books. So on the one hand, I appreciate that the authors chose not to put a bunch of reprint filler into this book — there’s a ton of new stuff, like Imperial trooper variants (swamptroopers?) and lesser known characters. On the other hand, it would have been nice to have all the Rebellion Era material in one place.
Rebellion Era Campaign Guide assumes that the PCs will be affiliated with the Rebel Alliance in some capacity. Your campaign might revolve around some scoundrels or Imperial defectors switching sides, or you might be a group of heroes wholeheartedly devoted to the cause. Either way, you’ll be a part of the broad, ongoing storyline of the Rebels chipping away at the Empire’s monolithic power. Like the other campaign guides, this book takes that overarching theme and shapes the game to fit it. This is no mere collection of feats, aliens and weapons. Each page drops a bunch of potential campaign and story hooks and fleshes out the backwaters of the galaxy. There are plenty of opportunities to hitch your wagon to the legendary exploits of Luke et al.
In addition to new feats and skill trees for the existing classes, RECG offers a comprehensive breakdown of the many alien races in the Star Wars universe and their situation during this era. Many of the new feats are race-based, which is a cool way to expand on the hints given about each race’s traits in the movies themselves. There are in-depth chapters about the military organization of the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, plus many ships, fighters, speeders and tanks. I love how information on military assets is given in a pseudo-historical manner, detailing the company that makes the vehicle, what the design was based on, who bought most of the existing versions, and any well-known modifications. My favorite section of the book is a guide to Rebel guerilla tactics, with rules for modding repulsor sleds, overloading weapons, applying restraining bolts to droids and shutting down shield generators.
Here’s a campaign hook to get your Rebellion Era adventures started: one of the Empire’s main propaganda arms is the Imperial Holonet. This galaxy-wide broadcasting network is heavily censored by the Empire and is one of the biggest reasons why many sentients see their overlords as benevolent protectors, rather than oppressive fascists. Still, rogue reporters risk their lives (or, at the very least, a long sentence in the spice mines) to uncover the truth about Imperial atrocities and broadcast them when they can, before Imperial agents can track them down.
Your party is just such a group. It includes all the key Star Wars RPG classes: a pilot to get you from one hotspot to another; a tech who runs and repairs the holocams and communications equipment; the driven, charismatic on-camera reporter, who could be a scoundrel or a noble; a streetwise scout to dig out the hard facts; and a soldier or two to keep everyone safe, possibly with some latent Force powers. You’ll always be in the thick of the action, and there will be plenty of opportunities for subterfuge as well as blaster-happy fight scenes as you try to halt the very acts that will be on your evening broadcast. Plus, you could encounter the major characters, and the PCs will feel like they’re actually making a difference in the galaxy without necessarily blowing up any Death Stars themselves.