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Kael

Onslaught at Arda I

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The first episode looks really good. I think I am going to introduce Arda Bases as my player's base of operations for a session or two, then kick into the book.

 

Taming the Dragon Swoop race, a couple of retrieval missions, a couple missions to get the Pilot inducted to "Dust Squadron".

 

Will add potency to the story given.

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Honestly, the mass combat rules are the best part of that book. Also, I think there's rules for a turret that a character can man, so that's fun.

--Lagspike

So the best parts of the adventure aren't really more than that? Not high praise.

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I played it with my last group. They found it mostly enjoyable. The best part by far was the battle at Arda and use of the mass combat rules was very easy. While the detective work involved was fun, my group stumbled around in the dark a lot, which ended up with me messing around with them and introducing some plot devices for the future.

My main complaint is that a lot of significant hurdles beyond their characters ability seemed to crop up at Arda and despite whether the mass combat roles were in their favor (which they were all but once), the ending was still the same. Granted it's essentially the battle of hoth in a desert canyon environment, where we know it's going to end poorly with high casualties, it actually resulted in one player getting killed at the end of the battle.

I can't really go into much more detail without revealing spoilers, but I would definitely add it to my buy list if I were a GM looking to replicate the battle of hoth. The mass combat rules are definitely worth the buy as well.

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I haven't had the right time to play through it yet, but it's definitely a good read. Lots of good ideas on how to structure certain challenges, stuff that can be used in any other session. I did think the clue-finding and transition to act 3 were somewhat lacking, but these kinds of things are easy to fix.

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I find myself wondering what happens if the PCs actually defeat the ground forces sent against the base. With the starfighters available, proton torpedoes and concussion missiles can make short work of walkers.

 

The Star Destroyers drop more walkers, land more troops, launch the fighters that weren't ready during the initial attack, etc. In the AoR core book, the ISD is listed as being able to carry thousands of troops. Even if they only have a fraction of their troop complement on board, each Star Destroyer can land many times the initial assault group that goes down.

 

Why didn't the Imperials land everything to start with? Speed seems a likely factor. The desire to hit the rebels fast enough that they don't get the chance to pack everything up and try to escape makes sense. Acquiring intact intelligence from the base computers, getting prisoners to interrogate, etc. would make the assault that much more successful. It also answers why the star destroyers didn't just glass that part of the planet with their turbolasers.

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I find myself wondering what happens if the PCs actually defeat the ground forces sent against the base. With the starfighters available, proton torpedoes and concussion missiles can make short work of walkers.

 

The Star Destroyers drop more walkers, land more troops, launch the fighters that weren't ready during the initial attack, etc. In the AoR core book, the ISD is listed as being able to carry thousands of troops. Even if they only have a fraction of their troop complement on board, each Star Destroyer can land many times the initial assault group that goes down.

 

Why didn't the Imperials land everything to start with? Speed seems a likely factor. The desire to hit the rebels fast enough that they don't get the chance to pack everything up and try to escape makes sense. Acquiring intact intelligence from the base computers, getting prisoners to interrogate, etc. would make the assault that much more successful. It also answers why the star destroyers didn't just glass that part of the planet with their turbolasers.

Thus is a part of my problem with this base assault. The ISD should have close to 10,000 infantry, 20 AT-ATs, etc. The Imperials are led by a General.

And they send one company of stormtroopers? Really?!?

It seems like they're really holding back.

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I've read through it and really look forward to making it into a finale for a major arc in a game. I plan on Arda being the home base of the party; something they earn. The battle in part one looks fantastic. The rest... I don't know. I really am not a fan of the final showdown. It's just not as grand as the opening. Still, I will use it.

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I've had the chance to read the adventure a couple of times, and I'm adapting it for use in my own campaign. TBH, on it's own, it's rather middling. Act 2 has a mystery thing going on, which may or may not be your players' cup of tea. The mood stays the same for much of the adventure (the desperation of the rebels), but the theme kinda switches from thrilling heroics to whodunit. The final battle is okay. Not great, not horrible, just okay.

 

Honestly, I will be adding my own plot elements into act 2 and 3 to round out what I feel is missing and to tie it in closer to my own campaign story lines.

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Ran through it with my group as part of their larger campaign, they seemed to enjoy it but many sessions were spent in Act 2 and 3. They lost every single mass combat roll no matter how well they did (dice were against them) but it made for some great tension and they were exhausted by the end of Act 1.

 

I had a bit of an interesting twist right at the end of Act 3 where they got completely demolished by the Walker. I'd run that a lot differently next time but basically they woke up in prison and spent 2 sessions breaking out as well as rescuing the person they were supposed to rescue.

 

Overall it was a good adventure, I preferred running it to Beyond the Rim but it's not quite Jewel of Yavin level. If I was to ever run it again I'd spend a lot more time on Arda I getting the players more attached to the base. I did run it straight after the core adventure but it would be well worth running some more stuff on Arda as there is a lot going on there.

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My group got a bit bogged down trying to figure out who the traitor was.  if you have a very social group, they'll probably like that part, but my more action-oriented group found it frustrating and a bit boring.  I ended up having to put them on the fast track because the adventure was taking way too long to complete and people were losing interest.

 

Still, they liked Episode 1, liked the General (they actually saved him and one of the female characters in the group has a teen crush on him), and liked the various NPCs well enough.  We did some extraneous roleplaying in episode 3 which everyone enjoyed, and the infiltration of the opera house was probably one of the most fun sessions we've had so far.  They did an almost perfect infiltration with no casualties, no grenades :) and even saved a street urchin from a cell and recruited her into the rebellion.

 

I'd give it about a 6.5 to 7 out of 10.  

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 I did think the clue-finding and transition to act 3 were somewhat lacking, but these kinds of things are easy to fix.

 

I totally agree with this. The investigation for the traitor can be fun (some of the false NPC suspects are great) but the transition from Act 2 to Act 3 is a bit abrupt.

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Is there a significant difference in story flow if the the traitor is discovered, or is it ultimately a minor detail relative to the final confrontation?

 

I'm considering running this for my group, which just transitioned from EotE to AoR. However, we're in 2 ABY and I saw that this base was destroyed just a few weeks after the Battle of Yavin. I don't mind tweaking canon. However, does anyone know of any important Rebel bases that were destroyed in 2 ABY that this adventured could be reskinned with? I suppose I could also just wait for 3 ABY and the Battle of Hoth.

Edited by verdantsf

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I find myself wondering what happens if the PCs actually defeat the ground forces sent against the base. With the starfighters available, proton torpedoes and concussion missiles can make short work of walkers.

 

The Star Destroyers drop more walkers, land more troops, launch the fighters that weren't ready during the initial attack, etc. In the AoR core book, the ISD is listed as being able to carry thousands of troops. Even if they only have a fraction of their troop complement on board, each Star Destroyer can land many times the initial assault group that goes down.

 

Why didn't the Imperials land everything to start with? Speed seems a likely factor. The desire to hit the rebels fast enough that they don't get the chance to pack everything up and try to escape makes sense. Acquiring intact intelligence from the base computers, getting prisoners to interrogate, etc. would make the assault that much more successful. It also answers why the star destroyers didn't just glass that part of the planet with their turbolasers.

Thus is a part of my problem with this base assault. The ISD should have close to 10,000 infantry, 20 AT-ATs, etc. The Imperials are led by a General.

And they send one company of stormtroopers? Really?!?

It seems like they're really holding back.

 

I don't have the book, but it seems to me that a rebel base is usually not that large (even Hoth seemed kinda small, and apparantly that's supposed to be one of their headquarters), so a company of stormtroopers should do the job just fine.

Sending more troops just creates a headache for the commanding officers.

You don't send a battallion to do a companies job, so to speak.

Unless you're a Soviet during WWII... but then they used very different tactics :D

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Is there a significant difference in story flow if the the traitor is discovered, or is it ultimately a minor detail relative to the final confrontation?

 

I'm considering running this for my group, which just transitioned from EotE to AoR. However, we're in 2 ABY and I saw that this base was destroyed just a few weeks after the Battle of Yavin. I don't mind tweaking canon. However, does anyone know of any important Rebel bases that were destroyed in 2 ABY that this adventured could be reskinned with? I suppose I could also just wait for 3 ABY and the Battle of Hoth.

 

IIRC: According to the book, if the traitor is discovered early then the traitor goes to ground and you just jump to the end of the act. The last act is chasing the traitor, so you still need the traitor still around to run it as written. However, a good GM would come up with some other reason for the last act to play out as written even if the traitor is captured or killed. I'm thinking either dreaming up a partner or droid running off or some information was already sent out.

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I'm running this at the moment, due to do the final game session this weekend. A few observations:

 

It's not really the best fit for a group who went with the rebel base option to start with instead of Y-wings or a shuttle. If Arda is their base, then you're taking it away from them within a session or two (not to mention that there are a number of NPCs more senior than them running the base), even if it is replaced with Resolute Base the next session. If Arda isn't their base - my PCs are based on Onderon, and I had them seconded to Arda temporarily - then they're spending a long adventure away from their own base (8 sessions' worth in our case).

 

Episode 1 is the most solid part, some good Empire-Strikes-Back-style heroics in the face of desperate odds, and it nicely showcases the more military focus of AoR compared to EotE. Episode 2's whodunit is well done as these things go (I don't much care for investigative scenarios) but requires some GM flexibility - novices coming straight from the beginner game might struggle. Unfortunately the rebel missions interwoven with the talky bits are mostly so simplistic they're just dull. Episode 3 is odd because in places it seems to assume the players know things that they probably don't unless the GM has thought ahead and prepared it for them.

 

The traitor's escape after discovery in Episode 2 has the players "scripted" to fail but still play through the whole (quite long) scene anyway. My players found this very frustrating, and in hindsight I should've contrived to have the whole thing happen off-screen. There's a similar problem scene in Episode 3 where the Imperial officer gets away with the captive, which proved even more annoying because of the similarity (the same captive getting stolen away from under their noses on a vehicle again) and because this time the players rolled better and I was reaching to make the escape succeed. Those two scenes were by far the worst experiences in the adventure so far.

 

OK, most of my comments so far have been negative but overall this adventure has went well. Having each Episode have a different focus (battle, investigation and then covert action) helped to keep things fresh. I think I should point out a few unique selling points: Onslaught at Arda not only has the mass combat rules, but also provides "worked examples" of how to use Duty results in a game (better than the core rulebook adventure that just reskins the Macguffin around whatever Duty is rolled) which was something I was struggling with, and gives examples for how much Duty to hand out for adventures (also not really explained in the core rules).

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Is there a significant difference in story flow if the the traitor is discovered, or is it ultimately a minor detail relative to the final confrontation?

 

I'm considering running this for my group, which just transitioned from EotE to AoR. However, we're in 2 ABY and I saw that this base was destroyed just a few weeks after the Battle of Yavin. I don't mind tweaking canon. However, does anyone know of any important Rebel bases that were destroyed in 2 ABY that this adventured could be reskinned with? I suppose I could also just wait for 3 ABY and the Battle of Hoth.

I can't help you with the second question, beyond suggesting you just retcon the thing since the environment is pretty specific to that base. However, regarding the first....it seems like the reveal of the traitor is a bit of an inevitability. Unless the PCs really screw up the investigation, which they can only do by fingering 2-3 innocent people (which pretty much sabotages the Rebels' trust in the group). That being said, the story doesn't seem to be able to fathom the third act without the traitor being revealed in the second (unless there's a detail I missed, it's been a while since I gave the book a thorough read-through).

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