On the outside, Star Wars: The Old Republic may seem like a traditional good versus evil conflict between the Republic and the Empire. But much like an office environment, there are many more factions, relationships, traditions and passive-aggressive memos involved in the grand scheme of things. Let’s take a look at some of the potential conflicts one may find during the Old Republic era.
The Chiss and the Empire
"The Chiss do not simply accept alien concepts without careful consideration. We certainly do not submit to domination. By anyone." —Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn
As the Sith Empire expanded throughout the unknown regions, they conquered numerous worlds. In every case, the Empire gave those worlds the option to surrender. In every case, civilizations fought futile battles for their freedom—save for the Chiss.
Chiss society is based on discipline, conformity and above all else pragmatism. The Chiss Ascendancy rose to power over thousands of years in near isolation, developing its own armies and technology, and holding itself superior to alien civilizations. Despite being fiercely independent, when the Sith Empire presented its ultimatum to the Chiss Ascendancy—join us or face destruction—the Chiss made a decision no opponent of the Empire ever had: they requested terms. Taken aback by the innate pragmatism of the Chiss, the Empire blinked.
It is not clear what transpired during the negotiations that followed, but the Chiss Ascendancy emerged as the first, and only, ally of the Sith Empire. The Ascendancy became in effect a vassal-state of the Empire, pledged to support the Empire in any endeavors and to contribute personnel to the Imperial cause. In return, no Imperial would set foot on Csilla—the icy Capital world of the Ascendancy—or any other Chiss territory without permission. The Ascendancy was allowed to retain its territories and armies and to trade freely with Imperial holdings. While they ostensibly relinquished much of their sovereignty in this arrangement, the Chiss nonetheless retained the majority of their autonomy under Imperial rule.
The Chiss/Imperial alliance lasted for hundreds of years, with many Chiss agents ascending the ranks of the Empire. Despite the beneficial arrangement that the Ascendancy created for itself, there is likely considerable unhappiness among the Chiss at being under the heel of another power. At the same time, many in the Empire likely do not care much for such a powerful alien race having so much autonomy, despite the contributions the Chiss have made to Imperial goals. It is entirely possible that we will see friction between these two groups in the game.
The Mandalorians and the Empire
Some of the most dramatic and influential occurrences during the Old Republic era took place within Mandalorian Society. Historically, the Mandalorians waged constant war on both the Republic and the Jedi, typically in an effort to establish both their dominance and their strength. Canderous Ordo set the Mandalorian clans on a different path after his dealings with both Revan and the Jedi Exile. When Ordo eventually donned the mantle of Mandalore the Preserver and began his efforts to unite the Mandalorian clans, he also took steps to aid the Republic against Darth Nihilus and the re-emerging Sith Empire; Ordo’s rule as Mandalore the Preserver was sympathetic toward the Republic.
Three hundred years later, during the full-fledged return of the Sith Empire to the known galaxy, the Empire implanted a new Mandalore to ensure the loyalty of the Mandalorian clans. This “Mandalore the Lesser” led the clans to run a blockade of the Hydian Way, which was eventually broken by a band of Smugglers led by Hylo Viz. Not long after the breaking of the blockade, Mandalore the Lesser began the Great Hunt competition in an effort to raise morale among the clans. The competition’s first victor, Artus, defeated the Empire's Mandalorian puppet and took the name Mandalore the Vindicated.
The Empire’s treachery and manipulation of the Mandalorian clans was clear, however, the Sith Empire still retained Mandalorian sympathies due to their like-minded ideals and unmatched compensation. Tensions were at their peak during the Cold War era, forcing Mandalore the Vindicated to destroy an offshoot of Mandalorians who were sympathetic to the Republic and the ideals set forth by Canderous Ordo as Mandalore the Preserver, in a battle known as the Crusader’s Schism.
It is likely that this tension will reveal itself in various ways throughout SWTOR, as we know Mandalorian/Sith relations degenerated into the New Sith Wars in 2,000 BBY. The Bounty Hunter storyline will feature many developments in this tense subplot.
Wookiees and the Czerka Corporation
After the Great Sith War that took place between 4,000 and 3,996 BTC, the Czerka Corporation discovered the planet Kashyyyk. Soon after, and because of their influence within the Galactic Republic, the Galactic Senate officially awarded the planet to the Czerka Corporation. Czerka Corporation virtually ignored the Wookiee presence on Kashyyyk, and deemed the planet free of sentient beings. Because of Kashyyyk’s relative unimportance, Czerka Corporation took whatever means necessary to salvage a profit from the world, including the enslavement of the Wookiee population by off-world companies. The fact that the Wookiee chieftain Chuundar was under Czerka Corporation’s influence did not help matters.
After withstanding 40 years of oppressive rule from the Czerka Corporation, the Wookiees were finally able to drive them from Kashyyyk with the aid of a redeemed Revan. The Wookiees would hold a grudge against Czerka Corporation for the mistreatment of their home world and populace. These facts should manifest themselves most prominently within the Smuggler storyline, and on planets with a heavy Czerkan influence, such as Tattooine.
Wookiees and Trandoshans
An even deeper rivalry exists between Wookiees and Trandoshans. The home worlds of the two species—Kashyyyk and Trandosha respectively—exist within the same planetary system. Eventually the Trandoshan, who were more technologically advanced than the Wookiees, sent scouts to Kashyyyk in an effort to expand their off world colonies. Finding the Wookiees a formidable foe, the Trandoshan scouts scrambled off world in such haste that they had no choice but to leave one of their starships behind. This effectively allowed the Wookiees to quickly advance as a spacefaring race, gaining all the trade and diplomatic benefits one would expect, and planted the seeds for a deep and seemingly unending rivalry.
The Trandoshans were upset that the Wookiees had stolen their technology for personal gain, and the Wookiees hated the Trandoshans for their attempted invasion of the Wookiee home world. Due to the Trandoshan hunting culture and the high jagannath points awarded for Wookiee pelts, hostilities continued to deepen as more blood spilled. In the expanded universe, Wookiee/Trandoshan hatred has escalated for thousands of years, but was only in its infancy during the Old Republic era. Due to their respective companion characters—Bowdaar and Qyzen Fess—Smugglers and Jedi Consulars are the classes most likely to see this scenario play out, perhaps when interacting with NPCs and/or each other.
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