Monday, March 27, 2017

Imperial Security

You are under arrest, my lord. 
-Mace Windu, Revenge of the Sith 

I never broke the law! I AM THE LAW! 
-Judge Dredd
I must admit surprise that Star Wars almost never deals with the police (The films; the EU references the Imperial Security Bureau).  Sure, I realize that Star Wars is, of course, about war, but so much of what Star Wars deals with actually falls under something a police officer would deal with: A smuggler should fear the port authority (and not Storm Troopers), and a conspiracy of evil Sith should be uncovered by detectives, not by space knights.  In fact, we regularly see military personnel or the Jedi acting in a police role that the sudden and inexplicable abscence of the police becomes rather transparent, at least to me.  That, alone, is enough to justify the inclusion of Imperial Security (something the Old Republic does as well, by the way).  But I have more reasons.
Hannah Arendt, who wrote the classic analysis of totalitarianism,said that totalitarian societies had three characteristic institutions:massive propaganda efforts directed at their own populations, secretpolice forces, and concentration camps that caused mass deaths.   
-Bill Stoddard, Social Engineering
A police force imposes the will of the government on the people.  The Imperial Ministry may make the law but Imperial Security enforces those laws.  More than that, dictatorships need police, taken to extreme levels.  The Empire is almost certainly CR 6, and it must therefore police its people to make sure that no "sedition" or "corruption" has seeped in, and that nobody threatens to topped the delicate structure upon which the Emperor has settled his throne.  All must embrace the cause, all must understand the divine purpose of the Emperor, and all who do not must be found, convicted and shipped off to labor camps to die out of the public eye.

More than any single force, I expect the players will run up against Imperial Security.  When they try to assassinate officials, or smuggle medical supplies onto a rebellious world, or when they're trying to make sure their machinations aren't uncovered by the empire, it's Imperial Security, not the Imperial Military that they'll face.  Thus, we need them, both as someone to serve (especially if you're a Bounty Hunter), but especially as opposition.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Patreon Post: Building Grav Cars

Next week, I'm going to unveil Imperial Security and then we'll shortly dive into the Imperial Navy, both of which really require decent vehicles, but especially Imperial Security.  The problem I have is that I lack a decent system by which to build vehicles: There's no Vehicles 4e!  So what's  a man to do?

Well, I struggled with several ideas, from just modifying the existing grav car, to using GURPS Spaceships to build it, and then I finally gave in and looked at Vehicles 3e.  My final solution resulted in a compromise between the various solutions.  In today's patreon post (for $1+!) I offer my design journal for creating grav cars and, because that's a meandering mess, I also offer a cleaner and more concise guide on how to build 4e vehicles with Vehicles 3e.
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A Psi-Wars Round-Up

I should pay better attention.

I wrote Psi-Wars for people to use, so when I see people using it, that warms my heart.  I also believe in the Death of the Author, in the sense that I do not believe my way is the only way to run Psi-Wars, or even that it's my own setting (that's why Iteration 5 was a very good stopping point, because it gives GMs the tools they need to write their own material).  Thus, when someone creates new material or goes in a new direction, I feel that adds to Psi-Wars.  It can also highlight weaknesses and things I need to shore up, which makes it good feedback for me as well.

Today, I've got two blogs for you, both of which have been delving into Psi-Wars.  The first is adding lots of optional rules to everyone's favorite mechanic: Communion. The second is actually using Psi-Wars for a campaign. Fun!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Imperial Ministry and Senate

Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo.While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict....  
-The Phantom Menace

"Control the coinage and the courts—let the rabble have the rest." Thus the Padishah Emperor advised you. 
-Dune
Dreary politics and statecraft is probably the furthest thing from the minds of the players of any action scenario, and yet politics feeds into every action scenario: The Expendables features a political coup against a South American dictator at its core, and James Bond stories revolve around Cold War politics.  The action hero might not be a politician, but politics often drives the context of his action.

Thus, I'd like to  get the "least exciting" of our Imperial triumvirate out of the way first, and take a look at imperial politics.  Of all the character types, I expect only the Diplomat will really invest deeply into the organ of state within the Empire, but any character with an aristocratic background might find himself or herself tied into it.

But everyone and anyone might find themselves at the beck and call of a powerful imperial official or a wealthy imperial senator.  They'll call upon Assassins to destroy their rivals, or find themselves the marks of the Con Artist, or they'll confer quietly with their personal Spies.  The point of this organization, more than anything, is to provide context for the actions of our characters.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Patreon Post - The Results of the Emperor polls

Last week, we had a poll for the Emperor.  Today, I have the results of that poll, compiled into a single document.  I don't have the final version of the Emperor yet, because we still need a few pieces before that can be finished (the voting definitely demanded a psionic conspiracy, and I haven't begun working on those yet), but in the meantime, we know what the emperor looks like and what sort of person he is.

For all $5+ patrons, check it out here.  If you're not a patron, don't worry, I've got more material for you Thursday and, as usual, if you'd like to become a patron, I'd love to have you.




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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Patreon Posts: The Empire and the Emperor

Today begins the reign of the Empire!  Over the next month, I'll release all the details of the Empire, from its organizations to its unique technology and its dangerous personnel.  For my $3+ "Fellow Traveler" Patrons, I have a complete preview (though currently lacking technology and personnel!)

For my $5+ Companions and Disciples, you get to decide on the Emperor himself.  Heir to the great war hero's legacy, he might be a sinister psion or a misunderstood genius.  What is his true agenda, and who will reign when he passes away?  The introduction post is here.

As usual, I want to thank my patrons: you guys make this possible.  If you're not a patron, don't worry, all of this stuff will eventually be available to you too, but if you'd like to join, I'd love to have you.
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Designing Organizations: Overview and Empire

New Empire by Adam Burn
Organizations represent the heart of every Action game.  Organizations (the police, the CIA, a spooky cabal) hire heroes to fight other organizations (the Mob, terrorists, a spooky cabal).  While organizations aren't central in the sense that they're not the mechanics that drive the action, they encompass, surround and provide the context for the action.

So, more important for Psi-Wars than planets, or alien races, or cool technology are organizations. Of course, some organizations will be unique to planets or regions of space, but a few major organizations so thoroughly saturate the setting that they must be defined before the rest of the setting can be: the Empire, the Rebellion and the Space Knight Order.

All of them need the same sort of questions asked and answered to work in a proper Action context, so in this introduction, I'm going to start with the Empire itself as an example of Organization design.


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