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How does the Rebellion wage war?

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So I understand that tactically, the rebellion operates in cells, employs privateers, prefers hit-and-run ambushes, lopsided engagements, etc. But when I think about the logistics involved with waging a full scale civil war, it doesn't make sense with what I've seen in the movies, i.e. hidden rebel bases with a singular, relatively small fleet and no obvious political weight. My problem is that the movies portray the rebellion as a group of insurgents rather than a real, substantial military/political force, and I realize that I have no idea how the rebellion is actually fighting the civil war at large.

 

I ask because I want to know how likely it is for my players to feel the impact of the conflict. Is it at all likely for them to jump into a system in the middle of an engagement, or be on a planet experiencing heated and prolonged fighting on the ground? Are there rebellion controlled planets or systems they could visit, or does the rebellion not secure territory? What's the rebellion's strategy to win the war other than get lucky and assassinate the emperor, or is that actually it?

 

It'd be really helpful to know to help me flesh some sessions and adventures, since my experience with the cannon is limited to the movies and t.v. shows and one series of post-endor books. Thanks guys.

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The movies only show a small portion of what's going on in terms of the Galactic Civil War, mostly as it's simply a backdrop for Luke Skywalker's heroic journey.

 

Wookiepedia is your friend in this regard, as the Legends entry will probably help you get a better feel for how the Alliance operates from both a political and military standpoint.  It also wouldn't be to much of a stretch to compare the Alliance's efforts to those of the colonies during the American War for Independence against the British, albeit with the convenience of far more modern methods of communication.  Politically, the Alliance needs to be careful since speaking out against the Empire is high treason, but they need to rally as much support as they can to their cause, otherwise they really do become no better than the ruthless insurgents that Imperial propaganda paints them as.

 

As for how it affects your campaign... that's all up to you.  If you don't want the GCW to be a major factor, then simply limit its effects to background elements that occasionally inconvenience the PCs' own actions; for instance, they arrive at a planet to drop off some smuggled contraband only to find the whole planet is under lockdown because a local Rebel cell staged a brazen attack on the Imperial governor's estate in the wake of his implementing a law unfairly that forced dozens of innocent civilians into indebted servitude (aka slavery).

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It may be outdated by now, but the WEG Rebel Alliance Sourcebook could prove useful. I think it is available at the d6 Holocron, possibly.

 

In my campaign I'm using the Rebels more as a nuisance than an asset. They're sometimes willing to employ  shady characters like the PCs and are always interested im military grade contraband and loot. On the other hand, Imps are getting far jumpier with Rebel activities in their neighbourhood.

Edited by Grimmerling

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Probably best to not try to be realistic because realism quickly gets in the way of anything on a galactic scale.

 

I default to the movies, particularly the opening crawls, and the Rebellion was small and on the run.  They likely spent their time gathering information, so more about spying and slicing.  To be sure there were probably a few commando raids to either grab information and try and attempt to disable a piece of critical infrastructure, but given what is listed in the opening crawls of the movies, particularly IV and V, and conventional force on force maneuver warfare was not likely.

 

Having said all that, it's your table, do what's fun. 

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The Rebellion actually has a decently substantial fleet that tends to avoid the big engagements because it can't stand against Star Destroyers, or works better as a feint (the Rebel Fleet massing at Sullust to provide a diversion for the strike force assaulting Endor).

 

Most of their space operations consist of logistical raiding and area denial, forcing the Empire to either lose convoys or move resources to counter a highly-mobile strike force that will just redeploy when faced with an overwhelming response. 

 

And it certainly helps when, in the ABY years, most Rebel starfighters have hyperdrives, allowing them to just send small squadron-sized strike forces against softer targets like transports, where the Empire is forced to either commit a carrier or build a dedicated base to counter that, which ties up some resources. 

 

But the Rebellion is not committed to occupying planets in the way the Empire is. So their methods of fighting are much more comparable to an insurgency than a traditional occupying force. 

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It may be outdated by now, but the WEG Rebel Alliance Sourcebook could prove useful. I think it is available at the d6 Holocron, possibly.

 

In my campaign I'm using the Rebels more as a nuisance than an asset. They're sometimes willing to employ  shady characters like the PCs and are always interested im military grade contraband and loot. On the other hand, Imps are getting far jumpier with Rebel activities in their neighbourhood.

 

 

Yeah the D6 Holocron has the rebel Alliance sourcebook which is IMO still the single best source of detailed data on the Alliance. And a key thing is that even in Return of the Jedi you never see the entire Alliance fleet in a single shot. I think you see at most two or three MC80s in one shot before the battle but during the battle we see two destroyed, and later we see four or five engaging Executor. (If memory serves it is three visible through Executor's bridge viewport, one off to the side of Executor right after that and on the wrong side to be one of the ones seen from the bridge, and another behind and too one side of Executor right after that.)

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The Rebellion is a very fluid, very difficult concept. On the one hand, you have elements of the Alliance military moving from secret base to secret base at the heart of the Empire. On the other hand, out on the Rim, you have entire planets coming under Alliance control, as in the case of Dac and other Alliance safeworlds. 

 

On the ground, the quality of Alliance troops varies greatly. Alliance SpecForce operatives are the elite, but make up only a small percentage of all ground forces, and are usually only dedicated to vital operations or operations where no other unit could succeed. Then you have the regular Alliance army, equipped with a large variety of gear, from Clone Wars-era stuff to newer, modern weapons. Their training varies according to how long they've been active. Many units gain their training in the field, and the survivors form the core of most Alliance Army units. Then you have Rebel cells, which might be made up of veteran soldiers...or optimistic farmhands. Their tactics usually hinge on surprise and secrecy; a stand-up fight will end badly for them. Bombs and ambushes are a staple of their small-unit tactics, and ineffective cells don't last long, as the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) pursues even rumors of Rebels relentlessly.

 

The Alliance does in fact have a fleet, though it is dwarfed by the mammoth Imperial Navy, and outgunned as well. In the Alliance fleet, you find the usual frigates, destroyers, corvettes, and cruisers. However, unless captured from the Imperial Fleet or stolen from the shipyards, most of their ships are aging and obsolete. Sometimes, though, even a relic can be upgunned enough to be a threat to a Star Destroyer. Where the Alliance Fleet really shines is in their Starfighter Corps. With the X-Wing, the Rebels have a ship that is more than a match for Sienar's TIE Fighter, though it can be threatened by the newer Interceptor line. As the Alliance is always short on skilled pilots, they have a need to keep their pilots alive longer. Most, if not all, Rebel starfighters have shields, and the new A-Wing and B-Wing fighters provide good specialist compliments to the jack-of-all-trades X-Wing.

 

Behind the scenes, Alliance Intelligence fights a black war against both Imperial Intelligence and the ISB. Imperial Intelligence has a very cloak-and-dagger approach, hunting down leads and information to feed to the Imperial military arms, the Fleet, Army, and Stormtrooper Corps. However, ISB is a brutally effective counterterrorist outfit, with it's own Stormtroopers and paramilitary fighters, and covert sources across the galaxy. ISB shares intel only when they feel a problem cannot be handled by themselves. Alliance Intelligence is kept at a level of paranoia usually reserved for crazed schizophrenics and 9/11 truthers. They operate around the clock to ward off the shadow of the Empire, digging up moles, hunting down leaks, and searching for homing beacons. To do this, Alliance Intelligence uses both covert and direct-action elements to fight the threat of Imperial discovery. ISB assets are a priority target at all times.

 

Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

 

At least, that's how it is at my table. By all means, come to your own conclusions.

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Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

And in came one of my favorites, the least likable character I have ever seen, Borsk Fey'lya...

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Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

And in came one of my favorites, the least likable character I have ever seen, Borsk Fey'lya.

Thank God he's just a Legend now. Screw that guy.

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Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

And in came one of my favorites, the least likable character I have ever seen, Borsk Fey'lya.

Thank God he's just a Legend now. Screw that guy.

 

He did have one of the greatest redemptions of any character I've seen..  Strapping himself to a bomb that kills 25,000 crack Yuuzhan Vong troops during the Invasion of Coruscant.  And while he was a lying and unscrupulous punk, he was always honest with his ambition.

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The Alliance does in fact have a fleet, though it is dwarfed by the mammoth Imperial Navy, and outgunned as well. In the Alliance fleet, you find the usual frigates, destroyers, corvettes, and cruisers. However, unless captured from the Imperial Fleet or stolen from the shipyards, most of their ships are aging and obsolete. Sometimes, though, even a relic can be upgunned enough to be a threat to a Star Destroyer. Where the Alliance Fleet really shines is in their Starfighter Corps. With the X-Wing, the Rebels have a ship that is more than a match for Sienar's TIE Fighter, though it can be threatened by the newer Interceptor line. As the Alliance is always short on skilled pilots, they have a need to keep their pilots alive longer. Most, if not all, Rebel starfighters have shields, and the new A-Wing and B-Wing fighters provide good specialist compliments to the jack-of-all-trades X-Wing.

 

 

 

I'm kind of curious you mention the only modern Alliance warships being captured or stolen but what about the yards under Alliance control which are producing warships?

 

 

Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

And in came one of my favorites, the least likable character I have ever seen, Borsk Fey'lya...

 

 

 

Borsk my least favorite Star Wars character ever, When he finally bit the dust I actually muttered "Took long enough." Fortunately I was on a bus at the time so no one heard me.

 

Bonus hate points because my second least favorite Bothan character took the action that made me hate her in response to Borsk even though she despised him too.

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The Alliance does in fact have a fleet, though it is dwarfed by the mammoth Imperial Navy, and outgunned as well. In the Alliance fleet, you find the usual frigates, destroyers, corvettes, and cruisers. However, unless captured from the Imperial Fleet or stolen from the shipyards, most of their ships are aging and obsolete. Sometimes, though, even a relic can be upgunned enough to be a threat to a Star Destroyer. Where the Alliance Fleet really shines is in their Starfighter Corps. With the X-Wing, the Rebels have a ship that is more than a match for Sienar's TIE Fighter, though it can be threatened by the newer Interceptor line. As the Alliance is always short on skilled pilots, they have a need to keep their pilots alive longer. Most, if not all, Rebel starfighters have shields, and the new A-Wing and B-Wing fighters provide good specialist compliments to the jack-of-all-trades X-Wing.

 

 

I'm kind of curious you mention the only modern Alliance warships being captured or stolen but what about the yards under Alliance control which are producing warships?

 

 

Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

And in came one of my favorites, the least likable character I have ever seen, Borsk Fey'lya...

 

 

 

Borsk my least favorite Star Wars character ever, When he finally bit the dust I actually muttered "Took long enough." Fortunately I was on a bus at the time so no one heard me.

 

Bonus hate points because my second least favorite Bothan character took the action that made me hate her in response to Borsk even though she despised him too.

 

The only real shipyards I can recall the Rebellion having were the orbital yards above Dac (Mon Cal and Quarren homeworld).  Corellia was usually controlled by someone that didn't like the Rebellion.  Kuat, Fondor, Bilbringi, and Tangrene were under Imperial control.  Unless they were Mon Cal cruisers the Rebellion pretty much had captured or donated ships.  All their fighters were factory or workshop built.

 

You said your second least favorite Bothan was a she.  Are you speaking of Asyr Sei'lar?

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Not every rebel cell or lone gunman is part of the alliance, any action no matter how evil/heroic/stupid/complex is possible by someone with an anti-empire or anti-human agenda.

If you need something to inconvenience your players just go ahead and do it, it doesn't have to be a tactic employed by the rebellion. It could be a crackdown caused by kids doing anti-imperial graffiti or an atrocity done by imperial agents and blamed on the alliance to undermine support for the rebels.

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The Alliance does in fact have a fleet, though it is dwarfed by the mammoth Imperial Navy, and outgunned as well. In the Alliance fleet, you find the usual frigates, destroyers, corvettes, and cruisers. However, unless captured from the Imperial Fleet or stolen from the shipyards, most of their ships are aging and obsolete. Sometimes, though, even a relic can be upgunned enough to be a threat to a Star Destroyer. Where the Alliance Fleet really shines is in their Starfighter Corps. With the X-Wing, the Rebels have a ship that is more than a match for Sienar's TIE Fighter, though it can be threatened by the newer Interceptor line. As the Alliance is always short on skilled pilots, they have a need to keep their pilots alive longer. Most, if not all, Rebel starfighters have shields, and the new A-Wing and B-Wing fighters provide good specialist compliments to the jack-of-all-trades X-Wing.

 

 

I'm kind of curious you mention the only modern Alliance warships being captured or stolen but what about the yards under Alliance control which are producing warships?

 

 

Politically, the Rebellion is fragile. While most of their forces are human, more and more non-humans are flocking to the Alliance banner as the Empire cracks down on world after worlds and presses more and more indigenous species into slavery. As a result, where the Alliance once operated as a solely military organization, they find themselves forced to begin to politicize their leadership system. With victory still far in the future, Alliance leaders dream of founding a New Republic, and despite the dark days ahead, lay the groundwork for a truly free government. 

 

 

And in came one of my favorites, the least likable character I have ever seen, Borsk Fey'lya...

 

 

 

Borsk my least favorite Star Wars character ever, When he finally bit the dust I actually muttered "Took long enough." Fortunately I was on a bus at the time so no one heard me.

 

Bonus hate points because my second least favorite Bothan character took the action that made me hate her in response to Borsk even though she despised him too.

 

The only real shipyards I can recall the Rebellion having were the orbital yards above Dac (Mon Cal and Quarren homeworld).  Corellia was usually controlled by someone that didn't like the Rebellion.  Kuat, Fondor, Bilbringi, and Tangrene were under Imperial control.  Unless they were Mon Cal cruisers the Rebellion pretty much had captured or donated ships.  All their fighters were factory or workshop built.

 

You said your second least favorite Bothan was a she.  Are you speaking of Asyr Sei'lar?

 

 

1: Mostly though there was a second Mon Calamari  yard at Hast, and Bothawui was apparently a major cruiser (cruiser meaning ships similar in scale to Dreadnaughts and Vindicators) production center in the OT era. Plus there were smaller yards that aided the rebellion (You see one getting destroyed in the Shadows of the Empire novel. I'm hoping FFG will include some new Bothawui designs in the game because while sil 5 and sil 6 are my favorite size brackets I feel that sil 7, especially Alliance used sil 7, models are lacking in the current material. Still even if all they had was Dac I wouldn't consider the Mon Cal built ships to be outdated and they obviously weren't stolen or captured.

 

2: Bingo. Made worse by the fact she was my favorite Bothan character until the end of Isard's Revenge.

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I always thought the Mon Cal cruisers were converted luxury liners, and most of the other ships of the alliance were the result of mutiny or capture.  I never thought the Allaince had a reliable source of materials to build starships, even at a deep space dock

 

It was a revolution.  With all the spy, counter spy, double spy, cloak and dagger.  There was also intel gathering.  Which finally led to the main objective of Space denial.  That is to attack the Empire where they were weakest, and force them to thin out their defenses to make other areas weaker.  There is no real great example of this in canon.

 

"Rescue at Glare peak" is a simple example, where a rebel cell worked on gathering information on a prison, and the city. As well as gathering sympathy and allies for the Rebellion.  then when needed they were tasked to freeing high profile prisoners.

 

Another example is some ideas for operating in the Tapani Sector with the Old WEG "Lords of the Expanse" campaign.  A group of rebels are tasked with gaining the favor of a noble house, which eventually leads to a major attack on a major asset of the Empire (A torpedo sphere, which in WEG was a mini-death star, basically a planetary siege weapon) another idea was building up a rebel fighter  squadron which did raids on Imperial shipping and even bacta convoys in the area since it was on a major trade route close to the source of bacta

 

All possibilities are available.  The most important assets of the Rebellion were the bases, which allowed for the training of soldiers and operatives.  "The location of the secret Rebel base" is a quote in the movies, but it never made sense that there was only ONE secret rebel base.  Yavin and Hoth are the only real rebel bases we know about from the movies, but in both of them only a few members of high command were there, and the only asset at those bases was maybe a Battalion of troops, and a few squadrons of fighters.

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I always thought the Mon Cal cruisers were converted luxury liners, and most of the other ships of the alliance were the result of mutiny or capture.  I never thought the Allaince had a reliable source of materials to build starships, even at a deep space dock

According to Legends material, the Mon Cals were building ships for the Alliance. Each one is a custom build unlike the construction of a Star Destroyer. So each Mon Cal (MC) Cruiser looks different (different shape, number of blisters, etc...).

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I always thought the Mon Cal cruisers were converted luxury liners, and most of the other ships of the alliance were the result of mutiny or capture.  I never thought the Allaince had a reliable source of materials to build starships, even at a deep space dock

 

The original MC80s were luxury liners. But they were luxury liners which had been designed from the ground up to be converted into warships when the Mon Calamari and Qarren revolt against the Empire came.

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I did forget to mention the manufacturing facilities present on Alliance safeworlds. And while I did mention Dac, I neglected to specify that its biggest strategic contribution was that of starship drydocks. However, with the exception of Dac, Alliance factories struggled fiercely to keep up with demand. As a result, up until the post-Endor era, the Alliance was desperately short of munitions, and each starfighter might have represented a month of day-in, day-out manual labor. The X-Wing novels are a useful resource for this topic, as Wedge Antilles mentions that the first Death Star strike force only had two torpedoes per fighter because of shortages. Tycho Celchu also talks about the manufacture of the A-Wing he flew over Endor, mentioning that it was partially made of high-density, high-strength Fjisi-wood.

 

Make no mistake, the Alliance had starship and munition manufacturing capabilities, but they were grossly limited by the requirement of maintaining operational security. Putting together a starship requires more than just facilities and workers, it also requires materiel. And as many Alliance safeworlds were in fact charted planets passed over by the Old Republic or Empire for colonisation due to lack of present resources or value, this materiel needed to be shipped in from other star systems or sectors. Operational security limited the amount of ships passing through these systems, even if those ships had ironclad documentation. If too many ships passed through or were detected by Imperial waystations, scout ships, or probe droids, the Empire might begin to wonder about the sudden influx of freight to this supposedly unsettled planet.

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Very interesting thread, I would like to know if any of the recent FFG SW sources books (AoR, EoE, F&D) adds any new information on this topic.

 

I just recently acquired AOR Strongholds of Resistance and haven't had a chance to read it; hopefully it has something of interest to add.

 

In the Star Wars The Essential Guide to Warfare (by Jason Fry) on page 116 in has an illustration with "Major Shipyards; 4ABY- Shortly Before the Battle of Endor"  that might be of interest to the OP; there are at least five non-imperial shipyards that may or may not contribute to the Rebellions naval war effort (Bonadan, Hast, Mon Calamari, Mandalore, Haps Cluster, Bothawui). It also mentions there are countless other small shipyards that also served the Rebellion.

 

I would not be surprised if somewhere in Hutt Space there might not also be some shipyards; from my reading of the Hutt's history they where formally a major military naval power before the Empire, and afterwards (I recall reading somewhere about Hutt warships starting to make an appearance in the latter timeline).

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To my post on shipyards above, I would add:
Starships/Legends
 
Star Wars d20 Starships of the Galaxy (by Owen K.C. Stephens); Chapter 3 Starship Secrets.
-It has references on the amount of construction slips and quality of shipyard (construction multiple) for various well known and not so well known manufacturers. A very interesting perspective from a RPG point of view.

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