Confronting the Imperial Menace
A Preview of the STAR WARS (R): Age of Rebellion (TM) Roleplaying Game
“Yes! I said closer! Move as close as you can and engage those Star Destroyers at point-blank range.” –Lando Calrissian
You and your wingmates barely manage to evade the laser blasts fired by the trio of TIE interceptors on your backs long enough to weave through an asteroid field, only to find an Imperial Star Destroyer dropping out of hyperspace ahead of you on the opposite side…
Welcome to life in the Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ Roleplaying Game!
As a member of the Rebel Alliance, you’re part of an outmatched, rag-tag resistance group fighting in a civil war that spans the galaxy. Your enemies are more numerous and better funded. Their tactics rely upon the overwhelming strength of their TIEs, troopers, and Star Destroyers, and they’re everywhere.
Every hero needs a worthy adversary, and in an Age of Rebellion campaign, you’ll gain a newfound respect for the military might of the tyrannical Galactic Empire. In previous previews, we’ve looked at what it means to play a part in a war against the galaxy’s ruling government. We saw how your participation in the Rebellion effort gives meaning to your actions, and we saw how it influences your view of the galaxy.
Today, we look at the challenges ahead of you. What stands between the Rebel Alliance and galactic freedom? A horde of Imperial adversaries, and a whole navy’s worth of vehicles and starships. Altogether, the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook features more than two-dozen pages of Imperial adversaries, vehicles, and weapons, as well as a host of others that the Empire can recruit or co-opt.
You’ll find entire legions of Stormtroopers, Snowtroopers, and even Dark Troopers among the various minions, rivals, and nemeses presented in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook. Alongside such Imperial troops, you’ll also find DeStab agents, Imperial Moffs, military informants, and TIE aces.
The Core Rulebook divides the Empire’s forces into two categories, bureaucratic and military, and the result is an Imperial menace that operates on multiple levels simultaneously. It’s not just a collection of troopers waiting to gun you down; it’s also a soul-crushing organization that looks to root out dissension, sow distrust, spread fear through the galaxy, and extinguish the last flames of hope and resistance.
Accordingly, you’ll find all the adversaries you need to enjoy a wide variety of stories, ranging from those that feature heated firefights to those that focus on the Rebellion’s efforts to rally support and acquire resources without alerting the Empire’s attention. You’ll find minions to defend your Imperial bases, and you’ll find cruel and aspiring agents capable of matching wits with the Rebellion’s greatest heroes.
Vehicles and Starships
Of course, the Empire’s military consists of more than just soldiers, pilots, commanders, and agents. Its strength stems largely from its use of powerful, technologically advanced vehicles and starships, many of which you’ll find presented in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook.
Imagine, for a moment, that you’re part of a Rebel strike team tasked with jamming Imperial transmissions from one of their reconnaissance outposts. At first, everything seems to go well. You get the jump on their perimeter and quickly move through a handful of defenders toward the compound’s communications array. However, as you start placing your explosives on the bunker doors, you hear the thunderous sound of something bad. One of your teammates steps around the corner and confirms your suspicions: an AT-AT has just returned to base…
It’s not impossible for Rebel characters to prevail against AT-ATs or Star Destroyers, but such situations are truly desperate and should lead your group to perform an immediate reevaluation of its tactics. Moreover, these are the sorts of situations that may punctuate the key turns of an Age of Rebellion campaign. After all, in the heat of a galactic civil war, you should expect both sides to make use of all the weapons at their disposal.
That means, too, that while the Imperials gain vehicles like the AT-AT and AT-ST, along with a veritable swarm of TIEs and capital ships, the Rebels gain the T-47 airspeeder and such classic starfighters as the X-wing, A-wing, and B-wing.
Shedding more light upon the many vehicles and starships that you’ll find in the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook is contributing author Jason Marker:
“I'm a huge fan of starships, so when I was offered the chance to work on the serious business military ships featured in Age of Rebellion, I jumped at the chance.
“Age of Rebellion is, necessarily, military-oriented and the ships included in the Core Rulebook reflect that. With them, you’ll be able to fly space superiority missions in brand new X-wings, lead a squadron of B-wings against a squadron of capital ships and turn them into hot scrap, blast swarms of TIE fighters into clouds of dust with stolen Lancer-class frigates, and generally have a great time at the controls of a spaceship.
“There’s a deep well of great Star Wars ships, ranging from tiny little scout ships to fast-attack starfighters like the X-wing to lumbering Super Star Destroyers, so one thing I really wanted was to bring the Anaxes War College into the game. Using the Anaxes War College gave the setting a more military-style system for naming and classifying ships and allowed for specific categories of ships that I could populate with a rich collection of established favorites.”
Using the Anaxes War College as a guide, the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook categorizes the starships it presents into starfighters, gunships, cruisers, and battleships, and you’ll find starships of all sorts, ranging from the A-wing to the Imperial-class Star Destroyer. Moreover, you’ll find new rules for barrage fire that will allow you to make good use of the Core Rulebook’s capital ships in dramatic and engaging space combats.
As Jason explains, the Core Rulebook’s collection of starships also helped to establish the game’s tone:
“The Imperial Navy has the resources of the entire galaxy at its beck and call. They have the most money, the best designers, the most respected shipyards, and they can turn out ships at an incredible rate.
“On the other hand, the Alliance is using second or third-hand ships that are decades old – fighters that were old during the Clone Wars, and sub-capital cruisers and frigates that are long past their prime.
“I wanted to make it clear that the Imperial Navy was a new, shiny, deadly efficient military force and the Alliance fleet was a rag-tag collection of antiques, repurposed freighters, and salvaged warships doing the best they could in an ugly situation.”
Resist the Empire’s Tyranny
Though you manage to salvage the damaged CR90 corvette and its armaments, there’s no time to celebrate. Your hyperdrive is offline, and sensors indicate a swarm of TIEs headed your way. Quickly, your team jumps into action. Talvin races to engineering. Kyle and Pol’tura head to the nearest gunnery stations. Drezzen boosts the sensors and finds the ship that launched those TIEs – a Vindicator-class heavy cruiser. You won’t last long against that ship, especially while your corvette is already damaged. As the Vindicator rounds the desert moon, you order the gunners to lay down a blanket barrage. You’re outnumbered and outgunned, but if you can make the jump to hyperspace before you’re obliterated, you’re going to strike a major blow against the Empire…
In the Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook, you’ll find an Imperial menace worthy of the galaxy’s greatest heroes. Are you one of them? The Rebel Alliance needs you.
The Age of Rebellion Core Rulebook is due to arrive at retailers late next week. Until then, stay tuned for more information, including a preview of your adventures in Age of Rebellion!