With a recent 2010 ENnie award nomination for Best Supplement, I thought it was a good time to talk a bit about the Rebellion Era Campaign Guide, released July 2009. The design team for this book also included Rodney Thompson (Saga Edition line developer), Owen KC Stephens (Saga Edition and freelance author), JD Wiker (d20 Star Wars author/developer) and Britt Frey (freelance author).
This was one of Saga Edition’s slimmer volumes, as a lot of Rebellion Era material is covered in the core rules by default. This is also the book where I took a break from heavy rules writing, partly to recharge those particular creative juices after three previous Saga Edition books. Instead, I was very glad to get the opportunity to write the Rebel Alliance chapter, a central part of this product.
The Rebellion Era covers the classic trilogy, and therefore has the most preexisting and established story and continuity material of any Campaign Guide. There were naturally fewer opportunities to create totally new story material, and a lot of established continuity to track. Research was very important, and some of the product design required a more encyclopedic approach. New material was derived from more recent additions to the era, such as the Zann Consortium from LucasArts' Empire At War: Forces of Corruption.
Chapters 1 – 5 and 7:
Aside from general discussion or the occasional question, I wasn’t greatly involved in these chapters.
Chapter 6:The Rebel Alliance
This chapter covers the history of the Rebel Alliance, presenting it in a way that is both informative within the universe and usable in game play. Much of the backstory and organization included here is based on material previously published in West End Game’s Rebel Alliance Sourcebook (a personal favorite) and related products. However, it needed to be updated for developments in the timeline since the early 1990s. Integrating the events of the Force Unleashed game and story were particularly important, as they were entirely new to the timeline as previously presented. It was also important to me to make the Alliance civilian and military organization as clear as possible to new readers, as there are many levels to those organizations, some of which perform similar roles.
Covering the organization of the Rebel Alliance in a form much more compact than the original was an additional challenge – one chapter in place of many. Some of the information had to be reorganized to match the formatting used in previous Saga Edition products to describe military units (particularly the Clone Wars Campaign Guide). Of special note is the SpecForces, which includes information from the original Rebel Alliance Sourcebook, and the later Rules of Engagement: The Rebel SpecForce Handbook.
Some potentially helpful information couldn’t be easily defined. There is simply no way, for instance, to define all of the systems and sectors involved in the Rebellion, or provide explanations for them. Instead, I was able to include a list of sectors in Rebellion, which covered a lot of locations from older products which we couldn’t otherwise fit in. Hopefully, the list will inspire players and gamemasters to seek out additional info on those locales for their games.
This chapter also includes small summaries of major characters, as well as their game stats. Making stats that are appropriate to the characters is always a fun challenge. The summaries are usually pretty straight forward, as most of these characters and their backstories are well known.
In the technology section, I took the opportunity to revive and improve upon another old West End Games favorite, Cracken’s Rebel Field Guide. The original Guide described dozens of creative ways a Rebel character might jury rig or sabotage equipment in their fight against the Empire. It was very entertaining, but I always thought that most of the examples given were way too specific, and unlikely to come up often in regular game play. For the Rebellion Era Campaign Guide, I included a section called Cracken’s Tactics. It provides specific rules and suggestions for spur of the moment actions to jury rig or sabotage common equipment and vehicles. Much of this has actually occurred in my games over the years. For example: boosting the power of a repulsorsled, disabling a shield generator and using droid restraining bolts to your advantage.
The vehicles section includes a few rarely seen or very recent additions to the universe, including the T-wing from the old LucasArts games, and the X4 Gunship from Star Wars Galaxies. The list of vehicles came directly from Wizards, along with the list of characters to be included in the product.
Chapter 8: Fringe Factions
I worked on most of this chapter, with Britt Frey contributing some Black Sun starships and the Corporate Sector entries. Again, it was fun to stat out the big name bounty hunters and all around bad guys, and the Zann Consortium provided a new twist on vehicles and characters.