Star Wars: Heldanni Freedom
The time is shortly after the destruction of the first Death Star in Star Wars IV: A New Hope. Shocked and demoralized by their stinging defeat at Rebel hands, and now under the masterful guidance of Darth Vader, the Imperial forces are slowly regrouping for their next great offensive. Still dramatically outnumbered and outgunned, the tiny Rebel fleet has fled and hidden, hoping to avoid battle until strong enough to defeat the mighty Empire.
The Emperor, obsessed with stamping out the last organized resistance to his rule, is scouring the galaxy for the hidden Rebel fleet. If he can find the Rebels quickly and bring them to battle, he will win, and his rule will be unopposed. Each moment is critical, for the longer he takes to find the hidden Rebels, the stronger they become. To comb the vast reaches of space, the Emperor has stripped the Empires interior of many of its troops and ships. Believing this area to be secure and well beyond the Rebellion’s reach, he has left just a skeleton force to protect it.
To combat this tactic, the Rebellion has seeded small groups of Irregulars and Special Operations units deep behind enemy lines to attack the inadequately-protected interior and draw ships and troops from the search. These forces, hiding on secret bases in the vast reaches of space, disguised as merchants, criminals, travelers, or Imperial troops, strike hard and fast. They attack factories, government centers, garrisons’ and space stations. They rob Imperial storehouses, bug Imperial communications, kill or terrorize Imperial governmental officials, and incite beings everywhere to revolution. They sneak in, hit their targets, and then withdraw before the Imperial warships can attack.
To the further frustration of the Emperor, criminals, traders, pirates, and independent adventurers have emerged from every crevice to take advantage of the lack of tight Imperial control and capitalize on the resources of the region. These groups flourish in their traditional roles; taking what they can from wherever they can get it, providing goods to planets starved for things long-denied by the Empire, or exploring long-blockaded regions for the wealth they must hold.
It is a time of chaos and change, but also a time of great opportunity. These are the moments in which a being or a small group can reach out and have a huge impact on the galaxy, to take what they want, be it for the Empire, the Rebellion or for themselves.
The Heldon Sector The Heldon sector is a relatively unimportant piece of Imperial space located near the Galactic Core. There are several hundred planets suitable for habitation in the sector; approximately 50 of them contain intelligent life-forms, of which perhaps l0 have achieved the level of technology necessary to produce space travel. Humans have colonized about 150 planets in the sector.
Groups of Interest
: The Imperial presence in the Heldon sector was until recently very limited. Moff Albran Parfour, an uncharismatic man with little political savvy, has been relegated to ‘controlling’ the Heldon sector. The Moff seems to spend less time chasing down the growing rebel activity than on the restoration of his old Thalassian pleasure space barge, so the Emperor has decided to ‘support’ him with a task force diverted from the search for the Rebel fleet. This force, let by Admiral Toft aboard the Imperial-class Star Destroyer Retribution, has a lot of people concerned about the possibility of impending martial law.
: When the Retribution arrived, it carried with it a group of Imperial Legates, a feared public-facing branch of the ISB tasked to hunt down any remnants of the Old Republic and quietly sweep them away.
: Although the Rebellion is hard to track down as a rule, there are rumours that areas in the sector are occasional staging points for Rebel fleet activity. It is suspected that SpecOps Infiltrator units are occasionally sent to the area to destabilize the Imperial power structure, and it is generally accepted that there is an organized group of Irregulars operating out of an untraceable mobile base named ‘Home’.
: This is a puppet group of the Empire, although there are rumours of ‘Heldanni Freeholds’, where older or hotheaded members of the Order went to hide from persecution and maintain the values of their society.
: This criminal organization, originally a small-time operation on the sector’s edge, has grown dramatically in recent times and excels at enforcement, slaving, syndicate work and mercenary operations. As most of the members are licensed bounty hunters, the Empire rarely harasses this group as long as they can occasionally also reap the benefits. The group is led by a drowsy-looking slug of a man named Horch of Kheedar, who is never far from his feared bodyguard, Noval Garaint.
Places of Interest
Following are capsule descriptions of a few of the more interesting planets and other locales in the Heldon sector.
: The Imperial Sector headquarters. This planet, located in the Heldon system, is inhabited by Heldanni, humans who first brought some form of order to the system. The jungle-covered planet is dotted with cities – as well as the radiation-scarred ruins of former cities. The atmosphere and conditions on the planet are suitable for human life, though most long-term visitors wear radiation-proof clothing.
Before the Empire, the Heldanni were a semi-feudal society with close ties to the Old Republic and guided by the wisdom of the Heldannic Order, a group renowned for its just, albeit mysterious and occasionally mystical ways. This aspect has been all but stamped out of the system, in favour of Imperial doctrine, and the members of the Heldannic Order are now little more than puppets of the regional Governor.
: Circling its cold sun at the very extreme edges of the Lawreys system, Sinkar is a frigid, inhospitable heavy-gravity planet with little to recommend it to anyone of delicate sensibilities. Sinkar’s oxygen supply is frozen on the planet’s surface; life as we know it is simply impossible there. No matter, the Imperials have placed a garrison outpost here for some as yet undiscovered purpose.
: The dangerous Sarnikken belt contains some of the most lucrative heavy metal mines in the system. Despite its best efforts, the Empire has been unable to wrest control of the mines from the individualistic and bellicose miners – when sent into the belt, Imperial bureaucrats and tax collectors tend to disappear, and the density of asteroids makes entry into the belt by larger military vessels quite dangerous. The Empire does attempt to maintain a blockade outside the field, but they don’t have enough ships to do it properly, and it is easily broken by those who dare to try.
What the Campaign is and isn’t
When we begin this campaign, there will be an entire session dedicated to party and character creation. During this session, you as players will decide to an extent, what kind of game we’re going to have. Maybe you’ll be a Rebel SpecOps team, maybe you’ll be a group of traders trying to set up a profitable outpost. That choice is up to all of us.
As the GM of the game, however, I also have input. There are things about gaming in general, and the Star Wars universe in general, that don’t match with my idea of what a Star Wars RPG should be, and that I would not be terribly interested in running. I’m hoping for a fast-paced game, with rapid character growth, punchy, relevant action, and a good sprinkling of light humour of the style that I see in the Star Wars movies. What does not interest me is the ‘kill the bad guy, take the treasure’ style that is prominent in D&D for example. I don’t remember Han Solo ever bending down to rifle through Greedo’s pockets after shooting him in the Mos Eisley cantina. Another aspect that doesn’t suit my tastes is the Jedi-ninja super-team style. At this time period Jedi are all but legend, and although I approve of one or two force-users in the group, being the acrobatic lightsaber-weilding true Jedi is a goal, not a beginning character.
Lastly, the campaign will end, probably within 6 to 10 months. I don’t know how it will end, but when we begin with party and character creation, we will set up goals. There will be some sort of culmination, hopefully in line with those goals, and the campaign will hopefully end with a bang. Much like the movies.