The Alliance to Restore the Republic rests on high-minded ideals, but its battles must still be won in the trenches. The Rebellion’s troops go into every battle outnumbered and outgunned. Its soldiers know that they're fighting a war against long odds, but they remain undaunted. Instead, they rally together, using their cunning, their skill, and their courage to ensure that the hope for freedom persists in the galaxy.
A Soldier sourcebook for the Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ Roleplaying Game, Forged in Battle offers these brave warriors a wealth of new options and resources with which they can better take the fight to the Empire. Its 96 full-colour pages introduce new species, specializations, and signature abilities. A sizable collection of new weapons, armour, gear, and vehicles adds more firepower to your campaign, and Game Masters will find helpful hints on running combats in different terrain, using the changes in environment to better suit the tastes of your Soldiers, as well as all other characters interested in standing on the front lines.
Soldiers are the body of the Rebellion against the Empire. Their lives aren’t as glamorous as those of Aces or Diplomats, and they face danger just as much, if not more, than Commanders and Spies. But as a Soldier, you’re not afraid of danger. You’ve already agreed to put your life on the line in order to fight for what you believe. You’re eager to get your hands dirty, if not bloody. You might even enjoy the rush of battle. Certainly you don’t mind being in the thick of the Galactic Civil War.
Forged in Battle, a new supplement for the Star Wars®: Age of Rebellion™ roleplaying game doesn’t just put you in the middle of the action. Its new specializations equip Soldiers to fight in the front lines, or even in advance of the main forces. Today’s article introduces you to the Heavy, Vanguard, and Trailblazer specializations, designed for Soldiers, but just as useful for Commanders, or even the Warriors, Guardians, and Colonists of the Force and Destiny™ and Edge of the Empire™ systems. We’ll also preview the three Soldier-focused campaigns outlined in the book, as well as the two new Soldier Signature Abilities.
Unseen and Unrelenting
Fights in the Galactic Civil War seldom take the form of pitched battles where armies meet on an open plain. The Rebellion is up against a numerically superior enemy with access to better weapons, armor, and supplies. This means its Soldiers must rely on their bravery, wits, and knowledge if they’re going to survive, let alone defeat the Empire. The Trailblazer and Vanguard specializations enable Soldiers to pick out unseen paths and, when they do encounter the enemy, meet them head-on in an unrelenting onslaught.
Trailblazers are experts in guerrilla warfare. They know how use a planet’s terrain, whether that be Naboo’s swamps or Cloud City’s streets, as a weapon. With their bonus skills of Perception, Stealth, Survival, and Knowledge (Outer Rim), they can create traps for Imperial forces, ambush outposts, and then elude pursuit if the tide turns. Vanguards, on the other hand, seize initiative and open fire rather than formulate tricks and traps. Their Cool and Vigilance skills enable them to shoot first whenever necessary, while their Athletics and Resilience help to dodge blows, stay alive, and bounce back easily. Together, a Trailblazer and a Vanguard make an excellent strike team.
The Bigger They Are…
The military operations of the Rebel Alliance usually rely on infantry supported with scattered cannon and a few airpseeders. Without massive machines that can carry artillery into the fray, that role falls to a group of Soldiers known as Heavies, trained in operating the Rebellion’s biggest guns. Heavies back up their skills in Gunnery and Ranged (Heavy) with the Perception needed to pick out a target at a distance, and the Resilience needed to stay healthy and high-functioning in even the worst battle conditions.
A good Heavy can take out a mounted cannon or an AT-ST all on her own, but Forged in Battle gives all Soldiers the chance to accomplish that kind of feat with the new Signature Ability, The Bigger They Are... It allows a character to spend Destiny Points in order to ignore the armor or soak of a target for three rounds, whether that target is a creature, vehicle, or starship. Its counterpart, Unmatched Courage, buys you the time you need to take that target down. With Unmatched Courage, you can spend Destiny Points to ignore the effects of all your Critical Injuries for two rounds—enough time to turn an entire battle around.
Inside and Outside the Lines
In addition to new specializations, species, and gear, Forged in Battle features an entire chapter on creating missions, rewards, and campaigns for the Soldiers in your group. While the suggested missions and campaigns have been created especially with Soldiers in mind, they are all open-ended enough to work for a diverse group of PCs, from Engineers to Explorers, Force-sensitive Seekers to Guardians.
For a session about the fight for a single planet, send your group on the Trench Warfare campaign, which compels players on an Outer Rim planet to fight their way out of a long-term stalemate against the Empire. Trying to slowly wear down Imperial defenses has proven ineffective, so now the PCs must find a way to break though, or even circumnavigate, enemy lines.
If your group prefers something less head-to-head and more high-tech, you might try the City Fight scenario. It situates PCs within the initial occupation force of a planet where the shields have fallen but the enemy has not withdrawn, nor have many of the civilians. If your group is particularly equipped to handle low-impact but high-importance covert missions, the campaign might follow the Raiding Operations outline. It takes the form of a series of special missions in stable, civilian areas that continuously evolve in difficulty as the team becomes better at their job—and more notorious for their work.
Time to Advance
You might be a Sharpshooter who prefers to snipe at the enemy from a distance, or a Squadron Leader who earned her first stars as a Heavy. An Engineer who is just as good at repairing humanoid bodies as he is at repairing machines. A Trailblazer who doubles as Analyst when not in the field. No matter what your role in the Rebellion, you’re still part of a fight much bigger than the mission at hand. It’s time to settle in, take aim, and show the Empire what you’re made of.