The pilots of Whiskey Squadron could tell by the look on Bake Travnor’s grey stubbled face that their leader was not bringing good news along with the pitcher of Jawa beer he was carrying. The older pilot placed the grog in the middle of the table at the Steamline Tavern, a drinking establishment housed in a space barge cruising through the lawless Outer Rim of the galaxy.
“What is this swill?” asked Howe Hackett, one of the young pilots Travnor had recruited to help the Steamline side in the Tavern Wars, an ongoing dispute over supply shipments with a nearby rival space boozer. “Jawa beer may be fine on Tatooine, but isn’t their anything better behind the bar?”
Travnor’s dour expression didn’t change as he filled the squad’s glasses.
“Get used to it for now boys,” he said. “Lew says he’s short on funds. No fancy beer, and, more worryingly, no new astromechs, missiles or other toys until we successfully guard a few more supply runs from enemy attacks.”
Lew the Hutt was the joint’s owner, and all the pilots knew better than to bring their complaints to the angry green giant. Whiskey Squadron sipped their beers slowly, knowing the perils of mercenary life were now even more dangerous.
The juke box at Argy’s space tavern levitated about six feet above the floor as the patrons watched with wary amusement as Elmer, the joint’s owner, reached up with a screw driver and plyers in an attempt to fix the aging machine. Like most things at Argy’s the music box had seen better days. The barkeep grumbled and shouted as he worked, which made it seem like the juke box was playing a particularly angry spoken word album.
“Fang fighters. Lew the Hutt has gone and bought several Fang fighters,” Elmer sputtered.
Sarzo Lord, the Grey Jedi who was keeping the juke box aloft via the Force, sipped his beer and allowed his employer a few more rants and raves before he spoke.
“Fang fighters are tricky to fly,” said Lord, who Elmer employed to lead the Argy’s forces against his rival’s mercenary pilots in the ongoing Tavern Wars. “Besides Bake Travnor I’m not sure anybody else at the Steamline could handle one of those things.”
After a few more adjustments music again filled Argy’s and Lord gently set the machine back on the floor, where it crunched softly as it settled into the decades-old grime. Lord, who stood a full head taller than his boss and had cascading black hair that contrasted sharply with Elmer’s baldness, waited quietly for the instructions he knew were coming. Elmer placed his tools back into his rusting little box, then looked up at the young man whose features were partially obscured by a cloak that was darker than Bantha fur.
“Wrangle up our best pilots and find our most nimble ships that are still spaceworthy. Put those Jedi flying skills to use.”
Bring out your aces! In this two-player scenario each pilot has 150 points to spend on a list.
Smoke from the still smoldering T-65 X-Wing filled the docking bay adjacent to the Steamline Space Tavern, a large barge that cruised through Hook Nebula in the galaxy’s Outer Rim. The Steamline’s owner, Lew the Hutt, had come down to the docking area to marvel at the fact that the X-Wing’s pilot, Bake Travnor, had survived his latest Tavern Wars mission.
Travnor had exited the singed Snub-fighter and was clutching the Corellian Whiskey on the rocks he’d been handed by one of the docking bay’s mechanics, who kept several bottles on hand to accommodate Travnor and other pilots who usually insisted on the booze after returning from battling over alcohol shipments to The Steamline.
“I heard you were engaged with four Scyks. I thought for sure you’d be dead – and I wouldn’t have to pay you this time,” Lew said in a loud and threateningly jocular voice that scared everyone in the area except for Travnor, the leader of the Whiskey Squadron mercenaries who flew for the large brown and green Hut.
“It was a close call, but I’m back, more or less in one piece,” said Travnor, who pulled off his helmet to reveal hair as grey as his close-cropped beard. “I’ve told you Lew, the key to winning dogfights is to make them miss more than they hit.”
After some tinkering I came up with a new talent for my local group for casual X-Wing games – the eponymous Whiskey Squadron rules. A player may spend 1 point for this: Before each defense roll, a pilot may roll one defense die. If it comes up as an evade the players shall add one extra defense die to the subsequent defense roll. This talent can be used by both named and unnamed pilots in a list.
(We still have a few stickers laying around. If you want one email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get it in the mail).
The unmistakable odor of Forvish ale rose above a back table at Argy’s space tavern after several pitchers of the distinctive beverage were placed before the mercenary pilots gathered for a pre-mission briefing.
“Drink quickly boys,” said Sarzo Lord, the Grey Jedi employed by the owner of Argy’s to wage his battles during the Tavern Wars.
The young Jedi removed his brown hood, revealing his long, dark hair and spread out a large space map between the newly filled mugs.
“A transport filled with kegs of beer on a run to the Steamline Tavern has lost power. There are only a few Whiskey Squadron ships protecting it. We need to dispatch the escorts and capture that transport.”
Huge ships are coming back to X-Wing. In honor of their return try this scenario where instead of using Epic rules, play the game as usual but deploy any large vessel as a mega obstacle.
Blue laser streaks singed the tail fins of the RZ-2 A Wing as Bake Travnor spun the tiny ship clockwise. Travnor, the leader of Whiskey Squadron, was fleeing three Mining Guild Tie Fighters. He punched the prime thrusters and checked to see if his cargo was still secure.
The small bottle fixed to the interior right side of his A-Wing was intact. Travnor exhaled, knowing if he managed to lose the Ties and get the Tevraki whiskey back to his boss at the Steamline Space Tavern he would be handsomely rewarded. Lew the Hutt was winning the Tavern Wars and had sent Travnor to pick up a jug of his favorite spirits to celebrate.
Travnor grimaced as more laser fire crashed into his shields. The grey-bearded pilot had one more maneuver to try….
Elmer, the owner of Argy’s space tavern, sat at the bar and looked glumly at a stack of receipts from MandalMotors. It was a slow night in the hulking space barge that sits just outside the Aturi Cluster. Usually Argy’s would be packed with drinkers. But Elmer’s regulars – the smugglers, Resistance and First Order pilots who fly missions in the area – had lately been going to the Steamline Tavern. The reason was simple: Elmer was losing the Tavern Wars. The Argy’s supplies weren’t getting through and Elmer was down to his last few kegs and emergency stash of Corellian Whiskey.
“This better turn things around,” Elmer muttered as he grasped the paper markers for six M3-A Scyk fighters. The aging barkeep had spent 330,000 credits buying the small, sleek fighters favored by smugglers and criminal syndicates across the galaxy. “Now I just need some pilots.”
Lew the Hutt watched as Bake Travnor, drink in hand, slowly climbed the steps to the Steamline Tavern’s office, from which the enormous green gastropod could oversee operations in his joint.
Bake entered Lew’s domain and stood in his boss’s presence, sipping his Corellian Whiskey on the rocks.
“It’s all set Travnor. The dogfight will be two days from now.”
The pilot nodded. Bake was the leader of Whiskey Squadron, hired by Lew to fight the Tavern Wars against pirates and mercenaries employed by Elmer, owner of Argy’s Space Tavern. Both the Steamline and Argy’s are housed in space barges located just outside the Aturi Cluster.
Lew had placed an enormous bet with Elmer – that one of his pilots could beat Elmer’s best in a space dogfight. Bake would represent the Steamline and he had chosen, much to Lew’s annoyance, to fly a T-65 X-Wing.
“You know Elmer’s guy will be flying something fancier and faster, right?”
“I’m most comfortable in the old snubfighter. Best to stick with what you know, Lew,” Bake answered as he finished the last of his drink.
Lew laughed as he assessed his employee – well into late middle age with grey hair and a close-cropped white beard. But something about Bake’s cocky blue-eyed stare always gave the Hutt confidence.
“Win this Travnor and I’ll give you more than enough credits to pay off your gambling debts,” the Hutt said.
Bake Travnor scanned the empty patch of space in front of him and looked at the sensors of his T-65 snubfighter. The screens showed no threats, but the leader of Whiskey Squadron didn’t trust them. He and his wingman, Glenn Sundowner, were flying old X-Wings and the electronics were as temperamental as a drunk Wampa.
“Whiskey Two, what do your sensors show?”
“Nothing, all clear,” Sundowner reported back.
The duo were returning to the Steamline Space Tavern after escorting a shuttle carrying the previous week’s band out of the dangerous space near the Aturi Cluster, the disputed area where the Tavern Wars raged. Whiskey Squadron flew for Lew the Hutt, the Steamline’s owner, and had to be wary of ships hired by Elmer, the Argy’s Tavern boss and Lew’s rival.
Bake slowly rolled his head side to side, still hungover after finishing off the Steamline’s last bottle of Whyren’s Reserve Whiskey the night before with the band – a shoegaze rock trio from Scarif who easily matched the grizzled old pilot drink for drink.
“Aaah, incoming!” Sundowner shouted over the comm system. “I’m hit.”
Bake’s X-Wing shook violently as well as his rear shields took direct fire. He spun his head around and saw several Tie Fighters closing fast.
“I knew these sensors were off,” he said to Sundowner. “Bank right and I’ll bank left. These are Argy’s ships and there are probably more. We’ll have to out fly and out run them. Good luck. Last one back to the Steamline buys the first round.”
Elmer has hired plutonium rock band Disaster Area to play at Argy’s but the route to the space tavern is blocked with debris. The Argy’s owner needs pilots to blast the debris into oblivion so the band’s spaceship can make it to the venue. The Disaster Area vessel is, of course, large, packed with amps, instruments and the band’s personal stash of spirits. Pilots hired by Lew the Hutt from the Steamline will be trying to destroy the Argy’s ships, just one of the hazards of bar ownership during the Tavern Wars.