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The (Failed) Return of the Jedi
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: The (Failed) Return of the Jedi Reply with quote

Hi all. I'm looking for some help on how to handle something that's happening soon in my game, which has been running weekly for a number of years now.

My campaign started a year after A New Hope, with the PC's on neither side of the Galactic Civil War. They haven't sought out the Rebels, but have also made some Imperial enemies along the way.

I didn't really have an ending for the campaign. I worked out the 'first season', so to speak, but we are getting towards the end of the second one, and I'm realising that time is moving to the point where the Battle of Endor will be happening soon.

This seems like a natural endpoint, but it's not really appropriate to have them take part in it.

So then I had a crazy idea: What if I change what happened at Endor?
If the Rebels lose, then lots of restrictions on my campaign are gone. It opens up story options and the characters can have the chance to be the heroes (they are slowly going that way, despite themselves).

I'd been reluctant to entertain the thought, but the players want to keep playing, and I'm starting to like the idea of them helping to put together some form of Rebellion using all the contacts they've picked up over the last few years playing. Ultimately, they could end up attacking the Second Death Star themselves, to save people that they know and are invested in. And that seems like a heck of a way to end a campaign!

Has anyone else changed the events of the films like this? Any tips or traps in doing this?
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Zarn
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that's an awesome idea! However... there's a few points I would like to make.

You want the players to be invested in your campaign. That means that you should react to what the player characters are doing and what your players are talking about.

Just straight up changing the outcome of the Battle of Endor is a GM Fiat situation. Those should be few and far between. That does not mean that it is an event set in stone, however.

Basically, I'm saying that you should do what Rogue One does for A New Hope. You want the escalation, the run-up to the Battle of Endor. And if the player characters and their players play their cards right, maybe they manage to help the Battle of Endor have the 'canonical' outcome. If they fail, maybe the Battle of Endor fails.

Bothan spies managed to discover that the forest moon of Endor was being used as a staging ground for building the second Death Star. What could one do in-game as activities around this? Perhaps there's some Bothans looking for help, or rebel contacts ask about smuggling some Bothans from one place to another. Maybe a Bothan tries to hire the player characters to transport a data crystal from one system to another.

Maybe they come across Imperial transports filled with high-quality durasteel, or ducting, or whatever that are being secretive with their destinations, or perhaps have unusual amounts of security. Perhaps it is the security that draws the covetous eye of space pirates, expecting a more valuable cargo than what they find.

Basically, you're trying to fish your players by leaving all sorts of bait around to see what gains their attention. And, you're foreshadowing the Battle of Endor, which your players likely know is coming. So let them get the opportunity of influencing the battle. And if they don't, or if they fail... well, then maybe the Battle of Endor is a catastrophe for the Alliance rather than a victory?
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I'd be reluctant to change the canon storyline, because that's the touchpoint that everyone has. HOWEVER, I will direct your attention to Star Wars: Uprising, the defunct Star Wars game.

It takes place in the Anoat sector right after the battle of Endor. With the emperor dead, the local governor clamps down on the sector, setting up a blockade that keeps everyone in the sector... the planets Anoat, Burnin Konn, Mataou, Hoth, and Bespin. Even news is restricted so, while the emperor is dead, no one knows that.

That, right there, gives you a lot to work with. They suddenly have some opposition to work with... the Empire isn't after them, specifically, but equally oppressing everyone. If they're fairly transient, they're going to be stuck in a sector without any support, and have to forge alliances in there.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the suggestion of giving your PCs a chance to affect the Endor battle outcome.. if they fail, the rebels get defeated.. If they succeed, just maybe the rebels pull out the win.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:14 pm    Post subject: Re: The (Failed) Return of the Jedi Reply with quote

Above me there are some great insights to the OP.

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Hi all. I'm looking for some help on how to handle something that's happening soon in my game, which has been running weekly for a number of years now.

My campaign started a year after A New Hope, with the PC's on neither side of the Galactic Civil War. They haven't sought out the Rebels, but have also made some Imperial enemies along the way.

I didn't really have an ending for the campaign. I worked out the 'first season', so to speak, but we are getting towards the end of the second one, and I'm realising that time is moving to the point where the Battle of Endor will be happening soon.

This seems like a natural endpoint, but it's not really appropriate to have them take part in it.

So then I had a crazy idea: What if I change what happened at Endor?
If the Rebels lose, then lots of restrictions on my campaign are gone. It opens up story options and the characters can have the chance to be the heroes (they are slowly going that way, despite themselves).

I'd been reluctant to entertain the thought, but the players want to keep playing, and I'm starting to like the idea of them helping to put together some form of Rebellion using all the contacts they've picked up over the last few years playing. Ultimately, they could end up attacking the Second Death Star themselves, to save people that they know and are invested in. And that seems like a heck of a way to end a campaign!

Has anyone else changed the events of the films like this? Any tips or traps in doing this?

Yes, some of my campaign worlds have diverged from SW sequel continuity. You may want to do some searches on the forum for more ideas. This has been discussed several times over the years here. If it suits your campaign, then just do it. But I wouldn't do it for no reason.

To better answer your question, may I ask for some more detail? Why must the campaign end if the Battle of Endor happens as shown in the film? There's still plenty of Empire left after the battle. There's still rebellion. I'd love to hear more about the arc of your campaign.
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all. Sorry for the lack of reply, been busy with work (you all know how it is).

Firstly, thank you for your suggestions and ideas, definitely some things I can bring into the campaign as it continues on.

I honestly had never considered changing the continuity until very recently, and the more I think about it, the more appealing the idea seems.

So, let me try and explain why the Battle of Endor is making me consider it.

The characters and the game have always taken place in the grey area between the Alliance and the Empire.

They started off all working for different underworld bosses and were all double-crossed and sold in to slavery. When the ship crashed, they worked together to survive and escape. They decided to stick together, and get revenge on the people who sold them out.
This arc took up most of the first 'season' of adventures, where they discovered things about each other, made contacts and enemies all over the galaxy, and the last story of that season pulled together a lot of the plot strings from right back to the beginning, and revealed that one figure had been pulling the strings from the start, as the bosses they all worked for actually worked for him. They killed him (accidentally) and that was that.

The second season has seen them learning more and more that things in the galaxy are wrong, and most people cannot fight back in any obvious way. Meaning that things aren't always what they seem (a seemingly dishonest customs official is avenging his friends by undermining the authorities and sending stolen weapons on to Rebels, some people would rather willing sign up for 5 years working in a mine than be homeless and poor, and so on). More and more they find themselves abandoning profit in order to 'do the right thing'. This has begun to happen without me forcing it, but I don't think they have enough reason to fight for the Rebellion quite yet. However, they have made a powerful enemy within the Empire, who is looking for them. His reappearance will probably be the start of them realising that they can't escape destiny forever, and also ends the second season.

The Battle of Endor is a great end to the original trilogy. Yes, there was much more to do for the heroes, but they had an epic victory, and what was to follow was another story (well, several, but you get my meaning).
I'd like to do something similar, but I can't use the actual Battle of Endor for a heap of reasons (too close to my timeline, the actual heroes are the main film characters, and so on).
The destruction of the Second Death Star will result in a shift in tone to the Galaxy which would change the feeling in my campaign (or so I feel). The Empire are on their back feet, so their effectiveness and threat to the PC's changes too. Eventually the Alliance become the authority, and having the PC's be government-backed mercs against a dying Empire is ok, but slightly anticlimactic.

However, if something went wrong at Endor, the third season can be about the PC's getting more actively involved in stopping the Empire. They have so many contacts on the fringes that they could begin to recruit an army/fleet to fling at the Empire in one last ditch attempt to take out the Death Star before it threatens a planet with meaning to them.
No-one will know what went wrong, so there's some story there too. Maybe a new Skywalker is at the Emperor's side? Maybe some of the people believed to have been killed on Endor survived as political prisoners? Maybe someone betrayed them all for a few thousand credits?

I see a lot of possibilities, and some problems too, of course.
We've been playing for around 5 years (real time, not game time). We've all known certain things cannot be changed (they can't kill Jabba, the Jedi will never meet Luke, etc.). Changing the end of ROTJ could really enhance the end of the second story arc and make them see that they can really impact and change the Galaxy, which seems like a really memorable way to end the third story arc (and the game).

I'm not married to the idea, but I'm intrigued by it. I might not do it, but really appreciate the chance to talk it through with some other people to get their input and experiences.
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RedKnight
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

you could still use Endor, it was a BIG battle - bigger then the half a dozen ships we see on screen or your players could do something to help waylay imperial reinforcements like take out a holonet station or have a hyper space beacon send false data.....lots of options there.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a q... What's the ave skill value (and some of the higher skill values) for your PCs?
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
As a q... What's the ave skill value (and some of the higher skill values) for your PCs?


Just checked, and it's lower than I thought, around 5 or 6D, with a few specialisations around the 7D mark. Highest is a specialisation at 8d+2. Force skills are averaging 4 or 5D.

They have a variety of skills between them all, which is maybe why I suspected the average to be higher than it is.
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RedKnight wrote:
you could still use Endor, it was a BIG battle - bigger then the half a dozen ships we see on screen or your players could do something to help waylay imperial reinforcements like take out a holonet station or have a hyper space beacon send false data.....lots of options there.


True. They might be hired to do that as independent contractors, no questions asked Wink
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2016 2:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps instead of actually participating IN endor, they could be the team that hoodwinks the shuttle Tyderium FOR the rebellions insertion onto endor/
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:11 am    Post subject: Re: The (Failed) Return of the Jedi Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Has anyone else changed the events of the films like this? Any tips or traps in doing this?


I just finished a one-year campaign in which I ran my characters through the events of ANH, with their PCs taking the place of the main protagonists. I've been meaning to do a write up, but for now, I'll post the parts of it that are on-topic.

To understate to results, it changed things:

• The PCs didn't have a ship as fast as the Falcon, meaning the Death Star had left the Graveyard of Alderaan before they arrived. Leia isn't rescued (but is still alive) and the PCs don't know how to deliver the Death Star plans.

• The PCs kill Bossk and take his ship.

• The PCs take a circuitous route to discover the location of the hidden Rebel base, during which time Chandrilla is destroyed. Mon Mothma, without any counterbalance within the Rebellion in the form of Garm Bel Iblis, Bail Organa, or Princess Leia, is destabilized and radicalized.

• The PCs are sent on a would-be suicide mission to the underlevels of Coruscant to make contact with a cell of pretty-much-terrorists. They accidentally help set up a terror attack, but also break into the ISB Headquarters (it was too easy, more on that later), stealing additional data about the Death Star and info about where Princess Leia is being held. They finally rescue her and return her to the Alliance.

• The Empire, bolstered by the Death Star, moves on to Mon Cala. They subjugate the planet over a period of many months, with the Emperor himself taking a direct hand in things (mostly to stop Tarkin from blowing a third planet up unless it's reeeeeally necessary).

• The PCs kill Dengar.

• The PCs, using intel from Leia, track down a fugitive Death Star engineer and convince him to come help the Rebellion. Upon handing him over to Rebel Intelligence, he disappears.

• The Rebellion and the Empire have an all-out battle over Mon Cala. Simultaneously, Vader reveals the location of the Rebel base on Yavin IV and he and Tarkin leave with a fleet to destroy it. The Emperor finally authorizes the use of the superweapon on Mon Cala... but instead, the Death Star implodes, killing him and destroying both the Imperial and Rebel fleets engaging in combat.

• Leia reveals herself as Vader's secret apprentice by slaughtering the Rebel High Command. The PCs have been unwittingly helping her and Vader to set up a coup, ever since their time on Coruscant (informants in the terrorist cell alerted the ISB about their plans to raid ISB headquarters. Vader gets involved, and uses it as an opportunity to plant false intel into the Rebellion - as well as bring about the "rescue" of Leia).

Now, one of the PCs is the highest ranking officer in the Rebellion, and must rebuild it. Tarkin has seized control over the Outer and Mid Rims is trying to hold his part of the Empire together. The rest of the Empire splinters into various factions. Vader and Leia have disappeared from known space. The PC that wants to train as a Jedi must still find a way to do so, to take on the very real threat of the Sith.

We start up again (for our version of The Empire Strikes Back) in January. I'm excited.

All that said, escaping from the established Star Wars canon has freed both the players and me as the GM to create our own story... and it has grown to become just as epic as the movies. I'd say to pull the trigger on changing Endor, if only to see where your story leads next. And don't be afraid to have the PCs lose. That just makes the story that much more tense.
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dustflier - That sounds amazing! I'm definitely interested in hearing how your version of Empire plays out. I love the stuff with Mon Mothma too. I'd not considered too much what to do with her, so might liberate some of your ideas

Did you tell your players in advance that things might play out differently, or were they taken by surprise when you let things happen according to their actions, rather than the films?

I can't see myself changing my mind on this, and it's a perfect excuse to re-watch Jedi and decide how/when and why things branch off, although as others have suggested, having some sort of input from the PC's in this might be a good idea.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Dustflier - That sounds amazing! I'm definitely interested in hearing how your version of Empire plays out.


One of these days, I'll make a big post about everything my party has done. We met once a week for a year, with no missed weeks (except for a break for the holidays, though I'm running a Holiday Special one-shot next week), so there's a lot to talk about. And there will be more too, once we start back up. But I'll try to put an update up, eventually. I might keep a running log of things happening during our version of Empire, if I'm feeling ambitious.


Urban Spaceman wrote:
I love the stuff with Mon Mothma too. I'd not considered too much what to do with her, so might liberate some of your ideas


Go ahead! I was actually worried about it - she's portrayed as a rather peaceful, diplomatic figure in most things... but having her crack under that pressure really exposed her humanity.

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Did you tell your players in advance that things might play out differently, or were they taken by surprise when you let things happen according to their actions, rather than the films?


They knew ahead of time that things would be different. From the very first moment, it was a new cast of characters. No C-3PO, R2-D2 was replaced by a different droid, et cetera. But I don't think going that far was strictly necessary. Surprising them with changes to the story they know could have a great effect, where the players finally realize that their story is important on a galactic scale.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:32 pm    Post subject: Re: The (Failed) Return of the Jedi Reply with quote

Dustflier wrote:
The Emperor finally authorizes the use of the superweapon on Mon Cala... but instead, the Death Star implodes, killing him and destroying both the Imperial and Rebel fleets engaging in combat.


Was this a plot device to destroy both the death star and the emperor??
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