I'm no expert on the Sith, but I notice that Palpatine/Sidious was recruited directly by Plagueis. In other words, he wasn't a Jedi, but was a Force-sensitive from the general population, but both Vader and Luke are Jedi Knights when recruitment attempts are made.

Is there a process or style that tends to show up in Sith recruitment? Is it easier to turn a Jedi, who has knowledge of the Force and basically needs to be made angry enough to start tapping into the dark side? Or are the Sith more likely to find someone who is strongly Force sensitive and more easily persuaded to turn to the dark side because of the morals and ethics used in Jedi training?

From what I see, it seems few Sith are former Jedi, other than the ones we've seen in the movies, but there's so much on the Sith, it's hard to tell.

(This also might hinge on whether the Sith find it easier to instruct one who does not know how to use the Force or easier to turn a Jedi to darkness if he does know the Force.)

Or are there other factors that influence how Sith pick their apprentices or who they'll train in the dark side but not make into a master (like Asajj Ventress, for example)?

Is there any general rule or procedure the Sith follow for recruiting? And, for the most part, once the Sith pick someone, are they usually successful in turning them to the dark side, or are there a lot of people who have the strength to avoid the dark path?


3 Answers 3


Is there any evidence that Palpatine was directly recruited?

It's certainly possible that his talent escaped notice by the Jedi (perhaps he was a home birth, and did not go through the typical blood tests?) and his eventual Master simply found him by chance and grabbed the opportunity.

In general, the Sith like to recruit by whatever means will gain them the most powerful allies and/or students.

When they were at war with the Old Republic, and the Sith masters had a bevy of Dark Jedi (non-Sith Jedi) under them, they actively recruited at an academy.

When they were in hiding, they preferred to keep their ears to the ground and find powerful people to convert, using insidious tactics of coercion and seduction.

A Sith Master is an excellent manipulator, skilled in reading people and knowing how to manipulate them to get the reactions they want. They tend to be people who would make excellent politicians, and are quite skilled at dangling a carrot to lead people into temptation.

The simplest tactic I've seen is to shatter the person's belief in goodness and light, and give them a simple, easy way to get what they want.

And, of course, the single most popular way to recruit a new Sith: from a fallen member of the Jedi order.

  • 2
    When you say, "actively recruited at an academy," you mean actively, but not openly, right?
    – Tango
    Jan 16, 2012 at 23:59
  • 1
    How exactly Palpatine was recruited is part of the new book "Darth Plagueis" by James Luceno (it's very good by the way).
    – Philipp
    Jan 17, 2012 at 0:08
  • @TangoOversway: It seemed to be pretty much an open secret on Korriban (taken from SW: KOTOR, the first game from the Old Republic series). Most of the named characters you encounter later in the game know, and it's known throughout the Korriban system. Of course, at this point, the Sith Armada is nigh unstoppable and they're considering a strike at the Core Worlds themselves, so they don't have to hide (much).
    – Jeff
    Jan 17, 2012 at 1:19

It seems that the main theme is "recruit good prospects", with "is the person already trained to use the Force by the Jedi" being a less relevant factor. It's somewhat like recruiting a good hacker - you want good abilities and good team meshing, NOT any specific pre-existing language experience (C is a special case, since I agree with Joel Spolsky that someone who can't do pointer arithmetic in C has not yet proven their worth as a good software developed in the first place).

This is of course extra so for "real" Sith (the Two), who must be extra special to be considered for the role of the Apprentice.

Some Jedi are not easily corruptible in general (I doubt Yoda could be considered for turning), but that's less a function of them being a Jedi and more a function of their moral character, AND being educated about Sith and Dark Side. But it does limit the pool of "Jedi to convert" somewhat.


Our knowledge of Sith recruitment in canon is limited since we have such a small sample size, but Legends provides more information.

Before Bane instituted the Rule of Two the Sith maintained academies and presumably recruited much like the Jedi (but pitching the dark side as stronger than the light side, of course). After Bane instituted the Rule of Two the Sith went into hiding in order to execute the Grand Plan, which forced them to change their recruitment strategy (as they could no longer recruit in the open). The Legends novel Darth Plagueis provides the best indication I can find on how the Sith recruited during this period:

The Jedi routinely performed blood tests to verify the midi-chlorian counts of prospective trainees, but Plagueis had passed beyond the need for such crude measurements. He could not only sense the strength of the Force in another but also perceive the midi-chlorians that individualized Forceful beings. It was that dark side ability that had allowed generations of Sith to locate and initiate recruits.

This implies that a significant number of Sith recruits were not recruited from the Jedi, as it would be trivial to identify a person as a Force-user when that person is already a Jedi. This makes sense in that it was very important for the Jedi to think that the Sith were extinct, and an attempt to recruit a Jedi that ended in failure would endanger the Sith (since the would-be recruit would report his attempted seduction by the Sith to the Jedi). The fact that the Sith were not discovered by the Jedi until the time of Episode I suggests that the Sith were either completely successful in recruiting any Jedi, and/or that they recruited mostly from Force-sensitive non-Jedi.

The dark side is described by Yoda in Episode V as "quicker, easier, more seductive" so it's likely the Sith have a high success rate.

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