Wretched Hives of Scum and Villainy
The Black Bha'lir
The Black Bha’lir are a multi-system organisation of smugglers who live by a strict code of ethics. Their name was derived from the large, pack-hunting cats of Lyred, known as the Bha’lir.
The Black Bha’lir was unusual among criminal organizations in that it expected all of its members to adhere to a very demanding code of ethical conduct. This code consisted of four principles.
1. Never Profit from the Weakness of Others.
A difficult principle to reconcile with a life of crime, members of the Black Bha’lir were expected to “play fair”. To take advantage of the weakness of another being was considered cowardly and evil.
2. Honour the Vyvya.
To honour the vyvya was to give back to the community that fostered you. Each individual took an oath to protect the honour of the Black Bha’lir and the lives of its members. It was also expected that members would give back to the community at large.
3. Prepare the Way of The Retribution.
Those who dishonoured the Black Bha’lir were marked for death according to the Rites of Retribution. All members of the Black Bha’lir were expected to be willing to eliminate anyone who was marked for retribution.
4. Respect the Right of Aa’kua.
The Black Bha’lir considered there to be no more fundamental ethical law than this: that the right of every individual and that individual’s space was to be respected above all else. This principle often brought the Black Bha’lir into conflict with slavers.
Those who broke the code or otherwise disgraced the Black Bha’lir were no longer considered to be members and were frequently hunted by the Black Bha’lir according to the Rites of Retribution. Those members of the Black Bha’lir who carried out retribution on behalf of the society were often revered by their fellow members.
Benefits of Membership
A member of the Black Bha’lir enjoyed benefits unlike most other criminal organizations. The Bha’lir were focused on mutual support and the common good rather than individual success and selfish greed. While disputes between members did occasionally occur within the Black Bha’lir, a member could typically depend on the support of his fellow members no matter how dire a situation they found themselves in. As long as a member adhered to the ethics of the smuggler’s code, they had only allies within the society. Members of higher rank, such as Master Smugglers, Mentors, and the Old Guard would often provide safe havens for downtrodden Bha’lir. Members of the lower ranks were willing to cross the galaxy to fight alongside their brothers and sisters in need. Reimbursement was sometimes expected, but was rarely more than a returned favour or customary gift.
Every member of the Black Bha’lir was expected to start at the bottom and earn their rank within the society. This ensured members gained power within the society based solely on the merits of their actions, but also helped to guide prospective members into the positions for which they were most suited. Those ranks are; Apprentice, Pilot, Prince, Master Smuggler, Mentor, Old Guard, and the much revered members of the Tribunal.
Rivalry with the Hutts
Due to a defining moment in the history of the Black Bha’lir, there is a mutual hatred and rivalry between members of the organisation and the various clans of the Hutts. What Hutts are to the seedy and unseemly nature of Crime in the Galaxy, the Black Bha’lir are to the image of the gentleman rogue, and paragons of the exemplary conduct becoming an honourable criminal.
The Black Bha’lir were forever enamoured of the underdog. Although they were never officially affiliated with any other groups or organizations, the Black Bha’lir often supported worthy causes for comparatively little cost. In rare cases, they even offered aid to struggling groups such as the Rebel Alliance without any expectation of reimbursement; a practice virtually unheard of in the criminal underworld.