S is for Secret agendas

526059-star-wars-tie-fighter-dos-screenshot-the-entrance-to-the-theA few weeks ago, I spoke of two big ideas I had in mind for the Star Wars Age of Rebellion roleplaying game. These ideas presented a taste of what I feel would be the best way to design and implement a truly remarkable, fun campaign played over a long time. One of these ideas, Crush the Rebellion, throws the players into the roles of elite Imperial special agents working directly for the Emperor.

The main impetus and drive behind a Crush the Rebellion campaign is the inherent conflict, betrayal, and intrigue of working as an agent of the Emperor. In addition to their overt tasks performed as a group, which will be expounded upon later under O is for Operations, each agent is also preoccupied with completing his or her own personal Secret Agenda. These tasks are always secretive in nature and often in conflict with the desires of the Emperor and other Agents. All Secret agendas have five major tasks that must be directly overseen by the controlling Agent. These tasks are drawn from a common pool of 11 Duty types, as loosely described in Age of Rebellion. The first agent to complete all five tasks to their secret agenda wins the campaign. The completion of this secret agenda will fundamentally alter the way the Galactic Empire operates and is a momentous occasion worthy of a campaign’s conclusion.

At the start of the campaign, the Galaxy Master assigns a different secret agenda to each agent, either randomly or by some other means. When a secret agenda is complete, the agent takes narrative control away from the Galaxy Master and describes the story behind this ground-breaking change to the galaxy, what lead up to it, the troubles that plagued it, and how it will forever remake the face of the Galactic Empire.

526061-star-wars-tie-fighter-dos-screenshot-this-eerie-tattoo-designatesEach game session, Agents select which O is for Operation to commit to for the following session. The Agents will know which of the 11 Duty types will be made available for advancement upon a successful Operation. Unsuccessful Operations never allow secret agenda advancement. The five tasks of a given secret agenda are further divided into 3 tiers, unique to each secret agenda and described below. All tasks of a particular tier must be advanced before any of the tasks of the next tier may be advanced. By paying close attention to the activities of their allies, Agents may be able to deduce which secret agenda is assigned to each Agent and thus move to stop them. Killing an Agent, or allowing an Agent to die while on an Operation, is a crime punishable by immediate execution.

At the end of every successful Operation, an Agent that has the indicated task available on his or her secret agenda may choose to make an Average (DD) skill check of the associated skill. For a lengthier campaign, the Galaxy Master should increase the difficulty to a Hard (DDD) skill check. These skills are purposefully chosen among those that are typically underrepresented or disused in most games, forcing a meaningful choice on the part of the player to spend their experience to either better their skills at accomplishing Operations, or to enhance their skills needed to complete their secret agenda.

  • On a Success, that task is complete.
  • For each Threat, the Agent suffers a cumulative 1 point reduction in Strain Threshold during the next Operation as his or her clandestine activities have garnered suspicion and the agent is under close scrutiny.
  • For each Advantage, the Agent’s morale is bolstered by his or her actions and receives a cumulative +1 bonus to Wound Threshold during the next Operation.
  • On a result of Triumph, the Agent’s actions have garnered him or her an enhancement to the base reward for the Operation, such as a more powerful weapon or a larger personalized starship.

In addition to advancing different steps for Secret Agendas, each Operation will also tempt the Agents with various rewards to choose among, such as:

  1. Each Agent gains a personalized piece of Restricted or non-Restricted equipment or Squadron with Rarity no greater than 6, adding one Attachment if available.
  2. Each Agent gains a personalized vehicle of Imperial design (subject to Galaxy Master approval) of maximum Silhouette 2 and one Attachment.
  3. The Agents as a group gain one personalized vehicle of Imperial design (subject to Galaxy Master approval) of maximum Silhouette 4 and one Attachment.
  4. Increase the maximum Rarity on personalized item and vehicle rewards.
  5. Increase the maximum Silhouette on personalized vehicle rewards.
  6. Gain a new Attachment to a personalized piece of equipment or vehicle.
  7. Gain +5 XP.

DUTY TYPES

Support
On a successful Knowledge (xenology) check, this Operation will allow you to find, manipulate, and exploit the weaknesses in others.

Tech Procurement
On a successful Knowledge (education) check, this Operation will allow you to appropriate some advanced weapon or piece of technology from its rightful owners.

Personnel
On a successful Streetwise check, this Operation will allow you to research the history and secrets of Imperial citizens to use to your advantage through threats and blackmail.

Space Superiority
On a successful Astrogation check, this Operation will allow you to leverage the full might of the Imperial Navy to your advantage, abusing your power by shutting down hyperspace lanes and diverting civilian starship travel away from protected star systems.

Political Support
On a successful Knowledge (core worlds) check, this Operation will allow you to use your political clout to unfairly influence events back in the civilized core of galactic society and the inner working of what was once the galactic senate.

Resource Acquisition
On a successful Knowledge (outer rim) check, this Operation will allow you to plunder the vast, untapped resources of the untouched outer rim to fuel your nefarious projects.

Combat Victory
On a successful Leadership check, this Operation will allow you to command legions of Stormtroopers to occupy worlds and oppress its people.

Recruitment
On a successful Knowledge (warfare) check, this Operation will allow you to use your position and hand-pick the best recruits the Imperial citizenry has to offer, pulling a valued member of society into your dark web when he is likely needed most at home.

Counter-intelligence
On a successful Knowledge (underworld) check, this Operation will allow you to contact bounty hunters, smugglers, and the other scum and villainy of the galaxy to do your dirty deeds.

Sabotage
On a successful Discipline check, this Operation will allow you the will, patience, and dedication is takes to destroy, commit acts of domestic terrorism, and murder in cold blood.

Intelligence

On a successful Knowledge (lore) check, this Operation will allow you to plunder the hidden library vaults of the Empire, searching for dark secrets of both the present and of ages long past.

EXAMPLE

Vader_StarkillerLORD OF THE SITH
Train a young Jedi apprentice, violating a sacred Imperial edict.

Tier 1 – Personnel
Find a Force-sensitive Imperial citizen to be your apprentice.

Tier 1 – Tech Procurement
Obtain the advanced materials necessary for your apprentice to craft his or her own lightsaber, a sacred tradition.

Tier 2- Support
Find the emotional weaknesses in your apprentice’s psyche.

Tier 2- Counter-Intelligence
Obfuscate your apprentice’s true role in the Empire by providing him or her with a false identity.

Tier 3 – Recruiting
Convince your apprentice to train under your wing.

HIGH INQUISITOR
Track down and kill an escaped Jedi Master.

Tier 1 – Personnel
Find a Force-sensitive Imperial citizen that is suspected of being a Jedi Master.

Tier 2 – Tech Procurement
Build or acquire a lightsaber.

Tier 2 – Support
Discover what weaknesses haunt the exiled Jedi Master.

Tier 2 – Political Support
Convince any sympathetic citizenry harboring this fugitive to turn him or her out.

Tier 3 – Sabotage
Strike down the Jedi Master in an epic duel.

star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope-limited-edition-20060809040647048-000GRAND MOFF
Construct a devastating superweapon.

Tier 1 – Counter-Intelligence
Ensure that the public and the Rebellion are kept in the dark regarding this new technological terror.

Tier 2 – Space Superiority
Appropriate a small Imperial fleet to protect the construction zone and project home star system.

Tier 3 – Combat Superiority
Enlist a legion of Stormtroopers to provide both security and a labor force.

Tier 3 – Resource Acquisition
Gather together the necessary materials needed for your plan.

Tier 3 – Tech Procurement
Finalize your initial plans with the piece of strange, new technology that makes it all possible.

STORM GENERAL
Oversee the genocide of an entire sentient species.

Tier 1 – Intelligence
Conduct research into the physiological weaknesses of a hated Species.

Tier 1 – Political Support
Turn the Galactic citizenry to hate the Species with a passionate fervor.

Tier 2 – Combat Victory
Occupy the Species’ homeworld with a legion of Stormtroopers.

Tier 2 – Tech Procurement
Design a poison, plague, or other means of mass murder.

Tier 3 – Resource Acquisition
Manufacture the poison or plague on a grand scale.

zaarinGRAND ADMIRAL
Execute a mass defection to the Rebel Alliance.

Tier 1 – Intelligence
Research and download encrypted troop movements and other military plans.

Tier 1 – Recruiting
Gather support from like-minded Imperial military officers.

Tier 2 – Resource Acquisition
Arrange for ships full of supporters and supplies to defect with you.

Tier 2 – Support
Make contact with Rebellion leaders.

Tier 3 – Space Superiority
Secure a secret hyperspace rendezvous for a clandestine meeting.

668px-Star-wars-mara-jade-skywalker-picturesEMPEROR’S HAND
For the good of all, assassinate the Emperor.

Tier 1 – Support
Research the Emperor’s daily routines to discover when he is vulnerable.

Tier 1 – Personnel
Enlist a susceptible Imperial Royal Guard into helping your goal.

Tier 1 – Tech Procurement
Acquire an explosive device that has the potential to slip past the Emperor’s senses.

Tier 2 – Counter-intelligence
Hide the bomb on an Imperial shuttle.

Tier 3 – Sabotage
Detonate the bomb at the exact right moment.

tiefighterthrawnEMPEROR’S VOICE
Win the safety and freedom of your homeworld by destroying its local rivals through abuse of Imperial power.

Tier 1 – Space Superiority
Defeat your homeworld’s rival’s naval capabilities.

Tier 1 – Counter-intelligence
Hide all evidence of your inappropriate influence on what should be a purely local matter.

Tier 2 – Combat Victory
Occupy your rivals’ homeworld with a legion of Stormtroopers.

Tier 2 – Political Support
Promote your homeworld or Species’ rights and raise Galactic awareness.

Tier 3 – Personnel
Arrange for the ascent of a friendly and pliable Moff to oversee this sector and ensure the prosperity of your people at the expense of your rivals’.

EMPEROR’S EYES
Unearth a powerful, lost Jedi artifact.

Tier 1 – Sabotage
Break into the Empire’s own Records Vault to track down the location of a unique Jedi artifact.

Tier 1 – Personnel
Find a Force-sensitive citizen to help direct the excavation.

Tier 2 – Intelligence
Decode the encrypted records of the lost artifact.

Tier 2 – Space Superiority
Secure the hyperspace lanes going in and out of the target star system to ensure that your excavation is undisturbed.

Tier 3 – Combat Victory
Command a legion of Stormtroopers to crush the defenders of this sacred relic or any local inhabitants of the planet.

EMPEROR’S REACH
Embezzle funds from a quadrillion intergalactic bank accounts and retire to a life of luxury.

Tier 1 – Intelligence

Research the hidden weaknesses in the Imperial Banking System.

Tier 1 – Recruitment
Gather an inner circle of accomplices, assistants, and scape-goats.

Tier 2 – Space Superiority
Secure a hidden hyperspace escape route.

Tier 2 – Sabotage
Destroy incriminating evidence of your wrong-doings and murder any investigators who get too close.

Tier 3 – Resource Acquisition
Transfer untold sums of money from hacked bank accounts.

SHADOW COMMANDER
Someone has deeply wronged you in your past history. Now is the time for them to be judged for their crimes.

Tier 1 – Intelligence
Find proof of your Nemesis’ wrong-doings.

Tier 1 – Political Support
Pull strings to arrange for this trial, a personal vendetta.

Tier 2 – Counter-intelligence
Discredit any witnesses brought by the defense.

Tier 2 – Recruiting
Arrange for witnesses to step forward in your favor.

Tier 3 – Support
Win the trial, humiliate your Nemesis in a public forum, and see him or her sent to prison in shame.

dark troopersDEFENDER OF THE REALM
Smash your enemies with what you know to be the next generation of war machine in spite of your colleagues dismissive attitudes.

Tier 1 – Recruiting
Hand select a corps of elite soldiers from the ranks of the Imperial military.

Tier 1 – Resource Acquisition
Divert funds and war materiel to fuel your research, development, and training programs.

Tier 2 – Sabotage
Break the defenses of the Empire’s enemies with a well-placed, secretive strike where they are most vulnerable.

Tier 2 – Combat Victory
Defeat the Empire’s enemies handily. Show the might of Imperial law.

Tier 3 – Political Support
Use your victories as examples to propel yourself to intergalactic fame.

About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

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