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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Play Today – Rebellion: Shadow War

Two days ago was May 4th, also known as Star Wars Day. You may have expected a Star Wars related post from me, and if you did, you were disappointed.

That's because I was holding out for today, May 6th, also known as Revenge of the Sixth!*

Today's post, in addition to having a Star Wars theme, is the first of a new category of posts. The idea of these Play Today posts is to present a ready-to-run game session. Ideally, these posts will provide the following materials: a basic setting, pregenerated PCs, NPCs, organizations (where applicable), a few locations (with a varying degree of detail), and a couple of plot hooks.

For the inaugural Play Today post, I'd like to delve into my Campaign Sparks and flesh out my Rebellion: Shadow War idea from March.

Rebellion: Shadow War


Wushu: Black Belt Edition is a rules-light, action-oriented game that will be perfect for a low-prep game.

Basically, every time a player describes her character's actions, those actions happen as described. Then, the player rolls a number of six-sided dice based on how descriptive she was (more details = more dice). Those results are compared to the character's most relevant trait, and if a die is equal to or less than the trait number, it's a success! Most threats require a number of successes before the scene can move on.

There are additional details such as dividing your dice between offense and defense, encounters with Nemeses vs. Mooks, and weaknesses. For that information, I suggest you go pick up Wushu: Black Belt Edition or check out the (outdated but still good) Wushu Open.


It's early in the life of the Rebel Alliance, and the rebels are trying to get organized and recruit members. The Empire is busy cleaning up the last of the Separatists, but they've become aware of the existence of the rebels.

The Alliance, the Empire, and the Separatist remnants are all fighting over the Datanet, a hyperspatial network of information and communication. The Datanet is housed in the core of Coruscant, which is why all three factions have serious operations going on there.

Player Characters

Rhea is a rodian mercenary with a checkered past.
= Chi 3
+ Light weapons expert 5
+ Criminal contacts 4
+ Grappling unit 3
- Nobody trusts me 1

Joran Selkayim is a neimoidian thief with a long list of grievances against the Galactic Empire.
= Chi 3
+ Neither seen nor heard 5
+ Poker-faced liar 4
+ Concealed weapons 3
- Sticky fingers 1

Nyla is a young wookie hacker trying to make a name for herself.
= Chi 3
+ Hacker prodigy 5
+ Wookie strength 4
+ Intimidating presence 3
- Naïve kid 1

Xanathe Tharandon is a bothan sniper who is officially AWOL from the Imperial Army.
= Chi 3
+ One shot, one kill 5
+ Sarcastic banter 4
+ Imperial Army gear kit 3
- Can't see the forest for the trees 1

Blazinda Ossaki is a human mechanic with notoriously bad luck.
= Chi 3
+ Knack for repairs 5
+ (Almost) Everybody likes me 4
+ Amateur sharpshooter 3
- Just plain awful luck 1

Tags is a clone veteran demolitions expert who lost both legs in the war.
= Chi 3
+ Commanding presence 5
+ Explosives can solve any problem 4
+ Tactical mind 3
- Cyborg stigma 1


Commander Hadess Surk is a human officer in the Imperial Army and is in charge of policing the Datanet for rebels and rebel-sympathizers. She has sweeping authorization over the Datanet and its security, and she doesn't like to be challenged, especially by those she considers subordinates.

Sekai Tanel is a mon calamari hacker and a minor crime lord. He runs a syndicate of information brokers, hackers, and tech thieves. Sekai knows his place in the criminal pecking order, but he has a plan to take control of the Datanet and become the criminal overlord of Coruscant.

Bans ni Mikar is a human patroller with the Coruscant Planetary Police. She is doing her best to fight the thriving criminal underworld of Coruscant, but so many of her colleagues are corrupted that she can do very little. She isn't a rebel herself, but she does have her concerns about the new Imperial government.

Neesu Ardoss is a geonosian Separatist agent. He leads a cell of deep-cover Separatists working on Coruscant. He has a variety of skills, and he's putting them all to use working on a plan to gain control of the entire Datanet.

A102-X is an Imperial Intelligence agent. Her species is entirely unknown, and she is equipped with tech far beyond anything else currently available. She is completely calm, persistent, and ruthless when following her orders.


Imperial Intelligence is the covert branch of the Empire's operations. They have almost unrestricted power to act against external or internal threats. Imperial Intelligence is not a large organization, but its agents are well trained and well equipped. Agents in Imperial Intelligence are generally nameless, preferring alphanumerical designations.

The Alliance for the Restoration of the Republic is the official name of the Rebel Alliance. This small, but growing, band of people are trying to bring down Emperor Palpatine and the Galactic Empire. At the moment, however, they are focused on recruiting members and staying hidden from Imperial forces, especially the shadowy new Imperial Intelligence branch.

The Imperial Army are the ground soldiers of the Empire. The Imperial Army has a headquarters on Coruscant, but it also has a number of secondary bases and offices scattered around the planet. Imperial soldiers consist mostly of clones, but recruitment has begun for non-clone soldiers. The Imperial Army as a whole is not concerned with policing Coruscant, or even the Datanet, but they are focused on finding the last of the Separatists and stopping the rebels before they get traction. The Imperial Army also manages the defense of the Imperial Government Complex.

The Coruscant Planetary Police (CPP) are the primary security force outside of the Imperial Government Complex. They patrol the skies and streets of Coruscant, but they have no special authority over the Datanet. They've got orders to report possible rebel activity, but not to engage. Corruption runs deep in the CPP, and very few officers aren't on the payroll of one crime lord or another.

Neesu's Cell is a Separatist remnant holding out on Coruscant. They were a deep-cover cell set up to gather intelligence and to convert Coruscant citizens for an eventual Separatist uprising, theoretically to coincide with a full-scale invasion. They have been very unsuccessful converting citizens, and now that the Confederacy of Independent Systems has been defeated, their goal has shifted to gaining control of the Datanet for their own purposes.


The Imperial Government Complex is the home of the Senate, the Emperor's office, and thousands of Imperial Army soldiers and guards. The Imperial Government Complex also contains the official planetary records, including the maps and schematics regarding the location of Datanet Core access sites.

Tanel's Bar is an innocuous bar among dozens of others on the lowest levels of Coruscant. It is not a wretched hive of scum and villainy; it's much worse. The bar is staffed by Sekai Tanel's thugs, and Sekai himself usually hangs out in a hidden room beneath the bar, where all of his data-access equipment is hooked up.

The Datanet Core is located deep below the surface of Coruscant. In fact, it encircles much of the planet's core, taking its energy from the heat and motion of the molten metallic core. The Datanet Core is enormous and ancient, older than the current incarnation of Coruscant as a city-planet.

The Imperial Army Secondary Base C is the home of Commander Surk and her battalion of soldiers. It has some automated defenses, but is mostly protected by the soldiers that live there. All of Surk's info on the possible rebel presence on Coruscant is located here, on a terminal not connected to the Datanet.

Plot Hooks

Separatist Hunt: The PCs' commander within the Rebel Alliance has sent them to Coruscant in order to investigate the existence of a cell of Separatists believed to be active on the planet. The commander wants to the PCs to find out what the Separatists' plans are and see if they can be recruited.

Neesu is trying to gain control to the Datanet Core because he has discovered Datanet's great secret: it commands an army of ancient destroyer droids. He believes that if he can gain primary access to the Datanet, he can use the army to found a new Confederacy and restart the war.

Neesu has employed Sekai Tanel, a minor crime lord, to do most of his dirty work. Tanel has his own plans, though Neesu is aware of them and is not concerned.

Gameplay Ideas
- PCs must find Neesu and his cell. All leads point to Sekai Tanel and his bar.
- Sekai, his goons, or his data-access gear can point the PCs to an underground system of tunnels inhabited by giant, carnivorous serpents, but also the secret HQ of Neesu's cell.
- Neesu and his cell have nearly gained access to the Datanet Core, thanks to Tanel's resources and criminal contacts. In fact, Neesu is already on his way down in a tunneler.
- Neesu must be stopped from gaining control of the Datanet Core and commanding the ancient army of destroyer droids. But will the PCs take command of the destroyer droids themselves? Or does the Datanet have other plans?

Hide and Seek: The PCs are stationed on Coruscant to keep an eye on the Datanet and to try to recruit new blood whenever possible. Unfortunately, Imperial Intelligence has discovered their existence and assigned an agent to hunt them down: A102-X. She conscripts Commander Surk, her unit, and her resources in order to drive out the rebels.

Commander Surk takes great offense at this, and is attempting to find the rebels first herself. A few of her soldiers remain completely loyal to her, in spite of A102-X's authority, and Surk is using them to scour the area for the rebels. Surk has also recruited a number of CPP officers, including Bans ni Mikar, a local patroller who knows the area well.

Bans ni Mikar doesn't like working for Commander Surk. And while she doesn't know about A102-X, she definitely wouldn't like her if she knew about her.

Gameplay Ideas
- PCs must flee their current HQ before a seemingly unstoppable A102-X finds them.
- The PCs track their attacker's origins to Imperial Army Secondary Base C. Neither Commander Surk nor A102-X are there, but either the soldiers or the info terminal might be able to shed some light.
- Bans ni Mikar catches up with the PCs, and insists on finding out the truth. She knows where Commander Surk is holed up, and she's got an access card to get in.
- Commander Surk has taken refuge in the Imperial Government Complex since A102-X arrived. She is in a low-security guardhouse on the perimeter. Surk has finally dug up A102-X's commander: the Datanet Core itself!
- PCs must gain access to the Datanet Core through the schematics found in the Imperial Government Complex. Once there, they confront A102-X and find out why the Datanet wanted them found in the first place.

*I have been told that the actual day is Revenge of the Fifth (on May 5th), but I don't buy it. Sixth sounds so much more like Sith; plus, Cinco de Mayo is on the 5th, and I need that time to celebrate the defeat of French troops. Take that, France of the 1800s!

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