The Mandalorians Since ancient times, the sons and daughters of Mandalore have been renowned throughout the Outer Rim Territories as the greatest warriors the galaxy have ever seen. Some, in fact, feared that these Mandalorians would one day rise up and leave their homeworld on a conquering crusade that would end in their dominance over the entire known galaxy. But, due to widespread civil war amongst each other, the Mandalorian clans never thought to use their vast technological superiority to leave Mandalore; and so, for a time, the galaxy was safe from the fires their wars would bring... until the rise of the first Sith Lords united the clans for the first time and introduced them to the galaxy at large. Contents History Society & Culture The Canons of Honor — Resol'nare Mandalorian Armor Mandalorian Religion Courtship and Family Life Ranks & Structure HISTORY The Children of Mandalore — The Old Days The exact origin of the Mandalorians are uncertain. Most galactic historians believe that they, like many other human cultural sub-groups, originated on the Human homeworld of Coruscant and settled the Mandalore system in the long-forgotten ancient past. Whatever the case, the planet Mandalore was settled by Human colonizers and, over the centuries, evolved into a warlike culture, the members of which called themselves the Mando'ade — the "children of Mandalore." The planet Mandalore was a cruel and unforgiving landscape long before endless civil wars would devastate its surface in the far future. The climate and terrain were harsh, and monsters roamed its forests and mountains. The colonists rallied behind their warlord, historically known as Mandalore the First, whose military savviness and leadership allowed them to conquer the planet for themselves, forging for themselves a homeworld all of their own. For thousands of years, Mandalorian culture grew in isolation. The early Mandalorians did not stray far from Mandalore and, as they populated their new homeworld, they divided into dozens of Houses and clans all of whom warred for supremacy. The concept of a singular warlord—the greatest warrior from among the sons and daughters of Mandalore—who would unite the warring families and lead the people to glory, the Manda'lor, faded into mythology and, for thousands of years, another never rose to claim the title of the first. As civil war after civil war raged across Mandalore's surface, Mandalorian warriors began to refine the art of warfare. They designed the first iterations of their iconic armor during this era—namely their helmets, with the iconic T-shaped visor, along with billowing capes. They also refined their weaponry and became known throughout nearby sectors of space for their raw brutality and fearsome visage as a result. Mostly cut off from the rest of the galaxy, these early Mandalorians did not develop a tradition or religion based upon the mystical energy field called the Force. Instead, Mandalorian religion developed to reflect their warlike culture and, by the end of their first historical era of existence, three gods had risen to prominence: Kad Ha’rangir, the god of war; Aarasuum, the reviled god of sloth and stagnation; and Hod Ha’ran, the trickster god. With the advent of this trinity of gods, the Mandalorians became a deeply spiritual people and transitioned into a second epoch that would see them spread their religion to nearby by worlds: the Crusader Era. The First Crusading Era Mandalorian history can be divided into three distinct eras to date: the Old Days (which consist of their founding and early formation), the First Crusading Era, and the Second Crusading Era; and the First Crusading Era coincided with the development of the Mandalorian religion. It also marked the first time the Mandalorians, as a people, ventured beyond Mandalore into the wider galaxy and became known as Mandalorian crusaders. During the First Crusading Era, a warlord who would become known as Mandalore the Conquerer rose up, claiming to have received a vision from Kad Ha’rangir in which the Mandalorian people would carve out a region of space for themselves. His call to action united the Mandalorian clans for the first time since the colonization of their homeworld and, eager to fight challenges other than themselves, they flocked to the new Manda'lor and launched an invasion of the Mandalore sector. During this first crusade, the worlds of the Mandalore sector fell with relative ease. Mandalore the Conquerer and his crusaders invaded and conquered worlds such as Basilisk, Concord Dawn, Gargon, Zanbar, and Ordo, killing millions and adding millions more in the process. As each world fell, the new Mandalorian overlords converted the populaces to their religion and, in doing so, made them Mandalorians as well. For the first time, the term "Mandalorian" no longer applied to the humans of Mandalore, but to the peoples of these conquered worlds, some of whom were aliens. This became a revolutionary shift for the Mandalorians, who came to identify with a religion and a culture rather than a species. The First Crusading Era saw the rise of new prominent Mandalorian clans. After the planet Ordo fell to Mandalore the Conquerer, for example, those that swore fealty to the Manda'lor were christened Clan Ordo and were allowed to rule their homeworld in the name of their warlord. Mandalorian armor also evolved, and the capes of the previous era fell out of use, replaced by jetpacks which would become a defining technology of Mandalorian bounty hunters for thousands of years to come. The Shogun Uprising The first crusade likely would have expanded beyond the Mandalore sector had one critical event not ended the First Crusading Era: the Shogun Uprising. Shogun was a world that had been conquered early on in the crusade, having been a feature of Mandalore the Conquerer's supposed vision which had kicked the crusade off. But the people of Shogun were unhappy with Mandalorian rule and, with the Mandalorians spread across the sector, saw their opportunity to revolt. The revolt was short. Manda'lor responded almost immediately, mustering his forces for the Second Battle of Shogun. But, though the battle was won quickly and decisively, Mandalore the Conquerer was slain during the fighting creating a vacuum in Mandalorian leadership. The First Mandalorian Civil War ensued as the Mandalorian clans quickly devolved into fighting to determine who would fill the shoes of their deceased leader. This civil war was the bloodiest in Mandalorian history. The entire sector was set on fire as the conflict ensued, and several of the footholds the Mandalorian people had gained during their crusade were lost as a result. Ultimately, worlds such as Basilisk, Concord Dawn, and Ordo remained Mandalorian worlds, loyal to both the religion and culture of their conquerers; but these were small gains, as the Mandalorians were again confined mostly to their homeworlds and their sector, reduced in number and exhausted from war. And, thus, the First Crusading Era came to a disappointing end. The First Mandalorian Civil War Though the first crusade had ended, the civil war had not. In fact, the civil war would rage for decades more. No world was affected more by this conflict that the Mandalorian homeworld of Mandalore itself. As the war continued, two factions rose with the most likeliness of producing the next Manda'lor — these were Houses Vizsla and Kryze. During the first crusade, House Vizsla—consisting of the ancient Mandalorian Clans Saxon, Vizsla, and Wren—conquered the moon Concordia and the planet Krownest and, now, used them as staging grounds to launch attacks on Mandalore. On the other hand, Mandalore the Conquerer had belonged to House Kryze, itself consisting of Clan Kryze and Clan Varek, which enjoyed a seat on the Mandalorian homeworld and were desperately trying to hold onto their seat of power in the wake of their leader's death. At the end of this long and bloody conflict, two leaders emerged with the goal in mind of finally ending the conflict and declaring a new Manda'lor. These champions were Fenri Kryze, the matriarch of House Kryze, and Tor Vizsla, a veteran of the crusade and a hardened warlord of House Vizsla. As the two fought, Mandalorian culture continued to evolve. The people became obsessed with the legend of the Manda'lor. Religious leaders prophesied that the destined warrior meant to lead the next glorious crusade would soon rise from the ashes of the conflict that had dominated the sector for decades. Mandalorian armor also continued to evolve, becoming more gladiatorial as close-combat became the more desirable and "honorable" format of the war. Elsewhere in the galaxy, the Sith Empire rose from the ashes of the Jedi Exiles and were bent on destroying their enemies: the Jedi Order. As the Empire began to spread through the Outer Rim, one of the first Sith Lords, Leviticus, visited Mandalore after having heard of the strength and brutality of its warriors. Leviticus had taken into his service a self-exiled member of House Kryze's Clan Varek, who served as his guide to Mandalorian culture. Together, the two liaisons from the Empire met with both Tor and Fenri and Leviticus invoked ancient Mandalorian tradition by challenging both to one-on-one combat for leadership over their two families. The Sith Lord easily won both battles without the use of the Force or his lightsaber, killing both leaders, and, due to tradition, became both the rightful ruler of both Kryze and Vizsla. Then, echoing the previous Manda'lor at the advice of his aide, Leviticus gave a rousing speech to his skeptical followers, promising them a challenge unlike any they had ever faced before: the Jedi Order. Though the Mandalorians were not pleased, to say the least, about being led by an outsider, the end of the civil war and the promise of a new crusade against a greater opponent appealed to their values greatly. Mandalore joined the Empire and became the shock troopers of the new Imperial military against the declining Jedi threat. The Second Crusading Era — the First Jedi Purge The Sith Lord Leviticus, now Manda'lor in everything but name, unleashed the Mandalorians for the first time on the larger galaxy, marking the beginning of the Second Crusading Era. The deeply religious Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders deeply disdained the Force, despite their alliance with the Sith Empire, and quickly came to despise their new Jedi enemies. Nevertheless, the Jedi Order provided them a challenge that they never before had and the warrior people gladly rose to the challenge. The Mandalorians were the vanguard of the First Jedi Purge. Their brutal efficiency allowed them to kill Jedi by the hundreds. As the Empire drove the Jedi from their temple worlds, the Mandalorians were dispatched to hunt down and eradicate any survivors. However, they faced an early setback when Leviticus, holed up on the old Jedi stronghold of Ilum, was killed by a Jedi strike team, once again depriving the Mandalorians of a leader. From there, the crusade evolved, as the Mandalorians sought revenge for their fallen leader. But, while the bulk of the Mandalorian forces were away fighting the Jedi, another group of warriors—the wandering Deucalian clans—led a desperate raid on Mandalore in an attempt to conquer the world for themselves after the loss of their own homeworld, Deucalia. The raid was led by Nora Alumanii, one of the Deucalian clan leaders, and Darren Romulus Reed, a Hutt vigo who had been hired out by the wandering mercenaries. But while the initial raid was successful, Sith reinforcements arrived shortly thereafter and drove the invaders back, preventing any more damage from being done to the Mandalorian homeworld. Over the next five hundred years, the Mandalorians lacked a Manda'lor and were instead driven by their singular hatred of the Jedi Order. As they eradicated the Jedi one-by-one, their evolution continued. Their armor and technology grew in direct response to Jedi abilities and, soon, the Mandalorians became the most efficient Jedi killers in the galaxy, developing anti-Jedi technology that allowed them to quickly counter their enemies Force powers and lightsabers. But, over time, the Jedi began to dwindle until they were thought entirely extinct. The Sith Empire had spread across most of the known galaxy and began to slow—no longer focused on continued conquering. As a result, the Mandalorian crusaders became a standing army and a standing Mandalorian army was a restless one. To add insult to injury, the Sith Empire, looking to enact new social policies that encouraged homogeny, began to crack down on Mandalorian culture and religion; they sought to assimilate Mandalorian culture into their own, earning them strong pushback from the Mandalore sector. Some in the sector began to question why they continued to acknowledge Sith rule; their technology had grown to the point that it could be used just as well against Sith as it was against Jedi, and the Sith continued to believe themselves superior due to their ability to wield the Force—a concept that the Mandalorians loathed equally in both Jedi and Sith. Five hundred years of working alongside the Sith had not endeared the Mandalorian people to their conquerers and, before long, there were calls for a continue to the crusade, to the Purge. But every Mandalorian knew that a true crusade could not be carried out without a leader. And so the call went out — a cry rose from the lips of a people: Manda'lor... Manda'lor... Manda'lor... And, so, the search began. SOCIETY AND CULTURE Above all, the Mandalorians were a warrior culture who placed such things as combat, honor, family, and spirituality above everything else. They were also highly inclusive. After the First Crusading Era, the name "Mandalorian" did not simply refer to the original Human inhabitants of Mandalore, but any warrior—human or alien—who abandoned their past connections and embraced Mandalorian culture and religion. Their rich diversity made them more accepting of same-sex relationships and adoption as a means of child-rearing, above procreation in some cases. Regardless of clan or House rivalries, Mandalorians were united in their hatred of the Force and those who use it. For centuries, they tolerated the Sith in spite of this hatred, because the Sith gave them free license to hunt down the remaining Jedi Knights. But with the purge of the Jedi Knights complete and the suppression of their culture, the Mandalorians no longer exclude the Sith from their hatred, which has become so vitriolic as to expel or even execute, in some cases, members of their own ranks who are found out to be Force-sensitive. The Canons of Honor — Resol'nare The canons of honor was a code developed early in Mandalorian history that governed how their society would function, even amidst the endless civil wars of times past. The most important of these canons was the Resol'nare, loosely translated "the Six Actions." All Mandalorians were expected to abide by these actions and anyone intending to join the Mandalorians were required to live by them daily. The Six Actions were: One must wear armor. One must speak Mando'a. One must defend oneself and one's family. One must raise their children as Mandalorians. One must contribute to their clan's welfare. One must rally to Manda'lor's call. Some of these codes were flexible. For instance, anyone aspiring to be a Mandalorian could speak languages other than Mando'a, so long as they were fluent in the Mandalorian tongue and spoke it among other Mandalorians. Other codes were more rigid, as Mandalorian armor was the only armor the code allowed for; this armor could be an older or newer variant, so long as it was Mandalorian in design. Additionally, Mandalorians valued straightforwardness. Individuals were expected to speak their mind and say what they mean. Mandalorians only respected those who looked them in the eye (or in the visors on their helmets) when speaking to them. Mandalorians were expected to accept a meal, even from a rival, if it was offered to them—a sign of respect—and to take off their boots when entering another Mandalorian's home. They were also mandated never to harm another individual outside of combat. Mandalorian Armor A Mandalorian's armor was likely their most prized possession. Known as beskar'gam, which translates loosely to "iron skin" in their native tongue, Mandalorian armor was just that: a second layer of skin that all Mandalorians were expected to wear. Armors were generally built by the warrior who wore them, though some warriors inherited armor from their parents or grandparents—either was considered honorable. Each armor was unique to its wearer and often reflected its owner's values and personality, much like a Jedi's lightsaber reflected its owner's qualities. Color also played a key role and was a critical choice when constructing one's armor. The color of a Mandalorian's armor could denote their rank; it could also indicate certain values the wearer had or a recent event in their lives. The following list contains armor colors and their meanings in this period of Mandalorian history: Grey — Mourning Red — Honoring One's Family Black — Justice Gold — Vengeance Green — Duty Blue — Reliability Orange — A Love For Life White — A Fresh Start While all Mandalorian armor was unique, each armor set had the iconic T-shaped visor, as it was a symbol and reflection of their gods. No armor was truly considered "Mandalorian" without it. Mandalorian Religion The Mandalorians were a deeply religious people who rejected the Force and embraced their own pantheon of gods. They worshiped Kad Ha’rangir, the god of war; Aarasuum, the reviled god of sloth and stagnation; and Hod Ha’ran, the trickster god. Kad Ha’rangir Kad Ha'rangir was the god of war, the god of destruction, and the most revered deity in the Mandalorian pantheon. His visage—namely his helmet, with the T-shaped visor—was reflected in their armor and they honored him by continually making war with more-and-more powerful enemies. When no other enemies presented themselves, they fought one another to continue this tradition. Kad was in eternal opposition to the god of stagnation, Aarasuum. Aarasuum Aarasuum was the god of sloth and stagnation. Legend had it that he tempted the ancient clans to be content with their power rather than to continue their expansion through crusades. Mandalorians were encouraged to resist his temptation by never becoming complacent or satisfied with life as it is; instead, they are to continue seeking new challenges in life and new wars to wage. In modern times, Aarasuum has become synonymous with the Sith Empire, which had grown complacent after its victory over the Jedi Order five hundred years prior. Because the Empire kept the Mandalorians from crusading after the Jedi were defeated, the Mandalorians became restless, worried that they were succumbing to Aarasuum, and began to plot rebellion. Hod Ha'ran Hod Ha'ran was a trickster god. He deceiver, cursed with ill fortune, and is somewhat magical in nature. Many contemporary scholars believe that Hod is the personification of the Force in the Mandalorian religion, being the god that the Mandalorians innately distrust, likely because of his magical and mysterious ways. In addition to their gods, the Mandalorians did not believe in "becoming one with the Force." They believed in their own version of the afterlife, known as Manda. Only one whose life was defined by the Cannons of Honor was permitted to go to Manda. Those who did not were known as dar'manda ("soulless") and were doomed to spend eternity separated from their people. The concept of Manda dictated that all Mandalorians ultimately shared the same soul and that, when they died, they permanently joined this singular "oversoul." This belief was reflected in their burial practices, which dictated that, where possible, they were to be buried together in mass graves without headstones. Whenever this was not possible, cremation was preferred. Mandalorians who dishonored their people, their family, or their clan were denied these forms of burial. In line with their innate resistance to stagnation and Aarasuum, Mandalorians did not believe in owning a permanent home. Many built grass huts, known as vheh'yaim, to serve as a residence on whichever world they were presently doing work on. they would live in these huts for anywhere from a single day to a few years, then destroy them and rebuild elsewhere. Some Mandalorian clans built massive vheh'yaim to house the entire clan and moved as a unit. Only rarely did Mandalorians build a permanent homestead, but these Mandalorians were frequently looked down upon as being lazy unless they were farmers, which necessitated that they stay in one place for longer periods of time. In fact, many Mandalorians forewent building a home of any sort and, instead, treated their ships as mobile homes. Courtship and Family Life Family was an extremely important social unit in Mandalorian society. All Mandalorians belonged to a clan, which itself belonged to a House, and Mandalorians were fiercely loyal to these familial circles. Mandalorians did not discriminate when it come to a person's romantic preferences either (so long as all involved were consenting adults). Inter-species relationships were permitted, as were same-sex relationships. But, regardless of the type of relationship one was engaged in, several norms were followed across the board. For instance, no Mandalorian made a pass at one they were attracted to unless the recipient had expressed interest in becoming a Mandalorian (or already was a Mandalorian themselves). Mandalorians also did not experience "dating" in the same way that other cultures did. Romantic relationships were strengthened on the battlefield, and, often couples developed when two individuals frequently fought alongside each other in combat. Likewise, and somewhat bizarrely to outsiders, rivals who frequently fought one another were also likely to become romantically involved. Mandalorians procreated like any other cultural group, but, unlike most, were not in the least bit xenophobic and encouraged adoption, particularly from species and groups that they had recently conquered in order to spread their culture and religion. As a result, it was not uncommon for a Mandalorian family to be not blood related in their entirety. Children were nonetheless raised in the Mandalorian tradition and were trained as warriors until they came of age, at which time they would become free and independent adults. RANKS AND STRUCTURE Mandalorians have four defined ranks (see below). They are expected to move up through the ranks by proving their combat prowess and leadership on the battlefield. Alternatively, they may also appeal to the Old Ways, which permit them to challenge as superior for their rank, as long as said challenge—called an Aurek'kesh—was done via single-combat, one warrior to another, in which the loser dies (honorably) and the winner inherits their opponent's position or preserves their own. Structurally, Mandalorian society functions as a pyramid. The Mandalore represents the pinnacle of this pyramid, with the Houses beneath him, the individual clans beneath the Houses they are allied with, and individual Mandalorians at the bottom. Mandalorian Marauder A Mandalorian Marauder was a fully trained Mandalorian Crusader. They were trained since birth (or adoption) in the Mandalorian culture and religion. Upon coming of age or surviving their training, they create or inherit their armor and are given the rank of Marauder, marking them as a full-fledged Mandalorian. Marauders were feared throughout the galaxy as the vanguard of Mandalorian crusades and attacks. They were well trained in a variety of combat forms, including how to effectively counter Force abilities the likes of which have been seen in their century's long enemies: the Jedi Order. Rally Master Rally Masters were leaders in Mandalorian society and in their military. They typically wore red armor, but this was not always required. They obtained their rank by proving their valor and leadership capabilities in battle. Only those who earned their command could be Rally Masters, but, once they were given the rank, other Mandalorians were expected to follow their orders without question. Rally Masters were revered in Mandalorian culture as warriors capable of taking on Jedi Masters in combat. They were also skilled tacticians that frequently led Mandalorian war parties into dangerous missions or battle. Ironically, like their Jedi contemporaries, Rally Masters were expected to be role models for their fellow Mandalorians, exemplifying what it means to live by the canons and the religion. Field Marshal A Field Marshal, or simply a Marshal, was the highest rank a Mandalorian could obtain outside of the Manda'lor itself. They frequently wore golden armor, but this was not always required. Marshals oversaw entire sectors during crusades and entire flanks on a battlefield. Marshals were the highest calibre of warriors in the Mandalorian military and were chosen only from among the most skilled Rally Masters. Field Marshals were also expected to act as role models. With their stature, they were expected not to sit on their title; they were always to be planning and leading new campaigns against their enemies. Marshals who did not were considered lazy and were stripped of their rank. Skill-wise, they were on par with all but the strongest of the Jedi Order—they could take on members of the Jedi Council or Dark Lords of the Sith, and were often experienced in killing Force-users. Mandalore (Manda'lor) The Mandalore (Manda'lor in Mando'a) was the undisputed leader of the Mandalorian people—all of them—and was acknowledged as one of the most powerful warlords in the galaxy. He or she was chosen by the Mandalorians themselves, usually due to their leadership and skills as a warrior. As a result, the Mandalore was usually the most charismatic and powerful Mandalorian currently alive. The name "Mandalore" is enough to strike fear in even the most resilient warriors in the galaxy. No one would dare challenge their supremacy over the Mandalorian people, and anyone who expected to replace them was expected to do so in the old way — one-on-one, in single combat, in which the loser was killed in an honorable manner.