Star Wars Dawn of Rebellion is the first era sourcebook produced by Fantasy Flight games and is also the first sourcebook to not belong to a specific game such as Age of Rebellion or Edge fo the Empire. It covers details and offers character options centered on the era that takes place between Episodes 3 and 4, focusing primarily on the Star Wars Rebels tv series and Star Wars Rogue One film.
The book is divided into 4 main chapters and includes some details about the state of the galaxy and how people are handling the rule of the Empire. The first chapter covers multiple, notable, planets from the show and film such as Dathomir, Jedha, and Lothal. Each of these worlds have an image of the planet accompanied by some statistics. It’s followed by a history of the world, the culture of the world, specific locations that may be used, and modular encounters that can be used in nearly every campaign. Along with the planetary information many canon characters are also given full stats such as Darth Vader, Leia Organa, Darth Maul and the cast of Star Wars Rebels. These character stats are divided between chapters 1 and 2.
The second chapter is focused on various organization in the galaxy such as the Empire and the Free Ryloth Movement. While the Empire and Rebellion are covered in great detail, with multiple well-known characters and sub-organizations, the other organization are given a few paragraphs and a few NPCs for the GM to use.
Chapter three is the tried and true player options chapter. This chapter adds 4 new species, seen in Rogue One and multiple items from the show and film. The most useful and interesting part of the chapter is the multitude of new universal specializations, which are specializations that are not part of a specific career. Some of these include Imperial Academy Cadet, Pirate, and Retired Clone Trooper. There are 7 specializations in total and they carry some very unique and interesting talents. The chapter also adds the stats for the KX-Series Enforcer Droid, the same model as K2-SO from Rogue One. The vehicles include the U-Wing Troop Transport and the Hammerhead-Class Corvette, both from Rogue One and Rebels.
Chapter 4 is a short chapter with useful tips for GMs and includes information on treating a campaign as a season of a show, allowing multiple campaigns to string together to form a series. It includes an easy to read chart that puts a campaign into a 10 session setup with with each session acting as an episode of the season. It further breaks this down in a nicely laid out 4-part example of using this method to construct a campaign. For those wishing to add that narrative and cinematic structure this section is incredibly useful. It also includes a section for developing the antagonist of the campaign, including their goals, connection to the players, and confrontations. It also covers their end and how to handle it in the narrative. It ends with an overview of using Rebel Cells in campaigns with short paragraphs discussing the origins and goals of the cell as well as the rewards that the players can receive from them.
Overall the book is a massive expansion and exploration of the galaxy during the time before the original films. It is a book primarily intended for the GM and gives them all the resources they could need to run a campaign in the setting and especially with the Rebellion. While the book is core agnostic it definitely feels like a sourcebook that would belong in Age of Rebellion due to its heavy focus on the Rebellion and Empire. There is almost nothing here for those focused on Edge of the Empire and minimal for Force and Destiny. While the information it gives is very useful it can often times feel cluttered. The injection of named NPCs with stats into multiple sections of the book can make reading through it feel more difficult than necessary and it may have been a better idea to separate them into their own chapter, much the same way the core books have an adversary chapter. Because they are so spread out if you want the Stats for Imperials you will need to search through the book to find the different locations of them, rather than being able to go to a specific page for Imperial adversaries. But despite its flaws the book still uses much of its formula from other books, particularly with the player options chapter, meaning that having any experience with their other sourcebooks will make this one fairly easy to navigate. A great book for those who want to bring in more of that canon, cinematic, feel to their games.