Monday, August 31, 2009

3998 BBY - 3996 BBY: Tales of the Jedi Companion: Chapter 4 - Sith Reborn

The Sith Reborn

I was a little hasty with saying I’d be moving on to the Saga of Nomi Sunrider in my last post. I first have to examine the Tales of the Jedi Companion sourcebook from West End Games. The chapter I’ll be looking at is chapter 4 – Sith Reborn.

Before I get into the chapter summary though, I’d like to first talk a little about West End Games and my experience with Star Wars role playing games.

I was introduced to role playing games, otherwise known as RPG’s, many years ago. A buddy of mine used to play with his high school friends, but after going to university, he and his friends drifted apart. He and I became friends at university, and we both shared a love of Star Wars. He asked me if I ever played a role-playing game, to which I replied, no. He started recounting for me all the adventures he and his friends used to have, and he described them with such vivid detail and passion.

It was the vivid detail that grabbed my attention. Pretty soon, he had his sourcebooks out, and before long we were rolling my first character. Of all the templates to choose from, the one that attracted me most was the gambler. In a short matter of time, a few more people joined our circle, and before long, we had Sunday afternoon games at his place that would last for hours.

Whenever my buddy and I talk on the phone (he lives overseas now) we still talk about some of our Star Wars adventures.

West End Games was the company that produced the Star Wars role-playing game, and they used a D6 system, which means the die they used for the game were six sided. Of all the RPG systems out there, I still think that WEG’s D6 system was the easiest to use, and the most effective to play. WEG went out of business a while back, and the Star Wars role-playing game was purchased by Wizards of the Coast. They changed the game to the D20 system, and in doing so ruined the game for me. Wizards of the Coast revamped the core rule book a little while back, and from all reports that I’ve read have improved the game. But as it is, I haven’t played in a long while. I still purchase the sourcebooks though, and it is from a sourcebook that my post gets its impetus today.

Star Wars source books are considered Canon by Lucasfilm. I find source books extremely interesting to read, as they give nitty-gritty detail to almost anything in the Star Wars Universe.

Tales of the Jedi companion, chapter 4: Sith Reborn, gives us some nitty-gritty details into the story of Ulic Qel-dorma and the Beast Wars of Onderon.

Five characters are flushed out in further detail in this text, they are: Queen Amanoa, her husband Kind Ommin, the failed Jedi Freedon Nadd, the queen’s assistant Novar, and finally Warb Null. For this post I’ll only deal with three of them: The King, the Queen, and Freedon Nadd.

In Chapter four, Sith Reborn, we are given a small narrative of Queen Amanoa before the arrival of the three Jedi sent by Master Jeth. Before the arrival of the Jedi, she killed a malcontent in her throne room using Sith magic. Some background is then provided on the Queen. Apparently, she did not completely embrace the darkside of the force when she first encountered it. Her husband, King Ommin, was a descendant of Freedon Nadd, and it was the spirit of Nadd that converted the king to a user of darkside magic. When the Queen had seen her husband under the Sith’s spell, she did all she could to get him to turn from his wicked ways. But the old saying holds true, “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and this is what happened to the Queen. Unable to help her husband, she embraced the teachings of the Sith, and after her husband’s disappearance, began to commune with the spirit of Freedon Nadd. Needless to say, Queen Amanoa was hostile to the Jedi, right from the start.

King Ommin is an interesting character as well. A descendant of Freedon Nadd, it seems that his fate had always been sealed. After embracing the full power of the darkside, he was summarily crippled by it. As we learn by his story, full control over the power of the darkside has its price, and the price he payed was the loss of his ability to control his own body. I guess controlling the darkside is like making a deal with the devil – you think everything is going to work out in your favour, or you have control of the situation, only to learn in the end that nothing will go the way you want it to, and in fact, you are not in control.

Ulic Qel-Dorma and the Beast Wars of Onderon gave very little detail on the personage of Freedon Nadd. He operates as this master puppet behind the scenes, controlling the action. The Tales of the Jedi companion fills in some blanks for us.

Four centuries prior, Freedon was a promising young Jedi Knight. It seems that his masters, and all around him, were very impressed by his openness to the force. Many agreed that he would reach the rank of Master quicker than anyone before him. Yet, on the day they were conferring the title of Jedi Knight to the learners, Freedon was passed over by his Master. Little did he know though, that this action was a test of his Knighthood. He grew very angry, and he felt betrayed by his Master. He left the area, and went to the edge of town where a great Jedi Master lived. She was an expert in lightsaber combat, and spent her days going through drills. When Freedon asker her why he had been passed over, she told him that not everything could be pointed out to him. He had to discover what it meant to be a Jedi without being taught. If Freedon would be willing to look inside of himself, and reflect on what his Masters had taught him, he would know what it takes and what it means to be a Jedi. Freedon accused the Master of hording secrets, and that the Jedi did not give away their knowledge for fear of others holding the power over them. Freedon declared himself a Jedi, and the Master at the edge of town asked him to prove it, through his proficiency in lightsaber combat.

The two dueled, and Freedon was overwhelmed by the Master’s proficiency with a lightsaber. Yet, he noticed that the Jedi Master made a slight mis-step in one of her parry attacks. Freedon jumped at the chance to defeat the master, and swung with all his hatred:
“As his blade swooped down, he saw something in Matta’s stare, and expression of calmness and acceptance, underlied by a strength Freedon had never seen before. Suddenly he knew that he had failed, that Matta had offered him a true test, and that he had chosen to see it as a threat” (Tales of the Jedi Companion, pg 70).

It is in this test that Freedon fails as a Jedi, and it is after this incident that he begins his decent into the darkside of the force.

What I find remarkable about this story is the way that Jedi Knighthood is framed as a form of enlightenment. Buddhists would teach that enlightenment cannot be directly taught. One can be given advice, and rules to follow, but if you don’t get why they are important, then enlightenment cannot be yours. Freedon did not achieve enlightenment, and therefore, was not worthy of the title Jedi Knight.

Sourcebooks are one of my favorite media for gaining Star Wars knowledge. Like I said before, they give the nitty-gritty details to all the other formats. I look forward to when I encounter this source again.

For my next post I’ll be moving on to the Saga of Nomi Sunrider – for real this time.


  1. Yeah, the Tales of the Jedi Companion is a cool book. On a different note, since you'll soon be getting into the Exar Kun stories, will you be covering the Tales of the Jedi audio drama, which isn't included on Joe's timeline? And do you read French? If so, there's an rpg scenario titled "Le Facteur X" in Casus Belli 115 that overlaps with the Exar Kun stories.

  2. Would you be able to privied the bibliographic information on the audio drama? I'm interested in exploring it. Unfortunatly, I don't read French. Maybe you could provide me with a brief plot synopsis, and tell me where I should situate it in the Chronology project?

    Kind Reagrds

  3. The audio drama series were based on several Dark Horse Star Wars stories and are much more than simple audio books. They include full voice casts and sound effects and there are minor new scenes/new dialogue. There are two for the Old Republic era. The first is simply titled Tales of the Jedi (ISBN: 1565119738) and is an adaptation of "Ulic Qel-Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon," "The Saga of Nomi Sunrider," and "The Freedon Nadd Uprising."
    The second is titled Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith (ISBN: 1565119746) and is an adaptation of the comic series of the same name. Both can be easily found on (just search for Tales of the Jedi audio).
    As for "Le Facteur X," I don't read French, either, so I don't know the details of the story. Wookieepedia has a very brief entry on it, but that's all I know.

  4. This is awesome info - thank you. I'll defiantly look into these. I'll see if my local library has any copies before I go onto Amazon. As for "Le Facteur X", I'll check out Wookieepedia and see what I can glean from it.