Planets of Star Wars: The Old Republic – Taris

Planets of Star Wars: The Old Republic – Taris

Taris was an urban planet in the Outer Rim Territories. The term Tarisian was used to describe people and products from the planet. The planet’s ecumenopolis quickly developed over a century of prosperity, and as a result the planet suffered from massive overpopulation. Once a galactic nexus, Taris’ importance declined with the introduction of improved trade routes, and the planet rapidly fell into decay. The remainder of the planet’s history was wrought with civil disorder and social unrest. As it turned to industry as a means of compensation for its economic troubles, its oceans became polluted, eliminating the planet’s main food source. Famine spread among the lower classes while the rich hoarded what few supplies remained. The resulting strife led to the Tarisian Civil War, the start of lasting prejudices between the Humanocentric Tarisian nobles and the largely alien underclass. The city became segmented, and the lower classes were banned from living in the upper levels of Taris.

During the Mandalorian Wars, Taris served as a crucial rallying point for dissident Jedi who had decided to fight against the invading Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders. As the lower classes were crushed beneath the rich, crime became rampant, and the Tarisian government did little in response. This caused Lhosan Industries, a mining company which employed half of the planet’s lower class in its operation, to leave Taris. The millions left unemployed rioted against the government, kidnapping the planet’s senator in the Galactic Senate as well as the local constable. This caused the local Jedi to leave Taris as well, leaving the planet in a state of anarchy, as the war raged on around it.

By the time of the Jedi Civil War, order had been restored, but swoop gangs and crime still held sway over the Lower City. During the war, Taris was conquered by the Sith Empire, which quarantined the planet in an attempt to capture Jedi Bastila Shan. As the search continued fruitlessly, the Sith leader Darth Malak, ordered the bombardment of Taris, killing countless civilians. This act had huge political repercussions for the Sith and changed the tone of the rest of the war, showing Malak and the Sith’s true colors, the desire to achieve victory at any cost.

Over the next few millennia the planet managed to rebuild and recover from its devastation, though never reaching the extent of its former glory. Similar to other ecumenopolies like Coruscant and Nar Shaddaa, the upper levels were safe and secure, inhabited by the wealthy, while the lower levels were frequently plagued by gang warfare and inhabited by thugs and the poor.

Taris was a ecumenopolis, at least in that all its landmasses were covered in a large city. However, unlike other ecumenopoleis, Taris had an ocean that covered a large part of the planet’s surface. The ocean once possessed massive kelp farms that were used to sustain the planet’s immense population. However, these farms were poisoned by pollution, leading to food shortages in the city.

The city itself was formed over a century of prosperity, a remarkable feat considering other ecumenopoleis such as Nar Shaddaa took many centuries, even millennia, to form. The towers of the city were tall and gleaming, possessing a unique, universally-rounded appearance not found on other ecumenopoleis. However, beneath the planet’s initial pristine exterior lay the result of many years of lawlessness and oppression. In the Lower City of Taris, the largely non-human population lived in total poverty and desperation, prevented from entering the safer Upper City, which was almost exclusively inhabited by rich Humans. Following the bombardment of Taris at the hands of the Sith Empire, the city was left in ruins. Although much of the city would be rebuilt in the following centuries, many ruins remained.

Flora and fauna
eing an ecumenopolis, Taris had relatively little animal or plant life. There were however several important species.
A rakghoul.

In the upper levels of Taris there were feathered dogs used almost exclusively as pets. These unique creatures could be seen on leashes as their owners took them out on walks through the promenades of Taris. There were also large lizards that were domesticated and used to pull refuse through the Lower City.

One of the only species of wild animals on Taris was the simian Tach. The Tach possessed a unique gland in their heads that, when powdered, could be used to make Tarisian ale, a major export of Taris.

The rakghoul, the fiercest and most terrifying species on Taris, inhabited the Undercity. They were mutated humans that ruthlessly attacked anything outside of the protective gates of the Undercity. Contact with the rakghouls caused a sentient to contract the rakghoul disease, a terrible affliction that would cause the victim to turn into a rakghoul.

The oceans of Taris once hosted a variety of kelp and marine life that were harvested as food for the Tarisians. These were later destroyed by pollution from Taris’ many industries.

Circa 4,300 BBY, Taris was situated on a major hyperspace transport hub not far from the Hyperlane known as the Perlemian Trade Route, and was called the “Coruscant of the Outer Rim.” Taris became an ecumenopolis, with all landmasses eclipsed with a world-spanning city. The city’s grandeur was once said to rival the galactic capital, Coruscant, itself. However, the planet wasn’t truly a planet-wide city, as unlike other city-planets such as Coruscant and Nar Shaddaa, it contained an ocean..

Civil war and anti-alien prejudice
Since there were no land areas dedicated to agriculture, the native populace harvested kelp and sea life from the ocean. However, industrial waste polluted the once pristine ocean, destroying the kelp farms and killing the marine life. Famine swept the planet. Panicking, the greedy Tarisian nobles hoarded the remaining food for themselves. In 4,056 BBY, the starving lower-class engaged the nobles in a massive civil war. Ultimately, the nobles triumphed. The Tarisian prisons couldn’t hold all the rebels, so the nobles began the tradition of banishing criminals to the Undercity. Also, because many of the rebels were aliens, the human nobles became prejudiced against non-Humans, and banished them from the Upper City, punishing any that dared to enter the upper levels without a permit. Thus began the long oppression by the Humanocentric Tarisian nobility of the non-human lower class.

It was believed that the swoop bike first originated on Taris. It was here that swoop racing captured the imagination of the galaxy around 4,000 BBY. Using an intricate system of hyperspace beacons, Tarisian race organizers broadcast the results of their swoop races throughout the galaxy which eventually gave rise to a huge and profitable gambling operation. Taris remained a hub for swoop racing for decades, becoming the center of the Galactic Swoop Racing Circuit.

In 4,086 BBY Taris also received an extremely harsh review in Trampeta’s Star Guide, as it was given the lowest possible recommendation. According to the author, T3 droids working in one of Taris’ starports stole his baggage. While probably not having any influence on the development of the planet itself, it was nonetheless a reflection of the decay that Taris was undergoing. Soon, new hyperspace routes rendered Taris largely obsolete in terms of its relevance to intragalactic trade.

Joining the Republic
In a secret backroom deal, Haydel Goravvus helped install Lhosan Industries on Taris and in exchange, Jervo Thalien managed to bribe Taris into the Republic and install Goravvus as its Senator.

Mandalorian Wars
Around the year 3,964 BBY, Captain Saul Karath commanded the Republic fleet that protected Taris during the Mandalorian Wars. Due to Taris’ close proximity to the Mandalorian War front, it had been granted Republic membership in 3,966 BBY and it became the heart of the Republic’s defense for the region. The planet served as a staging point for dissident Jedi and their allies for campaigns against the Mandalorians.

Taris skyline during the Mandalorian Wars.

Meanwhile, Taris had compensated for its decaying importance to trade routes by negotiating with Lhosan Industries, which employed over half of the Lower City residents in its mining activities. However, due to increasing swoop gang activity, Lhosan was considering pulling out, and moving its operations to a world with less crime. The local authorities assured Lhosan Industries that they had the swoop gangs fully under control, and would take care of them with the assistance from the local Jedi. However, after a fugitive Jedi Padawan named Zayne Carrick was accused of murdering the entire graduating class of new Jedi Knights and escaped twice from Jedi custody in the Jedi Tower, Lhosan made its decision, and abandoned Taris.

This left many of Tarisians unemployed, and angry citizens began rioting all over Taris, setting entire sections of skyline on fire. The riots soon spilled up into the Middle City. Crime began to envelope Taris. The Senator that represented the planet in the Galactic Senate disappeared, and the constable’s family was kidnapped. Due to the political anarchy, the Jedi based on Taris were recalled to Coruscant, abandoning the Tarisians to their fates. Taris was also largely abandoned by the Republic military. It maintained only a small military base on the planet’s surface. Without the protection of the Jedi and the Republic military, Taris was left open to a Mandalorian invasion.

The Mandalorians used Taris to make their first direct strike at the Republic. The Tarisians managed to form a small resistance movement led by Senator Goravvus and swoop gangs such as the Hidden Beks employed guerrilla tactics to assist them. The Chancellor of the Republic became suspicious of Taris’ quick entry into the Republic and sent Jedi Master Raana Tey to retrieve Goravvus. Jervo Thalien, head of Lhosan, became frantic since it was Goravvus who had installed Lhosan on the planet and Jervo had arranged a Senate seat for him in return. He hired Marn Hierogryph and the Moomo Brothers to retrieve the Senator. He promised Hierogryph a reprieve of the Massacre charges and most of the bounties on him lifted, but also secretly ordered the Moomo Brothers to kill Goravvus, as he had become a liability.

Hierogryph met up with the Beks and was soon reunited with Zayne Carrick. The Beks wished to join with the Resistance but had nothing of value to offer them. Luckily, Carrick found the constable’s children, who were being held hostage by Brejik and Griff Vao. The Beks then took the children to the Resistance, where they were reunited with their mother. Together, they sought to take out the Mandalorian commander, Cassus Fett, who was using the Jedi Tower as his base. By that time he had abandoned it to take the fight to the Resistance, driving them into the Undercity.

The Jedi Civil War

Battle over Taris
Though the Republic maintained a small military presence on Taris, the planet had not been viewed with any military importance since the First Battle of Taris. This changed when the Sith succeeded in overrunning nearly the entire Outer Rim, leaving Taris as the last valuable planet in that region still under Republic control.

The Endar Spire above Taris.

In 3,956 BBY the galactic senators decided to make a stand there and the Endar Spire soon arrived above the planet to bulk up the existing garrison. Several important members of the Republic war effort were onboard the Endar Spire including Carth Onasi, Bastila Shan, and an amnesiac Revan (who was currently under the impression that he was a Republic soldier).

While on a mission over Taris, the Endar Spire was ambushed by a Sith warship. Bastila Shan was famous for her affinity to the Force and her skill with battle meditation, but she was unable to use her powers during the ensuing battle. The Sith troops quickly seized the ship in an attempt to capture Shan to use her Jedi powers for their own goals. Shan and several other crew members were able to escape the ships in escape pods. The Sith then destroyed the Endar Spire.

Shan’s escape pod landed outside the Undercity of Taris, while others crashed in the Upper City. Many Upper City citizens gave over injured Republic soldiers to the local healer, Zelka Forn. The Black Vulkars, a swoop gang of the Lower City, swarmed over the Republic escape pods that landed in the Under City, salvaging what was left of them. Shan had been unable to exit her escape pod in time and was captured by the Vulkars. Revan and Onasi’s pod had landed in the Upper City and they were able to find an abandoned apartment to hide out in while they planned Shan’s rescue.

Sith conquest
The rest of the Sith fleet quickly arrived above Taris, and began landing their troops on the planet. There was little resistance from the Tarisians, and the Sith were able to take the Republic military base without much trouble.

Darth Malak, leader of the Sith armada, enacted a planet-wide quarantine, preventing any ships from landing on or leaving Taris. The Sith also programmed their orbiting fleet to auto-target any ships that attempted to do so. This was all part of Malak’s plan to capture Shan. Sith troops questioned the Upper City residents about the escape pods that landed there, searching for any surviving crew from the Endar Spire. Malak also sent Sith patrols into the Undercity to look for Shan, using the rakghoul serum to protect them from a mutating disease spread by rakghouls.

The quarantine kept many off-worlders who were on business on Taris from leaving the planet. Since aliens were forbidden in the Upper City without a permit, off-world aliens were ordered into the slums of the Lower City while the quarantine was active. The Sith did little to enforce this edict when off-world aliens ventured into the Upper City.

A local gang war between the Hidden Beks and the Black Vulkars further hindered the Sith’s efforts to find Shan. Brejik, the leader of the Black Vulkars, wanted to encourage recruitment into his gang and gain dominance over the Lower City by winning the swoop season opener. He had a prototype accelerator stolen from the Beks, which would allow the Vulkars to win the race. He even offered Shan up as a prize to raise the stakes.

This was Onasi and Revan’s opportunity to rescue Shan. Cooperating with the Hidden Beks, Revan stole back the swoop accelerator and won the Taris swoop championship. Brejik, unwilling to give up his prize, retracted Shan from the prize pool. While Revan protested, Shan freed herself and a brawl erupted. In the end Brejik was killed, and Revan escaped with Shan.

Canderous Ordo, a Mandalorian enforcer for Davik Kang, the local crime-lord and member of the Exchange, was impressed by Revan’s skill and boldness during the race and the brawl afterwards. He approached Revan with a plan to escape Taris and told him where he could obtain a droid, T3-M4, that would be capable of bypassing the security system for the Sith military base. This would allow them to break into the base to steal the codes necessary to bypass the Sith blockade. Ordo then took Revan to Kang’s estate, to steal his ship, the Ebon Hawk.

Bombardment of Taris
On his flagship, the Leviathan, Darth Malak grew impatient with the search for Shan. He feared her possible escape and ordered his fleet to bombard the entire planet. This was arguably the most horrific event during the Jedi Civil War. Taris was destroyed unnecessarily as Revan and his crew, including Shan, escaped the bombardment. It is assumed that most of the Upper City citizens were killed while only a few citizens, most notably Calo Nord, survived the destruction.

The destruction of Taris

After the Great Galactic War the Republic took up the difficult task of recolonizing Taris, establishing a spaceport, a military base, and settlements. The Republic believed that rebuilding Taris would be a substantial symbolic victory against the Sith Empire.

Many centuries after the planet’s devastation, Taris was finally resettled by Human colonists. These settlers were famous for their ship-building skills. These settlers rebuilt some of the planet’s former cities, though much of the surface was left in ruins. Historians attempted to excavate the planet-wide ruins, looking for proof that the swoop bike originated on Taris. Not long after Taris was linked to the Hydian Way Route, the sole route that passed through the entire Galaxy.

There is evidence that a battle was fought on Taris during the Galactic Civil War. In 1 BBY Pirates fed the Rebel Alliance false information about Taris’s Imperial defenses. The Rebels defeated most of the Imperials on Taris and the pirates revealed their true colors. They sent three Interceptor-class frigates to mop up any remaining Rebel forces but were easily defeated, along with the remaining local Imperials. Near the end of the war Gilad Pellaeon, leader of the Imperial Remnant conquered the planet.

As of 40 ABY, the famed bounty hunter Boba Fett owned a private residence on Taris. He had once taken a bounty down in the Lower City and retained bad memories of the experience. He returned to the planet to research the possible whereabouts of the Kaminoan Taun We, and unwittingly met his granddaughter.

aris was a very segmented society, naming the layers of the cities where each class of citizen lived, Middle City, etc. After the Civil War, the humans on Taris banned all but a select few non-humans from the Upper City, making it exclusive only for the wealthiest citizens. Most aliens that ventured into the Upper City without a permit were arrested. The Middle City had mostly humans in it as well, but had many aliens there too. Conversely, the Lower City was mostly aliens, and crime was rampant. The Undercity was avoided at all costs, and only the Outcasts dwelt there.

Justice was swift and harsh on Taris, and criminals were either executed, or banished to the Undercity, depending on the severity of the crime. The Lower levels, while heavily-crime stricken, was occasionally patrolled by surveillance droids.

The law-enforcing division of the government was known as the Taris Civil Authority, headed by a Constable. During the Mandalorian Wars, the Civil Authority had several patrol ships in orbit.

One of Taris societies few reliefs was swoop racing. As the rumored birth place of the swoop bike itself, swoop racing was huge on Taris, and some of the best swoop racers came out of Taris. The Galactic Swoop Racing Circuit started on Taris with the Tarisian Season Opener. When Taris was bombarded by the Sith during the Jedi Civil War, some of the galaxy’s best racers were killed, as most were present for the Season opener.