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Byss and the Deep Core

Planet Hoppers: April 2005

Welcome to "Planet Hoppers," where we bring you a set of articles on a particular world in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game galaxy that a Gamemaster can use separately, as a linked series of events, or as a springboard for all-new adventures. This time around, we look at Byss and other planets of the Deep Core.

While Coruscant and all of the Core Worlds are considered the centers of galactic civilization, they are not the true physical center of the galaxy. This honor is reserved for the region known as the Deep Core, a highly dangerous and thoroughly mysterious cluster of stars and planets. Due to natural hazards, the Deep Core remains almost as unexplored as the Unknown Regions, and despite expansion into the area during Palpatine's reign, only a few habitable planets have been settled or support indigenous life.

The Deep Core is practically a maze when it comes to hyperspace navigation. Traveling to many places in the Deep Core is incredibly difficult because of the dense clusters of stars and black holes in the region. Where stellar bodies are far apart, as with the rest of the galaxy, plotting a hyperspace course is merely a matter of adjusting to bypass gravity wells. But in the Deep Core, even a slight miscalculation or incorrect assumption means certain death and destruction from a hyperspace mishap. In the days of the Old Republic, famous hyperlane scouts plotted new safe passages into and out of the Deep Core, but for the most part, the region still remained uncharted.

This all changed with the rise of the Empire. Palpatine, sensing the need to expand his power inward as well as outward, commissioned exploratory missions in the Deep Core that discovered many new worlds and routes. For all the horrible atrocities committed by the Emperor and his minions, the Empire used its resources and drove ahead with unprecedented expansion into the Deep Core through sheer force of will. As new routes opened up new sectors in the Deep Core, the Empire established a number of colonies and drew wealthy and loyal nobles to these worlds with the promise of power, money, and control. The program was a success, and almost overnight, the Empire had a solid and fiercely loyal grip on the Deep Core.

When the Empire crumbled, the Deep Core became the regrouping point for much of the Imperial effort. The faithful servants of the Empire continued to preserve the Imperial lifestyle in the Deep Core, and even into the height of the New Republic, the region was considered as stalwart in their support of Imperial ideals as the Imperial Remnant itself. Warlords and rogue leaders of the Empire regrouped for further strikes at the New Republic from the Deep Core, centered around the shadowy world of Byss.

It was not until almost 25 years after the death of Emperor Palpatine that the New Republic became aware of the true complexity of the Empire's hold on the Deep Core. Thanks to negotiations between Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon and Leia Organa Solo, the New Republic finally gained access to the hyperspace routes in an effort to stymie the further expansion of the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. Since the war with the Yuuzhan Vong devastated the New Republic, the Jedi and other freedom fighters began using the impassable nature of the Deep Core to stage traps and hide from the seemingly unstoppable invaders.

Hyperspace Security Net

The Deep Core Security Zone is the name for hyperspace lanes in the Deep Core that are strictly monitored for traffic by the Empire. Passing through these hyperspace lanes is no easy task; to legitimately do so requires not only proper registration with the Bureau of Ships and Services as an authorized Deep Core traveler, but also Imperial Security Authorization and Imperial Intelligence Clearance. This ensures that only those ships the Empire wants to pass through the Security Zone do so. To circumvent the Security Zone means traveling uncharted hyperspace lanes into the Deep Core; this adds +10 to the DC of any Astrogation checks involving destinations within the Deep Core.

A combination of several technologies at the cutting edge of Imperial research helps enforce the Security Zone. Immobilizer-class Interdictor Cruisers block the narrow hyperspace lanes, while mines that generate gravity wells upon detecting hyperspace activity in their zone litter the broader areas of space that such ships cannot cover. Once a ship has been pulled from hyperspace by either method, it must present proper authorization or come under immediate and devastating fire from Star Destroyers and their support craft. This combination of Interdictor Cruisers and gravity mines is known as the Hyperspace Security Net, trapping any attempts to pass through the Deep Core Security Zone via known hyperspace routes.

Part 1: Byss
In which we learn the dark secrets of the Emperor's so-called luxury planet.

Part 2: Empress Teta
In which we navigate the urban sprawl of the region's hub of galactic civilization.

Part 3: Prakith
In which we tread lightly through the foreboding mountains of this fortress world.

Part 4: Vulpter
In which we see how the Trade Federation and the Empire created a dying wasteland.

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