Rebellion Era Campaign Guide Lets You Crush the Galactic Empire

July 27th, 2009 by Ed Grabianowski
AT-ATs were bred for color and their friendly disposition, until the Empire trained them as war beasts.

AT-ATs were bred for color and their friendly disposition. It was the Empire that trained them as war beasts.

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.  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.

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6 Responses to “Rebellion Era Campaign Guide Lets You Crush the Galactic Empire”

  1. Comment by mordicai

    I remember being 13 & being a slave to canon. Now all I can think is: give the PCs the One Ring. Make them all the “new hope” of the rebellion, possibly…”returning jedi.”

  2. Comment by Nephelim

    One of the major issues I’ve always had with ANY game that is based on a book, movie, or other property is the problem with the PC’s being “second stringers” behind a known plot-line. Its hard to get the players to feel like they are really making a diference in the world.

    Its the same phenomena as you find the the pre 4th-ed Forgotten Realms. If your PC’s are more dangerous than Drizt or Elminster, then why are all the big issues handled by them? Everyone (player-wise) knows that ultimately, the Death-star will be destroyed, Vader will be redeemed, and the Empire will fall. Its hard for the PC’s accomplishments to not pale in comparison to that, which I think is why the Old Republic era stuff seems to be so appealing.

    Having said that, the idea of having the players run what is effectively a Guerrilla News Service is a brilliant option… I wish I had thought of it years ago.

  3. Comment by OStephens

    I’m glad you enjoyed the book overall. For both this and the previous edition, one of things we always had to tackle was how much to compile or reprint, and when it’s best to provide new material even if it leaves you with material in multiple books.

    Of course a lot of Rebellion Era things (Vader, X-Wings, the Falcon) are in the core rulebook which is required to play the game anyway. I think most players would agree leaving them out of this book in favor of new material is a better use of thier gaming money.

    Things we have in other books is trickier. Starships of the Galaxy is on -my- must-have list for Saga, but not everyone is going to feel the same way. We made sure there were some starships for the era in the new book, but the decisions was made (and I agree with it) not to reprint anything. That gets the most gaming material out as we can, and prevents anyone from having to pay for the same thing twice.

    And that’s a GREAT idea for a Rebellion campaign. We tried to focus on the kinds of things that might encourage adventures other than holding Luke’s coat, and I’m glad to see we sparked some cool ideas!

  4. Comment by Ed Grabianowski

    I love it when authors stop in to talk about their games with us. Thanks for dropping in, Mr. Stephens! The reprinting material issue was definitely one of those decisions where I think someone could make a valid argument for either choice. Maybe a few pages that presented some of the classic stuff in condensed form (stat blocks only) with a note explaining that they appear in other books might have been a workable compromise. But in any case, that was a minor quibble – this book has re-energized my desire to get a Star Wars campaign going. I only wish there were more days in the week to fit it in.

  5. Comment by OStephens

    Yeah, reprinting is not an easy idea. And just to rpvoe I can see both sides let mention I heard Starships is out-of-print now. We wrote all those wonderful ships, and now new people can’t get them. Aaargh!

    And of course one of the -positive- things about no reprints is we get to plunder other sources. I was amazed how many starships were active in this era I had never seen game stats for, as an example. And it’s not like there aren;t also things still flying along that got detailed in Force Unleashed and Clone Wars.

    But if the book made you want to play more, it has done it’s job. I can’t think of a better positive comment a reader or reviewer can make.

  6. Comment by ggodo

    See, I always loved being the guys in the background. Stackpole’s X-wing books were my favorites. Sure, the protagonist turned out to be a Jedi, but he still was never a cosmic hero of godlike awesome. Something like Republic Commando or a squad of guys fighting it out in the middle of nowhere for an objective that is ultimately important to any war effort, but doesn’t get movies about it is more my thing. Cosmic awesome is great, but you can’t play the cosmic awesome heroes of the source material. The only one that I could see playing out well is the Firefly RPG, mostly because those guys never did anything cosmic awesome caliber, until the movie.