Imperial Vessels commonly encountered in the Rioden Cluster
Victory II Star Destroyer
It did not come off the production line until the Clone Wars had ended, and consequently only a handful ever saw completion. Yet Rendili StarDrive’s Victory II Star Destroyer has made an impact in this age of Imperial and Super-class Star Destroyers. While the Victory I is primarily a planetary assault vessel, the Victory II was designed with space combat in mind.
The Victory II is fitted with powerful Hoersch-Kessel engines that add significantly to the Destroyer’s sublight speed and maneuverability. In addition to its normal armament, the Victory II is equipped with ion cannons and enhanced tractor beam projectors. In combination, these weapons regularly disrupt the usual performance of an enemy ship, leaving it vulnerable to the Victory II’s destructive weaponry.
Victory II Destroyers are designed with hangar bays large enough for two squadrons of TIE fighters. A recent shortage and high demand for starfighters has seen the mothballing of several hangars, or the use of non-combat craft as battle platforms.
The main duty of the small number of these Star Destroyers is sector patrol. In pairs, or with other ships, Victory IIs regularly move into suspected hot spots and areas of Rebel or pirate activity with orders to pacify the sector.
Interdictor Class Heavy Cruiser
When the Empire developed a working gravity well projector, it was determined that a special vessel would need to be constructed to provide the necessary power output the device required. So, the Interdictor-class Heavy Cruiser was designed by Sienar Fleet Systems.
The gravity well generator works on a simple principle. When focused, it sends out waves of energy that disrupt mass lines in space, thereby simulating the presence of a large stellar body such as an asteroid or planetoid. The presence of so much mass prevents ships in the area from engaging their hyperdrives, and it also drops ships already in hyperspace back into realspace.
The Interdictor Cruiser serves as an escape cut-off, strategically stationed out of direct combat but in a position that provides a maximum fire arc. It projects fields of gravity throughout a battle zone, rendering all hyperdrives inoperable. This greatly reduces the chances of Rebel ships, which normally survive by using quick hit-and-run tactics and then escape into lightspeed.
These Heavy Cruisers also perform as ambush vessels, hiding along a known hyper-space lane and projecting gravity fields that produce mass shadows. Any ships traveling along the hyper route must slip back into realspace when confronted with gravity projections. Once in realspace, other Imperial vessels can engage them in direct combat or board them for customs inspections.
Imperial Star Galleon
As more and more cargo freighters suffer capture and destruction at the hands of pirates and rebels, the Empire decided to experiment with a new class of capital ship. This new vessel contains enough storage capacity to make it function as a transport ship, but also has the added benefit of sophisticated weaponry and shielding. In essence, this vessel can serve as both transport and escort—simultaneously.
The Star Galleon-class Frigate takes the place of two ships, thus saving the Empire credits. Previous Imperial transports were unarmed or lightly armed cargo ships that could not compete against starfighters or powerful capital ships. They needed the protection of Escort Frigates or some other type of combat craft.
However, the new Star Galleons can carry equivalent amounts of goods while protecting themselves from the ravagers of the space lanes. A combination of concussion missiles and turbolasers creates a decent fire perimeter. In addition, the vessels are designed to repel invaders intent on capturing their store of goods.
Up to 300 troopers are stationed aboard a Star Galleon. The interior of these ships bristle with anti-intruder defenses. The troopers, for example, can make use of the fortress-like emplacements that line the inner hallways and corridors from which to defend their ship. Individual sections can be sealed and held by the defenders, creating pockets within a Star Galleon.
One of the more interesting features of a Star Galleon is the cargo hold. Placed in the very center of the craft, the hold is actually a separate vessel that can detach and be jettisoned into hyperspace for collection at a later time. A built-in homing device allows Imperial agents to track the hold as it randomly jumps across the hyperspace lanes.
Dreadnaught Heavy Cruiser
Introduced to the Galaxy before the Clone Wars, the Dreadnaught-class Heavy Cruiser was the largest vessel of its time. In fact, these are among the oldest ships still seeing active service in some parts of the Empire.
Originally, the Navy had planned to phase out the Dreadnaught. Critics pointed out such flaws as slow speeds, weak shielding, inefficient power generators, low fire power, and high crew needs. Economics has won out though, so far, as the Navy has found it more cost-effective to refit these ships than to build totally new vessels.
Because of their slower speeds, these ships were originally equipped with an enormous amount of cargo space for food and supplies during long missions. As technology improved, faster hyperdrive engines made most of this space unnecessary. Now these areas have been converted into TIE hangar bays. Dreadnaughts typically carry a full squadron of TIE starfighters.
Dreadnaughts perform a number of duties within the Empire. They are used to maintain an Imperial presence in the Outer Rim Territories, as convoy escort vessels, and in the pacification of low technology worlds.
The biggest drawback for this class of Heavy Cruiser is its reliance on manual technology. While the newer vessels have minimal crews supported by a heavy concentration of Droid technology, even the refitted Dreadnaughts need more actual crewmen than any other vessel currently in Imperial service.
System Patrol Craft
System patrol craft are any of a number of capital ship designs that fall between the 100 meter minimum and 250 meters, although some larger ships are relegated to this duty due to lack of available vessels. System patrol craft follow the primary directive to apprehend smuggling vessels, buy they also serve as a star system’s first line of defense against pirates, rebels, and hostile aliens as well.
Most of the vessels that fall into this class are either designed or modified for speed and fire power. Built to engage in “pre-jump” combat, patrol craft make maximum use of speed and maneuverability to catch fleeing vessels before they can escape to hyperspace. System patrol craft contain no hyperdrive engines, instead relying on powerful sublight engines to make their way within in a system.
Often, the crew of a system patrol craft spends long periods off-world in their vessel, patrolling the borders of their star system. They are called upon to respond quickly to any ships leaving the system with stolen or smuggled goods, so the crews must be constantly on watch for threats from within their system as well as those from beyond.
Imperial Strike Cruiser
Loronar’s Strike-class Cruiser has been called the fleet’s best kept secret. While every smuggler and Rebel knows to avoid Star Destroyers, the fighting capacity of the Strike Cruiser comes as a surprise to many.
Loronar has designed a vessel that can be mass produced in a limited amount of time, due to the prefabricated nature of its component sections. Not only does this procedure reduce construction time, it also dramatically lowers the cost of each vessel.
Each Strike Cruiser can carry a company of troops, two AT-STs, and one AT-AT walker for ground assault missions. Its small but functional hangar bay houses one squadron of TIE fighters.
Because of its modular design, a Strike Cruiser can be easily modified for specific missions. Those specialized vessels currently in service include prefab garrison deployers, troop transports, TIE launch platforms, heavy vehicle recovery, and planet assault vessels that can carry up to five walkers.
While the benefits of its design are obvious, the Strike Cruiser has some glaring weaknesses. The modular design means that entire systems or weapons batteries can be knocked out by a single, well-placed hit.
Blastboats fill the gap between speedy, maneuverable starfighter designs and the slower, more heavily-armed capital ships. They are swift enough to overhaul most system intruders, and strong enough to deliver—and survive—blows from powerful weapons. They operate equally well in atmosphere, on patrol in the far reaches of a star system, or performing fleet point duties without starfighter support.
When engaged in extended combat, the Skipray coordinates its attack with TIE fighters whenever possible, or uses wingman tactics if there are more blastboats in the area.
Not technically a capital ship, Imperial assault shuttles regularly engage capital ships in combat or are used to ferry Zero G stormtroopers aboard an engaged vessel. These heavily-armored vehicles come complete with tractor beam generators, full sensor suites, power harpoon guns, concussion missile launchers, and automatic blaster cannons.
Assault shuttles are divided into three sections. The first section contains the command crew cockpit. Here the five-man crew can monitor the actions of the spacetroopers as well as handle the operation of the shuttle and all its systems. The second section of the craft is the main body. In this section, 40 spacetrooper armor shells are stored until the troopers plug into them. This compartment is lined with fold-away launch doors that swing open to disgorge the spacetroopers. The rear portion of the craft houses the engines and power generators.
In a standard operation, an assault shuttle will hold a given target in a tractor beam or with magnetic harpoons. Sometimes it will also cripple the target with a few well-placed blaster-cannon shots. Then it will open up and let its spacetrooper platoon loose.
These crafts are both atmospheric and space capable, and have limited capacity for hyperspace travel (their onboard nav computers can hold up to three jumps).
TIE (Twin-ion Engine) Starfighter
The prime Imperial starfighter, TIEs, are designed to be fast, but they are also light and very fragile. The TIE can be found stationed at Imperial outposts of all kinds throughout the Known Galaxy and—short of a Star Destroyer—is the most visible symbol of Imperial power.
The TIE does not have a hyperdrive, thus is incapable of lightspeed travel. They must rely on carriers and are used for short-range recon and combat missions.