Star Wars Rebels as an RPG Inspiration



One of the challenges I've seen people have with RPG settings like Star Wars is how to make the player characters have an important role. After all, it was Luke Skywalker who blew up the Death Star and redeemed Darth Vader. Won't the players always be in the shadow of that.

Personally, it's not a problem I've had - it's a big galaxy with a lot of opportunity for heroism. One of my longer campaigns spanned the timeline of the entire original trilogy, ending with the characters being commandos infiltrating the second Death Star. Unbeknownst to the movie audience, the Emperor had a deflector shield within the Death Star designed to protect the core. This assault team had to disable the shield in order to allow the Rebel ships to reach the core. Of course they ran into their arch-nemesis, High Inquisitor Tremayne, guarding the internal shield generator, allowing for a climactic battle. The characters got to join the dancing Ewoks when all was done.

The animated television show, Star Wars Rebels provides a great inspiration for a Star Wars RPG. It covers the crew of the Ghost, a Corellian freighter whose crew are Rebels against the Evil Galactic Empire. It begins five years before the events of A New Hope, though the timeline has advanced over the three seasons of the show thus far. The show starts fairly slowly, centered around the planet Lothal, with recurring villains and our heroes developed over time. In the second season the characters are part of the larger Rebel group but are also forced to flee Lothal as they attract to much Imperial attention, barely surviving an encounter with Darth Vader. The third season ups the stakes further with one of the characters beginning to be tainted by his experimentation with the Dark Side of the Force. Certain characters from the classic trilogy appear as do characters from Rogue One and The Clone Wars animated series.

The main protagonists seem like the characters of an RPG campaign. The owner of the Ghost, Hera Syndulla, is a fully clothed Twi'lek female and a dedicated freedom fighter. The other leader of the band, Kanan Jarrus, is a former Jedi padawan who survived Order 66. He is put into the awkward position of training the Force sensitive teen, Ezra Bridger, an orphan who they encounter in the pilot. Rounding out the crew is the Mandalorian Sabine Wren, the Lasat Zeb (based on original concept art for Chewbacca), and the grouchy astromech droid Chopper.

Their adventures range from personal ones, dealing with elements of their backgrounds, to grander adventures fitting in with the overall Star Wars canon - for example, they are unknowingly involved in denying  a shipment of crystals tot the Death Star, delaying its completion. The characters themselves undergo changes - former adversaries join with them, they suffer injuries which do not vanish in the next episode, young Ezra becomes tempted by the Dark Side, etc.

At some point in the future I might do a deeper dive and/or review, but if you ever find yourself in need of a Star Wars Rebellion game, Rebels makes for a fine inspiration (in addition to being enjoyable viewing).

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