The New Republic has withdrawn from the Core Worlds, with the exception of a few critical strongholds such as Metellos, Anaxes and Brentaal-IV determined to slow the Imperial advance at a heavy price. With the fleet regrouping over Da Soocha 5, the shipyards at Bilbringi and Kuat have been deploying Republic-class Star Destroyers to boost ageing fleets of medium frigates and cruisers, while the secret shipyards of Hast and Krinemonen-III have been producing state-of-the-art Mon-Calamari frigates, cruisers and capital warships to strengthen the new bases in the Outer Rim Territories, with brand new E-Wings from Norval II adding additional punch to the starfighter force.
In these desperate times, weakened by the loss of Luke Skywalker to the Dark Side, the Republic must strike at Byss and destroy the Dark Empire and the Emperor at its source before the galaxy is consumed by the Sith.
Operation Shadow Hand is reborn.
A Devastating Addition
The key to accurately portraying Operation Shadow Hand accurately was simply to go back to the original source material - Dark Empire graphic novels and the Dark Empire Sourcebook. Where possible, the composition of all forces has been taken straight from the art of the Dark Empire and care has been taken to accurately portray every blip, indistinguishable dagger and ship class as closely as possible. We are therefore pleased to announce the addition of several new Imperial units to the campaign, starting with the World Devastator.
These capital-class terror weapons come with exceptional shielding and a good array or turbolaser cannons, and of course the Molecular Furnaces, which produce an almost limitless quantity of automated fighters- TIE Drones- in neverending waves. At point blank range, these furnaces can be turned upon enemy warships, consuming them utterly. And finally, if WD’s survive the space conflict and are part of the blockading fleet above an enemy world, those same molecular furnaces are capable of sucking enemy ground bases right off the map!
Titus Klev commands a squadron of these war machines in preparation for the assault on Mon Calamari, while the remainder are stationed above Byss.
Operation Shadow Hand is also the campaign most closely associated with the Dark Side of the Force, and to that end two new starfighters closely associated with the Dark Side Elite have been added. The first is Luke’s personal transport (also flown by Sedriss) – the I-7 Howlrunner.
Although the latest in the Incom Line, it was designed by those Imperial scientists that did not defect to the Rebel alliance along with the X-Wing schematics, and the old stigma has resulted in limited acceptance with the Imperial Fleet. The ship is sleek and fast, able to outpace X-wings, and with superior performance to the Tie Interceptor and although it has heavy shielding, the twin laser cannons are rather light by Imperial standards and this fighter performs less well in an extended space battle. Its high speed makes for an excellent reconnaissance craft, especially when piloted by the Dark Side Elite.
Following experimentation into Ssi-Ruuk type entrenchment processes, Umath Lek has extracted the brains of mortally wounded Tie Fighter pilots and implanted them in nutrient solutions into heavy droid fighters, creating exceptional war droids that use the Dark Side of the Force – Shadow Droids. These are easily the nastiest starfighters in the galaxy. With the speed and manoeuvrability to outpace the best Republic fighters and firepower to rival an B-wing/E bomber, these are dogfighters par-excellence, made from warhead-duping stealth material. A squadron can probably outgun an Acclamator Assault Ship! Their only limitation is the lack of a hyperdrive. A full wing of Shadow Droids is stationed on Byss to protect the Emperor.
Focus on Byss
The other major challenge for this campaign was the sheer scale of the conflict. The art of the Dark Empire graphic novels depicts hundreds of ships in orbit over Byss or assembling from the Deep Core. While we cannot hope to have every unique ship in the mod, they translate fairly well into upgraded Mark II and III Star Destroyer variants.
Our interpretation of the Byss fleet is as follows, most are at least Mark II variants, unless otherwise stated:
6 Shadow Droid Squadrons; Gamma-class Assault Transports; Lambda T4d Shuttles, Skiprays and Guardian-class Light Cruisers in patrol / defense roles.
9 Armed Action IV gunships; 6 Bayonet Patrol ships; 12 DP20 Gunships; Carrack & Dreadnaught Cruisers; Escort Carriers; 8 Acclamator II Star Frigates; 4 Acclamator III Star Frigates;
2 Immobiliser 418B’s; 2 Taskforce Cruisers; 2 Victory I’s; 3 Victory II’s; 2 Victory III’s; 14 Imperial I; 2 Imperial II; 2 Imperial III SD’s; 4 Tector I; 4 Tector II; 1 Tector III; 4 WD’s; 3 Praetor I-Class Star Battlecruisers a massive Praetor II Star Battlecruiser, Dark Luke, Singularity & Soverign!
Even if we ignore the Soverign entirely, there is more firepower in orbit over Byss alone than Grand Admiral Thrawn had under his entire command.
Republic and Independent forces
We aim to replicate this level of accuracy throughout the campaign, using existing variants where new or currently unobtainable starship designs are shown.
However, I can say that Rebel A9’s are in place on Kuat alongside the latest E-Wings, and the occasional Bulwark Battlecruiser is in evidence as a New Republic Command Ship. The MC90 Defiance class - which debuted in this conflict - is currently represented ably by the MC80b variant, and is present at Hast, Kuat and Mon Calamari.
We are, however, able to bring you the MC80 Evacuation Cruiser, which Mon Calamari technicians converted from Reef Home Star Cruisers in record time to evacuate civilians during the Battle of Mon Calamari, and the terror of the World Devastators.
Darkness has shrouded the galaxy, and many independent worlds have joined the arms race to survive, with Palpatine’s influence spreading fear and aggression, and for the first time ever, this is without the stabilising influence of the Republic/Empire. Many worlds such as Aargau are now fortresses, especially since the Invincible-class Heavy Cruiser has been further modernised following the original CSA retrofit in 18BBY and is seen in the Mark II format over many worlds, but this is not the real danger.
These violent upheavals have devastated many worlds and as a result, pirates, outlaws and organised crime syndicates have made the most of the situation, rapidly expanding their activities, especially since the recent development of the StarViper-class Attack Platform.
This is a murderous pirate craft, heavily armed and shielded. Worse still, many criminal organisations have made increasing numbers of illegal craft, both large and small, from salvaged battle debris leftover from the recent conflict with Thrawn, and shadowports such as Columex and Nar Shaddaa are not to be entered lightly.
One desperate thrust
Given the scale of the Imperial Fleet, it is only a matter of time before the Core falls. Once the last bastions of defence crumble under the onslaught the last few Republic worlds will be rapidly overwhelmed. The last remaining hope is to collect every last ship in the Outer Rim and plunge towards Byss in an attempt to destroy the Dark Empire at its very heart.
This is an explosive campaign with titanic fleets and conflict on an unimaginable scale, together with a new, more detailed vision of the Deep Core and the Dark Empire.
….We of the New Republic are pledged to end this long night of misery. We are pledged to defeat and destroy the Empire and restore the Republic to the Galaxy in fact and name. Those who are currently under the threat of despotism and anarchy know this: the New Republic is committed to justice and peace and will fight to free you. Join us if you can.
DO NOT ALLOW THE DARKNESS TO RISE AGAIN
Mon Mothma’s holomedia broadcast following the Imperial siege of Caprioril.
Edited by Phoenix Rising, 20 July 2010 - 05:37 PM.