Faction Spotlight: the Sith Empire
Life in the Sith empire is, to put it simply, not pleasant. The Sith Lords and Ladies have crafted for themselves a society that resembles a mad cross between 1984, the mosh pit at a metal concert, and A Clockwork Orange, except that to be a droog is not only accepted, but socially expected.
There are four descending castes in Sith society. The Sith Lords, The Warriors, the Common People, and the Force Sensitives. Every live birth in the Sith Empire is required to be tested for Medichlorians, and those with a sufficiently high concentration are tossed into the special hell reserved for those in the Sith Empire who might have a talent for the force. medichlorians, however, are only an indicator of force sensitivity, not the actual fact of force sensitivity, and more than a couple of noble houses have risen in the Sith Empire thanks to their antibodies against medichlorians. (Characters with medichlorian immunity or that have been vaccinated against medichlorians suffer a -2 penalty on use the force checks to use force powers with the [light side] descriptor, due to the lack of a harmonious living system inside them, but otherwise suffer no penalties.)
Sith society is a machine, designed to stamp out identical sociopaths, and the key struggle in any Sith's life is to assert his, her, its, or their individuality. Force sensitive children of the Sith Empire are placed in a creche from birth, and encouraged to compete with each other for limited resources. Deadly, (but usually not lethal) weapons are often placed into the creche environment as "toys." Sith creches typically have their efficiency rated by what percentage of their charges end up dead versus how many "graduates" of the hellholes end up getting picked as personal apprentices by Sith Lords. Life in a creche is a combination between survival of the fittest brutality and the most sadistic reality show ever. Children in the creche are often given cybernetic modifications for trivial injuries, "vaccinated" with sith poisons, and experemented on with Sith Alchemy, all in the name of creating a stronger Sith. The children receive a very robust education in hand to hand combat and methods of torture, as well as a major focus on weapon maintainence and design. Occasionally, piloting is also taught, quite often with brutal speeder races or painfully realistic and constantly repeated flight simulations.
Frequently, friendships are formed in the creche as a means of survival, and the attachments from such can last for a lifetime. At age 14, children placed into a creche are divided into four groups. Those personally picked as apprentices by Sith Lords, those that died, those who have been ground into the base material of the Sith Stormtrooper corps, and those who graduate to study at the Sith Academy. The Sith Academy on Courascant is a five year educational course held to be the most intense in the galaxy. Nearly every student of the Academy is a hardened killer, and the Academy prides itself on the fact that a full quarter of all students die before graduation. Yet, if the creche is ruled by unbridled chaos, the Academy is ruled by an outward appearance of regimentation and calm. Students are treated as military cadets, and tortured for even minor failures. Major failures usually result in being killed by other students, but on rare occasions the Academy has had to execute a student for failure.
Alliances created in the creche typically blossom into full blown sexual relationships at this stage. Heterosexual relationships, Homosexual relationships, asexual relationships, and relationships in which the couple mutilates each others' genitals for sexual pleasure are all quite common, leading to a social environment that approximates a typical high school turned up to 11,000. Graduates of the Sith Academy most commonly become naval officers or dark knights of the Sith, depending on their aptitudes. Dark knights of the Sith are essentially Stormtrooper commanders, completely at the beck and call of their masters, the Sith Lords. Ultimately, the aim of any Dark Knight is to become a personal apprentice to a Sith Lord, or even better, accomplish something so great that he or she warrants the title of Dark Lord of the Sith without even having to go through an apprenticeship period. (Typically only Darth Krayt can grant this honor, however)
The Dark Lords of the Sith rule Sith society like warlords, each ruling over at minimum a large section of a planet, and quite often an entire system. Sith Lords are predatory, and the annual casualty rate among them makes the Sith Academy look like a walk in the park. And yet, in the current generation, the mold that they were cast out of gives them a strange unity, all wielding the red bladed lightsaber made from their artificial crystals. To put any more effort into a lightsaber would be a waste. Sith Lords have immense power, and notably a very few non force sensitive beings have risen to the title, although most of them were suspected of simply being good at hiding their force powers. Most force users in the Sith Empire resent force users outside the empire, taking out their rage on the soft gullible light siders whenever possible. To have compassion and to be sith are two diametrically opposed things, although many people who get squeezed through the Sith system become charming sociopaths, capable of smiling and speaking eloquently even while plotting the downfall of their foes.
The Alliance estimates that for every Sith Lord who comes to power, 1,000 medichlorian positive sentients die.
New Equipment: Rage Implant
Often installed in creche to make the social dynamic more exciting, the rage implant is a device that stimulates the parts of the brain that control emotions like anger, fear, and agression. By interfering with the normal operation of the mind, the device inflicts a -2 penalty on all use the force checks except to activate the power dark rage. The implant grants the racial ability rage, as per wookies, or grants an additional +2 bonus to melee attack and damage for races with the rage ability. Additionally, the user of the implant can take feats which require the rage ability as a prerequisite. The downside of this implant, however, is that if the character using it is pushed 3 steps down the condition track, (to -5) he flies into an uncontrollable rage, and becomes unable to distinguish friend from foe. In addition to the normal bonuses and penalties from raging, the character can recover his condition with two swift actions, and automatically attacks the closest target in melee each round. (if there are multiple closest targets, the player may choose which one to attack.) This psychotic rage lasts for a number of rounds equal to 5 + the character's constitution modifier.
Cost: 3,000 credits or 5 dark side points for non dark side characters.