Category Archives: Star Wars Campaign

RPG Campaign v2 – Battle for the Juris Sector

If you’ve followed The Tabletop General for a while, or if you’ve taken a scroll through the archives, you’ll be familiar with the custom player vs player campaign for X-Wing Miniatures that I started back in late 2014. After a particularly rough session in January of 2015, I left off with the following note in my recap article: Our campaign will be taking a short break… stay tuned, I hope to start up again in about a month. 

*Checks calendar* Uhhh… better late than never?

In my defense, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster interrupted any attempt to revitalize or restart that campaign. HotAC, for the three of you who are just finally making the switch over from Star Trek: Attack Wing, is a fan-made cooperative campaign where a group of Rebel pilots go from random cannon fodder #’s 1-6 to S-Tier juggernaut ace pilots who regularly face overwhelming numbers of AI controlled TIE fighters while racing against the clock to complete scenario missions. The enemies follow a basic script with a touch of randomization for their maneuvers and actions, and it really gives the players a sense of having sheer numbers thrown at them by the Imperial war machine. HotAC addressed a lot of problems I encountered in my first attempt at writing a campaign rule set, and side-stepped others by making it cooperative. If you’re interested in giving it a try, all of the materials are freely available at http://dockingbay416.com/campaign/.

A couple of groups of our veteran players chewed through HotAC campaigns as soon as we could (the structure of the campaign limits the number of players that can be involved at a time), and then a few other local groups formed and played through it too over the following year or so. It’s a fun experience that I highly recommend, but some of the mystery runs out about the time you complete the campaign: It’s pretty easy by then to guess the behavior of enemy ships because you have the charts memorized by then, you’ve exhausted the best combos of upgrades you can find for X-Wings (plus whatever of the turret ships your team decided they like), and the surprise factor is out of the pre-scripted missions; there wasn’t a lot of “I want to do that again” feeling in our groups.

Fast forward to 2017. The past season or so of competitive play has taken its’ toll on the player base, recent new releases like the Scurrg H-6 Bomber, TIE Aggressor, and Auzituck Gunship haven’t met with a great reception (no real nostalgia attached and either under- or over-powered), and we find ourselves in search of alternate formats to revitalize the game a bit, and I thought it was time to dust off that PvP campaign idea and create version 2.

Borrowed from the preface of my rules document in progress:

Welcome to version 2 of the Giga-Bites Café PvP X-Wing campaign.

In version 1, run almost 3 years ago now, the teams were a little imbalanced and I felt like there was nothing I could really do about it as the game coordinator. Additionally, I’ll be the first to admit that I made a few mistakes on ship customization options (we had Green K-Turns before Ryad made them a thing). Despite the blunders made, the experience left for some excellent stories (from the alt-art card created for “Grandma” to the Trench Run-esque heroics of “Trident”), and we definitely wanted to try again one day.

To improve on those issues mentioned above, version 2 leans heavily on the popular co-op campaign Heroes of the Aturi Cluster to standardize the options available to players while still giving you a feeling of being a better than average pilot, and the experience gain structure is mostly standardized in the same way too. Additionally, player factions have been expanded to include Scum & Villainy. While it is a work in progress, my vision of the campaign’s story features the Rebels and Imperials in their ongoing civil war. But to be inclusive to all (and to give myself a tool for balance) I have mechanics in place for Scum & Villainy to act as mercenaries, available to either side in order to even things out when one side has a huge advantage in players or and/or average power for a given game session.

As of right now, this document goes on for 36 pages, and will be longer by the end of the day today. It’s not all a wall of text, 17 of those are prototype character sheets customized for any of the ship types players could reasonably have access to within the first few weeks of the campaign, and a few pages are dedicated to the ship progression charts I’ve created too.

It’s still X-Wing at the core, but the customizations on top of it are getting deep, and I expect to have something as extensive as (if less visually polished than) the Aturi Cluster materials by the time I’m done. For example: Piggybacking off of the HotAC experience system, I spent every minute of my spare time (and some that I couldn’t really spare but did anyway) yesterday deciding what named pilot abilities would qualify for granting extra experience via player assists.

But I’ve never been one to let the ink dry before putting something new to use; we’ve had two sessions now, and the third is planned for tonight. I hope to begin writing again to share some of those session reports with you semi-regularly; even if you don’t end up trying the campaign format itself, I think the individual games will make for fun scenarios to mix things up for casual game nights.

Sidebar:  Folks, when you find a special someone who supports your nerdy habits or enjoys them alongside of you, go ahead an do the whole marriage thing. I’m glad to be going through the process now, and will have a new ring on my hand in a little over two weeks. But do yourself, your wallet, and your schedule a favor: elope. Still, we’re close enough to the finish line that I can start writing again and not feel like I’m procrastinating on too many other important things.

To be continued (in less than 2 & 1/2 years [probably])…

– The Tabletop General

Gaming roundup, October 2015

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, and I suppose I should check in and give my readers an update. This won’t be a deep article by any means, just a high level overview of my recent gaming exploits, including X-Wing, Armada, Battletech, and a bit of video gaming too.

X-Wing

A big time sink for our X-Wing Miniatures group lately has been a cooperative RPG campaign, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster. We have a group of six pilots including myself, plus a standby backup pilot, chewing through this adventure on a semi-weekly basis. So far we’ve manged to capture an Imperial Moff, shoot down a couple TIE Phantoms, and clear a giant minefield. We have not, however, managed to protect anything we have been supposed to escort. We’re good at dealing damage, not preventing it.

We take this way too seriously and not seriously enough at the same time.
We take this way too seriously and not seriously enough at the same time.
Hey, guys, weren't we supposed to be protecting something on this mission...?
Hey, guys, weren’t we supposed to be protecting something on this mission…?

It’s otherwise been pretty quiet on the X-Wing front lately. I’m still playing regularly, often multiple nights per week, but there’s a bit of a lull for the moment. Everyone is still trying to absorb the influx of new ships from the X-Wing Core Set 2.0, Wave 6 (TIE Punisher, K-Wing, Kihraxz Fighter, and Hound’s Tooth), and the Imperial Raider  (including the TIE Advanced fixes). We’ve got a few local players that are making the trip to the World Championships next week (sadly, I will not be one of them), so we’ve had some regular practice sessions lately to throw “meta” lists at them. In the process, I’ve gotten a decent bit of familiarity with flying Sith Lords (Palpatine in a Lambda Shuttle, Vader, TIE Interceptor ace of choice), and have come to really appreciate Bro-bots (dual IG-2000‘s) once again. I might field the IG-2000’s at a few store Championships, in fact.

We’re continuing to stream X-Wing from a local gaming store every other week, and I’ve made several appearances lately. Rather than linking to individual videos, I’ve assembled a playlist of my games, with the more recent matches being up first on the playlist.


I’ve been working with one screwball list lately that will likely be on a future streamed game, and it is detailed below. There’s a few too many points tied up in Rhymer for my liking, and I want Engine Upgrade on Vader. But it’s fun for a semi-casual game, and can dish out a lot of burst damage to clear small ships quickly, or cripple a big ship with loads of critical hits, thus the name.

Crit City

Major Rhymer – 26 (TIE Bomber)
Extra Munitions – 2 (K-Wing / TIE Punisher)
Advanced Homing Missiles – 3 (K-Wing / TIE Punisher)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Proton Bombs – 5 (TIE Bomber / VT-49 Decimator)
Munitions Failsafe – 1 (Z-95 Headhunter / TIE Defender)

Lieutenant Colzet – 23 (Imperial Raider)
TIE/x1 – 0 (Imperial Raider)
Proton Rockets – 3 (Rebel Aces)
Fire-Control System – 2* (TIE Phantom / B-Wing)

Darth Vader – 29 (TIE Advanced)
TIE/x1 – 0 (Imperial Raider)
Proton Rockets – 3 (Rebel Aces)
Veteran Instincts – 1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Advanced Targeting Computer – 5* (Imperial Raider)

As far as our local Atlanta meta is concerned, things are all over the place. Players love the T-70 X-Wing, but the TIE/FO Fighters aren’t seeing much play. TIE Phantoms are starting to show up again, but they’re just tasty snacks for the Twin Laser Turret Y-Wings that are way too prevalent for my liking. The TIE Punisher is the one thing that really hasn’t taken hold out of the Wave 6 releases – I still haven’t found a reason to open mine.

3 YV-666's (1 with Greedo) and a Z-95. Not exactly fun to chew through.
A more unusual sighting: 3 YV-666’s (1 with Greedo) and a Z-95. Not fun to chew through.

Armada

Armada has been my least active game lately. The game just feels stale at the moment, at least until Wave 2 arrives, bringing Imperial Star Destroyers, Imperial Raiders, MC30c Frigates, MC80 Cruisers, and a collection of Rogues & Villains to boot.

We did get a sneak peek of these ships during the recent Massing at Sullust pre-release tournament. I brought a rebel swarm list to the event, and did okay with them, taking 4th place and scoring myself an Imperial Raider for my trouble. I had a 2-1 record on the day, but I hit a figurative durasteel wall in my loss, getting completely wiped out by a trio of Assault Frigates carrying Advanced Projectors and Gunnery Teams – I just couldn’t punch through enough damage to actually hurt any of them.

Unnamed 300 point Sullust list

Nebulon B Support Frigate
Mon Mothma (CR90 Corellian Corvette)

Nebulon B Support Frigate x 2

CR90-A Corellian Corvette x 2

A-Wing Squadron x 2

All those fighters go away if (when) I can kill the capital ships they escort...
All those fighters up top will go away if (when) I can kill the capital ships they escort.

Battletech

After a handful of demo games recently, I finally got in my first mission of my our Clan Invasion campaign over the weekend. I’m still using proxies from the Starter Set because there was a bit of a mixup on our shipment, and my mechs haven’t arrived yet. I have to say I’m glad that my FLGS is dealing with that for me, and I’m not working with the supplier directly.

At our default Battle Value allowance for the campaign of 5,000 points, my Timber Wolf and Summoner (represented by the unpainted Catapult and Hunchback, respectively) squared off against a Catapult, a Timber Wolf, and a Jenner.

Sizing up the opposition and setting up for a defensive engagement.
Sizing up the opposition and setting up for a defensive engagement.

As I had hoped, the enemy  chose to avoid the water, and rushed my Timber Wolf, allowing the Summoner to snipe away at the advancing enemy unmolested with his Extended Range Lasers and accompanying Targeting Computer.

Timber Wolf vs Jenner and Timber Wolf...
Timber Wolf vs Jenner and Timber Wolf…
IMG_20151024_124916197
…but one good Gauss Rifle shot leveled up those odds. Splash one Diamond Shark.

Things continued to go my way for the rest of the match, and the Diamond Sharks eventually retreated from the field to avoid further losses.

I think we hit them a few times...
I think we hit them a few times…
An example piloting skill roll for the Diamond Shark Catapult, which spent more time prone than upright, yet managed to survive and flee the battle.
In the odd manner of clan honor, I'm not sure which pilot did better - the one that got chewed up by the enemy, or the one who didn't get hit at all.
Post-battle status of my mechs. In the odd manner of clan honor, I’m not sure which pilot did better – the one that got chewed up by the enemy, or the one who didn’t get hit at all.

In the interesting style of this campaign, my opponent and I are due to fight at least one more battle, as control of a given planet is determined via a best of three series. I expect to face a pair of slightly heavier mechs instead of a trio in our next engagement. I’m tempted to use that salvaged Jenner (borrowing the model for an appropriate paint scheme) just for fun and to thumb my nose at the enemy’s honor.

Video Games

On the electronic front, I haven’t made a lot of new purchases in recent months. Partially because I’m stubbornly waiting for a version of Blood Bowl 2 that comes with all the DLC teams bundled in (gonna be here a while), and partially because my PC is showing its’ age and in dire need of replacement.

Watch Dogs has been my go-to for console gaming lately, and I have very mixed feelings about it. The story is far-fetched but okay, and it gets the ideas that the writers were trying to emphasize across. And there’s tons of depth in the side games, everything from chess puzzles to quicktime drinking contests, with random PvP  firefights sprinkled in. But the hacking is just too simple. I get it, that’s the moral of the story, but when there’s more effort involved in playing a hand of poker than in detonating a grenade in someone’s pocket via their phone, that bugs me a little bit. There’s too much of a “Press [X] to play the main story” at times, but the game itself does have some depth to it, and it’s refreshing to actually have to think about combat as opposed to being able to charge straight in and recover from 10 gunshot wounds every 15 seconds.

Rebel Galaxy has been my recent PC choice when the hardware wants to work – it’s a space combat sim with a Firefly-esque, “Privateer lite” sort of feel. Cool soundtrack that could use a little bit longer of a playlist, an engaging if slightly predictable story… it’s worth picking up as-is if you’re into space sims, but I’m hoping for more out of future updates.

Summary

So that’s what I’ve been up to as of late. Nothing hugely significant, but I’m trying to keep up with everything I’ve been involved in, and starting to ramp up for the X-Wing Store Championships starting in January. Speaking of which, I’m working to informally coordinate a schedule of the Fantasy Flight Games Store Championships around the southeast. So if you haven’t talked to me about it, and you’re running an event, and you’re in the southeastern US, please send me a message. Who knows, I might just pop in for a visit?

– The Tabletop General

X-Wing RPG Session 5

Agent 7 had to admit, the Rebels were good. Not in the good versus evil sense, as word of their heinous war crimes against the innocents on Alderaan went to show, but good at striking quickly and pressing an advantage, not to mention quite skilled in combat. Were it not for the locator beacons on their stolen TIE Fighters, the Imperial Navy would have never seen the assault on Station Rho 2 coming at all, and it probably would have been captured intact, without damage, and without any losses whatsoever.

Fortunately, both for Agent 7 and for the Empire as a whole, Special Operations Group Spectre was able to hold off the assault long enough for Agent 7 to complete his work and escape. Falsifying the shipping records of the prototype ship components was easy enough. Setting charges at a few key locations around the station was childs’ play, albeit a touch more difficult to make the damage appear to have come from the exterior of the station during the attack. The most difficult part would have been escaping Rho 2 while a battle raged outside, but Stygium crystals had a hand in making that far more simple than one might expect under more normal conditions. They almost worked too well, in fact, as during his launch, Agent 7 was barely able to avoid a collision with what appeared to be a suicidal Z-95 Headhunter skimming along the station’s surface alone. That was a tempting kill, hard to pass up on, but his directive was clear: Influence the war, not a battle.

With his preparations in place, Agent 7 joined Agent 8, triggered the remote detonation of his thermal charges aboard Rho 2, and set a course for Garlan III, confident that the Rebels would soon find his carefully manufactured trail and place themselves directly within his trap. He could practically hear the arguments in their planning rooms now, that this had to be a trap, but that the chance to keep a new and superior starfighter out of the Empire’s hands was a risk that must be taken! He chuckled to himself as his TIE Phantom jumped to lightspeed. If only they knew…

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The Rebel forces arrive at their target on Garlan III, having flown in through a tight window in the local air defense coverage. The city almost appears abandoned, save for the anti-air batteries that are most definitely active.

 

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With no opposing ships in sight, the feeling that the Rebels are flying into an ambush grows (the TIE Fighters pictured are flown by Rebels). Several sensor blips appear on radar near the target facility, but the Rebels are unable to identify them with all the buildings in the way.

 

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The Rebels overwhelm the first of several defense turrets with a torrent of firepower en route to the first shield generator (top left building).
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Some of those sensor readings turn out to be TIE Fighters, and a heavy assault wing flies into the area, determined to stop the Rebel assault. But Spectre Group has yet to appear…

 

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Suddenly, a Lambda shuttle flown by the infamous pilot known as Grandma comes rising up out of the forest on the Rebels’ flank.
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The second set of sensor blips from before materializes into a small fighter squad as well.
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The first group of TIE Fighters is quickly dispatched, but seemed to disappear rather than explode. Heralded by explosions that disintegrate the false walls on several buildings, Spectre Group arrives, some in new TIE Interceptors. “It’s a TRAP!!!”
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Ghost Rider pulls some tight maneuvering, trying to get away from the ambush…
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… but it wasn’t quite enough!
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With a generator down and the bulk of the Imperials chasing down a decoy ship, the Rebels breathed a sigh of relief, but it was to be short lived, What they thought had been nothing but holographic distractions before turned out to be a cloaked ship that was now behind them!
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Beaten and bruised by the ambush, many Rebel ships were shot down or forced to flee. One pilot, however, would not be dissuaded from the target, as Trident broke off on a solo attack run.
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The Imperial forces, realizing that one had slipped through, scrambled to catch up with Trident.

 

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Trident put forth a valiant effort, and damaged, but could not destroy the factory. Wrong Way could have been the Rebels’ last hope, but he chose discretion over valor and fled the battlefield, living to fight another day.

The assault didn’t manage to destroy the facility, but it was a much closer than Agent 7 or his commanders would have liked. Even though this wasn’t the facility the Rebels were led to believe, it was still a valuable factory, and much damage was caused by the battle. Agent 7, however, would not have to face his superiors, having been shot down and killed in the battle. It would now be up to Agent 8, who successfully defended the southern half of the city, to figure out how to stop the Rebels once and for all.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Our campaign will be taking a short break, due to personal reasons along with a bit of X-Wing overload here in the midst of the Store Championship season and as we ramp up for Scum & Villainy’s release. But stay tuned, I hope to start up again in about a month.

— The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Wing RPG Session 5 Preview

Following the Rebels’ capture of a nearby space station, engineers and crew from Vandar’s Wisdom quickly began repairing the station and inspecting the cargo contained within. One particular set of cargo containers raised a huge red flag with the Rebels: a set of solar panels obviously intended for a starfighter, but in a previously unseen configuration. These parts were identified as being destined for a manufacturing facility on Garlan III.

It seems that after the multiple recent defeats at the hands of the Rebellion, and having lost several of its’ top pilots in the sector to the firepower of X-Wings, Imperial Command has committed to the local manufacturing and distribution of a newly designed ship type which would be more capable of going toe-to-toe with the enemy.

It would be a miracle if that shipment was the only one of its’ kind, but to be safe, that factory needed to be destroyed immediately, before the Imperials could finish whatever they were working on, or move it elsewhere. Orbital platforms meant that Vandar’s Wisdom had no chance of getting in close. Reconnaissance analysis of this area of Garlan III revealed heavy anti-air defenses, but there was one safe approach/exit away from coverage of known defense installations, and several dangerous ones. Once in the vicinity of the target, the Rebels would need to fly low and among the buildings in order to stay sheltered from the majority of the defense batteries, but some of the smaller local turrets would be unavoidable. Two large shield generators were spotted in the area by a covert recon team, unpowered but obviously staffed and operational; possibly secondary targets, probably defending the factory.

Joust City
Map  covers a 8×4 play surface, and terrain placement is approximate. Click for full size.

This might be a suicide run, but it might keep a deadly new weapon out of the hands of the local Imperial forces. There’s really no choice to be made.

Rules notes: Collisions with buildings are expected. When a ship’s maneuver template or final position overlaps a building, that ship receives 1 stress, one attack die of damage, and is then backed up to a safe position before reaching the building, regardless of whether or not the maneuver would normally allow the ship to reach the other side of the building. During the shooting phase, if space allows, the pilot of any ship may elect not to fire, and instead rotate their ship in place by the shortest distance possible to face directly towards a table edge in order to be able to avoid collisions with nearby buildings the next turn (Game Master’s discretion). Any other type of scenic terrain placed on the table will be treated as a debris field.

– The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

 

Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he’s suicidal and bloodthirsty. When you see a squad of those maniacs flying your way, you’d better hope your hyperdrive is operational.” – Kyle Katarn (hat tip to Wookiepedia)

X-Wing RPG Session 4

Tired of bunking in the tight confines of Vandar’s Wisdom and feeling as though the cockpits of their fighters were a place to relax and stretch out in comparison, our Rebel pilots were delighted to hear that more spacious accommodations were in the works. The only problem is that the space station command had in mind was already occupied.

Well, that’s not entirely true… another problem was that somehow the Imperials anticipated the Rebel attack, and Spectre Special Operations Group (as the Rebels’ former squadron was now known) was waiting to defend the station. So despite the fact that the station’s defenses were reduced by sabotage, this would be no easy mission.

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The Rebel assault force prepares for their attack run, consisting of 2 TIE Fighters, a Y-Wing, 2 Z-95’s, and 3 X-Wings. 2 Y-Wings (NPCs) were in reserve and awaiting orders.
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Spectre Special Operations Group arrives to defend the station, with 5 TIE Fighters, 1 TIE Bomber, and one Lambda Shuttle.

The Rebels’ primary objective was to capture the station (deal the last point of damage to it with an ion weapon). If that proved to be unfeasible, then the station was to be destroyed.

Rules notes: I used the DS-9 station token from Star Trek: Attack Wing, with the same shield/hull values, to represent the station. It was capable of two attacks per turn with an Ion Cannon (primary weapons were disabled by the sabotage). The station was granted a constant Reinforce action (1 free evade result per attack), and was treated as a (LARGE) debris field when overlapped. It wasn’t nearly tough enough, anyone borrowing this idea should definitely give it more firepower than I did.

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Almost in firing range…

 

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The Battle is joined. Crossbones dodged shot after shot in his TIE Fighter in an impressive defensive show that would prove to be his last, taking the last quad-burst dead on and becoming the first casualty of the day.
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The Rebel reserves arrive as the melee continues. Sabercat, another high ranking Imperial, observes the rest of the battle while performing involuntary spacewalk. Meanwhile, a rookie Z-95 pilot earns the callsign “Ghostrider” as he skims along the surface of the station.

 

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With the station disabled, the Rebels turned to mop-up mode, and the remaining Imperials scattered for a table edge.

 

Soon after this last photo, the remaining Imperials fled the battlefield, living to fight another day. The Rebels swiftly got to work repairing the station, and inspecting its’ contents, and were shocked at what they found… (To be continued in the next post!)

– The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

X-Wing RPG Session 3

The Rebels faired a little better in session #3 of our campaign, taking minimal losses, achieving their primary mission objective, and finding a bonus at the end of the day…

On the ropes after a solid beating in their last attack, the Rebellion resorted to hit and run tactics against less defended objectives while spies and tacticians schemed for a way to rescue the pilots captured in their previous sortie.

An intelligence leak provided the Rebels with the location of a asteroid belt storage facility for imperial weaponry materials deemed too hazardous to store on a settled planet but too valuable to store on a remote one. While useless to their cause without the facilities to complete the manufacturing, destruction of these supplies would certainly hurt the Imperial war effort, and perhaps cause them to stretch their defenses thinner to protect other such facilities.

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This rag-tag collection of Z-95 Headhunters and stolen TIE Fighters prepares to attack the Imperial storage facility.

 

In vast contrast to the previous mission, the Rebels outnumbered their foes and were very well coordinated in their assault, documented below.

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Instead of a lazy day of transporting raw materials, two Lambda Class shuttles move to defend the cargo containers along the middle of the map that they expected to be retrieving cargo from.
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The Rebels begin their attack run, squeezing between asteroids and proximity mines to swarm the first container.
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Meanwhile, two fresh graduates from the Garlan III pilot training academy break off from their patrol route and come to assist the defense.
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As the combatants close in, a team of (NPC) smugglers and bandits enter the area, looking for an easy score. Unopposed, they capture several containers from the other side of the facility.
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Having slowed the attack but unable to stop it, “Grandma” (bottom left) wisely breaks off after sustaining heavy hull damage and flees the battlefield soon after this photo.
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“Clyde” continues to harass the attackers, and takes down one of the Z-95’s as “Cipher” and “CT-1036” arrive to assist.
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Things took a turn for the worse for “Clyde” as his shuttle ran through the Proximity Mine field intended to defend the facility, and the Rebels soon pounced, destroying the damaged shuttle!

 

As valiant as the Imperial defensive effort was, nothing could be done for the facility. The pirates managed to steal half of the containers, and the Rebels destroyed the other half, while the surviving defenders were forced to flee. Holding the field and not engaging the pirates, the rebels found one more bit of cargo floating in space; battered and beaten, but miraculously alive…

Clyde
He survived, but he’s not happy about being captured!!!!

What happens next? Do the Rebels find a way to free their comrades? Is there potential for a prisoner exchange? Who knows??? But we’re having fun figuring it out!

– The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X-Wing RPG Session 2

 

 

Session #2 of our X-Wing RPG didn’t go well for the Rebellion!

In search of an easy victory, a portion of the Rebels who defected from Garlan III’s pilot training academy attempted to ambush the next class of academy pilots before they could be fully trained and added to combat squadrons. As they had hoped, the attacking force found a handful of unarmed training ships being escorted by a single instructor shuttle, all trapped and cut off from direct reinforcements inside the gravity well of a nearby planet.

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The attack run begins, with Six using his new Y-Wing as a distraction while Wrong Way, Big Red, and another Z-95 chased the helpless TIE Fighters.
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Getting up close with the training squadron.

 

3 Z-95 headhunters and 1 Y-Wing proved to be an ineffective assault force, however, and the instructor did a good job of providing cover for the trainees until help could arrive. In total, only three TIEs were lost on the day, one of which wasn’t in the training squadron.

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Sabercat and Grandma come to the rescue, along with a Royal Guard (NPC).

The attackers pressed their luck, despite learning that the newly arriving Imperial reinforcements  were between themselves and their only exit route. Now the Rebels were the trapped ones!

 

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Basilisk enters the fight, soon followed by Crossbones.
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Now that the trap had been reversed, the Rebels couldn’t commit much more of their thinly stretched forces to the fight. Two X-Wings (NPCs) came in to attempt a rescue, but both were lost.

All of the Rebel ships were shot down in the battle. Several pilots were killed, although Big Red, Six, and at least one other pilot were confirmed to have ejected and been recovered by the enemy.

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One Z-95 ALMOST escaped, needing one more turn to clear the gravity well (reach range 3 of the table’s edge), but his heroic escape fell just short, and his evade dice eventually gave out.

Will the remaining Rebels cut their losses and attempt a new strategy, and recruit new pilots? Or will they undertake a daring raid in an attempt to free their comrades? Only time (and another session) will tell!

– The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

 

X-Wing RPG Session 2 Preview

Session #2 of our X-Wing RPG is scheduled for this week, and the briefing for both factions follows. I’m officially having fun with this.

Operation: Mon Calamari on Tattooine

The bad news: After the recent defection incident from the starfighter academy on Garlan III, all members of the subsequent class of trainee pilots who had any shred of a connection to Rebellion sympathizers have disappeared. No one will say for certain if they have been detained, executed, or simply expelled from the academy. For the Imperial forces, that means less available pilots in the near future. For the Rebellion, that means that there will be no more potential for defectors conveniently in possession of starfighters.

The good news [for the Rebels]: That means the next class of pilots can be considered purely hostile, and the recent defectors now stationed aboard Vandar’s Wisdom have no need of feeling that they may be facing friends or family; the ties to their original class having been thoroughly severed during their escape.

The grim news: If the schedule hasn’t changed (and in the manner of Imperial efficiency, it likely hasn’t), this next training class is due to fly their first live maneuvers outside of simulators today, not too far from Customs Checkpoint Alpha. That places them in a known location, inside of a gravity well, herded by a single instructor, and otherwise unarmed. It’ll be like the old saying… “Hunting Mon Calamari on Tattooine is easy, there’s nowhere for them to swim once you find them”.

Rebel objectives
Primary: Inflict maximum casualties on the Imperial cadets while you have the advantage, while taking minimal losses.
Secondary: Take out the instructor to slow the training of subsequent classes.

Imperial objectives
Survive the attack until reinforcements arrive to drive off the Rebels.

X-Wing RPG Session 1

During a routine exercise, a handful of Imperial pilots in training went rogue and helped a freighter of stolen goods escape Imperial space, despite the best efforts of their former squadmates to stop them.

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The mission: Disable the Instructor’s shuttle of the opposing team with modified ion weapons, while leaving freighter traffic passing through this Customs checkpoint unharmed.

 

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More civilian traffic arrives, including some really big transport ships, the GR-75 Long Haul and the modified CR-90 Vandar’s Wisdom.
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That traffic isn’t civilian after all! Catch The Wild Wookie!!!
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Some of the pilots figure out that not all of their peers are firing on the YT-1300 as ordered, while the CR-90 starts laying down covering fire. A HWK-290 attempts to evade a TIE Fighter that misidentifies it as their target.
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The Wild Wookie is disabled, and it explodes shortly after some of the suspicious members of the squad take off towards the CR-90.
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Fleeing TIE Fighters begin docking with the modified CR-90, which fires up its’ engines again. Loyal Imperials blast away at the defectors, while (mostly) avoiding the transport that’s been dumb enough to keep flying and even accelerate into the combat zone.
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Vandar’s Wisdom makes it’s escape with multiple TIE Fighters onboard, while the Long Haul follows right behind, having successfully used the battle as cover to slip past the Customs scan point!

 

Visibly shaken over delivering his report concerning the chaos that replaced his normally mundane days, the Imperial officer took a short moment to steady himself before answering his superior officer’s request for a report on what had transpired earlier in the day. “Three ships were destroyed. One YT-1300, registered as The Wild Wookie, falsely reported as stolen from dock, and the ship fled when ordered to stop. Two TIE Fighters from the new academy’s training exercises. We’re still analyzing the flight data to determine if they were among those attempting to escape, but the results are inconclusive. Both pilots survived and are being detained until the investigation completes.”

“One HWK-290, Solar Powered Mynock, heavily damaged by an overload of ionization. We believe that one was a combination of misidentification by one of the training pilots and an unexpected failure in the design of our training weaponry. That pilot is also being detained pending investigation. Four other TIE Fighters and one Lambda class shuttle sustained heavy damage to hull during the battle as well as ionization damage from the training exercise and the explosion of The Wild Wookie.

The officer consulted his datapad before continuing. “The modified blockade runner operating under a falsified transponder ID as Vandar’s Wisdom escaped, sustaining minimal damage in the battle. We believe the subspace engines to have been damaged slightly, but analysis is still ongoing; as it was an unregistered ship we do not have enough data about it to be able to determine if it was moving at top speed or not at the end of the battle.”

“The GR-75 Medium Transport Long Haul jumped to lightspeed shortly after the blockade runner, on a similar vector. Intelligence believes that the recovery of this ship was the true objective of the Wisdom. It is uncertain what the Long Haul was carrying; the manifest was obviously faked as it’s declared cargo is still on Rho Station, and the ship was able to bypass scanning at Checkpoint Alpha after the outbreak of hostilities. Intelligence is working closely with Customs to determine what may have been on the ship, and all storage and shipping facilities, civilian and military, have been ordered to perform an exhaustive inventory check.”

“In addition to the destroyed and damaged ships, five of the academy TIE pilots appear to have defected to the rebellion, and landed in a docking bay that was added to the CR-90. Also, one Lambda shuttle is unaccounted for, that of one Captain Polis, secondary flight instructor from the academy. Presumed to have defected as well, but without eyes on his ship, we don’t know where it went, all of our telemetry coverage was lost during the ion pulses from the overloading of Captain Jett’s shuttle and The Wild Wookie. Background checks are being re-initialized on all missing personnel, but we presume the rest of the squadron to be loyal, as shots were exchanged even after the ionization crystals were disabled on the training ships.”

The garrison commander gave a short nod in acknowledgement of the report, and walked away, reaching for his comlink to deliver a simple order: “Find those ships.”


To be continued…

– The Tabletop General

X-Wing RPG preview

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….

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.

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