- "So many new recruits. Different species, different armors, different languages—and not enough time to learn our ways. Cassus first suggested that the similar uniforms—like the Legend of Rohlan—could help get control of a force that has grown beyond control."
- ―Mandalore the Ultimate
The Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders were an order of Mandalorians sponsored by Mandalore the Ultimate following the end of the Great Sith War and his own ascension to the position of Mandalore. Named after the original Mandalorian Crusaders, they fought the Mandalorian Wars, and were later regrouped and reformed under Mandalore the Preserver.
The headquarters of the Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders, while under the command of both Mandalore the Ultimate and Mandalore the Preserver, was a sprawling complex that was built amidst the dangerous jungles of Dxun.
Cassus Fett considered the Neo-Crusaders to be a New Order in contrast to the Republic, which he saw as the Old Order. Ironically, despite the fact they were the ones who started the Mandalorian Wars and fought against the Republic and the Jedi, after they were rallied by Canderous Ordo, they indirectly aided the Onderon Royalists in their civil war, and ultimately fought alongside the TSF and Republic forces in the Battle of Telos.
Prior to the Mandalorian Wars
The Neo-Crusader movement arose during the veterans of the Great Sith War discontent about how the Crusaders performed in the war: excellent at pillaging and destroying Republic installations, they were not nearly as efficient at exploiting their conquests. With the Crusader ethic focused on fighting the next battle, the Great Sith War provided the Mandalorians with little time to exploit their gains: huge industrial complexes conquered remained idle rather than rearming the Mando'ade, and millions of potential recruits who might have been brought into the movement were not.
Ascribing this flaw to the lack of order arising from their nomadic lifestyle, a small group of enthusiasts calling themselves Neo-Crusaders took residence on the planet Mandalore. They adopted a rudimentary chain of command and division of labor, not found in the traditional culture. Many Mandalorians found this bizarre, but some took interest in the Neo-Crusaders. When the Mandalorians again began to raid nonaligned worlds, the Neo-Crusaders won their share of battles due to their discipline.
Sensing an opportunity, Mandalore the Ultimate and his closest assistant Cassus Fett decided to encourage the movement. Cassus refined the former cult's organizational strategies for use on a larger scale. The Mandalorians who tested the Republic in the early skirmishes found that they had a distinct advantage with Neo-Crusaders as their vanguard. By the time the wider Mandalorian Wars with the Republic finally broke out, Neo-Crusaders were present in every unit, boosting morale and spreading the new ideals and discipline.
When the Mandalorians took Republic worlds, they immediately located potential recruits. Shipped to training centers, the new recruits were taught by Neo-Crusaders to become the Neo-Crusaders. Traditional Mandalorians were encouraged to adopt the system as well, although some were distressed by the changes. The Mandalorians of the past were voluntarily committed to the cause, but Neo-Crusaders increasingly included warriors of poor quality who joined to escape occupation or to simply gain their share in the pillaging.
At the same time, Zeltron Neo-Crusader Demagol also began an experiment at his New Generation Academy on planet Osadia to help combat Jedi forces in the upcoming war by attempting to establish the Mandalorian Knights. The project was aborted after the Crucible slaver group invaded and he gave them his daughter.
The Mandalorian Wars
On conquered worlds, the Mandalorians gave former Republic citizens a choice: to join the Neo-Crusaders as warriors, or to sit quietly and work as manufacturers for the clans as de facto slaves. Many—including a host of criminals from the prisons the Mandalorians emptied—were sent with the recruiters to planetary staging centers, such as the one on Jebble. There they received whirlwind indoctrination in the Resol'nare from Mandalorian Rally Masters before being issued blue Neo-Crusader armor and blaster rifles from the on-site War Forges. Also from these forges were large fleets of Kandosii-type dreadnoughts, Kyramud-type battleships, Jehavey'ir-type assault ships, dungeon ships, Q-Carriers, Teroch-type gunships, and Davaab-type starfighters that transported Neo-Crusader forces and engaged in stellar warfare. Many Neo-Crusader units were complimented by elite Shock Troopers in battle.
The wars began with the Battle of Althir, during which the Neo-Crusaders decimated an Althiri force ten times their strength. Under the guidance of Mandalore and his Field Marshals, the Neo-Crusaders conquered several independent star systems across the Outer Rim Territories in many campaigns including a brutal attack on Cathar and some operations in Hutt Space. The Republic initially ignored the Mandalorian aggressions as they were still healing from the damage dealt by the Great Sith War, with incursions between the two galactic powerhouses often being in the form of insignificant skirmishes. This eventually changed after Taris, a semi-autonomous Outer Rim world crucial to Republic economy, was besieged by Neo-Crusaders under the command of Cassus Fett. In retaliation, the Republic engaged the Mandalorians at a violent battlefront spanning from Jebble to Vanquo over the course of a months-long deadlock. The tides were turned when the Mandalorians broke the stalemate and attacked dozens of Republic systems as far in as the Mid Rim. It was during the Mandalorian onslaught that a group of Jedi under the Jedi Knight Revan joined the war as officers and instructors in the Republic Military. After Onderon's occupation by Mandalorians forces, an outpost was established on Onderon's jungle moon that served as an important forward command base for the Neo-Crusaders' cause as they carried out devastating campaigns into Republic territories. Under Revan, the Republic eventually overturned the Mandalorians and began liberating several Mandalorian vassals. During a massive battle at Malachor V, Mandalore was slain by Revan, who then destroyed most forces present with the Mass Shadow Generator, rendering Malachor desolate and lifeless in the process. The sacrifice proved effective, though, as the Mandalorian clans fell into infighting and eventually dispersed, with many Neo-Crusaders becoming bandits, pirates, and mercenaries.
- "The Republic thinks my people are dead, scattered. They are wrong. You should have destroyed us when you had the chance. As long as one Mandalorian lives, we will survive."
- ―Canderous Ordo to Meetra Surik
The Neo-Crusaders entered dark times, when they were no longer great warriors, but mere thugs. Revan encountered some of these fallen warriors during his quest to find the Star Forge, such as raiders on Dantooine and hunters on Kashyyyk. After the end of the Jedi Civil War, before leaving into the Unknown Regions to find the True Sith, Revan tasked Canderous Ordo, one of the former Neo-Crusaders who accompanied him on his journey, with reuniting the scattered Mandalorian clans on Dxun. Canderous recovered Mandalore's Mask, which had been lost since the Battle of Malachor V, and declared himself the new Mandalore. He began to reunite the clans under the Ordo banner on Dxun, where the Mandalorian Wars began.
Five years after the Jedi Civil War, Meetra Surik, also known as the Jedi Exile, was forced to land on Dxun by Colonel Tobin's space forces when searching for Jedi Master Kavar on Onderon. She was found by a Mandalorian sentry and taken to the Mandalorian base. Mandalore the Preserver agreed to give her safe passage to Onderon if she proved herself worthy. After completing various tasks, such as stopping Tobin's scouts from uncovering the base and rescuing the lost warrior Kumus, Mandalore agreed to help her. Shortly before they could leave, however, Sith assassins, who had been tracking her progress since an incident on Peragus, attacked the base. Surik helped defend the base from the invaders before leaving.
After their business on Onderon was done, Mandalore stated that he would accompany Surik on her journey for two reasons; the Sith would eventually dominate the Mandalorians if they were allowed to defeat the Jedi once and for all, and he had been meaning to leave to search for more clans. He found such clans on Nar Shaddaa and Dantooine. When the Battle of Telos IV began, the Mandalorians helped battle against the Sith, particularly aiding in the destruction of the Ravager, Darth Nihilus' personal vessel.
- "I've never much liked the look of the Neo-Crusader armor—but the increased order has been useful. We might even conquer the galaxy because of it."
- ―Mandalore the Ultimate
Neo-Crusader armor was standardized, being colored to correspond with the position of the wearer. A recruit and anyone not having a leadership position wore blue, while Rally Masters wore crimson. A golden suit was then handed out to Field Marshals. The armor had a few advantages over the earlier Crusader armor, including a harder surface.
Neo-Crusader Shock Troopers wore a unique variant of Neo-Crusader armor.
The Mandalorian Neo-Crusaders indeed used beskar iron material, and guarded the secret of producing it into armor from the rest of the galaxy. However, the process of forging beskar was so long and tedious that not every Neo-Crusader was able to be procured some in time.
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