Star Wars: Birth of the Republic
The Known Galaxy
Worth noting that this is a mish-mash of canon and stuff I made up. A lot of holes in canon have been filled in to flesh out the era for play, and a lot of canonical details, especially ones that are contradictory or mesh poorly from one another (usually because they were written by separate authors unaware of one another’s work and later reconciled by fans), have been altered in order to provide a more coherent setting and a stronger narrative. Be aware, there are other known planets they simply have very little political impact or are so far from the core that the planet is only known by its native species.
The Infinite Empire
For years uncounted the Infinite Empire has ruled the galaxy. For reference, the Galactic Empire never actually ruled the entire galaxy, just the parts of it they knew about. About a third of the galaxy is the Unknown Regions, where nations like the Chiss Ascendancy and the Infinite Empire remnant exist completely independent of any Republic contact even by the time of the founding of the Galactic Empire (contact would first be established sometime during the Emperor’s reign, and open relations between the Republic and the Chiss wouldn’t be established until after the formation of the New Republic). The Infinite Empire, however, ruled all of it. Every single thing. If they didn’t own a planet, it’s because they didn’t want it.
The Infinite Empire were slavers. At their height, their entire labor force, many of their non-administrative experts, and nearly all of their military grunts were either droids or slaves abducted from one of the many primitive planets they controlled directly or as client states. The Infinite Empire took as slaves all manner of species, including Humans, Duros, Sith, Wookiees, Selkath, Miraluka, and Herglic. The primary use for many of these slaves, especially Humans, Sith, and Miraluka, was as batteries for the Rakata’s alien technology, which runs on the Dark Side of the Force (that might sound bizarre, but no, really, the Dark Side is literally the power source for their ships and weapons). Some of those thoroughly corrupted by their immersion in the Dark Side by their Rakata masters are trained as Force Hounds to hunt down the Empire’s enemies.
Details of the Infinite Empire’s history and the location of their homeworld beyond the vague knowledge that is to galactic west of the Core are unknown. Also unknown is the cause of the Force Plague that’s devastated their numbers (this isn’t even established canonically, although it’s suggested that a slave species may have developed it). It’s also known that the Rakata genetically engineered the Zabrak. Canonically, no reason is given for this that I’m aware of. In Birth of the Republic, it was part of an ultimately futile attempt to create a cure for the Force Plague. In addition to the plague, the Rakata have been hit hard by multiple rebellions, including not only the Human-Duros rebellion in the Core, but also others throughout the galaxy.
Due to lack of communication, no one in the Core is aware if there are any other rebellions ongoing, but they include rebellions by the Hutts, the Cron Humans of the Tion Cluster, the Kumumgah, the Zabrak, and the Chiss. The Kumumgah rebellion was the first and has also been completely destroyed, while the Cron and Hutt rebellions are guerilla wars in which the Rakata hold the upper hand until the Force Plague kills them, whereupon the regions will devolve into feuding monarchs and warlords. The Chiss, Zabrak, and Human-Duros rebellions have gone very well so far, leading to the creation of fairly stable nations, though the Core worlds could potentially devolve into open war at any minute. The ultimate fate of the Core rebellion is in your hands.
Corellia has been declared to be many things, and all of those things were later retconned. Its early history is therefore a confused mess. Corellia has been the location of the founding of the Jedi Order (later retconned to Tython) and the birthplace of humanity (later retconned to Coruscant). It’s now generally established that Corellia is not the birthplace of humanity, but it’s unclear whether (canonically speaking) it was populated by humans from Coruscant by the mysterious Celestial precursor species or just because the Coruscanti colonized them with a sleeper ship the same way they did like a dozen other worlds. In Birth of the Republic, the story is that both Coruscant and Corellia have apparently native populations of Humans, and clearly a bunch were taken from one world to another by someone at some point, but it wasn’t a Coruscant sleeper ship and nobody knows how it happened.
In any case, Corellia believe very strongly in the freedom to do what you like so long as you aren’t hurting anyone else. They are firm supporters of personal freedom and free enterprise, which has given them an uneasy relationship with the more regulated Coruscant. Kuat, Corellia’s ally, was colonized by one of Coruscant’s sleeper ships, and in fact the governor of Kuat, though now reaching an advanced age, is the original leader of the expedition. This led to significant tension 9 years ago when Coruscant joined the galactic political scene to discover that Kuat was being led by a man who was, technically, a Coruscanti citizen and political servant. Coruscant said this gave them the right to claim Kuat as their colony (in the same way that Duro has created multiple colonies in what is currently known as the Outer Rim, but which in the modern era will be called the Colonies), but Kuat claimed independence. Corellia backed Kuat, and Coruscant was forced to back down. This has deepened the antagonism between Coruscant and Corellia, but created a strong alliance between Corellia and Kuat.
Corellia rebelled against their Rakata masters almost annually as far back as living memory can recall, but never with any success until the Force Plague and other uprisings sapped the Rakatan power enough for the Corellians to gain a powerful foothold. Even then, reinforcements from off-world would have crushed the rebellion if the Duros had not arrived in captured Rakata ships to save them. The majority of Corellians thus have a decent amount of goodwill towards the Duros, and an almost genocidal hatred towards Rakata. A small but vocal faction condemn all aliens as being of the same breed as the Rakata, but they’re given little regard in mainstream Corellian society.
Mercenaries hired by Corellia have recently opened fire on forces from Alderaan and the Azure Imperium on Illodia, where all three factions were racing to claim mostly-abandoned Rakata facilities for their valuable technological secrets. Despite the clear desire of all involved to gain advantage over the others for one reason or another, the alliance between the Free Worlds had been respected and no one had opened fire on anyone else during the fight until the Corellian mercenaries attacked without warning. Corellia denies any involvement and claims the mercenaries were running a false flag operation.
Canonically speaking, Coruscant was completely covered in city for 55,000 years before the Infinite Empire existed, and they were fully space capable by the time the Rakata found them. These two facts imply that Coruscant civilization advanced not at all over the space of 55,000 years. This is because Coruscant’s pre-Republic history had already been written (multiple times) before KotOR invented the Infintie Empire, and I’ve cleaned things up slightly for Birth of the Republic (mostly by chucking all the dates from sources besides KotOR). Also, exactly which worlds were colonized by sleeper ships and which were colonized after the discovery of hyperdrive has been altered for narrative purposes.
Coruscant was originally home to two civilizations, the loosely allied thirteen nations of the Zhell and the savage and warlike Taung, who were perpetually at odds with one another (often violently). When the Infinite Empire discovered Coruscant, they relocated the losing Taung to another world and subjugated all thirteen Zhell nations. Under Rakata rule, now banned from war with one another (waste of population which meant fewer slaves to be harvested), the differences between Zhell nations slowly evaporated.
Coruscant was a client world of the Rakata. The Rakata had ultimate power over Coruscant legislation and regularly harvested Coruscant’s “undesirables,” especially criminals and the poor, for slave labor, however Coruscant was allowed to do as they liked in most areas concerning domestic policy, even to the point of sending out multiple sleeper ships to colonize worlds (though any investigation into hyperdrive or other faster-than-light travel was strictly forbidden). When the Free Worlds attacked the Rakata fleet at Coruscant, the battle dragged on for years before Tython arrived, at which point the Coruscanti rebelled against the Rakata. Several planetary shield generators were captured, shielding the majority of the surface from orbital retaliation, but other areas were not so lucky and were devastated by Rakata attacks. Nevertheless, the Coruscanti held the line against Rakatan invasion until their ships began to run low on power. Thus weakened, the Free Worlds devastated the Rakata fleet, which retreated into hyperspace and has not been seen since.
Coruscant still claims ownership over their various colonies: Kuat, Alderaan, Alsakan, Esseles, Corulag, Axum, Brentaal, and Rhinnal, as well as a few other sleeper ships whose destinations haven’t been discovered yet (some of these malfunctioned or hit unexpected obstacles and were destroyed in transit, but one of them drifted far off course to the Tion Cluster where they became the basis for the Cron civilization of Humans). Of these, precisely zero have respected the claim, and the tension between Coruscant and Kuat nearly led to a Coruscanti occupation of the world before a Corellian fleet arrived to protect them in the event that Coruscant got trigger happy. The Coruscanti were forced to back down.
Since then, Coruscant has shifted their focus from direct military control of their colonies to forging diplomatic alliances and establishing economic interdependence with their former colonies, which would give them significant influence over them without risking war. This has led to a strong alliance between Coruscant and Alsakan as trade relations between the two improve, however Kuat, Alderaan, Axum, and Anaxes (the latter two of which now form the Azure Imperium) remain fiercely independent. Coruscant has been focusing its efforts on persuading their former colonies in the Perlemian Trade Spine (Corulag, Brentaal, Esseles, and Rhinnal) to joining their power bloc. Early efforts are promising but Coruscant is still a long ways off from establishing firm political ties with any of the four worlds.
Coruscant believes in regulation and strong, centralized power to protect its citizens from injustice and assault. This gives them strong ideological differences with Corellia, who believe people should have the freedom to do as they please and the responsibility to take care of themselves. Coruscant is run by a bureaucracy that is in many ways slow, lumbering, and corrupt, but the majority of the time it works efficiently and to the benefit of its citizens. There is a small, but loud and angry group of Coruscanti who believe in Human unity and total independence from all “alien” factions (so, just the Duro Kingdom).
Canonically speaking, Tython had no contact with the Old Republic until the second Great Galactic War, which is the setting of TOR. In order to incorporate the Force Wars into the narrative, this has been changed, and Tythan society has also received some fairly extensive changes to match. Also, the extent of the Tythan understanding of the Force has been significantly reduced, so that the campaign could include discovering the capabilities of the Force, and also so that I could just ban the Jedi classes entirely rather than trying to figure out how to make them work in a setting with no lightsabers.
According to legend, the Tythans were brought to Tython from multiple different worlds by the Tho Yor, massive pyramid-shaped temples which are secretly galaxy-crossing starships. The Tho Yor themselves are known to exist as temples on Tython’s surface, but it has never been proven that they are capable of any kind of space travel (the Tythans do not allow outside engineers to come and poke around the bowels of their most sacred temples to satisfy idle curiosity). The Tho Yor supposedly brought inhabitants of eight different worlds to Tython, with a ninth Tho Yor that served as a beacon to the others, however Humans are by far the dominant species of Tython. There are some other species present on Tython, including most notably Sith, Selkath, and Miraluka, but some theorize these were brought not by the Tho Yor’s mysterious creators, but by the Rakata for whatever purpose. Alternatively, whatever mysterious force brought the Humans from Coruscant to Corellia (or vice versa) may have done the same for Tython.
Regardless, the Tho Yor still contain ancient teachings from the Dai, an ancient species of creatures who were powerful wielders of what they called the Force, an energy field that supposedly unites all living creatures in harmony with one another. In ancient times, soon after the Tho Yor arrived on Tython, the Dai suddenly fell silent, claimed by some unknown darkness. Many Tythan organizations contain the word “Dai” in their name, as a reference to their ancient teachers. These include the Dai Bendu monks, one of the religious orders supposedly pulled from other worlds by the Tho Yor, and the Je’Daii, who study the tiny fragments of knowledge of the mysterious energy field left behind by the Dai.
Tython is not a major player on their own (they’re an ally of Coruscant), but their special place in the history of the galaxy means they deserve a section unto themselves. Tython has been Coruscant’s ally since the Battle of Coruscant, when Tython ground troops fought alongside Coruscanti soldiers to prevent the Rakata from retaking valuable starports and planetary generators, which would allow them to resupply and continue the Battle of Coruscant. Ultimately the Coruscanti and Tythans were successfully able to repel the Rakata, who were forced to retreat in their damaged and underpowered fleet. The Rakatan fleet hasn’t been seen since.
Tython is a secretive world, preferring to keep their own problems to themselves. It is known that there has been some significant unrest, but details are unknown. Tython has assured their allies Coruscant and Alsakan that the problems are local and temporary, and that if they should snowball into something more threatening they will (however reluctantly) inform others of the situation in order to receive outside help.
When the Infinite Empire garrison at Corellia was being overrun in the wake of the Force Plague, they called upon the Duro garrison for support. This led to a brilliant and charismatic Duros leading a rebellion of his own, chewing up the Rakatan reinforcement fleet from behind. Capturing many ships within the Duro star system, this Duros, crowned king by his liberated people, led the Duros in pursuit of the Rakatan reinforcements, crushing them above Corellia and thus founding the beginning of the Free Worlds with an alliance between Corellia and the Duro Kingdom.
The Duro Kingdom fought alongside their Corellian allies in the battles of Kuat and Coruscant. For two years, they scoured the Core for the Rakatan fleet, discovering the Coruscant sleeper colonies in the Perlemian Trade Spine along the way, but were unable to find them. Concluding that they had either left the Core or else were destroyed en route due to existing damage and lack of power from the Battle of Coruscant, the Duros set about doing what they do best: Exploring and colonizing the galaxy. This has soured relations between Corellia and Duro somewhat, as Corellia still zealously hunts the Rakatan threat, fearing what might happen should the Rakata take advantage of slipping vigilance.
The Duro Kingdom focuses its efforts on colonization almost exclusively now, and are not much involved in the politics of the other Free Worlds. With that said, they are very keen on forging strong ties with the Perlemian Trade Spine worlds, in order to use them as bases for future colonization efforts towards galactic northeast. Particularly with the tempestuous Corellian/Coruscant blocs between them and the galactic north, and isolationist Azure Imperium besides.
There is political tension amongst the Duros between those who profess total isolation from outside factions and those who support further integration with the other Free Worlds. The current state of distant but steady interaction with the other Free Worlds (including Duro representatives on the Alderaan Council) is a result of the current compromise between these two factions. It isn’t clear how long this status quo will be maintained.
The Azure Imperium
The extent of the information available on the Azure Imperium in canon is that they existed and that they were originally a sleeper colony of Coruscant. Everything else has been invented for the purposes of the campaign.
Axum and Anaxes, two inhabitable worlds in the same star system, are the small but prosperous domain of the Azure Imperium. The Azurites overthrew their Rakatan masters independently of the Free Worlds during the Battle of Coruscant (though the Azurites were unaware of the battle at the time). As such, they were never lent any assistance by the other Free Worlds and do not typically consider themselves a member of the alliance. Their government is strictly meritocratic, with lower class citizens regulated heavily (though not outright abused) and higher class citizens given freedom to make use of their talents at-will. Coruscant tolerates this in an effort to forge strong diplomatic ties with its former colonies, but Corellia considers the Azurites to be no better than the Infinite Empire (especially since the Imperium has contributed nothing to the hunt for the vanished Rakatan fleet). Many suspect that relations between Corellia and the Imperium would have already exploded into war if Coruscant did not exist as a buffer between them.
The Azure Imperium does not trust Coruscant either, believing it is only a matter of time before they attempt to seize their former colonies by force. Coruscant has put significant effort into establishing strong diplomatic ties with the worlds of the Perlemian Trade Route on the opposite side of the Azure Imperium, which the Azurites fear the Coruscanti will use to flank them in the event of war. The Azure Imperium has thus attempted to sway the Perlemian worlds to their own side. The possibility of an Azurite pre-emptive invasion of the Perlemian worlds is a constant possibility, though Coruscant and her allies have pledged to defend the Perlemian worlds in the event that the Imperium attacks.
Canonically speaking, Alderaan’s participation in the formation of the Republic is basically non-existent (partially because of how sketchy the details are in general). Alderaan’s role has been expanded in Birth of the Republic. In later eras, Alderaan will be called the soul of the Republic, and it seems inappropriate to leave them with nothing to do in its formation.
Alderaan is not a significant military power, but they have strong diplomatic relations with all worlds. They were a sleeper colony of Coruscant, and while their Great Houses feuded with one another early on, for the past several centuries they have resolved all conflicts diplomatically. Alderaan maintains security forces to deal with bandits, pirates, and other organized, violent criminals, but since it has been so long since the world has seen major warfare, their forces are limited compared to that of more violent worlds.
When the Duros found them, the Rakatan fleet had retreated from Corellia and Duro and was attempting to make a stand at Kuat. Rakatan influence on Alderaan had always been very light, and when the Alderaanians became aware of the atrocities committed by the Rakata elsewhere, they set aside their dedication to peace long enough to overthrow the small garrison on their own world and join the battle for Kuat. While Alderaanian forces were extremely limited, none can say they did not do their part in pushing the Rakata back to their heavy fortifications at Coruscant.
In the nine years since the defeat of the Rakata at Coruscant, Alderaan has done their best to maintain the alliance between the Free Worlds. Tensions began to grow towards their breaking point after the removal of their common enemy, and in an effort to prevent open warfare, Alderaan called together the Alderaan Council, a meeting of representatives from all worlds to resolve differences and, Alderaan hopes, create a permanent method of peacefully reconciling conflicts for the foreseeable future. So far the Council has deadlocked primarily over the demilitarization of the Azure Imperium and Alsakan, which Alderaan believes to be the most pressing threat of war. In light of recent events, Alderaan has also opened the Council to demanding answers from Corellia’s attack on Alderaan and Azure Imperium troops on Illodia. Corellia has so far only denounced all involvement in the attacks.
The Perlemian Trade Route
These four worlds, all sleeper colonies of Coruscant discovered after the Battle of Coruscant, are not strongly affiliated with any of the major factions, nor are they powerful enough (or well-connected enough) to stand as factions on their own. They are a political battlefield between the major factions. Coruscant wants to claim them because they are their former colonies, the Azure Imperium wants to claim them so they can’t be flanked by Coruscant, the Duro Kingdom wants to claim at least one of them in order to open up the northeastern reaches of space to their colonization efforts, Corellia wants them to remain independent from the others, and Alderaan is frankly indifferent what happens to them so long as there’s no wars and no faction uses them to gain a decisive enough advantage to crush the others in war (since if they can, they probably will).
Individual worlds vary quite significantly from one another, the only thing in common being that they were colonized by Coruscant sleeper ships, discovered after the defeat of the Rakata at Coruscant, and the Free Worlds helped them overthrow their local Rakata garrisons (which were small and undermanned, most of the Rakata having left to fight at Coruscant). Corulag is a world run mostly by the aristocratic families that have taken root since the colonization and is heavily urbanized. Brentaal is a heavily polluted, industrialized world ruled by corporations with a massive divide between rich and poor. Esseles is an isolationist fortress world run by the military and in many ways similar to (but worse than) the Azure Imperium, though they are not completely authoritarian even though their government is not at all representative. Rhinnal is a strong, functional democracy open to negotiation with the various galactic factions and whose culture is heavily supportive of science and medicine.