Star Wars canon is known for many things, and perhaps first and foremost is that it is woefully inconsistent. This unfortunate trend covers just about everything, but is perhaps most prominent when it comes to military matters. That's not really a surprise, the Star Wars movies are really a heroic fantasy in space form, and the affairs and details of the common grunt simply don't factor much into the heroic narrative (consider if you will that none of the main characters in the original movies are trained soldiers).
But something about the common grunt sticks with people, as evidenced by the enormous amount of EU material covering the more regular soldier, and the popularity of such characters on this and other RP boards. It's certainly one of the main things about Star Wars that appeals to me in particular, and the reason I want to write something on it.
This post is going to focus on ships and numbers of ships, something I consider myself, perhaps conceitedly, a bit of an expert on (or possibly just a nerd). I (the writer) am active duty US Navy and this character is more or less focused around 'fleeting.' The idea of space warfare in general I find fascinating, and the science-fantasy style naval combat seen in Star Wars is particularly great when it comes to letting ones imagination run wild.
Too wild, maybe. The wookie gives the number of Star Destroyers for the Empire at its height to be around 25,000. Put frankly, that's a huge karking pile of ships. Of really, really big ships, too. This is no Nimitz-class carrier, folks, this a vessel ONE MILE long with a crew of 40,000, a couple full air wings, and an entire fully equipped army division. This is the equivalent of two Carrier Strike Groups (that is, a carrier, air wing, and between 3-5 escorts) two Expeditionary Strike Groups (amphib ships carrying a brigade of marines) and couple of old school Battleships divisions in one monstrous ship.
When canon sources say that a single Star Destroyer is enough to conquer a planet, they really aren't kidding.
Contrasting that is the Black Fleet Trilogy, which figures approximately a sixth of the New Republic's naval strength to be something like 800 ships. Of all sorts, so you get maybe 100 Star Destroyers there (the smaller kind, too). That's a hell of a disconnect. If those numbers were correct (say we assume the Rebel Alliance to have a fraction of the NR's strength) than there is simply NO WAY the Alliance could ever prevail against the Empire.
So much like when looking at 'historical' accounts of troop numbers (looking at you, Herodotus) we can probably discount the 25,000 as being totally inaccurate Imperial Propaganda (that's a billion crew total, by the way). I certainly do so when it comes to calculating numbers of ships in Star Wars Chaos.
Perchance, we actually have a bit of canon rules which help us get an idea for total fleet sizes. Specifically, those referring to companies. It's all based on meters, but it comes out to something like 5-10 ships for a Tier 2 company. That's a pretty good ballpark, especially when you consider that a Star Wars Frigate is the same size as the aforementioned Nimitz-class carrier.
We're going to look at two factions for this, the One Sith and their eternal enemy, the Galactic Republic.
The One Sith are now the largest faction on the board, and are an expansionist empire with what I imagine to be an aggressive Navy focused on defeating other navies in battle and supporting planetary landings. It also, ironically, doesn't have a very stellar track record when up against dedicated (read: PC-led) opposition. A year ago its designs were top of the line, and though that's no longer the case now they have dedicated experienced leadership to back up their now aging designs.
The Galactic Republic is a faction struggling to stay afloat. It was previously the largest faction, then entered a period of stagnation (for whatever reason, speculation on that is not a subject I have any interest in discussing here) and has since then steadily lost ground to the One Sith. I figure the GR Navy was heavily focused on maintaining freedom of navigation in the space lanes. Stagnation led to older designs being kept in use past their lifetime, with the One Sith offensive prompting a resurgence in warship design, so now they have a solid core core of advanced ships but with limited leadership.
How does this factor into numbers? The Sith navy is focused on killing other ships, they have a high percentage of Star Destroyers and heavy cruisers but are very limited when it comes to patrol vessels and the like. The Republic is much the opposite.
Using the Black Fleet Crisis as our key example, I figure the One Sith has right around 1000 Star Destroyers and other larger ships (1200m+, hereafter referred to as capital ships). Each capital ship can be safely assumed to have at least 2-4 dedicated escorts, and another 2-4 smaller ships made for other purposes. Following that, one can also assume that for every capital ship there's at least one cruiser with a couple of escorts, for when a Star Destroyer would be overkill. Then double that number again for all the various frigates and corvettes you need for odd jobs. Anyway it comes out to 22,000 TOTAL WARSHIPS.
That strikes me as not unreasonable, IF we assume that there are more than just the listed planets under each factions control. It also roughly reaches the number of ISD's the Empire supposedly had. For reference, in the modern world there's guessed to be about 3000 warships total (with about 1/2 by number and something like 4/5 by tonnage owned by seven countries).
The Republic, despite their losses, probably has roughly a similar number of total ships, but with significantly less Star Destroyers and a higher percentage of Cruisers.
What are all these ships doing? That's somewhat hard to say. A certain percentage of any fleet is going to be in drydock for repairs, refit, whatever. Others will be assigned to planetary garrisons, as someone's private yacht, etc. You end up with probably half the total being mobile warships. What does a mobile fleet do?
Well speaking from experience they tend to burn holes in the ocean conducting exercises and training. But given that Star Wars is about, you know, war, there's the matter of sieging planets, harassing merchant traffic, reconnaissance in force, strike operations, etc. etc. All things considered when you factor in the distances involved you begin to realize that even twenty thousand warships are a limited resource.
Where does this leave us as far as SWRP: Chaos is? Well, nowhere. It doesn't matter, and it shouldn't. This is some seriously niche poodoo, and at the end of the day the only thing I can think that comes out of it is already basically a given for RP: Don't pretend like you have unlimited resources.
But it is fun to think about (if you're that kind of nerd), so I'll keep updating this blog with more boring crap as time goes on.

Oh, for all the Americans, Happy Thanksgiving from the Philippine Sea!