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With the end of the year, and Christmas for those who celebrate it, fast approaching I was confronted with the question of how to use this December 22nd HoloNet Uplink post. Over the years, Life Day has escaped from the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special and into other Legends materials. While originally meant as an analogue to American Thanksgiving, Life Day now serves as an admittedly silly counterpart to Christmas Day. Much like my more serious take on the Nuns of G’aav’aar’oon, I thought Life Day could use a bit more of nuanced take. Star Wars has always been a story of hope and humanity, so I decided to take inspiration from the Christmas Truce of 1914 in order to provide you with a Christmas appropriate adventure seed.
Inspiration: The Christmas Truce 1914
A series of unofficial cease fires along the western front took place in the week leading up to Christmas of 1914. Referred to as the Christmas Truce, this event saw British, French, and German soldiers crossing the trenches to talk with their enemies. The bodies of the dead were recovered, prisoners exchanged, food and singing shared, and informal kick about games of soccer played.
The Christmas Truce did not occur everywhere along the line. In some places the fighting continued, in others only a brief pause was observed to collect the dead. In the following years the truce was discouraged by higher command on both sides of the war and attempts to rekindle it did not prove successful.
Adventure Seed: The Life Day Truce
Planet Cilare, Veragi System – Battle Day 98
A nearly forgotten front in the Galactic Civil War smolders on the remote ice world of Cilare. This barren world is host to a regional supply depot for the Rebellion. Months ago the base was attacked by an Imperial task force, but a desperate rearguard action by the PCs’ unit allowed the evacuation of critical supplies and the bloodying of the Imperial assault force. With the depot reduced to mundane items such as food and clothing, the Empire shifted its strategy to blockade and attrition, reallocating forces away from this remote sector of space. This was months ago; the ground war is a stalemate.
Not So Different – 914th Imperial Line Infantry Regiment
Commanded by Clone Wars hero Colonel Saemon Bavarossa, the 914th Imperial Line Infantry Regiment is all that remains of the assault launched over three months ago. The attached stormtrooper force, charged with a reckless shock attack, has been wiped out almost to a man. Those Imperials remaining on Cilare are overwhelmingly Imperial Army troops, lacking both in advanced equipment and ideological zeal. Most of these Imperial troopers are looking forward to reaching the end of their enlistments and returning to civilian life.
Colonel Bavarossa’s assignment to the 914th is an anomaly to anyone with a keen understanding of Clone Wars military history. Bavarossa was a decorated and acclaimed officer responsible for numerous successes in the Outer Rim Sieges during the war. In truth, the Empire’s waste of strategic ability in deploying Bavarossa to clean up duty is explained by High Command’s need to hide a once popular war hero with politically inappropriate beliefs. The Colonel is a patriot with allegiance to the galaxy and its inhabitants, not to the Emperor specifically, and it took little time for Bavarossa’s career to stall after his complaints about the Empire’s oppressive policies reached the wrong ears. In short, while Colonel Bavarossa sees the Rebellion as a disorganized group of terrorists and insurgents, he also thinks the Rebels have legitimate grievances which ought to be considered politically.
The Oppression of War:
The Rebel depot and surrounding complex was hastily fortified prior to the initial assault. Over the past 98 days the defensive position has been further improved, providing protection against the sporadic mortar and sniper fire the depleted Imperial Army can muster. With the Army being unable to dislodge the defenders, the Imperials have dug in too, leading to trench warfare. Raids have been effective, but costly, with the dead piling up in no man’s land.
The PCs should be involved in an encounter to illustrate the relatively futile nature of the fighting on Cilare. A brief combat encounter which proves both costly and inclusive is appropriate to set the mood.
Neither side has been resupplied recently and the cold weather is taking a heavy toll on power packs and generators. Only 2 Threat are needed to have a weapon run out of ammunition.
Songs in the Night:
As night falls on the eve of Life Day, the mood in the Rebel camp is melancholy. Thoughts and brief discussions turn towards family and friends at home. Later into the night the mounting sorrow is pierced by a group of soldiers singing the first verse of a traditional Life Day carol. The song grows louder and louder as more Rebels join in. After the final verse the night falls silent.
Moments later, another carol can be heard on the air. This time the sound is coming from the Imperial trenches. Allow the PCs a chance to influence how this scene pans out. It may go as far as having the two sides singing back and forth with the same carol.
The Life Day Truce:
A sense of apprehension fills the trenches as Life Day morning dawns. As the PCs look out across the frontier, two groups are seen moving across no man’s land. Each group, one Imperial and one Rebel, carries a hastily assembled white flag emblazoned with the symbol of the ancient Republic – a symbol historically used to signal intent to parlay. The two groups are seen collecting their dead for burial.
When the Rebel group returns, the PCs learn that the Imperials are as worn down and demoralize as the Rebels. Some in the Rebel camp suggest this is the time to strike at the Imperials to gain leverage, with others opining that a holiday truce would be welcome for both sides. The PCs’ words will carry much weight in this debate.
The unfolding and expansion of this impromptu truce is largely within the control of the players. Their opinions and persuasion will largely decide the matter for the Rebels. Look to the Christmas Truce for examples of how this can develop, either peacefully or violently.
Non Lethal Solutions: Should the Life Day truce proceed, a significant amount of rapport could be built between the PCs and the Imperials on Cilare. Both the demoralized Imperial troopers in the trenches and Colonel Bavarossa are losing faith in the Empire and were never that ideologically indoctrinated in the first place. Appeals for mutual withdrawal, surrender, or even outright defection could succeed if argued by a particularly persuasive PC.