Vibrant Settings and Mass Combats
A Preview of the Age of Rebellion Adventure, Onslaught at Arda I
“Right now I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself.” –Dak Ralter
Onslaught at Arda I is the first book-length adventure supplement for the Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ Roleplaying Game, set shortly after the Battle of Yavin, during a time in which the Empire has responded to the destruction of the Death Star by tightening its grip on the surrounding systems.
Throughout the adventure, players assume the roles of new Rebel recruits stationed at the secret base on Arda I, and when Imperial Star Destroyers appear in orbit, they must work together to both defend their base from a massed Imperial onslaught and root out the traitor that exposed them.
Touching upon many of the core Age of Rebellion themes, Onslaught at Arda I partners the heroes’ desperate struggles with uneasy alliances and massed battles against an overwhelming enemy. In today’s preview, adventure writer Jeff Hall and lead developer Katrina Ostrander look at the ways that Onslaught at Arda I blends these themes into a true Star Wars experience, as well as the ways its Mass Combat rules can transform your Age of Rebellion adventures into truly epic experiences.
Adventure Writer Jeff Hall on Onslaught at Arda I
Getting to work on the first full-length adventure for Age of Rebellion was a dream come true. The concept I was given to work with hit on all of the hallmarks that would make it feel like something that belonged alongside the classic Star Wars movies: action, intrigue, and heroism, all at a breakneck pace.
My job was to bring all these things to life, and a big part of that was making sure that the adventure’s settings were rich and textured.
The adventure begins on the world of Arda I, an Outer Rim planet previously mentioned only in passing. This was both exciting and daunting; apart from some stunning artwork that FFG planned to use in the book, I had no real constraints on what the planet was like. This meant I could really dive into its design.
However, because the planet had little established background, I had to work even harder to make it feel like a living, breathing world in the Star Wars universe. I think the work paid off, though, and there are many different nuggets that I believe players will enjoy as they explore Arda I before they are thrust deeper into the action!
The Imperial fleet approaches Arda I.
The adventure begins on Arda I, but its action doesn’t end there. From the Ardan Cross, the PCs head to a new Rebel base on the swamp world of Jagomir and then to the Imperial World of Ord Radama.
Designing Jagomir was a fun challenge as I wanted to make sure it was a unique swamp planet and not a clone of Dagobah. Creating a distinct landscape amid the swamp was key, and the sweeping vistas of Jagomir make a fantastic setting for players who want to use them as a long term base for their Rebels.
The adventure also offers the PCs a chance to explore Ord Radama, an ancient world held firmly by the Empire and that has a sinister past as a former Sith World. Friends are few and far between on Ord Radama, and the PCs would be wise to make more use of their skills than their blasters if they venture that deep into Imperial territory. Of course, as with Jagomir, Ord Radama presents many avenues that can lead to an even longer campaign.
The capital city of Livien Magnus on Ord Radama has known a number of masters, having belonged to the Sith Empire, the Republic, the Separatists, and now the Galactic Empire.
Lead Developer Katrina Ostrander on Creating New Rules for Epic Battles
One of our goals while designing the Age of Rebellion roleplaying game was to make it the best possible Rebellion experience. And part of that meant that we’d need some way to recreate the epic scale of Star Wars combat between the Rebellion and the Empire.
To facilitate these, Onslaught at Arda I introduces rules for mass combat that allow Game Masters to depict the ebb and flow of combat without getting bogged down in endless dice rolls. Additionally, we added an Action Tracker to the adventure that helps maintain the frantic pacing of a race against time while Imperial forces are waiting for the heroes at every turn. These elements help make Onslaught at Arda I the epic experience we envisioned, but they also provide GMs the means to greatly expand their Age of Rebellion adventures and campaigns.
We wanted to make sure that the Mass Combat rules were both easy to use and could emulate different types of battles at a wide variety of scales. To that end, we developed a dice pool that draws upon a combination of some of the variables most likely to tip the scales of victory: the leadership and tactical skills of the commanders on both sides, as well as the size and training of the forces. Additionally, the narrative dice system allows the GM to assign Boost () or Setback () dice as circumstances dictate, such as the penalty you incur when fog veils the movements of your enemy’s forces or the advantage that comes with fighting on your home turf.
This dice pool allows the GM to quickly determine whether the heroes or their allies successfully achieve their objectives for a specified segment of a battle. For example, the roll may determine whether or not you successfully hold a line against an enemy assault or advance into enemy territory. Meanwhile, the dice pool also allows the GM to determine the magnitude of that success (such as whether it’s a fiercely contested battle or a rout), as well as what positive or negative side effects result.
Below are a few examples of how to spend Advantage, Triumph, Threat, and Despair in Mass Combat:
In Onslaught at Arda I, the Mass Combat mechanics allow the GM to help the players envision a vivid and dynamic encounter during the titular Imperial onslaught, and they directly influence the outcome of the battle. However, these rules are easy to incorporate into your own Age of Rebellion campaigns whenever Imperial and Rebellion forces clash!
Pre-Order Your Copy Today
Filled with action, intrigue, and heroism all presented at a breakneck pace, Onslaught at Arda I serves as an exciting and rewarding introduction to the Age of Rebellion experience. More than that, its ninety-six pages also contain a wealth of setting information and Mass Combat rules that expand your Star Wars roleplaying universe.
Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy today!
Next: We take another look at using Onslaught at Arda I as part of an extended campaign.
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