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View Full Version : The Death Star and Rebel Propaganda



Gyp Ryol
10 July 2003, 04:55 PM
We all know that the Death Star blew up Alderaan, and then was destroyed soon after that. However, my question is: How would people on the many far-flung worlds of the Empire (and therefore, members of Rebel cells on said worlds) find out about such catastrophic events as they actually happened? The Empire controls the HoloNet and all the major news networks. How would Rebel operatives get the truth out about the Death Star?

I've been thinking about this for a good time now, and I cannot come up with anything really substantial. Please give me any ideas you might have, as this is crucial to my campaign. Thanks.

--Gyp :? Ryol

coldskier0320
10 July 2003, 05:04 PM
After much deliberation, the panel has come up with two words for our perplexed askee;) :

Bothan SpyNet

Its all i can come up with.:? Good question!;) Also, semi-off topic, use something like this to youre advantage if you GM a rebellion era campaign, type up and pass out a "holonet bulletin" front page which mutates a noble achievement of the heroes' into something seemingly foul and cruel. That'll spark 'em!:D But be careful not to overuse it.

Sasche
10 July 2003, 05:16 PM
I can't list the source, but I think I've read somewhere about Rebel Slicers tapping into the Holonet and "pirating" the Holonet in order to send their messages.
They could also tap into the Holonet and broadcast to everyone on a "general" channel in order to attempt to get the Rebel message out to the public.

...at least until the Empire catches the Slicer and cuts off the signal.

Gyp Ryol
10 July 2003, 05:17 PM
I considered the BothanSpyNet as a way to leak information, but I am hesitant to use it. The reason Alderaan was destroyed was because Tarkin wanted to use it as an example. Seeing as Tarkin is only answerable to the Emperor, he would send a highly encoded, crypted, sealed, locked, etc. report to the Emperor. The only person really able to get the word out would be Leia, who was with Tarkin at the time of the destruction. Although the Bothans are really good at information gathering , I'm not sure how good they are at information proliferation.

However, if all else fails, the Bothans are always a good fall-back. :bothan:

--Gyp Ryol

Nova Spice
10 July 2003, 06:43 PM
My character I play on Star Wars Galaxies would agree with you!\, as he is a Bothan. :D

I would assume, after Alderaan's destruction and the victroy at Yavin, the Bothan SpyNet's Alliance operatives would spread the word of the victory and the truth about Alderaan. In fact, this would make a great opportunity to introduce Koth Melan into a Rebellion Era campaign. He was one of the leaders of the Bothan SpyNet in the novel Shadows of the Empire.

These Bothans would use any means necessary, albeit covert, to extrapolate upon the Battle of Yavin and Alderaan. I would think that hacking into planetary databases, media networks, and other forms of communication would be one way. But another more effective strategy would have been spreading the truth at cantinas, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants. It's pretty complex and probably took patience; but as we all know, by the time of the Battle of Endor, most of the Empire's citizens are well aware of the atrocity of Alderaan. ;)

Rogue Janson
11 July 2003, 02:13 AM
I'd say people who wanted to work out roughly what happened to Alderaan could do it fairly easily since they know a few things:
1) Alderaan blew up.
2) Planets don't normally blow up.
3) The Empire blamed it on secret Alderaanian weapons research.
4) Alderaanians are known as peaceful and respectable people.
5) The Empire doesn't like Alderaan.

Of course they might not know specifically about the Death Star from this. Rebel operatives would probably try to get word out by every means from dissident media to word of mouth - a rumour like that would probably travel pretty quickly. I'd imagine some of the more respectable senators might have developed sources with rebel links who would inform them. With the Senate dissolved they might not have direct power, but they're still influential people.

Was the Bothan Spynet actually associated with the Alliance at the time of ANH?
I seem to remember it joined fairly late. (once it was clear the Rebels had a passable chance of winning.)

The reference to Rebels hacking into the holonet comes from one of the Wraith Squadron books, btw, and it was used to broadcast the news of the destruction of the second Death Star and the death of the Emperor.

Sasche
11 July 2003, 02:20 AM
I also seem to remember seeing somewhere ( a netguide perhaps?) where it was describing the DCs for slicing into the holonet. So this would have been a d20 source. I just can't remember which one.

I think it wasa also describing how the holonet was set up. It described local "hubs" in each system. And was defining the DC for slicing into the planetary network, the system hub, or elesewhere on the holonet.

I would give a Slicer a mdium chance to temporarily "hijack" the Holonet in order to send a message to an individual or small group. (DC of 20 or 25). But to Slice into the Holonet and broadcast your version for the public to see would be much more difficult (DC of 30 or more), and would also cause the empire to come down really hard if they caught the slicer.

ElfWord
11 July 2003, 09:41 AM
Sasche is indeed correct about there being a novel or other source which informs us that Rebel operatives did use the Holonet to inform much of the galaxy about the events. Another important fact to remember is that Alderaan had lots of trade going on. Spacers finding themselves leaving hyperspace to enter an asteroid field are likely to wonder why, and it wouldn't be too hard for the news to spread by word-of-mouth.

Mithrandir
11 July 2003, 09:44 AM
I thought I remembered reading about the Holonet hack in the Rebellion Era Source Book. Can't remember which one, but I thought it was the Alderaan and DSI destruction, because that brought in huge amounts of support for the rebels. Can't confirm any of this because I'm on the other side of the country to my books right now.

Rogue Janson
11 July 2003, 09:44 AM
Breaking into the holonet is in the Rebellion era SB, and it's a massive DC40, unless you can gain access to a Sector Plexus facility.

Master Dao Rin
11 July 2003, 04:50 PM
Wasn't it the whole point of blowing up Alderaan in order to make an example out of them for the rest of the rebel fence sitters? I always thought the Empire was the first to make it public!!!

Of course, the Empire's evil geniuses never calculated on people taking their "service for the good of the galaxy" for what it was worth and joining the rebellion ...

Admiral_Atredies
11 July 2003, 05:34 PM
The Empire is a very crafty enemy, and I don't think that news of Alderaan would escape so quickly without something to do with the Empire itself. First of all, I think the Death Star was an example, but only to the openly rebelious and troublesome worlds, i.e. The Outer Rim. Propoganda is mostly used in the Core Worlds, which are highly important worlds to the Imperial war machine, so they are basically keeping the money-makers subdued to prevent a Core World rebelion. The Outer Rim, on the other hand, is ruled right out through harsh martial law and open brutality to discourage any uprisings. I'm sure the Imperial propoganda corps could say Alderaan's destruction is due to Rebel sabateurs/rebel terrorists/rebel (insert nasty title here)'s. In other words, the Outer Rim is just no kept so under wraps as the secured Core Worlds due to their "unimportance".
Just my two creds.

Darthspectre84
12 July 2003, 01:32 AM
Interesting
As has been saidyou cant also forget the Alderaan was a very well known planet at the time. Ships would go in and out (like Solo).

I would think the Empire after the destruction of Yavin would have revealed that they did it as an example. But since they were destroyed by ships not even a quarter the size of the DS1 i think it would have been embarassing. And any mishap that happened Palpy could blame Tarkin...nice scapegoat :P

Also you cant forget rumours spoken by other people...like bounty hunters.

Corwin
12 July 2003, 05:36 PM
If you blow up a planet with a few billion people one it itís going to be pretty heard to keep it under wraps. Word of mouth travels fast, and even faster when aided by Rebel agents.

Add to this the propaganda effort by the Alliance, which not only highlighted the destruction of Alderan, but also the Rebelís destruction of the Death Star and it isnít long before most people in the galaxy know what happened. In the RSB it mentions that the Rebels disseminated a few thousand holos of the Death Star blowing up as Rebel starfighters returned to base. One can safely assume these thousand holos were then copied and disseminated further reaching billions of viewers.

Ironically the people who took the longest to find out what happened were those closest to Alderan in the Core, where travel and communication is most restricted

Tash Horn
13 July 2003, 08:23 AM
doesn't HG say something about what the Empires propaganad was that the Rebels hijacked the Death Star and destoryed Alderaan?

Silent
13 July 2003, 05:52 PM
First, so for the fact that the Death Star blew up Alderaan, there isn't a snowball's chance on Tatooine of the Empire covering that up simply because space is not empty. Yes, the Empire knocked out the planet and all of the people loving on it, but there must have been hundreds of crafts that were roaming around in-system, either just coming into hyperspace or just coming out, and these people would have certainly recorded and saved onto hard copy any pictures they had of a largish moon disintegrating one of the most important planets in the Empire. It would have been like nuking Tokyo: it's just an impossible fact to hide, so you might as well take the truth and bend it.

As such, I'd imagine that the Empire either blamed the DSI on the Rebels, or they made up stories about Alderaan being part of the Rebels themselves, thus sparking the fear of a new seperatist war, which I'm sure the galaxy wouldn't be pleased about. Still, I have to think that this wouldn't be anything but sugar-coating for most of the galaxy, since anyone with a modicum of intelligence and/or morals would be incredibly suspicious of a pacifistic planet being blown up. In the end, I think that the Empire ran some kind of thin official story as a cover, and counted on fear to make the sensible majority not question it openly. After a while I imagine that they would have just given up on the whole charade and made it an out and out threat, but they probably didn't feel strong or well-established enough at that point.

Darthspectre84
14 July 2003, 02:02 AM
Interesting thought about a New Separitist army idea Silent :) and out of those theories i would go for that one. Cause it would be embarrassing for the Empire to admitt that one of their greatest wepons was kidnapped by rebels.

sjard
24 July 2003, 05:51 PM
my opinion would be that no, the bothans would have had nothing to do with it. if they had, they would have tried to spin it so that they would have a chance at taking over command of the rebel alliance.

sjard

Nova Spice
24 July 2003, 08:20 PM
my opinion would be that no, the bothans would have had nothing to do with it. if they had, they would have tried to spin it so that they would have a chance at taking over command of the rebel alliance.

Totally disagree with this statement. It only makes practical sense that the Bothans were part of the distribution effort. Granted, the Alliance may have had to pay the SpyNet to dispel the information, as I know Bothans tend to not do things like that out of the goodness of their heart.

Why do you say they would have "spun" the information? If the Alliance pays them to spread the word, they will spread it just as the Rebels wanted them to; right down to their specifications. What good would spinning it do? Had they done that, you can bet the Bothans would be targeted for assassination. And that would mean the Bothans would never have joined the Alliance formally prior to Endor.

And assuming they did try to spin the information, it would hardly allow them "to take command of the Rebels." If anything it would mark them as traitors and enemies of the Alliance. You cannot lie about a group to others and then expect to take command of that group. ;)

AzmoDanakar
24 July 2003, 08:23 PM
The reports were that the station was a mining facility. ( Yeah right ..like taking out termites with a claymore mine) And Rebel terrorists captured it and used it to destroy Alderaan. The empire named it the 'Death Star' in honor of its fallen men.... BAH~!

IMO The Empire probably circulated various stories to different sectors to fit what their populations would swallow. The size of the Galactic Empire is important to remember, there were hundreds of thousands, millions of systems even. On each there was various levels of oppression, from inability to get luxury off-world foodstuffs to work-camp prison facilities and open execution of dissidents and outspoken demagogues. Quadrillions of people, each with a different opinion of the Empire and how it affects them.
Some of these citizens would hear tell of a planet being destroyed and be horrified beyond belief. If there was family or friends there, they would wonder if they could have possibly survived.
Other groups of these citizens would hear it was terrorists and nod their head, glad the Empire keeps them relatively safe in the Mid Rim.
Still others would be outraged yet filled with fear. They would mobilize and demand answers as to how and why, seeking to explain it away to quiet the terror that anyone could do such an act.

The report in HG goes on to say, that the destruction of Alderaan ultimately backfires and that once the truth gets out that dozens of worlds openly declare their support of the rebellion. Hundreds more quietly began to support the rebellion.
:raised: :raised: :? :D

Corwin
24 July 2003, 08:57 PM
I was looking in my old issues of WEGís Star Wars Adventure Journal which included a news digest with each issue. In issue six there was a story from an Imperial news network which said Alderaan was destroyed to stop a biological weapons program Bail Organa was developing for use by the Rebel Alliance. To prevent any of the programís products from getting off planet the Empire used the Death Star to destroy the planet out-right.

Though this was written almost a decade before an American president would use ostensible claims of weapons of mass destruction to justify their actions; still the parallel gave me an uncomfortable moment of pause. :raised:

Wampa Jedi
24 July 2003, 08:59 PM
Another reason--

In my game smugglers smuggle holovids and news holos all the time. These are the unfiltered by the empire holos. Its a big business. Easy to smuggle holos cause they are small and you can make a nice little profit smuggling them. So in my game smugglers also brought information to a lot of people. Unless they got caught of course but thats another post :hansolo:

Corwin
24 July 2003, 09:09 PM
Likewise, in my forth coming Guide to SpecOps I mentioned that distribution of propaganda holos is a job often preformed by SpecOps agents.

Errin Orwain
26 July 2003, 12:10 PM
I would think that all the traders and other starship traffic would notice that a major core world was now an asteriod belt.

Corwin
26 July 2003, 05:13 PM
Hence the story about the bio-weapons research.

Nova Spice
26 July 2003, 09:11 PM
Though this was written almost a decade before an American president would use ostensible claims of weapons of mass destruction to justify their actions; still the parallel gave me an uncomfortable moment of pause.

Be careful. I'd hate for you to have to eat these words. ;)


I would think that all the traders and other starship traffic would notice that a major core world was now an asteriod belt.

Definitely. I'm sure word spread fast about it's destruction and you can bet that word of mouth was spread faster initially by smugglers, spacers, and traders.

Errin Orwain
27 July 2003, 01:58 PM
also consider what Tarken said in ANH "fear will keep the local systems in line, fear of this battle station" and "your far too trusting, Dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration" are all too telling. the Death Star was not meant to stay secret, it was meant for the destruction of Alderaan to get out so other worlds would be too afraid of reprisals to help the Rebellion. the Empire only tried to cover up their involvement to hide their embarrassment at their incompetence at have their "Ulitimate Weapon" blown to bits by some kid in a puny little one man fighter!

Nova Spice
27 July 2003, 07:31 PM
I think Errin's point alludes to another subtle one. As he said, the Death Star was meant to be public, to ensure that Imperial worlds stayed Imperial worlds. This was due to Tarkin's, Motti's, and many of the other high-ranking Imperial officer's overconfidence in their battlestation.

When Yavin became an Alliance victory, I think Palpatine quickly became aware that he had to spin the information if he wanted to prevent an uprising. I think had the Alliance lost, Palpatine would have been more than willing to inform the public of the new "loyalty insurance." ;)

whiteraven1983
28 July 2003, 04:30 PM
In SWG there is a rebel mission where u run information to a slicer to show a holo vid of the whole thing on the holonet.

Darien_Shadowfyre
31 July 2003, 05:23 PM
whiteraven1983, where's that mission? I"d love to do that one.

As for how it was made known, this was actually covered in WEG's Star Wars Adventure Journal. Basically, the Empire released a Holonet bulletin claiming Alderaan was first destroyed by its own superweapon research program. Then the Rebels basically "airlifted" milliions of datapads telling the true story and distributed them across as many worlds as they could. Word of mouth finished the job. Finally, the Empire released a story confirming the Death Star and that it did destroy Alderaan to protect the core from its biogenic weapons program The Death Star then suffered sabotage and was destroyed.

whiteraven1983
31 July 2003, 09:00 PM
It son the rebel base on Rori however its a delivery mission and quite boring like most missions in the game.

Corwin
3 August 2003, 11:56 PM
Originally posted by Nova Spice
Be careful. I'd hate for you to have to eat these words. ;)

Actually, the way the windís blowing right now I donít think Iím going to be eating anything- Iím a little queasy at just living through the second Gulf of Tonkin. Thereís beenenough time that if there was anything substantial in Iraq US forces would have found it.

Donít get me wrong, Iím happy some one took Saddam out of power; I just think it should have been the last (and much better) President named Bush ;)

Back on topic...


As for how it was made known, this was actually covered in WEG's Star Wars Adventure Journal. Basically, the Empire released a Holonet bulletin claiming Alderaan was first destroyed by its own superweapon research program.

It seems there were several accounts released by the Empire of exactly what happened to Alderaan; this is not surprising considering the damage the destruction of the Death Star did to the highest levels of Imperial leadership. In the weeks following the Battle of Yavin there would undoubtedly have been a frantic and uncoordinated effort by many different elements with in the Empire to cover up what happened, as well as put the blame elsewhere, even on other Imperial agencies. The result is the wildly different reports of what happened to Alderaan, all ostensibly from the same the same source.

The way in which the Empire attempted to cover up the destruction of Alderaan resembles the real-life attempt by the Israeli government to cover up their 1967 attack on a US intelligence ship; over the years Israel has offered up a number of accounts of the event, ranging from a denial that it ever occurred, to blaming the attack on Egyptian forces, to admitting the attack occurred but not the way the shipís crew reported, to most recently admitting it happened just they way the ships crew reported, but that it was a completely accident -one of the stories may indeed by true, but which one?

Darthspectre84
4 August 2003, 04:58 AM
Actually i was going to say that you can compare to what happened with the Death Star with stuff that happens in the real world. I am not going to give examples though.

As for the news on the Death Star......i wouls say those worlds on the core...the principle worlds like Coruscant woud have the rumour that it was terrorists. While worlds further away may face soemthing like the more harsher reality to scare them into submission.

aquamason
8 August 2003, 09:03 AM
You don't think people are going to notice that a major planet like Alderaan was blown up? I mean, the Empire blew the planet up so that people WOULD recognize the destructive power of the Death Star. Isn't that why they didn't blow up Dantoine (sp)? I remember Tarkin saying something to the effect of Dantoine being too remote of a planet to be an effective example.

The Empire wasn't looking to be anyone's favorite at this point. They wanted to rule with an iron fist and let it be known that they were in charge.

My opinion.

Gyp Ryol
11 August 2003, 05:34 PM
Wow, thanks for all the input guys. I was really racking my brain over this issue. As it turns out, I was looking through The Rebellion Era Sourcebook for d20, and only one sentence mentioned how the Rebels managed to get the truth out about the Death Star and Alderaan. They "borrowed" one of those Sector Plexus facilities to bet the message out to the galaxy at large.

However, a lot of your responses have given me fantastic adventure ideas to plop right down in my players' collective lap. Thanks for all the help!

Nova Spice
11 August 2003, 05:54 PM
Actually, the way the windís blowing right now I donít think Iím going to be eating anything- Iím a little queasy at just living through the second Gulf of Tonkin. Thereís beenenough time that if there was anything substantial in Iraq US forces would have found it.

I just thought you might be interested in the news report today that Robert Novak, the Chief US investigator to find Saddam's WMDs, announced that we have found substantial biological weapons. Apparently, we have been collecting this stuff for a few weeks and the Bush Administration (wanting to make sure to dot every " i " and cross every " t") didn't want to leak this to press until we had all the hard evidence.

Novak announced that the compiled weapons will be released to the press and the public in September, after military scientists finishing checking off everything. :D

But you are correct about the time. There has been enough time, and apparently we have been capitalizing on it.

But I digress, this thread is for discussion of Rebel propaganda.

Back on topic:


It seems there were several accounts released by the Empire of exactly what happened to Alderaan; this is not surprising considering the damage the destruction of the Death Star did to the highest levels of Imperial leadership. In the weeks following the Battle of Yavin there would undoubtedly have been a frantic and uncoordinated effort by many different elements with in the Empire to cover up what happened, as well as put the blame elsewhere, even on other Imperial agencies. The result is the wildly different reports of what happened to Alderaan, all ostensibly from the same the same source.

Definitely. The Imperials were scrambling for explanations on why the Grand Moff of the Outer Rim, TaggeCo's heir, and the high admiral of the Outer Rim fleet, had been killed. That being Tarkin, Tagge, and Motti.

Adding on to this subject. I would love to hear Palpatine's reaction to it's destruction. Particularly what he himself addressed to the people on Coruscant.

AzmoDanakar
12 August 2003, 12:36 PM
A related note is a question of authority. How does the Grand Moff of the Outer Rim blow up a Coreward planet? Under what authority was he acting? Did the Emperer authorize this personally>?

Just some thoughts to chew on.

Bram Corolev
10 May 2005, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by Corwin
I was looking in my old issues of WEGís Star Wars Adventure Journal which included a news digest with each issue. In issue six there was a story from an Imperial news network which said Alderaan was destroyed to stop a biological weapons program Bail Organa was developing for use by the Rebel Alliance. To prevent any of the programís products from getting off planet the Empire used the Death Star to destroy the planet out-right.

I would love to read this. Does anyone know if this is posted online anywhere? I really need it for my game right now. Anti-Imperial dessent is growing in my sector and I need something to calm people down.