The planet Orax is famous for three things: its numerous hot springs, the large crystalline formations that surround them, and the fact it is the home of one of the few inorganic silicon-based lifeforms in the galaxy, the Shards. The global climate is very cold due to the planet's distance from the nearby sun. However, geothermal energy dissipating from the water being brought up by the hot springs increases surface temperature slightly. Despite this, there is still a need for cold-protective garments, although it does make areas around springs important locations for new settlements. Even the colder regions are made habitable by drilling into the geothermal flows lying deep underground.
Most of the planet's surface is covered with vast rocky fields, with only rare patches of low-growing vegetation that are comprised of various kinds of moss and lichen. The most dominant landscape features are not plants or animals, but huge formations of various crystallized minerals, ranging widely in color and structure. Amongst the numerous crystalline formations are some which are unlike all the others. These seem to be glowing with their own inner light and are - in fact - silicon-based sentient creatures. Immobile by themselves and growing off of each other, they form large colonies that have taken several millennia to form. Here the Shard lives, sharing their collective mind, and communicating by the means of electromagnetic impulses.
Even after the first human colonists arrived on Orax, it took quite a long time before the colonists realized that they had been sharing the planet with a large population of natives. Nevertheless, from that point onwards it did not take long until the first translator device was constructed and communications established. Researching the electromagnetic transmissions of the Shards further, it has been found that Shards are capable of operating modified droids. This has allowed them to interact with the galaxy on the same level as other sentients.
Over time, the Shards became very curious about the outside world and even though it created a small schism amongst the Shards, many volunteered to be put inside droids to collect new experiences. Some of them believed in becoming a part of the galaxy, while others saw living in mechanical bodies as a violation of their old ways. A few Shards even managed to develop a connection to the force and obtain Jedi training, becoming what would later be known as the "Iron Knights".
For some time the Shards were trading droids and computer technology for mining rights on their planet. However, with the Galactic Empire's rise to power, the planet Orax was taken over, many of the Shard colonies destroyed, and the world became subject to large-scale mining operations. In those times, all droids were banned on Orax, in order to prevent the offworld Shards from returning home. Ultimately, the Galactic Empire was driven out of Orax and in the following years, the control over the planet shifted between other factions.