Ready for a top position in the Rebel Alliance? Now is your time to join the ranks of talented leaders like Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, and Crix Madine. Lead by Example, a Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ sourcebook for Commanders is now available at retailers in the U.S. and in our online store.
Lead by Example offers players of all careers new playable species, specializations, vehicles, and gear. For Commanders in particular, it introduces two signature abilities—Rousing Oratory and Unmatched Authority—along with fresh ideas for Commander backgrounds, motivations, and Duties. Game Masters will find advice on integrating Commanders into the party, suggestions for constructing military campaigns, and detailed rules for mass combat scenarios in which Rebel and Imperial armies clash on multiple fronts.
The playable species of Lead by Example all have the potential for leadership positions in the galaxy-wide Rebellion, but you may find that they each produce a very different kind of leader. A Wookiee would be unlikely to have the same relationship with his or her troops as a Zabrak or a Hutt. So, too, the Ishi Tib, Chagrians, and the Lannik will likely have very different understandings of what it means to lead and very different relationships to violence and war.
Chagrians, on the one hand, are compassionate and peaceful amphibians who tend to believe in laws and regulations as agents of good. Their watery homeworld’s abundant natural resources and lucrative tourism industry have produced a prosperous and just society virtually devoid of social inequalities. Homelessness, disease, starvation, and crime are incredibly rare, with the result that Chagrians cannot ignore injustice when they encounter it off-world. The few times that wars have broken out on Champala, they were heavily shaped by moral codes and official procedures—far from the total warfare in which the Empire is willing to engage. As leaders, Chagrians are likely to listen to all viewpoints before making decisions, but very unlikely to do anything that would break the rules.
The Lannik, on the other hand, are well accustomed to the brutality of warfare. Conflicts break out frequently on their homeworld and most Lannik serve in the military at some point in their lives. These long-eared, diminutive humanoids rarely back away from a fight, and their society values bravery and personal honour above all else. A Lannik Commander is likely to undertake an important mission against nearly impossible odds, and will refuse to retreat even when death and defeat seem inevitable.
The Ishi Tib are, like Chagrians, humanoid amphibians who have created an equitable, communal society on their homeworld. Yet while Chagrians are tall and lithe, Ishi Tib are strong and bulky; Chagrians are stoic and empathetic, Ishi Tib are intellectual and willful, liable to snap violently if pushed too far. Therefore, an Ishi Tib may not be the best Commander to deploy to the front lines or to lead a difficult mission. Behind the lines as Commodores or Strategists, however, Ishi Tib are invaluable. Strategist is one of the three new specializations introduced in Lead by Example. Strategists are masters of data analysis, prediction, and understanding how small details may affect the bigger picture. Unique among Commanders, Strategists shy away from battle on the ground and among the stars. Instead of a squad of Aces and Soldiers, they tend to command teams of Slicers, Analysts, Spies, and even other Commanders.
Figureheads also rarely fight in the front lines. They lead by inspiring and supporting others, giving the Rebellion a positive public face, and motivating other Rebels to continue fighting. This doesn’t mean they don’t themselves work hard in the trenches: Leia Organa may be considered a Figurehead, given her noble upbringing at the hands of Bail Organa, but she is never far from the heart of operations, doing challenging labour right alongside the troops and risking her life when necessary.
Instructors are more than mere teachers of Recruits. They may be injured Soldiers no longer able to rush into battle, Aces eager to teach other pilots their tricks, or Tacticians put in charge of training a special ops team. What truly differentiates them is their devotion to others. An Instructor will stop in the middle of battle to offer some encouraging words to a younger Recruit or apply a Stimpack to a wounded fighter.
The Rebellion, vastly outnumbered and outgunned by the Galactic Empire, generally prefers hit-and-run tactics to pitched battles. Occasionally, however, a full-blown multi-front battle is unavoidable, as it was at the Battle of Yavin. Lead by Example provides detailed rules for how to stage one of these grand confrontations with numerous moving parts, while ensuring that the shape of the battle affects your group of Rebels, and that your group of Rebels have a chance to affect the outcome of the battle.
A mass combat scenario is going to takes more than a couple rounds to unfold. Therefore, it is recommended that GMs break their mass combat scenario into various phases that represent the battle’s shifting tides. In each phase, the GM will make a Mass Combat check that reveals the broader state of affairs: perhaps the Imperials are winning on the ground, but lost two Star Destroyers; perhaps a strike team has taken out the Imperial Commander, but the legions of stormtroopers are still fighting on, unaware of that fact. Of course, in between Mass Combat checks, the shape of the battle can drastically change, based on both the PC's activities and the GM’s plans. Severe losses in the first phase may lead to a much smaller pool for the Rebel army in the second phase. Strategic successes in the second phase may grant the Rebels several boost dice for the third Mass Combat check of the battle. Or thousands of allied troops may appear at the last minute to help the Rebels win the day. The idea is to situate your roleplaying group in a cinematic adventure. Whether or not they win or lose the battle, they’ll have the sensation of contributing to something magnificent and big.
The species, specializations, vehicles, and GM advice in Lead by Example can easily be used beyond Age of Rebellion. The Force-sensitive exiles of Force and Destiny could easily cross paths with members of the Rebellion and perhaps even become involved in it—a Mystic with the Foresight power would make an excellent Strategist. A Consular might very well become an Instructor or Figurehead. Similarly, the Smugglers and other outlaws of Edge of the Empire may, like Han Solo, become caught up in the conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. A reformed Scoundrel or Gambler may even, to his or her own surprise, become a General.
Not only can you change the galaxy, but you can lead others hungry to do the same. Are you ready for command?