Few life-forms can survive on the ice planet Hoth. Between its subzero surface temperatures, sheering winds and frequent whiteouts, the environment should be considered extremely hostile even to properly outfitted individuals; mechanical equipment and communications technology are prone to freeze and malfunction as well, making any minor setback potentially lethal.
During the war between Republic and Empire, the Hoth system was the site of a major fleet battle. This resulted in a large number of starships falling into Hoth's gravity well and crashing on the planet surface. These derelict ships have become the base of operations for a large group of pirates, as well as a center of dispute between Republic and Imperial forces.
Companions from this world: Sargent Rusk (Jedi Knight companion), Lt Iresso (Jedi Consular companion), Talos Drellik (Sith Inquisitor companion), Broonmark (Sith Warrior companion), Blizz (Bounty Hunter companion), Bug Dude (Trooper companion)
Chilling Death Spire
The Hailstorm Brotherhood is a fringe group of White Maw pirates who abandoned the starship graveyard's plunder to form a permanent settlement on Hoth. These men and women are more than mere survivalists, however. They are artisans and warrior-poets shaping Hoth's natural landscape according to their own designs.
The massive ice spire towering above the Glacial Fissure sector was painstakingly carved from an ancient mountain by the Hailstorm Brotherhood. No one knows how many of the group's members perished making the spire a reality, but the achievement stands as a testament to these warriors' iron wills--and a warning to all who might oppose them.
The Clabburn Tundra sector has become a key battleground in the three-way war for Hoth. The rolling snow dunes of the drift hills and the spectacular frozen geysers of the jagged plains were initially claimed by the Republic military, which saw the region as an excellent artillery staging area. However, strategic mismanagement allowed both White Maw and Imperial forces to invade and establish their own camps.
Recent reports indicate some of Hoth's most hostile wildlife calls the Clabburn Tundra home, and these beasts are not happy to see their habitat invaded. Whitefangs, wampas and even the occasional tribe of attacking skels prey upon whole squads of soldiers.
Crescent Canyon Facility
The Crescent Canyon Facility was established decades ago by the Czerka Corporation to explore mining opportunities beneath Hoth's frozen tundra. The operation was eventually deemed too costly to pursue and Czerka personnel abandoned the sprawling base. Later, Ortolan explorers seeking to establish a permanent settlement on Hoth moved in and took over the structures.
The current conflict between Republic, Empire and White Maw has turned the facility into a battle zone. Reports indicate the Empire has invaded and enslaved the helpless Ortolans living there. Because of the facility's proximity to the Republic's Aurek Base, an immediate and strong military response is required.
The sector designated as the Glacial Fissure is almost entirely White Maw territory. The deep ice canyons and extensive underground cave networks provide shelter and staging areas for the vicious pirate forces. When the White Maw's leaders saw the Republic and Imperial militaries arriving on Hoth, they immediately established well-defended camps and supply routes throughout the area.
Traveling through the Glacial Fissure is suicide for all but the most well-armed and highly trained operatives. The White Maw pirates do not fight conventionally, preferring to set ambushes and traps for their victims. Both the Republic and Imperial militaries have sustained heavy losses here, demonstrating the extraordinary threat the pirates represent.
Initially home to Ortolan settlers, the Highmount Ridge sector is now contested territory where both Republic and Imperial military units contend with the White Maw pirate army. These deadly cutthroats have seized control of an extensive geothermal plant, giving them a well-defended staging area from which to conduct their assaults.
Fierce battles rage on the ridge's open areas, making the sector especially dangerous for travel. White Maw ambushes are common, but Republic and Imperial forces are managing to hold their own and establish footholds in the territory. Whether or not they can keep these positions is another matter.
When the Empire's forces scouted Hoth for a landing site, both Imperial and Chiss tacticians agreed that the Icefall Plains sector was the best location for a military staging ground. The easy but defensible access to White Maw pirate territory rendered it ideal for both offensive sorties and a defensive fallback. More importantly, once the Republic committed to Hoth and the salvage operation in the starship graveyard, it would become the perfect place from which to launch assaults and drag out the conflict forever.
Dorn Base, the heavily defended main Imperial complex, is protected by powerful shield generators and turrets. A series of smaller forward bases stand ready to alert commanders of any impending assault. Nonetheless, Republic commandos have made extensive inroads into the sector and now threaten to isolate the Icefall Plains from resupply and reinforcements.
Star of Coruscant
The greatest prize in Hoth's starship graveyard is a behemoth of a vessel called the Star of Coruscant. At the time of its crash, this superdreadnought was the most advanced ship in the Republic fleet--a project years in the making, shepherded along by one Colonel Omas. Its experimental weapons and breakthrough technology could have turned the war's tide, had the Empire not devoted every resource to trapping and destroying it.
Not even the long fall from orbit to Hoth's hard-packed ice plains could shatter the Star of Coruscant's hull. The ship remains intact, and White Maw pirates have spent considerable effort reactivating its internal power systems and shields. Indeed, the ship is now a veritable fortress on the planet's surface.
Decades ago, Imperial starships led the Republic fleet into a deadly trap above the remote ice planet of Hoth. The Republic's fabled prototype superdreadnought, the Star of Coruscant, was the Empire's primary target, but many other warships suffered the same terrible fate. The remains of these vessels fell to the planet's surface in a tightly-packed radius, creating an awe-inspiring graveyard of derelict ships.
Republic vessels were not the only victims of this devastating space battle, however. Several noteworthy Imperial ships were also destroyed, their cracked hulls raining down among the enemy's remains. Years of heavy snowfall and shifting ice have obscured the many wrecks to the point that sorting Republic from Imperial ships is often an impossible task.
The Fatality Crash
Among the Empire's losses in Hoth's fabled space battle was a sleek, fast warship designated the Fatality. Until recently, the ship's manifest had remained a mystery to all but the highest Imperial echelons. The only certainty was that the Imperial Moffs were most distressed at the ship's loss.
The wreck of the Fatality was recently discovered by Imperial and Republic forces, but their initial scouting parties soon learned that White Maw pirates had beaten them to the prize. The combined attacks of these enemy forces eventually drove away the White Maw invaders and revealed the Fatality's precious cargo: a legion of deactivated HK-51 assassin droids, the galaxy's most advanced extermination machines.
Tromper Crags Geothermal Plant
The Ortolan settlers on Hoth needed a renewable energy source to power their habitat in the Crescent Canyon Facility and help them expand their territory, so Ortolan engineers constructed a massive geothermal plant tapping directly into Hoth's underground volcano network. The Tromper Crags plant provided more than adequate power and heat to keep the Ortolans in relative comfort... until the White Maw came.
The pirate army's leaders understood the value of controlling the most abundant power resource on Hoth and quickly stormed the geothermal plant. Any Ortolans who did not immediately submit to White Maw authority were summarily executed. Now that the Republic and Empire have come to Hoth, the Tromper Crags facility has become hotly contested territory.
The Republic established its primary military lodgment, Aurek Base, in the Whiterock Wastes sector with cooperation from the nearby Ortolan settlement in Crescent Canyon. The Ortolans aided the Republic military's engineers and helped construct their mountain fortress in return for protection from the White Maw pirates.
Had Republic military strategists foreseen the Empire's real plan--not to claim technology from the starship graveyard, but to draw Republic forces into an unwinnable fight--they might have reconsidered establishing anything in the Whiterock Wastes. The vast snowy plains stretching out from the mountain base provide unimpeded access to enemy forces. In retrospect, the Empire's violent invasion of the Whiterock Wastes was inevitable.
As the only true ally of the Sith Empire, the independent systems of the isolationist Chiss Ascendancy occupy a unique position within Imperial power structures. Mandalorians serve the Empire for wealth and conquered factions submit out of fear, but the Ascendancy aligned itself with the Empire for mutual benefit. The exact details of this agreement remain a mystery to all but the highest-level Imperials and Chiss, but it effectively renders the Ascendancy a vassal state--self-governed, but a source of resources and manpower for the Empire as a whole.
The Chiss Ascendancy's internal governance mystifies most Imperials. The web of hierarchies and political influence networks that links the Chiss Ruling Houses is complex at best and impenetrable at worst, with political, family and military ties all playing a part in determining a person's role in the Ascendancy. Internal power plays are common, but always occur within the accepted boundaries of Chiss society--even at their most vicious, the Chiss always maintain order.
Chiss Expansionary Defense Force (Imperial Agent)
The Chiss Expansionary Defense Force is the main military power within the Chiss Ascendancy, charged with protecting the Ascendancy's borders, exploring space outside the Ascendancy proper and assisting with Imperial military operations. The Defense Force maintains ground, air and space-based divisions, but is not intended to operate on Chiss soil--internal security and homeworld ground defense are assigned elsewhere.
The Chiss believe that Defense Force personnel are the best-trained and most disciplined soldiers in the galaxy, and this claim holds some merit--Defense Force officers are held to an incredibly high standard of physical fitness and mental acuity. Imperial analysts point out, however, that these standards can only exist so long as the Chiss avoid the attrition inherent to protracted, large-scale conflicts.
Rift Alliance Coalition Forces (Jedi Consular)
When the pirates led by Captain Valon began raiding Rift Alliance-controlled shipping lanes, a request for help from the Republic military was answered with only a small number of soldiers due to the Republic's commitments elsewhere. Incensed, the Rift Alliance managed to call together supplementary forces from its own worlds to stop the pirates, claiming this as more proof that the Republic could no longer defend its own citizens.
While not as well-trained or equipped as standard Republic military troops, the coalition force has adapted surprisingly well to the harsh conditions on Hoth and quickly become a cohesive and flexible unit. Unfortunately, the pirates have the advantage of manpower and a detailed knowledge of the terrain. With their numbers dwindling, the coalition force has been gradually pushed back; to the beleaguered soldiers, victory has now become second to survival.
The Hailstorm Brotherhood
Republic forces first noted a radical subgroup of the White Maw pirates when scanners detected a massive ice spire rising above the Glacial Fissure sector. Scouts sent to investigate the sculpture reported encounters with half-naked warriors wearing wampa furs and screaming poetry as they charged into battle.
The Hailstorm Brotherhood represents an extreme version of "going native." Originally a murderous cult from a nameless ice planet, the brotherhood became a legend when its White Maw members relocated to Hoth, abandoning all pretenses of civilization and instead embracing the call of the wild. They are more than a tribe of survivalists, however. There is a strong spiritual aspect to the Hailstorm Brotherhood that makes them dangerously fanatical.
The White Maw Pirates
The army of thugs, mercenaries and murderers operating beneath the White Maw banner is actually composed of many smaller pirate crews, joining forces to pillage one of the greatest "buried treasures" in the galaxy: Hoth's starship graveyard. As often happens in criminal confederacies built on greed and violence, members of the White Maw vie for power and settle old scores even as they battle Republic and Imperial forces.
The White Maw might have collapsed into anarchy years ago if not for its powerful leadership, a legendary group of cutthroats who rule their subordinates with a zero tolerance policy. While mutinies still occur, the risks often outweigh the rewards.
Persons of Note
Blizz (Bounty Hunter)
- Companion of: Bounty Hunter
- Ranged Tank
- Crew Skills Bonus: +15 Armormech, +1 Critical Armstech
- Primary Weapon: Blaster Pistol
- Secondary Weapon: Shield Generator
Infinitely curious and adventuresome, Blizz always felt confined on his native Tatooine--the endless rolling dunes and limited selection of scrap leaving him perpetually bored. So when the traveling salvager Slam Streever visited Blizz's clan to offer Jawas work as "ferrets"--individuals he could send into dangerous and dilapidated areas to scout for salvage treasure--Blizz leapt at the opportunity.
Blizz spent several years with Slam's crew before the old scrapper made the mistake of selling his services to Hoth's White Maw pirates. Years of toil under the menacing watch of the White Maw would soon deprive the salvagers of reasons to smile--but first, Slam gave his small friend the nickname "Blizz" after the little Jawa kicked up a snowstorm of excitement during his first encounter with the "white sands." It's a name Blizz cherishes; one that reminds him of happier times.
Broonmark (Sith Warrior)
- Companion of: Sith Warrior
- Melee Tank
- Crew Skills Bonus: +10 Scavenging Efficiency, +2 Bioanalysis Critical
- Primary Weapon: Vibrosword
- Secondary Weapon: Shield Generator
Broonmark is a unique creature among the Talz. While his peers spent their youths learning survival skills and playing on the frozen tundra of Alzoc Three, Broonmark developed a fascination with death. As a child, Broonmark watched his father killed by one of Alzoc Three's predators, and instead of sadness, Broonmark felt only shame at his father's weakness. Violence became an obsession and point of pride for Broonmark; he started hunting in secret and lived for the rush of a kill.
When the Republic began recruiting Talz for their elite commando units, Broonmark eagerly volunteered for the chance to turn his claws against more challenging prey. But with each kill Broonmark's desire for carnage and bloodshed intensified. His clan soon challenged his brutal leadership, and Broonmark watched in anger as the gentle Talz he fought to empower mutinied against him.
Captain Valon (Jedi Consular)
When Captain Valon launched his initial raids against the Rift Alliance's shipping lanes, no one had any idea who he was. Initially just a grunt in the ranks of the White Maw, Valon was indistinguishable from the other pirates who flocked to Hoth in search of easy pickings. His sudden rise and his gathering of so many followers is a mystery to the Rift Alliance's tacticians.
Not surprisingly, many wild stories have since sprung up about Captain Valon--most notably the claim that he is invulnerable. Captain Valon has certainly survived several attempts on his life, including onslaughts from the Rift Alliance coalition forces and failed coups from overambitious lieutenants, but this only proves that Valon is an adversary who must not be underestimated.
Guardsman Lassicar (Jedi Knight)
According to Imperial databanks, Guardsman Lassicar was born to slave parents in the conquered system of Begeren. He gained the Empire's attention when he personally executed his parents and exposed their terrorist cell to Moff Harvus. Lassicar's subsequent rise through the ranks of the Imperial Guard is the fastest on record.
He has personally executed six Jedi and over two dozen Sith Lords who made the fatal mistake of crossing the Emperor. A team of SIS agents sent to assassinate him returned to Coruscant in a series of small containers. Lassicar's survival instincts and combat skills should not be underestimated.
Leeha Narezz (Jedi Knight)
Among her peers, Jedi Leeha Narezz is considered something of an eccentric. She frequently eschews time with fellow Jedi to meditate with and instruct a trio of droids she built called the "Meedees." Leeha believes that the Force is not accessible only to living creatures--indeed, she asserts that even droids can use it if they go long enough without a memory-wipe.
Despite her unusual beliefs, no one in the order disputes that Leeha is one of the finest technologists in the Republic. Repeated attempts by the military to direct her talents toward engines of war have failed, however. She remains firmly committed to peaceful applications of technology that warm the homeless, feed the hungry and protect the weak.
Lieutenant Felix Iresso (Jedi Consular)
- Companion of: Jedi Consular
- Ranged Tank
- Crew Skills Bonus: +2 Critical Armstech, +2 Critical Scavenging
- Primary Weapon: Blaster Rifle or Blaster Pistol
- Secondary Weapon: Shield Generator
The son of refugees made homeless during the Great War, Lieutenant Felix Iresso has been a career soldier for many years. His file shows participation in several notable battles, including the so-called Eight-Hour Invasion of Dubrillion where Republic forces repelled an Imperial invasion force with minimal reinforcements. Since then, Lieutenant Iresso has earned excellent technical scores and commendations for exemplary service.
However, his file also contains some discrepancies. Lieutenant Iresso has one of the highest transfer rates in the Republic military, serving under almost a dozen commanders across the galaxy in two years. The lieutenant has also been overlooked for promotion several times. The only explanation from his superiors is a reference to an incident on Althir where Lieutenant Iresso was captured by the Empire, but no details are given.
Lord Scourge (Jedi Knight)
- Companion of: Jedi Knight
- Melee Tank
- Crew Skills Bonus: +10 Artifice Efficiency, +10 Archaeology Efficiency
- Primary Weapon: Lightsaber
- Secondary Weapon: Shield Generator
As the Sith Emperor's personal executioner, the grimly fatalistic Lord Scourge has personally killed more than a hundred Jedi--and ten times as many Sith. Even the most powerful members of the Dark Council avoid offending the man bearing the title "the Emperor's Wrath."
Lord Scourge has dutifully served the Empire for over three hundred years, his life unnaturally prolonged by perverse technology and his master's dark side powers. Centuries spent watching his fellow Sith Lords rise and fall has given Lord Scourge a unique perspective on people. He can analyze someone's flaws after only brief observation, and freely shares his perceptions (whether they're wanted or not).
Lunguss "Guss" Tuno (Smuggler)
- Companion of: Smuggler
- Crew Skills Bonus: +10 Underworld trading, +2 Critical Treasure Hunting
- Primary Weapon: Blaster Pistol
- Secondary Weapon: Scattergun
A failed Jedi Padawan who abandoned his training, the enthusiastically greedy Guss Tuno prefers the underworld lifestyle's potential for material riches. In a perfect galaxy, Guss would spend his retirement lounging in a heated swimming pool surrounded by exotic beauties while consuming a steady diet of fresh fish and expensive cocktails.
Although he often speaks before he thinks, Guss has talked his way out of certain death many times. He often uses his minimal knowledge of Jedi--and the lightsaber he stole from his old master--to fool gullible criminals into leaving him alone. When that fails, Guss reveals he's a much better shot than anyone would believe.
Master Wyellet (Sith Warrior)
Jedi Master Wyellett was one of the great Jedi heroes of the last war. Deeply concerned with the preservation of life and more interested in communing with the Force than in using his power as a weapon, he nonetheless proved himself in combat time and again. When his apprentice Xerender battled Darth Baras, Wyellett joined Xerender and sought to redeem the Sith; failing, Wyellett seized Baras's lightsaber and chose to use it as his own, a symbol of darkness brought into the light.
Wyellett's final heroic act was an act of self-sacrifice committed to save his Padawan Xerender and much of the Jedi Council from the legendary Starweird Queen; this resulted in his capture by the Empire. The Imperial starship that was transporting Wyellett was destroyed in the Battle of Hoth, and Master Wyellett has been believed dead all these years. In fact, Wyellett has been in a trance beneath the rubble of the fallen ship, psychically trying to reach out to his former pupil. Now, Wyellett has transcended the concerns of this galaxy and his powers are more realized than ever before.
Reneget Vause (Bounty Hunter)
Serpent of the Void. Sarlacc in Scales. Hunter of Worlds. There are many names for the monster that stalks the farthest reaches of space--Reneget Vause is merely the name given in his native tongue. A myth by many standards, the stories of fleets Vause has shattered and the colonies he's obliterated are numerous and pale imitations of the actual horrors he's inflicted in the name of his insatiable goddess.
Those fortunate enough to escape the Trandoshan pirate lord can attest that Vause is likely to mete out as much harm to himself as to his prey; he pursues his foes with reckless disregard for his own survival. To Vause, the Jagganath--the "points" scored for killing--is never so rich as when it's stolen from the brink of death.
Sergeant Fideltyn Rusk (Jedi Knight)
- Companion of: Jedi Knight
- Ranged Damage
- Crew Skills Bonus: +10 Armstech Efficiency, +10 Scavenging Efficiency
- Primary Weapon: Blaster Cannon
- Secondary Weapon: Generator (non-shield)
Raised by a colony of pacifist Chagrians, Rusk rebelled against his family's beliefs and enlisted with the Republic military as soon as he could. At first, he proved to be a brilliant soldier and was identified as a rising star in the Republic's ranks. Somewhere along the way, however, his bravery crossed the line into recklessness.
Although he still accomplished his missions, casualty rates among his squad rose astronomically. Rusk quickly became a pariah among other soldiers, including his superiors. His aggressive pursuit of victory over the Empire at any cost has earned him many medals from politicians, but no promotions from his commanders.
Sergeant Yuun (Trooper)
- Companion of: Trooper
- Melee Damage
- Crew Skills Bonus: +10 Research, +10 Slicing
- Primary Weapon: Electrostaff
- Secondary Weapon: Generator (non-shield)
Even in an organization as diverse as the Republic Army, Yuun stands out. A member of the Gand species and hailing from the Gand homeworld, Yuun is a Findsman, a type of shamanistic tracker held in very high regard among his people. He applies his unusual training to technical tasks of every kind, resulting in a success record unmatched by any other technician in the military.
As effective as Yuun's methods are, they rarely meet with understanding or approval from his fellow soldiers. But despite his eccentricities, Yuun's fighting skill and calm approach to any challenge generally earn at least the grudging respect of the men and women he serves with.
Shai Tenna (Smuggler)
The White Maw pirate Shai Tenna is rightfully regarded as one of the most brutally efficient killers in the underworld. He secured his control over a massive pirate crew by systematically murdering his own brothers. It is often remarked that by the time you see Shai Tenna's blaster, you're already dead.
Some say Shai Tenna was born bad. Others point to the harsh upbringing he and his brothers experienced at their cruel father's hands. A few with more intimate knowledge of the man might sigh with regret over the death of a good woman who tried to redeem him. Regardless, Shai Tenna has surrendered to his darker impulses without remorse.
SIS Dossier: Ensign Raina Temple (Imperial Agent)
- Companion of: Imperial Agent
- Ranged DPS
- Crew Skills Bonus: +10 Scavenging Efficiency, +2 Armormech Critical
- Primary Weapon: Blaster Pistol
- Secondary Weapon: Shield Generator
- Name: Raina Temple
- Gender: Female
- Species: Human
- Age: 24
Personal History: Standard searches reveal no Imperial citizenship record for a "Raina Temple," but the usual caveats apply--our data on the Imperial populace remains sadly incomplete. Temple's skills and attitude suggest Imperial Army training, but her presence inside the Chiss Expansionary Defense Force is extremely unusual; neither the CEDF nor the Imperial military is known for its transfer programs.
Analysis: Personable and bright Imperial military cadets don't end up embedded with aliens at the far edge of the galaxy without good reason. Temple could be a plant, but it's just as likely she's been intentionally forced out of the picture. Best-guess personality profile suggests she's a typically patriotic example of the rank-and-file Imperial military--a true believer in Imperial superiority and duty. No matter how easygoing or empathetic she may be at times, the needs of her nation have to come first.
Note by SIS Agent Hunter: She's cute, isn't she? Enjoy the file, Cipher Nine... we can spare the occasional dossier if you're willing to play along.
Talos Drellik (Sith Inquisitor)
- Companion of: Sith Inquisitor
- Ranged Healer
- Crew Skills Bonus: +5 Treasure Hunting Efficiency, +5 Archaeology Critical
- Primary Weapon: Blaster Pistol
- Secondary Weapon: Vibroknife
Lieutenant Talos Drellik has never excelled as a soldier, and his true passion has always been history and archeology. To Talos, the Imperial Reclamation Service does an invaluable job, preserving Imperial and Sith history against the onslaught of time.
Unlike many Reclamation Service officers who are career soldiers with only a passing interest in history, Lieutenant Drellik has thrown himself into his work, studying with experts in the field such as the illustrious Professor Auselio Gann and galactic historian Deravon Wells.
The Chiss are a proud and highly intelligent species, valuing a knack for strategy and subterfuge over brute force. Although isolated in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy within their so-called "Chiss Ascendency," the Chiss were singled out by the Empire as potential servants and allies because of their outsider status and their relative lack of moral qualms.
It is not that Chiss are by nature evil, but that they value pragmatism and efficiency and recognize both those qualities reflected in the Empire. While as a nonhuman, non-Sith species, Chiss are regarded as second-class citizens within the Empire, the Chiss Ascendancy is permitted self-governance and supporters of a more diverse Empire often use the Chiss as an example of what the Empire can accomplish by welcoming other species. A few rare Chiss have even achieved official rank in the Imperial military and Imperial Intelligence.
Built for cold weather, the blue-furred, long-nosed Ortolans are deeply private individuals who--thanks to their large ears and keen olfactory senses--possess a deep appreciation for music and food. They can be found in small numbers throughout the galaxy, filling all walks of life, but they are best known as musicians and chefs.
Although not expansionist by nature, Ortolans have occasionally attempted to found full-fledged colonies away from their icy homeworld of Orto. One such group arrived on Hoth several years back. The Hoth Ortolans keep mostly to themselves, but the increasing presence of Republic, Empire and pirate forces on their adopted world has made them wary. Despite a kinship with the Republic, they value independence and--more importantly--peace. The current situation on Hoth threatens both.
The Talz are a strong, warlike and clannish species, ideally suited (due to their copious fur) to fighting in cold-weather climates. Their essential sense of honor and decidedly inhuman appearance brings most Talz into alignment with the Republic in the fight against the exclusionary Empire, and many Talz have joined the Republic's crack Talz commando units, battling on Hoth and in other cold-weather theaters of war.
Not all Talz believe that fighting for the Republic is the correct course, however. There are those whose bloodlust is not satisfied by taking out the targets the Republic assigns them, and who feel that they betray their clan by adopting a foreign master.
On a world as inhospitable as Hoth, herbivores need natural advantages to survive. The lumbering herd beasts commonly called "icetrompers" must contend with the constant threat of hungry wampas and whitefangs. Unable to outrun their natural predators, icetrompers compensate with powerful stomping hooves and thick curled horns that can sweep aside even the most determined hunter.
An icetromper's greatest natural asset, however, is its multiple sets of eyes. Like certain arachnid species, the secondary eyes are reserved exclusively for detection of sudden changes in nearby light patterns. Even the stealthiest wampas have difficulty sneaking up on icetrompers.
The sleek and lethal whitefang cats are noteworthy for having bodies composed almost entirely of muscle. These felines do not store any fat, and consequently must constantly be on the hunt. They are the only creatures on Hoth capable of matching a tauntaun's running speed.
Certain enterprising crime lords have attempted to train captured whitefangs for use as guard animals. These experiments have routinely ended in disaster for trainers and beasts alike. On the other hand, underground death duel arenas have profited tremendously from the spectacle these untamed creatures can provide.
Despite their diminutive stature, the vicious and intelligent skels are a potential wild card in the three-way war for Hoth. Skels hunt in packs, are capable of wielding primitive weapons and are biologically adapted to survival on Hoth's frozen plains. Their bony claws are capable of burrowing through even the thickest snow and ice, allowing them to spring devastating surprise attacks.
Imperial war strategists dismiss the skels as a threat, but Republic soldiers are encouraged to report any mass gatherings of skels immediately. Long before the Republic, the Empire or the White Maw came to Hoth, the planet belonged to the skels--and these well-organized natives may decide to eliminate the unwelcome invaders.
The tauntaun is an omnivorous reptomammal occupying a key position in Hoth's ecosystem. Beyond providing a food source for wampas and the feline whitefangs, tauntauns also expand the planet's natural tundra by spreading fast-growing moss and lichen to new growth areas. In fact, scientists speculate that Hoth's limited fauna would quickly go extinct if the tauntauns disappeared.
More important to Republic, Imperial and White Fang forces on Hoth, tauntauns provide the promise of a native means of traversing the icy plains. Adult tauntauns can move at speeds of up to ninety kilometers per hour--useful for outrunning all manner of foes. The trick, of course, is domesticating these notoriously ill-tempered beasts.
The fearsome wampa is Hoth's apex predator. These surprisingly intelligent beasts pose a major hazard to unwary travelers, especially those wandering near unexplored caves. More than one combat patrol has vanished after seeking shelter in a seemingly unoccupied ice cavern. Among fresh arrivals to the planet, horror stories circulate of men swallowed whole by these towering creatures.
The more terrifying truth is that wampas prefer fresh meat and rarely kill a victim outright, instead stunning or incapacitating prey. Future meals are dragged back to a wampa's lair and suspended immobilized from the cave's ceiling. Wampa victims may have hours or even days to contemplate their eventual fates.
Caught Between Two Foes
The Republic finds itself in the worst possible military position on Hoth as it battles both Imperial forces and White Maw pirates. Each of these enemies poses significant individual challenges; combined, they are a nightmare scenario for Republic war strategists. It appears impossible to adopt a battle plan that effectively defends against both, much less offers any hope of victory over them.
The Empire employs classic high-aggression tactics while protecting its units within heavy fortifications, while the unpredictable White Maw pirates favor hit-and-run attacks that take advantage of Hoth's natural landscape for maximum effect. Should these two enemies ever join forces, the Republic's survival on the planet would likely be measured in hours.
Hoth: No Place for Vehicles
The bitter cold of Hoth is no friend to small vehicles, which do not generate enough heat to keep their mechanical parts from freezing and their power generators from failing on a regular basis. High-end speeders mostly avoid these issues, but mass produced military bikes and many shuttles, starfighters and other transports fail on a regular basis.
For large-scale transport of troops and supplies--when a few select, customized speeders won't suffice--two options remain. First, large vehicles such as armored walkers and heavy dropships can be outfitted to survive the cold, so long as they are well maintained. Second, there is the tauntaun--a bipedal animal that has evolved to survive Hoth's harsh environs and to navigate even during whiteout conditions.
Imperial War Strategy: Quagmires
The Empire, vastly outnumbered by the Republic, knows it cannot win every battle it fights--so more creative tactics are in order. By sending diversionary forces to the deadly ice world of Hoth and generating intelligence chatter about the search for a vital weapon, the Empire hopes to lure the Republic into a military quagmire--a battle the Republic cannot win, but cannot abandon due to its importance. In so doing, the Empire will divert precious Republic resources away from its true objectives.
This is not the first time the Empire has employed such a strategy. Centuries ago, during the Empire's initial expansion into the sectors surrounding Dromund Kaas, quagmires were used to effectively paralyze minor alien worlds while nearby resources were gathered. Since then, the strategy has remained a valued weapon in the Imperial military arsenal.
Keeping Warm: Do's and Don'ts
Hoth's natural predators, pirates and military forces are nothing compared to its weather. Intense cold remains the greatest danger to anyone unlucky enough to travel on the planet, and many manuals have been written on how to keep warm, offering tips on taking advantage of rare nodes of geothermal energy when staking out camp and how to rely on underground cave systems to keep out of the wind.
Specialist cold-weather gear has been designed to allow survival in short bursts on Hoth's bitterly cold surface. In the absence of such gear, one guide even suggests that--in the event of becoming stranded in one of Hoth's famous whiteouts--the innards of a freshly slaughtered pack animal or predator can provide enough heat to stretch out survival for a few hours.
Hoth has never been a friendly planet for spacefaring people. Its strong magnetic pull and icy atmosphere have spelled death for many a pilot, and crashed vessels have long littered the planet's surface. But after the Battle of Hoth brought huge numbers of warships down--including the Republic superdreadnaught, the Star of Coruscant--Hoth became home to a massive starship graveyard. The graveyard, in turn, became a very attractive destination for pirates looking to salvage a technological edge from the wreckage.
Salvaging starships in Hoth's blizzards is a deadly occupation that can reap great rewards. One of the first pirates to scope out the starship graveyard famously made millions of credits selling Republic and Imperial weaponry back to the Republic and Empire. Now, both governments and freelancers brave Hoth's wilderness, and many salvagers meet their ends among the cold and unstable ruins of dead ships.
The Battle of Hoth
During the height of the Great War, a vital battle was fought above Hoth--a battle many credit with forcing the Republic to accept the terms of the Treaty of Coruscant. It began when Imperial Intelligence uncovered evidence of a massive Republic fleet buildup near Hoth. Prototype battle cruisers constructed with cutting edge technology formed the backbone of an armada hundreds of ships strong--an armada believed to have been designed for a full-scale invasion of the Imperial capital world of Dromund Kaas.
The invasion never happened. The Empire moved to ambush the Republic super-fleet first. The battle raged for days and found its epicenter in the Hoth system. The greatest starships and some of the greatest warriors in both fleets were destroyed, and high technology and scorched metal rained down onto the ice fields. In the end, the Empire succeeded in its goal; the Republic had been robbed of its chance at victory, and the tide of the war turned.
The Scorekeeper (Bounty Hunter)
Deity of the Trandoshan species, the Scorekeeper watches over her brood, savoring their victories and shunning their failures. According to Trandoshan belief, no creature in existence is beyond her judgment, and the only means for a Trandoshan to improve his standing in her eyes is to dominate another living thing--to hold a creature's life in his claws and show the Scorekeeper that he is more worthy of survival.
The Scorekeeper's measure of worthiness is called Jagganath, and upon a being's death it is tallied by the Scorekeeper to determine his place in the afterlife. To be captured or dishonored on a hunt is to have one's Jagganath stripped by the victor, leaving nothing for the victim to show the Scorekeeper in death and dooming his spirit to oblivion.
The Umbra Encrypter (Trooper)
Since the beginning of the Great War, one Imperial cipher has defied every attempt at decryption. Code-named "Umbra," it has become a legend in the galactic cryptography community; the Republic even allowed scraps of Umbra transmissions to be released surreptitiously as "unbeatable puzzles" to university students in the hope of finding someone--anyone--who could crack the code.
With theoretical efforts yielding no results, the Republic eventually took on a more direct approach, launching dozens of covert missions to capture one of the Empire's Umbra encryption devices. None has succeeded.
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