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The Problem of the Sith Empire

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Story and Lore
The Problem of the Sith Empire

Slowpokeking's Avatar

04.26.2012 , 12:39 PM | #101
Quote: Originally Posted by tufy View Post
Betrayal is part of the cycle. When an apprentice becomes powerful enough to defeat his master, he takes his place. Take a look at Sidious (Palpatine) sacrificing Tyranus (Dooku) in Episode 3 - Tyranus was merely a means to an end, a path to secure a stronger, more powerful apprentice. It wasn't Palpatine's intention to have a weakling at his side, no matter how powerful Dooku was, he was but a portion of Anakin's potential. Had Palpatine desired mere power, all he would have to do is get Anakin killed along with the rest of the Jedi. There, problem solved, he's the lord of the galaxy. But the order of Bane has strict rules - one master, one apprentice, vying for control.

You mentioned Tenebrous and Plagueis. That's actually a perfect example of how the Sith operate - the master would use the apprentice to his own advantages, all the while plotting to come out on top. Yet the apprentice would plot against his master as well, bidding time to take the mantle of the sith upon him. When the two faced eachother, only one would be left standing - according to the sith beliefs, the stronger of the two. What makes the exchange interesting is that this time, the murder of the master would not necessarily end in his defeat, but in a backdoor victory. There's actually an example of just this in TOR as well, where the master knows that he's mortal and seeks another way to survive. That's what the sith way is, what the survival of the fittest shows us - either you succeed or you die. There is no middle ground.

You mention how the Sith Empires have come and gone. True, but the Sith never vanished. Why is that? Because the Empire is just means to an end. The Sith do not care about the common folk, they're little more than flies from their perspective, fleeting in their weakness. Certainly the sith could just wipe them out, but that would require investment of resources that could be better spent against those who present a threat to their power. This can be seen in the movies as well - the entire Clone Wars, the campaigns and conflicts are built just to destroy the Jedi and turn one of them into an apprentice. For Palpatine, common people and even senators are a power base as long as he needs them. When he does not, he discards them (as seen in Episode IV). Why? Because this is the sith way - anyone worth the hassle will fight back, anyone not worth it should be ignored, because it only distracts you.

And yes, herein lies the failing of the Sith, the reason for their downfall. Often, the greatest threat comes from an unlikely person, someone you regarded as completely unimportant until he becomes a threat (at which point it is often too late). This can be seen well in the Inquisitor story, where a mere slave that everyone shunned becomes a major player in the Empire's politics. This can also be seen in Jedi Knight story, where your average Jedi Knight shakes the very foundations of the order. Jedi understand this, because their way is in harmony with the surroundings - the Sith do not. For the Sith, everything including the Force is a tool on the road to perfection - for the Jedi, they are the tool of the already existing perfection, the Force itself.

Actually, that's not the entire story. I suggest you read Revan novel, as it explains quite a lot more about Scourge and why he ended up as the Emperor's Wrath. It actually gives you quite an interesting insight into the mind of a Sith. Any proper Sith would plan to betray the Emperor regardless of what he was planning as soon as he could match him in power. The problem is that nobody could match him in power without the fear for their own life. And that's the failing of the Dark Side, inability to do something without regard for one's own safety. Where a Jedi will jump into the fray, ready to die for what he believed in, a Sith will always plot and calculate.

If I may, I would compare the Sith to the Goa'uld in Stargate series - as long as one is on top, the others will grudingly admit his power. But that balance will only exist as long as someone else doesn't rise enough to challenge him - then a bloody conflict will happen to determine the next master. This constant race between factions within the society is supposed to drive the civilization forward. Think of it as capitalism on social level
Yeah that's the Rule of Two's advantage, but not the old Sith', even Darth Bane himself thought the old Sith' way is terrible since too many inner conflicts destroyed themselves over and over again. So he tried to invent this role, to control the conflict and use it to empower the Sith.

I guess you mentioned the Empire is just the mean no the end? My point is how to make the Empire better. That's the problem, the galaxy is formed by the common folk, if you treat them too bad they will unite together and form a powerful force to take you down. That's pretty much why the Sith always all. How did Sidious wipe out the Jedi? By using non force user's ability, turn the republic against the Jedi. How did he fall? Tyranny that pushed too many people to become his enemy.

Scutum's Avatar

04.26.2012 , 05:53 PM | #102
To me, the Empire in this game could be seen as an extreme version of the late Roman Empire in regards to the way sith acted. In Roman times, the senators and people in the class of nobility were considered better than the rest of the populous (the superiority of the sith to the non-sith). Senators were always vying for military positions, doing whatever it took to gain their glory on the field of combat, and if someone became very popular for the most part they became a target (sound familiar?).

The position of emperor became constantly fought over, with people being killed off left and right to take over, and if someone was in a position you wanted then at least the thought of killing them entered your mind. This was slightly off put at times when powerful men could efficiently stay popular and unite them against a threat (the sith emperor when going to war with the republic).

Afterwards, political backstabbing would resume unless they could once more be united by either an outside threat or nationalistic fervor. It was this unstable political field, coupled with other issues, that lead to the weakening and eventual downfall of the Roman empire.

The sith are best as a strongly centralized government under one ruler, but with the emperor fulfilling his own personal whims there is no one figure to truly rule them. If Malgus became emperor, I could see them becoming a unified force once more (more about the sith overcoming the jedi/republic instead of overcoming each other) and actually beating the republic.

I've often pondered on the possibilities and the ramifications of a sith-based hereditary monarchy, like if Malgus took on a sort of "queen" and started a family of sith that would rule. Either that, or a monarchy based on force users that didn't necessarily follow either the jedi or sith (more like a gray jedi) code. It would put force-users above non force users, but we all have our flaws right?
"This is all very interesting, but why should I care?"
―Kyle Katarn