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Recovering the legacy of Marka Ragnos and Battle Meditation
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Yora
Lieutenant Commander
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Joined: 29 Jun 2018
Posts: 158
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:51 pm    Post subject: Recovering the legacy of Marka Ragnos and Battle Meditation Reply with quote

I had this really cool idea for a long while now to run a campaign set after the Dark Side Ending of Knight of the Old Republic.

In this timeline, Revan kills Malak, becomes the Dark Lord of the Sith, and makes Bastila Shan his apprentice to rule the Sith Empire together. (The Dark Side ending of the game.) But Revan wasn't actually doing that well as the Dark Lord and became occupied with looking for ancient secrets in the Unknown Regions, leaving much of the actual governing to Bastila and the other Dark Jedi among the Sith, who constantly started to squabble for power. (Alluded to in a recording of Bastila in KotOR2.) So Bastila decided to put an end to it and betrayed Revan to be killed in a battle against the Republic and then defeated the other Dark Jedi, coming out on top as the Sith Empress. (Whose identity is not known by the Jedi and Republic, or even the regular military of the Sith.)

Now Bastila Shan was originally written to be Vima Sunrider from the Tales of the Jedi comics, but the name was changed for weird copyright reasons. Since Bastila Shan is way more known that Vima Sunrider, she'll be keeping that name, but for this campaign they are explicitly the same person.
Bastila is one of the few Jedi who has the power of battle meditation, which allows her to link the minds of allied warriors to improve their efficiency and cloud the minds of enemies to confuse them and slow them down. She used the power in the ending of KotOR to win the battle, and her mother Nomi Sunrider used it in the Great Sith War to help defeat the Sith forces of Exar Kun.

A thousand years earlier, the ancient Sith Lord Naga Sadow used battle meditation to win great victories against the Republic, but he had to deal with infighting from the other Sith Lords which in the end led to the destruction of their Empire and entire civilization. (Tales of the Jedi.)

Now here's my actual new idea: The Sith Empress Bastila knows about Marka Ragnos, who was the last true Dark Lord who ruled the ancient Sith Empire with no challenges to his power. After his death, both Naga Sadow and Ludo Kressh fought for the position of being the next Dark Lord. Naga Sadow managed to defeat and kill Ludo Kressh, but his own fleet was destroyed by the Republic only minutes later, ending the Sith Empire.
Bastila knows how Malak betrayed Revan, how her mother Nomi Sunrider helped turn Uliq Qel-Droma against Exar Kun, and of course how she turned against Revan and had to fight all the other Sith Lords to become Empress. It seems inevitable that her own apprentices will turn against her and turn against each other after her death, destroying the Empire that she build from the mess she inherited from Revan and Malak.
The last Dark Lord who managed to keep a Sith Empire together and the other Sith Lords in line was Marka Ragnos, and she believes it had something to do with battle meditation. The power could perhaps not be used only to cooridinate soldiers, but to also keep a tight leash on over the lesser Sith Lords. And since she knows how to use battle meditation, she might be able to use that power.

So we got ourselves a nice villain with an interesting goal. The Sith Empress wants to learn the power Marka Ragnos used to control the other Sith Lords.
But how can that be turned into an adventure?

There are immediately a number of planets that come to mind:
Korriban has the Valley of the Dark Lords, where Marka Ragnos and Ludo Kressh are burried.
Ziost has the ruins of the ancient palace from which Marka Ragnos and previous Dark Lords ruled the Sith Empire.
Rhelg has the ruins of the private castle of Ludo Kressh.
Yavin IV has the ruins of the castle build by Naga Sadow after the empire was destroyed and which was then used by Exar Kun.
Ossus held the Great Jedi Library, which would have stored much of the knowledge of the ancient Sith, but was destroyed when Exar Kun blew up its sun.
Alperidies has a new Jedi Academy that happens to be very close to Yavin and Ossus.

Obviously Naga Sadow was not able to control the Sith Lords like Marka Ragnos. But Ludo Kressh seemed to be much more qualified to be the new Dark Lord and almost made it, but was tricked by Naga Sadow at the very last moment. He might at least have had knowledge of the power that would be really useful to the Empress.
So both Marka Ragnos and Ludo Kressh might be the key to discovering this power.

I have a rough idea that the library of the Jedi Academy on Alpheridies would have information about Yavin IV from when Exar Kun was defeated there, and information useful to rediscovering Ossus.
Supernovas are extremely hot, but don't actually have a lot of pressure, so the planet Ossus would still be in more or less one piece. But with the sun destroyed, it would no longer be held in its orbit and be thrown out into space. Since the Jedi fled from Ossus in a great hurry to escape the explosion, they didn't have the the time to make sure they would be able to find it again. And in the 60 years that followed, the Jedi were busy with other things than trying to locate it again. But now the Empress would really like to know what information the Jedi had from the Great Hyperspace War and the ancient Sith a thousand years ago, and some of it might have survived in the deepest vaults of the library on Ossus. Again, the new Jedi Academy on Alpheridies might have records from the evacuation of Ossus that could help to calculate the current position of the dead rogue planet.
And getting into the academy on Alpheridies would be much easier than trying to get into the Great Jedi Temple on Coruscant. (Dantooine was destroyed by Revan immediately after becoming Dark Lord again in this timeline.)

So that's six planets with plenty of old ruins and libraries and a quest for ancient knowledge that could make the Sith Empire undefeatable and doom the Republic. That pretty much asks for some kind of treasure hunt adventure. (And Indiana Jones movies are a great source to draw from for Star Wars.)
But I still don't really know what to do with all of this. Go to place A to get map to place B to find Object C that grants access to place D just doesn't sound very fun and like a good fit for Star Wars. And in my last campaigns I really became aware that I do plotting and intrigue much better than dungeons.
Trying to catch Sith agents before they find what they are looking for and bring it to the Empress would certainly be an option, but that would be a very reactive way to play, with the players having little room for initiative and being told where their target has been last seen and they need to go next. Not something I consider ideal for an RPG.
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MrNexx
Commodore
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Joined: 25 Mar 2016
Posts: 1884
Location: San Antonio

PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, like any Indiana Jones plot, you start it because the bad guys are Doing Something.

I would start with the Sith Empire making moves against Ossus, because that's where the Great Library is... and it is close to Alperidies, so the Jedi will notice it, and you might have your trainees/starting characters there for some reason.

The Sith will get SOME information, but not enough to make it work, and will probably leave a lot of it behind... an activated holocron, for example. That would lead to a race to get the rest of the information, with the players and the Sith trying to learn WHERE to go from the clues provided.

This should all come to a head on Ziost, where they are facing Bastilla's apprentice, a Twi'lek accompanied by a Wookie.
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Yora
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander


Joined: 29 Jun 2018
Posts: 158
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The more I think about this, the more I feel like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade might actually be really the best references to make such an adventure be a varied experience that doesn't just come down to going to various ruins to find the map where to go next.

Indiana Jones isn't just ruins full of traps and magic relics. There also is a lot of investigation and spy stuff, with numerous rival competitors and local contacts.

Yavin 4 and Ossus would probably make for great ruins to explore. But there could also be antiquities dealers who have old records or know who bought them most recently. People who were recently hired by the Imperial agents looking for clues to lead them somewhere or to someone. Setting traps for those agents to learn what they found so far. Bribing criminals and officials to share information about Imperial activities and who is helping the agents.
I think making the whole thing more about people than places would probably make for a much better adventure.
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