Category Archives: Heists

CRUSH the REBELLION Campaign Summary

Per request, here is a short summary of the characters involved in my CRUSH the REBELLION campaign and a few words describing each of our 9 sessions. Where applicable, links have been provided to longer discussions on individual Operations. As always, general feedback and specific questions of interest are appreciated. Later in the week, I won’t let you just take my word at it and will provide a comprehensive interview with the players to get their view on the campaign as experienced.

TaggeNeedsBureaucracy-ANHIMPERIAL AGENTS

Besk, Bothan Spy Infiltrator
Secret Agenda: Assassinate The Emperor (succeeded).

K1LL1NG3R, Droid Hired Gun
Secret Agenda: Construct a superweapon that would enable a new droid revolution to conquer the galaxy.

Zebb, Twi’Lek Slicer
Secret Agenda: Grand Moff, build an unspecified superweapon.

Tar’Yun, Twi’Lek Diplomat (Force Sensitive)
Secret Agenda: Orchestrate a massive military defection to the Rebellion.

Delanar, Human Bounty Hunter (Force Sensitive)
Secret Agenda: Hunt down and slay a hidden Jedi Master.

Daktari Jonez, Duros Scholar
Secret Agenda: Oversee the genocide of all Ewoks.


Operation I – A convoy of five Imperial transports must be protected from an anticipated ambush by Rebel military forces. Imperial Intelligence has determined that a lost Jedi outcast is among the terrorists. The Jedi must be captured and interrogated to learn further information about Rebellion military activities in this sector.
Surprise: The Jedi Knight is a non-gendered, weird alien composed of a slippery mass of tentacles.

Operation II – A geneticist located at an isolated research outpost has been selling Imperial secrets to the highest bidder. Prove which of the scientists is the traitor and bring him or her to justice while quelling uprisings from the local populace.
Surprise: The only way to route out the true traitor is to solve a complicated Zebra Logic Puzzle.

Operation III – Local organized crime on an outer rim world has been supplying outlawed, dangerous medicines to a plague-ridden populace as well as explosives to nearby terrorist cells and must be stopped.
Surprise: The Rebel Leader from Operation II returns angry and cybernetically enhanced.

Operation IV – The captain of the IEF Tydeus has succumbed to the unclean influences of a heretical cult located in the unknown regions. Find a way to board the renegade Imperial vessel and relieve its Captain Kitano of his command before the ship escapes and makes the jump to lightspeed.
Surpise: This adventure is a speed run of Only Two Ways Home, giving the players only about half the time that they really need to complete it. Players must use their metagaming knowledge of previous runs of the adventure to win.

Operation V – A shapeshifting alien has infiltrated the ranks of a local planetary government cabinet and the senate hall is on lock-down. Kill the shapeshifter and save as many cabinet members as possible. Everyone trapped inside is either vitally important to Imperial operations or is a noted public figure.
Surprise: The shapeshifter is a liqui-metal droids and there are, in fact, two of them.

Operation VI – With a Victory-class Star Destroyer at your command, watch over the development of the new TIE Phantom stealth fighter and goad any traitors into action so that they can be caught red-handed and in the act.
Surprise: The commander of the VSD is Zebb’s nemesis and does everything in his power to make this Operation difficult for the Agents.

Operation VII – Preside over negotiations on behalf of The Empire at the Kimanan star system, whose people have taken the local Imperial Moff as hostage and who are now led by a Jedi fugitive.
Surprise: The Agents’ covert, pirate transport captain has sold them out.

Operation VIII – Following your previous Operation’s failure, the Kimanan star system has gone into revolt and joined the Rebel Alliance, taking with it the military defenses supplied to the planet through The Empire and protected by the Pirate Queen Kath Scarlet. Command an Imperial-class Star Destroyer and support fleet to invade the system and punish the Kimanans for their treachery.
Surprise: The Kimanans have a Cloning Facility and Mitichlorian Infusion Center that will soon produce a clone army of artificially-empowered Jedi.

Operation IX – Hunt down the fleeing architects of the Kimanan revolt. Kill the Pirate Queen Kath Scarlet at the pod racing contest of Tattoine. Capture the Jedi Knight MacKenzie hiding in a lost Jedi ruin and bring him before The Emperor Himself.
Surprise: It’s a Trap! designed by The Emperor to kill the scheming Agents and put a stop to their Secret Agendas.


Primal Enterprise

Pete Thompson just put out another Edge of the Empire heist, called “Primal Enterprise”. I helped out a bit with editing ad lending some guidance and advice. It’s pretty good! Even if you hate the adventure itself, which you won’t, the maps that are with it are absolutely top notch and worth looking at on their own.


Here’s a link.

DW Moves in Star Wars

challenge dieOne of the core concepts of the roleplaying game Dungeon World is that of Moves. Moves can be thought of as responses to the player characters’ failed or partially failed actions; the results of their missteps. When I first read about this idea, it struck me as similar to Twists in the Torchbearer/Burning Wheel series of roleplaying games. Again, filling the same role of pushing the GM to drive plot and action as a result of poor dice rolling, whereas the players do so on dice rolls that are exceptionally well. While this was bubbling in my mind, some of my Star Wars players discussed,

“Why is this symbol called ‘Threat’? Calling it ‘Disadvantage’ would be so much more clear as to what it does.”

Everything then clicked and I jumped into the conversation to disagree. Threats generated on a FFG Star Wars dice roll aren’t so mundane as to be a mere disadvantage, they represent new, previously unseen dangers and obstacles that are introduced. Just like a Move. Just like a Twist.


Hence, we come to my scribbled notes for my home campaign; CRUSH the REBELLION – Operation V. In this Operation, the scene was setup as a tense, difficult situation which needed the Agents immediate intervention. I then used fairly punishing difficulties for most activities, usually 3 Challenge dice, and then activated new problems on any result of at least 2 Threat or worse. I had a long list of Complications, such as introducing new enemies or surprise traps laid by a Nemesis, to pull from as I needed inspiration on the fly. The results worked out beautifully, often creating a high-paced, panic-filled environment that never really left the players any chance to catch their breath. It was exactly the style and tone I wanted, and I highly encourage Galaxy Masters to try their hand at this method of adventure design.

Heist Dashboard

screenshot-102-terminalI’ve received another great guest contribution this week, this time from Peter Holland. Peter gives us a sampling of a Heist Dashboard he has created for his home group, a clever little PowerPoint Presentation file that interactively allows the Crew to review their current heist options, peruse various details, and select their next impetus for adventure.

I think this is a great idea, and brings nostalgic memories back to me from playing Privateer as a kid. As an adult in the 21st Century, I look forward to hearing from the computer-savvy Triumph & Despair readers who take this idea and create their own interfaces, similar to this, for their own groups. As I’ve talked about before here, this is a great jumping point for creating meaningful choice; presenting the players with transparent information, allowing them to make informed decisions on the course of the campaign, and holding them responsible to both the rewards and the perils of that decision.

First Operation

This past Sunday, I completed my first field test and play session of the much talked about Crush the Rebellion campaign for FFG Star Wars. It was an amazing success, a triumph even, with unsolicited positive reactions coming out of every single player. I’ve been writing the guidelines to this type of campaign ad hoc as it has been developing, so everything feels very new and experimental. As such, I wanted to share with you some of the things that went right, at least the ones that I can clearly remember and communicate. Inevitably, I’ll make some stumbling mistakes along the way and share those as well, warnings for what not to do, what to avoid, and how to do better. As always, I look to reader comments to help me hone in on what is confusing and what parts need further detail.

Continue reading


Emperor's Throne Room

by Ralph McQuarrie

Fane of the Sith Lords is a site-based adventure for use with the FFG Star Wars roleplaying game (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, Force & Destiny). In this scenario, the Rebel Alliance strikes out at The Emperor in his one brief moment of vulnerability, sending a team of assassins into his den of twisted evil where they must treat with the dark horrors of the ancient Sith.

Fane of the Sith Lords is like no other Star Wars adventure ever published. It goes beyond the realm of the normal and into the surreal. It pushes the envelope of what is and is not Star Wars, challenging your perceptions while at the same time creating a superlatively difficult game. Fane of the Sith Lords has been dubbed a “tournament module“, eschewing continuity and in-game logic in favor of maddening puzzles, nightmarish threats, and extreme roleplaying game design. Fane of the Sith Lords is not for the timid or faint of heart. It is a brutally punishing adventure that rewards fast, smart, creative play and murders characters who act foolishly or indecisively.

Fane of the Sith Lords – Adventure Flowchart

I’ve long held the belief, here, that by analyzing a simple flowchart of an adventure in a roleplaying game one can quickly deduce the level of “railroading” and linear plot devices inherent to that adventure. With that in mind, I am very proud to show off a flowchart I created for the upcoming Fane of the Sith Lords Star Wars adventure.

This flowchart serves multiple purposes.

Firstly, it shows off the interesting, complicated web of potential actions and exploration that could, though doesn’t necessarily have to, occur within the advneture. All of these criss-crossing lines represent many meaningful choices that the players must make, each with their own major impact on how the adventrue unfolds.

Secondly, I am proud to show off the stunning, evocative place names within the adventure. My hope is to further whet the appetite of the Star Wars RPG for this coming adventure. Who wouldn’t want to delve into the mysteries locked away in the FORBIDDEN ARCHIVE? Or shake in terror when trapped in the PTERO-RANCOR’S CRUCIBLE?

Lastly, this flowchart serves a very practical function for the Galaxy Masters across the globe who will be running this massively detailed and intricate adventure. Knowing which spaces connect to other spaces and where those connections are one- or two-way, is vitally important. The flowchart is an invaluable aid to running a smooth, seamless adventure at the table, allowing Galaxy Masters to focus on their delivery and presentation by cutting down on confusion as much as possible.

Fane of the Sith Lords - Adventure Flowchart