Long before Sith was sect of Dark Side followers, the Sith were a race of humanoids that inhabited the nearly barren world of Korriban. This Sith species was distinguished by red skin, cheek tendrils, and elbow and forehead cartilage protrusions. Most importantly the Sith were naturally attuned to the Dark Side of the Force. In fact, for thousands of years, the Sith wielded this dark magic without being aware of what it truly was.
A Sith named Adas became the first recorded king of the Sith, donning the title Sith'ari. (For those paying attention, Darth Vader was supposed to be the return of the Sith'ari.) Adas drove the Rakata's Infinite Empire from Korriban some 21,000 years before the first human encountered the species. In Star Wars: The Old Republic, players will also encounter a Rakata named the Infernal One in the Eternity Vault Operation. Perhaps there is a tie between this Infernal One and the ancient Sith Empire. Whatever the case, if the Infernal One is any indication of what the Rakata were like, then it took great strength for the Infinite Empire to be removed from the Sith homeworld.
After Adas' reign, the Sith were ruled by kings for a short time, but eventually, the species fell back into its tribal ways despite still having a king -- that is, until the first humans made an appearance on Korriban about 6,900 years before the battle of Yavin, about 3,250 before the Treaty of Coruscant (BTC). These humans were the Dark Jedi survivors of the Hundred-Year Darkness, a war of sorts that followed the Second Great Schism in the Jedi Order. These Dark Jedi soon became rulers over the Sith species and interwove their Dark Jedi teaching with that of Sith Magic.
Over time, the humans and Sith intermingled, creating a mostly hybrid species of Sith. In fact, most of the ruling caste of Sith during the Hyperspace War (1347 BTC) were a mix of these two species, even though they retained a lot of the Sith traits. The lower castes, such as the Massassi, did not intermingle, so therefore they remained mostly unchanged in 1900 years.
During this time, the Dark Lord of the Sith Naga Sadow declared war on the newly discovered Galactic Republic. The Sith would have won had Sadow's apprentice not turned on him. The Republic then made possibly one of its gravest errors: At the climax of the war, the Republic leaders ordered the genocide of the entire Sith species. Of course, some did escape, including the one who would become the leader of the Sith Empire in SWTOR.
During the years after the Second Great Schism, the human blood was diluted by the Sith blood. Although some of the Sith had minor human traits like lighter skin or five full fingers, most still retained the appearance of their Sith ancestors. After the Hyperspace War, the Sith hid themselves from the majority of galaxy in the Unknown Regions. During this time, the inverse happened. Many Sith traits all but disappeared when the species interbred with other humanoids. In fact, by the time of the Great War (28 BTC), a red-skinned Sith was rare and revered, even though it was suspected that a large chunk of the Empire had some trace of Sith DNA.
BioWare has announced that the Sith Warrior can be a Sith Pureblood, and other sites have reported that the Sith Inquisitor can be this species as well. I believe it is important to understand where this species came from in order to understand its future. Although we do not know the whole of the class stories yet. Look out for ties to these historical roots. For instance, why was it important for the returning Sith to defeat the ghost of Naga Sadow? Was it just because of the direct connection between the Sith history and the current Empire? Most likely it ties back to the tribal feuds that extended well before the first human met his first Sith.
Stay tuned in later weeks for more historical references to the current SWTOR story in the Holocron Files.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!