Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
General Zod

Grand Theft Star Destroyer

Recommended Posts

Afternoon everyone,

Out of curiosity, how many people would it take to steal a Star Destroyer from a orbital spaceport? What, in your opinions Na/sessions/research would you say it s the minimum amount of people to successfully get one for Rebel conversion?

Thanks for the assist :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

That...or there is TCW episode Storm over Ryloth (S1, E19) where Anakin takes over a cruiser by himself, and leaves it to R2 to fire up the engines.  Or there is Cargo of Doom (S2, E2) where Cad Bane gets all the ship functions transferred to his wrist comm.

 

It's not the 1790s, they aren't wooden frigates, and you don't need a swashbuckling crew of thousands just to get the thing going into orbit and into hyperspace.  You might need a massive crew to keep it in shape and clean for any length of time, but that's an entirely different question :)  Having the thing slowly malfunction over time could be fun...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well....  It depends on how you imagine the mindset of the Imperials to be.  

 

I imagine them to be distrusting of any ship wide automation.  They just got done fighting a war with the Separatists who used droid troops.  I don't think they would want to build ships that used a lot of droid like automation.  Sure use droids for office work and the like but not for important things on a ship.  So they have men at those posts with a comm system like a World War Two naval ship.  The bridge isn't directly connected to things like the hyper drive, main engines or weapons systems.  They may have monitoring systems in place so they would know vital information about what was happening there but they wouldn't have a link to the controls.  

 

Why would they do this when the whole ship could be run from the captains chair?

 

Because they don't want two or three infiltrators taking over the ship or a mutiny in one section being able to seize control through the automation.

 

I see it working something like this.  The bridge coordinates what happens on the ship.  They order Astrogation to plot a course, the course is used to order the Sublight Engines to fire up and bring the ship around to the right heading and make the run to lightspeed.  They order the Hyperdrive to be fired up at the right moment and the ship goes where the Captain wants it to go.  In battle they order the Gunners at the various positions how to prioritize their fire.  The only thing they might directly control are maneuvering thrusters.  For an enemy to disrupt the ships functions they would need to cut communications from the bridge to all the departments.  That kind of thing can have so many redundant backups to make it a fools errand to try and cut off one department completely.  Certainly the individual departments have computers to handle things, calculating a laser cannons shot at a fighter requires some serious number crunching, however they aren't linked to a central system.

 

In this concept stealing the ship requires a skeleton crew at Astrogation, Sublight Control, each Sublight Engine, Hyperdrive Control and the Bridge.  There are multiple sublight engines in those beasts so at least one person at each engine to monitor the engineer station and make the alterations necessary for smooth running.  One astromech plugged into the Hyperdrive and one more plugged in at Astrogation.  A person at Sublight Control to balance the thrust between the engines.  Lastly someone on the bridge.

 

So at a minimum a dozen or so mixed persons and droids, each with the right skills.  

 

However, even if it is in mothballs it's not going to be empty, so the gang will have to be creative to get them off the ship.  If the PC's don't roll well enough then maybe some of them stay behind and try to throw a wrench in the PC's plan making for some interesting encounters and perhaps the need for a security team to deal with such problems.  I would say the PC's should be that security team for an Alliance plan to steal a Star Destroyer.  Let NPC's deal with all that boring piloting stuff and mechanics rolls.  

 

Let the PC's track down a squad of Storm Troopers who ambushed the Sublight Control team leaving half of them for dead and the rest wounded.  They discover the Troopers are headed to sabotage the Hyperdrive which leads to a running battle, some random demo charges to disable and a climatic battle in Hyperdrive control where the Storm Troopers shoot out the primary controls!  That requires the PC's to get to the back up controls and plug in the coordinates while the Alliance Commander is counting down to the hyperspace jump!  Will they get the data input in time or will they need to make a second run while the Imperial ships pursuing them get to fire their deadly salvos, which could spell doom for the Rebel heroes!  Tune in True Believers!  You've got a chair but you'll only need the EDGE!!!

 

Now that would kick ass!

 

I need to write that last bit down...  Sounds like something for my players to do.

 

Enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Legends Han and part of his commando squad captured a mostly intact ISD at Endor by disguising themselves as Imperials, stunning the bridge crew, and hitting the all hands abandon ship alarm. The debriefing after this was the most hilarious thing I ever recall in the West End Games. Especially when Han tried to pass the blame for the idea to Cewie.

 

probably slightly off

 

Ackbar: First mate Chewbacca suggested you take a shuttle and board an Imperial Star Destroyer?

 

Han: He said we should go back to the fleet. But he didn't say which fleet and we had all those Imperial uniforms so...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first thought was gat the mechanics and cleaners to defect to the Rebellion while its in for repairs, then "we're just talking it out for a test drive" gets a whole new meaning :) but if R2 can fly it alone then a small party with a couple of talented pilots could probably get the job done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It's not the 1790s, they aren't wooden frigates, and you don't need a swashbuckling crew of thousands just to get the thing going into orbit and into hyperspace.

 

 

I imagine them to be distrusting of any ship wide automation.  They just got done fighting a war with the Separatists who used droid troops.  I don't think they would want to build ships that used a lot of droid like automation.  Sure use droids for office work and the like but not for important things on a ship.  So they have men at those posts with a comm system like a World War Two naval ship.  The bridge isn't directly connected to things like the hyper drive, main engines or weapons systems.  They may have monitoring systems in place so they would know vital information about what was happening there but they wouldn't have a link to the controls.  

 

Why would they do this when the whole ship could be run from the captains chair?

 

Because they don't want two or three infiltrators taking over the ship or a mutiny in one section being able to seize control through the automation.

 

While I understand the first quote above when making realworld predictions of massive star ships, for Star Wars my stance is with the second quote.

 

I can imagine a future, massive starship being "driven" by one person in one workstation, because, computers.

 

Star Wars is not the realworld. We see a very large bridge crew in the movies on Star Destroyers and WEG added to this by giving us massive crew numbers. Result - Imperial II Star Destroyer has a crew of 37,085 with a "minimum" crew of 5,000. If extreme automation is prevalent in Star Destroyers, those numbers don't make much sense. If a couple people can sit on the bridge and run around in a Star Destroyer due to automation, even massive cleaning, maintenance, backup, and damage control crews aren't going to account for those extremely large numbers. So, I agree with what MrMxdoeruotyk said above - in-universe reasons to require humans to do the jobs instead of computers. Protected, separated, human controlled systems due to a history of technological disasters and electronic warfare taking advantage of computerization.

 

EDIT - HOW TO STEAL A STAR DESTROYER IF THEY REQUIRE MASSIVE CREWS. If you take the WEG numbers as fact, how could you steal one in game? WEG gives 5,000 minimum. So let's say that number comes from a minimal bridge crew tasked with directing the 100's of other ship systems which also have minimal crews each. As in to handle the shields you must have 1 command crew on the bridge to give orders (how much power to each area), but you still have 2 shield crew at each of 200 shield stations around the massive ship plus 1 repair crew per 10 stations making sure they don't break down...421 shield crew minimum. Add up all of the 100's of systems and you end up with the 5,000 minimum number.

 

The PCs obviously can't recruit enough helpers with the proper know-how to replace the 5,000 minimal crew. So how to do it?  Wait until the ship is docked during a maintenance cycle. Imperial Navy law requires a minimal crew at all times, even when not in service. The PCs must sneak aboard disguised as a maintenance crew. They must somehow make it past security measures to the command bridge. They then must defeat the 10-man minimum command crew that is on-duty there. There's only 5 PCs, so they must then decide which stations not to man. Hyperspace, Subspace, Communications, etc. are manned but Shields are not manned so they won't be "on". Then, Deception rolls to convince the other nearly 5,000 crew on other parts of the ship that the maintenance cycle Commander is ordering the Star Destroyer to make a hyperspace jump out-of-system due to some sort of emergency or test run of the newly installed hypercoils?. After they arrive at an empty, out-of-the-way system, they must deal with the 1,000's of crew still aboard. A trip to Life Support to disable sections of the ship containing the crew? Convincing the crew that due to an impending reactor explosion they must head to the escape pods? Rebel starfighter wing shows up from their hiding place and starts picking off hundreds of escape pods for gunnery practice?

 

Sounds extremely difficult, as it should be. Sounds like lots could go wrong. Sounds fun.

Edited by Sturn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well.. If you plan to steal an ISD, i think you can do away with a crew to many of the ship's systems. Weapons and shields, obviously. But also all the Hangar crew, tractor beams, scanners, etc..

You only need navigation, engine and generators to be operational. That much less than 5,000 crews, you could probably pull it off with 500 experienced crewmen who have prior Imperial System experience (and preferably ISD systems).

But i like the above ^^ idea of making the skeleton crew unwittingly steal their own ship. But that just comes back to the very problem of centralisation vulnerability. If an ISD has decentralised automated systems to avoid a single point of vulnerability to take over, why expose itself to the same weakness but with the chain of Command?

Either the Empire has the most kickass communication protocol security ever, so that every orders from the bridge require to be put alongside authorisarion codes, or the ship's operations are just not centralized.

Either way, i have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well.. If you plan to steal an ISD, i think you can do away with a crew to many of the ship's systems. Weapons and shields, obviously. But also all the Hangar crew, tractor beams, scanners, etc..

You only need navigation, engine and generators to be operational. That much less than 5,000 crews, you could probably pull it off with 500 experienced crewmen who have prior Imperial System experience (and preferably ISD systems).

But i like the above ^^ idea of making the skeleton crew unwittingly steal their own ship. But that just comes back to the very problem of centralisation vulnerability. If an ISD has decentralised automated systems to avoid a single point of vulnerability to take over, why expose itself to the same weakness but with the chain of Command?

Either the Empire has the most kickass communication protocol security ever, so that every orders from the bridge require to be put alongside authorisarion codes, or the ship's operations are just not centralized.

Either way, i have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

 

That's the thing, that 5000 minimum skeleton crew that's quoted has already taken out all the combat systems - it's the absolute bare minimum to get the ship moving safely. All that's running is power generation, engines, navigation, sensors and enough particle shielding to stop random space debris blowing holes in the ship.

 

As for why the crew numbers would be so high, I think you've hit the nail on the head - the ship's operations are not centralised. There could be a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, there's a philosophy of military design that redundancy is better than efficiency, because you're better able to withstand the inevitable damage and crew casualties. Secondly, this is the Star Wars universe, home to the Great Droid Revolt. This galaxy has seen first-hand the power of computers and droids - limiting the networking on warships severely reduces the damage that droids, viruses or rogue AIs can do - think of how Galactica is set up in the re-imagined BSG.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My $.02.

In some of the examples above, (the clone wars) (whafrog), those weren't star destroyers, they were separatist command ships, many of which were running with droid like automation themselves.  The Clone ships, which eventually led to star destroyers, did not have (nor did they want) that level of automation.  Too many things could go wrong.

 

However, in roleplaying, players always want to try the big, bad thing.

 

I would say, as GM, Flying a ship, with absolutely minimum crew, I would let a PC party start the process to take off, maybe let them do the math to hyperjump, but I wouldn't let them run weapons, as the weapons aren't really automated, if one of the PCs wanted to fire the guns, he would need to run to that section and could fire one set of the cannons, and would have to transfer to a different section to fire different cannons.

 

Pretty awesome asset to grab for the rebellion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I've determined is the 'easy' way to steal a Star Destroyer.

 

Step 1: Suborn and subvert a handful of 'Mouse' droids, and reprogram them to further subvert the other droids on board the Star Destroyer.  This includes astromech droids, maintenance droids, cargo lifters, etc.

Step 2: Wait until the Star Destroyer is in 'dry-dock' for maintenance and refitting.  The crew will be comparatively minimal during this time.

Step 3: Sneak your team aboard, disguised as maintenance teams, to activate the subverted droids' rogue programming, and then sneak back out before anything happens.

Step 4: Wait while the suborned droids are busy preparing to strategically sabotage the vessel shortly before it's first hyperspace jump.  (Rigging power conduits to sever, environmental controls to shut down, etc.)

 

Step 5: The first hyperspace jump 'mysteriously' drops the virtually disabled Star Destroyer right in front of a waiting ambush fleet, with the bulk of it's crew stranded far from hangars, turbo-laser batteries, etc.

Step 6: While the ambush fleet deals with whatever crew were currently on duty in any surviving stations, a boarding team, complete with entry codes comes in through the emergency airlocks closest to the bridge.  The suborned droids make it difficult for any troops on board to get where they need to be.  (Redirecting turbolifts, venting sections of the ship to space, closing and welding blast doors shut, etc.)

 

Note: Mouse droids are the perfect choice, because they are both mind-numbingly common (and therefore generally ignored), and used to do a variety of tasks (including assigning duties to other droids).  This makes them the ultimate 'plague carrier'.  Just a couple such infection vectors could completely subvert the ship's droid complement in a few weeks time.  And even more importantly, they often get shuttled from one ship to another, potentially giving you a whole *series* of ships to be 'stolen' in this manner.

 

Better still, even if they *do* get detected, it ties up a *lot* of Imperial resources making *very* sure that their droids, and any computers they've touched, are clean.  You might take an entire fleet out of action for a few months by failing to steal a single ship.  Meanwhile, a single missed droid means the process can start all over again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like that droid idea a lot. It's quite quick.

My idea had been to infiltrate the maintenance crew with a team of agitator types, invoking an uprising that resulted in them taking the ship for a very long systems test fly. But realistically you need to find a crew that already have a reason to dislike the empire, or need a long time to build it up.

If the maintenance teams where mostly non human slaves, with a small number of human slaver drivers, then you're task could be much easier, only having to cut come and over power the guards once the ship was in hyperspace on a systems test run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That droid idea would never work. The Empire is very often running complete memory wipe on their droid pool, and they would detect rather quickly the subversive programs.

Also, you depend on the Star Destroyer going in drydocks eventually for a refit/maintenance. That is almost impossible of an occurance. The entire point of a Star Destroyer is to be one massive self-sufficient flying city. Its redundant systems allows it to run refits ans repairs without undermining operational capability.

Just imagine, nowadays, trying to steal a goddamn Aircraft Carrier from the US Navy. Think of how much security you would have to go through. Especially if that carrier is currently in drydocks doing maintenance or refit.

The Empire is way harsher and more paranoid than the US Navy, and they dont care about individual's rights. I think capturing a Star Destroyer would be an order of magnitude harder. The only exception is after the theft; easier to hide an ISD in the galaxy than hiding a Nimitz-class Supercarrier on Earth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...a partially finished ISD? Okay, that's better.

Hell, its even more in line with stories in Legends. People who wanted to sabitage or steal a Destroyer usually had to target those partially constructed (Mazzic's strile in the Thrawn Trilogy and the theft of the Alliance in Legacy)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That droid idea would never work. The Empire is very often running complete memory wipe on their droid pool, and they would detect rather quickly the subversive programs.

Also, you depend on the Star Destroyer going in drydocks eventually for a refit/maintenance. That is almost impossible of an occurance. The entire point of a Star Destroyer is to be one massive self-sufficient flying city. Its redundant systems allows it to run refits ans repairs without undermining operational capability.

Just imagine, nowadays, trying to steal a goddamn Aircraft Carrier from the US Navy. Think of how much security you would have to go through. Especially if that carrier is currently in drydocks doing maintenance or refit.

The Empire is way harsher and more paranoid than the US Navy, and they dont care about individual's rights. I think capturing a Star Destroyer would be an order of magnitude harder. The only exception is after the theft; easier to hide an ISD in the galaxy than hiding a Nimitz-class Supercarrier on Earth.

 

Yes, the Empire regularly wipes its droids.  No, they don't regularly wipe all their droids at the same time.  Like many menial and routine tasks, the wiping of droids is often handled by other droids.  What happens when the droid(s) you task with performing wipes gets the subverted programming?  Or when one of the systems that droids are routinely used to maintain is subverted.  What happens when the very computer(s) used to do the wiping have been subverted?  Who do you expect does regular checks of the programming of the thousands of droids and tens of thousands of computers?  These sorts of things can be *very* difficult and time-consuming to clean up, because to prevent the spread, you have to completely disconnect the affected systems from one another, and not reconnect them to each other until the cleaning is complete.  God forbid the SW equivalent of a USB drive gets infected, the whole system could be compromised again before lunch the day after it is declared 'clean'.

 

In the fiction, Star Destroyers (even super-class vessels) have been described as being in drydock for refits and maintenance.  So much for that impossibility.

 

No doubt, it would be incredibly difficult to steal such a vessel without it being an inside job of sorts.  The sheer crew requirements pretty much shut down any attempt that *doesn't* involve already having the necessary crew on board.  (A mutiny would be your best bet, but those can be hard to arrange.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That droid idea would never work. The Empire is very often running complete memory wipe on their droid pool, and they would detect rather quickly the subversive programs.

 

Source?

 

Just imagine, nowadays, trying to steal a goddamn Aircraft Carrier from the US Navy. Think of how much security you would have to go through. Especially if that carrier is currently in drydocks doing maintenance or refit.

 

Star Wars isn't nowadays. It's a fictional universe, a long time ago. You can draw comparisons, sure, but Star Wars if full of things that don't make sense nowadays. It's the future, it's another Galaxy, so many things can be handwaved or said to exist (or not) based on pure want-it-so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One point I'll make is; see what the players come up with.

Give them a reason to need to steal a ISD. Something along the lines of the Rebels needing it to set a trap for a particular Moff. Perhaps it's to show indecisive Systems that the Rebellion is worth supporting "Look, we can even steal the Imps biggest and best". Or perhaps they need it so they can sneak into an Iner Core world along heavily guarded Hyper Lanes to rescue a very important person who wants to defect, and has intimate knowledge of Imperial plans.

Once you have dropped that on them, probably as an end of session bombshell, give them time between sessions to come up with ideas, and discuss out of session. Then s series of dice rolls will guide you through what happens.

"Hey you failed to get the code into the mouse droids, because of regular Mem Wipes, but now you have the idea to focus on the systems that do the memory wiping. They are a bit harder to get too due to more protection, both physically and electronically."

Edit: that is unless you're the PC and have come here for ideas help between sessions in which case you're swimming in them now :P

Edited by Richardbuxton

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Either the Empire has the most kickass communication protocol security ever, so that every orders from the bridge require to be put alongside authorisarion codes, or the ship's operations are just not centralized.

Either way, i have a hard time wrapping my head around it.

 

I think the best way to look at it is the Empire's Space Navy evolved from the Republic Clone Space Navy.  They made a conscious effort to count on humans rather than machines.  While they could have easily automated many of the jobs clones performed they didn't want to trust droids, something that developed into the Empire's institutionalized discrimination against droids as mentioned in the entry under Droid Characters.   Is it a reasoned and rational decision reached through logical processes?  Nope.  Not at all.

 

Hope that helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't followed the whole thread, but has anyone given any thought to a plot where one or more of the senior officers on board the ISD want to defect?  The Alliance catches wind of a disgruntled ISD captain, and sends the PC's to investigate and/or facilitate the liberation of the ship from Imperial hands.

 

Think of the movie The Hunt for Red October.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depending on if use Legends or not, this situation was covered in the X-wing series.  Granted it would stand that the more crew you bring, the better you'll be, but that has it's own issues.

 

At minimum, you would probably need around twenty or so individuals, depending on experience and skills.  If anything, at least a quarter of the force should be security and combat personnel, since it's going to be a hassle trying to keep the ship in your hands.

 

I would also recommend you have a way to secure the ship from external threats, as well.  The Empire won't let anyone grab a Star Destroyer without giving chase themselves.

 

 

One point I'll make is; see what the players come up with.

Give them a reason to need to steal a ISD. Something along the lines of the Rebels needing it to set a trap for a particular Moff. Perhaps it's to show indecisive Systems that the Rebellion is worth supporting "Look, we can even steal the Imps biggest and best". Or perhaps they need it so they can sneak into an Iner Core world along heavily guarded Hyper Lanes to rescue a very important person who wants to defect, and has intimate knowledge of Imperial plans.

Once you have dropped that on them, probably as an end of session bombshell, give them time between sessions to come up with ideas, and discuss out of session. Then s series of dice rolls will guide you through what happens.

"Hey you failed to get the code into the mouse droids, because of regular Mem Wipes, but now you have the idea to focus on the systems that do the memory wiping. They are a bit harder to get too due to more protection, both physically and electronically."


Edit: that is unless you're the PC and have come here for ideas help between sessions in which case you're swimming in them now :P

 

Let's go classic real world example:  We stole it because we could.

 

Heck, it's a giant ship with lots of weapons that can carry a lot of smaller ships.  There's no other reason that is really needed between these two.

Edited by Sarone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats hardly a strong reason, from a Doylisr perspective.. I mean, it provides no fear of failure on the part of the players. They can just cut losses and run with no real genuine consequences.

Id rather the players HAVE to steal a Star Destroyers to achieve some grandiose rescue/attack plan upon which the campaign hinges. That puts dramatic weight to the plan and the decisions.

"Lets just steal **** for giggles" is not my idea of good motivation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...