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Empire Strikes Back 2.0. Star Wars RPG

Zardnaar

Legend
I have an idea for SWRPG. It's probably going to be Legends but it can still work in the new Disney cannon although it uses some Legends material.

In both versions after the Battle of Endor the Empire kinda crumbles. In Legends you have a civil war and vs the NR it lingers for another 15 years or so. In Canon they surrender with fanatics forming the First order but it seems some factions linger (see The Mandalorian). Either way my idea works for an RPG campaign.

Put simply my Imperial faction is going to go to war guerilla style vs the New Republic. Resources are limited and I don't want to give them super weapons or hidden massive fleet.

Essentially they are imperial rebels using imperial equipment. They still have some resources though.

So they are basically Germany in WW1/WW2 using subs, cruisers and raiders. In Star Wars cloaking devices are to expensive so sub approach won't work.

Now there is an imperial ship that is ideal for this. It's cheap, packs a punch, can be mass produced. It's the strike cruiser from Legends.


4 of them roughly equal an imperial star destroyer (ISD) but in cost you can get 8 SC for 1 ISD, 17 million vs 150 million credits. The remaining 14 million is enough to afford decent TIE fighters. 8 cruisers also have half the crew requirement of a single ISD.

Strike Cruisers are light cruisers packing heavy cruiser weaponry but not the armor. Kind of like the Graff Spee a pocket battleship. And they can carry a squadron of TIEs.

Those TIEs can be better than normal TIEs. Best bang for buck I can find is shield equipped TIE interceptors and a few TIE advanced X1 the TIE Vader flew in ANH.

Strike Cruisers are also modular, it's reasonably cheap to add more TIEs (18 vs 12). I'm thinking you could also make a "submarine" variant. Basically sensor absorbing coating, baffle drives and capital scale concussion missile launcher. Not as good as a cloaking device but you could use it for a first strike running on low power. More stealth vs invisible.

So some hot shot Imperial has figured out that the Empire should emulate the rebels. Even a single planet could afford to build a few if these things and crew them. Money saved build better TIE fighters without having to use experimental/expensive stuff like TIE Defenders.

All I need is a cool base and an interesting villain. Not so much Grand Admiral Thrawn or an Admiral Daala but a hybrid of the two.

Any thoughts on leader, location, set up, timeline etc. I'm thinking of a decade after Endor in Legends, a year or two after The Mandalorian in Canon.
 

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Jd Smith1

Adventurer
Keep in mind that the historical concept you are copying (the pocket battle cruiser for commerce raiding) was a failure. One of the reasons it failed was because the need for support vessels and bases remains no matter what type of ship is used.

The commerce raiders (disguised and armed civilian ships) did better, but eventually they failed as well, and had no significant impact on the conflicts.

Navies require extensive training, construction, and maintenance facilities, which require substantial amounts of resource-gathering infrastructure. To defeat your plan, all that needs to be done is to figure out where the ships and fighters are being built, and then target those centers. The strike cruisers lack the staying power of regular ships of the line, and in any case, if they are being held back to defend friendly infrastructure, they have been neutralized insofar as their commerce-raiding mission.

As to the U-boat campaign, it was defeated because of the subs' need to communicate with the intelligence-gathering agencies so as to vector in on convoys, and the fact that escort weaponry advanced to defeat the subs' chief advantage (stealth). Area-attack weapons like hedgehogs meant that escorts only needed a general idea when the sub was in order to attack.

And all this is predicated upon the concept that sufficient damage to commercial shipping will cripple the enemy's economy; the USN's campaign against Japan worked in that conflict, but only because the enemy's heavy industry was concentrated upon islands which lacked key resources, and because the Imperial Navy was heavily conditioned for war against warships, and was exceedingly slow to change their doctrine. Terminally slow, as it turned out.

Obviously, the only standard you need to meet is what your players will accept, but your concept as a doctrine doesn't work on any level.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Keep in mind that the historical concept you are copying (the pocket battle cruiser for commerce raiding) was a failure. One of the reasons it failed was because the need for support vessels and bases remains no matter what type of ship is used.

The commerce raiders (disguised and armed civilian ships) did better, but eventually they failed as well, and had no significant impact on the conflicts.

Navies require extensive training, construction, and maintenance facilities, which require substantial amounts of resource-gathering infrastructure. To defeat your plan, all that needs to be done is to figure out where the ships and fighters are being built, and then target those centers. The strike cruisers lack the staying power of regular ships of the line, and in any case, if they are being held back to defend friendly infrastructure, they have been neutralized insofar as their commerce-raiding mission.

As to the U-boat campaign, it was defeated because of the subs' need to communicate with the intelligence-gathering agencies so as to vector in on convoys, and the fact that escort weaponry advanced to defeat the subs' chief advantage (stealth). Area-attack weapons like hedgehogs meant that escorts only needed a general idea when the sub was in order to attack.

And all this is predicated upon the concept that sufficient damage to commercial shipping will cripple the enemy's economy; the USN's campaign against Japan worked in that conflict, but only because the enemy's heavy industry was concentrated upon islands which lacked key resources, and because the Imperial Navy was heavily conditioned for war against warships, and was exceedingly slow to change their doctrine. Terminally slow, as it turned out.

Obviously, the only standard you need to meet is what your players will accept, but your concept as a doctrine doesn't work on any level.

Game srat wise strike Cruisers are really nasty.

Supplies don't really matter as they have something like 2 years worth of supplies.

Space is also very big and hyperspace let's them teleport essentially.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Strike Cruiser stats.
IMG_20200919_172852.jpg


Roughly vs ISD

11% less shields
50% less firepower
13% less hull
1/8th the cost


Essentially a battlecruisers at lt cruiser cost. 8 of them less than half the crew of an ISD.
 
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Jd Smith1

Adventurer
Game srat wise strike Cruisers are really nasty.

Supplies don't really matter as they have something like 2 years worth of supplies.

Space is also very big and hyperspace let's them teleport essentially.

What about repairs, refits, battle damage? Destroyed fighters? Even with a tender/repair ship handy, six months is a long time out of port. What about relief crews or port liberty? Those 2000 sailors are going to get awful sick of being stuck inside 450m of tin can. Throw in no or very limited home contact due to running silent, and you're looking at a mutiny at worst, badly degraded crew efficiency at best. Your doctrine seems to focus simply on guns and armor, and ignores the crew and logistics completely. Not to mention c3 issues.

And the entire business of production/infrastructure is still wide open, too.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
What about repairs, refits, battle damage? Destroyed fighters? Even with a tender/repair ship handy, six months is a long time out of port. What about relief crews or port liberty? Those 2000 sailors are going to get awful sick of being stuck inside 450m of tin can. Throw in no or very limited home contact due to running silent, and you're looking at a mutiny at worst, badly degraded crew efficiency at best. Your doctrine seems to focus simply on guns and armor, and ignores the crew and logistics completely. Not to mention c3 issues.

And the entire business of production/infrastructure is still wide open, too.

They will have a home port.

Nuclear aircraft carriers stay at sea for weeks. On Star Wars they can jump home fairly fast. Probably not going to be more than a week or two from home.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
They will have a home port.

Nuclear aircraft carriers stay at sea for weeks. On Star Wars they can jump home fairly fast. Probably not going to be more than a week or two from home.

With an entire battle group in attendance, including fleet support vessel(s). Not to mention currently a CVN group is intended as an offensive combatant unit, capable of taking on any task force afloat. Your ships are raiders, hitting and running.

But again, what is protecting the home base? It will take a massive installation and thousands of workers to support cruiser-class vessels, and the enemy will certainly target them. In WW2 the Brits developed special bombs and modified four-engine bombers to hit U Boat pens.

The bases, unless they are on a heavily-populated and technologically-advanced world, will need considerable dead lift shipping to support it; what is protecting that shipping from enemy attacks?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
With an entire battle group in attendance, including fleet support vessel(s). Not to mention currently a CVN group is intended as an offensive combatant unit, capable of taking on any task force afloat. Your ships are raiders, hitting and running.

But again, what is protecting the home base? It will take a massive installation and thousands of workers to support cruiser-class vessels, and the enemy will certainly target them. In WW2 the Brits developed special bombs and modified four-engine bombers to hit U Boat pens.

The bases, unless they are on a heavily-populated and technologically-advanced world, will need considerable dead lift shipping to support it; what is protecting that shipping from enemy attacks?

Hidden base, thinking of a somewhat normal world with a moon that can be mined.

Or really inhospitable with an orbiting station. Inside or near a nebula that's really hard to navigate if you don't know the path.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
Hidden base, thinking of a somewhat normal world with a moon that can be mined.

Or really inhospitable with an orbiting station. Inside or near a nebula that's really hard to navigate if you don't know the path.

A massive hidden base, with enough personnel to service cruisers and their 2000 man crews, that stays secret even though it will need regular ship-borne deliveries of all manner of supplies.

Yeah, that's not going to work. Not only would an intelligence agency crack the location (after all, someone had to build the thing, plus all the ship traffic; too many people know) soon, but the instant the secret is out, it is a sitting duck. You don't even need to navigate the Nebula Of Ominous Navigation Which Supply Ships Have No Problem With; all you have to do is park a task force close enough to the station and the base is thus rendered useless, tying up thousands of staff and costing megabuck for nothing.

Amateurs talk of tactics; professionals discuss logistics.

Gimmicks like 'a secret base' won't work. You are going to need a network of bases to support enough cruisers to have a fighting chance at driving up shipping losses to the breaking point, and while you're undertaking that effort (the USN needed three years) the enemy is going to be hunting bases and mounting countermeasures with all the determination that career officers and bureaucrats ten years short of retirement can bring to a 'do it or get sacked' mission. And still your supply lines are wide open, easy picking for your enemies.

Your concept is paper-thin at best.

For one thing, aside from the silly secret base, is you're going with too much ship. If your doctrine is to cripple commerce shipping, you use guided missile boats: small, fast, cheap, tiny crew. They zip in, launch a volley of torpedoes/missiles, and zip away. They meet up with a FSV that is a converted civilian freighter, rearm, spend a quick liberty aboard with whores & booze, and then its back out. Repair jobs are small enough for the FSV.

You don't need bases, your industrial and training infrastructure is minimal, your logistical footprint is both intermittent and small. Yeah, you'll lose both boats and FSV in numbers, but you've chosen a battle of attrition.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
A massive hidden base, with enough personnel to service cruisers and their 2000 man crews, that stays secret even though it will need regular ship-borne deliveries of all manner of supplies.

Yeah, that's not going to work. Not only would an intelligence agency crack the location (after all, someone had to build the thing, plus all the ship traffic; too many people know) soon, but the instant the secret is out, it is a sitting duck. You don't even need to navigate the Nebula Of Ominous Navigation Which Supply Ships Have No Problem With; all you have to do is park a task force close enough to the station and the base is thus rendered useless, tying up thousands of staff and costing megabuck for nothing.

Amateurs talk of tactics; professionals discuss logistics.

Gimmicks like 'a secret base' won't work. You are going to need a network of bases to support enough cruisers to have a fighting chance at driving up shipping losses to the breaking point, and while you're undertaking that effort (the USN needed three years) the enemy is going to be hunting bases and mounting countermeasures with all the determination that career officers and bureaucrats ten years short of retirement can bring to a 'do it or get sacked' mission. And still your supply lines are wide open, easy picking for your enemies.

Your concept is paper-thin at best.

For one thing, aside from the silly secret base, is you're going with too much ship. If your doctrine is to cripple commerce shipping, you use guided missile boats: small, fast, cheap, tiny crew. They zip in, launch a volley of torpedoes/missiles, and zip away. They meet up with a FSV that is a converted civilian freighter, rearm, spend a quick liberty aboard with whores & booze, and then its back out. Repair jobs are small enough for the FSV.

You don't need bases, your industrial and training infrastructure is minimal, your logistical footprint is both intermittent and small. Yeah, you'll lose both boats and FSV in numbers, but you've chosen a battle of attrition.

Star Wars has fortress world's. I'm not sure if this is a sector level threat or galactic level.

100 cruisers requires 200000 crew. Look at WW2. A single planet could build and crew that many. Hell Australia can crew them.

200 of them is more firepower than the Imperial fleet at Endor sans Deathstar.

If I use legends the Empire is still around so supporting the fleet isn't a problem.

If I use canon the Empire lasts a year post Endor and there's Imperial Renegades after that.

I don't want an Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn clone or a Daala substitute so a sane Moff or Vice Admiral or something can probably do.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
Star Wars has fortress world's. I'm not sure if this is a sector level threat or galactic level.

100 cruisers requires 200000 crew. Look at WW2. A single planet could build and crew that many. Hell Australia can crew them.

200 of them is more firepower than the Imperial fleet at Endor sans Deathstar.

If I use legends the Empire is still around so supporting the fleet isn't a problem.

If I use canon the Empire lasts a year post Endor and there's Imperial Renegades after that.

I don't want an Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn clone or a Daala substitute so a sane Moff or Vice Admiral or something can probably do.

200,000 ship's crew will be about 1.1 to 2 million support and dockyard staff; c3 for 100-200 warships, well, that's going to be large pool of very specialized training.

And given that your enemy has more resources (hence your targeting their MSRs), anything you can build, your enemy can outdo. So we're back to you using ninja bases and oversized commerce raiders to kill merchant shipping. Which we know will fail.

Again, pretty paper thin.

If your players have low expectations of campaign depth, you're still golden, though.

But building twenty small attack boats instead of a cruiser requires less personnel, fewer resources, a smaller logistical footprint, and far less support. And they can be in twenty locations, whereas your cruiser is only in one.

And when the annual refit rolls around, the cruiser is sitting at the super-secret base that thousands of people know about but is still secret, whereas the attack boats simply stagger their refits so 15 craft remain on station at all times.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
So anyway, how are the PCs supposed to fit into this campaign?

Are they going to be a Star Trek style bridge crew of one of these cruisers, leaving the ship in orbit while all the division heads and a couple expendable grunts go ashore and fall into yet another obvious trap?
 

Zardnaar

Legend
200,000 ship's crew will be about 1.1 to 2 million support and dockyard staff; c3 for 100-200 warships, well, that's going to be large pool of very specialized training.

And given that your enemy has more resources (hence your targeting their MSRs), anything you can build, your enemy can outdo. So we're back to you using ninja bases and oversized commerce raiders to kill merchant shipping. Which we know will fail.

Again, pretty paper thin.

If your players have low expectations of campaign depth, you're still golden, though.

But building twenty small attack boats instead of a cruiser requires less personnel, fewer resources, a smaller logistical footprint, and far less support. And they can be in twenty locations, whereas your cruiser is only in one.

And when the annual refit rolls around, the cruiser is sitting at the super-secret base that thousands of people know about but is still secret, whereas the attack boats simply stagger their refits so 15 craft remain on station at all times.

It's Star wars though, see rebels, First Order, Palpatine etc.

They've had larger secret fleets. A million people is nothing in Star Wars.

It's less people involved than WW2 logistics.

It only has to be vaguely plausible. It's less than a sector fleet and there's a lot of sectors.

The idea is the Empire is using them because they're cheap and they can't throw away ISDs anymore.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
So anyway, how are the PCs supposed to fit into this campaign?

Are they going to be a Star Trek style bridge crew of one of these cruisers, leaving the ship in orbit while all the division heads and a couple expendable grunts go ashore and fall into yet another obvious trap?

The rough idea would be they're in a weakly held sector getting preyed on by mysterious raiders.

If it's imperial they will likely be pilots on one of them in a reverse far orbit game where they pirate the New Republic.

Far Orbit was a campaign adventure where they play on a mutinous imperial ship that becomes a privateer.

Hidden base is something like the Darkstryder campaign boxed set.
 

Jd Smith1

Adventurer
It only has to be vaguely plausible.

Well, it's your bar. Set it where you will.

The rough idea would be they're in a weakly held sector getting preyed on by mysterious raiders.

If it's imperial they will likely be pilots on one of them in a reverse far orbit game where they pirate the New Republic.

Far Orbit was a campaign adventure where they play on a mutinous imperial ship that becomes a privateer.

Hidden base is something like the Darkstryder campaign boxed set.

Mysterious raiders operating identical half-kilometer ships of a common design, mass-produced, and packed with two thousand crewmen each who send letters home, try to impress the locals girls, and get snocckered in the port dives (all outside the secret base)?

Given that the Rebels are at war, how mysterious would such raids seem? In 1943, if a British convoy in the Western Approaches lost three ships to an unseen attacker, the escort commander didn't drum his fingers on the charts and wonder who it was that was torpedoing his charges.

To be mysterious, there must be a mystery involved. Violence in wartime isn't a mystery, or even much of a surprise (although the specific applications can be a nasty shock).

Well, good luck in your quest to meet a vaguely plausible standard. I'll leave you alone, but I enjoyed the discourse.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Well, it's your bar. Set it where you will.



Mysterious raiders operating identical half-kilometer ships of a common design, mass-produced, and packed with two thousand crewmen each who send letters home, try to impress the locals girls, and get snocckered in the port dives (all outside the secret base)?

Given that the Rebels are at war, how mysterious would such raids seem? In 1943, if a British convoy in the Western Approaches lost three ships to an unseen attacker, the escort commander didn't drum his fingers on the charts and wonder who it was that was torpedoing his charges.

To be mysterious, there must be a mystery involved. Violence in wartime isn't a mystery, or even much of a surprise (although the specific applications can be a nasty shock).

Well, good luck in your quest to meet a vaguely plausible standard. I'll leave you alone, but I enjoyed the discourse.


Context at the time frame I'm looking at there's multiple factions.

The Imperial had the deep core. It had massive amounts of star destroyers, super weapons, the clone emperor, super star destroyer s etc.

Luke and Co smacked that flat. The Imperials withdrew to the outer rim including leaving behind large ships they couldn't crew.

It's a reasonably small fleet by Star Wars standards. Might not even be 100 ships.

With trillions of beings and planets with billions of people it's 200000 people assuming I use 100 ships.

They could feed and crew that using New Zealand irl let alone a planet or multiple planets.

Throw in an automated shipyard which exist it's not even hard building them.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Probably set around this time frame.


They're running out of larger ships and transitioning to smaller ships. There's a time gap there if relative peace (raiding) or they can be used as a distraction.

No super weapons, Dark Jedi, Sith etc.
 

Eltab

Hero
You can play the first "pocket battleship" deployed in combat, with part of the challenge being "How long can we keep this up?". Other Imperial, pseudo-Imperial, and warlord forces means the New Republic cannot just drop everything to swat you. And they have to learn the tactics to counter you from hard experience, not by looking up The Book of Previous Battles.

Be aware that High Command is going to realize that your very-oversized-PT-boat will be more obviously successful in a planetary bombardment or fleet / squadron battle capacity, so you get to play the bureaucratic game of ignoring orders to go do something else. Because being Pirates of the Caribbean is more fun ! (Is there an NPC journalist who can turn your ship/crew into a dashing figure of lore and legend?)

Perhaps the biggest strategic threat to this ship is an enemy counterpart or a Q-ship (armed freighter with weapons hidden). IRL, the Graf Spee's career ended when it took a hit to the freshwater condenser and could not repair it using materials on board. Deliver a critical hit on this ship and give the otherwise-boring Engineer's job a chance to be the hero.
 

Star Wars ships are not a tight fit to naval surface ships, despite the limited arcs and 2d flight paths...

Many SW warships carry over a year's worth of consumables.
Plus, the differential in average crew skills is notable. (See Star Warriors, for 1E)
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Star Wars ships are not a tight fit to naval surface ships, despite the limited arcs and 2d flight paths...

Many SW warships carry over a year's worth of consumables.
Plus, the differential in average crew skills is notable. (See Star Warriors, for 1E)

True but not everyone would know the stats for a strike cruiser.
It's best guns hit harder than an ISDs guns, but not as hard as an ISD II.

Hits harder than a Mon Call cruiser. They're not as squishy as a light cruiser.

It's kind of a heavy cruiser equivilent or a pocket battleship with heavy cruiser armor.

Graf Spee had lt cruiser armor and over gunned.

It's roughly comparable to those ships assuming an ISD is a BB/CV hybrid.
 

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