In a Sea of Stars
The Varden is a dwarvish group that seeks to protect dwarven interests in the galaxy. They are a paramilitary group that is viewed by many as being radical and extremist.
The group was founded centuries ago after a heavily populated planet called Dverger was assimilated into the Empire. Despite being technologically advanced and competent in space travel, they were unable to repel the draconic invaders. Although most of the planet’s inhabitants eventually submitted, a group of rebels broke off from the rest and stole a starship they renamed Helvzogs Lys and vanished into the darkness of space with over a thousand dwarves on board.
Decades passed while the inhabitants of the Helvzogs Lys debated what their course of action should be. For years they were content to wander the galaxy, evading Empire forces wherever they went. Soon, though, the leaders that had been selected began to believe that they had escaped for a reason, their god Helvzog had saved them for a purpose. As they debated, it dawned on them that they were last bastion of free dwarves in the universe, and it was up to them to stand up for their oppressed kin. Thus was born the militiant organization known as the Varden.
At first they rebelled in little ways, raiding small Empire supply ships and using other such guerrilla tactics. But over the years they grew bolder as they perceived what they believed to be a species-wide forsaking of true dwarfism. Many had abandoned their one Creator God, Helvzog, for the Unification Church, which worshipped the twelve “true gods.” Steadfast in their beliefs, the Varden began to grow bolder, until they rashly and openly attacked an Empire battalion. However, they underestimated the strength of the battalion, and were almost destroyed in the ensuing battle. After barely surviving their escape, the Varden decided that it would be safer and more effective if they remained in the shadows.
Since then, the Varden’s power has grown immensely, though the organization is still only as large as two thousand. The Helvzogs Lys is still the flagship, though their fleet of fighters has grown and they have added another large ship, the Dverger Sti, which holds their artificial farms and other food sources. The Dverger Sti also houses the Varden’s civilians – those that believe in Helvzog and the Varden’s goals – while Helvzogs Lys is holds the Varden’s soldiers.
The Varden’s current operations include tactical supply raids, infiltration of Empire bases, and the elimination of threats to dwarfkind in general. Their scope has expanded beyond the Empire to any and all forces that harbor ill will against dwarves. In the last several decades, they have become the shadow organization of dwarf supremacist that they are known as today. Although they are a known group, and many crimes are suggested to be tied to them, no secure evidence ever exists and the group is therefore untouchable. Recently, some dwarves throughout the galaxy have begun to wonder if the Varden has the right idea, though few have acted on these ideas.
Within the Varden, there are two main military branches: the regular soldiers, who are trained for war and often never see any action; and the exclusive Jedi Order, an elite group of warriors within the Varden that carry out most of their operations. Unlike their lessers in the regular army, they are trained to use both weapons and magic. The Order is almost independent of the regular military and answers only to the Jedi Council. The Council, in turn, must answer to Linjal Durza, the leader of the Varden and the commander of the regular forces. In most operations, though, the Jedi Council acts as it sees fit or with suggestion from the Linjal; it is very rare for the Linjal to order the Council to act (for fear of retaliation).
Dirk Lightstone is a member of the Jedi Order at the start of the campaign, like his father before him. His grandfather is also a member of the Jedi Council, and he is the nephew once removed of Linjal Durza.