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As requested by a reader, this post is the first in a series to expand the Imperial commanders and their forces first introduced in a previous post. I haven’t quite decided what these posts should look like, so here is an initial go at it from which I hope to improve based on your feedback. Yay for iteration!
In typical Imperial fashion, I’ll start from the top and work my way down. Up first is Rear Admiral Zavalle’s Outer Rim Strike Group.
Organization and Equipment
Cobbled together from uncoordinated and isolated patrol groups and sentry posts, Zavalle’s strike group is comprised of light-to-medium weight vessels and numerous strike craft. In this manner, her force closely resembles the pirates and rebels Admiral Zavalle hunts in the Outer Rim.
Zavalle’s force has nothing heavier than a few Quasar Fire-class carriers and Arquitens-class light cruisers. Raider-class corvettes are the primary workhorse, serving in patrol and escort roles. Imperial Gozanti-class vessels fill an important role as armed transports. In addition, the Strike Group makes maximum use of external TIE fighter racks – almost every ship will have at least a handful of TIEs in support.
Gamemasters can select from the below, mixing and matching as necessary to create an opposing force appropriate to the desired adventure.
3 x Raider-class corvettes
The basic unit of operation for Zavalle’s group is the patrol squadron. Each corvette conducts its own independent patrol route within a short jump of the other two vessels. This balances the need to cover vast territory with the ability to quickly call in additional craft for mutual support. A single corvette would be considered Trivial (1 Purple), while a squadron of three is Significant (2 Purple).
Carrier Fighter Group
1 x Quasar Fire-class carrier
2 x TIE Fighter squadrons
1 x TIE Bomber squadron
1 x TIE Interceptor squadron
With the combat vessels of Zavalle’s force being too small to support any more than a few rack mounted starfighters, the carrier serves a critical role. Not only are carriers needed to transport more than a handful of fighters, the hangar bays are essential for repair and refit of those fighters. While two squadrons shy of a standard fighter wing found aboard an Imperial Star Destroyer, the four squadron wings found on Zavalle’s Quasar Fire-class carriers count as a Significant (2 Purple) force. The carrier generally remains a tactical bound away from the main battle, but if pressed into service would push the group to Imposing (3 Purple).
Carrier Support Group
2 x Raider-class corvettes
2 x Gozanti-class transports
While the above Carrier-Fighter Group is capable of independent operation, it is generally supported by a four ship support group. This group provides escort and immediate resupply. On its own, the Carrier Support Group is Imposing (3 Purple). A Carrier-Fighter Group and Carrier Support Group working in concert would be a Staggering (4 Purple) force.
1 x Arquitens-class light cruiser
2 x Raider-class corvettes
Given the light nature of the Arquitens-class cruiser, a three ship Command Group is considered Imposing (3 Purple).
Zavalle’s fleet is supported by a variety of utility vessels. The following models are the main ships used in a support role:
Sentinel-class landing craft
Zeta-class cargo shuttles
Periodically, the fleet receives strategic resupply by Imperial cargo ships such as the Class Four Container Ship.
Doctrine and Tactics
Admiral Zavalle’s tactics are a dark mirror to that of the Rebel Alliance. She keeps her forces dispersed and highly mobile. This is first to prevent decisive engagement on the enemy’s terms, as her forces lack heavy ships. More pressing for the Rebels, however, is the fact such dispersion allows her forces to patrol vast swathes of space.
Normally, a single corvette on patrol would be easy prey for a Rebel squadron. However, Zavalle’s forces are trained to play it safe, and even break contact if necessary, until reinforcements from nearby systems can be surged in to overwhelm the enemy. Many Rebel commanders have fallen into the trap of pursuing a battle against an ever increasing tide of reinforcements from Zavalle’s Strike Group.
Tactically, Zavalle’s forces exploit their enemies’ inexperience dealing with multiple medium-weight threats. While a Star Destroyer is a powerful threat on the battlefield, a single heavy ship is a predictable enemy with fire arcs that can be avoided. Engaging multiple Raider and Gozanti class vessels can be a much greater challenge as not only can those ships can position for advantage using mutual support, but also a loss of any one ship is unlikely to be a decisive victory.
The following are abbreviated stat blocks for a few commanders appropriate to these forces as a quick reference.
Rear Admiral Olenka Zavalle: Presence 4 / Leadership 3, Commanding Presence 2, Master Strategist, Swarm Coordination (So long as Zavalle’s force has a significant numbers advantage, upgrade the difficulty of Mass Combat checks once in addition to the usual upgrade for her ranks in Leadership), Lightning Reinforcements (May spend 3 Threat, in addition to the usual 1 Despair, to call in reinforcements and increase the force size by one step).
Line Captain: Presence 3 / Leadership 3, Commanding Presence 1, Lightning Reinforcements (May spend 3 Threat, in addition to the usual 1 Despair, to call in reinforcements and increase the force size by one step). If personal scale statistics are required, merge the aforementioned stats into the Imperial Naval Officer stats (EotE pg. 404).
Wing Commander: Use TIE Ace stats (AoR pg. 423) and add three ranks of Leadership.