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The Jaffa are an offshoot of humanity. They where genetically engineered by the Goa’uld. All Jaffa have an abdominal pouch which serves to incubate larval Goa'uld. The larval Goa'uld strengthens their immune system. Without the larva, they die. With the invention of Tretonin, this is no longer the case. Currently Tretonin production is so efficient, it's as abundant and common as aspirin.
For thousands of years Jaffa faithfully served various Goa'uld masters as soldiers and servants, indoctrinated with the belief that the Goa'uld are gods. Although only men served as warriors, all Jaffa are raised as warriors, with strong emphasis on physical development and discipline. In many ways, they are fanatical in their devotion, a result of being taught from birth that dying in the service of their masters would result in great rewards in the afterlife.
During the course of the late 20th century and the early 21st century, the Jaffa began a large scale uprising against the Goa’uld. This began after Teal'c as a First Prime betrayed his System Lord, Apophis. He joined the forces of earth in order to destroy the Goa’uld. During the next 8 years the Jaffa began to wage guerrilla warfare against the System Lords. While the rebellion had been gaining strength for a while it was not till the minor Goa’uld Imotep, macerated as his First Prime, that all the rebel Jaffa united and formed a true rebellion.
They were only given freedom when the replicators wiped out the remaining System Lords. The Jaffa then captured their home world of Dakara. After their victory they took the remaining fleets of their former masters and formed the Free Jaffa Nation. This united front did not last long: many of the Jaffa still prefered the old ways and when the Ori attacked the crack formed. With the Ori fleet destroying many of the Jaffa worlds a number of smaller independent faction's emerged after the Ori defeat.
The Jaffa were created from the human slaves taken from Earth by the Goa’uld. They were then genetically altered to function as incubators for Goa’uld larvae. The process ensures compatibility and the success of implantation once the Goa’uld matures and takes a host. Without incubation there is a 50% chance of proper implantation.
Jaffa children are implanted with a larval Goa’uld when they reach a certain age, which is approximately ten years old. If the symbiote is not implanted the young Jaffa will loose immune response and die.
During the implantation process, an X is cut on the stomach to create a pouch for the larva. The pouch never closes completely and the symbiote can be removed at any time. Every seven years the symbiont has to be replaced, as it matures in this timespan. The mature Goa'uld becomes a so-called Minor Goa'uld, tasked with things the illiterate, unschooled Jaffa can not do.
The symbiote grants a Jaffa increased physical strength, health, and longevity. They may live in perfect health for well over a hundred years. Jaffa do not sleep but they must perform kelno’reem, a deep meditation. This time allows the symbiote to repair any injuries to the Jaffa's body and is necessary to maintain good health. It is possible for a Jaffa to communicate with the symbiote during kelno'reem.
On the planet Pangar, humans developed a drug made from Goa’uld symbiotes known as Tretonin. The drug functioned much like a symbiote, replacing the immune system of the humans who used it and granting them immunity from disease and increased longevity. Once used however, the body became dependent on it. Tretonin proved a successful replacement to symbiotes for the Jaffa, but Jaffa would lose the advanced healing and strength a symbiont supplied. The technology was given to the Tok'ra, who refined the process, removing the need to crudely process larvae and mass-produced it for the Jaffa.
Tretonin has proved to be what the Jaffa needed most: a way to be no longer dependent on their former masters. Although Teal'c initially felt weaker due to the lack of a symbiont, he overcame this weakness by confidence. Therefore, it's debatable whether a Tretonin-user is weaker than a jaffa who doesn't use it. Currently the Jaffa are capable of producing Tretonin themselves, the drug being common and cheap to make.
- Jaffa Planets Alliance
- Alliance of various jaffa planets for the purpose of strengthening their position.
- Republic Of Free Jaffa
- One of the biggest and most powerful factions, the Republic is a progressive nation.
- Sanctum Imperium Illac
- Jaffa who believe in (a modified version of) Origin have rallied under a single banner: the Holy Empire of the Way(/Light)
- System's Alliance
- Many Jaffa could not believe that they had been deceived by the Goa'uld. Some of them adapted a different belief: the Goa'uld had been angels, or Avatars sent by the true gods, but the Angels/Avatars (depending on who you ask) turned corrupt and evil. Although the Systems Alliance preaches the old beliefs and ways, they do not believe in the old-fashioned extremist way.
The JPA and FJR have good relations, but the SII and SA are somewhat alienated and misunderstood. The SA and SII have semi-cold relations, and are mostly considered rivals. While the split in four distinct nations initially caused strife, nowadays there is peace, although the religious nations tend to be reclusive