View Full Version : Always four there are... (Rise of the Empire Campaign Idea)

Dan Stack
3 June 2002, 05:34 AM
After seeing Attack of the Clones, we've been giving some thought to doing an all-Jedi prequel game, set between Episodes I and II. (Anyone in my group should stop reading here...) Spoilers for Episode II follow, in case anyone hasn't seen it yet...

One of the problems I've been running into is a big threat for the characters to face and eventually defeat, knowing the Republic is destined to be replaced by the Empire and that all the Sith Lords are accounted for.

What I'm thinking about is adding another pair of Sith Lords to the galaxy, violating the rule of two, but using that violation as a basis for the game.

The premise is that some time ago, perhaps 200 years ago, a Sith Master and Apprentice were together and befell some tragedy that separated them and left both with reason to believe the other dead (tragedy cannot be a Jedi unless the Jedi died in the process, as the Jedi think the Sith extinct). The master went on and trained a new apprentice (which eventually leads to Darth Sideous) and the apprentice assumed he was the new master and went on to train his own apprentice.

It is now between Episodes I and II, just after the recruitment of Dooku. Darth Sideous has discovered the existence of the other pair of Sith. This other pair is also planning the downfall of the Republic, but instead of a Galactic Empire being the successor, they plan for generations of chaos and war, allowing them to form a new Sith Empire centuries later. This runs against Darth Sideous' plans, so he has two reasons to want to get rid of them (rival plans and violation of the Rule of Two).

However, this rival pair is also difficult to find - Sideous just knows of their existence and their general plans, not where to find them. (One would hope that the Sith are good at hiding given Sideous exists on Coruscant). Who better to use to defeat this rival pair than the Jedi Knights? The worst that could happen is many Jedi being killed in a futile hunt. The best-case scenario is they succeed, destroying his rivals and possibly believing they have defeated the threat of the Sith for good. (Although if that happens by the time of Episode II the Jedi will realize this is not the case).

The plan for this game is to introduce the Sith Apprentice early on - perhaps they will defeat him, perhaps not. I will also have legions of other servants - Dark Side Marauders, failed Jedi, etc. I'm planning on having the game take place mainly on the Outer Rim - this rival pair of Sith planning on destroying the Republic using "barbarians at the gate", steadily decaying the borders of the Republic through piracy, support of crimelords, and elements such as the Trade Federation.

Assuming the characters defeat him by the end of the campaign, the players will have earned a victory, for even though the Empire is inevitable, its relative brief reign of tyranny is preferable to the centuries of chaos this pair of Sith Lords is planning.

I also will not need to know the exact Sideous/Palpatine relationship (whether they are the same person or not). I'm guessing they are, but they need not be for this campaign to work.

Comments, questions, suggestions, ideas are always appreciated as this is just a first pass.

3 June 2002, 07:48 AM
some praise is in order for you getting around the rule of two.

I really like the prestige classes in DSS and wanted them in my Empire campaign- the Sith classes are real nice and work well. i too ran into the "rule of two" problem for any era not in the Jedi/Sith wars. I found my solution within the book.

remember the holocrons? SIth made them too and a holocron from before the Darth Bane legacy would have no compunctions about not teaching the Sith prestige classes. Thus, give an NPC an holocron and shnikes, there's the ancient Sith Empire (with a whole motley crew of force apprentices destined to play the Nietszche "survival of the fittest" and all of a sudden there are DSS prestige force users to throw at your PCs! I like the bickering amongst villians ideas... what's even better is when your PCs are the villians and working on their Sith prestige classes. Then the in group mechanics of bickering works to extend the believability of the sith prestige classes. :D

as for the Sidious/Palpatine relationship, most people agree they are the same person... however, since Palpatine actively used clones in the return of the emperor (byss comic books in Darkhorse) and the use clones in Attack of the Clones, it is not amiss to think Palpatine as a 3rd level noble made a clone of himself to put on the throne- think of it as twin brothers. when sidious body gets all sick from the dark side, it's an easy task of "transfer essence" to your clone. That's my suspicions about Sidious/Palpatine.

It takes a good group of players to continue to play in the "Rise of the Empire" era not to use their own knowledge as SW fans to make decisions for their characters. After all, if they meet palpatine every power gamer i know will say, "I'm doing a See Force" which is well within their capacity as characters to use their skills whenever but that would just make a GM frustrated with the suspension of disbelief being broken.

I agree with your analysis of the Outer Rim being the playground for force users. :) Notice everything 'north' of Coruscant is basically "wild space" and everything 'south' of the planet is mapped to the fringes of the galaxy? I liked the map of the galaxy in "Star Wars Rebellion" video game better than what is given in the RCR.

evan hansen
3 June 2002, 05:30 PM
Hey! Great campaign idea. I love creativity and alterations on the timeline, and this is a good one. Since you asked for thoughts and comments, I figured I would share some initial reactions. These are all just potential plot ideas, things to consider, etc...

1 - You might have them be tricked into helping the other Sith Lord for a while. The Sith are the epitome of deviousness and underhanded foul play. Just as Palpatine tricked the entire Republic, have this Lord trick the Rebels. He might even be a Rebel -- in appearance. Of course, his identity must be revealed later. But his initial appearance can be a complete mystery. His apprentice can then still be revealed early. Maybe the players think they've defeated the only threat and they're going back to battle the Empire. But deception would be fun. :-)

2 - perhaps you do the exact same thing but have the apprentice be the Rebel infiltrator. his boss is entirely hidden and can be revealed much later. this would work out ideally if you wanted to draw the campaign out for a much longer time.

3 - You might want to end this campaign with a very ESB ending. End the campaign on a major down note with a brief 30 seconds of hope at the end. Have the PCs kill the Sith lords...but only upon the appearance of Dooku or something. They try to kill Dooku, and they can't. But then give them some sort of bittersweet reward. In some ways, it will be anti-climatic. but if handled well, it would make a great end to a story.

just a few quick thoughts. if i come up with more in the next few minutes, ill post 'em.

6 June 2002, 04:46 PM
Hey cool ideas.

I to had to get creative in edging around that pesky rule of two. My idea is pretty hooky, but it works.

Many years before TPM, Sidious' craving for power led him to attack his Master. There was an epic lightsaber dual, and with a powerful up-swing, Sidious cleaved his master from his 4th rib up through his collar bone (removing his master's right arm). This sent the master toppling from the mountian edge. Sensing that Sidious had distroyed his master, he gathered all the holocrons, and left to find his own apprentice. The master survives, but is not strong enough to face Sidious in another battle. He trains a new apprentice to hunt down Sidious and slay the false dark lord. Sidious' ex-master has since passed away and now(the beginning of TPM) the apprentice has become the True Dark Lord of the Sith. He still searchs for Sidious because that's all he knows. The problem is...he's never seen Sidious before.

It's up to the PCs wether he succeeds in finding him or not.


6 June 2002, 10:58 PM
I also was toying around with the idea but I couldn't concentrate on it because I have 2 other campaigns going, but once one is over I am running a campaign loosely based on your idea, Thanks!!!

Dan Stack
7 June 2002, 07:03 AM
Thanks for the feeback.

Though I'm not 100% sure I'm going to put my Rebellion game on hiatus (actually, all gaming has been on a temporary hiatus for a while as my wife and I get used to being parents :D) I'm working through this idea to see where it takes me.

I've given some thought to what this pair of Sith are up to. Darth Sidious seems to operate out of Coruscant so this pair will indeed be operating at the outer rim, keeping most of the adventures where the Republic is at its weakest. I'm planning on taking a page out of E.E. Smith's Lensman series and having this pair of Sith Lords be behind a vast criminal conspiracy - the various elements of it do not know of each others existence or what part they play. Not saying that all crime, or even most of it, on the Rim is the result of this pair, rather a sizable chunk of criminal activity is manipulated by them. Without them pulling the strings most of these criminal organizations would still exist, but the two of them are able to secretly coordinate their activities. They have pirate organizations, slavers, drug dealers, smugglers, mercenaries, terrorists, etc. unknowingly working for them.

To give a contrast to Darth Maul, the Sith Apprentice will be someone who uses stealth as a weapon - an assassin. The first organization the characters will have to deal with will be a clan of ninja-like criminals, some of whom are Force users, destabalizing several worlds on the Rim.

14 June 2002, 03:00 AM
This is a cool thread. I suspect a lot of GM's have probably considered the Rule of Two issue at one time or another--specifically, how the heck to get around it. I mean, the Sith are just darned cool bad guys... it'd seem a shame not to use them in some way. I mean, if you've got a Jedi-heavy campaign, there's no fun in not having at least one run-in with opponents of comparable ability (what's Star Wars without a serious all-out lightsaber duel?)... and while you can always use some kind of generic fallen or 'dark' Jedi, I for one would much rather use the 'name brand' of dark side villains.

(By the by, I've always hated the term 'dark Jedi'. The way I see it, either you live by the code and stick with the light and are therefore a Jedi... or you don't, and you're not. YMMV, of course, but that's always been my view on things.)

Anyroad, I myself have made an attempt at circumventing The Rule (seeing as my campaign is in the Rise of the Empire era). It works like this: a particular Sith lord, going by the title of Darth Avernus, lived during the last great age of the Sith order (prior to the Battle of Ruusan and Darth Bane's introduction of The Rule). Avernus was a devoted student of the old Sith ways, quite adept in Sith sorcery and alchemy. He foresaw the great defeat at Ruusan, but he had not foreseen that Bane (and therefore the Sith order) would survive. Determined to preserve the legacy of the Sith, Avernus made certain preparations.

Avernus selected two or three of his most loyal and trusted minions and, using his alchemical knowledge, placed them in a strange form of suspended animation (kind of like the old 'mummy-rises-and lives-again' idea, except different). That done, he gathered together three particular artifacts of his own devising--his personal lightsaber (which actually focused the power of the dark side to make its wielder more skillful), a holocron, and a dark side amulet. Using a technique similar to that used by Exar Kun centuries before him, Avernus managed to bind his spirit to the three artifacts. He abandoned his physical form and became one with the dark side.

Flash to the 'present day'. What's gonna happen is this: the artifacts will long since have been scattered across the galaxy. One of the PCs (a Jedi) is going to find Avernus' lightsaber, which is the key to the whole plan. Avernus set things up so that when the saber was found by a sufficiently powerful Jedi--specifically, one who might also be leaning toward the dark side a bit (as this PC is)--his spirit would be awakened (though unable to directly manifest itself). This would trigger the revival of his slumbering minions... whose task would be to locate and bring together the three artifacts. Once the artifacts are brought together, Avernus would be able to manifest himself in the realm of the living.

The real trick is this: one of the three minions was Avernus' apprentice, a skilled warrior who had not yet earned the title of a Dark Lord. Avernus never had any intention of letting him do so, knowing that so powerful and agressive a fighter would eventually become a threat to his own power. Instead, Avernus plans on inhabiting the apprentice's body--thereby allowing the Sith Lord to be reborn in this strange new era. And if his plan works correctly, he will even have a new potential apprentice in the person of the Jedi who finds the saber.