I decided to make a post which focuses on the lore of The Old Republic and summarises the past events that happened prior to the start of The Old Republic game.
We are not role-players in any sense, but with Bioware determined to make SWTOR all about the story, we figured that it would help if some people had an understanding of the lore in general. Please be aware, that this article may contain spoilers and all the info is sourced from either the Old Republic game, Knights of the Old Republic, SWTOR’s Holonet and even some books. We take no credit for the information from the holonet, we have written it out with the extra information from other games/books.
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BTC 1460: The Birth of an Emperor
This seems to be the most logical place to start, when the current Sith Emperor was born. The Sith Emperor was born into a farming family and was given the name Tenebrae. The story has it he was born with eyes as black as empty space itself, and no animal would approach him. At the age of six, Tenebrae began to manifest signs of the Force. His parent, who had no understanding of the Force grew suspicious of the boy. His father confronted his mother, who admitted to having an affair with the current ruling Sith Lord of the planet Nathema, Lord Dramath. The father, in his anger, attacked the boy’s mother. Tenebrae, feeding on his father’s anger, called upon the dark side to stop him, snapping his neck like a twig. He then went on to torture his mother for betraying the family.
Realizing his own potential, Tenebrae then went on to enslave the village. Over the next few years, his reputation grew to nearby settlements, and he amassed legions of both fanatical and terrified followers. He killed thousands during his rise to power. Lord Dramath heard rumors of unrest, brought about by Tenebrae, in the remote parts of his territory, but he paid them no notice. Only when it was too late did Lord Dramath decided to meet with the boy to see if he was worthy of joining the Sith. Tenebrae had no such wish. When they met face to face, Tenebrae proved the stronger. At only ten years old, Tenebrae stripped his father of his power. Lord Dramath spent his last moments cowering in terror in front of the ten-year-old child.
It took Tenebrae three more years to gain full control of his home planet, Nathema. At thirteen he presented himself to Marka Ragnos, the current ruler of the Sith, who bestowed upon him the title of Lord Vitiate. With his position of ruler of Nathema officially set in stone, Lord Vitiate returned home to continue his research into the dark side.
BTC 1347: The Great Hyperspace War
One thousand three hundred forty-seven years before the event of The Old Republic game was a grim time in the Republics’ history. This was the year The Great Hyperspace War was in full swing. In fact, most of the modern conflicts between the Empire and Republic could trace their roots back to this very war. Before the beginning of the war, the Republic had spent millennia of prosperity and peace, with no real threats to its integrity. However, on the Sith world of Korriban, the Sith were becoming restless.
They had seized control of all the surrounding worlds of Korriban, and now they set their sights further afield. A power struggle broke out in the Sith ranks, following the death of their ruler, Marka Ragnos. Among the people vying for the control of the Sith is a name many of you may have heard before, assuming you’ve played the Knights of the Old Republic game, Naga Sadow. It was at this time, a couple of Republic explorers discovered the Sith on Korriban. Naga Sadow decided to use their chance arrival to his advantage. As with many Sith, he manipulated the Sith, making them believe that the Republic would soon attack. With the full force of the Sith now rallied behind Naga Sadow, he lead an assault on many worlds owned by the Republic. The onslaught was brutal, but over time, the Sith once again began to fight within their ranks. It was at this time, Naga Sadow’s apprentice turned on his master, trying to gain power for himself. His attempt, however, failed. But this was the final nail in the coffin for the Sith. With the civil war that now engulfed Korriban and the Sith in total disarray, the Republic pushed the Sith back to Korriban.
With Naga Sadow, who had now fled to Yavin 4, the Sith no longer posed any real threat to the Republic. However, the leaders of the Republic made the fatal error of rubbing salt into the already gaping wound of the Sith. The Republic forces converged on Korriban with the intent to wipe out the remaining Sith.
It was at this time, the future Emperor of the Sith, Lord Vitiate, who had remained on his home planet of Nathema while the war was raging, decided to invite all remaining Sith Lords to his palace to participate in a ritual to unlock the full potential of the dark side, or so he said. Desperate for anything that the Sith could use against the Republic as a weapon, most responded to his invite.
Once the remaining Sith Lords had arrived on Nathema, Lord Vitiate quickly took control of the Sith Lords, forcing them to complete one of the most elaborate rituals in the Sith teachings. Calling on the dark side, Lord Vitiate devoured all of their powers, absorbing it all into himself, and completely obliterating all traces of the helpless victims. The ritual storm continued, however, consuming all living things on the planet, humanoids, animals, insects, and even plants until Nathema was nothing but an empty shell of a world, completely devoid of all life.
With that, Lord Vitiate, one of the only Sith remaining, declared himself Emperor and lead the remaining Sith forces out into deep space, eventually settling on the jungle world of Dromund Kaas. Where over the past thirteen centuries they rebuilt their strength to become the Empire that threatens the Republic in The Old Republic game.
BTC 1251: The Return of the Sith Empire
After the events in the Great Hyperspace War, the remaining Sith fled into deep space, where they stayed for many years. The Sith then settled on the Jungle world of Dromund Kaas, where the new Emperor promised the Sith revenge and an Empire that would bring the Republic to its blood-stained knees.
The Emperor left the running of the Sith to a new Dark Council. Among this council of Sith and Imperial leaders was a young man called Odile Viken. Odile Viken, an already respected Imperial pilot, set about bringing order to the newly formed Empire. Viken enrolled every non-force user of age, into the new imperial military.
He then developed the Imperial Military training program, which is still being used by the Empire to date. After his army was fully trained, he turned his sights to building an Imperial Armada. Viken knew he wouldn’t see even a fraction of his plan come to fruition, as the process would take centuries.
None-the-less, it was this that earned him the title of the first Grand Moff of the Imperial Military. Grand Moff Odile Viken eventually met his demise on a bridge of a prototype Star Destroyer while trying to claim an alien system. Grand Moff Odile Vikens name continued to live on and it was he who successfully built the new imperial army.
BTC 347: Exar Kun
Exar Kun is another name many would remember from the Knights of the Old Republic games. I definitely remembered that you were able to obtain a piece of Exar Kuns armor in the game, but anyway, I digress. Exar Kun had no real relation to the newly formed Sith Empire on Dromund Kaas, but he still posed a massive threat to the Republic. He represented how far even the best Jedi could fall to the Dark Side.
As a Jedi, he was extremely gifted and was eager to expand his knowledge of the force. However, this eagerness soon became an obsession, and the Jedi Council became increasingly concerned. During Exar Kun’s trip to Onderon, he explored Onderons moon of Dxun. There he found the tomb of an ancient Sith Lord, Freedon Nadd. Within the tomb, Exar Kun learned where he might find powerful Sith teachings on Korriban. Exar Kun traveled to Korriban and visited the tombs of the ancient Sith lords. There he was tested by the old Sith Lords. When he emerged from the tombs, he had passed the point of no return, his fall to the Dark Side was inevitable.
Exar Kun traveled to Yavin 4, where he encountered the native and fearsome Massassi warriors. It was then he fully embraced the Dark Side to defend himself. He then went on to enslave the Massassi warriors and ordered an attack on the Krath Cult on the Teta system.
During the attack, he encountered another fallen Jedi, Ulic Qel-Droma (another name people may recognize from KOTOR) who had tried and failed to dismantle the Krath Cult from within. After a long and drawn out duel, the two fallen Jedi joined forces. With the combined forces of the Massassi and Krath, they then went on to wage war against the Republic.
Though they won many battles, Ulic Qel-Droma soon became remorseful and turned away from the Dark Side betraying Exar Kun in the process. The Republic drove Exar Kun back to Yavin 4, where the dark lord enacted an ancient ritual. By sacrificing his army, he would keep his spirit alive. The Jedi, unable to kill him entirely, trapped his spirit in the temples on Yavin 4, where he remains.
BTC 311: Mandalorian Wars
Now we are getting well and truly into what the Knights of the Old Republic game focused its story on. Most of you who have played the game will know all about the Mandalorian Wars an what it spelled for the Jedi in the following years after. However, for those of you who don’t know anything about it, here is what I know. (Please note, that I will be detailing some factors that may spoil the Knights of the Old Republic game for people who are yet/wish to play it in the future).
Of all the Wars in the Republic history, this was the war with the biggest in terms of loss of life. The leader of the Mandalorians, Mandalor the Ultimate, sought to create the most powerful army in the galaxy. To do this, he knew he had to remove the Republic and the Jedi from the equation. He began to attack systems in the Outer-Rim.
Drawing the Republic attention, they began to attack the Mandalorians on numerous fronts. However, Mandalor was restraining himself, holding the bulk of his forces back. He planned to test the Republic stamina. After a time, Mandalor unleashed his full military might, and the Republic soon became overwhelmed.
With worlds even in the Mid-Rim under threat, the Jedi Council still refused to be taunted into the fight, remaining ever watchful of the situation, sensing a greater danger working in the background. However, with the ever increasing slaughter by the Mandalorians, a small group of Jedis’ decided to answer the Republics cry for help, and to ignore the Jedi Councils decision.
The small group of Jedi were lead by two well-known names, Revan and Malak. Joining the Republic forces, Revan’s great strategic mind turned the tide of the battle in the Republics favor. Revan lead the push, determined to drive the Mandalorians back out of Republic space. During the final stand on a small planet called Malachor V, Reven struck down Mandalor, single-handedly. Revan then went on to activate a superweapon built by the Mandalorians, which ultimately destroyed the entire planet and everyone on it. Revans act did destroy the Mandalorian armies and signal the end of the war, but also sacrificed the lives of countless Republic soldiers and Jedi in the process. With the War over, Revan and Malak pursued the remaining Mandalorian forces into deep space. It was there they stumbled across the Sith Empire on Dromund Kaas. The Emperor then successfully turned Revan and Malak to the Dark side.
BTC 303: The Jedi Civil War
So here we are, the events that happened immediately prior to and during KOTOR, that focuses on Darth Revan and Darth Malak. As I mentioned in the previous section, people who have played the Knights of the Old Republic game will know what went on during the Jedi Civil War. But for those of you who haven’t or who have, but simply wish to have a recap, here is what transpired.
With Revan and Malak now slaves to the Sith Emperor, he sent them back to Republic space to prepare for a full out Sith invasion. Revans’ and Malaks’ task was simple. To recover the location of an ancient battle station known as the Star Forge, a station with the capabilities of constructing mass starships and droid armies, built by the Rakata more than twenty-five centuries ago, five thousand years before the Republic was formed.
With the Star Forge in the Emperor’s control, he hoped to finish the construction of the Sith Armada and exact his revenge on the Republic, centuries ahead of schedule. However, as Darth Revan and Darth Malak grew closer to finding the location of the Star Forge, they began to have visions of their own empire. Darth Malak’s thirst for power became overwhelming, which lead him to betray his master. He fired upon Revan’s ship, leaving him for dead.
Fortunately, a Jedi strike team had boarded Revan’s ship, they confronted him just at the time Malak ordered the attack on Revan’s ship. Revan was knocked unconscious by the blast. The Jedi then made the difficult decision to erase Revan’s mind and retrain him as a Jedi. Working with Bastila Shan, a Jedi Knight, and Carth Onasi, a Republic hero from the Mandalorian Wars, Revan regained his strength.
During this time of recovery for Revan, Malak made good of the time he had, seizing control of the Star Forge and destroying the Jedi Academy on Dantooine. Revan eventually uncovered the location on the Star Forge and defeated his former apprentice, rescuing the Republic.
With the Jedi Civil War over and the Star Forge destroyed, Revan was named a hero of the Republic. Deep in Revans’ lost memory; however, he remembered the menace that was the Sith Emperor. Although the Emperors plan to launch the invasion early was thwarted, his plan continued. Revan returned to deep space, in search of the hidden Sith Empire. What happens to Revan remains a mystery.
BTC 298: The Jedi Exile
Even five years after the death of Darth Malak and the end of the Jedi Civil War, life did not improve for the Jedi. Despite Revan saving the galaxy, most of the Republic blamed the Jedi and the Jedi Civil war for all of their troubles. No Jedi was welcome, so what remained of the Jedi went into hiding. What made matters worse was a new Sith threat returned to known space. Darth Traya, Darth Nihilus, and Darth Sion. The Jedi Council exiled Darth Traya, a former Jedi Historian by the name of Kreia, and a former master of Revan. She retraced Revan’s footsteps which lead her to, what remained of Malachor V. There she discovered the Trayus Academy, an ancient Sith academy, where she embraced the Dark Side of the Force. In Darth Traya’s search for other locations scarred by the Force, she met two men who became her apprentices.
Darth Nihilus was a Jedi who fought with Revan at Malachor V who survived the explosion by the Mass Shadow Generator superweapon which Revan ordered to be activated. Bao-Dur was the tech specialist, who under orders from Revan, constructed this device. It was created with the sole purpose of ending the Mandalorian War. However, experiencing the shadow made Nihilus ‘hunger’ for Force energy, which consumed his every thought.
Darth Sion was a Jedi who was struck down in his past, but rather than die, Sion found that by calling on his pain, anger, and hatred, he could postpone deaths grasp. With his flesh fractured and decomposing held together by the dark side of the force, Sion, Nihilus and Traya formed the Sith Triumvirate. Their goal, to restore the Sith and destroy what was left of the Jedi.
One Jedi however, who also joined Revan’s fight against the Mandalorians and was exiled from the Jedi Order because of it, had resurfaced. They alone then became the target of the Sith Triumvirate. With the exile severed from the Force and with the Sith hunting them down, the Exile had no choice but to locate the remaining surviving Jedi and regain their connection to the force. Darth Traya, who had now found the Jedi exile, went under the guise of Kreia once more, in the hope she could mold the exile in her image. However, her plan failed as her identity became known, the Jedi Exile then emerged victorious in their campaign to destroy the Sith Triumvirate and its members. The companions the Exile trained during their journey served as the key to rebuilding the Jedi Order.
BTC 103: Peace for the Republic
The centuries following the Jedi Civil War were a time of peace for the Republic. More and more star systems joined the Galactic Senate. For the Sith Empire, however, these centuries marked an increase of productivity in their preparation for war. During this prolonged time of peace for the Republic, the Sith spent their time infiltrating the Senate, political circles and even the Jedi ranks.
Eison Gynt was a promising Nautolan Padawan who showed excellent skill and control of the Force. The Jedi Scholar Barel Ovair, who was secretly a spy working for the Emperor, took Gynt as his apprentice. Together they traveled the galaxy, studying the hidden mysteries of the Force. After a time, they undertook a dangerous mission to explore the ancient temple on Yavin 4, believed to be the last resting place of the Sith Lord Naga Sadow. However, on arrival to Yavin 4 and the temple, the two were ambushed by the Massassi Warriors that still occupied the planet. They fled deep into the temple, where the dark energies of the Force still lingered.
Weeks past with no sign of Master Ovair or Eison Gynt. However, Barel Ovair suddenly returned to the Jedi Temple on Coruscant alone and wounded. Once he fully recovered, he began to tell the tale about what happened on Yavin 4 and of Gynt’s death.
Years past, but suddenly Eison Gynt reappeared on Coruscant, wearing the robes of the Massassi and bent on killing Master Ovair. Possessed by the spirit of Naga Sadow, Gynt attacked Ovair in broad daylight. Although Gynt’s newfound powers were fierce, Ovair struck him down. Ovair’s success was celebrated, and the Jedi assumed all was well.
The only question, no one asked, was why did the spirit of Naga Sadow seek to kill Barel Ovair? The reason being that because Ovair was working for the Emperor. The Emperor knew that the spirits of the old Sith Lord could pose a threat. Ovair’s mission was not for the Jedi but for the Emperor, the goal was to make sure the temple was sealed and the spirit dealt with, so the Emperor had no threats to his power or enemies except for the Jedi.
BTC 28: The Sith Empire’s Surprise Attack
We are now in the years directly before the start of The Old Republic game, and here is where the Sith Emperor, after centuries of planning, finally makes his first move against the Republic.
The onslaught of the Sith Empire was one of a colossal scale. Republic representatives in the Outer-Rim were hailing it as the end of the Republic. The widespread panic was a factor that the Sith Emperor had banked on. The plan so far was flawless.
The Republic, unsure as to the origins of the new threat, sent out a diplomatic ship with two small starfighters as an escort. The Emperor wanted to show off the might of his armada. The diplomatic convoy had enough time to transmit images of the sheer size of the Sith’s navy; then they were obliterated.
The Sith quickly seized control of Republic systems and turned the governing authority to their cause. When the Republic sent out their cruisers to assist, it was already too late, and they found themselves in enemy territory.
The Republic rallied every available ship to support the fleet, leaving only a handful of Jedi ships to defend Korriban. Korriban was quickly taken by the Sith without the Jedi Council even knowing about it.
The Sith also targeted other vital systems that provided raw materials to the Republic.
An emergency meeting was held in the Senate by the Republic leaders and the Jedi Council to discuss how they would defend the Republic. However, the discussion soon became marred by politics. Leaders of systems spoke out in protest if their homeworld was left exposed to attack and other systems refused to send aid to others in fear it would leave them open to assault. It was every system for itself.
The Emperor’s plan was genius; he managed to turn the Republic against itself. With the Republic busy playing politics. The Emperor quickly organized troops to push into the core worlds. The attack of the Sith Empire was one of the most well orchestrated and carefully coordinated military maneuvers in the galaxy’s history.
BTC 18: Battle of Bothawui
The Sith were sweeping through the galaxy, exterminating their age-old nemeses the Jedi, and dismantling the Republic piece by piece. But the Emperor wasn’t all-knowing. He had not accounted for the brave sacrifices the Republic heroes were willing to make.
After taking control of most of the Outer-Rim, the Emperor turned his sights towards the Core worlds and the Mid-Rim. Under the belief the Republic was still recouping its losses, the Sith forces charged into Bothan space, where they were met by the full force of the Republic fleet. The Republic fleet obliterated the Imperial squadron, and the battle of Bothawui became the first significant victory for the Republic in the war. The news of the Republic’s success spread across the galaxy, increasing the morale of the Republic and its supporters.
The victory was short-lived, however, as the Emperor was swift in enacting his revenge. Imperial battle cruisers from around the galaxy converged on Bothawui. A high powered planetary shield generator defended the planet from bombardment, forcing the Imperial forces to launch a ground assault.
Jedi Master Belth Allusis, seven dozen of the Jedi Orders finest knights and four thousand Republic troops, dug in to protect the shield generator, or die trying. A terrifying Imperial army, fifty thousand strong, descended on Bothawui’s brave defenders. The defenders were fearless, with no real expectation of survival. The overconfident Imperial leaders ordered their troops into an all-out direct assault, and their troops fell in droves. For every Republic soldier who died, ten Imperials were killed. The Empire was forced to call for reinforcements.
Despite their determination, the Republic troops were whittled down till only a hand few of Jedi and soldiers remained. They rallied for their final stand. The Empire offered their lives in exchange for a surrendered. Neither pride nor foolhardy governed their response. They had passed beyond the fear of death. Belth Allusis and his men fell, but not before the Imperials and their men were forced to retreat. The Battle of Boithawui was a draw.
The Republic eventually halted the Empires advance, but by which time the Republic had lost too many systems in the early years of the Great War. Survival was the best the Republic could hope for.
BTC 14: The Empire Changes Strategy
The Mandalorian allies of the Imperial forces was a devastating blow to the Republic which they never truly recovered from. This was the second step in the Emperors master plan. The rise of the Mandalorians was orchestrated by Imperial intelligence and infiltrators. The galaxy’s criminal network wavered endlessly during the Great War, undecided to back the Empire or the Republic.
Although the Hutt cartels resented the Sith Emperor for not including them in his pre-war conspiracies, Imperial intelligence somehow prevented the Republic from creating an alliance. Scattered throughout the galaxy, Mandalorian mercenaries and Bounty Hunters faced the same choice as the Hutts, some signed on with the Empire, but most remained neutral.
Imperial diplomats made repeated attempts to recruit the most infamous bounty hunters but were turned down every time. The Empire changed its strategy. Mandalorian mercenaries and bounty hunters often fought as gladiators for money and glory. A mark of honor in the Mandalorian culture. The Imperial agents use this to their advantage, infiltrating gladiatorial arenas as managers and sponsors.
The Imperial agents singled out a proud young warrior to be their pawn. The young warrior was often successful, but with his new Imperial allies sabotaging and fixing the fights, his rate of ascent within the gladiator ranks reached unprecedented levels. The spectators soon began to shout, “Mandalor! Mandalor!”. The title of Mandalor was soon thrust upon the young gladiator warrior, and when he called the Mandalorian clans soon rallied to their new master.
Mandalor’s call was simple, to confront the galaxy’s most significant challenge and to face the legendary knights of the Jedi Order. The new Mandalor was still serving masters of his own, however. Imperial Agents pulled their puppets stings and the Mandalorians soon blockaded the Hydian Way trade route cutting off the Republic most critical supply line. Reluctant to pull back from the front with the Empire, the supply crisis could not be ignored. The Jedi sent ships to attack the Blockade, however, they were defeated.
Though the blockade was eventually broken and the young gladiator Mandalor was replaced with a new Mandalor, it set the stage for what was to come.
BTC 7: Mandalorian Blockade Broken
The Mandalorian Blockade was eventually broken by the most unlikeliest of Republic allies, the Criminal Smuggling Contingent.
The blockade stopped the Republic from providing military support and gaining raw goods from the Core World colonies, via the main hyper lane. Holdouts that were established in the Outer-Rim began to fall to the hands of the empire, as well as crucial supplies. Riots started to break out in Coruscant, as starvation took hold of its people. Negotiations in the Senate lent towards surrender.
Hylo Visz, who was a Mirialan smugger, saw a business opportunity amongst all the chaos. As the Republic were desperate, and willing to pay premium prices for goods, Hylos constructed a plan to destroy the Mandalorian blockade.
Hylo and her band of smugglers, traveled to the blockade with their cargo ships and freighters. The distraction of these ships allowed the Mandalorians to be caught off guard. Starships then suddenly came out of hyperspace and engaged on the Mandalorian ships. This allowed Hylos’ more nimble ships to fly past with ease.
Unfortunately, the Mandalorians still outmatched Hylos and her smugglers. Luckily, the Republic received word of the battle, and sent as many starships as they could muster, to aid in destroying the Mandalorians.
Once the blockade was broken, Hylos and her team were able to take all their goods to Coruscant, earning them all more credits than they could have ever dreamed of. Hylos never showed up to the medal ceremony that was organized in their honor.
Nobody knows for certain what happened to Hylo, but it’s rumored that she was killed a year later by the Hutts.
ATC 0: The Peace Negotiation and Attack on Coruscant
And so here we are, the end of my little Star Wars history lesson, and the last section which, more or less, goes through what happened in Bioware’s ‘Deceived’ CG game trailer, which is set before the start of The Old Republic.
Though the Sith Emperor now owned half the galaxy, he grew impatient. He had expected his triumph to have come sooner. The Emperors Dark Council surprised the Republic with an offer of peace, an offer the Republic could not refuse.
Imperial and Republic diplomats convened on Alderaan to discuss a galaxy-wide cease-fire. Among the Republic diplomats where Jedi Master Dar’nala, Jedi Knight Satele Shan, the descendant of Bastila Shan from KOTOR and the same Jedi from Bioware’s ‘Hope’ and ‘Return’ trailers, and Jedi Knights Syo Bakarn and Aryn Leneer.
However, despite this offer of peace, the Sith still had one more move to make. The Imperial fleet launched a surprise assault on the Republic capital of Coruscant, bombarding it from orbit and storming the worlds bottomless towers.
Lead by Darth Malgus, his Twi’lek servant Eleena and the Sith Lord Adraas, the Sith also destroyed the Jedi Temple, killing Jedi Master Ven Zallow and other Jedis’.
With Coruscant held hostage, the Republic diplomats on Alderaan had no choice but to accept the Treaty of Coruscant on the Empires terms.
Republic and Jedi troops began withdrawing from battlefields around the galaxy, leaving star systems to fend for themselves and to be quickly swallowed by the Sith Empire.
Though still committed to defending the Republic, and with the temple on Coruscant gone, the Jedi returned to their ancient homeworld of Tython to rest and meditate.
Thus began a stalemate, the Jedi connecting with their roots, the Republic nursing its wounds and the Sith consolidating their power. The galaxy divided between Light and Dark.
Final thoughts on the Star Wars: The Old Republic timeline
Well, there we go. Writing this has taken me the better part of my entire Sunday, but hopefully, someone will find this useful or, if nothing else, entertaining.
I would like to point out that this article was compiled using information gathered from several sources such as games, the web, and books.
If anyone, would like to add anything, please leave your comments below, and ‘May the Force be with you’!