An article to be featured in the upcoming fan-written/composed Star Wars: Adventurer's Journal Issue 3: Adventurer's Guide to Military Forces. Updated to reflect grammatical corrections.
Artwork by Adam Kopala adamkop.deviantart.com
Distant Suns Squadron
Type/Unit Level/Size: Volunteer Patrol Squadron
CO: Colonel Shenn Pharson
Base: Platmor Fighter Base, Platmor, Outer Rim Territories
Mission: Intersector patrol, anti-piracy operations, smuggler interdiction
Affiliations: Independent (reports to the Sector Rangers)
Zone of Operations: Outer Rim Territories
Success Rate/Threat: 85%/Low
Established just over ten years before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, Distant Suns Squadron was created by former officers of the Republic Judicial Forces who were dissatisfied with both the overall corruption and ineffectiveness of their organization, coupled with the erosion of overall peace and stability out on the Rim. The Galactic Republic was practically non-existent in the Outer Rim, and massive institutions such as the Trade Federation only protected and patrolled routes that were effectively controlled by them, leaving many systems to fall prey to rampant piracy, slavers, starship jackers, and other criminal elements such as the Hutts.
Initially-equipped with a handful of hyperspace sled-equipped Z-95 Headhunters, Cloakshapes, and modified Zebras, a young Shenn Pharson, former Lieutenant in the Judicial Forces, set up base on the remote arid world of Platmor, which was sparsely-populated, but adjacent to many key hyperspace routes that would provide access to dozens of star systems outside the coverage of the galactic government. Many of those were home to fledgling colonies which possessed little in both personnel and equipment to adequately defend themselves, let alone each other, from attack. As such, the Distant Suns were a welcome sign of relief, who asked for little more than fuel and whatever supplies and replacement parts could be spared.
Despite the establishment of a Grand Army of the Republic and the remobilization of the Republic Navy, little had actually changed in the scope of operations for the Distant Suns. While sympathies ran deep towards the Republic, its leadership insisted that the squadron remained neutral during the Clone Wars. While several of the systems within the Distant Suns’ area of responsibility would host battles between Republic and Separatist forces, they kept focus on stifling piracy, and even added the mitigation of illegal salvaging operations to their mission set.
While the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire would undeniably alter the state of the Outer Rim, Distant Suns Squadron would remain both a relevant and authorized force. Whereas previously loyal planetary militias would find themselves demobilized and stripped of weapons and equipment to be replaced by Imperial garrisons, the Distant Suns were not actually considered a military, or even paramilitary, unit by the Empire. Instead, they were granted a license of operations for intersystem security, and would report to the Sector Rangers, themselves classified as a law enforcement organization. Additionally, the Distant Suns were offered surplus, decommissioned starfighters from the former Republic Navy. While considerably more expensive to operate, the introduction of ARC-170s and BTL-S3 Y-Wings were very much welcomed by the squadron at that time, and could now count on not only the prowess of their pilots, but the quality of their ships.
By the rise of the Rebellion and the outbreak of the Galactic Civil War, the Distant Suns’ area of responsibility had expanded even further, which added both long-range patrol and smuggler interdiction to its list of roles. They now face growing challenges, with aging Clone Wars-era craft, poor pay, the ever-increasing expense of supplies and munitions, along with several experienced pilots and support personnel that left ranks due to their dissatisfaction with the Empire. While Colonel Pharson shares personal distaste with the Republic’s iron-handed replacement, he also recognizes that his squadron still has a job to do out there on the Outer Rim.
Organization and Tactics
Distant Suns Squadron differs little with regard to basic organization of the military starfighter squadron that is common in both the Rebel Alliance and the Empire. It too is made up into flights, although six in total rather than the standard three. Each flight is led by a Flight Lead, often a lieutenant or higher in rank, with subordinates treating each other as wingmates. Distant Suns is broken down into three flights of Y-Wing starfighters, designated as Patrol Flights One, Two and Three; and three flights of ARC-170 aggressive reconnaissance starfighters, designated as Aggro Flights One, Two and Three. Depending on the mission parameters, two flights of Y-Wings will often operate with one flight ARC-170s on major sorties. If confined to a single patrol, two Y-Wings will fly as a pair, or sometimes augmented with a sole ARC-170.
As a unit dedicated primarily to patrol and anti-piracy, the Distant Suns often make use of their craft to the maximum potential of their respective capabilities. Since the ARC-170 compliment are more focused in their anti-ship/anti-fighter capabilities, their crews will use the ARC-170’s powerful sensor suite to detect and engage hostile targets at long-range. If possible, Y-Wing crews will use their ion cannons in order to disable hostiles and capture them to make arrests on behalf of the Sector Rangers and/or the planetary governments they actively work with. If the targets are downed, the flight crews will additionally make use of the Y-Wing’s space-to- surface targeting and tracking sensors to locate any survivors and report them to local authorities.
Even though the squadron is equipped with heavy weapons, particularly proton torpedoes, they are rarely outfitted with them and only use them as a last resort. Distant Suns Squadron also possesses the military-level permits to load, carry, and ultimately expend their proton torpedoes against hostiles, but they have relatively few torpedoes in their arsenal. Additionally, the permits are very expensive to maintain and will often lapse for at least a few months out of the standard year, due to the sheer cost and the duration it takes for all of the filed paperwork to finally clear for their renewal. When fielded, only a handful of their starfighters are loaded with a single pair of torpedoes.
Despite their independent stance towards both the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire, the Distant Suns remain law-abiding and tend to toe-the-line with respect to Bureau of Ships and Services’ regulations, Imperial law, and the Sector Rangers’ edicts. However, the squadron views the Sector Rangers as its overarching organization to report to and generally will defer to their authority when requested. As such, squadron members prefer working with the Sector Rangers instead of the the Imperial Navy or its subsidiary organizations. If the capability of pirate vessels exceed what the Distant Suns can handle, they will instead report and track the targets and notify the local governments, along with the Sector Rangers, who will in turn up-channel those to the Imperial Navy.
Between its formation just over ten years prior to the Clone Wars and the modern era (two years BBY), Distant Suns Squadron was staffed between twelve and forty-eight starfighter pilots (current membership is thirty-five), thirty to sixty maintenance and support staff (presently forty-seven), ten to twenty droids (now numbering eighteen) and four to twelve command staff (now nine in total). Originally, the squadron fielded five Z-95AF3 Headhunters, four Cloakshapes and three Zebras, but after the rise of the Empire, it received twelve BTL-S3 Y-Wings and six ARC-170s as replacements, plus two Kappa-class shuttles. The Distant Suns have also procured four repulsorsleds and six 74-Z speeder bikes for local maintenance recovery missions. All personnel, equipment and vehicles are permanently-assigned to Platmor Fighter Base, but often forward-operate in systems across the Outer Rim Territories.
Typical Distant Suns Squadron Pilot. All stats 3D except: dodge 4D, communications 4D+2, sensors 5D, starfighter piloting 5D, starfighter piloting: Y-Wing or ARC-170 6D, starship gunnery 5D, law enforcement 4D+2, search 4D+2, stamina 4D, computer programming/repair 4D+2, starfighter repair 4D+2. Move: 10. Flight suit, blaster pistol (4D damage), two weeks emergency rations. Character points: 0-4.
Equipment, Weapons, and Armor
Incom/Subpro ARC-170 Starfighter. Starfighter, sensors 4D, starship gunnery 5D, starfighter piloting 5D, starship shields 3D. Hyperdrive multiplier: x1.5, nav computer: No (uses astromech droid). Maneuverability 3D, space 8, atmosphere 365, hull 5D, shields 1D+2. Weapons: 2 Medium Laser Cannons (fire control 2D, damage 6D), 2 Laser Cannons (fire control 2D, damage 5D), 2 Proton Torpedo Launchers (6 carried) (fire control 2D, damage 9D)
Koensayr Manufacturing BTL-S3 Y-Wing Starfighter. Starfighter, astrogation 3D+2, starship gunnery 4D+1, starfighter piloting 4D+2, starship shields 3D. Hyperdrive multiplier: x1, nav computer: No (uses astromech droid). Maneuverability: 2D, space 7, atmosphere 350, hull 4D, shields 1D+2. Weapons: 2 Laser Cannons (fire control 2D, damage 5D), 2 Light Ion Cannons (fire control 3D, damage 4D ionization), 2 Proton Torpedo Launchers (fire control 2D, damage 9D)
New Skills and Rules
Removable Hull Plating
Model: Koensayr Manufacturing BTL-HP3 Plating
Type: Removable Hull Plating
Cost: N/A (comes standard with Koensayr BTL-S3 Y-Wing)
Weight: 5 metric tons
Game Notes: Removable Hull Plating is a standard feature to the stock BTL-S3 Y-Wing starfighter. While installed, it adds +2 to the Hull code of the fighter. However, when attempting a starfighter repair skill check on the fighter, add +10 to the difficulty, due to lack of accessibility to vital components and/or wiring.
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