Star Wars is one of the most expansive sagas of all time, but the history, background, and dynamics of the universe are much more expansive than what’s shown in the movies. Diving into the Legends canon as well as the official Star Wars storyline, this series hopes to flesh out the Star Wars galaxy and augment any effort to delve into it, whether it be for game masters, tabletop role players, or fan fiction aficionados.
With the Legacy era, we come to the conclusion of our trek through the old Star Wars timeline. Empires have risen and fallen, heroes have surmounted and succumbed to their enemies, and great civilizations have been born, destroyed, and born again in the fires of galactic conflict. At the end of this vast cycle of violence and pain, we would be quite right to expect a breather – a nice, quiet time period of peace, love, joy, and harmony.
Enter one of the most violent and dreadful eras of Star Wars history: the Legacy era. Over a century after the Battle of Yavin, the galaxy is divided between the Galactic Empire and Galactic Alliance, as in eons before; this time catalyzed by the remainder of Yuuzhan Vong terraforming following the preceding conflicts. Public sentiment was always against the Vong remnants, but was gradually improving until the One Sith sabotaged the efforts to recover after the Vong invasion. The One Sith, a massive war-cult centered on Darth Krayt, has its own plan for the galaxy, and the Empire becomes the pawn in its conflict.
After a terrible war between the Alliance and Empire, the Galactic Alliance is in ruins, and the One Sith see their moment to strike, attempting a coup to seize control of the Empire. Though the coup failed to assassinate Emperor Fel himself, it toppled his rule and cast him to forlorn planets in the Outer Rim, leaving most of the galaxy in the hands of the reforged Sith Empire.
In the aftermath of this tremendous conflict, the still-loyal remnants of the non-Sith Empire serve under Emperor Fel, the remnants of the Galactic Alliance scramble to find a way to hold onto their territory, and more planets than in centuries are independent, uncivilized, and absent from the true galactic zeitgeist. In essence, civilization has slid downhill – while starships the size of cities thunder through the heavens and lightsaber-wielding soldiers stand at their posts, the actual integrity of the galaxy and the sense of unity that binds it is whittled away bit by bit.
The aspiring adventuring party can find a completely tactile sandbox to play in in the Legacy era, mostly because such little material exists to conflict with the possible plots and character backgrounds that can be found. Most Legacy material takes the form of comics, wherein the story is tightly focused on specific characters; since not many novels (and no movies) take place in the Legacy era, virtually anything can work as a backdrop, setting, or story.
An additional strength of the Legacy era is that every other major Star Wars era comes before it, some far more than others. As a result, for players interested in a more eclectic setting, there’s countless opportunities to incorporate Old Republic wreckage, Death Star debris scavenging, Yuuzhan Vong biotechnology, and battle droids, all in the same campaign.
Lastly, the Legacy era is set so far in Star Wars’ future that just about anything can happen and nearly any bloodline can be pursued. Cade Skywalker, for instance, is a Jedi-turned-bounty hunter; after over a century, even normal player characters could be a Solo or Antilles trying to find their destiny or distance themselves from their own personal legacies. In the style of the Expanded Universe, countless plot twists, secret cousins, invasions, civil wars, and technological terrors could have occurred in the meantime, as well – the timeline doesn’t simply jump from the Yuuzhan Vong War to Darth Krayt’s tyranny over the galaxy, after all.
The Legacy era is the capstone to the historical eras of Star Wars in the previous Expanded Universe, and it is fitting that it is an era of violence, dread, and somber reflection. It is also powerfully dynamic and multifaceted, and in so doing encapsulates the freedom and diversity of Star Wars stories, making it the quintessential Star Wars experience: there is no truth besides the truth made by those with the courage to change the galaxy.