((The RP XP with MJ #8))
Veetha ran toward the Force pulse she felt from the street, her lightsaber hilt held firmly in her white-skinned hand.
After waking in the alley, the Rattataki apprentice of Darth Tagious reached out with the Force and felt her master’s displeasure with the Imperial agent and her bounty hunter lover. Veetha’s black lips curled into a sneer as she moved to join her master, but that’s when she felt the Jedi approach.
If I can bring down the Jedi, she reasoned, I will once again be in my master’s favor.
Veetha ignited her lightsaber as she cartwheeled into the street, her cloak flaring out as she spun like the petals of a black rose. She took a wide stance and held the glowing red blade in front of her, feeding off the fears of the citizens of the spaceport as they ran and hid.
The one standing before her did not run, nor hide. The bearded human simply lowered his hood and spread open his robe to reveal his Jedi armor beneath and the two lightsaber hilts on his belt. The droid that accompanied him beeped and chittered before wobbling on its legs and wheeling away.
Veetha’s eyes drew a triangle from hilt to hilt and then to the Jedi’s face.
“Hello, little friend,” The Jedi smiled. He drew his hilts and ignited the blades. The blue light danced off his armored breastplate. “My name is Kendris. What’s yours?”
Veetha, not being one for words like her master, screamed and charged at him.
Master Kendris held his ground. Both blades twirled in front of him and he easily parried Veetha’s strike. Hissing sparks stung the air as the red and blue blades repeatedly hacked and sliced. The deep hum echoed in the quiet streets as Kendris countered with one blade high and one low. Veetha ducked and somersaulted between the blades, bringing a backhand slash toward Kendris’s neck, but his blade came up in time to block it as his second blade swept toward Veetha’s waist. She sprang back, breathing in quick pants, as she swung at his face.
The Jedi’s power against the apprentice’s speed sizzled through the streets. Soon a small squad of Republic troopers appeared from a side street. The trooper leading the squad held up a hand to hold his men back, though they watched, at the ready, as blue and red lights flashed against their narrow black visors.
An unexpected Force push knocked Veetha to the ground. She lay on her back, wide-eyed as Kendris closed the gap between them, his blades twirling in the air. She reached up weakly to shield herself when a pair of red saber blades appeared and deflected the blue twins of the Jedi. Gasping, Veetha rolled to her feet and jumped back in time to see her master slashing at the Jedi, windmilling his deep-humming blades as the Jedi fell back. Snarling, she surged forward to accompany her master, eager to join Darth Tagious in the fight, feeding off his fierce bloodlust.
High above, a long dark red robe fluttered around the lithe body of a blindfolded Miraluka whose head tilted and followed in time with the combat below her perch atop an apartment complex. She made no move to leap into the fray, though she released the double-bladed lightsaber from her belt and held it at the ready. She watched as Master Kendris’s Padawan ran to his master’s aid from a nearby alley.
As the battle equalized below her, the Force auras of three blue lightsabers clashing with three red lightsabers, Consular Misha Vu-don simply waited, absorbed, centered herself in the Force.
She would move… when the Force moved her.
“The reality is there are so many different types of Jedi. Jedi are not all alike.” ~ Hall Hood, Senior Writer, Star Wars: The Old Republic*
This week’s RP XP with MJ is all about the Jedi. Last time I talked about different ways you can RolePlay as a “bad guy,” centering around different RP techniques you can use for each of the Imperial classes. This time I’m going to talk specifically about the Force-users on the “light side,” primarily the Jedi and their relation to the Jedi Order and how all this fits into your RP.
I recently asked on Twitter what kind of Jedi you were planning to play when Star Wars: The Old Republic releases in a couple months. I did receive a direct answer that stood out and made me think.
“[I plan to be the] unsung misunderstood hero… like everyone else.”
There’s a lot of that going around. I’ve met a lot of RPers who plan on playing Jedi Knights or Consulars, but plan to shy away from the rigid Jedi Code and the precepts of the Jedi Order. Some boldly state that they will forge their own path as Gray Jedi, those who use the Force to their own benefit, acting and reacting on the mystical energy field that binds the galaxy, pretty much flowing where the Force takes them. Others have decided to play Rogue or Fallen Jedi, Jedi Knights who always choose the dark path in responses in-game. They seem to have a chip on their shoulder often push back against the Jedi Council, turning up their nose at the teachings of peace and diplomacy. *Shrugs* on that one, wondering why not just play a Sith. Maybe it’s because Korriban is so… unpleasant?
Throughout the history of the Jedi, canon has again and again shown us that the Jedi rarely stick to their rigid code. Just look at the stories of Bastila Shan, Anakin Skywalker, Aryn Leneer, Revan, The Exile and Jolee Bindo. You’ll see huge variations on Jedi loyalty, abuse of power and even promiscuity. Those who stalwartly defend the Jedi Code as players of a Jedi class, who often throw the word “canon” around more like a loaded weapon than a term to describe established history, fail to see that the true canon of the Jedi Order is rife with struggle, infighting and failure. There are tales of Jedi breaking away to join the Sith, splintering off to follow paths of vengeance or romantic attraction, and those who interpret the precepts of the Jedi Code with their own translation, often causing political strife or fighting among their own kind.
None of these are wrong. And that means that RolePlaying a Jedi class is far more varied and open than you might think. Oh, and there’s nothing wrong with playing a strict Code-following Jedi, either, ya know.
If you’ve been following the ongoing fiction at the top of my column each week, you’ll notice subtle difference in the actions or dialog of the Jedi mentioned. Kendris seems to be brash, opinionated, even rude at times. His apprentice, Tarik, is flighty, over-eager, and may be not-so-obviously preoccupied with a certain Twi’lek in the story. Misha Vu-don, who was just introduced as the Consular, hasn’t done much. And, what she has done… hasn’t been much. So far, she’s standing by while her Jedi brothers fight for their lives against a Sith Lord and his apprentice. Perhaps she feels the fight is fair and for her to join would not be “Just?”
What kind of Jedi are you going to play in the game? Are you, “like everyone else,” going to play the misunderstood hero? It’s a viable option, but is that all? Let’s take a look at how many permutations of Jedi we can come up with. Feel free to respond if you come up with any cool ideas of your own, variations or combinations.
THE JEDI OF THE CODE
“There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no death, there is the Force.” That’s the long and the short of it according to the teachings of Odan-Urr, though there are subtle variations. The Jedi of the Code is one who follows this to the letter. You don’t engage in “romantic interludes” because that can lead to passion, which — unbridled — can lead to the dark side (because passion can lead to jealousy. Jealousy can lead to hate. Hate can lead to anger. Anger can lead to getting really pissed off. Getting really pissed off can get someone lightsaber-shanked). The Jedi of the Code RP-wise may very well sneer and discussions of warfare and combat. You may come off as a religious zealot of some kind as you go on and on about the path to serenity. Is it boring to play the Jedi of the Code? Not at all. You may actually become a focal point as your fellow RPers seek you out as one of great wisdom, a judge of right and wrong, a source of true Jedi knowledge. If you choose to RP this type of Jedi, do your homework. Study and memorize the Code and don’t waver from it. At all. Be the wise one. The leader.
THE JEDI OF THE ORDER
This character may be just as “goody-goody” as the Jedi of the Code, but can have a more militaristic edge. You fight for the honor of the Republic. You take very seriously the notion that the Jedi are the guardians of peace and justice. To be a guardian, you must be armed. You sometimes have to defend with battle and conflict. To you, the lightsaber is more than a tool, it’s a weapon, and you’re not afraid to use it as such. A Jedi of the Order, however, doesn’t become centered on combat in order to make their way through the galaxy. On the contrary, they can be just as stuck to the Code as the Codeslinger described above. The only difference is that the Jedi of the Order sees the need to break peace — even without emotion – in order to gain victory over the darkness. If ordered to stand down by a Council leader, you will… to fight another day.
THE JEDI OF THE UNDERDOG
As we slip further and further away from the Code, we start to see more emotion come into play. The Jedi of the Underdog, as I call him, is one who uses the teaching of the Jedi Order to deliver justice by seeking it out rather than waiting for the call. A defender of the weak, the poor, the needy, the Jedi of the Underdog may root out evil and confront it in order to free those oppressed by the tyranny of tax collectors, landlords, bullies, rivals, and, of course the Sith. This is generally where your “misunderstood hero” comes into play. Your “Robin Hood” of the Jedi may often find himself shunned by those on the Republic side. Those who view the Jedi as the ones who abandoned the Republic when the Sith sacked Coruscant may well look upon you as their scapegoat. You don’t care. You are the “robed crusader” of those in need regardless of their opinion of you.
THE JEDI OF THE PEOPLE
“Bring on your opinions!” The Jedi of the People is one who stands tall in the face of accusations and finger-pointing. You often show yourself in public — even in areas where the Jedi are openly shunned — because you are the Jedi with a chip on your shoulder. Not too far removed from the Code or the Order, but far enough away to let emotion enter into the picture, you jump at the chance to defend the Jedi and what they stand for, and you’re not beyond a crude “bar brawl” to get your point across — because, as you well know — your point of view is the correct one and there are no others that matter. You are a defender of the Republic, of all people everywhere, and you’re not afraid to jump into a fight to prove it. You view yourself as suitable for a seat on the Council and sneer at the logic of the Council for not giving you a chair. You won’t do anything “dark,” but – remember those predispositions against the Jedi I mentioned? You’re probably part of the reason for it.
THE JEDI OF EMOTION
Sure, you stand tall with the Order, you bow and nod to the whims of the Jedi Council, you participate in the defense of the innocents, sit at the negotiations table, but when you fight… you fight. You don’t necessarily become “angry,” but you do become somewhat… emotional. You’re not necessarily on your way to a “fall,” but you can walk a fine line. Even some of the most stalwart of Jedi have shown emotion at times, even if it’s just a peek. Remember when Darth Maul killed Qui-Gon? Oops. Sorry. Spoiler. Well, whip out your blu-rays and pop in Episode I (you know, the one you haven’t watched yet). Take a close look at Ewan McGreggor’s subtle emoting as Obi-Wan Kenobi when his master gets skewered. Beyond that, look at his eyes when he looks at Maul. Is there anger there? Thoughts of vengeance? Even just a fleeting glimpse? Once the fight begins, you see Obi-Wan become a properly-tuned Jedi Knight, fighting with focus and serenity… but that’s after his emotion charged up his batteries. That’s a power source you can tap into regularly as a Jedi of Emotion.
THE JEDI OF PASSION
Like the Jedi of Emotion, a Jedi of Passion will be completely charged by both your passions and your emotions. This Jedi may sometimes need to be scolded or reminded by their master or council leaders that they have to be “mindful of the Force” and to “govern their passions.” This Jedi would most likely have “Most Likely To Break the Code and Fall in Love” written under their name in the Jedi Academy Yearbook. You don’t see passion as a problem. You see passion as a physical emoting of the feeling of love which, you believe, is an extension of compassion. And, after all, aren’t Jedi supposed to be compassionate? As a Jedi of Passion, you may have yourself convinced that you’re following the laws of the Jedi (ahem, Bastila!) even as you’re ramming your tongue down the throat of a fellow Jedi. You may not say anything to your fellow Knights (ahem, Anakin!) and may very well hide your expressions of love to those who believe you to be a follower of the Code, but you know deep down there’s nothing wrong with falling in love… Right?
THE JEDI OF THE SELF
Ooh, ok, now we’re starting to slip away from the Jedi Code and the Order all together. The Jedi of the Self is one who doesn’t need a “code” or “honor” or “order” to know what’s right and wrong. The problem is you tend to shun the teachings you need most. You often shrug off harmony and serenity in favor of charging into the fray. You’ll love and break hearts indiscriminately because you’re a Jedi KNIGHT, emphasis on the ass-kicking part. You don’t have time for diplomacy and meetings. You’re a man (or woman) of honor and you know it. You’ll stand up to any enemy, face down any threat. You don’t need help or guidance and you certainly won’t falter. You know the dangers of the Dark Side and you’re far from it. You are still one of the “good guys” though next to alignment on a character sheet it may read ‘Chaotic/Good’. There’s no way you’ll fall or fail… Right?
THE JEDI WHO WALKS THE FINE GRAY LINE
You have left the Order behind. Maybe it’s because you were moved to vengeance (that you saw as justice). Maybe it’s because you fell in love and find the Jedi Code and Order ridiculous because “How can love be wrong?” But, over all, you and you alone follow the Force as the galaxy’s Alpha and Omega. The Force is IT. There is no light and dark in your mind. You’re the Jedi who wears the t-shirt that reads, “The Force Doesn’t Kill People. People Using The Force Kills People.” You seek your own balance, your own path. You know in your heart what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes bad people need to be taught a lesson, maybe even killed (unarmed or not). Maybe good people need to learn how to defend themselves. If you fall in love, so be it. You will train harder to make sure your passions do not poison you, but you won’t turn your back on compassion. You realize that you can’t have compassion without passion. Maybe you even understand the motivations of those on the “other side,” but you’re not beyond throwing down justice as it’s needed (on either side). You are both light, and dark though you may favor one more than the other at times. You are the Gray Jedi. You don’t disrespect the upholders of the Code, nor do you necessarily shun the Order. You simply do not need them to be a Jedi… in your mind, at least.
THE JEDI WITH THE POINT TO PROVE
Point to prove, chip on the shoulder, however you want to put it, the Jedi With the Point to Prove has had it with the Republic citizenry pointing their finger at the Jedi for all of their woes. They clearly don’t understand what it takes to maintain a balance in the Force, don’t know that a thousand dead Jedi won’t save the Republic from the Sith. Then again, let the old masters sit back on their asses, hidden away on Tython. Give me my lightsaber — or, better yet, two — and turn me loose. The Jedi with a Point to Prove is a rogue, a dangerous loose canon who calls upon the Code when it suits him (maybe even as the weapon of a bully). Beyond that, you have a code all your own. It pretty much reads like this: “There is emotion because it brings me peace. There is ignorance, and it’s pretty much everyone I meet. There is passion enough to get me what I need to be victorious. There is no chaos because I alone maintain order. There is no death until I die, and who’s gonna kill me? You? Bring it.“
THE JEDI WHO DABBLES IN THE DARK
What if Sidious was right as he lured Anakin to the Dark Side? What if a truly powerful Jedi is the one who understands and can grasp both the light and the dark sides of the Force? What if you really could wield that kind of power without being crazy? Is it possible? Canon — if you’re going to follow it rigidly — would say “No.” Any Jedi who stumbles down this path is bound to fall completely to the Dark Side. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. That doesn’t mean you can’t RP a Jedi in the throws of flux. Release the puppet strings of your character and let them flaunt their dabbling in the Dark Side. When your fellow Jedi call you out on it, what will you do? A) Realize your error and turn back to the serenity of the Code, B) Nod and apologize, say you won’t make such a mistake again, but then call upon the Dark Side when no one is looking, or C) Let anger and fury overtake you and lay waste to those who would dare question your motives. If you chose A or B, congratulations, you’re still a Jedi. If you chose C, I hope you brought your parachute because you’re falling, hard.
THE FALLEN JEDI
In ((The RP XP with MJ #7)) I talked about RPing as a bad guy. In that column, I showed you how you can have an Imperial character on the Republic side (The Dark Jedi). The Fallen Jedi is an example of how you can play a Republic character on the Imperial side. Unlike the Dark Jedi, who is essentially a Sith Warrior in Jedi Robes (making all the dark-side choices in-game), the Fallen Jedi has already made all the wrong decisions, finds you deep within the clutches of the Sith Empire, and leaves you struggling, crawling your way toward redemption. You may never find it, and you may die if your Sith counterparts discover that you possess *sneer* patience and serenity. You wear the black robes, your eyes rest on dark circles, but your anger has given way to sadness, your emotions are shrouded in loss. To play a Fallen Jedi, simply create a Sith Warrior who continually makes all the “light side” choices in-game. In RP with your Sith buddies, try to hide your true nature — or see if you can win others over to your side of things. It’s a long, hard road, but you’re determined to return to the light.
Of course there may be variations on the themes described above, and others I’m sure. That’s the great thing about RolePlaying: it’s as diverse and varied as the players who RP. Do you have a unique way to play a Jedi? How about a Sith? Bounty Hunter? Drop me a line and let me know.
NEXT TIME: Tips for RPing a Female Character Regardless of Your Own Gender.
CONTACT ME: Reply below, follow me on Twitter (@MichaelRigg), or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me about your own RP experiences, things you’d like to see in this column, questions, comments, or even ideas about the running fiction at the top of each article.
Until then, keep living life in the Old Republic, and May the Force be with you!
* From Developer Dispatch 8, “Designing the Light Side,” Sept 17, 2010
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