The Workshop – Harxa Squadron

Raiaa is a planet on the end of the Perlemian Trade Route. The planet itself is not all that striking, rather rocky and mountainous most places with a few arable sections of land the city centers developed around. The planet’s orbit around its primary star leads to days that are short and very warm, the nights long and dark. The native population are a near-human species, evolved to be able to see better in the dark without technological aid. They escape the heat of the day by being active mostly at night. While not exactly resource rich, several minerals and ores are located within its crust that are vital to the refinement of vehicle and starship armor, making mining a very active industry on the planet.

The Raiaans tried to use this to their advantage during the Clone Wars by courting both Separatist and Republic military interests to try to get the best price they could. They made good money during the war with this strategy, but it was not to last. Ten years after the cessation of hostilities and the transformation of the Republic into the Galactic Empire, a Star Destroyer appeared in orbit over Raiaa and began pounding the planet with turbolaser fire. After the bombardment, they sent down several troop transports to occupy the capital.

Over the course of their development the Raiaans for some reason developed strong gender roles. While the men worked in the mines, the women tended to the affairs of leading the cities and governing the population. This changed when the Empire took over, and they forced many of the Raiaan women down into the mines to increase production.

Five years after the Imperial occupation, a small group of Raiaan women led by Yevok Berans’ka, one of the former leaders in their civic government, fled into the hills. They broke into their old storage facilities and took what few starships they had left from the remnants of their Planetary Defense Force and trained in their use, using the terrain to hide their activities from the Empire’s forces. They learned the ins and outs of the ships, most of which hadn’t seen active use since shortly after the Clone Wars when they were used to fend off several small pirate groups. They launched several small incursions into the city centers to get supplies they needed and brought the squadron back online. And then, when they were ready, they started to launch attacks against military targets.

They started slow, running attacks every few weeks. But they quickly found they weren’t making a dent in the Imperial occupation that way. The occupying forces would simply rebuild in the time it took them to set up another sortie. So they started making more and more strikes on installations and supply drops, taking what they could for their own and denying the Imperial forces what they could not do. They developed tactics to frustrate the Imperial pilots that would be sent up to meet them, dialing down their power output as much as possible and using their natural skills to “fly dark” and attack in the dead of the night, flying in low out of the mountains to mask their approach on sensors. The lowered power output of their ships also made them much slower than the standard TIE Fighters, making it hard for the Imperial pilots to engage with them.

The Imperials started to refer to these strikes as “harxa attacks” after the nocturnal reptavian hunter that evolved in the equatorial mountain ranges of the planet. The Raiaans embraced the title and have continued to harass their occupiers over the years, never staying in one place for longer than several missions to avoid discovery by the Empire. They know their exports are too important to the Imperial war machine for them to risk the mines, and they use this to their advantage. They have so far been very, very successful in these missions, losing very few of their own and making the Empire begin to pay more and more for their continued occupation of their homeworld.

Using Harxa Squadron in Your Game.

The Rebel Alliance is aware of the existence of Harxa Squadron, but they have yet been unable to contact the resistance force. For all that it’s worth, the Raiaan pilots aren’t going to abandon their homeworld and leave the rest of their people to suffer under the Imperial yoke. However, breaking the Raiaans free of their Imperial occupation could go a long way towards bringing these veteran pilots into their ranks, making for a powerful and welcome addition to their fleet. But even a squadron this elite cannot be the Rebels’ sole focus, especially for a campaign that far out in the Rim. You could focus an entire story arc around the PCs planning this mission, gathering equipment and forces from what they can muster themselves and finally executing their attack to free Raiaa from Imperial rule.

Alternately, Harxa squadron can make for a wonderfully tenacious enemy for an Imperial game. In this case the PCs can play the reinforcements sent to take over the defense of Imperial assets on Raiaa and drive the troublesome pilots to ground…permanently.

Below I have included stats for a basic Rival level pilot in the squadron. These ladies are not pushovers, especially behind the stick of a starship. They are all Aces in their own right and should not be taken lightly. I have also included the stats for Niyan Ul’yanek, the group’s mechanic and their commander, Yevok Berans’ka. Their squadron flies no single type of ship, instead using what they had remaining from their Planetary Defense Force from the Clone Wars – the newest ship probably being the Z-95 Headhunter. They have been cannibalized and retrofitted to use parts from other ships, and many of them scarcely resemble or perform like the ships they originally were.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, Harxa Squadron is my attempt to bring the Soviet Union’s 588th Night Bomber Regiment (later the 46th “Taman” Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment), or “Night Witches” as they were known, into the Star Wars universe. This regiment was made up entirely of women pilots who went on to have incredible success against German forces in the Second World War. They flew largely obsolete biplanes on over 24,000 night time bombing missions against Wermacht targets. They would oftentimes stall the engine and glide the plane over their targets before starting up the engine again midflight to avoid detection on their approach. This lead their mostly wooden planes to sound like broomsticks in the air, which explains the origin of their nickname, given to them by German soldiers.

Harxa Pilot [Rival]

Brawn 2, Agility 4, Intellect 2, Cunning 3, Willpower 3, Presence 3
Soak 2, W. Threshold 12, M/R Def 0|0

Skills: Cool 3, Discipline 2, Gunnery 2, Piloting (Space) 3, Ranged (Light) 1, Vigilance 2
Talents: Adversary 1 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target once), Defensive Driving 1 (increase the defense rating on all zones by 1 for any vehicle this target pilots), Skilled Jockey 1 (remove 1 Setback from any Piloting (Planetary) or Piloting (Space) checks), Tricky Target (any vehicle this target counts as having a silhouette of one lower when being attacked, to a minimum of 0).
Abilities: Brilliant Evasion (once per encounter while piloting a vehicle or starship as an action make an opposed Piloting (Planetary or Space) check against a chosen opponent; if successful, the opponent cannot make any attacks against this target’s vehicle for four rounds), Full Stop (as a maneuver, immediately reduce the speed of any ship or vehicle this target pilots to zero; the ship or vehicle suffers one point of system strain for every point of speed it had before stopping)
Equipment: slugthrower pistol (Ranged [Light]; Damage 4; Critical 5; Range [Short]), flight suit

Niyan Ul’yanek [Rival]

Brawn 2, Agility 2, Intellect 4, Cunning 3, Willpower 3, Presence 2
Soak 2, W. Threshold 12, M/R Def 0|0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Computers 2, Mechanics 4, Streetwise 2
Talents: Gearhead 2 (remove two Setback from Mechanics checks, and the credit cost to add mods to attachments decreases by half), Inventor 2 (add two Boost or remove two Setback when creating or modifying equipment) Solid Repairs 2 (repair two additional points when repairing hull trauma on a vehicle or starship).
Equipment: slugthrower pistol (Ranged [Light]; Damage 4; Critical 5; Range [Short]), tool kit, datapad

Yevok Berans’ka [Nemesis]

Brawn 2, Agility 5, Intellect 3, Cunning 3, Willpower 4, Presence 4
Soak 2, W. Threshold 13, S. Threshold 16, M/R Def 0|0

Skills: Astrogation 1, Cool 4, Discipline 3, Gunnery 2, Leadership 2, Piloting (Space) 3, Ranged (Light) 1, Vigilance 3
Talents: Adversary 2 (upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target twice), Command 1 (add 1 Boost to Leadership checks; if successful targets of check get 1 Boost to Discipline checks for the next 24 hours), Defensive Driving 1 (increase the defense rating on all zones by 1 for any vehicle this target pilots), Form on Me (when making the Gain the Advantage maneuver, 2 allies within close range also gain the benefits of the action on the selected opponent as long as they remain within Close range of the target or until they lose the benefits of Gain the Advantage), Skilled Jockey 2 (remove 2 Setback from any Piloting (Planetary) or Piloting (Space) checks, Tricky Target (any vehicle this target counts as having a silhouette of one lower when being attacked, to a minimum of 0).
Abilities: Brilliant Evasion (once per encounter while piloting a vehicle or starship as an action make an opposed Piloting (Planetary or Space) check against a chosen opponent; if successful, the opponent cannot make any attacks against this target’s vehicle for five rounds), Full Stop (as a maneuver, immediately reduce the speed of any ship or vehicle this target pilots to zero; the ship or vehicle suffers one point of system strain for every point of speed it had before stopping)
Equipment: slugthrower pistol (Ranged [Light]; Damage 4; Critical 5; Range [Short]), flight suit

The following two tabs change content below.
Ben Erickson

Ben Erickson

Contributing Writer for d20 Radio
A long time gamer and even longer time 'designer,' Ben has been doing system tinkering and creation since grade school. He was introduced to the world of gaming through the boxed introductory set of West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game. Apart from game writing, he enjoys dabbling in other forms of writing, from short stories and poetry to (more recently) song lyrics. You can also find him trying to keep up on the latest books, movies, and television shows (a task that grows more and more daunting each year).
Ben Erickson

Latest posts by Ben Erickson (see all)

Comments

comments