One thing that I really enjoy doing either with world history or established canon is playing the “What if?” game. I especially enjoy doing this with the Star Wars movies and Expanded Universe. What if Han never had his flash of conscience and didn’t return to the Death Star? What if Vader had found Obi-Wan before he had deactivated the Death Star’s tractor beam? What if Luke fell to the dark side and became Vader’s apprentice? What if Luke had failed to redeem his father aboard the second Death Star and died at the Emperor’s hands? There are hundreds, thousands, maybe even millions of things to do with this, and it was this exact little exercise that lead to the seed idea for my new campaign:
What if the Mandalorians had won their war with the Old Republic in the events preceding the events of the first Knights of the Old Republic game?
I don’t think the Crusader clans would have been able to hold onto the planets they had taken, but the Neo-Crusader clans would had both the discipline and the numbers to hold on and consolidate their winnings.
With the forces of the Old Republic destroyed and the Jedi Order severely weakened, the forces of the dark side took the opportunity to strike, further splitting the already weakened order, and sending the survivors of the Jedi Civil War that followed the Mandalorian Wars into hiding effectively ending the ancient tradition.
Over the next thousand and some years, the Mandalorians remain on the throne, putting out small Rebellions in the Outer Rim territories they control and consolidating their hold on the planets they succeeded in taking from the Old Republic, while taking precious few other planets in their time. The Emperor on the throne remains one of the Neo-crusader’s from the clans that originally took their war of conquest to the Old Republic, and their forces become stronger and stronger, remaining a key part of the Mandalorians’ control of the Empire, becoming an Empire reminiscent of ancient Rome.
However, the time eventually comes where a small unorganized rebellion based on a world not directly in the Mandalorians’ Empire grows in strength and actually attracts a number of Jedi Masters to the group along with still rich and powerful noble families from the Old Reppublic. The rebellion, actually organized by the remnants of the Antarian Rangers from before the fall of the Jedi, quickly gains a foothold and begins growing at an exponential rate. Using the influence of the Jedi and the bank accounts of the noble families, they find unexpected allies against the Mandalorians in the Kaminoans, who they contract to build a series of clones for them to act as soldiers for the coming war they will wage with the Mandalorians. Using the clones, the rebellion grows in numbers and brings more and more of the Jedi out of hiding.
However, as many of the Jedi join the rebellion effort, some of them find the use of clones a personal affront to the sanctity of life. Banding together to form a sub-sect of the Jedi Order, they break from the rebellion effort and form a group known as the Jedi Crusaders, standing against both the Mandalorian Empire and the clone army of the rebellion. This leads to breaks and splinters of Jedi apprentices and their masters, including an embittered Jedi Knight named Obi-Wan Kenobi who watched as his former master Qui-Gon Jinn and Qui-Gon’s new apprentice, a younger Jedi named Anakin Skywalker.
And this is not even mentioning the fact that the Sith are still out there, waiting for their moment to once against strike and try to destroy their ancient enemies, the Jedi, in whatever form they may take.
It is into the volatile situation the characters find themselves thrust into, waking in a slave ship in Wild Space, a powerful sense of purpose about them.