Rebellions are built on hope

IACP Guest Blog with Dylan McGill: Enhancing IA Campaign

Editor’s Note: Dylan is a member of the Imperial Assault and IACP community that accepted my invitation to write an Imperial Assault related blog post and we’re thankful to have players like Dylan that are interested in sharing their perspective on the game through our website. If you have thoughts you’d like to share on the site related to Imperial Assault or IACP, send an email to iacontinuityproject@gmail.com and let us know! – TVboy

Author: Dylan McGill

Background & Inspiration

I joined the IACP community as a campaign player hoping to create a custom villain card for a mini campaign that I am creating. My brother and a friend have played almost every FFG produced campaign together. I was the last of our group to start getting my own set of the game and expansions. The first expansion I bought was The Bespin Gambit as it was one of two campaigns that we had not played together. Therefore, it was my first opportunity to play as the Imperials! Since we were still playing another campaign, I had time to prepare for my debut as the Imperial player. I got my hands on a copy of the Jabba’s Realm expansion as well. Looking through the class decks, I was stuck between Nemesis and Hutt Mercenaries. I thought, if I could acquire the Hired Guns villain pack I would pick Hutt Mercenaries, but if I found the BT-1/0-0-0 villain pack (which I did) I would use BT-1 and Jabba the Hutt for my Nemesis deck.

Having also played the Legends of the Alliance campaigns (don’t ask how I used spreadsheets and word documents to keep track of the gameplay), I enjoyed the character specific story aspects on top of the more generic storylines. Taking inspiration from the Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: The Old Republic video games, I created the outline of a backstory for how the rebel group came to be and connections between the rebel and villain characters. Having only the core game, Jabba’s Realm, and Bespin Gambit expansions, I labeled (Mercenary type), (2 long time rebels), and (last rebel hero) as place holders hoping to quickly plug in the group’s choice of characters to my storyline before beginning the first mission. Surprised with a core only team, I was faced with Diala Passil, Fenn Signis, Jyn Odan, and Gaarkhan. Although they did not pick a mercenary type (AKA hero from Jabba’s Realm), I chose Jyn for this role which paid off perfectly in the end.

As I mentioned earlier, I had the outline of a backstory and not all of the details nailed down. Being a group that played once or twice a month allowed me to continue tailoring my story to the characters and the way they interacted during the missions, revealing only pieces of the overall story at the start and end of each mission.

[Author’s note: With time to research other’s experience playing the Bespin Gambit, we played a modified mini campaign adding a rebel side mission after the introduction mission and before the finale. From my pre-play testing, we gave each player an extra 1 XP before the introductory mission as it results in a much more balanced story mission 1 and 2. This 1XP was intended to be removed from the rewards after story mission 2. If you are going to implement modifications to a campaign as we did above, I suggest making sure that the total rewards [XP, influence, credits] by the finale match those of a normal campaign as there was an obvious shift in balance once we passed that total.]

Below is my example of story/flavor text that I added to the campaign. Enjoy!

A Smuggled Smuggler

*SPOILER WARNINGS for missions will be marked in this format*

*Text*

After the mini campaign set-up/before reading anything from the introductory mission I added the following:

Back story: (2 long time rebel heroes: Diala and Fenn) have been part of the rebellion for nearly a decade, since helping spark resistance on their home planets. (Another rebel hero: Gaarkhan) was recruited only a year earlier after having failed to erase their record from imperial databases on their home planet. The three were working as a group of 5 when a mission went sideways on Nar Shaddaa, regrettably resulting in the death of their 2 former teammates. However, the chaos of their escape allowed (rebel hero mercenary: Jyn) to stow away on their ship. Although (Jyn) was not forthcoming about their history, they claimed to be a refugee enslaved by imperials on the planet. She agreed to help your cause on the condition that she be dropped off as far away from Nar Shaddaa as possible.

You all hope your next mission on Bespin goes smoother, as you are told to meet an ally with spies within the ISB.

When BT-1 is deployed: An all black astromech enters the area. As it turns detecting your intrusion, (rebel closest) notices a gun equivalent to an E web turret on its right shoulder. As (they) do a double take, a missile launcher appears on the left side of its head. Perhaps, after the coming encounter, you will be able to determine the reason for this astromechs deadly modifications.

When Jabba is deployed: (Rebel hero mercenary: Jyn) hears a familiar laugh that sends a chill down their spine. “(Same hero) you think you can get out of a contract so easily? You will need to travel much further than the outer rim to escape my reach!” 

*MINOR SPOILER: Mission briefing text reference*

*With Lando’s previous comment about being late, you begin to suspect he was aware of these unexpected guests.* 

[Author’s note: Side mission picked by shuffling the four rebel side missions, drawing two and picking one to play. The two missions not drawn were saved to choose from for the later side mission.]

After the mission briefing of side mission (Fenn’s): It seems the astromech Droid never lost your trail after all. It also seems that one defeat was not enough for Jabba to leave you alone. There must be more to Jyn’s story, but there’s no time to hash that out now. Time is ticking! 

After the side mission: You determine that the Droid you encountered is one of the fearsome Darth Vader’s personal assassin Droids. You can only hope that the Droid is working alone in cloud city. 

Before Story mission 2: You are not sure how the slug of a being has moved so quickly. Although out of breath, Jabba has somehow managed to get ahead of you close to the safe room. The astromech assassin Droid also seems to have tracked you through the streets. You fear it has had time to call in reinforcements on its way. 

[Author’s note: At this point in the campaign, Fenn had been struggling to do damage and was often wounded first. Naturally, Jyn was often running off for objectives and last to get wounded, playing well into my storyline. Rebel’s had lost the first 3 missions including Fenn’s side mission]

After the mission: You feel there is time to talk about the excess attention you’ve attracted. (Fenn): (Jyn), Jabba seems to be stopping at nothing to get to you and it means more guns pointed at us too. Our mission here is almost entirely compromised! We need to know the truth! 

(Jyn): Fine! Look, I wasn’t a refugee on Nar Shaddaa. I was working for Jabba, trying to pay off my debt. I was disguised to plant charges around the imperial outpost. I figured I could make it less messy than Jabba’s bounty hunters. Once your friends started freeing the refugees, I knew there’d be collateral damage if I set them off. So I left, but one of his bounty hunters found me and set off the detonator anyway. I said I’d go back but another failed job only extends my debts. Your ship was the only opportunity I had to get out of there.

Fenn’s blood boils as he realizes the reason he lost good recruits, but Diala takes him to a corner to calm him down and remind him Jyn didn’t set off the bombs.

Gaarkhan simply turns to Jyn and says in Shyriiwook: “Rage and revenge are good motivators.”

*SPOILERS: Character and Storyline references from story mission 3 and Jyn’s side mission*

*[Author’s note: I was planning to have Bossk be the bounty hunter who set off the explosives. When the rebels chose Jyn’s side mission as the next mission, I saw an opportunity to make Szark the bounty hunter instead.]

After story mission 3/before Jyn’s side mission: Although Bossk escaped with the rebel data pad, Gaarkhan was able to interrogate Jabba briefly before reinforcements arrived (with the help of Diala’s battle meditation). 

(Gaarkhan): “The imperial outpost was still destroyed in Nar Shaddaa. Isn’t that what you wanted?”

(Jabba): “Ha! She really told you nothing. The outpost wasn’t the main target. The ISB agent was the priority, but her hesitation allowed Blaise to escape. At least we were able to convince the surviving imperials she had gone rogue planting those explosives.”

Back at headquarters: (Jyn): “He said what?! That slime! I don’t know why anyone believes him. Him and his double crossing lizards.” Jyn turns to Fenn, “Still want revenge? Then it’s Szark we should be after. He set off the bombs.”*

You reach Rayamal 22, and Jyn leads you to the outskirts of a major settlement. The imperials here have scorched armor and even the officer’s uniforms are not in their usual pristine condition. 

At the end of the side mission before the end of mission text: (Szark): “There will always be more of me. It’s killing Blaise that would repay your debt.”

*SPOILERS: Character and Storyline references from finale mission [Vader may or may not have been brought in by an agenda card]*

*Before the finale: Jyn: “I know we’re here for Lando, but I’m here for Agent Blaise too. If we get him, Jabba’s not only off my back but off yours as well.”

Fenn: “We already helped you with Szark. The primary objective is Lando.”*

When Darth Vader is deployed: the damaged BT-1 seemingly retreats down the hallway. “You’ve done well BT. It seems our bait has paid off. I’ll take it from here.”

[Authors note: Whether intentional or not, Jyn ended up being abandoned and defeated as the rest of the group dealt with the objective.]

Feedback & Conclusion

Even though my rebels lost the first four missions, they appreciated the extra effort and story elements I added throughout the campaign. Obviously, as shown above, characters like Jabba lend themselves to added storylines easier than characters like BT-1 and the Nemesis deck is essential to consistently bring a villain outside of the campaign that you are playing. However, there is always an opportunity to create a backstory for how the rebel characters met and became a team. In order to sort the characters into the potential roles, it can be helpful to look at their side mission cards and traits. Connecting the story to a villain that they will be seeing allows you to lean on the existing campaign story. Your added story can be “sprinkled” throughout to add personalization and depth, enhancing the rollplay aspect of the game.

I hope you enjoyed and/or were inspired by this article! If you enjoy this type of storytelling, look out for my custom mini campaign which I will share with the community once it is complete!

Editor: You can find Dylan and other Imperial Assault players and community member over on the IACP Discord and the Zion’s Finest Slack channels. See you there!

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