Alternate Expanded Character Development, an RPG Supplement for HotAC by Christopher Henson

I created an RPG-like expansion that adds some additional Player Character development options to the base game of HotAC created by Josh Derksen.  This is not endorsed by Josh Derksen or FFG but it is intended to add a level of depth to your campaign  by fleshing out your Pilot and hopefully will give you a deeper connection to your character.  A main goal was to add another level of complexity while  preserving the Original Trilogy feel.  

Although intended to be used as a whole, the concepts introduced  in this supplement can be chosen a-la-cart along with the original game rules.  It also includes several upgrade cards for use either in HotAC campaigns or even standard one on one skirmish in a casual environment.  It does not include additional mission content or rules for AI. 

As always many thanks to the play testers and groups that suffered through countless iterations. And a very special thank you to Josh Derksen and for giving the world the tremendous  gift of Heroes of the Aturi Cluster. 


So by now, you’ve familiarized yourself with the rules of the X-Wing Miniatures game. You’re used to building a squad of starships with various upgrades and abilities, and carefully planning your moves against you opponent. This is a supplement to the fan-made variation of the game called Heroes of the Aturi Cluster. This uses the same mechanics as used in the X-Wing miniatures game, but with one major difference. Now, you are the pilot. You are a valuable member of the Rebellion on your first assignment to defend important Hyperspace lanes in order to supply the Rebellion to defeat the evil Empire and restore freedom to the Galaxy! You will do so against a never ending supply of Tie Fighters who will resist your efforts. Instead of playing against another human opponent, you will join forces with your squad mates, each with their own pilot and ship, against a clever and unpredictable AI, carefully and painstakingly created by this game’s creators.

This guide will allow you to create your own pilot and progress from a Rookie all the way to a Veteran. You will start out with some basic skills and eventually, through the guidance of the Force, hone those skills until you are truly one of the Rebellion’s most coveted Aces.

This Alternate Expanded Character Development Manual (AECDM) should be considered a supplement to the original fan-made variant created by Josh Derksen and hopefully provide a more challenging, and thus, more rewarding experience through your character development. When playing through the campaign with the standard rules for Heroes of the Aturi Cluster, it felt like too many players chose the same upgrades and that the game lacked a certain amount of “connection” to your individual pilot. Other veterans of the original campaign also mentioned that at later levels, you were too powerful which starved the missions for challenge.

As the base game of X-Wing Miniatures progressed and new ships were made available, some of the ships from newer waves were simply more powerful and easily overshadowed the ships from the original trilogy. On that note, I have decided that to really get an “Original Trilogy” feel, you should be limited to those Starfighters from the movies, namely; X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings and B-Wings. These ships are relatively balanced and I wouldn’t consider any of them “upgrades” or “downgrades” from each other insomuch as they are just different ships with different strengths and weaknesses.

So in short, this supplement, is designed to be used with the Heroes of the Aturi Cluster missions and AI. The major difference being in how Experience points are gained and used to create your own pilot, hopefully a unique pilot that is unlike anyone else’s, or at the very least everyone else in your playgroup, by offering a wide variety of options not presented in the original character progression rules.


In the base game of Heroes of the Aturi Cluster, your pilot only has one “skill” and that was “Pilot Skill”. All other abilities and additional upgrades were earned by levelling up this one linear path. Equipment was purchased through the expenditure of your XP as well, so your XP was also your in-game currency.

Unlike most traditional role-playing games, AECDM does not have a class system or linear levels. Through the use of Experience Points (or XP), you will customize your character in any fashion and in any order you please. You will customize your character from the very beginning by choosing your pilot’s race, ship and upgrades. Below we define the games four main characteristics and explain how levelling each characteristic separately will enhance your Pilot’s effectiveness. Unless otherwise modified, all characters start with a baseline of “2” ranks in each category. If you use the optional Race rule, then the racial modifier is adjusted from rank 2.

Pilot Skill (PS): Simply put, this is your measure of reaction time. A higher Pilot Skill allows you to move later, evaluating your opponents actions then move in for the kill. This mechanic basically works exactly the same as it does in the regular X-Wing Miniatures game.

Discipline (DS): This is a measure of your ability to stay focused during intense situations and concentrate on your target. The more disciplined your pilot, the more they can deal with stressful situations and push themselves to greater feats. The higher your pilot’s discipline, the more points they may use to purchase Feats. These feats will allow your pilot to obtain and utilize a Unique Pilot Ability, and an Elite Pilot Talent. Your rank in Discipline is your limit to how many points you may use to equip your Unique Pilot Ability and/or your Elite Pilot Talent.

Elite Pilot Talents (EPT): These talents are imported directly from the base game of X-Wing Miniatures. Once the appropriate rank is achieved, you may equip an Elite Pilot Talent (or EPT) as long as the cost of that talent does not exceed your rank in discipline. If you gain a free EPT from your race, then that ability does not count against your ranks in Discipline. You may choose from any EPT that either has no restriction or one that is limited to “Rebel only”.

Unique Pilot Ability: Once an appropriate rank is earned, your pilot may also learn a Unique Pilot Ability (or UPA). You may choose from any UPA printed on any Rebel Pilot card except for that of ▪Lieutenant Blount. The cost to equip a UPA is one-half of the Pilot Skill of the Rebel Pilot whose ability you want to emulate, rounded up. So if you choose for instance ▪Han Solo, who has a Pilot Skill 9, his ability costs you 5 ranks in discipline (9/2=4.5, round up to 5).

Remember: the total cost of your EPT and your UPA cannot exceed your total ranks in Discipline.

Mechanics (MC): This characteristic measures your ability to customize both your ship and your Astromech droid. The higher your rank in Mechanics, the more “points” you can program in to your Astromech and the more modifications you can add to your ship.

Astromech: Unlike the normal rules for equipping Astromechs, you can customize your mech in any style you want. You may even combine different astromechs’ skills into one mech, so long as the total point value of all abilities (from the original Astromechs’ point costs) programmed into your mech does not exceed your total point allocation limit (see chart). You may still only utilize your mech while flying a ship with the Astromech upgrade slot and you must still include the point costs for all Astromechs and Modifications you equip in your total build cost. If a game effect causes you to lose your mech (like the Integrated Astromech modification) you lose access to all of your mech’s abilities as it is considered to be one Astromech. If a game effect requires that you discard your Astromech to gain an effect (such as ▪R5-X3) you only have to discard that card and may still use your other (non-discarded) Astromech abilities.

Reputation (RP): As your pilot completes missions, so their reputation will grow. Having a higher reputation will increase your ability to gain resources from the Rebel Alliance to further your cause. Your reputation will also help you attract more powerful crew members and eventually even wingmen to accompany you on missions.

Crew Upgrades: Similar to how Mechanics allows you to equip more powerful Astromechs, so does having a higher rank in Reputation allow you to equip more than one crew member. This also only applies to when you fly a ship that has an available crew member slot. You can combine different crew member abilities so long as the cost of all equipped crew members does not exceed your total point allocation limit (see chart). If a game effect requires you to discard a crew member to gain an effect (such as ▪Chewbacca crew) you only have to discard that card and may still use your other (non-discarded) crew abilities.

Build Points: Your total build points allow you to bring your ship, any applicable upgrades (including crew and Astromech) and any additional ships, based off of your Reputation earned within the Rebel Alliance. Any applicable talents such as EPT’s, racial bonuses or UPA’s do not count toward your total build. Any mission rewards that allow you to choose an upgrade “for free” also do not count toward your total build points.

The cost for your pilot’s ship is based off of the following:

A-Wing = 17 points
B-Wing = 22 points
X-Wing = 21 points
Y-Wing = 18 points

You may equip any upgrades that have no restriction or that are “Rebel Only” in your total build. When you gain enough reputation to bring entire extra ships, you may only bring non-unique pilots by paying the cost listed on their respective Pilot card(s). You may only equip non-unique upgrades to them. Any extra ships brought with you must also be from the list above.


This is an optional rule that can allow for even further customization of your pilot. Helping to flesh out the details of your character and providing unique bonuses. Each race varies not only in their starting characteristics, but they have distinctive abilities that can give them a special edge. Race modification cards do not require you to use an actual Modification slot, but you must pay their squad build points (see Appendix 2).

Droid: Droids come in various shapes and sizes, and thus are the most flexible “species” available. Droids are also not in tune with emotions, and as such they do not receive stress tokens nor do they receive focus tokens. In addition to receiving the Race Modification card, droids start with the following Ranks: 3 PS, 1 DS, 1 MC and 1 RP. Droids can level each characteristic to level 9 except Reputation which adheres to the standard Rank 8 maximum.

Duros: Duros claim to be the first space faring race in the Galaxy, a claim that is backed up by their abundance amongst all planets. As such they are sometimes considered second-class citizens in many cultures. Still, most Duros live up to the claim as the finest pilots of the Galaxy and many join the Rebellion due to the Empire’s xenophobic and suppressive tendencies. Duros gain their respective Race Modification bonus; start with +1 Pilot Skill and -1 Reputation. Duros may raise their Pilot Skill and one other characteristic of their choice to Rank 9.

Human: Humans are known for their ability to learn fast and specialize. Humans start out with a baseline of 2 for all characteristics (PS, DS, MC, and RP). Humans receive a 10% bonus to XP earned each mission. Humans may also raise 2 characteristics of their choice to Rank 9, giving them added in-game flexibility.

Sullustan: Sullustans are known for being expert marksman due to their low-light vision. This is ideally suited for space combat. In addition to their Race Modification bonus, Sullustans start with +1 Discipline and -1 to their initial Pilot Skill. Sullustans can level up their Discipline and one other characteristic of their choice to Rank 9.

Twi’lek: Twi’leks have a reputation in the galaxy as loyal and wise servants. Many find themselves rapidly advancing to prominence utilizing their cunning to often pull the strings of power and influence, all the while letting on that it was their superior’s idea the whole time. Twi’leks can access upgrades with the “Scum Only” requisite. Twi’leks can also combine “Salvaged Astromech” abilities on their custom mech, so long as the ship they are flying has an “Astromech” upgrade slot. Twi’leks upgrade bar automatically gains the illicit upgrade slot. Twi’leks can level up Reputation and one other Characteristic of their choice to Rank 9.

Wookiee: Wookiees are known for their proud culture, extreme loyalty, mechanical aptitude and hot tempers. With memories as long as the trees that populate their home planet of Kashyyyk, they are loyal to the Rebellion after witnessing the betrayal of Order 66 at the conclusion of the Clone Wars, followed by many years of oppression and forced slavery under the tyrannical rule of the Empire. Wookiees may choose one of the following Elite upgrades to start off with for free: Determination, Intimidation, or Rage. Wookiees can level up Mechanics and one other Characteristic of their choice to Rank 9.

Gaining Experience

As you achieve greater success through the completion of missions, you will be able to fine tune your Pilot abilities and upgrades through the expenditure of Experience points. Experience points (or XP) are gained for each successful attack you make against the AI opponents. Experience can also be gained by successfully evading damage done to your ship and other effects.

Note: Many playgroups choose to pool all XP gained per mission, so that mission objectives take priority over individual gain. This suggestion was even mentioned by the games original creator as one thing he would change.

The following formulas are used to determine how much experience to award for in game actions:

Attacking: Targets Agility + damage dealt this round by you – 1 = Experience rewarded (or XP)

Examples: Joe is piloting an X-wing and attacks a Tie Fighter (agility 3). He rolls two focuses and a critical hit. He spends a focus token to change his result to hit, hit, and crit. The Tie fighter rolls one evade, one focus and a blank, but has no tokens to spend, so the end result is one evade. The Tie Fighter takes three total damage, one from the hit result and two from the critical hit. Joe’s pilot receives 5 XP for this great result (3 + 3 – 1 = 5). Chris uses his Y-Wing’s Twin Laser Turret to fire at the last remaining Tie Fighter that has already taken one damage. Using the normal TLT rules, he attacks twice, hitting both times for two damage total. Chris receives 4 XP for his achievement (3 + 2 – 1 = 4). Note: In order to simplify damage tracking, a new critical hit chart was added to supplement 4.

Defending: For each hit or crit result rolled by an attacker that you successfully evade, you get 1 XP.

Token Assigning: For each token dealt to another ship through attacks or abilities, you gain 1 XP. For example, a player who attacks with an Ion Cannon that hits a Tie Fighter (agility 3) gets 3 points for the successful attack and 1 additional point for assigning the ion token. You only get XP for assigning a positive token (like using the protect action) to a friendly ship or a negative token to an enemy ship. Example: Otis attacks a ship with a Flechette Cannon. The defending ship has Soontir Fel’s pilot ability granting it a focus token each time it receives a stress token. The attack hits so Otis gets the standard 3 XP for the 1 damage dealt (Interceptor: Agility 3) and 1 additional XP for the stress token. Otis does not get an additional XP for the focus token that triggered on the enemy ship as a result of the stress token.
Ejecting/Fleeing: If a pilot ejects or escapes the battlefield prior to completing a mission, they reduce their total XP earned for this mission by ½.

Mission Debriefing and objectives: Once the mission is completed, bonus XP are distributed according the the Mission Log at triple the listed value.

Ranking Up

As mentioned earlier, leveling in this version of HotAC is treated differently than traditional roleplaying games. Experience Points (or XP) can be spent between missions to upgrade your Pilot, as long as you have the required amount of XP for the increase. Unless the optional Race rule is used, new pilots start at Rank 2 for all four Characteristics (PS, DS, MC and RP). You may even choose to “save” unused XP for future rank increases. However, you must pay the cost for each incremental increase in rank (i.e. you can’t skip a rank, going from rank 2 to rank 6, by just paying 12 XP. You must increase rank 2 to 3, then 3 to 4, etc.)

Remember, you do not have to rank up your Pilot’s characteristics evenly. You can increase your Pilot Skill and not increase your Reputation. You can upgrade your Reputation and leave your Discipline unchanged. The choice is completely up to you. See Appendix 4 for more details.

If the optional Race rule is not used, a pilot can level up to Rank 8 in all categories and may also choose to level up to two characteristics to Rank 9. If the optional Race rule is used, a character’s race largely determines what Characteristics can be ranked up to 9. The standard rule is Rank 8 is the maximum level for each characteristic unless otherwise stated.

Master Prowess

Master Prowess (or MP) is an additional optional rule that represents a Pilot’s dedication and expertise. Unlike Elite Talents and Unique Pilot Abilities tied solely to Discipline, these abilities show your dedication to a particular Characteristic that you value. Also, you cannot achieve Master Prowess status without achieving at least some recognition (i.e. Reputation) or fame, so these abilities must be paid for out of your normal Build Points, unlike your Elite Talents and Unique Pilot Abilities. In order to equip a Master Prowess, you must meet the requirement for the desired MP, as stated on the card, and it must occupy an available Modification slot. The full list of MP’s, their costs and requirements are contained in Supplement 3.

Appendix 1: Misc. Custom Cards, Appendix 2: Race Modifications, Appendix 3: Master Prowess Cards see downloadable document

Appendix 4: Rank Progression Charts
Rank: 2 3 4 5
XP Cost: 2 4 6 8
Rank: 6 7 8 9
XP Cost: 12 16 20 30


Full download available below:

Alternate Expanded Character Development


4 thoughts on “Alternate Expanded Character Development, an RPG Supplement for HotAC by Christopher Henson”

  1. Hi, is it possible to have Christopher email, or could you send to him, my upgraded design for his handbook? I took some background of Aturi base rulebook and organized file “like” yours. Not so good of course.

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