- "You aren't from Taris, are you? Do yourself a favor and stay away from the Tarisian ale—it packs more kick than most off-worlders can handle."
- ―Tarisian patron
The Upper City Cantina was a drinking and dining establishment located in the Upper City of the Outer Rim ecumenopolis of Taris. The cantina was a place where many Tarisians, including nobles, local merchants, pazaak players, and well-off spacers, enjoyed the galaxy-famous Tarisian ale, as well as the famous dueling ring located there. During the Sith Empire's occupation of that world at the height of the Jedi Civil War, many off-duty Sith troopers and officers from the nearby Tarisian Military Base frequently visited the establishment along with its regular customers and offworlders trapped on the planet because of the quarantine, which was aimed at preventing the escape of Bastila Shan. While in search of a way to rescue the missing Jedi, Galactic Republic officer Carth Onasi and the amnesiac former Dark Lord of the Sith Revan visited the cantina in hopes of gathering information on Taris. The establishment, along with much of the surface of Taris, was destroyed as a result of the orbital bombardment of the planet that had been ordered by Darth Malak.
- "Isn't this band great? They can't leave Taris because of the quarantine, so they've been playing every night! Talk about a good break for us!"
- ―Tarisian citizen
The Upper City Cantina featured an expansive layout, which consisted of four rooms arranged around a central core, as well as a dueling ring that was located elsewhere within the building. As a visitor entered the establishment, they were met by a collection of pazaak tables where local players would engage in the popular card game. In addition to its prominent bar area, the common area featured an array of tables for guests to sit at; this room also served as a central hub for the rest of the establishment's various rooms.
The room immediately to the left of the entrance and the area dedicated to pazaak was used by Ajuur the Hutt to organize sanctioned duels between amateur or professional combatants who typically competed for a share of the winnings earned by Ajuur through gambling. The duelists who frequented the cantina included Gerlon Two-Fingers, Marl, Ice, Deadeye Duncan, and the champions Twitch and Bendak Starkiller. When not engaged in organized competition, the combatants would often congregate in this area; some would converse with various patrons. In addition, several viewscreens were set up for the use of spectators who were unable to secure tickets to the duels themselves but still wanted to watch the fights. The duel ring itself was circular, with only one entrance; it was surrounded on all sides by stands that could hold a sizable number of spectators. The ring itself was equipped with energy suppressors, so that despite the unrestricted choice of weapons offered the combatants, the chances of being killed in the typical match were very small.
The room of the cantina to the right of the entryway, which was a relatively new addition, contained a bandstand and biological or holographic dancers, which were usually in the form of female Twi'leks. An assortment of tables filled out the rest of the room, providing seating for patrons to watch the performers. The final room, which was located directly opposite of the entrance into the main area, was laid out as a more private place in which to enjoy drinks and meals. Tarisian nobles would often congregate there, served by wait staff.
In the years before the Taris Civil War, a century of prosperity saw the planet's main cities grow so rapidly that they soon covered all available landmasses; it was during this era that the Upper City Cantina was built. The newly-formed ecumenopolis became divided into levels; the Upper City became home to the wealthy and the nobility, the Lower City, began to fall into disrepair and decay; and the Undercity, where those who were banished for committing crimes against the government attempted to dredge out a meager existence. When new hyperspace routes were discovered that marginalized Taris's importance as a trading hub, the planet lost much of its income. The civil war that followed pitted the oppressed underclasses, as well as the many non-Human species that called the world their home, against the rich and the corrupt planetary government. The conflict proved devastating, killing millions and leaving great swaths of the planet in shambles or simply abandoned. Many more people were banished to the Undercity, while the aliens of Taris were relegated to the Lower City where they often fell prey to swoop gangs or other criminals.
The Jedi Civil WarEdit
- "It's a good thing a few of the Sith come in here to relax when they're off-duty. That should keep them from closing this cantina down."
- ―Tarisian patron
The establishment itself, however, was largely unaffected by the conflict, as it continued to serve Tarisian ale and play host to gladiatorial competitions. In 3956 BBY, during the height of the Jedi Civil War, the Sith Empire under Darth Malak conquered the planet in preparation for an ambush on a small fleet supporting a Republic warship, the Endar Spire; the battle was intended to capture the Jedi Padawan Bastila Shan in order to use her battle meditation to ensure the success of his campaign. In the wake of the conquest, the cantina would serve as a place of entertainment for the many troops and officers of the occupation force. Unknown to Malak, however, his former friend and master, whom the Sith Lord had attempted to kill one year previously, was also aboard the ship. Bastila and the amnesiac Revan, along with Carth Onasi, were able to escape the doomed vessel; owing to their abandoning ship in different escape pods, the group became separated, with Shan ending up in the Undercity, where she was quickly captured by a swoop gang known as the Black Vulkars. Carth and Revan, meanwhile, sought refuge in an abandoned apartment not far from the cantina and their pod's crash site, where the former Sith was rendered comatose for three days. Subsequent to the failure to capture or kill Shan in the immediate battle, Malak imposed a planetwide blockade.
After recovering, Revan and Carth visited the cantina to learn about the situation on Taris, conferring with a number of patrons, including Sarna, who invited Revan to a party elsewhere in the Upper City. While at the cantina, Revan expressed an interest in entering the dueling competition being run by Ajuur, which he did under the moniker of the "Mysterious Stranger" in order to raise credits to help find passage offworld. Eventually, after further exploration and involvement in other incidents, including winning the Tarisian Season Opener swoop race, the pair, now joined by Bastila, met with the Mandalorian mercenary Canderous Ordo at the cantina. Ordo, who had grown dissatisfied with working for Davik Kang, had developed a plan for breaking the Sith blockade and leaving the planet. Hoping to bring Revan, Carth and Bastila in to help carry it out, the mercenary offered them a deal: in exchange for obtaining the launch codes necessary to allow a ship to leave the planet unmolested by the Sith fleet, he would provide them with the means of escape—access to Davik's flagship, the Ebon Hawk. With the codes in their possession, the team met up with Ordo at another establishment, Javyar's in the Lower City, for the next step in the plan.
- "The search for Bastila is taking too long. Destroy the entire planet."
- ―Darth Malak
As this was happening, however, Malak grew impatient with the search, which was becoming increasingly fruitless. As a last-ditch attempt to prevent Shan from escaping the planet, he ordered Admiral Saul Karath to conduct an orbital bombardment. After several hours, during which the fleet was repositioned in order to carry out the action with the highest degree of efficiency, the bombardment commenced; turbolaser fire raked the city-world without mercy as automated landers descended to the surface to pick up Sith personnel who were still stationed planetside. The cantina was destroyed by the thorough bombardment.
- "It's bad enough the Sith conquered this planet, but do they have to come in here to relax and rub their presence in our faces?"
- ―Tarisian citizen
Many individuals from the Upper City of Taris frequented the cantina, including nobles, well-to-do merchants, off-world traders and other citizens. In keeping with the local tradition of Humanocentrism, the place catered almost exclusively to Human clientèle, as members of non-Human species were generally not allowed to live or work on this highest tier of the ecumenopolis without first obtaining a special permit. The only exceptions to this policy at that time were the reigning dueling champion of that year, a Rodian named Twitch; a trio of Bith musicians who had been stranded on the planet; and a pair of Twi'lek dancers. Other notable denizens included the card shark Niklos; an older pazaak player named Garouk; Gana Lavin, a young noblewoman and her friend, and the duel organizer Ajuur the Hutt. Other patrons included various nobles and citizens; during the quarantine of Taris in the wake of the Sith conquest, patronage was further bolstered by the presence of Sith personnel and off-worlders trapped on the planet because of the blockade. Local reaction to these developments ranged from carefully-hidden resentment to open-hearted welcome; some Sith, however, fell prey to the unusually-potent nature of Tarisian ale.
Behind the scenesEdit
The Upper City Cantina was first introduced as a playable sub-level of the Taris Upper City in the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, developed by BioWare. The player character has a number of alternatives when it comes to the Upper City Cantina. He or she can choose to participate in an illegal death match against Bendak Starkiller for dark side points, or choose to ignore the dueling ring entirely; despite this, the introductory duel cinematic between Gerlon Two-Fingers and Deadeye Duncan will automatically run when the player enters the duel room. In addition, depending on the gender of the player character, they can be invited to a party, where they can gain a set of Sith armor without resorting to force, by either Sarna if the player is male, or Yun Genda if the player is female; this too is optional.
In cut content, it was possible for Deadeye Duncan to have survived the destruction of Taris; during an interactive cutscene between him and the player on Manaan, he will ask to use the Mysterious Stranger alias. The player was to have the option of questioning him on how he escaped the bombardment, during which Duncan admits that he found an automated transport whose intended passengers had been killed by fallen debris.
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (First appearance)
- Knights of the Old Republic: Prima's Official Strategy Guide
- Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Derived from comments stated by random citizens to the player.
- ↑ Based on planetary history as told by Rukil to the player character upon meeting him in the Undercity.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Team Gizka Project Website; Forum postings discussing content that was cut from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and later "restored" indicate this as an explanation for why Deadeye Duncan was able to escape the conflagration.
- ↑ Knights of the Old Republic: Prima's Official Strategy Guide