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Imperial Campaign
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ReverendKeaton
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:18 pm    Post subject: Imperial Campaign Reply with quote

Has anyone ever run an Imperial based campaign? I have looked around and don't see anything that jumps out at me. I am considering setting up another campaign and seeing what I can come up with as far a game from the other point of view.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes.. Most of the pcs were imp pilots/troopers, quelling slavers/scum/pirates.. However, they were reletively short lived, lasting maybe 20 or so games..
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Yora
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main challenge, though not necessarily obstacle, that I see is that imperial characters would be expected to follow orders. You could make one of the PCs the commanding officer of the unit they are playing, but usually RPGs are regarded as cooperative adventures of equal characters.

PCs need a lot of freedom to do things, but in the imperial forces, those people with the freedom to make choices are not the people who are doing the actual things.

I can remember only a single case in which the idea of playing an imperial soldier was implemented in game form and that was the videogame Tie Fighter back in the 90s. The way that game works is to put you into a Tie Fighter for 10 to 15 minutes and getting told which ships you need to destroy and keep alive. The player was given tactical choices in the way of flying the ship and giving orders to the rest of the squadron, but there is zero choice in deciding the goal or contributing to where the squadron is sent next. Obeying orders work on a tactical level if the gameplay of combat itself is fun. In pen and paper RPGs, it generally isn't. Fights are fun because of what they mean in the story of the characters and how the players are approaching them.

To make a campaign as Imperials work, this is something that needs to be solved first. What kind of imperial characters would be fun to play as a group?
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jmanski
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think something highly specialized like SpecNav, Storm Commandos, or RadTroopers would be the way to go. Being "special forces" the rules wouldn't be quite so black and white. And playing as an Imperial means a lot more variation in enemies to fight.... just sayin'.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yora wrote:
The main challenge, though not necessarily obstacle, that I see is that imperial characters would be expected to follow orders. You could make one of the PCs the commanding officer of the unit they are playing, but usually RPGs are regarded as cooperative adventures of equal characters.

PCs need a lot of freedom to do things, but in the imperial forces, those people with the freedom to make choices are not the people who are doing the actual things.

I can remember only a single case in which the idea of playing an imperial soldier was implemented in game form and that was the videogame Tie Fighter back in the 90s. The way that game works is to put you into a Tie Fighter for 10 to 15 minutes and getting told which ships you need to destroy and keep alive. The player was given tactical choices in the way of flying the ship and giving orders to the rest of the squadron, but there is zero choice in deciding the goal or contributing to where the squadron is sent next. Obeying orders work on a tactical level if the gameplay of combat itself is fun. In pen and paper RPGs, it generally isn't. Fights are fun because of what they mean in the story of the characters and how the players are approaching them.

To make a campaign as Imperials work, this is something that needs to be solved first. What kind of imperial characters would be fun to play as a group?


That is true. For me, i made them part of a specialized task force, that way there was no traditional ranking systems, to mess the pcs up with (they were all the same rank, till one player got a field commission for bravery), but there is still the possible of them having someone in the group they might be told 'take orders from him'...

However, since several game systems did have the concept of "party caller", someone who Would act as the 'leader of the group', many of the gamers i had, when i ran those few imperial campaigns, were OK with one of them potentially being 'party leader'..
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the recent EA Battlefront 2 had an Imperial based campaign, but I wouldn't be shocked if you changed sides half-way through.

I think to make it work as an RPG you might consider having them separated from the chain of command, either because they are deep cover operatives, or possibly because they are the only survivors of a larger team (in which case it seems logical that this is because the entire team was betrayed, possibly by a high ranking official, so the campaign could focus on them needing to gather proof of this in order to clear their names and have Imperial justice be served - similar to the film 'The Losers').

One other problem you might face is are the players up for an Imperial campaign? I only mention this as an Imperial Campaign was one of my ideas for my current campaign, however 2 of my players had concerns about playing Imperials, as they didn't want to be the bad guys and all that it might entail.
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WillTasker
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the recent EA Battlefront 2 had an Imperial based campaign, but I wouldn't be shocked if you changed sides half-way through.


Not only is that what happens, but the shift in gears is so sudden that it all but blows the engine of the story.
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WillTasker wrote:
Not only is that what happens, but the shift in gears is so sudden that it all but blows the engine of the story.


Ouch. I'd not heard great things about the game, so I'm not shocked.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WEG does have some information on the matter. See the SWRPG 2R&E rulebook, page 202, bottom section.

There is also a large portion of Heroes & Rogues dedicated to Imperial character templates and how to play them.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:

One other problem you might face is are the players up for an Imperial campaign? I only mention this as an Imperial Campaign was one of my ideas for my current campaign, however 2 of my players had concerns about playing Imperials, as they didn't want to be the bad guys and all that it might entail.


That is imo the BIGGEST issue i've had, getting players to sign off on doing an Imperial campaign. TOO many folk, see imps as nothing BUT TOTAL and utter bad guys..
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Sutehp
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Urban Spaceman wrote:

One other problem you might face is are the players up for an Imperial campaign? I only mention this as an Imperial Campaign was one of my ideas for my current campaign, however 2 of my players had concerns about playing Imperials, as they didn't want to be the bad guys and all that it might entail.


That is imo the BIGGEST issue i've had, getting players to sign off on doing an Imperial campaign. TOO many folk, see imps as nothing BUT TOTAL and utter bad guys..


To be fair, the SWU as originally envisioned by Lucas, (and this can be seen in the opening scrawls of at least the original trilogy movies, if not all the others as well) was pretty black and white. The "evil Empire" that deliberately invoked the Nazis versus the Rebels fighting to restore the democratic Republic. The Imperials had no problem with committing genocide on a planetary scale, while the Rebels (at least as far as I can see in the movies) always refrained from (or at least were never seen to be) attacking civilians. Given all that, it's easy to see why some people who don't like the idea of playing the bad guys would likely not want to play Imperials since they seem irredeemable. After all, anyone who's okay with genocide as a legitimate tactic to restore law and order is obviously evil. Given that, it's understandable that many Star Wars fans might not initially be able to imagine Imperials who have doubts about the Empire's tactics but sympathize with its goals of restoring order to a chaotic galaxy. After all, if creating a just and stable society was the objective of any wavering Imperial, then the only option to make that happen without twisting your mind into a pretzel with Insane Troll Logic would be to defect from the Empire and join the Rebels.

An example of an Imperial suffering from exactly this sort of ITL is Nash Windrider from the Star Wars novel Lost Stars. He's from Alderaan of all places, and manages to graduate from the Imperial Royal Academy of Coruscant (the most prestigious Imperial academy in the galaxy, mind you) just in time to get assigned to the Death Star just before it blows up Alderaan. As Tarkin is tormenting Princess Leia to get her to reveal the location of the Yavin base by threatening to obliterate Alderaan, a ceremony in a different part of the Death Star is going on for the younger officers to show them that the Death Star is now operational and the Empire's might will not be denied by the rest of the galaxy. Nash gets a (proverbial) front row seat to the destruction of his own homeworld and not only does he not defect to the Rebels, he becomes even more fanatically loyal to the Empire. After all, he reasons, now that he's lost his home, his family and everyone he ever knew as a child, serving the Empire is all he has left. It makes him a terrifyingly loyal servant of the Empire.

Given that playing an Imperial would seem (at least at first glance to the uninitiated) to entail only the two options of 1) someone who will eventually defect to the Rebels (so why not just eliminate the proverbial middleman and just play a Rebel?) or 2) a fanatic who is okay with genocide, it seems understandable that people might be reluctant to deal with either of those two options.

That being said, I can certainly see alot of storytelling potential with an Imperial campaign since it has a great deal of potential to show the grey (as opposed to the black-and-white) of the SWU, but I can also understand why alot of people would be hesitant to play the bad guy, especially if that would (seemingly) entail playing a character who essentially has to not care about anything but their own personal advancement or has to go insane in order to justify continuing to serve the Empire.

EDIT: Basically, any GM who's interested in running an Imperial campaign has to do a really good job of selling a morally grey campaign to his potential players, and said potential players also have to be willing to play in such a morally grey universe. For the latter, I think this would more likely appeal to experienced players rather than people new to tabletop gaming/roleplaying.
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