The "Five Syndicates" is the term used by the major galactic governments to refer to the five major criminal organizations active in the galaxy. Made up of the remnants of Crimson Dawn, Black Sun, the Crymorah syndicate, the Hutt Clan, the Pyke Syndicate, the five syndicates enjoyed a fragile alliance with one another and, although conflicts among the factions were not uncommon, they loathed to risk open confrontations. Some time after its inception, the union was joined by several other smaller groups such as the Son-tuul Pride and Droid Gotra.
The actions of the former Sith Lord Darth Maul at the behest of Mother Talzin were responsible for setting in motion a succession of events that led to a greater cohesion of the criminal forces of the galaxy. Composed of Death Watch, Black Sun, the Pyke Syndicate–a spice cartel infamous for having orchestrated the murder of Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas–the Hutt Clan and the Nightbrothers, Maul's Shadow Collective initially sought the defeat of both Confederacy of Independent Systems and the Galactic Republic to thwart the Darth Sidious' plan to manipulate the conflict between the Republic and the Separatists for his own end.
United by intimidation and fear tactics, this consortium of underworlders was not meant to last. Begrudgingly allied with Maul during the Clone Wars, the Hutt Clan abandoned the Shadow Collective as soon as they got the chance. Although they remained loyal to Maul after his capture on Mandalore, the Pykes and Black Sun were soon faced with challenges of their own making.
Near the end of the Clone Wars, Black Sun proposed a merger with the Pyke Syndicate, but their demands were rejected. Refusing to accept their once-allies' spurning, Ziton Moj, then leader of Black Sun, sought to orchestrate the kidnapping of the family of a prominent Pyke leader, but their attempt was foiled by Assaj Ventress and the undercover Jedi Quinlan Vos. Black Sun retaliated by launching an attack on the Pykes' stronghold on Oba Diah ending the alliance between the two criminal syndicates.
Though the Shadow Collective crumbled, and he was forced into hiding by his former master, Maul laid fertile ground to reestablish a power base in the wake of his failure, eventually reorganizing a portion of his remaining followers and allies into a new criminal enterprise, the Crimson Dawn. Unlike the Shadow Collective, many of the rank-and-file of the organization did not report to him directly. Instead, Maul relied on a figurehead, Dryden Vos, and later, Qi'ra.
After Darth Sidious, under the guise of Supreme Chancellor Sheev Palpatine, transformed the Republic into his own Galactic Empire at the end of the Clone Wars, many criminal organizations like Black Sun formed a durable relationship with the new autocratic government, with Palpatine letting the syndicates operate with a certain impunity within the boundaries of the Core Worlds to justify galactic-wide planetary occupation once most of the Jedi threat had been eliminated.
Throughout the reign of the Galactic Empire, Dryden Vos was considered the public face of Crimson Dawn. Unlike other criminal organizations, Crimson Dawn sought no arrangement with the new Galactic Empire, often clashing with its troops in security enforcement missions.
The Pyke Syndicate maintained a shaky alliance with Crimson Dawn. Their own operation controlled most of the spice trade in the galaxy and exploited the mines of Kessel, employing various smugglers to realise the perilous Kessel Run of planet.
During the Galactic Civil War, the Hutt Clan formed a partnership with the Galactic Empire, providing the galactic superpower with whatever resources it needed in order to fuel its operations. This alliance with the Empire allowed the Hutts to survive the Imperial crackdown against criminal elements in the Outer Rim, as well as rid the Hutts of their competitors like the Crymorah syndicate and the Son-tuul Pride.
In the decades following the defeat of the Empire and the rise of the New Republic, the Hutt families saw much of their once great power and influence wane, even losing control of the Nikto, a race that had been in service to the Hutts for centuries prior. Coupled with the Galactic Empire's collapse, Jabba's death at the hands of Leia Organa–known infamously as “the Huttslayer”–left enormous power vacuums in the Kessel spice trade, triggering widespread gang warfare and leaving trade routes once guarded by mercenaries hired by the Hutts vulnerable, leading to the formation of the Spice Runners of Kijimi.
Resurgence and Unification
Following both Maul and Vos' demise during the reign of the Empire, the mark left by Crimson Dawn on the galaxy could still be felt. Under Qi'ra's leadership, Crimson Down saw the rise of the New Republic as an opportunity, infiltrating its ranks and corrupting the organization from the inside. As the results of its implication in political activities, Crimson Dawn held substantial power and thrived as one of the deadliest and most powerful syndicates in the galaxy.
From its position of power, it was Crimson Dawn that first propositioned the weakened Hutt Clan, Black Sun, Pyke Syndicate, and Crymorah syndicate to form a loose alliance of the criminal underworld. Although they were initially reluctant, for tensions lingered between the old rivals, they eventually saw the merit in Crimson Dawn's proposed repartition of the underworld between the criminal factions. In time, smaller organizations such as the remnants of the Son-tuul Pride and the Spice Runners of Kijimi also joined the union, although the latter pulled out of the alliance after the Battle of Exegol.
For more than one hundred years, a delicate balance of power was maintained between the syndicates with few rising to oppose their unified forces, and internal conflicts empowered by bruised egos or avarice averted by the Collective, the criminal alliance's governing body.
The demise of the original New Republic after the Hosnian Cataclysm and the subsequent chaotic times that preceded the establishment of the Free Worlds Alliance allowed the criminal syndicates to prosper. Infiltrating the loose trade alliance, agents of then syndicates seek much like they did the New Republic, to corrupt it from the inside out by diverting the politicians' attention away from the activities of the syndicates and using the Sector Ranger to eliminate their competition. The syndicates also undermined the reformation of a stronger galactic superpowers by intimidation and other nefarious means.
The Five Syndicates
Black Sun is an immensely powerful crime syndicate with influential ties throughout the galaxy. The organization is led by a council of Falleen nobles from a base on Mustafar. Influential in every governmental body in the galaxy, Black Sun has been involved in the bribery of public officials, extortion, piracy, and smuggling. It disposes of information networks that rival most competent spy organizations. Its military forces are also exceptional, totaling in an army that could defend an entire planet. Its closest ally among the other members of the Five Syndicates is Crimson Dawn.
Known for its ruthlessness and efficiency, Crimson Dawn was once the deadliest criminal organization in the galaxy. Having somewhat fallen from grace since then, the syndicate was reorganized by one of its leaders, Qi’ra, into a powerful corrosive agent at the root of the corruption within New Republic and its successor, the Free Worlds Alliance. In addition to employing a considerable number of slicers, this organization manifests a vested interest in dark side artifacts and Jedi relics.
The Crymorah syndicate is comparable in size and power to the other original members of the Five Syndicates. It once provided information to the Galactic Empire to assist them in tracking down rebel cells, though their alliance with Droid Gotra almost led them to be wiped out by the Empire shortly thereafter. It has at their disposal resources and shipping lanes that rival those of the Hutt Clan, their main competitor. Made up of set of crime families, the Crymorah syndicate primarily operated out of Sullust, Ryloth and Mon Cala. Unlike other criminal syndicates, to achieve the highest ranks of the organization, one must be born or adopted into a leading family.
Heir to the longest standing criminal tradition in the galaxy, the Hutt Clan is a powerful crime family, making riches through smuggling and myriad illegal businesses across worlds (most notably spice trade and slavery). It is governed by the Hutt Grand Council, a committee of elder Hutts based on Nal Hutta that advises on strategy and makes decisions on inter-family disputes. The most reluctant member of the Five Syndicates, the Hutt Clan has been struggling to regain its power since the defeat of the Empire.
Also known as the Pyke Family, it is a spice cartel predominantly run by the Pyke species and based on Oba Diah. A major figure in the spice trade–holding a monopoly over spice cultivation since the demise of Jabba the Hutt–the Pyke Syndicate ensures the flow of the deadly drug from the mines of Kessel to other worlds such as Coruscant by hiring smugglers and freighter captains for Kessel Runs. During the Clone Wars, the criminal organization was part of Darth Maul's Shadow Collective. Since the early years of the Empire, the Pyke Syndicate has also started mining coaxium on Kessel. It has an enduring feud turned rivalry with Black Sun, the organization that once sought to absorb it.
Operating from the lowest levels of Coruscant, Droid Gotra was founded by a group of reprogrammed battle droids not deactivated following the Clone Wars. Although it would initially only act against the Galactic Empire, its members now serve as muscle for the Crymorah syndicate in robberies, kidnapping, illegal salvage, and extortion. The organization has also taken radical actions in support of droid emancipation.
A Rodian controlled crime syndicate based on Son-tuul, it is a rival to the Hutt Clan, and was thus targeted by the Empire after Darth Vader make a deal with Jabba following the Battle of Yavin. The Son-tuul Pride was thought to have been obliterated by Imperial forces at the end of the Galactic Civil War, but it has since reformed. Targeting the youths of the galaxy, they have taken control of spice distribution over the last century. Known for its extremely violent initiation rites, the Son-tuul Pride has left a bloody trail at a pace three times that of many of the galaxy’s most active criminal organization.
Ranks and Structure
Few societies manage to eradicate crime altogether. In the underworld, someone always rise to the top, either through vision, organization, or sheer intimidation.
[Rank 1] Scoundrel
Rogues – good, bad and neutral – who either live outside the law or fight against it to get the upper hand. They can come from any world in the galaxy. Most use their intelligence and dexterity to accomplish tasks, and many rely on charisma as a fallback when all else fails. Scoundrels get by with bravado, cunning, duplicity, and trickery. They live by their wits, lying, cheating, stealing, and even fighting when the need arises. Many scoundrels live a life of adventure for the excitement it provides calling themselves smugglers, pirates, bounty hunters, outlaws, gamblers, slicers, con artists, thieves, rogues, and spies.
The Lone Stars
Not every underworlder wants to lead an empire or a fiefdom, some simply stumbled into a life of crime to be tied to nothing and no one, others to enjoy unparalleled infamy...
[Rank 2] Enforcer
Despicable knaves who serve only one master–the greed that swells inside them–enforcers capitalize on the vendetta of crime lords, contracting for one to undermine another, only to turn their back on their commissioner for a better payout. Emotionally detached from their contractors or their quarry, they are the ultimate soldiers of the underworld. While their weapons of choice may vary–some relying on brute strength while other prefer the more discreet astuteness of mind games–enforcers are treated with reverence in the underworld and none wish to cross them.
[Rank 3] Vanguard
Answering to no one, vanguards are masters of their art within the syndicates: slicing, hand-to-hand combat, piloting, etc. Vanguards are often wanted on multiple systems for criminal acts and their manner of doing business has earned them an unsavory reputation in the criminal underworld. Among their peers, they are held in such high regard that they can borrow any of the syndicates' assets without question.
Criminals can be some of the shrewdest business-minded people in the galaxy, as such they often build empires of considerable might... *** To ascend to these positions, characters must lead their own PC organization consisting of at least three other players.
[Rank 2] Ringleader
Surrounding themselves with underlings, mercenaries and bodyguards for their protection, ringleaders exert much control over the activities from which they profit. They are local leaders of criminal activities often under the dominion of a greater operation.
[Rank 3] Lieutenant
The life of a criminal lieutenant isn't for the soft-hearted. Serving under a crime lord, a lieutenant's power and influence is dependent on that of the organization to which they belong. Sometimes kingpins in their own right, managing individual criminal enterprises, lieutenants serve as the representatives of their masters who often can be bothered to
Made up of all the crime lords of the syndicates, the Collective are the leaders of the allied criminal underworld. They routinely hold council on Nar Shaddaa to discuss the challenges their respective organizations face and to attenuate tensions brewing between different factions. They dictate the broad policies that are the tenets of the syndicates' alliance.
[Rank 4] Crime Lord
The highest echelon one can hope to achieve within a criminal organization, crime lords are the bosses of their respective syndicate. After conquering a sizeable criminal empire, a crime lord wages a daily struggle not only to stay on top, but also to stay alive. Amassing wealth by participating in any illegal activities that generate income, like extortion, gambling, loan sharking, kidnapping, spice cultivation and distribution, and slave trading, crime lords live by their own code of morality. While some prefer to only focus their operations on certain, more honest activities such as gambling, loansharking, and smuggling, even those with altruistic intention sometimes learn the hard way that their troops are more interested in gaining power and wealth than saving the galaxy from greater evils.
Forging Your Own Path
Criminals do not follow straight and narrow career path; they instead adapt to rising opportunities. As such, an enforcer might find themselves in a favorable position to ascend to the position of lieutenant and should sufficient support manifest itself, they will have no problem leaving a solitary life behind in favor of the command of their own powerbase. .