When reading the Age of Rebellion Beta, it became immediately obvious to me that the little-used Edge of the Empire skill Leadership was intended to be a focus point and oft-used mechanic in this new campaign setting. Many Careers and Specializations offer Leadership as a Career skill, and many different talents offer added Boost and removed Setback to the skill. I find, however, that the basic skill descriptions offer too little in the way of guidance on how to actually use this skill in a meaningful way at the game table. That is to say, there have been no examples shown that provide a satisfying call for a Leadership check. I want something to really sink my teeth into, something that makes spending XP on Leadership an enticing but still difficult choice. The author(s) of the canned adventure for Age of Rebellion, called Operation: Shell Game, seem to recognize this issue by including a handful of called-out Leadership checks. However, their example shows Leadership as a social interaction skill akin to the Charm skill, but limited to impressing military personnel, ranking officers, etc. This has left me wanting, and only now has a satisfying alternate House Rule came to me.
Leadership is a skill used to command a squadron of subordinates to do your bidding. Squadrons are small groups of soldiers, workers, and advisers that operate under the direct command of their commanding officers, the Agents. Galaxy Masters should capitalize on the abstract nature of the FFG Star Wars system and not worry about the exhaustive details in a typical stat block, movement, conditions, etc. and simply treat a squadron as simplistic as possible. Likewise, the Galaxy Master should impose limits to squadrons based on the narrative description of the scene; upgrading and applying Setback judiciously to account for a group of low-level underlings following the Agents around. Squadrons should, however, have a name and other distinguishing details to enmesh the controlling player into the narrative. Squadrons cannot be purchased in civilized society, but are similar to equipment in that they can be assigned as a Reward for fulfilling Duty, and thus have a Rarity consummate with their type. An Agent can only command a single squadron at a time.
Squadrons are similar to Minions, but have no actions of their own. They, as a single group entity, have Wound Threshold 10, Soak 2, and are trained in 3 skills. When the Galaxy Master calls for an Agent to make a skill check, that Agent can instead choose to make a Leadership check with the difficulty upgraded if the Agent is commanding a squadron trained in that skill.
When using Leadership of a squadron to replace a combat check, Galaxy Masters should use the guidelines below or simply adjust the values to something you deem appropriate.
Brawl (equivalent to shock gloves) – Engaged Range; damage 3+, Crit 5, Stun 3
Gunnery – dependent on starship
Melee (equivalent to vibroknife) – Engaged Range; damage 4+, Crit 2, Pierce 2, Vicious 1
Ranged, heavy (equivalent to slugthrower rifle) – Medium Range; damage 7+, Crit 5
Ranged, light (equivalent to light blaster pistol) – Medium Range; damage 5+, Crit 4, Stun setting
The following is a list of suggested squadrons, their trained skills, and Rarity. This is nowhere near an exhaustive list, and any 3 skills can be used to form a squadron; players are encouraged to create their own, unique combinations of 3 skills to describe the type of squadron their Agent is commanding. None of this has ever been playtested in any fashion, this is simply a brilliant brainstorm on my part, so I would greatly appreciate any feedback or notes from actual play with this House Rule.
Thugs (Rarity 3): Brawl, Coercion, Ranged (light)
Pirates (Rarity 4): Cool, Melee, Ranged (light)
Alliance Soldiers (Rarity 5): Discipline, Ranged (light), Vigilance
Stormtroopers (Rarity 5): Athletics, Discipline, Ranged (heavy)
Seatroopers (Rarity 6): Coordination, Discipline, Ranged (heavy)
Sandtroopers/Snowtroopers (Rarity 6): Discipline, Ranged (heavy), Survival
Scout Troopers (Rarity 6): Discipline, Ranged (light), Vigilance
Starfighter Pilots (Rarity 6): Gunnery, Piloting (planet), Piloting (space)
Vehicle Corps (Rarity 6): Gunnery, Mechanics, Piloting (planet)
Engineers (Rarity 6): Computers, Knowledge (education), Mechanics
Medical Staff (Rarity 7): Knowledge (education, xenology), Medicine
Naval Officers (Rarity 7): Astrogation, Gunnery, Piloting (space)
Science Advisers (Rarity 7): Knowledge (education, lore, xenology)
Military Advisers (Rarity 8): Discipline, Gunnery, Knowledge (warfare)
Hyperspace Advisers (Rarity 8): Astrogation, Knowledge (core worlds, outer rim)