Thursday, February 11, 2010

3959-3956 BBY: Opportunities: Part One, Two, Three

With Darth Revan’s capture and absence as the leader of the Sith Empire, relative hell has broken loose. With Darth Malak now acting as top dog, infighting and power-grabs by the Sith acolytes beneath these two forces are scrambling for position and authority. Such is the way in the Sith Empire, as Malak knows all-to-well.

One ambitious Sith leader knows he may be able to garner interest from Malak, and move himself closer to the top (and maybe even kill Malak himself), by finding a secret research facility thought to be producing advanced and deadly battle droids. This “Sith leader” sends out a non-Sith ship (but manned with Sith forces) for his scouting mission, hoping not to tip off the Jedi and the Republic. However, his ploy fails, and the Republic, along with a Jedi strike team, attack the ship and begin to board it. It is here that conflict ensues: “By happenstance or by the will of the Force, individuals of great potential are found on both sides of the conflict. This battle will decide their destiny and possibly the fortunes of their allies and masters”.

Because this is a role-playing miniatures adventure, who wins this conflict is not important to its outcome. For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume the Republic forces, lead by a powerful Jedi Guardian, defeats the Sith forces and regains control of the ship.

This is the first third of the adventure “Opportunities”, titled ‘crossing paths’.
The second part of the adventure, titled ‘Misinformed’ deals with the winning forces’ landing at the secret facility, and discovering, in fact, there is A deadly battle droid, but not a manufacturing facility making these droids. What is more, this battle droid is accompanied by some space pirates, who recently discovered this droid in a raid, and are looking to unleash its destructive capabilities.

The droid in question here is HK-47, a unique and deadly battle droid who has expertise in killing Jedi targets. He appears later in the KOTOR video game, and from what I’ve read from wookieepedia, has quite the personality.

Before the pirates were defeated, they contacted the Sith Empire in an attempt to call for help, and sell the HK-47 battle droid to the highest bidder. It is here that the third part of the adventure starts, titled ‘Destiny Awaits’. Responding to the call is Darth Malak himself, and it is here that he and the powerful Jedi Guardian square off in a final epic battle.

From an RPG perspective, the outcome of this battle is still in the balance. It’s possible that the Guardian defeats Malak, but before the Dark Lord can be killed he slinks away to fight another day. Also, and what is more likely, is that Malak soundly defeats the Jedi Guardian, killing him in what I imagine to be an epic duel.

The ending of this adventure brings us to the doorstep of the KOTOR video game, and what is my greatest obstacle in the Star Wars Chronology Project. It’s my greatest obstacle because they way in which I am able to interact with this source is highly limiting. If the source I’m examining is in text form, I can bring the comic or book to work and read it on my break. If it’s an internet source I can also bring my laptop to work and, again, engage with the text on my break (a lot of the SWCP is done on my break at work, afterschool once my daily lesson prep is done, and on weekends when my son is napping). But because this source is a video game, the conditions under which I can engage with it are limited to my bedroom sometime after 9pm.

Being a husband, a father, and teacher, my time at home is usually not reserved for me. Not only do I participate in the chores of the home, I also want to be a present husband for my wife, and also a present father for my son. My wife and I usually clean up a little when we get home. Cook and eat dinner as a family. We then spend some time with our son playing or watching Thomas the Tank Engine, and after he goes to bed, we usually just sit and stare at the TV with a cup of tea. If we’re not watching TV we’re marking.

Lately I’ve been going to our bedroom to play some KOTOR, but after 9pm (when our son is asleep and we’ve basically relaxed for about an hour) the last thing I want to do is play a video game. I actually just want to go to bed, which is usually what happens.

So…the KOTOR video game will defiantly be a challenge for me. The challenge, obviously, is finding the time. With that being said I’m going to buy some time and in the meantime make other posts. The third part of the Lost Tribe of the Sith series was released yesterday, the final issue of the KOTOR comic series comes out next week, and I still want to cover the Xim material. For my next post I’m going to back-fill the LTOTS series, and if I finish the post before the 17th, I’ll move on to Xim, and once I’m done with the Xim material, I’ll back-fill my KOTOR issue 49 and 50 post. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

3959-3956 BBY: The Betrayal of Darth Revan

The title “The Betrayal of Darth Revan” began to worry me even before I started to read it. I thought ‘how does a guy who’s supposedly a major character down the line already get betrayed? What is more, who is doing the betraying?!?’ It was my thought that both Darth Revan and Darth Malak play complimentary villain roles in the KOTOR video game, but I have learned that this is not the case.

‘The Betrayal of Darth Revan’ is the story of Darth Revan’s capture by the Republic military, and more notably Bastila and her Jedi strike-force. It’s an RPG adventure intended to be played by characters level 10 or over. In the adventure, the heroes begin by searching for secret codes which would lure the Sith fleet into a trap, and later, clear the way for a Jedi boarding party, lead by Bastila, to confront and capture Darth Revan.

The adventure moves through four phases of play, each one entertaining and challenging. Like I said, the first phase is the acquiring of secret pass codes intended to be used to lure the Sith fleet into engagement with Republic forces. Once the Sith have been lured into Republic space, the second phase of the adventure begins, which consists of the heroes piloting star fighters and clearing a way through space for Bastila and her Jedi strike-force to board Revan’s flagship and begin the extraction mission. The heroes in this scenario have their work cut out for them, as they have to engage heavily armored Sith ships. Once the path has been cleared, the heroes must board Revan’s flagship and begin to clear its security forces. It is here that the heroes confront Darth Voren and his security team. The third phase of the adventure is the showdown between Darth Voren and the heroes, and Voren is no pushover. The heroes must again gain security pass-codes in order to lure the security forces away from Revan and his command station, and defeat or persuading of Voren is the key to victory here. The fourth phase of the adventure is escaping Revan’s flagship with Bastila (unconscious Revan in hand) and her Jedi strike-force.

What I found interesting about this story is that it does not explicitly state that Darth Revan was betrayed by Darth Malak here. The text simply reads: “Shortly after the heroes reach the hangar bay, the ship shudders several times from nearby attacks. If they rush to the opening, they see that several nearby ships have turned on the flagship and are ruthlessly attacking it.”(pg 7). It is in the KOTOR video game that we are told that it was Darth Malak who fired upon Revan’s ship. What is more, in the game we learn that once Malak and Revan ended the Mandalorian wars, and somewhere in that time became Sith Lords, that Malak accepted the role of apprentice only grudgingly. It was here that Malak saw his opportunity to rise to the title of Dark Lord of the Sith, and become himself the Master and not the apprentice. (I’ve started to play the video game. I’m about 4 hours into the content).

I also found the introduction of Darth Voren interesting as well. As a level 12 character, he is quite developed. There is not much written about him. His Wookieepedia page can be found here. But he was with Malak and Revan during that time they became Sith, and he himself became a Sith and started working against the Jedi and the Republic. The story leaves his fate open ended, so he could potentially continue to be a threat to peace during this time frame.
As I’ve already said, I’ve begun to play the KOTOR video game, so a lot of this story’s back-story was flushed out there.

For my next post I’ll be moving on to the last bit of RPG sources, and the only sources of history for this time period, to ‘Opportunities’ part 1, 2, and 3. Until next time my friends, may the Force be with you.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

3959-3956 BBY: Korriban Creatures

Saber versus claw. This is the basic setup of Korriban Creatures – a simple and entertaining miniatures scenario. On the one side you have the Sith, who must eliminate all the creatures, and on the other side you have the creatures, who must kill all the Sith.

The story takes place on the planet of Korriban, which is the home world of the Sith species and their Dark Lord Masters. In keeping with the Sith tradition of only respecting strength and power, Sith acolytes from the Darkside academy of Korriban are asked to purge the Sith temples and settlements of these nasty creatures. Such tasks are considered trials for the students of the darkside, and failure is not an option. It’s either kill or be killed.

Not only are darkside adepts from the Korriban academy asked to exterminate these creatures, but sometimes Sith troopers are asked as well. From what I remember of the Sith War and Exar Kun’s interaction with these creatures, such a task is not to be taken lightly.

From a chronological perspective this story does not add much in the way of furthering the annuls of Star Wars, but it is interesting to note that clearing the temple of destructive force creatures is one way the Sith would initiate its acolytes.

For my next post I’ll be moving on to The Betrayal of Darth Revan. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

3959-3956 BBY: Permanent Demotion

Permanent Demotion is a pretty cool RPG miniatures scenario. It’s a continuation of Czerka 431, and features assassins from the Sith Empire as well as the GenoHaradan – a secretive bounty hunter guild dating back to the time of Xim the Despot. Since the departure of Joni Ree, both the Sith Empire and the Czerka Corporation are looking for a head to roll. The Czerka Corporation is looking to hide its relation to the Sith Empire from the Republic (I suppose for monetary and public opinion reasons), and the means by which it is willing to do this is assassinate the chief administrator of the Czerka Corporation.

In this particular story, the Republic forces are responsible for keeping safe the chief administrator of the Czerka Corporation, while trying to evacuate him from Czerka facility AB-343. Meanwhile it’s the Sith’s and Genoharadan’s goal to assassinate him.

What is interesting in this particular piece of Star Wars history is the mention of the GenoHaradan. I linked the GenoHaradan to its Wookieepedia page earlier. This is the first time in Star Wars chronology that such an organization is referenced, but I’m not sure if somewhere in the Xim material, which was added after I started this project, mentioned this group already. I look forward to finding out in the near future.

I also enjoyed the prominence of assassins. I find the idea of assassins very cool, and the history and mission of the GenoHaradan interesting. I look forward to coming across this particular group in the KOTOR game.

For my next post I’ll be examining the miniatures adventure Korriban Creatures. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

3959-3956 BBY: Czerka 431

I’m beginning to wonder if I should have played the KOTOR video game before I began engaging with this RPG material. As Plaristes implied in response to my last post, prior knowledge of the game is assumed when reading with this particular RPG material.

In Czerka 431, reference to the ‘Star Forge’ is made, which I think I remember from my readings on the Rakata’s Infinite Empire when I began this project way back. The Star Forge, if I remember, was some kind of super weapon, and which I assume has a significant role to play in the video game.

Czerka 431 is a small miniatures game adventure, and seems like it would be a lot of fun to play. The conflict in Czerka 431 is between Joni Ree, a scientist at the droid facility Czerka 431, and her Sith overlords, who have taken over the facility since their subsequent arrival in Republic space. The Sith are looking to manufacture the juggernaut droids made at this droid facility. The droid factory’s location and its products are highly secretive. Ree, coming to a moral impasse with her new Sith masters, is looking to escape from the facility. Knowing this, the Sith have beefed up security around the scientist.

Ree secretly sent the Republic word of her whereabouts and her desire to defect, so the Republic has sent a strike force to the facility to set her free. Herein lays the conflict. The Republic is looking to bust Ree from Czerka 431 and have her work for them, while the Sith are looking to keep the scientist, and what she knows, working for the new Sith Empire.

At the end of the day, I’m actually enjoying going through this material, even if I am at a bit of a loss as to what is going on at times. I know everything will become clearer once I’m finished with the KOTOR video game. I’ve always enjoyed the nitty-gritty details of this world, and even though this is a small source to cover, I’m glad that I have. I like knowing about Joni Ree, and of her desire to defect to the Republic. I feel like this one story furthers my appreciation of this universe. Like I said in one of my earlier posts; it’s not the outcome of these events that is important to the history of Star Wars, it’s that the events themselves took place.

For my next post I’ll be examining another RPG miniatures game titled Permanent Demotion. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

3959-3956 BBY: Iridonian Darkness

The Sith are coming…..


It is a time of Jedi Civil War. Across the galaxy, invading forces of the Sith Empire attack the unprepared planets of the Old Republic. Led by the fallen Jedi turned Sith Lords Darth Revan and Darth Malak, Sith fleets claim planet after planet. Betrayal is everywhere as Jedi battle
their former brethren, corrupted by Sith teaching and the dark side. Still reeling from the divisiveness of the Mandalorian Wars, the Zabrak homeworld of Iridonia struggles to purge itself
of surviving Mandalorian splinter groups. Now a respected member of the Republic, the former Mandalorian ally is a prime Sith target to disrupt the forces of the Republic, if not the Republic itself. The Sith are coming . . .

This is the opening crawl to the Iridonian Darkness RPG game adventure. With regards to Star Wars history, we have moved ahead approximately one year. There is a lot to comment on considering this adventure, and it seems that since the end of the Mandalorian war, much has changed in the annuls of Star Wars.

Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this particular piece of history, there is much I want to address that is impregnated within the opening crawl of this adventure.

Firstly, it seems that with the start of this story, Star Wars history has moved from one era to the next. No longer are we situated within the Mandalorian Wars, but we have entered the history of the Jedi Civil War. From a textual perspective, and accounting all sources taken in chronological order, there has not been much information presented telegraphing this change. What I mean to say is irrespective of the miniatures RPG adventure Onderon Cutoff, which alludes to the winding down of the Mandalorian conflict, there have been no sources that clarify how Star Wars history has come to this particular rocky period. With that being said however, I have still to read KOTOR issues 49 and 50, and these two issues could explain the beginnings of the Jedi Civil War, and why Malak and The Revanchist are now referring to themselves as Darth Revan and Darth Malak.

Malak and Revan are characters we have become familiar with inside of the KOTOR series, and it seems that these two have completely fallen to the darkside, and have taken on new monikers. Not only are Malak and Revan’s new names endlessly interesting, but both of these individual’s choices have dichotomized not only the Jedi order, but the entire Republic. What is more, this is the first time in Star Wars Chronology that the honorific title of “Darth” is being used. From a chronological perspective no Dark Lord of the Sith prior to this time has used the title of Darth. Not Ajunta Pall, not Freedon Nadd, not Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma – no one. Which begs the question: how did their transformations occur?” (I talk a little bit about this in my posts on the Sith War, and how I thought it interesting that a name change did not take place when the above characters mentioned ‘fell’ to the darkside).

Many questions arise here. When did they become Sith? How did they come about the titles ‘Darth’? Where did they collect these Sith forces from? Has there always been a Sith Empire or Civilization waiting in the wings for renewed leadership to collect them? How did they educate themselves on the teachings of the Sith? How did they go from pulling the Jedi into a conflict against the Mandalorians, to leading a new conflict against the Jedi and the Republic? Like I said, many questions arise during this conjunction in history.

Brining my thoughts back to the text at hand, Iridonian Darkness is a story about a group of heroes from the Republic attempting to, initially, rid the planet Iridonia of its remaining Mandalorian presence, but then fighting to stave off the invasion of the Sith forces. At the centre of the story is a Jedi Knight by the name of Duqua Dar. He is teetering on the brink of darkness, and if not for the efforts of the heroes of the story, may succumb to the allure of the darkside.

Without giving too much of the story away (for those reading this that may want to play the adventure in the future), the group of heroes (the game is designed for heroes level 4 to 5) head to Iridonia, the Zabrak homeworld, to clear out the remaining Mandalorian forces. Along the way, one of their group, Duqua, is seduced to the darkside by Acaadi, a Sith adept and manipulator. Duqua’s turning is not complete however, and it’s up the actions and words of the heroes to sway him back to the ways of the light.

My favorite part of this adventure is when the heroes come face to face with Duqua. How they engage with him dictates whether or not he turns to the darkside, or if he realizes the error of his arrogance, and once again embraces the light. It’s at this point in the adventure where the heroes can enter into a philosophical debate with Duqua, and with their ideas, try to convince him of ‘the truth’. I think that this would be super fun to RP. A great discussion could ensue.

Hopefully at the end, the heroes save the day and manage to save Duqua and Iridonia from the threat of the Sith. The adventure features many twists and turns for the heroes, and seems like it would take more than one night to play.

For my next post I’ll be moving on to another RPG source – Czerka 431. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.