The Cerulean campaigns (Part 2): Twenty years into the future:
Now that I have finished the last campaign, The Threat of Peace, I can now reveal a few details about how this and my Rebellion-era campaign are connected. But first, why did I decide to go back?
Back to Cerulea
Well, for starters it was easy and it made sense. Cerulea was a planet that I made so that I could do several things with it, including that battle that I never got to do as I wanted, without bumping into anything major. I also had to have something for my Rebellion players to do, a mission that they were going to do in the James Bond tradition.
That job happened to be a prison break.
For a prison break, they naturally needed a prisoner. And not only that, but this person had to be important enough to be arrested by the Empire and for the Rebellion to want to bust him out. So I brought back Vaynar, and with him came the baggage of bringing the planet to the side of the Rebellion.
But before I could plan this, there were a few questions that needed to be answered. What happened to Cerulea during the Empire? What happened to Varina? And, perhaps most important of all, why was Vaynar imprisoned?
Continuing the Story
I see characters as almost organic beings, dictating actions and motivations by the essence of who they are (or who you make them to be) and driving the plot of a story. This is so innate sometimes that they can change things, usually for the better.
Here is an example. My story, The Chosen Apprentice had Anakin Skywalker in a detective story style plot, trying to find out the identity of a bounty hunter. This bounty hunter had made an assassination attempt on a particularly nasty senator who had used it as an opportunity to frame Anakin for the incident (who had happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time by design) as well as discredit the Jedi. I needed to put Anakin in touch with the family of the bounty hunter, so Anakin visited the office of a made-up senator of a made-up planet where he had last seen this bounty hunter.
That was all fine and dandy and the story was more or less finished, or close to it. And one night, I woke up and realised that questioning politicians is not something that Anakin would do as a first resort, perhaps not even a last resort. So I discarded the scene and wrote one of him going to a bar instead. And that bar became important in a later story, as well as in the Rebellion campaign.
The same goes with Varina: to establish what went on in the twenty years between the campaigns I had to look at her story and make it consistent with her character. As her father’s daughter, she’d no doubt have a lot of influence on what happened on Cerulea, so the two went hand in hand. And as there were no players around there to stop my plans, I could do whatever the hell I liked.
So, how does one go to a planet driven by species-oriented factions to Palpatine’s New Order? I had to account that the Ceruleans wanted to remain independent and isolated (hence their reasons for seceding to the Seppies) as well as make sure the Empire would have a legitimate presence there.
And the answer was Varina, she was to be my bridge within a bridge.
My last campaign ended with the Imperial governor Tancred arriving and talking about some “new arrangements”, as the Empire would have an interest in the planet for the precisely the same reasons that the Republic and later the Rebellion would have (perhaps even going back to the time of the KOTOR games when I consider the planet was first colonised by humans). It was the minerals and the fuel.
So, I simply took it from there with Varina.
After the Clone Wars ended, she was elected Queen by the Cerulean council, as she was her father’s heir and the Empire considered that her rule gave the planet a little stability (rather like what happened later on Naboo). She knew that the Empire would see her as merely a figurehead and expect Governor Tancred to more or less get around her to do what he wanted to the planet. Namely strip mine everything worth having and having her people as slaves (namely the Qava). So, she did the only thing she could. She put herself between the Empire and her own people and married the Imperial governor.
I don’t think it was a particularly happy marriage, though they did have a son, Prince Raul, whom I am still trying to work out how to use best. But Varina is not the first woman to play such a card, to tie her husband’s interests to the planet by simply in the way of progeny. Raul of course, would succeed his mother. Tancred of course wants his son to, so he therefore wants a rather good planet for his son to rule over. This explains why the Empire was rather lenient on Cerulea’s mining industries. The continue to be owned by the planet (perhaps even being “nationalised” though I don’t know how you would put this in planetary terms) but have an exclusive contract to sell only to the Empire.
This was my political background, now it was time to bring in Vaynar. From the way tat I have played him in the game and how I see him now, he’s the sort of guy who would take a just cause even if it happened to be also a hopeless one. Like siding with Varina and the Republic against his own people, which resulted in him being exiled and estranged from his own family. And, with the way that the Qava helped in the battle alongside the Republic, he had a lot of people who sympathised with him who were in very similar situations.
When the Empire started its control over the planet, with no doubt some sort of restrictions or prejudice against his people, I think this was the beginning of the estrangement between him and Varina. She may have even been seen as a sort of collaborator, if not by Vaynar then certainly by those whom he sided with.
This gives me two things, not only do I have an NPC that the Rebellion wants, but it also creates some interesting situations on Cerulea itself which have rendered the planet worthy of attention by the Rebellion. I do not think that our little band of heroes would have been sent on their mission if Cerulea’s cause was hopeless.
This is going to lead right into some interesting conflicts on a character level. I have long considered that Vaynar and Varina had a very deep relationship, if not romantic then certainly as the brother Varina wanted aside from the treacherous and now legless Keor. I have stated to my players that there is some estrangement between them, but only vaguely. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, I would like to reveal it in a good and proper time. And secondly, the intelligence of this has come from a third-party source, from Princess Leia and Alliance Intelligence who assembled the data on Cerulea and Vaynar to provide to the party. It’s not likely that they would know the why.
And that, I think, is as much as I am prepared to reveal right now. Of course, I will go back to this once I have revealed stuff to players, but not until then.
I can state this though: Cerulea will not appear in my next real-life campaign which is set in the early days of the Empire. Sure, there may be a few references here and there, but I need to expand on a few more new things. Besides, I already have my bridge with Cerulea and building something in the middle may weaken it.
And on that mixed metaphor, I will end it here. Until next time…whenever that may be….
~ by katanageldar on February 28, 2010.
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