Hi Nicol,

Given the fact Star Wars is an extremely well known series of sci-fi
books, cartoons, and movies I find it amazing you haven't heard about
it until now. All the same I'll try and explain it in newby terms for
you.

The name "Star Wars" is actually pretty self-explanitory. Essentially,
at its core Star Wars is about a time long long ago in a galaxy far
far away that goes through a number of intergalactic wars and
conflicts. As there are several books, movies, and cartoons it would
be too much to give you any detail on each and every galactic
conflict, but it basically can be broken down into four or five
primary areas.

Old Republic era --- A time when the galaxy is ruled by a senate, the
Republic, and is guarded by a well trained group of champions who have
special powers abilities known as the Jedi Knights. The Jedi Knights
are able to use their powers and abilities through a power they simply
call the Force. The Old Republic is eventually braught to an end when
a Sith Lord named Darth Sidious instigates a galactic war called the
Clone Wars, and uses it to whipe out the original Jedi Knights.

Imperial era --- This is a dark time in the galaxies history when
Darth Sidious, Emperor Palpatine, rules the entire galaxy. Only a few
Jedi Knights survived the Clone Wars like Obi-Won, Yoda, and the
future Jedi Luke Skywalker. Eventually the Rebel Alliance is
victorious, and Emperor Palpatine is defeated.

New Republic era --- This is a time in the galactic history were the
heros of the Rebel Alliance like princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Mon
Mothma, Hon Solo, and Admiral Aqbar, etc restore the Republic back to
the way it was before the Clone Wars. However, several former Imperial
military leaders such as Grand Admiral Thrawn, Admiral Dolla, etc
continue the war between the Empire and the New Republic until a piece
treaty is signed about six years before the Yuuzhan Vong war. The New
Republic is eventually over run by an alien race from outside the
galaxy, the Youuzhan Vong, who are bent on exterminating the entire
galaxy, and it turns into a galactic war for survival. Only Lukes new
Jedi order stands between the Yuuzhan Vong and conquest.

Galactic Alliance era ---- This is the current era in the Star Wars
universe. This takes place several years after the Yuuzhan Vong war
and a new government, the Galactic Alliance, has been reformed out of
the ashes of the New Republic. Luke Skywalker, now an old man, is both
founder and leader of the new Jedi Knights. Even though the Empire,
Yuuzhan Vong, etc have long been defeated their are planets in the
Galactic Alliance that decide to revolt against the Galactic Alliance
and the galaxy is once again plunged into war. One of the Jedi
Knights, Jacen Solo, goes rogue and his sister, Jaina Solo, must track
Jacen down and kill him in order to restore balance and order to the
galaxy.

In the latest series of books, Fate of the Jedi, it picks up with the
story shortly following Jacen Solo's death. Luke Skywalker is put on
trial for allowing Jacen Solo to turn to the dark side, and is blamed
for the civil war.  In order to clear his name Luke Skywalker, his son
Ben SkyWalker, as well as various Jedi allies try to put together
events that lead up to Jacen Solo turning to the dark side and the
roots of the civil war covered in Legacy of the Force. Eventually the
uncover a new group of dark Jedi Knights, Sith, that are trying to
twist events to their advantage in order to take power.

When it comes to weapons there are lots of different weapons. In short
the most common weapons are these.

Light saber --- a sword-like weapon made out of pure light and energy.
This is the weapon used by most Jedi Knights as well as the Sith.

Blastech Pistol ---- This weapon is basically a type of laser pistol
favored by people like Han Solo and Mara Jade before she becomes a
Jedi Knight herself.

Blaster Rifle --- This is a laser weapon caried by troopers such as
clone troopers, storm troopers, Republic troops, etc. Pretty standard
weapon for soldiers in other words.

Repeater Rifle --- I've only seen this one in games, but it is
basically a blaster rifle that can fire several laser shots per
second.

Thermal detonator --- A round silver ball that can be set or thrown
like a grenade to blow things up.

Finally, as for the Sith they are not traps. They are people. Kind of
a dark Jedi with powers and abilities similar to a Jedi Knight except
they are evil. Since a Sith Lord can be any race within the Star Wars
universe they could be human or they can be of some non-human race.
For example, Darth Sidious was a human named Palpatine from the planet
Nabu but one of his Sith apprentices, Darth Maul, was an alien that
kind of reminds people of the devil because of his skin color and
horns on his head. So a Sith can look like anything.

As for the game, Mysteries of the Sith, I don't think it is absolutely
necessary to have read the Star Wars books, watched the Star Wars
movies, etc but it might help give you a better idea of the over all
plot as well as the main characters. For example, in Mysteries of the
Sith the main character is Mara Jade who has become one of the more
popular characters in the Star Wars universe. Mara has an extremely
unique history in that at the time Emperor Palpatine, Darth Sidious,
was killed Mara Jade was being trained as a Sith apprentice.  After
Palpatine's death she tries her hand working as a smuggler until she
meats Luke Skywalker and is inlisted in the New Republic's struggle
against Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Empire. From there Mara
eventually becomes a Jedi Knight, and several years later she falls in
love with and marries Luke Skywalker. During the Yuuzhan Vong conflict
Mara gives birth to their son Ben Skywalker. Several years later in
the Star Wars books Mara is murdered by Jacen Solo after Jacen turns
to the dark side and becomes a Sith Lord.

So there you have it. While Mara's background history isn't necessary
I think you, the gamer, might have a better feel for the game if you
knew who Mara Jade Skywalker is in relation to everything else. Alot
of who and what she is comes from a checkered past. Unlike many Jedi
Knights Mara both knows and understands the dark side and light side
of the Force.  Although, after Mara is turned to the light side in
Last Command it is doubtful she actually practices dark side Force
powers.

Cheers!

---
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