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Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Dawn of Defiance: Sword of the Empire

Star Wars Roleplaying Game: Dawn of Defiance Episode 9: Sword of the Empire

Published by Wizards of the Coast • May 7, 2009
Written by John Jackson Miller

Edited by Rodney Thompson

Dawn of Defiance was a ten-module campaign set in the dark times following the Emperor’s takeover of the Republic. It was a tag-team project, with different writers creating different modules, all based on Rodney Thompson’s outline for the overall game.

I had worked on the KOTOR Campaign Guide in the previous year, and was interested in working on a module; Dawn of Defiance gave me my first swing at professional RPG adventure design, as well as my first taste of working in the “Dark Times” setting.

It was an enjoyable experience, but also a lot of work. There’s as many words in this module as in five comic book scripts, for example. Help with character design and story beats came from the collaboration of my wife Meredith Miller, as well as James Mishler, part of my local gaming crew. The maps are all based on my designs — and definitely much prettier than what I submitted.

There were a number of challenging elements that made this module tough to craft — but, ultimately, hopefully, fun to play. As a break-in on a planet of Imperial Inquisitors, players were always at risk of being detected if they used the Force. So all actions had to be considered with that in mind.

The download for the adventure was available free from Wizards of the Coast, until the license for its game ended. More about it can be found via the archive links here.

This module is designed for very high level characters, which posed some difficulty when it came to making sure there were enough experience points involved for characters to advance. There are a lot of arbitrary moments built in allowing the GM latitude in doling out points.

A very fun element for me was the chance to work the Stereb, from Knights of the Old Republic #14, into the story, and provide their species with some background.