Just in from Twitter from JamesOhlen
@SWTOR We’ve announced all of the races. Twi’lek, Zabrak, Chiss, Mirialan, Miraluka, Sith, Rattataki, Human and Cyborg
Often stereotyped as slaves, dancers, and criminals, the truth is that Twi'lek are represented in all walks of life. Naturally quick and cunning, they excel in both physical and cognitive skills, and Twi’leks can generally perform feats of dexterity that significantly surpass other species’ capabilities. Their human-like qualities and varied skin pigmentations have earned them a reputation as some of the most beautiful beings in the galaxy. Though this has clearly increased their value as slaves and contributed to the exploitation of their species, many free Twi’leks have learned to use their natural beauty and charm to great effect.
One of the most striking aspects of the Twi’leks’ exotic physical appearance is their ‘lekku’ or ‘head tails’ which are far more than simple cosmetic appendages. The lekku serve as extra-sensory organs, giving Twi’leks heightened awareness and a greater capacity to master the arts of communication. Historically, Lekku and skin color were symbols of social status among the Twi’leks. In fact, to some extent, skin pigmentation appears to be linked to certain personality traits. Twi’leks with red-colored skin, for instance, are generally expected to have volatile and violent natures, but just as with any other species, despite such genetic predispositions, character traits are varied depending on the individual.
The distant Twi’lek homeworld of Ryloth has a tragic history. Though it’s a cold, rocky planet, the Twi’leks had adapted to the environment and lived in relative harmony for many centuries. Several thousand years ago, however, Ryloth was discovered by the Republic and soon after found to have rich stores of the rare and valuable Ryll spice. Still new to the Galactic economy, the Twi’leks were unable to leverage the natural resources to their advantage. Instead, control of the Ryloth mining operation fell into the hands of Hutt criminal enterprises who enslaved the Twi’leks and put them to work in their own mines.
Because of their beauty and their skills, Twi’leks were also sold as slaves on the open market, and today they can be found in almost every system in the galaxy. Though many remain slaves, countless others have achieved freedom and assimilated well into the Galactic population. Despite the number of free Twi’leks across the galaxy, there has never been any credible attempt to liberate Ryloth. This is likely because after generations in slavery across the galaxy, most free Twi’leks have little connection to each other as a species and even less connection to a homeworld which they never knew.
Renowned in all corners of the galaxy for their spirituality and strong connection to the Force, the Mirialan endure rigorous mental and physical training rituals to become both formidable warriors and skilled negotiators. Their reputation is not without merit; Mirialan are taken from home at a young age to be educated at one of the many youth academies. There, they are instilled with the cultural ideologies that have been engrained in Mirialan society for hundreds of generations.
Deeply held spiritual beliefs are the cornerstone of Mirialan culture. Their understanding of the Force is based on the idea that the actions of each individual affect not only their own fate, but also the destiny of the Mirialan as a whole. Personal achievements are recorded on each individual’s body with geometric tattoos. The shapes and locations of the tattoos denote different actions in the life of the Mirialan, and upon death the markings are used to determine the cultural worth of the individual and their contributions to furthering the Mirialan as a whole.
The Mirialan homeworld—simply known as Mirial—is a cold, dry planet near the Hydian Way trade route. Though Mirial first joined the Republic several centuries ago, its’ lack of resources has allowed some measure of isolation even while giving the Mirialan the freedom to explore the larger galaxy. Exposure to other cultures has led to greater diversity among the Mirialan, and even some surprising inclinations from their society as a whole. During the Jedi Civil War, Mirial sided with Darth Malak against the Jedi Order. After Malak’s defeat, the planet was re-assimilated, and in the current conflict, the Mirialan have come down decidedly on the side of the Republic.
At the start of the Great War, when the Sith Empire first returned and began to sweep through the Outer Rim, many displaced refugees fled to Mirial. After witnessing such suffering, more Mirialan than ever before began venturing away from their homeworld. Many have enlisted in the ranks of the Republic military or joined the Jedi Order, while others have simply spread out to wander and experience the never-ending variety the greater galaxy has to offer.
Independence, confidence, and fierce determination characterize the Zabrak psyche. Most Zabrak do not consider any challenge impossible, no matter how unfavorable the odds, and look down on the weak who fear defeat. A tradition of intense martial training, a second heart, and resistance to physical pain make them exceptional warriors and explorers. Their physical and mental prowess demand respect. Zabrak have an intense drive to excel in all they do, a drive that carries with it a persistent temptation to use any means necessary to achieve their goals.
If Zabrak sometimes seem arrogant, it is only because they have much to be proud of in their history. The inhospitable crags and acid pools of their homeworld, Iridonia, shaped the Zabrak’s tenacity and strong will. The Zabrak did not merely survive adversity in a hostile environment, they thrived, managing to become one of the earliest known spacefaring races. They had already established several colonies beyond their home system before first contact with the Republic.
Though similar in appearance to humans, Zabrak are distinguished by their vestigial horns and hallmark facial tattoos. Horns develop as individuals come of age and tattoos are received during a ceremonial rite of passage that occurs soon after they appear. These tattoos vary in design based on the individual’s own trials and experiences. Zabrak from Iridonia are renowned for developing strict regimens of martial training, and the discipline and perseverance they teach are instilled in all young Zabrak.
The Zabrak colonies are situated near vital hyperspace lanes, enticing the naturally inquisitive Zabrak to further explore the galaxy. New worlds mean new challenges to overcome and opportunities to learn, adding to the strength of the species, and now Zabrak can be found amidst the ranks of the Republic and the Empire both, leading troops to victory on the front lines, working from the shadows to shape conflicts, or simply collecting credits as guns-for-hire.
As remote and secretive as the distant star system from which they emerged, the Chiss species remains a mystery to most of the galaxy. Completely removed from the Republic and the Empire, these blue-skinned humanoids evolved an advanced civilization known as the Chiss Ascendancy in the Unknown Regions of space. Despite constant political power struggles among the ruling class, the Ascendancy maintained strict controls over its dominion and the civilization prospered. This is how the Chiss developed socially and technologically in isolation for thousands of years… until they were discovered by the Sith Empire.
During the late days of the Empire’s exile, the Sith came into contact with the Chiss, and what followed was an event unique in the annals of Imperial history. In every previous instance where the Empire had encountered an alien civilization with enough technology and resources to defend itself, the Empire demanded surrender and capitulation to the rule of the Emperor. Each civilization refused and the Sith conquered their worlds and killed or enslaved the inhabitants. The power struggles of the Ascendancy are rarely solved with force of arms, however, and the Chiss ruling class surprised the Empire by considering the offer on its merits and asking for a summit. The Empire's military leadership, confused, agreed.
Behind closed doors the best Chiss negotiators met with a who's who of important Imperial diplomats, including the very unusual presence of the commander of the secretive Imperial Guard. Nothing has ever been publicly revealed about that meeting but the outcome is known and now wondered about by diplomats and historians the galaxy over. The Chiss would become the first official allies of the Emperor. Their armies, resources and tax revenues would be freely offered to the Empire. In return the Empire would allow the Ascendancy to govern and administer its own planets, and never set foot on the Chiss homeworld of Csilla without permission. Not one political representative, not one noble tourist, not one Sith.
In the years that followed, the Chiss assisted the Sith in the invasion of Republic space and earned the Empire’s respect and trust as military allies. While in Sith-controlled space, the Chiss submit to Imperial authority without question and a handful of Chiss have even integrated themselves into Imperial society. Nonetheless, the Chiss Ascendancy maintains its own forces, separate from the Imperial military, and most members of the species still retain their characteristic private ways, even when working closely with their heavy-handed Imperial allies. To the Republic, the Chiss continue to be a complete mystery and the species’ very existence is unknown except in high level political and military circles.
Miraluka have lived primarily in isolation over the millennia, but because of their Force sensitivity, they have had relations with the Jedi and some Miraluka have even joined the Order. That relationship has grown even stronger since the Jedi Civil War when the Sith Lord Darth Nihilus destroyed the Miraluka colony on the world of Katarr. The only survivor of that attack—a Miraluka named Visas Marr—was known to have traveled with the Jedi Exile and later to have helped rebuild the Jedi Order.
In the years of the Great War, Alpheridies has remained an independent system, but many Miraluka have rallied to the Republic’s cause. Those who have joined the Jedi Order have proven to consistently be strong in the Force and exceptionally skilled in the martial arts. Some Masters speculate that it is precisely because of their trust in the Force rather than their eyes that they fight so fluently with Lightsabers. Regardless of where and how they serve the Order, the presence of the Miraluka within the Jedi ranks has been a boon. Many Sith Lords have learned the hard way to see that Miraluka can be dangerous foes.
Descendants of the original Sith species, the red-skinned Sith Purebloods inherit a legacy long intertwined with the dark side. The ancient Sith were warlike, competitive, and ambitious, and they performed arcane rituals to create powerful Force artifacts. For those Sith in whom the old blood still flows strongly enough to be seen, there exists a strong current of innate darkness, making the rate of Force sensitivity among purebloods near one hundred percent.
Three thousand years ago, Dark Jedi, fleeing Republic space after the Second Great Schism, discovered the Sith species on Korriban. They were surprised to find that the comparatively primitive species displayed knowledge of the dark side that the Jedi themselves had never encountered. The Dark Jedi resolved to subjugate the Sith and wrest their knowledge from them. Though the Sith struck back in an attempt to protect their dark side secrets, they were ultimately outmatched by the superior training and technology of the invaders. The Sith were enslaved by their dark Jedi overlords.
Over hundreds of generations, the two groups intermingled. The Dark Jedi found that Sith society and culture suited their philosophy well. Before long, the elite ruling class of Korriban consisted almost entirely of hybridized offspring of the Dark Jedi and the high priests of the Sith. This hybridization resulted in an ambitious, ruthless race with a natural strength in the Force.
Genetically speaking, the term “pureblood” is a misnomer, as all modern Sith are hybrids, a product of the unions between the ancient Dark Jedi and the original Sith race. However, the term is useful in distinguishing those who carry enough of the blood of the ancient race to still be evident in their features.
The pale-skinned Rattataki are made for battle. Centuries of constant warfare have weeded out the weak, shaping the remainder into proud, passionate, and deadly combatants. Even entertainment for this violent species is combat; the gladiator pits of their home planet, Rattatak, are the planet’s most popular amusement, well-known for being the most brutal in the galaxy. Exposed to their species’ competitive culture from birth, Rattataki develop into fearsome warriors.
Deep in the Outer Rim, the Rattataki species evolved in bleak isolation for thousands of years, clinging to existence in sprawling caverns beneath the planet’s surface. They were driven underground by monstrous beasts they believed were gods and savage storms that made the land nearly uninhabitable. In their subterranean exile, the Rattataki tribes fought amongst themselves incessantly over scarce resources, and many tribes even resorted to cannibalism. The weak and the sick were sacrificed so that the strong might survive and one day claim the surface world.
Eventually, the mighty warlord Rattatak managed to unite his people long enough to drive back the horrible beasts on the planet’s surface and establish mighty fortresses amidst the mountainous terrain. Though his life was lost in the struggle on the surface, Rattatak’s name lived on. The unification of the Rattataki was brief, and tribes settled back into their constant infighting, but at long last they had emerged from their dark exile and contact was made with the greater galaxy. This led many Rattataki to settle on other worlds, becoming sought after mercenaries, bodyguards and bounty hunters.
Shortly after the Empire returned to Republic space, the young Sith Lord Darth Vich took notice of Rattatak and its people. Eager to make a name for himself, he journeyed to the planet and, casting aside 1000 years of anti-alien tradition, recruited a hundred tribes of Rattataki to populate his own personal army. Their prowess in battle made them a dangerous force, and the dozens of Force Sensitive among them became his personal acolytes. With the Rattataki at his command, Darth Vich made a play for power in the Sith Empire that ultimately failed. In the wake of this failure, the Dark Council enslaved or killed all of the Rattataki who followed Vich. Rumors about a small group of Rattataki acolytes who helped betray Vich and were fully accepted for Sith training remain unsubstantiated.
Humans were the galaxy's most numerous and politically dominantsentient species with millions of major and minor colonies galaxywide. Believed to have originated on the galactic capital ofCoruscant, they could be found anywhere, engaged in many different pursuits: spacers, mercenaries, smugglers, merchants, soldiers,assassins, farmers, crime lords, laborers, slaves, slavers, and many others, including Jedi. Since Humans were the most common sentient species, they were often considered to be a standard or average to which the biology, psychology, and culture of other species were compared.
A cyborg was a cybernetic organism, that is, a living organic sentient organism with mechanical prostheses. Often covered insynthflesh/synthskin, these prostheses served one or more of three purposes:
Life support, often due to injuries sustained. Examples of this were Darth Vader, General Grievous, and Lumiya.
Prosthetic replacements for parts that were lost, though they may not be required for life itself. An example of this was the prosthetic hand used by Luke Skywalker, as well the mechanical arm used by Anakin Skywalker.
To enhance one's abilities, as in the case of Lobot. General Grievous's abilities were also significantly enhanced by his prostheses, though his main reason for becoming a cyborg was that he had sustained massive injuries and would have died otherwise. However, his four arms, each with its own lightsaber, did improve his swordsmanship beyond his native abilities.
Cyborg also referred to creatures that were half-organic and half-droid. They were generally regarded as "soulless abominations". Cyberneticists were responsible for developing and creating cybernetic components.