You all came from different backgrounds, from different planets, some even from different species. For every trainee in your class, there’s a half dozen reasons why they shouldn’t have been accepted into the Imperial Navy as a starfighter pilot. But the galaxy shook all the way to its’ foundation when the terrorists turned captured mining lasers against us at Alderaan. Rockdrinker, town drunk, they called him that because he’d drink rocks if you told him there was alcohol in them, he sobered up that day, said he could hear them all scream when it happened. Local security says he killed himself the next week, must have been withdrawal. Shame, you always kind of liked the stories he made up after a few drinks. Anyway, that’s all behind you now, have to literally fly the straight and narrow. There were a lot of good pilots lost that day trying to stop the attack, and many more again in the valiant battle at the hidden rebel base in the Yavin system when those lasers were ultimately destroyed. That came at great cost and with the sacrifice of many good soldiers.
We’ve put it off for long enough, and I’m finally ready to start my RPG campaign with my local X-Wing group. Granted, we’re still working on some of the rules, but I do my best work when I’m under pressure, and what better way to add pressure than to have players asking me how they can spend the 15 experience points they earned last week?
What we do know at this point: Each player will start the campaign as a low-level pilot in a basic ship. About once a week, we’ll have a game where everyone present is welcomed to join in. Each game will have a set scenario with objectives to accomplish. Participation, achieving objectives, and scoring kills will all score experience points for the participating pilots. These experience points will be used to upgrade ships and buy new ones.
Our vision is to run this campaign for quite some time. Eventually, as a single player accumulates enough ships and equipment, we may start playing 1v1 dogfights with individuals’ forces outside of the multiplayer missions, or even move on to games of Armada or Imperial Assault to further the story.
So I’ve gotten a few scenarios cooked up, I’ve opened up sign-ups, and I’m planning to run the first session next week. Today I wrapped up my intro story for the first mission, and thought I would share it with you all here. No details on the actual mission yet, can’t give away real spoilers, but I hope you enjoy this short little walk in the shoes of a new pilot….
Now the Navy needs every pilot they can get, as all the reserves have been called up to replace those losses and to step up patrols, and someone has to keep the peace around here. So to everybody’s great surprise, a new starfighter pilot academy opened here on Garlan III, along the very fringe of the Empire. To your even greater surprise, due for the drastic demand for pilots, the local Moff ordered many of the long standing restrictions for applicants to be lifted, allowing you and your fellow cadets to be a part of the very first class. Thanks to the Seinar Fleet Systems warehouse that was (mistakenly) installed here a couple years back and mostly forgotten about, there were way more TIE Fighters in storage here than qualified pilots in the sector. One grueling crash course later, and you’ve passed your exams, you know your TIE fighters better than your bunks, and you’re just a few days of training exercises short of graduation and getting your assignments for combat duty.
Your comm unit buzzes, reminding you that you have a briefing in 15 minutes for today’s exercise. Helmets in hand, you all head for the ready room from your dorms, the rec room, simulators, and elsewhere around the facility. As you pass by the hangar, you see your TIE Fighter lined up with the rest of your squadron’s ships. Well, it’s not really yours, not your permanent one at least, but still, as many hours as you’ve been in it lately, you can easily pick it out from the dozens around it without hesitation (partially because of that little scuff you got on it when you were landing after maneuvers last week). Curiously, it looks like there’s a couple of teams of techs going over each ship down the line in a frenzy. Something looks different about the guns on just about every ship in your squadron… and sure enough, there’s a droid following behind the techs with two stacks of weaponry, from where each ship’s training weaponry (digital flashlights, more like it) is being removed and replaced with something else entirely. They’ve almost reached yours, and you’re fighting curiosity to go ask what is going on when your comm buzzes again – time to move or you’ll be late!
As you start to dash around the corner, the boarding ramp lowers on one of your instructors’ shuttles, and two pilots emerge, adjusting their flight suits. Maybe the rumors about them are true! Either way, it means that you can take your time on the way to the ready room. That was definitely Captain Jett and Captain Polis, so you’ll beat them there and be ready before the briefing starts, with the bonus of a story to tell the crew tonight in the barracks!
What happens next? Find out next week (subject to change), after our first game!
– The Tabletop General