29 May 2015

Squadrons of Darkness - Welcome to the Minos Cluster!

While preparing our Squadrons of Darkness campaign I considered a couple of factors before drawing the map...

The Minos Cluster at the end of Episode III (of the campaign), the Rebels have conquered Gesaril and the Imperial Karideph (the points of the Rimma Trade Route segment between those two world are thus lost to both factions), more fighting occured over Adorlon and Shesharile but both sides scored the same numbers of "wins"...
We started with 8 players (spontanely but nicely split in 4 Imperials and 4 Rebels, the campaign started before "Scum & Villainy")... Given the number of fighters in a 100 game (3 to 8), and keeping in mind that players wouldn't be fielding the same list each game, I decided to call each player a "Squadron Commander" meaning that the corner of the galaxy we'd be fighting over should be small enough for the actions of two ennemy groups of 4 squadrons (50ish fighters) to be significant. I settled on a single sector...

The surface of one of the Shesharile moons. Picture from Wookiepeida
Beside, I intend the campaign to last about a year with most players playing two games each month, so that's 100ish games. I guesstimated each three games will result in a single "net win", meaning that the total of the sector systems "strategic values" should be 35ish... Looking at the original Unofficial X-Wing Galactic Campaign map I decided to go with a similar systems and spacelanes breakdown:
  • 4 "big" systems with a "strategic value" of 3;
  • 10 "medium" systems with a "strategic value" of 2;
  • 6 "small" systems with a "strategic value" of 1;
  • 1 "wide" lanes with a "strategic value"of 2;
  • 3 "narrow" lanes with a "strategic value" of 1...
For a total of "strategic value" (not counting the lanes that wouldn't be fighted - directly - over) of 38.

Yelsain forests: like quite a few Sci Fi shows, the Squadrons of Darkness is, in part, filmed around Vancouver... Picture from Vancouver Island Big Trees.
With those two factor in mind, I started trawling my RPG books collection and the internet for a suitable sector... And ended up selecting the Minos Cluster!

There isnt' really an official system map but I made one up:
  • Adarlon, Gesaril and Karideph are described as being on the Rimma Trade Route so they went in that order on one diagonal of the map;
  • The Trition Trade Route continues the Rimma one from Karideph on, going trough Pergitor and toward the Kathol Sector;
  • Travnin is the Minos Cluster capital and located a bit off the Rimma/Trition Route;
  • Then I just randomly placed the other systems on the map;
  • I allocated the "strategic values" based on the information I could find on each system on Wookiepedia: "3" for Travnin and 3 of the Rimma/Trition Route systems, "1" for the systems about which I had little or no information, "2" for everything else;
  • The 2 segments of the Rimma Route and the lane leaving Travnin  toward the Rimma Route became the "narrow" spacelane;
  • The Trition Route became the "wide" spacelane;
  • I finaly added random lanes without "strategic value" (and thus with no game purpose) between the various systems for the entirely cosmetic purpose of making the map look more like a cohesive sector rather than just random dots...
So here is a short Minos Cluster gazeteer intended as inspiration for our games:
  • Adarlon (3): tourism, industry, holo production, Rimma Trade Route toward Elrood Sector;
  • Delfii (1): weapons cache (according to the Empire) or medical outpost (according to the Rebels), destroyed by the Empire*;
  • Eliad (2): Coruscant nobles exiled by the Emperor;
  • Gesaril (2) jungle & swamps, capital starship wrecks, prison asteroid, Rimma Trade Route;
  • Haven (2): moon;
  • Karideph (3): huge arcologies, extensive agriculture, troglodyte aliens, junction between Rimma and Trition Trade Routes;
  • Mestra (2): asteroids field, mining, TIE fighter factory, Travnin-Mestra Route;
  • Onadax (2): headquarter of Onadax Droid Technologies;
  • Pergitor (3): volcanoes and toxic atmosphere, theocracy, Trition Trade Route toward Kathol Sector;
  • Quockra (2): desert, droid communities;
  • Shesharile (2): pair "junkyard moons"; 
  • Teh'jar (2): "middle age" civilisation;
  • Travnin (3): sector capital, moon, hundreds of mpg winds, Travnin-Mestra Trade Route;
  • Tyrellia (2): ale brewing;
  • Yelsain (2): forests and huge predators.
I toyed with the idea of including "themed" obstacles specific to each system but didn't want to stray to far of the official rules (my group is fairly quick to protest when amateurs - i.e. everyone but the game publisher - strart messing under the hood) and just gave Mestra 9 asteroids instead of the regulation 6, Shesharile 3 asteroids and 6 debris clouds (it's a moon sized junkyard) and Gesaril 1 huge ship (the capital ship wrecks) used as obstacle and 6 asteroid.

An Y-8 mining vessel in the Mestra system. Picture from Wookiepedia.
We had a scenario with mines in Adarlon and I considered adding 3 proximity mines deployed like obstacles (but otherwise following the proximity mine rules i.e. detonating and inflincting 3 attack dice damage when a ship pass/stop on the template) on top of the 6 asteroids but that was deemed a crime of lese-FFG and I backed off.

* Delfii wasn't initialy described (like all "strategic value" 1 worlds), but all the games played there somehow seemed to involve the same pair of Rebel transports (a YT-1300 and a YT-2400, more details on them in my next post) being intercepted by Imperial fighters so we came to the conclusin that there must be some sort of Rebel Instalation on the surface, when the system was conquered by the Empire (as per campaign rule) we called the outpost destroyed!

More posts about the Squadrons of Darkness campaign:

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