The mountainous ice planet Ilum is home to one of the Jedi Order's most distant outposts. Nestled between snow-covered crags is an enclave used by the Jedi for generations, a shelter from the cold and a launching point for journeys into Ilum's exotic crystal caves. These caves produce some of the most rare and powerful lightsaber crystals in the galaxy.
Ilum hosts no indigenous population, although a number of larger animals survive in its environment. Its temperatures fail to reach the extremes of Hoth, but it has never been a target for colonization or occupation.
- faction: None, level: 50
- location: Unknown Regions, status: Ilum's natural crystal formations are capable of harnessing power that the Empire has become interested in
- terrain: Mountainous Ice World with Subterranean Crystals
- key facts: The Sith Empire has sent a covert team to Ilum to harvest crystals for a dangerous new project
Nicknamed by the soldiers who first erected the base, Fort Salvo is the Republic's main artillery and munitions outpost on Ilum. Fort Salvo's gunners are some of the best in the galaxy, and have claimed dozens of Imperial troop carriers; they train by shooting down stray meteorites. The installation of a protective ray shield offended Fort Salvo's more maverick gunners, who saw it as impugning their ability to handle incoming hostiles.
As the Empire presses the Republic forces harder on Ilum, Fort Salvo has become an increasingly important position. Members of the Republic's alien coalition have begun transferring forces there in earnest; this also allows them to claim their share of munitions before anyone else.
The Ilum Temple
In the distant past, when the Jedi Order was first venturing into the galaxy, the order sought to establish a new home and training grounds on the planet Ilum. These ancient Jedi built a new Jedi Temple above Ilum's network of crystal caverns, and while the planet's climate was far from idyllic, its isolation and supply of lightsaber crystals made it an ideal place for schooling Padawans.
Careful to protect Ilum against the darkness that had threatened them on Tython, the ancient Jedi kept the hyperspace routes to Ilum secret from the rest of the Republic. The preferred means of learning the route required Force sensitivity and became the first trial of many an aspiring Jedi. But warfare with the Sith under the fallen Jedi Exar Kun led to the destruction of the training grounds, and in the centuries since, Ilum has been home to only a select few.
The temple became a place for young Jedi to travel and build their lightsabers, and where they might meditate in silence. It was a place of beauty and tranquility and crystalline perfection.
Deep-miner technology has been in development for over a decade. These exceptionally powerful drilling devices were originally conceived by the Imperial machinist Jelven Donn, who was investigating ways to keep mining worlds profitable. Able to drill down to previously unreachable depths, deep-miners would be able to reach resources long thought depleted--in theory. However, Jelven Donn was never able to solve the problem of the deep-miners' power consumption, and lost half a dozen units to overloaded batteries.
With the discovery of Ilum and its unique crystal deposits, Jelven Donn realized that the amplifying capabilities of Adegan crystals could make deep-miner power supplies a viable prospect at last. Deep-miners have since become a staple of Imperial mining efforts on Ilum. However, their deployment close to Ilum's core has concerned some Imperial scientists, who have picked up recent fluctuations in seismic activity.
The Kaleesh as a species are known for their strong warrior culture, grounded in a religious belief that great deeds in battle place one on the path to godhood after death. It is not typical, therefore, for Kaleesh to sell themselves as mercenaries, as doing so is often viewed as dishonorable.
With the outbreak of the latest war between the Republic and Empire, however, mercenary work has become too plentiful for the Kaleesh to ignore. Many clans of Kaleesh have formed armies-for-hire, throwing their lot in with the alien-friendly Republic--and charging a high price. Still, the Republic's way of waging war leaves little room for the valiant acts of heroism that form the backbone of Kaleesh religion, and it seems likely that should the Empire move beyond its alien prejudices, the Kaleesh might be persuaded to switch sides.
Persons of Note
Admiral Shai has seen this all before: warfare, followed by escalation, followed by more warfare, followed by more escalation. While he has come to Ilum commanding the Republic's research forces to take advantage of the power of the Adegan crystals, what he really wants is an end to the war and the endless parade of new weapons it fosters.
Shai believes that the conflict between the Empire and the Republic can only end one way at the current rate--with both sides eventually developing the technology to annihilate one another and destroy the galaxy. On Ilum, he hopes to break the cycle.
Described by his followers as a driven man and called a ruthless fanatic by his foes, Darth Arho has come to Ilum for one reason--to crush the Republic. His tenure on the Dark Council has been brief but hawkish, according to SIS reports--he appears to be a successor to the warlike Darth Vengean, whose death resulted in significant internal strife among the Sith. The recent blows struck against the Emperor have only driven Darth Arho to push harder for the Republic's utter extermination.
The other members of the Dark Council have been able to channel Darth Arho's ruthless, single-minded dedication, wielding him like a weapon, and on Ilum he has proven a capable leader. However, his willingness to casually sacrifice the lives of Imperial soldiers and lesser Sith have become impossible to ignore. If there is anything less than a total, unquestionable victory on Ilum, Darth Arho may face the Dark Council's wrath.
Darth Malgus has long been a paradox to his fellow Sith: a staunch proponent of the Empire's superiority who also questions some of its oldest values. Born under the name "Veradun" in the years before the Empire's return, Malgus distinguished himself during the war as a warrior and general. He was eventually entrusted with securing the Empire's interests on distant worlds, where he encountered the soldiers of many alien cultures and found them worthy of respect.
As Malgus grew in prominence, fighting at the Battle of Alderaan and later during the Sacking of Coruscant, his travels and alliances with aliens--including a relationship with his Twi'lek slave-- marked him as an unorthodox figure. Caring nothing for the power plays common to Sith, Darth Malgus has spent the last few years strengthening his ties to alien groups. He has often claimed that the Empire's ancient prejudices against aliens and constant infighting are weaknesses; to be victorious, Malgus says, the Empire must change.
Grand Moff Regus
Grand Moff Regus has spent much of his career overshadowed by the reputation and career of his predecessor, Grand Moff Kilran. But in the wake of Kilran's death, Regus has found himself promoted to the limelight, at the head of the Empire's most crucial military operation since the Sacking of Coruscant.
A patriot and a traditionalist, Grand Moff Regus believes in decisive, precision strikes that debilitate and demoralize the enemy--and in an Empire served by men of pure vision and pure bloodline. He is old enough to remember a time before the Empire returned to the galaxy, before Imperials used aliens as anything other than slaves, and he was raised on stories of ancient Imperial glory.
The legends that endure, Regus knows, are of battles fought and won by noble Sith and Imperial soldiers from well-established families with an unquestioned loyalty--loyalty not to the latest rising Dark Council member, but to the Emperor himself.
Master Jaric Kaedan
One of the senior members of the Jedi Council, Master Jaric Kaedan was born in the Outer Rim and, although he wasn't discovered by the Jedi until he was twelve, quickly rose in prominence. During the war, Master Jaric Kaedan joined the Republic forces fighting on the front lines and was involved in several notable military actions, including the battles on Rhen Var and the capture of the Dread Masters. He remains the council member with the closest ties to the Republic military.
To his students, Master Jaric Kaedan is a harsh taskmaster, driven by the knowledge that his lessons may one day save their lives. He believes that the greatest threats to a Jedi can come from within, and encourages his students to master themselves before they seek mastery over a lightsaber. To the Sith, he is known as a formidable enemy, firm in his conviction that there can never be peace while the Empire still exists.
Supreme Commander Rans
In some ways, Supreme Commander Rans is a soldier from another time. He grew up in the peaceful years before the Sith Empire's return, where the greatest threats he faced were border skirmishes with scattered Mandalorian clans. Nevertheless, Rans proved to be a quick-thinking and heroic soldier; as he ascended the ranks, his looks and easy charm also made him a media darling and helped him to build up the Republic military to new and impressive standards.
Although a clever strategist and liked by his men, Rans was outplayed by the Sith Empire in the later days of the war. Underestimating the Imperial threat, he pushed to move troops off Coruscant and onto the Imperial border not long before the planet was sacked. Rans has more than learned from his mistake, however. No one in the Republic military is more dedicated to driving back the Empire and restoring the glory days of the Republic.
These fierce, attractively spotted cats are found on numerous worlds in the Outer Rim and Unknown Regions. The distinctive dorsal fronds of the asharl panther work as a set of extra sensory organs; thick nerve bundles running up the fronds allow the asharl panther to pick up the vibrations of threats approaching from behind. Along with the panthers' pelts, these fronds are often sought after by hunters.
The asharl panther has been adopted as a mascot of the Mandalorian Rodarch clan, whose members train the animals to fight alongside them and who paint their armor to match the panthers' pelts. The symbolism of a beast which is fearless and always aware of its surroundings is one the Rodarch clan has embraced wholeheartedly.
Bogwings are dangerous reptavian carnivores who often live near lakes or marshes. When they hunt, they skim the ground or marsh at high speed, using their long jaws to snatch up prey or strain the water for fish. Larger creatures are grasped in the bogwing's heavy front claws, which are surprisingly powerful for its size. Observations show that if a bogwing is hungry enough, it can tackle animals several times its own weight.
Because of this trait, during the Great War the Republic military briefly considered training bogwings to carry supplies or even munitions to squads in remote areas. However, bogwings are extremely temperamental and respond badly to being handled. The risk to potential trainers was judged to be too high, and the idea was never widely implemented.
Native to Dantooine, kath hounds are sturdy, horned creatures with a ruff of fur. Although they can be aggressive if threatened or during mating season, they are normally docile, intelligent creatures who take well to training. Kath hounds are popular across the galaxy as guard dogs and pets (although the latter usually have their horns trimmed as a precaution).
Albino kath hounds are rare and highly prized by breeders. On Dantooine, seeing an albino kath hound is considered lucky; there are even stories of albino hounds protecting people lost in the hills. While these stories are unlikely to be more than legends, an albino kath hound is large and intimidating enough to frighten off Dantooine's worst predators, kinraths, which certainly would prey on lost travelers.
The Adegan lightsaber crystals of Ilum were originally discovered by ancient Jedi, who made pilgrimages to Ilum to study and meditate on the Force amid Ilum's harsh wintry environs and to select the Force-resonant crystals for their lightsabers.
But while it has long been believed that Adegan crystals had the potential for other uses, serious research into the subject was not pursued until the outbreak of the latest war with the Sith Empire. The Empire and the Republic have both sent teams to Ilum to extract the crystals and discover their military applications--most notably, the potential for stealth technology of unprecedented effectiveness.
Pilgrimages to Ilum
Distant, frozen and dangerous, Ilum has nonetheless attracted Jedi visitors for centuries. The vast crystal caves beneath Ilum's surface draw those seeking to improve their weapons, meditate in seclusion or test themselves against the natural hazards there.
One pilgrimage to Ilum nearly ended in disaster when Master Seta-Le, trekking through Ilum's mountains to a meditation site, fell through a patch of ice into a cavern. Trapped and with her lightsaber broken in the fall, she eventually managed to apply the lightsaber's components to a nearby crystal formation. The resulting scattered beam melted through the ice wall of the cavern, allowing Master Seta-Le to escape. The complex, fragile ice formations created from the beam have become another point of interest on Ilum for Jedi pilgrims.
Stealth Technology and Warfare
Stealth field generators allow individuals to effectively become invisible and have been in common use for centuries, most often seen in modern times in the possession of professional spies and underworld figures. Invisibility is also possible on a larger scale; occasionally private starships employ cloaking devices, but the costs involved mean they are reserved for the very rich, or those willing to seize such devices by force.
Despite the obvious advantages, in wartime cloaked ships and individuals are usually only deployed for small, covert operations. Cloaking an entire division or fleet would not be practical. But periodically, researchers or military leaders obsessed with the possibilities attempt to develop technology to allow mass-cloaking, knowing it would change the face of warfare forever. Given the amplification properties discovered in Ilum crystals, perhaps the time for change has finally come.
The Battle for Ilum
To the Jedi, Ilum is a sacred world invaded and ravaged. To the Empire, it represents vital resources and the chance for a powerful symbolic victory. After learning of the value of Ilum's crystals in the years after the Sacking of Coruscant, the Empire sent a small group of Sith to investigate the planet. With only a handful of Jedi scattered across the ice plains, the Sith were able to avoid or defeat their foes and begin quietly harvesting Ilum's crystals.
During the fighting on Corellia, Republic SIS operatives recovered evidence of the Empire's plans to use these crystals and develop stealth technology on an unprecedented scale. The Republic gathered its fleets and allies--both old and new--and raced in defense of Ilum. The aid of the Jedi has allowed the Republic to establish strong bases, but the Empire is determined not to lose such a valuable world. The battle for Ilum promises to be long and bloody.
The Republic's Alien Allies
The renewed war with the Empire and the fight for Corellia brought the Republic to the brink, prompting it to call on a variety of allies and member worlds. Now the battle on Ilum and the chance the Empire may gain the massive advantage of a stealth fleet have reaffirmed the need for wide support. Duros, Talz, Ongree and Wookiee shock troops have all lent their soldiers, munitions and fleets to the fight. More unusual is the presence of Kaleesh mercenaries; these masked, highly skilled warriors have come to the fiercest battleground in the galaxy seeking honor and glory.
Ordinarily, keeping such diverse forces working together would be a challenge. But the harsh conditions on Ilum, the furious onslaught from the Empire and the knowledge of the consequences of defeat have served to unify the Republic's forces and kept disagreements to a minimum.