Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide is a resource for players and Gamemasters looking to set their adventures between the end of Revenge of the Sith and the years leading up to A New Hope. Within this book's pages is everything a player needs to create a hero who will take center stage during these treacherous years. Gamemasters will find this book invaluable when planning campaigns for this time period. It includes descriptions of the major heroes and villains of the era as well as advice on designing campaigns, adventures, and encounters appropriate to the setting. This campaign guide provides you with everything you need to run or play in a Dark Times Campaign.
The Dark Times consist of the period beginning immediately after the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith and leading up to the foundation of The Rebel Alliance. This time frame encompasses the true rise of the Empire to full prominence and the descent of the galaxy into a less civilized age. These intervening years between movies are rife with opportunities to tackle adventures on totally new ground. This setting allows the players' characters to go on totally new adventures, experience worlds and events previously unseen in the Star Wars setting, and forge their own path to glory. A Gamemaster who runs a campaign in this era has nearly a blank slate for adventures to fill in, allowing him or her to explore a variety of options in storytelling without the need to worry about conflicting with continuity. Best of all, the heroes can make a difference in the galaxy without worrying about being overshadowed by the characters from the six Star Wars films.
The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide also ties in with the LucasArts video game of the same title, as well as the accompanying multimedia products that relate to the game. The Force Unleashed takes place during The Dark Times and follows the path of Darth Vader's first apprentice. Just as the game explores this rich setting, so too does the Force Unleashed Campaign Guide delve into the people, places, creatures, and technology of the game. However, where the protagonist of The Force Unleashed is Vader's apprentice, this book lets your heroes be Jedi, nobles, smugglers, bounty hunters, mercenaries, explorers, or any number of other character types of your choosing.
This book is far more than a mere description of the events of The Force Unleashed. Within these pages are the seeds of new adventures far beyond the scope of the video game, with heroes and villains hand-picked from throughout the Star Wars galaxy. Inside this book you will find new character options, new adventure scenarios, and a treatise on the far-reaching Galactic Empire that paints a vivid picture of just how deeply the galaxy has sunk into darkness.
What is In This Book?[edit | edit source]
This book serves as the basis for playing in and Gamemastering a Dark Times Campaign, set during The Dark Times between Revenge of the Sith and the Galactic Civil War. The book consists of two sections, one for players (The chapters in the front of the book) and one for Gamemasters (The chapters at the back of the book).
- Chapter 1: Species covers new alien Species relevant to a Dark Times Campaign. This chapter includes Species that have a significant history during The Dark Times, as well as Species featured in The Force Unleashed game and the Dark Times comic series from Dark Horse Comics.
- Chapter 2: Heroic Traits includes a wide array of new options for character creation: Talents, Feats, new uses for Skills, and new Destinies for heroic characters. This chapter gives players everything they need to create heroes specifically designed to fit into The Dark Times.
- Chapter 3: Prestige Classes presents new Prestige Classes for Dark Times heroes. These elite classes provide something for starting heroes to aspire to and exemplify the kinds of heroes found in a Dark Times Campaign.
- Chapter 4: Organizations gives heroes several sample Organizations they can join, along with the benefits and requirements for membership. Additionally, if the heroes want to start their own Organization, rules are included in this chapter for doing so.
- Chapter 5: The Force offers new Force Powers and Force Talents, as well as an expansion of the Force-based Prestige Class features from the Saga Edition Core Rulebook. This chapter also expands the options for Force-users from Force Traditions other than The Jedi Order.
- Chapter 6: Equipment and Droids covers the new weapons, armor, and other gear that heroes can purchase or find during The Dark Times. This chapter also includes new Droids and new rules for Droid Heroes in a Dark Times Campaign.
- Chapter 7: Vehicles and Starships presents new modes of transportation for heroes in a Dark Times Campaign. The Vehicles and Starships in this chapter are largely intended for player use, and it also includes deck plans for a Space Transport.
- Chapter 8: Campaign Guidelines begins the Gamemaster section and covers a wide variety of topics. This chapter helps Gamemasters capture the distinctive feel of The Dark Times setting, provides information on how things in the galaxy work, and covers many of the major themes that should be ever-present in a Dark Times Campaign.
- Chapter 9: Galactic Gazetteer gives a tour of the galaxy during The Dark Times. This chapter includes information on new worlds in a format similar to that found in the Saga Edition Core Rulebook. It also visits all the other major worlds and provides information on how each of those planets has changed during The Dark Times and what is true about the planet in this setting.
- Chapter 10: The Empire is a collection of information covering The Galactic Empire. This chapter presents everything the Gamemaster needs to provide villains and other challenges for heroes in a Dark Times Campaign, including NPCs, weapons, Vehicles, and Starships.
- Chapter 11: Allies and Opponents covers characters and archetypes found in the setting that are not specifically related to the Empire. The characters in this chapter might serve as benefactors, enemies, comrades, or foes; they give the Gamemaster a variety of elements useful in fleshing out the galaxy during this time period.
What is a Dark Times Campaign[edit | edit source]
A Dark Times Campaign is unlike other Star Wars campaigns in a number of ways, not the least of which is the role the heroes play in the story. In a Dark Times Campaign, the heroes are among the few individuals brave enough to stand up to The Galactic Empire and fight for freedom from oppression. Luke Skywalker is still on Tatooine, Yoda is secluded on Dagobah, and The Rebel Alliance has not yet been formed. The Empire is everywhere, and the heroes have no one to turn to but themselves. They can truly make a difference in the galaxy, and it is up to them to strike the first blows against the Empire, showing the galaxy that it no longer has to submit to the will of the corrupt Emperor. The Sith might rule the galaxy unchallenged for now, but when your heroes take the fight to the Empire, the entire galaxy shakes with that battle's repercussions.
At first glance, a Dark Times Campaign might seem similar to a Rebellion Era Campaign. After all, the Empire is still a far-reaching adversary, and the villainous Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine still pose a threat to freedom everywhere. There are some key differences, however, between The Dark Times and The Rebellion Era. For one, the heroes play a much larger role in the galactic arena during The Dark Times than they would during the Rebellion. For another, the heroes of a Dark Times Campaign truly forge their own path, taking on the Empire on their own terms without The Rebel Alliance looking over their shoulders. The galaxy is a far different place from what it is during the Galactic Civil War; Kashyyyk is still enslaved, Mon Calamari and Sullust have not openly rebelled, and the heroes of The Rebel Alliance have not yet stepped onto the galactic stage.
In a Dark Times Campaign, the Empire is a monolithic entity whose influence can be felt even in the farthest outposts of the galaxy. The Empire has reached worlds previously inaccessible to the Republic; Shmi Skywalker claims that the Republic doesn't exist on Tatooine, but Han Solo and Luke Skywalker have to run from the Empire at Mos Eisley. Where once freedom and egalitarianism reigned, now only oppression and fear hold sway. Stormtroopers are on every corner, The Core Worlds are fortresses of Imperial power, and the intimidating visage of dagger-shaped Star Destroyers stand watch over the space lanes. During The Dark Times, the Empire is not distracted by the ongoing war with The Rebel Alliance, and it can devote its full resources to pursuing and destroying any opposition. Without the battles and skirmishes of the Galactic Civil War to draw away the attention of the Imperial Army and Navy, battalions of Stormtroopers march through the streets of every city, and TIE Fighters patrol the skies of every world. In no other time period is the Empire stronger or its reach longer, meaning that all heroes face an uphill battle.
More important, the heroes are by and large on their own in a Dark Times Campaign. Although they could have wealthy benefactors and benevolent allies, no Rebel Alliance exists to mount an organized resistance against the Empire. No secret Rebel bases are available to hide in or defend, and heroes have no Rebel resources to draw upon for dangerous missions. The Incom Corporation's executives have not yet defected, leaving the heroes to pilot either outdated ships from before the Clone Wars or Starfighters that can put up at best an even fight against the ships that the Empire fields.
This situation also means that every hero's efforts are important. The heroes of a Dark Times Campaign have a Destiny, and that Destiny is to strike the first blow against the monolithic Empire. It might take the form of rescuing someone from the oppression of the Empire, or forging a new path in The Fringe, or any number of other missions appropriate to The Dark Times. Regardless, the heroes and their destiny become the focal point of a Dark Times Campaign, without the players or the Gamemaster having to worry about conflicting with the destinies of the heroes from the films. The players are in control of heroes whose actions will have galactic repercussions, more so than in almost any other era.
A great advantage of a Dark Times Campaign is that, for the first time, the setting encourages you to pull material from all six movies in the Star Wars saga. Heroes can shoot down TIE Fighters, run from AT-ATs, or gun down Stormtroopers just as easily as they can blast a V-Wing Starfighter out of the sky or engage a battalion of aging clone troopers in battle. Vehicles and Starships from the Clone Wars are still heavily in use, and newer ships from The Rebellion Era are just now being invented. Heroes and villains from both the prequel trilogy and the classic trilogy can make appearances, and some in unexpected ways. During The Dark Times, heroes of the Rebellion such as Jan Dodonna and Crix Madine are still working for the Empire, making them dangerous foes whose tactical minds will one day help The Rebel Alliance defeat the Empire, but for now serve only to foil the heroes' plans. Moreover, a Dark Times Campaign gives heroes the chance to face off against old enemies in new ways: imagine squaring off in a space battle against Grand Admiral Thrawn during his prime, or finding that the young assassin you fought to a standstill was in fact Mara Jade during her training years. The heroes face a galaxy of possibilities, and old villains seem new again under different circumstances.
Of course, setting a game during this time period means that it is also far easier for a hero to be a Force-user, or even a Jedi, than in The Rebellion Era. Though most of The Jedi are destined to be hunted down and killed by Vader's minions by the time of the Rebellion, your heroes can play Jedi who have survived Order 66 and fight evil in secret. Alternatively, the variety of Force Traditions available in a Dark Times Campaign mean that a Jensaarai Defender or a Felucian Shaman is just as viable as a character option as the aforementioned Jedi Knight on the run. Regardless, The Force can be with you in The Dark Times, and without it some heroes might not stand a chance.
Above all, as in much of the Star Wars saga, a Dark Times Campaign is about heroes fighting villains. For now, The Dark Side of The Force holds sway, and heroes find themselves outnumbered and outgunned. This situation just makes their struggle that much more heroic, and when their victories come, they will be that much more legendary. Although the perils are great, and the odds are against the heroes, and the taint of evil is everywhere, get ready to grab your blaster or Lightsaber, hop in your tramp freighter, and take the fight to the Empire!
Major Events[edit | edit source]
Though The Dark Times represent a new and unexplored time period in Star Wars history, certain major events are known to occur between the execution of Order 66 and the first salvos of the Galactic Civil War. The following major events should highlight some of the more prominent features of a Dark Times Campaign and give both players and the Gamemaster a sense of what is going on in the galaxy around them at this point.
Establishment of the New Order[edit | edit source]
The Dark Times truly begin with the execution of Order 66 and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine's famous Declaration of a New Order speech. From this point the Empire begins its ascendancy toward total domination. With clone troopers spread throughout the galaxy for the Clone Wars, the Empire begins its reign with personnel almost everywhere from the first day. Regional governors are given a higher degree of control over their domains than ever before, and the Empire begins to crack down on dissent wherever it arises.
The military machine starts to extend its reach throughout the galaxy, with Star Destroyers hovering over every major planet. Machines of war, ostensibly there to protect the peace, now roll through the streets of every city from The Core to The Outer Rim. Imperial Moffs replace planetary leaders as the authority on every world, and law enforcement becomes the domain of stormtroopers and officers of the Empire.
Ascension of Imperial Leaders[edit | edit source]
Some of the galaxy's most tyrannical leaders rise to power during The Dark Times. Grand Moff Tarkin, the man who will eventually be responsible for the destruction of Alderaan, rises through the Imperial hierarchy during this time. Grand Admiral Thrawn revolutionizes Imperial naval tactics, while famous officers such as General Veers, Admiral Motti, and Admiral Ozzel continue their ascension to command roles. Imperial Intelligence reaches new levels of pervasiveness under the control of Armand Isard, and ambitious Moffs such as Jerjerrod and Tavira accumulate power the way a space slug accumulates mynocks.
This time period also sees the rise of several Imperial leaders who will go on to playa major role in the Empire's downfall. Rebel Alliance leaders such as Crix Madine and Jan Dodonna serve as Imperial officers for a time during this period, though they will later defect to the Rebellion when the Empire's tyranny becomes too much for them to bear. Although they serve as Imperial agents during The Dark Times, the seeds of their defection have already been planted. Additionally, late in The Dark Times some famous heroes such as Han Solo even serve the Empire for a short time, but as It becomes apparent how deep the Empire's evil goes, they strike out on their own.
Growing Threat of the Dark Side[edit | edit source]
With The Sith dominating the galaxy and The Jedi Order nearly completely wiped out, it comes as no surprise that the agents of The Dark Side of The Force become prevalent during these years. The establishment of The Inquisitorius (The Empire's cabal of Jedi hunters) gives Jedi traitors and fallen Jedi a place to continue service under the Empire, while the Emperor and Vader begin training a small number of Force-users to serve as their personal servants. During The Dark Times, Emperor's Hands such as Mara Jade and Shira Brie have already begun their training, and they will start taking on missions for the Empire despite being merely teenagers.
The Emperor also allows the spread of Dark Side Force-users in other areas. The Prophets of the Dark Side, cultists and evil Force adepts from the world of Dromund Kaas, serve the Emperor and train his agents in the ways of The Dark Side. On the Emperor's personal fortress world of Byss, Dark Side adepts use Sith Alchemy to create Imperial Sentinels, while the Emperor's elite Royal Guardsmen are taught the techniques of The Dark Side of The Force in their training as Sovereign Protectors. Everywhere throughout the galaxy, the presence of The Dark Side seeps in like the fetid waters of corruption.
Imperial Atrocities[edit | edit source]
With no one to oppose them, agents of the Empire commit atrocities on a scale previously considered unimaginable. The Empire razes the planet Caamas at Palpatine's command, leaving the planet devastated and inhospitable to the native Caamasi. Innocent beings on worlds controlled by the Empire are slaughtered, as in the case of the Ghorman Massacre (An event that would help mobilize early Rebels to action). Other worlds, such as Duro and Centares, are simply used up and discarded to improve the Imperial war machine.
Moreover, many Species are subjected to the horrors of slavery, such as the Mon Calamari and the Wookiees. During this time period, non-Human aliens are treated as second-class citizens, and the Empire passes legislation with a distinct antialien bias. The Empire allows The Corporate Sector Authority to expand into nearly thirty thousand star systems, in the process coming into contact with and eventually exploiting a number of native alien Species, with no regard for those Species' rights. Even Humans from worlds out of favor with the Emperor find themselves trapped under the government's boots, making it a difficult time to be a citizen of any species.
A Less Civilized Age[edit | edit source]
Another side effect of the rise of the Empire is that criminal activity rises as well. Major criminal organizations see exceptional growth and prosperity, such as the Black Sun crime syndicate, mostly due to the fact that Impenal governors and bureaucrats were so prone to corruption. Many leaders will turn a blind eye to the crime and vice spread by these crime syndicates, allowing them to run rampant. Where once the decency of common citizens could hold criminals in check, the oppression of the Empire stamps out most of the resistance left in the general populace, leaving organized crime to prosper as never before.
In the wake of the Clone Wars, the Empire seizes control of the economic and trade assets of the former members of the Confederacy. This turn of events creates a commercial void as the Empire puts strict limitations on trade- a void that will quickly be filled by smugglers and criminal cartels. Large smuggling cartels, such as the one run by Jorj Car'das, engage in lucrative contraband operations across the galaxy. The black market flourishes, and despite Imperial efforts to crack down on criminals, in truth it is only legitimate businesses and their honest customers that suffer from Imperial regulations.
Corellian Treaty[edit | edit source]
The Dark Times conclude with the signing of the Corellian Treaty. Mon Mothma, Garm Bel Iblis, and Bail Organa create the document that officially establishes The Rebel Alliance, which is considered to be the act of treason that begins the Galactic Civil War. The treaty has its origins in a clandestine meeting on Corellia, but is finalized on Kashyyyk.