As the Gamemaster, you are free to set your Star Wars campaign in any time period. However, the Star Wars Saga Edition Core Rulebook focuses on three eras in particular: The Rise of the Empire Era, The Rebellion Era, and The New Jedi Order Era. The information presented in this article is intended to give you enough of a backdrop to comfortably set adventures in any of these Eras.
The Pre-Republic Era Edit
Pre-Republic Era data created by d20radio user RobShanti.
Main Article: The Pre-Republic Era
2,000,000,000 to 25,053 Years before A New Hope
The mythic ages of any universe have a special appeal. The ancient, Pre-Republic Era, was populated by mysterious, long-departed civilizations that used Hypergates and Tractor Beams before there were Hyperdrive propulsion systems to traverse the stars. Men and women of deeds wielded alchemical swords before there were Lightsabers, before The Jedi had that name, before The Sith rose, before the origins of the whole wonderful galaxy we know as the Star Wars universe.
The Old Republic Era Edit
Main Article: The Old Republic Era
25,053 to 1,000 Years before A New Hope
During the Era of The Old Republic, Jedi battle against Sith Lords, Mandalorian warriors raid Outer Rim worlds, and the Republic struggles to fight off enemies at every turn. Smugglers dodge Sith warships and bluff their way past Republic customs agents, while bounty hunters and mercenaries play both sides of every conflict for the greatest profit. Soldiers fight on distant battlefields and defend planets close to home. Vast empires rise, fall, and are reborn. This is the time of The Old Republic Era, and it is one of the most exciting periods in all Star Wars continuity.
The Great Galactic War Edit
Homebrew Reference Book: The Old Republic Sourcebook
Main Article: Galactic History
The Republic and the Empire sit on an uneasy truce. A long bloody war has left both sides severely depleted and weary, and a fragile truce has many galactic citizens fearful of a return to open hostilities. The millennia-old democracy, protected by the ancient Jedi Order, is now locked in a Cold War with the secretive Sith Empire, the entire galaxy seeming like a primed thermal detonator, ready to explode... This is the setting for Star Wars: The Old Republic!
The Republic Dark Age Edit
The Republic Dark Age data created by Wikia user Lukewarner.
Main Article: The Republic Dark Age
In 1,100 BBY The Old Republic collapsed. Centuries of fighting The Sith had drained the economies of countless worlds, and conscription had dipped to critical levels as able-bodied adults became a scarce commodity. The government of Coruscant could no longer afford to maintain The HoloNet communications network and left the Rim in the dark with only courier ships to carry messages. Finally, an outbreak of the Candorian plague killed as many as two-thirds of the inhabitants of Republic worlds.
The Rise of the Empire Era Edit
Main Article: The Rise of the Empire Era
1,000 to 19 Years before A New Hope
A campaign set in The Rise of the Empire Era focuses on the slow decline and corruption of The Republic. As The Phantom Menace comes to an end, the future for the galaxy looks bright. The charismatic and popular Palpatine has been elected as Supreme Chancellor, The Trade Federation has seemingly been dismantled, and the Jedi Knights are at their peak of power and influence. However, there's a sinister shadow creeping across the galaxy. The vile Sith have returned. Crime is on the rise. Politicians continue to bicker and look after their own petty interests. Nothing is as it seems.
The Dark Times Edit
Main Article: The Dark Times
19 to 0 Years before A New Hope
The Rebellion Era Edit
Main Article: The Rebellion Era
0 to 5 Years after A New Hope
The Emperor rules with an iron will. His key supporters include Darth Vader, Moffs and Grand Moffs of varying degrees of power and influence, military commandeers, and a variety of secret police, spies, and assassins. The feared agents of the Imperial Security Bureau (The ISB) scour the galaxy for traitors and Rebels. The once-great Jedi order has been eliminated, and only a handful of Force-sensitive individuals remain in hiding on out-of-the-way planets- other than those darksiders working for the Emperor's New Order.
The Senate has been disbanded. The HoloNet has been restricted. The Core Worlds have been effectively cut off from the rest of the galaxy. Alderaan, a world of peace and influence, has been destroyed. The Emperor's Grand Admirals command the vast Imperial military machine, and hundreds of worlds have been tasked with keeping that machine going- no matter what the cost. New weapons of war appear regularly, from modified Stormtroopers to Walkers, TIE Fighters to Star Destroyers. Interdictor Cruisers capable of pulling ships out of Hyperspace are seeing wider use. No Starship, private or otherwise, is safe from Imperial inspection, and boarding occurs on a regular basis.
Heroes of this Era probably work for The Rebel Alliance. They can be part of a Rebel Cell, attached directly to Alliance High Command, or independents drawn to The Alliance's cause. In addition to The Galactic Empire, opponents of this Era include crime lords, smugglers, bounty hunters, and traitors to The Alliance. It's all up to the heroes to help turn the tide of Imperial domination.
The New Jedi Order Era Edit
Main Article: The New Jedi Order Era
5 to 37 Years after A New Hope
In The New Jedi Order Era, The New Republic is in place, although a small Imperial Remnant maintains control of a portion of the galaxy. The Jedi, on the rise again thanks to the efforts of Luke Skywalker, are at a crossroads. Some members of The Order, which numbers about one hundred individuals, want to take a more direct and deliberate role in galactic affairs. Skywalker, meanwhile, is struggling with whether or not he wants to reestablish the Jedi Council. Rash Jedi have led New Republic officials to be wary of the Knights, and suspicious of their true motives. Indeed, this leads to varying degrees of mistrust and even fear in the general populace, many of whom still remember the Emperor's anti-Jedi rhetoric from years before.
The Legacy Era Edit
Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Legacy Era Campaign Guide
Main Article: The Legacy Era
37+ Years after A New Hope
Obi-Wan Kenobi once called the period between the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire "The Dark Times." Had he foreseen The Legacy Era, he might have called the period defined by Palpatine's rise to power something else. Indeed, The Legacy Era is rife with the same tyranny, oppression, violence, and danger that flourished under Palpatine's rule. However, in the future of the Star Wars galaxy, the Empire is openly ruled by a Sith Lord and his dark minions, The Jedi have once again been hunted nearly to extinction, and the heir to the Skywalker name is a Deathstick-using bounty hunter who rejects The Force and everything associated with it. Times have never been grimmer than they are under Darth Krayt's Empire, and yet the opportunities for heroes to make a difference have never been more prevalent.