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ImpSB Sector Group Organization: How To Improve It
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, this has been on my mind again recently, but from the Naval side instead of the Army. Because of the layout of the SWU (planetary islands in a galactic ocean), characters are far more likely (IMO) to encounter Imperial Navy ships than they are squads and platoons of the Imperial Army.

What I'm thinking, in general terms, is using a more flexible organizational form centered on the System Force as an organizational focal point for the "mission detail" concept. The organizational steps would be:
    Squadron (primarily administrative organization covering a group of ships of the same type. Squadrons have a variable number of ships: less for larger vessels, more for smaller vessels.)
    Group (Replaces the Systems Force, and serves primarily as a force allocation point, drawing small groups or individual ships from its attached squadrons to form various mission details).
    Fleet (As listed in the ImpSB)
    Sector Fleet (The sum total of Naval Strength assigned to a given sector. May actually be less than a full Fleet in strength, depending on the assets assigned to the sector)
This organization is primarily for bookkeeping purposes and allocation of resources. The actual operations would be carried out by:
    Taskforce (Squadron-equivalent unit composed of multiple ship types assigned based on projected mission requirements at the Group Level)
    Line (As a Taskforce, but smaller, roughly the same ship numbers as the Lines listed in the ImpSB).

Just some preliminary thoughts. I've done up enough stats to fill in a lot of gaps in the TO&E, insofar as ships that the chapter mentions but never provides stats for. My next step will be to come up with mixed-group line assets, probably using the Squadron formations listed in the ImpSB in microcosm...
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious what you will come up with for numbers.

As far as the utility of Army vs Navy forces, I find Imperial Army forces are useful if the PCs are on planet or dealing with an Imperial base or outpost. They make a change of pace from the boys in white. But as you said in your original post the large scale units are far too large to be useful for designing or running adventures for PCs.

As far as naval forces. I find that the naval unit sizes that are much above a line or squadron in size are far too large to be useful for designing or running adventures for PCs or for planning any sort of sector wide Rebel activity. The number of ships in a fleet or sector fleet/force is far larger than what we see in the films (e.g. Battle of Hoth) and far too numerous for the Rebels to face in any sort of battle. Typically the numbers for a sector force allow for multiple star destroyers for each system or significant planet.

Currently I'm looking at running something in the near future in Brak sector. I haven't double checked the numbers with the ISB, but the Brak sector source book says the following.

Quote:
The sector officially contains 67 inhabited and over 350 uninhabited star systems

Quote:
The Imperial Naval forces in Brak sector consist of a standard Sector Group of 2,400 ships, including 30 Star Destroyers and about 1,600 other combat starships.
That's a lot of ships.

Opposing the Imperials the Rebels in this sector have
Quote:
Naval Strength
3 Corellian Corvettes
35 light freighters (various types)
36 V-wing starfighters
12 X-wing starfighters
That's not a lot of ships.
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"That's not alot of ships," indeed. But then, that's the nature of asymmetric warfare, you can't stand toe to toe with the Empire, but you can only "hit 'em where they ain't."

Bren, welcome back to the Pit. I understand you're an old-timer (judging by your 3,000+ posts) who recently returned?
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sutehp wrote:
"That's not alot of ships," indeed. But then, that's the nature of asymmetric warfare, you can't stand toe to toe with the Empire, but you can only "hit 'em where they ain't."
2430 ships vs. 86 ships is 28 to 1. That is pretty asymmetric. But it is, I suspect, far worse. The Imperial ship numbers are unlikely to include TIE fighters and the 3 Corellian Corvettes aren't even a match for 1 of the 30 Star Destroyers.

(Oh and that should have been 36 Y-Wings. Not V-Wings.)

Quote:
Bren, welcome back to the Pit. I understand you're an old-timer (judging by your 3,000+ posts) who recently returned?
Thanks. Yes I am an old timer by several measures. Number of posts being just one of them. Very Happy
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
As far as naval forces. I find that the naval unit sizes that are much above a line or squadron in size are far too large to be useful for designing or running adventures for PCs or for planning any sort of sector wide Rebel activity. The number of ships in a fleet or sector fleet/force is far larger than what we see in the films (e.g. Battle of Hoth) and far too numerous for the Rebels to face in any sort of battle. Typically the numbers for a sector force allow for multiple star destroyers for each system or significant planet.

Agreed. I have something more flexible in mind, in that a "sector fleet" can actually constitute less than a full Fleet in strength, and is highly variable based on the needs of the sector.

There are multiple examples in the WEG literature where an Imperial Navy detachment is composed of multiple ship types that cut a swath across the various Line unit descriptions, which fits well with the mission detail concept described in the ImpSB.

Just as an example of what I'm thinking, the ImpSB describes a variant of the Light Squadron as two Attack Lines, a Skirmish Line and a Recon Line, which breaks down like so:
    Attack Line: 3 Heavy Cruisers or 6 Light Cruisers or Frigates
    Skirmish Line: 4-20 "Small Combatants" (Corvettes)
    Recon Line: 2-4 Recon modified Light Cruisers

I'm thinking a Line that players would be more likely to encounter would be around 1/4 of this, so more like a mixed line of 1 Heavy Cruiser, 2 Light Cruisers / Frigates, 4-5 Corvettes and a recon-modified Light Cruiser.

The other squadron types would get a similar reduction in strength, with the type of line depending on GM preferences. That way, Star Destroyers could be reserved for major threats or climactic battles.

Quote:
That's not a lot of ships.

Indeed. Such a force disparity makes it easy to understand why so many in the upper echelons of the Empire consider the Rebellion to be "pitiful."
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As a starting point for building the squadrons, here's how I picture the various lines from the ImpSB, with the gaps filled in for irregular ship assignments or for ships that are mentioned but no stats are provided.
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"No set of rules can cover every situation. It's expected that you will make up new rules to suit the needs of your game." - The Star Wars Roleplaying Game, 2R&E, pg. 69, WEG, 1996.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Just as an example of what I'm thinking, the ImpSB describes a variant of the Light Squadron as two Attack Lines, a Skirmish Line and a Recon Line, which breaks down like so:
    Attack Line: 3 Heavy Cruisers or 6 Light Cruisers or Frigates
    Skirmish Line: 4-20 "Small Combatants" (Corvettes)
    Recon Line: 2-4 Recon modified Light Cruisers

I'm thinking a Line that players would be more likely to encounter would be around 1/4 of this, so more like a mixed line of 1 Heavy Cruiser, 2 Light Cruisers / Frigates, 4-5 Corvettes and a recon-modified Light Cruiser.

The other squadron types would get a similar reduction in strength, with the type of line depending on GM preferences. That way, Star Destroyers could be reserved for major threats or climactic battles.
I did something possibly similar to this sort of breakdown and reduction when I was assigning sector naval forces for our previous Star Wars campaign. To my mind it was important to know not just what forces were in one sector, but also what the forces were in the neighboring sectors since that is where the Imperial Navy might want to first pull reinforcements from to a sector where Rebel activity has become a serious problem.

Quote:
Such a force disparity makes it easy to understand why so many in the upper echelons of the Empire consider the Rebellion to be "pitiful."
Generally that is too much disparity for my view of an interesting Rebel setting. I'm fine with the idea that the Rebel Alliance is not strong enough to win a straight up battle. But I want something closer to other historically successful rebellions e.g. the American Revolutionary War or Vietnam. I want a situation where the Rebels can in some sectors, at some times, and in some places arrange to fight the Imperials with a significant probability (even if that is a low probability) that the Rebels might win or at least get a draw in that one encounter. I don't want the Rebels limited to always and only being terrorists who can never, ever successfully face their foes.
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Bren
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill, so how many and what type of squadrons do you envision for an ordinary or typical sector fleet? By ordinary or typical I mean a sector that is outside the Core or other major Imperial sectors (so not an enormous fleet) but also not one of the minor sectors in the Outer Rim (so not like the tiny fleet we see for the Minos Sector in GG6: Tramp Freighters).
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
CRMcNeill, so how many and what type of squadrons do you envision for an ordinary or typical sector fleet? By ordinary or typical I mean a sector that is outside the Core or other major Imperial sectors (so not an enormous fleet) but also not one of the minor sectors in the Outer Rim (so not like the tiny fleet we see for the Minos Sector in GG6: Tramp Freighters).
I think it's going to depend heavily on both the size of the sector and how active the Rebellion is. If I use the System Force (or Group under my system) as a building block, the ImpSB says that a System Force is responsible for "a sphere of command spanning hundreds of light years and dozens of worlds."

So, for the purposes of sector building, I'd say the following:
    3 different types of mission groups: Superiority, Escort and Assault. Escort is primarily for defensive purposes, Superiority for offensive action, and Assault for troop transport and bombard support (conceptually I folded the Bombard groups into troop transport, since planetary bombardment is integrally linked with troop operations on most levels).

    So, figure starting with a single Escort Group for every 24-48 worlds (maybe with uninhabited systems counting for 1/3 to 1/4 the value of a populated world), if the region is mostly calm. Most regions are going to have at least some Army presence, so add in a few Troop squadrons (generally, 1 Line per Army Corps assigned, with the smaller transports used if the Corps is dispersed across multiple planets), with Bombard units as backup. Then, add in a Superiority Group (Star Destroyers and their escorts) if the Alliance has an obvious and active presence in the region.

    Repeat as needed.

    So, using your example of the Brak Sector, you're looking at a minimum of around 4-5 Escort Groups, concentrated on the inhabited worlds, with regular patrol sweeps through the uninhabited ones (although the Superiority Groups will take over responsibility for the sweeps in more violent regions).

    From there, you start tacking on Superiority Groups based on the value of a given planet, the relative degree of discontent in the population and/or how active the Alliance (or other resistance forces) are in a given region.

    Troop units are a bit more complex, as the ImpSB doesn't do a very good job of distinguishing between Assault and Garrison Army units. IMO, a lot of the more populous worlds are going to have permanent planetary defense units whose mission is to keep the populace in check, as well as withstand a direct attack, and those units aren't going to require naval transport to be immediately on-call. Bombard units, in turn, are only going to really be required for fire support and planetary subjugation missions, so this is also going to be a factor of how violent a region is.

    Then there is the other end of the spectrum, with worlds that are so unimportant that they don't require a regular naval presence at all, and get only system patrol force detachments (as near as we could figure in a previous discussion, system patrol is like the Star Wars version of the Coast Guard, with a separate chain of command, but under the Navy's operational control during wartime).

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Bren
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2017 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill,

Its been a few years since I read the ISB. It would help to see numbers of ships of given types. You did that for the lines you listed previously, but you didn't include a break down of how many and what type of lines per squadron, squadrons per group, etc. Can you break down how many and what type of lines you envision in a Group (or is that exactly the same as in the ISB)?
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bren wrote:
CRMcNeill,

Its been a few years since I read the ISB. It would help to see numbers of ships of given types. You did that for the lines you listed previously, but you didn't include a break down of how many and what type of lines per squadron, squadrons per group, etc. Can you break down how many and what type of lines you envision in a Group (or is that exactly the same as in the ISB)?

That's my plan, but it's still in the preliminary stages, so I don't have those numbers available right now.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A while back, I posited the idea of using the Squadron types listed in the ImpSB as a basis for smaller, Line-sized naval units more on the scale of what WEG tends to use in its various adventures. What I proposed here was to use the much more varied Squadron units as a basis for forming smaller units of 4-8 ships as opposed to the 20-30 as found in squadrons.

I decided to incorporate the concept of the Mission Detail (as mentioned in the opening page of the Naval Organization chapter) by calling these units Taskforces, borrowing from modern naval parlance. So here's the bare bones of it, using the Squadron descriptions as a basis but at 1/4 the size of a squadron:
    A Taskforce is roughly equivalent in size to a Naval Line. However, where a Line is nearly always composed of the same ship type for organizational purposes, a Taskforce is composed of a variety of different types and sizes of ships organized for a specific mission. Both Light and Heavy Taskforces exist, with the key difference being that Heavy Taskforces are built around a Line-equivalent unit such as a Star Destroyer or Torpedo Sphere, with the equivalent of a Light Taskforce attached as an Escort.


    Patrol Taskforce
    1 Heavy Cruiser (Vindicator or Dreadnought)
    2 Strike-Class Cruisers
    4 Raider-Class Corvettes
    2 Caravel-Class Recon Cruisers

    Scout Taskforce
    2 Caravel-Class Recon Cruisers
    4 Raider-Class Corvettes
    2 Carrack-Class Pursuit Cruisers

    Combat Taskforce
    1 Heavy Cruiser (Vindicator or Dreadnought)
    2 Strike-Class Cruisers
    1 Caravel-Class Scout Cruiser

    Assault Taskforce
    1 Victory II-Class Star Cruiser or Venator-Class Star Destroyer
    1 Heavy Cruiser (Vindicator or Dreadnought)
    2 Strike-Class Cruisers
    4 Raider-Class Corvettes

    Escort Taskforce
    1 Escort Carrier
    2 Nebulon B (or rarely, Lancer)
    4 Raider (alternately, 1 Nebulon B / Lancer & 2 Raiders)

    Battle Taskforce (Heavy)
    1 Imperial-Class Star Destroyer
    1 Heavy Cruiser (Vindicator or Dreadnought)
    2 Strike-Class Cruisers
    2 Carrack-Class Pursuit Cruisers
    1 Caravel-Class Scout Cruiser

    Troop Taskforce (Heavy)
    1 Consolidator-Class Corps Troop Transport
    4 Strike-Class Cruisers
    4 Raider-Class Corvettes

    Bombard Taskforce (Heavy)
    2 Victory I-Class Star Monitors (or rarely, 1 Torpedo Sphere)
    2 Strike-Class Cruisers
    4 Raider-Class Corvettes
    2 Carrack-Class Pursuit Cruisers

    Note: If the mission requires a troop detachment from the Army, but not in sufficient strength to necessitate a full Troop Taskforce, the Navy will simply assign an Acclamator or Delta-Class Transport to the Taskforce in question. Taskforces are also regularly accompanied by various supply and replenishment ships.

Again, this is just a basic list based on the organizations of the various Squadron-level units listed in the ImpSB (except for the Escort Taskforce - that's my own extrapolation). Thoughts?
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It might make sense to add a couple of customs corvettes to the Patrol Taskforce or have them as an option.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven Redstar wrote:
It might make sense to add a couple of customs corvettes to the Patrol Taskforce or have them as an option.

Customs is separate from the Navy, so any inclusion in a taskforce would be incidental. Customs is generally assigned to a specific planet or system, so it would be more a matter of a Taskforce being in a system and any Customs ships in-system falling under the Navy's operational control, then reverting to local control once the taskforce moves on.
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Raven Redstar
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That makes sense.
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