Autumn of the Republic
The Kage are a proud people hailing from the Quarzite system. They are humanlike, but are more agile and quick to anger, and their skin has adapted to the dark mineral caverns of their homeworld. A vigilant people, the Kage maintain a strong defensive fleet, and they have mastered many arts of warfare. Further, their homeworld is abundant in mineral wealth, and they are able to afford the very best in technology. Paradoxically, the Kage do not have a high standard of living, being more preoccupied with their individual roles in their society. Archaeologists suggest the Kage were one of the first people to throw off the shackles of the Infinite Empire when the Rakata ruled the galaxy some tens of thousands of years ago (and experienced some of their worst reprisals).
Kage society rigidly defines the role of each member, based on four pillars: officers, soldiers, engineers, and producers. Each Kage’s role is determined by their skills so that each member contributes the most possible to society. As such, Kage society is extremely ordered and regimented; while individuals have some freedom within the system, the collective well-being is the foremost priority. The Kage are ruled by a tetrarchy — four leaders, one for each pillar. Each praetor is chosen secretly, and no one is quite sure of their identities; they meet privately, and they guard their secrets closely. Their magisters, who enact their wills, are equally unsure who their masters are, but they enact their will with precision.
Thousands of years ago, near the dawn of the Republic, the Kage developed hyperspace technology and conquered their neighbors, establishing quick dominance over their sector. When Republic scouts discovered the fledgling fortress-worlds, first contact quickly turned into a brief war, but the Kage were no match for the Jedi Knights, and they rapidly surrendered and agreed to join the Republic. However, they are at times a difficult member, and they’re not always well-suited to diplomacy. The Kage believe theirs is a perfect society, and other species are soft and chaotic in their eyes—because Kage society so strongly emphasizes the collective over the individual, they view other species as dysfunctional barbarians.
Three species live on Kage “purse worlds” (conquered planets who have signed nonaggression treaties, long before the Republic knew of the Kage): Belugans, a birdlike species; Yintar, an eel-like aquatic species known for their technological acumen; and Karsmen, rugged desert dwellers with regenerative capabilities. These species are fully supportive of the Kage, who in turn leave these species to their own devices for the most part, in exchange for tribute and military support.
Thirty years ago, an attempted coup reduced the Kage Tetrarchy to one leader, and insurrection engulfed their purse worlds. Hoping to prevent further death, the Republic stepped in, selecting the Tetrarchy members themselves. While this stabilized the government, it also turned the Kage’s temper against the Republic. For outsiders to interfere and decide how the Kage should govern their own affairs was inconceivable. To that end, the Kage kicked out all foreign personnel from Quarzite, and they have been using their mineral wealth to expand their fleet and hire mercenaries, looking to add new purse worlds to their territories. As the Kage have taken care to minimize casualties and have committed no atrocities, the Republic has been slow to act, more concerned with the price of sending in their own fleets to clean up the situation.
The party first met a Kage on Rampart Station; they were investigating a saboteur who had been rigging cargo pods to explode, killing several Trade Federation workers and Trandoshan military guards. The trail led to Tuda Poli, a woman who blackmailed an engineer to reprogram the Federation’s loading droids. The party quickly tracked her down and arrested her; she insisted that she wasn’t an agent of her government, but was striking against “the corrupt Republic oppressors.”