- "Whad will you gib me for de redurn ob your sister?"
- ―An Ugor
Ugors were a species of large, sentient, unicellular organisms native to an unknown planet in the Paradise system. Members of the species were able to change their physical appearance and create pseudopodia to perform the functions of organs and simple tools. The highly efficient Ugor brain, located inside the nucleus, was capable of controlling up to 30 pseudopodia at once. In their natural form, they oozed about as blobs, but many Ugors wore environment suits and adopted a humanoid morphology when dealing with outsiders.
After ruining their once lush planet with industrial toxins and overpopulation, the Ugors evolved the ability to eat garbage and eventually began to worship it. They then set out from their home system—after having sliced up its planets to lay the groundwork for a system-spanning junk yard—and took on the role of scavengers and garbage collectors in the galaxy, bringing them into competition with other species, such as the Squibs. Ugor waste recovery companies reported to the Holy Ugor Taxation Collection Agency, which held authority over all members of the species in the galaxy. Considered an extremely unpleasant, obnoxious race by most other species, Ugors nonetheless became the galaxy's most successful garbage collectors during the Galactic Civil War. They reached their apex of influence after obtaining a prototype gravity well projector from the wreckage of the first Death Star and using it to organize their system-spanning junkyard. Nevertheless, a team of Rebel Alliance and Squib operatives removed the object and sent the system back into disarray.
Biology and appearance
- "While you have compiled reports in the past regarding certain aliens that fall under the classification amorphic, like the wretched Ugors, you are ordered to compile information about the Proteans, the Polydroxol, the Stennes Shifters, and the Shi'ido. Please complete your research as promptly as possible. Do your best to separate the myth from reality."
- ―Major Vontenn to Obo Rin
Ugors were sentient, unicellular protozoans who ranged from one to two meters in diameter. They were considered exotic for being one of the few sentient species to fall outside the standard groupings of birds, mammals, reptiles, etc. Their bodies consisted of cytoplasm, which could be green in some individuals, bound by an outer, slime-coated membrane. Whereas multicellular beings used specialized, permanent organs to sense and interact with their environment, Ugors employed complicated organelles. One of these was the brain, housed in the central nucleus. Unlike the brains of multicellular beings, which relied on neural networks to perform cognitive functions such as information storage and abstract reasoning, those of the Ugors relied on individual molecules. The molecular structure of these processes allowed the brain to operate several times faster and more flexibly than that of a multicellular creature.
One dramatic example of this was the species' ability to rapidly exude pseudopodia devoted to myriad functions. Ugors could mold their cytoplasm into dozens of separate limbs adapted to communicate information, manipulate objects, and facilitate sight, hearing, smell, and taste. In fact, by creating appropriate sensory pseudopodia, Ugors could hear and speak at frequencies beyond those of many other species and see in lower lighting conditions. They could sprout up to 30 pseudopodia at will, processing a vast amount of information in the process; a multicellular brain would have required several times as long to accomplish the same task.
Ugors were amorphic, able to assume nearly any shape. A member of the species might exude extra limbs to wield weapons or create several smiling mouths to placate a nervous customer. An Ugor might generate a tool-shaped pseudopod to act as a bag, knife, lock-pick, shovel, umbrella, or vise. The beings could fluidly adjust their natural abilities as well. By reducing the number of processes devoted to perception, for example, an Ugor might boost its strength or agility.
Nevertheless, most Ugors tended to adopt a default appearance and skill set. A globular form was most comfortable and easy to maintain, even though this body shape forced the Ugor to ooze from place to place at a somewhat slower pace than a member of a multicellular species of similar mass. Those Ugors who came into contact with members of other species often adopted a humanoid appearance, if only barely: the protozoan might take on a stocky body with two thick, handless arms and two short legs, with a mass of eyestalks projecting from where a head might otherwise be. Such a body structure required concentration and was difficult to maintain for long periods.
Ugors sometimes wore tailor-made, armored, full-body environment suits with large, dark helmets. Whatever their form, most other beings found them unappealing to look at. Squibs found their odor repugnant as well.
Ugors were natural predators and required a large amount of food. Nevertheless, their evolution had equipped them with the ability to digest substances that would prove toxic to other species, and they could subsist on other species' trash.
Society and culture
Ugor society revolved around trading and scavenging; they were famed for providing equipment to nascent civilizations and for salvaging wreckage from failed ones. The beings were supremely adaptable and astutely able to get what they wanted from others. Ugor business deals were extremely complex, incorporating opaque knots of loans, interest, and payment plans that were anathema to their rivals, the Squibs. If an Ugor sensed desperation in a potential business partner, the protozoan made every effort to squeeze the other party dry. The Paradise system was constantly visited by beings from all corners of the galaxy searching for older equipment or technology, and although Ugors demanded a hefty price for their goods, they were often the only resource for certain archaic parts. They excelled at those skills that were useful in their pursuit of rubbish collection: a member of the species' education emphasized skills related to scavenging and starship operation (although members of the species rarely became more than passable pilots).
Nevertheless, the Ugor love for trash had a deeper significance: they worshiped the stuff. The beings considered pieces of rubbish to be holy relics, and this zealous devotion led Ugors to fanatically and aggressively collect it. Upon discovering a dump site, an Ugor might first open fire on anyone present and attempt to drive them away. To this end, the species' starships were heavily armed and Ugors themselves often sported multiple pseudopodia specifically intended to carry weapons. They would then attempt to collect as much garbage as possible.
Non-Ugors found members of the species insufferably pompous and sanctimonious, which gave the species a reputation as unpleasant to deal with and, all things considered, best avoided. The species felt that games of chance, haggling, and con jobs were the Ugor way and even considered such behavior virtuous. The species had a tendency to start arguments and make bombastic religious proclamations. They rarely warmed up to outsiders, strongly preferring the company of their own kind.
Ugors reserved a special hatred for the Squib species, whom they considered to be their mortal enemies. The unicellular scavengers considered it a noble goal to scoop up salvage before any Squib interests could arrive. Their hatred could sometimes turn to violence: some Ugors hoped for nothing less than the extermination of the entire Squib species. The conflict evolved into outright war on occasion, at least in the minds of the players. The feelings were mutual, and the Squibs considered the Ugors to be their primary rivals.
Members of the species rarely professed a love for anything other than garbage or food. They were obsessed with the latter, though not to the level of the Ortolan species. Their cuisine was so complex that most recipes required 12 manipulatory appendages to prepare correctly. Ugor favorites included such delicacies as free-floating fungal fondu, glazed glucose pate, mitochondria crunchy surprise, photo-lipids in brazened fatty-acid sauce, single-celery soda, spirogyra gelatin, and Ugorian spore-gruel. Offers of victuals could brighten an Ugor's perception of the one offering it, although the change in attitude rarely went the other way.
The species' native language, which existed in both spoken and written form, was also known as Ugor. Most Ugors learned Basic, and a sizable number studied a trade language, such as Bocce, or the tongue of their rivals, Squibbian. Ugors could speak these languages by creating the appropriate communication apparatus, although their pronunciation often had a watery or slimy tinge. For example, the word give might be pronounced gib, pilgrims as bilgrims, them as dem, and sinner as zinner. The species' names typically consisted of two parts. Example names were ArrGack, GrrKack, and SplrMuck.
- "Bilgrims to Sysdem of Baradise, we cerebonially salude you in name of Gread Prophet Botiv. I, humble Tax Chaplain GrrKack, bid you welcome on sacred bilgrimage. It is now that we are conducting you to holy demple, where you will bake your ceremonial donation to prove intentness of faith."
The Ugors organized themselves into numerous waste reclamation operations, including the Dismantled Droid Disposal Device, the Ugor Salvage Company, and Waste Haulers Unlimited. With jurisdiction over these was the Holy Ugor Taxation Collection Agency (HUTCA), whose sovereignty extended to all members of the species regardless of where they lived. The agency was headed by a single leader, but the post changed almost hourly due to the complexity of Ugor negotiations. In practice, HUTCA and the government were so mired in red tape that its ability to affect actual change and enforce existing regulations was negligible.
The species' religion, codified in holy books of scripture, was focused on the worship of waste and refuse. They recognized and revered divine beings and concepts, such as the Great Prophet Botiv and the holy irreducible garbágina. The Ugors made sacrifices to the Angel of Taxations and Imports and avoided the influence of an adversarial figure known as the Anti-Prophet. In Ugorian cosmology, Squibs were sinners at best, demons and pseudopodia of the Anti-Prophet at worst. They might be sacrificed to the Angel of Taxation and Imports or—for a fee—exorcised. Droids were regarded as "non-eaters" and thus forbidden as visitors on Ugorian vessels.
Ugor religion extended into the species' legal and legislative framework. The legal system was known as Ugorian Divine Law. Among its mandates was that when an Ugor touched an object, its cytoplasm not only established possession, it consecrated the object and made it holy. Government officials had titles such as "Tax Chaplain," "Chief Tax Chaplain," and "Reverend Auditor." All members of the fleet were regarded as Holy Officers and arbiters of Divine Law. Priest-scientists were another type of official, charged with divining the use and function of interesting relics of trash. The Ugorian battlewagons that patrolled their system were considered holy temples, each emblazoned with a holy black hole symbol on its side. After the species obtained a prototype gravity well projector from the remains of the first Death Star sometime after the Battle of Yavin, the device came to be regarded as the Prime Mover, and the chunk of space station around it as the Holy of Holies or Holiest of Holies. The Ugors kept the projector under heavy guard of patrol ships.
The species allowed outsiders to visit the Paradise system to seek discontinued parts. In the Ugors' view, these visitors were pilgrims seeking holy relics. An armed customs inspection team consisting of Tax Enforcers under the command of a Tax Chaplain first boarded any foreign vessel. They ushered the strangers into the Ugorian temple ship for a meeting with the Chief Tax Chaplain. Here, the pilgrims were levied a fee to enter Paradise. The price varied depending on how easily the Chief Tax Chaplain felt the pilgrims could be shaken down, but the average fee sometime between 0 and 3 ABY was 20 credits per pilgrim, which was placed into a silver-colored plate lined in red velvet. An additional fee might be levied for any droids that might be back at the pilgrims' ship. Visitors were forbidden to carry weapons, expected to pay in advance, asked to respect and adhere to Ugorian Divine Law while in-system, and forced to leave an additional deposit to be refunded upon their departure.
Tax officers could be persuaded to look the other way for the right price, although this usually required a steep bribe. For example, Squibs were unilaterally forbidden entry to the system, and any Squib found in defiance of this law was arrested as an enemy of the state. Nevertheless, exceptions could be made with a significant donation to cover the "sinner's" presence and the necessary "exorcism fee." Weapons, too, might be carried along for a high "tool license fee." Nevertheless, no exceptions were allowed for ship weaponry, which had to be deactivated before proceeding. This law was enforced via booby-trapped customs seals placed on the weapons' override cutouts; pilgrims were warned that they removed these at their own mortal peril. Once the pilgrims found something they wished to take out, they had to pay a high extraction fee, officially regarded as a donation. Still, the Ugors' system-spanning junkyard was often the last place a particular archaic piece of gear might be found, leaving its seeker little recourse. During the reign of Emperor Palpatine, ships from the Galactic Empire could freely enter and leave Paradise for dumping purposes, but they still had to pay if they came as pilgrims.
Ugors had access to hyperspace-level technology and could make use of most standard-issue kit by exuding appropriately adapted pseudopodia—generating vision sensors spaced at the same distance as those of a typical humanoid to use a pair of macrobinoculars, for example. They had access to architectural technology that, circa 84 BBY, was state of the art; around that year, the Ugor architecture firm Bolzi Design & Transmogrification designed the luxury ports for the Wheel space station. The plans included cutting-edge morphometric technology that allowed each port's docking interface to dynamically restructure itself to couple with approaching starships. However, by the time of the Galactic Civil War, native innovation had stagnated, and the species instead adapted ideas from without and reverse-engineered technological items from the castoffs found in the salvage they collected. The resulting mishmash, while eccentric and serviceable, was outdated and far from efficient. Ugor technology became the butt of galactic jokes, as when a Rebel Alliance compared the cobbled-together look of the repulsor-assisted ground-to-orbit concussion missile launcher to "the interior of an Ugor autochef."
Ugors patrolled the Paradise system and roamed the galaxy in large collection ships. By 0 ABY, their fleet consisted mainly of Black Hole-class salvage dreadnoughts, also known as Ugor battle-wagons, manufactured by the Ugor Salvage Company. This type of vessel was cobbled together from scrap, making it a kind of "ugly," and shaped like a plump doughnut with an armored hull of patched-together metal around a sparking, sizzling central hole. Each battle-wagon held a crew of 48 Ugors, a maximum cargo of 3,000 metric tons, and provisions for four months. The ship's weaponry was antiquated by galactic standards, but with 16 emplacements, it could hold its own in ship-to-ship combat. Inside, the dreadnought was dimly lit and its control panels covered in slime.
- "Heave to, rabid gropers ob the Holy ob Holies! Id is now we are blasting you to molecules, to be delayed only for the abount of seconds id takes for you to turn ober the Prime Mover frob your vile clutches!"
- ―An Ugor, upon the theft of the Prime Mover
The species evolved on an unknown planet in the Paradise system (known as J21-Z65 on most star charts) in an area of the galaxy called the Airam sector. Whereas evolution on other worlds equipped multicellular creatures with specialized cells to respond to a changing environment, the Ugors instead developed new cell parts, a process significantly more involved. No in-depth study of their homeworld ever took place, but Imperial sentientologist Obo Rin reasoned that the planet must have been ideal, with easy access to nutrients and few if any natural predators, for such large protozoans to survive.
Ugors used their world's vast natural resources to develop complex technology well before they had established any significant bodies of philosophy. This inhibited their prudence and allowed them to reproduce irresponsibly and pollute their homeworld to the point where its life-sustaining capabilities reached a tipping point. Nevertheless, evolution continued apace: rather than being forced to make hard choices to restore their once lush world, the Ugors simply adapted to the mess and gained the ability to subsist on nourishment that would be toxic to other species.
From eating garbage, the Ugors took to worshiping it. A species-wide government known as the Holy Ugor Taxation and Collection Agency came to dominate political and religious life. Sometime between 1000 and 25 BBY, after learning the secrets of hyperspace technology, the Ugors spread across the galaxy, gathering refuse and bringing it back to their home system. Sometime before 17 BBY, they came into contact with other scavenger species, such as the Jawas and Squibs, and worked to marginalize these rivals. The Squibs in particular, whose homeworld was nearby in the same sector, proved apt competitors in the waste recovery market, and the two species developed an intense hatred for one another.
The Ugors eventually turned their archaic but formidable weaponry on the worlds of their own system and methodically blasted them into rubble. The process took more than 100 standard years to complete, but in the end, the Paradise system became a massive salvage yard free of any obstructing planets, and the Ugors lived exclusively aboard their ships. The junk floating in their system increased with time, and they encouraged other civilizations to dump their waste there, too. The Ugors also made incursions into Trianii Space, where they planned to collect junk. However, they were forced out by the Trianii Rangers.
By the early days of the Galactic Empire, the species had reached the top of the galactic sanitation business, and more and more worlds came to depend on them to cart away their rubbish. Reasoning that pilgrims had a right to holy relics found in Paradise, the Ugors opened up the system to outsiders who wished to sift through its expansive dumps in search of useful parts—for the appropriate "donation." The Ugors then secured an exclusive contract to clean up after Imperial vessels, which jettisoned their waste prior to jumping to hyperspace, and to receive garbage dumped from Imperial ships.
As the chaotic conglomeration of garbage in Paradise grew, the species found it more and more difficult to control. Within hours of the Battle of Yavin, Ugor salvagers arrived at the site of the destroyed Death Star and swooped up immense hunks of the station's wreckage before being chased off by Imperial vessels. Among the Ugors' take was a prototype gravity well projector. They carted it back to their home system, an event their holy tomes referred to as the "Coming of the Prime Mover." Their priest-scientists studied the relic and managed to reactivate it. They dubbed it the Prime Mover and its associated housing the Holy of Holies. Placed in a key location in their system and protected in a shroud of rubbish, they used its power to organize the vast swath of garbage. The added organization made Paradise more attractive to outside visitors and gave their salvage fleet greater efficiency and profit-making potential.
It was not to last. The projector was also wanted by the gangster Jabba the Hutt and the Squib king, Ebareebaveebeedee. A Rebel Alliance strike force and a Squib guide disguised themselves as Imperials, infiltrated the Paradise system, and stole the Prime Mover. The Paradise system collapsed back into disorder, and the Squib Reclamation Fleet took the opportunity to steal as much garbage as they could before the battlewagons could respond.
Ugors in the galaxy
- "Perhaps I should prepare a carafe of Ugorian spore-gruel as a welcoming present?"
- ―L9-G8, soon before meeting some Ugors
Many Ugors lived in the Paradise system, stationed aboard the dreadnought patrol craft that protected their junkyard and enforced their laws. By 3 ABY, an Ugor named ArrGack had risen to the post of Chief Tax Chaplain, Reverend Auditor, and commander of the in-system fleet. Another member of the species, named GrrKack, was a Tax Chaplain under ArrGack's command.
Ugors were a common sight beyond Paradise as well. Many were members of the fleet who made regular garbage pickups from contracted planets. They preferred to remain aboard their ships and have any planetary refuse shuttled to them in orbit, but they made exceptions for worlds that lacked space travel technology.
Others traveled to locations in which capital ships had jettisoned waste into space. Such salvage pilots assumed the worst when they came upon a dumpsite. They traveled in large numbers to enhance their ability to outflank the enemy. If rival salvagers were known to be present at a dump site (a good assumption, as Squibs tended to arrive at a dump site more quickly), the latecomers aimed to drop out of hyperspace right on top of the rivals and surround them with ships. The unicellular scavengers then tried to gather as much garbage as possible via ship tractor beams while keeping their rivals at bay with their weaponry. Still, they preferred to avoid combat when possible; when satisfied with their fill, they jumped away and left any leftovers to other salvagers.
Spacegoing Ugors kept alert for barri, large creatures that lived in the vacuum of space and sometimes latched onto passing craft. Once they had a barri passenger, an Ugor ship's crew often felt the creature form a mental link with them. This was often followed by an intuitive understanding of a different hyperspace course to plot. Pilots learned to trust this information, as it tended to lead to a safer course than the one that was originally planned.
Other Ugors scavenged on the surface of worlds. In 17 BBY, one such group, headed by an Ugor named SplrMuck, operated on the planet Almas. While scavenging the remains of Almas Academy (destroyed during Order 66), the group came into conflict with a group of Squibs over a half-destroyed droid. A third party, agents of the Jedi Master Denia, arrived on the scene and negotiated a settlement. Soon thereafter, the three factions came under attack by Dark Lizards and joined forces to fight them off.
Similar bands operated on the planet Korad in the Elrood sector. Sometime during the Galactic Civil War, however, a Squib named Slythor arrived on the world and tried to take over one of the salvage yards. A group of Ugors resisted the incursion, but the Squib managed to take over the yard and declared himself "Highest Exalted Ruler of Korad." He then used Squib henchmen to enforce access to the planet.
Another Ugor of note was a spice dealer who lived on the planet Krann sometime after 4 ABY. He operated in a shopping district near a cantina called the Wages of Phy'r and offered a range of goods that included Corellian spice, Kessel spice, and the highly controlled eldratz. The high-gravity planet Emmer in the Outer Rim Territories, though barely habitable by many species' standards, had a thriving Ugor population during the Galactic Civil War.
Ubrikkian Industries designed and marketed the 9000 landspeeder for Ugor buyers. Its round shape with windows all around was aimed at the species' globular natural form. The speeder's designers even installed a system whereby the vehicle hovered above to allow its Ugor driver to ooze underneath and up inside. Nevertheless, sales were stale. The company eventually revisited the design, added seats, and marketed the new model to the general public as the 9000 Z001.
Ugors were extremely unpopular with other species and suffered discrimination as a result. Their impenetrable bureaucracy and unusual temperaments were so well known that most beings went to great lengths to avoid both. A general distrust of shapeshifting species led many to fear Ugors and even to regard them as cold-blooded killers.
Behind the scenes
- "On a good day, you can be mistaken for a hairless, albino Ewok."
- ―Martin Wixted
The Ugors first appeared in Scavenger Hunt, an adventure written by Brad Freeman and published in 1989 for Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game by West End Games. The adventure sends a group of operatives from the Alliance to Restore the Republic to the species' home, the Paradise system, to retrieve a gravity well projector from the first Death Star. The Ugors serve as an annoying obstacle, demanding bribes and ordering the player characters' weapons confiscated. Nevertheless, the players are expected to overcome them through non-violent means. According to the adventures' game rules, Ugor characters can shift their scores in various attributes, bumping up one score by in turn lowering another. The book restricts players from creating and portraying Ugor characters in the game and forbids members of the species from learning skills (such as the ability to fire a blaster or pilot a starship better). The cover of Scavenger Hunt mentions a "Paradise sector," although Star Wars: The Essential Atlas Online Companion has shown this to be a misprint for "Paradise system."
The species' background was more fully fleshed out in the West End sourcebook Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races by Troy Denning later that year. The book maintains Scavenger Hunt's restrictions on players portraying Ugor characters. A modified and reorganized background later appeared in the second edition of the same book, published in 1994. This version relaxes the restrictions of its predecessor, allowing Ugor player characters, and permitting the species to learn skills at twice the cost paid by non-Ugor characters. The book provides an in-universe explanation for this discrepancy, stating that further research had disproved the theory that Ugors could not train to improve their skills. Later sources, such as A Guide to the Star Wars Universe, the Star Wars Encyclopedia, and The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia summarize information from this guide.
The timeline of the species' rise to preeminence in the galactic sanitation business differs between sources. Scavenger Hunt, the earliest work to detail this, claims that it was not until after they obtained the Death Star gravity-well projector did they squeeze out the Jawas and Squibs. Galaxy Guide 4: Alien Races, on the other hand, implies that their rise to supremacy took place before this event. As the Galaxy Guide is the more recent source, it is assumed to take precedence.
Ugors are mentioned in the second edition of West End Games' rulebook as an example of the diversity of life in the Star Wars galaxy. They are listed alongside Hutts, Iyra, and Sluissi as examples of more exotic, non-humanoid alien species.
The unicellular scavengers made the transition to Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Roleplaying Game in a supplement called Rebellion Era Sourcebook. They feature in a section that details garbage collection in the Star Wars galaxy. A similar game mechanic in this edition allows Ugors to shift their abilities fluidly provided they diminish other attributes to compensate. The book also stipulates that Ugors learn skills more slowly than other beings. The adventure Echoes of the Jedi by Abel G. Peña adapts the species and their statistics to the Saga Edition game rules.
"New Character Templates: A Supplement to Star Wars' Mos Eisley Galaxy Guide," an article by Martin Wixted in Challenge 73, features an Ugor character template for the West End roleplaying game. The Ugor described breaks the mould for its species, seeking to fit in with bipedal beings by adopting a "near-Human" form and trying to suppress its tendencies to lie, cheat, and steal. The character is intended for use in games set in Tatooine's Mos Eisley. Nevertheless, "HoloNet Waystation," a roleplaying adventure in Challenge 74, suggests that Tatooine was too remote for the species to visit. This seems to contradict other sources, which state that Ugors were ubiquitous in the galaxy. Both Challenge articles are ambiguously canonical sources. The Official Star Wars Fact File 138 claims that the Paradise system is also home to the Squibs. More recent sources, such as The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, contradict this, so the Fact File seems to be in error on this point.
- The Clone Wars: Secret Missions 2: Curse of the Black Hole Pirates (Mentioned only)
- "Spare Parts"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 11 (Mentioned only)
- Scavenger Hunt (First appearance)
- Operation: Elrood (Mentioned only)
- "HoloNet Waystation"—Challenge 74 (Mentioned only)
- (Mentioned only)
- Tatooine Ghost (Mentioned only)