The Witches of Dathomir
The Witches of Dathomir are a matriarchal, clan-based Force-using tradition native to the jungle world of Dathomir, which is also the native planet of the fearsome rancor species. According to legend, the society of the Dathomiri as it currently exists was founded by an exiled Jedi named Allya who came to rule over the original colonists. Though it now exists in many variations, she is credited with writing the original Book of Laws by which all the modern Dathomiri clans live.
Though their society extends back nearly three quarters of a millenia, Dathomiri society has only relatively recently regained access to the larger galactic community. Having lost spacefaring technology of their own before Allya even arrived on the planet, their contact with the rest of the galaxy was limited for centuries by others coming to them. Indeed, during the reign of the Empire, their world was blockaded by Emperor Palpatine to keep the Witches contained. As a result, their culture remains fairly insular and primitive by comparison to the norms of the Alliance.
In the Jedi Order‘s view, the Witches are a gray order. Much of this is due to the fact that, while they guard against “evil”—the Dark Side—they also systematically oppress, and essentially enslave, all the males in their society, who are viewed as good for nothing but breeding stock and labor. There have been periodic revolts over the course of their history, but most have been put down fairly quickly. A male may be given his freedom if he saves the life of one of his clan’s women, but with no place in society for a free man, this is a dubious reward. One of the younger clans, the Bright Sun Clan, was formed by the remains of the Raining Leaves Clan after being decimated in a slave revolt, and the Broken Columns Clan, an all-male clan founded by a Hapan-born transplant to Dathomir, composed of freed men. The Bright Sun Clan serves as the Jedi’s principal ally on the world, as one of the only clans that doesn’t oppress its men.
Dathomiri Force use takes the form of highly regimented spells, rather than the more freeform methods adopted by both the Jedi and Sith. Many practitioners of Dathomiri magic are unable to accomplish the desired effect without performing a specific ritual, of varying degrees of complexity. Nevertheless, many adepts of their art can produce extremely potent effects, and they are particularly skilled when it comes to communal efforts.
Lacking a tradition of high technology, the Dathomiri witches have no history of weapons such as the lightsaber. Instead, when engaged in melee combat, they have mastered the art of imbuing weapons with the Force itself, a technique that enables such weapons to engage with a lightsaber without suffering damage, as well as delivering considerably enhanced damage. Though such a method is by no means unique to them—indeed the ancient Force adepts that eventually formed the Jedi Order itself used such techniques millenia ago—they are most skilled in its use.