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"Greetings, fellow spiritual traveler! Have you come to lead me home? Good. The Shrub is generous and giving to all."
―A servant of the Shrub[src]

The Shrub was a type of plant worshiped as a religious entity by a following of cult-like believers originating from the outskirts of the Outer Rim desert world of Tatooine. According to its adherents, the Shrub, which essentially amounted to a type of bush, was "generous and giving to all." True believers, who were also referred to as fellow pilgrims or spiritual travelers, maintained that the Shrub would "rain down its leaves to the willing." By the time following the Battle of Yavin in 0 BBY, knowledge of the Shrub had spread to other parts of the galaxy. In one embarrassing incident, a member of the Galactic Empire fell in with the religious cult, and embarked on an unsanctioned spiritual vision quest. Hoping to put a stop to a stop to this, the Imperial-turned-cultist was tracked down and brought back to their superior to face punitive action.

HistoryEdit

"I've got an embarrassing problem. One of my subordinates has fallen in with some kind of cult from the Tatooine outskirts. I want you to fetch this true believer back to me, so I can make it plain that I don't approve of spiritual vision quests on the Imperial clock. Understood? Good."
―An Imperial superior, requesting that their subordinate be returned to face disciplinary action[src]

In the Outer Rim Territories, a planet named Tatooine saw the birth of a bizarre religious cult centered around a plant-like bush referred to as "the Shrub." Originating in the outskirts of the desert world, followers of the Shrub, who were identified as true believers, pilgrims, or spiritual travelers, maintained that the Shrub was a generous and giving entity. By the time following the Battle of Yavin[1] in 0 BBY,[2] knowledge of the Shrub had spread to other parts of the galaxy. This posed something of an embarrassing nuisance to the Galactic Empire on at least one occasion.[1]

When an Imperial subordinate abandoned their post to embark on an unsanctioned spiritual vision quest dedicated to the Shrub, their superior paid a spacer to locate the individual and bring them back to face disciplinary action. The Imperial spiritual traveler was duly located and returned to their superior officer, but not without first professing their faith in the Shrub and its supposed powers, including their cryptic belief that the Shrub would "rain down its leaves to the willing." The superior officer made a mockery of this, threatening that they would see what "rained down" once Sector Command heard of their act of insubordination.[1]

Behind the scenesEdit

FloatingShrub

A shrub, like the one observed during beta, except rooted to the ground

The Shrub was first mentioned in the 2003 video game Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by LucasArts, prior to its closure on December 15, 2011.[1][3] Early in the game's lifespan, dynamically spawned non-player characters offered a variety of simple missions, some of which were provided by NPCs of a specific faction. In this case, Imperial mission NPCs could offer an escort mission titled Retrieve a Spiritual Traveller with three varying levels of difficultly. The mission required the player to locate an NPC who had abandoned the Empire to embark on a spiritual journey centered around the Shrub, and escort them safely back to their assigned waypoint in exchange for a credit reward.[1]

The storyline of the aforementioned mission[1] was evidently a reference to a real-world situation which transpired during the beta testing of Star Wars Galaxies. During the testing of the game, players encountered a shrub on Tatooine which floated above the ground due to a bug. This floating shrub spurred something of a jocular, cult-like following among at least some beta testers. Recognizing this, the game's developers created two test guilds, one of which was called Servants of the Shrub, and another opposing sect called the Force Sensitive Sheep.[4] By the time the game was fully released, the "floating shrub" issue had been resolved.[1][5] Nevertheless, the situation inspired the creation of a Player Association on the Bria server named Servants of the Shrub.[4] The guild went on to write an online text titled the "Holy Book of the Shrub,"[6] which further served as a source of amusement to players who recalled the legendary beta test bug.[7]

AppearancesEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

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