Knights of the Old Republic EP47: Hardcore Rodian Nudity

By Shamus
on Feb 4, 2016
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

Before we get started, I’d like to ask everyone to be sure and remind Jacob to hold the push-to-talk button down until after he’s done talking. He’ll appreciate it!


Link (YouTube)

The Sith teachers here apparently didn’t get Revan’s memo advocating pragmatism and strength and just assumed that Sith = LOL MURDUR.

Never spare an enemy! They’re weak and deserve to die.

Right. Unless you think they might be useful later. Or it would be troublesome to kill and dispose of them. Or killing them might provoke someone else to come looking for revenge later. Even if you’re a bad enough dude to handle them, do you really want stuff like that popping up at an inopportune moment when you might have more important stuff to do?

Heck, if a foe is truly so weak they can’t be a threat to you, then it’s in your own best interests to spare them. If word gets around that you can be merciful, then your foes will be more likely to surrender when you’ve got them on the ropes. If everyone knows that surrendering just means you’ll torture them to death, then they will fight to the death and you’ll face greater losses. The most dangerous foe is one with a deep grudge and nothing to lose.

If your goal is to be the strongest, then why bother training anyone at all? Because you need an army, right? But then why do you let the upperclassmen openly murder the freshmen? Slaughtering easy prey won’t make the upperclassmen stronger, and it will probably kill lots of people who have more talent but less overall training than the bullies. Even if you’re totally amoral and care nothing for the life of anyone else, letting murder bullies run rampant in your school is no different than letting vandals run rampant in your palace. This shit belongs to you, and you shouldn’t put up with people destroying your stuff for their own amusement.

Also, is murder the only thing you need to accomplish? Someone needs to sweep the floors, change the light bulbs, and polish the overly ornate techno-throne on your personal star destroyer. Heck, if you kill all the wussy nerds, then who will build you a star destroyer?

And finally, all that internal murder and backstabbing will be a drain on your numbers. Sure, “only the strong survive”, but if you follow this particular Sith code to its logical conclusion, eventually you’ll end up with a solitary, battle-weary Sith remaining. Or maybe you end up with an army of people who are geniuses at poisoning their superiors but are actually rubbish in a stand-up fight. If nothing else, take the losers from your ranks and fling them into battle ahead of you. Rather than killing them yourself, why not make your enemy exert the effort to kill them?

Revan was supposed to be an answer to the short-sighted Jedi. But here we are with an army of treacherous, backstabbing, short-sighted, plotting dipshits. These people threw off the stupidity of the Jedi order. But instead of embracing a kind of hedonistic attitude of reveling in your power, they’ve simply replaced one idiotic dogma with another.

It’s been years, so maybe I’m romanticizing the portrayal of Revan, but in my mind the brilliant strategist does not mesh well with the murderclown circus we see here on Korriban.

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From the Archives:

  1. Hector says:

    There’s always been a difficulty with depicting iconic but more-or-less motivationless villains in any kind of greater detail. A villain off in the background doesn’t really need a clear philosophy; he or she can just be absurdly evil. (Although, they’re far more effective if they chew a bit of scenery but never too much and make sure not to look petty.)

    Once you show them up close and personal, making choices and having goals, they need a lot more and it becomes increasingly hard to show them as interesting characters. To work that with Vader, they had to bring Palpatine into the light as the mysterious, dangerous, feared figure dressed all in black AND Vader had to develop an entire story woven into the main plot about who he was and what wanted. It’s just not something you can do very easily with characters that you interact with, unless you really put some thought into the story.

    • Hector says:

      Also, this was an issue in TOR as well. Both the Sith storylines show dozens or even hundreds of Apprentices getting killed off for each completed Sith – to the point that they’re generic mooks mowed down for the bonus xp. Note that I don’t really dislike this; it at least shows the Sith are ruthless. But it does raise a lot of questions. Just how many Force-sensitives are there if the Sith can man their armies when maybe one in a hundred survives? It’s also annoying because “Light side” actions, often perceived as weak by the Sith, tend to involve building a powerbase knowing Dark Siders will turn on you. Dark Side actions tend to just be insane aggression that would ultimately be self-destructive.

      There’s a couple quests where Jedi act in silly ways, even if their tests are far less lethal. Overall, though, they are shown teaching Force skills *before* handing out lightsabers, protecting the students so they can learn past a momentary failure, and trying to pull them onward rather than shoving them into battle with no training.

      • lurkey says:

        I’d say it’s even bigger issue in TOR — in KOTOR, you only have a school; in TOR, these idiot wizards with spoiled, petulant, tantrum-throwing child’s mentality and likewise capabilities of long-term planning are running a whole galaxy-spanning Empire. There is an explanation of sorts — it’s all held together by will of Darth Cthulhu and as soon as he’s cast down everything starts falling apart, and Imperial Agent’s story tries to make it bit less unbelievable by adding an agency of nameless mooks whose jobs are to quietly mop Siths’ messes, but’s it’s not enough to cover all the stupid. Because there is a lot of stupid.

        How’s with the Sith Stupid in Enhanced Universe, by the way? I’m curious if it seeped in from there or was it entirely made by Bioware.

        • Narkis says:

          Nope, lots of stupid Sith in the EU. Some reasonable ones as well, but they’re a tiny minority. Bioware definitely did not come up with this on their own.

        • guy says:

          The Dark Side is pretty explicitly bad for people’s restraint and long-term planning. Individual Sith may do better, but generally whenever there’s a bunch of Sith it gets to be like this. Though as a rule in most cases when there’s infighting, if the top guy is enough stronger he’ll keep the loser around because they’re useful and not strong enough to be a threat.

  2. SlothfulCobra says:

    I agree with Shamus. I never bought the whole Sith rigmarole of “kill everything at all times” either. It’s just a bunch of dumb cartoon villain junk to prove how baaaad these dudes are. It’s nothing that you could ever build a functional organization out of, much less a society. Although, I guess it’s plausible since they’ve only been around for a little while, so theoretically they haven’t burned through all potential recruits already, but still. I like that Rutskarn isn’t here for this, and he’s the only one of the Spoiler Warning crew who’s said nice things about Korriban.

    Jo Lee Bindo has some great lines here (well, he does everywhere), where he reacts very sarcastically to being called your slave, and does a whole silly routine about wanting to please his master.

  3. dp says:

    Maybe the real objective is to keep the population of the well trained, competent force users in the Sith Empire low? The real enemies of high ranking Sith are lower ranking Sith afterall and the Sith Empire has an army and navy to do the actual empire building.

    Perhaps the Sith Academy is a machine for getting rid of ambitious force users. It might produce the occasional middle-rate Sith, but they were dumb enough to join the academy in the first place and thus pose no real threat.

    • Majikkani_Hand says:

      I really like this hypothesis, although I do think there’s probably an element in there of “the dark side is just crap for keeping some semblance of self-restraint.” At any rate, even if it’s not the actual goal, it’s a nice side effect.

  4. Gruhunchously says:

    This Rodian conversation you guys are having is almost identical to one that a couple of guards have in Jedi Academy. And you can play as a Rodian in that game, delivering your message of racial tolerance by way of dismemberment. I find the similarity amusing.

    On a related note, I wonder if Rodian-exploitation holovids are a thing in the Star Wars verse.

  5. Gruhunchously says:

    Wow, Chris is really mean to Yuri Lowenthal,

    And Robin Atkin Downes as well. He not only voiced Mekel, but also had his face modeled for him, in a 2003 era abomination sort of way. And you all go insulting his facial hair.

  6. WILL says:

    To be fair, the idea of Revan being a master strategist and perfect application of pragmatism/precision comes from KotOR 2. In the first he’s really just an anonymous bad guy so that the twist works.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Also important to note that most of the characters that talk about her in KOTOR (Kreia, Canderous, HK-47, even G0-T0 to a degree) are diehard fanboys, so it’s feasible that her prowess might be somewhat exaggerated.

      • WILL says:

        They all admire him/her for different reasons.

        Kreia because she taught him and she likes to be proud of her teachings/students.
        Canderous because he respects being completely defeated by him during the war.
        HK-47 because murder/combat proficiency.
        G0-T0 because he was pragmatic and precise, leaving the Republic functional.

        It’s like breaking down a Mary Sue.

    • The Specktre says:

      To be fair, the idea of Revan being a master strategist and perfect application of pragmatism/precision comes from KotOR 2. In the first he’s really just an anonymous bad guy so that the twist works.

      KotOR 1 did at least allude to Revan not using the Star Forge at full capacity because he understood how dangerous it was–Malak calls him a coward for it in the game. Likewise, the quiz with the AI on Kashyyyk alludes to Revan being a cold and pragmatic strategist. I think there’s enough there to give you an idea of who Revan was, but yes, it’s definitely fleshed out more in KotOR 2.

  7. MichaelGC says:

    “She’s purple: that’s why I like her.” That’s racist.

    I think Facebutt McGee has the same voice audio as the Ithorians in KotOR 2? They also constantly bang on about ‘Theedon Gill’, anyway.

    Yacob – I gather you need to hold down the push-to-talk button for a short while after you finish sp

  8. guy says:

    It is generally implied that Revan had the Sith on a tighter leash than Malak and there was less in the way of rampant pointless murder. But also despite what KOTOR 2 tells you the dark side is a bad thing and causes people to make pointlessly cruel choices for stupid reasons. Revan personally was sort of above that but it comes with the Sith territory and is why they lose so often.

  9. Viktor says:

    This is why the Rule of Two exists later on. There was a Sith Order that functioned similar to how Shamus suggests at one point(appx 1000 years pre-TPM). Darth Bane arose, realized that without constant conflict for training and assassination attempts to weed out the weak, the high-ranking Sith were no better than Jedi, and he wiped out the whole Sith Order. The Rule of Two was his answer to the problem of how to keep For-Teh-Evulz people working together without the situation going totally 4Chan.

    • Artyom says:

      There is something I like about this rule-of-two thing… The fact that everyone ignores it. I think 50% of the whole Expanded Universe would not exist if characters would adhere to that rule.
      And it is easy to see why WRITERS tend to ignore this rule. Because it limits amount of stories and characters they can do. There are million billion EU Material that describe a “secret apprentice of Darth INSERT-NAME-HERE”.
      I wonder why nobody tried to simply retcon this stupid rule. Just say that Sith became more pragmatic without enforcing stupid rules that nobody ever follows.

      • Phantos says:

        That rule would probably work better if the Two(2) Sith in the entire galaxy were in different locations. Otherwise, their enemies could just find where they both are, kill them and then all Sith would be extinct.

        Two birds with one stone, am I right?

        It would also be a lot harder to sniff out who one of the Two Bad Guys in the whole universe are if they didn’t look as cartoonishly evil as possible. “I can’t believe the guy who looked like Hitler Satan was actually a BAD GUY!”

        I know I’m breaking new ground here, but I think something George Lucas came up with might have been stupid.

        • Artyom says:

          Well, to be fair, only Maul was looking overly evil (and bear in mind that he is alien, so maybe his tatooed looks was just a way to atract alien ladies). Palpatine and Dooku looked like a guys that can be charming and not-menacing in public if they want so.

        • Taellosse says:

          The theory was that from the time of Darth Bane, who established the Rule of Two, to that of Palpatine, who finally destroyed the Jedi Order and took over the Republic, the Sith remained in hiding, gathering political and economic power through proxies and in secret, but never allowing their existence to be known, as Sith, to the Jedi – who believed the Sith extinct when Bane engineered the old Order’s destruction. The idea being you can’t hunt down and destroy an enemy you don’t know exists.

      • guy says:

        Generally the Sith under the Rule of Two don’t exceed four proper Sith. They have various people with force powers and optionally lightsabers who are not fully trained as Sith to do generic force-wielding mook work. Exactly what this means varies by the writer, but there are assorted Sith secrets the mooks don’t get to know.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        What if the Rule of Two is a complete lie? The Sith have somehow convinced the Jedi that they rigorously adhere to a rule of only two Sith, when really there’s backup apprentices by the truckload. It’s the sort of lie the Lawful Stupids over on the Jedi Council would totally fall for.

        Yeah I know there’s piles of EU stuff that can poke holes in this theory, but the EU is already a self-contradicting mess and this theory is cool damnit.

    • Shoeboxjeddy says:

      The good thing about that series is that it shows how neither “Rule” works for the Sith, because they’re selfish, evil assholes. The large army of Sith falls to backfighting. They can’t agree and marshal their powers enough to conquer the “weaker” Jedi. And weak ones betray or poison strong ones. Bane sees this and figures he’ll just have two Sith. The problem is, while for a time he and his apprentice sharpen each other’s skills and do good work, he’s never prepared to step down and stop being one of the two Sith. He’d rather kill her as being “not good enough” (despite working with him for years) and then start over some time later. Or hey, just steal her body with Sith magic and continue doing that with new apprentices forever.

      The Sith are like Ayn Rand. Frustrated people think they have a point in there somewhere, but it turns out their ideals never work out in practice because they’re just too much of an asshole.

      • guy says:

        I sort of like what SWTOR did with them; the Empire seems to run on the rule that you’re allowed to advance by killing Sith, so long as you aren’t incompetent enough to get caught. It keeps their habit of infighting and focus on rule by strength, but cuts down on the internal violence and lets them be sort of stable. And most of the machinery of governance is run by non-Sith, full of people who keep their heads down to avoid attention and do their best to keep things together.

      • Shamus says:

        Whenever I see comments like this, it makes me like Objectivists MORE. See, I KNOW I’ve got a few Rand-fans here in the comments, and they never bite on childish name-calling bait like this.

        If you posted that same line but replaced Ayn Rand with Reagan or JFK, it would trigger every partisan in the audience and you’d have a flame war that wouldn’t die until I gave up and closed the comments.

        Whatever you think about Objectivists, they make for good guests.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Ok,lets try an experiment then:

          The sith are like Ronald Reagan.Frustrated people think they have a point in there somewhere,but it turns out their ideals never work out in practice because theyre just too much of an asshole.

          • Shamus says:

            I know you’re probably making a joke, but seriously: “Let’s see if this creates stress, headaches, and eats up a bunch of Shamus’ time” is NOT a fun game for me.

            Let’s not do this. Not “sarcastically”, or as a joke , or whatever. Just… no.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              You should have more faith in your fans.Last time I did this sort of a thing,the only responses were joking as well.

              • Jakale says:

                Your experiment can’t really work as potentially intended, though, seeing as it’s in the middle of an attention grabbing gold conversation which is short enough to not be a bother to read, so the context of your comment as not serious is obvious and taints the data pool.
                Not that I think you should bomb some other comment thread and make trouble for Shamus, but you’d need a control group to measure results against.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Actually,precisely because it follows a short comment by Shamus,it works precisely as intended.That is,as not a serious experiment but as a joke.If it were a direct reply to Shoeboxjeddy,then it would attract some genuine ire from people.

        • Raygereio says:

          Whenever I see comments like this, it makes me like Objectivists MORE. See, I KNOW I’ve got a few Rand-fans here in the comments, and they never bite on childish name-calling bait like this.

          I’ve actually had one or two rather negative experiences with an objectivist in a comment-thread here.

          When it comes to religion, politics & ideologies in general people tend to get stuck in a us-vs-them mentality (especially on the Internet where it’s very easy to form echo chambers).
          Let’s us all remember that whatever their beliefs: People are people. And people are jerks. Okay, sometimes people are nice. But most of the time we’re all jerks.

          • Shamus says:

            “But most of the time we’re all jerks.”

            Right, but being a jerk on my site will get you banned. And while I really hate doing it, I also hate being ref between ideologues. Because if I’m too gentle then assholes run rampant and if I’m too harsh then people will cry foul, and there is no “sweet spot”. And even the line between “I’m talking about politics” and “I’m just joking around / making an analogy” can get pretty damned blurry. One person’s “joke” is another person’s “FIGHT ME!”.

            And people are always happy to second-guess me, when they don’t have to bear the stress and hassle of debates that get out of control.

            I’m not surprised you’ve had problems with Objectivists in the past. But as someone who has read all of the 300,000+ comments over the last ten years, Objectivists come off as more well-behaved than average.

            I do what I can, honestly.

  10. Pyrrhic Gades says:

    Fun fact, the joke you can tell to those 4 Sith frat boys is a Spaced Up version of the World’s Funniest Joke according to the Guineas Book of Records at the time.

    So I was rather disapointed that the Spoiler Warning Crew opted to outright murder them so that my piece of trivia became irrelevant.

  11. Exetera says:

    With that rookie Sith in the beginning, what I want to do is give him a long monologue about all of the myriad uses one can find for people who are stupid and desperate, about all of the long, slow amusing ways you can make them fall into despair and death over the course of years, and about how terribly small and fleeting the pleasure of just killing them or embarrassing them on the spot would be.

    He looks up at you, starry-eyed, and asks who exactly you are… and then you look back at Carth and make up a terrible, bullshit excuse.

    More broadly, I am very sad at how little you are allowed to be evil in this episode. I want Regina to be a big ol’ Sith grandma to the trainees, praising them and giving them tips and homemade cookies, and thundering about the falling educational standards these days. Does this happen if you have more Dark Side points?

    Why don’t any of the Sith on Korriban recognize Regina? I mean, she’s been gone for a little while, but surely Darth Revan has a Sithipedia article or something.

    • Artyom says:

      Sith knew that Revan existed, but most of them never saw him/her in person. And even then Revan used typical Sith mask-and-robe look, never revealing him/herself.
      If you play KOTOR 2 you get the impression that only people from Revan Jedi past knew him/her personally. For everyone else Revan was more like leader and less a person.

    • Ysen says:

      The cookies are poisoned, right? She’s not a real Sith unless they’re poisoned.

  12. silver Harloe says:

    My guess: Ayn Rand is required reading at Sith academy.
    Nothing like a college-aged Objectivist for some serious assholery.
    (and I’m speaking from the experience of being a college-aged Objectivist a couple decades ago)

    • Grudgeal says:

      Ah, but then the question arises: Are the Sith this way because they follow her teachings, or is this simply the natural reacting of a wounded beast, lashing out at an unjust world that has forced them to read Atlas Shrugged cover-to-cover?

  13. Artyom says:

    I think i know why characters have such stupid headgear in the game.
    It’s mostly because D&D rules declare that you can change every part of your gear freely. So designers had to make a headgear that make sense no matter what armor you wear – heavy Mandalorian armor or light Jedi robes.
    So you either have goggles or masks. And why not helmets… blame Mission for that. There is no way she can fit her headtales in any helmet.

    • Alex says:

      They could just not let Mission wear helmets. They already forbid HK and Zalbaar from using most equipment, and T3 even more than that.

    • Ysen says:

      I don’t think that’s really an excuse. There’s a difference between “goggles” and “Help! The Starship Enterprise just crashed into my face!” Besides, even the heaviest of the heavy armour in this game isn’t particularly bulky – I don’t think it would look out-of-place with lighter headgear.

      • Artyom says:

        No, but Darth-Vader-looking full helmets would look ridiculous on Jedi Pajamas.

        • Viktor says:

          Yes, because clearly this game cares about you looking ridiculous.

        • Ysen says:

          As opposed to the headgear which made it into the game, which looks ridiculous with everything. :P

          I sometimes wonder if the headgear design is the partly the result of a problem with hair and/or Mission’s head tentacles. I can’t remember any headgear that actually covers the back or top of the head – they’re all visor-y things which go over your ears and face only, so your hair can stick out. Maybe they couldn’t get helmets to replace hair properly, so they skirted around it.

          Even with that restriction I feel like they could have done a much better job. A lot of the designs look ridiculous and don’t really fit the Star Wars setting.

  14. Phantos says:

    “Heck, if a foe is truly so weak they can’t be a threat to you, then it’s in your own best interests to spare them. If word gets around that you can be merciful, then your foes will be more likely to surrender when you’ve got them on the ropes. If everyone knows that surrendering just means you’ll torture them to death, then they will fight to the death and you’ll face greater losses. The most dangerous foe is one with a deep grudge and nothing to lose.”

    This has been on my mind a lot lately, because the next major antagonist in The Walking Dead tv show is going be doing this. In fact, every villain in the comics has basically just been The Illusive Man:

    “I’m so smart and evil and you can’t touch me, which is why I only do stupid shit that comes back and bites me in the ass. Also the writer has an eight-pack, Kylo Ren is shredded”.

    This trope bothers me so much, because it’s always with a villain who’s supposed to be this far-seeing, fiercely-intelligent force to be reckoned with. When antagonists who are supposed to be smart suddenly ignore all potential consequences, just to create clumsy shock appeal, it makes them look stupid(and the writers look desperate). It’s like people forgot how to write a villain. It’s like we all forgot that a villain is supposed to be a character, with understandable motivations and reasons for doing things. They are not a cheat code to get a boring story moving again.

    And if you’re trying to establish a group of cunning, intelligent, influential villains like the Sith, just having them murder whoever because LOLEVIL totally negates that. You can write villains as brainless, slasher-movie murder monsters acting solely on primal bloodlust. Just don’t suddenly expect me to treat them like some patient, calculating, cerebral arch-nemesis. It’s like… don’t give me Leatherface and then tell me he’s Lex Luthor.

    • Joshua says:

      “This trope bothers me so much, because it’s always with a villain who’s supposed to be this far-seeing, fiercely-intelligent force to be reckoned with. When antagonists who are supposed to be smart suddenly ignore all potential consequences, just to create clumsy shock appeal, it makes them look stupid(and the writers look desperate).”

      As an example, I point to The First Evil from Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Seventh Season. The oldest, most knowledgeable force of evil in the world, and when you analyze its various plots after watching the entire season, you realize they all boil down to “dick with the heroes”.

  15. The reason it doesn’t mesh is that Revan was only portrayed as a brilliant strategist in KotOR II. In KotOR I, Revan was just the proverbial “meanest S.O.B. in the valley”. K2 retcons things to make it so that there was actual logic behind Revan’s actions, but it doesn’t completely “fit” with K1

  16. John says:

    The theme for the students you meet in the settlement outside the academy does indeed seem to be “cruel, murderous, and drunk on their own power.”, but the Sith teachers inside the academy are better. Master Uthar is definitely evil, but he’s not stupid at all. Neither is his apprentice Yuthura. While it’s true that they encourage murder, they seem to favor the murder of dangerous rivals rather than random slaughter. If you do Carth’s subquest, you can find some of Uthar’s notes which suggest that he cares about the education of students he views as promising–such as Carth’s son–but that all other students are basically expendable in his eyes. Uthar actually subverts the usual image of the Sith in several (admittedly small) ways. My favorite is that Uthar defeated his own master, Jorak Uln, but didn’t kill him. He doesn’t actually seem to care very much that Jorak is still alive.

  17. Zerotime says:

    Korriban is just down the korridor. Second on the left.

  18. Falterfire says:

    Alternate episode title suggestion: “This ain’t my first Rodian”

  19. Vermander says:

    I think that the whole “weed out the weak” mentality for the Sith would work better if the few that made it to “inner circle” were fanatically loyal to each other and the larger organization. Treat it like a criminal gang, where perspective members have to prove themselves through dangerous, degrading, and dehumanizing trials. The “prospects” do the dirty work for the full fledged members, and are treated as expendable until they prove their worth. The weakest, or least desperate, prospects won’t make it through, but the ones that do will likely feel some loyalty to each other, having survived the same trials and proven their worth.

    There’s still plenty of backstabbing and betrayal in criminal gangs, but the members are not actively encouraged to prey on each other and there’s usually an understanding that murdering or betraying a fellow loyal member will have fatal consequences.

    I also wish that every Sith wasn’t a power hungry Machiavellian schemer. There should be Tom Hagens and Luca Brasis in the organization. People who follow the darkside out of genuine loyalty to their master, or even because they’re simpleminded brutes who are content to serve as someone else’s attack dog. These are the kinds of apprentices a Dark Lord should be cultivating. People who are loyal to you and don’t need to be threatened or seduced into doing your bidding.

  20. Taellosse says:

    The thing to remember about the Dark Side is that it’s not just a philosophy, it’s also an addictive, corrupting influence on the mind of a Force-user. The ideas behind Sith philosophy are equal parts justification for asshole behavior and attempt to control and channel said behavior into more useful avenues. But much like all powerful addictions, as it’s influence over the user’s life increases, it becomes ever easier to justify worse actions in furthering it’s use, even if logic and reason would plainly advise against such actions.

    That said, a lot of writers in the Star Wars universe, Bioware included, let it be an easy justification for cartoonishly evil villains, far in excess of what would be warranted even by keeping the above in mind.

    • ehlijen says:

      That’s because the fact that star wars movies are fairy tales and fairy tale villains are meant to be simple, is taken as an excuse to not put effort into the villains.

      Many writers and readers think that simple and clear is easy, low brow. But that’s wrong. Even simple characters require careful construction to make sure they resonate right, especially given that one may have less to work with in terms of screentime/interaction time.

      Both the Terminator and the Predator are simple villains with uncomplicated motivations. They are both very different characters, though. And both are different again from Agent Smith (original movie), despite his motivation being virtually the same as the T800s (kill their enemy and subjugate mankind).
      Simple and clear can be done well, with the required effort and understanding.

      That said, I think Darth Malak works fine for this story. Could have been better, but didn’t truly need to be. He is no Jon Irenicus though :(

      • Taellosse says:

        Malak personally? Yeah, he’s sufficient to the purpose. I think their critique of all the Sith populating Korriban (and, by extension, everywhere else in the galaxy) is fair though – most of them are far less well-written than Malak (who is himself “sufficient” but unremarkable, as villains go – he’s motivated more or less entirely by excessive ambition, which is pretty trope-ey and uninspired), and behave not merely in a simple fashion, but simplistically – they are bad for the sake of being bad, and for the most part have no depth at all.

      • Grudgeal says:

        I still think he could have been better if he hadn’t gone “bwa ha ha ha” so much. I mean, there’s something to be said for Evil Laughter, but Malak doesn’t suit it very well.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The thing is,evil is hard.And plenty of people have no clue how to write a compelling evil character.Usually they think that evil=asshole,and thus we end up with these stupid organizations that kill more of their followers than the good guys.

  22. PhoenixUltima says:

    I think the main reason that the Sith Academy is so “LOL BETRAYALMURDER” is that Malak is in charge of the place, and has been for a while by the time you get there in-game. KotOR 2 went out of its way to let the player know that Malak was nothing more than a crude little dumbshit who could only really think of problems and obstacles in a “Me hate bad thing! ME SMASH!” kind of way. Hell, look at how he managed to usurp Revan: he just had his ship fire on hers* while she was busy fighting a Jedi. No twisting plot, no building of allies and resources, no clever mind games, he just sees an opportunity to kill someone he wants to kill and goes “open fire! WOO!” Lame.

    *Yes, Revan is canonically a woman. KotOR 2 makes it about as clear as a game that lets you choose how KotOR 1 went down can. That is, you can pick Revan’s gender, but Atton begins with the assumption that she was female, and the first dialogue option is to not question it. There’s apparently some EU stuff that says Revan was male, but I’m choosing to straight up ignore that. Mostly because it’s not a part of the games and the games are what I really care about here.

    • Taellosse says:

      The “official” EU history of KotOR I&II was that Revan was male, and returned to the Light after his near-death at Malak and the Jedi’s hands, and the Jedi Exile (protagonist of II) was female, and also returned to the Light after being reconnected to the Force. Mostly it’s only relevant if you were to read the Revan novel, which was released around the time The Old Republic was coming out, which is about what happens to both characters after their respective games, and explains why neither was around to rebuild the Jedi Order.

      Not that it matters now, since there is no longer an “official EU” that includes any video games. Despite TOR, which is supposedly based directly on the two KotORs, still being a thing, at least nominally (the new Battlefront game just rehashes battles from the movies, as far as I know, and has no new plot of its own).

      • Viktor says:

        The Exile being canonically female just proves how little the writers thought things through. I always play through games as a female char and even I go male in KotOR 2. Male gets you Handmaiden and Atris as your jilted ex, female gets you pointlessly mean Atris and the Disciple. There’s not even a contest there.

        • guy says:

          You play female exile and get handmaiden via mod. There is no contest.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Or you go female and say “Screw romance,Im a lone wolfette!”

            • ehlijen says:

              If the Exile is female then, without mods, you won’t get the most broken feat in the game (taught by handmaiden). Adding wisdom to defence is insane in a game where attribute boosts stack and you can find at least a +4 WIS booster for every item slot.

              Wisdom scores of high 40s to 50 weren’t quite possible without cheating (and that stat drove mana and force power damage as well). I don’t even remember what the disciple teaches you, but I doubt it was anywhere near as good.

        • Grudgeal says:

          I always saw it as female gets jilted fangirl Atris.

          She pretty much says right out that she idolized you as the image of what a jedi should be and aspire to… And then said idol ran off to fight in the Mandalorian wars and leaving Atris feeling betrayed.

        • Taellosse says:

          I, too, always play RPGs as a female. I’ve never actually played KotOR2 as a male, in fact, so I never felt like I was missing that much. Honestly, while I didn’t really care for the romance options in that game, I didn’t feel like the game was lacking as a result – I didn’t feel like the Exile had time for or interest in a boyfriend – she was too scarred by the war, both emotionally and psychically, and dealing with all that on top of the actual meat of the adventure felt like enough for her.

          and I never had any trouble buying Atris’ attitude towards a female Exile, either – she’s characterized as hero-worshipping the Exile, and feeling betrayed by her decision to join the war. That in itself seems to me like enough reason to motivate Atris’ growing bitterness, and the rest takes care of itself.

  23. General Karthos says:

    I ran a campaign where after 11 years (11 RL years of constant playing, at first twice a week, then once a week with occasional missed weeks) it was revealed that Revan had turned to the Dark Side intentionally, intending to protect the Republic from the True Sith Empire. That his measures were intended to preserve the infrastructure of the Republic, but deliver it from the bickering of the Senate, and mobilize the Jedi (or Sith) into an effective, force for war.

    Of course, in the video game, Malak betrayed Revan and HIS interpretation of Revan’s intentions was LOL MURDER, like you say.

    In our game, Malak died early in the war (my bad luck with villains who are supposed to be recurring is LEGENDARY. Malak wasn’t supposed to die, but if my players have a moldy tangerine as their only weapon and their opponent is a God, they’ll find a way to kill him), and Revan very nearly won, though he was killed in the final moments of the war.

    This made things interesting. I kept a “Story So Far” log up until about Chapter 5 (of 11) when it ran over 10,000 words and things got too complicated to keep up with.

    My sequel game stalled out after only two years. I’d still like to continue it, but… that doesn’t seem likely at this point. I was 15 when I started the first game. I’m now 28, and lives have changed dramatically. Some folks have gotten married, had kids, some have moved off to other things, some have just lost interest in gaming altogether.

    I suppose it was incredible I kept a gaming group together for 13 years.

    • Taellosse says:

      That is pretty impressive. Also interesting that your game established a reason for Revan’s actions that is so similar to the one that Bioware elected to adopt when they expanded his backstory later on.

      In case you aren’t aware, Revan and Malak did, in fact, encounter a “True Sith Empire” when they disappeared into the Unknown Regions. They survived their encounter with the Sith Emperor (who had found a way to become virtually immortal, by consuming the Force energy of an entire world, and had been ruling his empire for centuries already) by swearing to serve him, and return to Republic space and conquer it in his name. They then found the Star Forge and set about conquering the Republic so as to prepare it to oppose the Emperor when he realized their betrayal. It’s debatable whether Revan ever truly “fell” to the Dark Side, since this motive always remained foremost in his reasons for acting. Malak, however, did fall fully, which is why he betrayed Revan.

      This is also why Revan has disappeared when KotorII takes place – he’s gone back to try to stop the Emperor from moving against the Republic, and fails (the Exile discovers this after defeating Kreia and follows to try to help him) at least partially – though his efforts do delay the conflict a few centuries – the Sith don’t attack the Republic for about 300 years (which is the set-up for The Old Republic).

      • Atarlost says:

        If Revan’s goal is to save the galaxy from the Sith Emperor it would make sense for his Sith to be designed to disintegrate without him. (S)He just overestimated the time it would take for people to adopt the little landmines (s)he hid in the curriculum.

        That doesn’t explain why the Sith Empire adopted the stupid ideas, but my canon is that the entire stupid genre of MMOs never existed. TOR is a publishing imprint for science fiction and fantasy novels.

  24. drlemaster says:

    About the rodian head-tubes:

    The first time I saw Star Wars (in the theater, at age 7 or 8), I had never watched a movie with subtitles before. When Han Solo was talking to Greedo, I thought the subtitles actually existed in universe (like, Han was reading them to understand Greedo). And I was figuring Greedo was using those head-tubes to make the subtitles, since they seemed to be moving a bit as he spoke.

  25. Mike says:

    I agree with pretty much everything Shamus says. The weird thing about the KotOR games is that they have the best portrayals of the Sith in the series – offscreen-Revan and Kreia – but they also have probably the worst, i.e. pretty much everyone else.
    Part of the reason I love these games so much is that they do a pretty good job of showing the strengths and weaknesses of the Jedi and Sith philosophies. It makes a really nice change to see the Jedi as something other than perfect paladins of justice (obviously I’m exaggerating, but the portrayal in KotOR is so much harsher, and fairly so, than anything in the films), and also to, occasionally, see why anyone would actually want to fall to the Dark Side anyway.

  26. Killbuzz says:

    The Revan depicted in Kotor 1 isn’t actually a character – he’s a non-character, a vehicle for a plot twist. For example, you never have the option to bring up your identity in conversation, despite the Jedi Masters imprinting a new identity in you. Revan’s fall to the dark side turns out to be caused simply by coming in contact with an evil MacGuffin (the Star Forge)…and that’s it. His relationship with Malak is similarly paper-thin. There is simply nothing of substance there. The second game tries admirably to infuse some depth into these proceedings (even going so far as to retcon Kotor 1’s conflict into a morally ambiguous ‘Jedi Civil War’ and portraying Revan as some kind of military genius), but I don’t think it really succeeds at it. Where it does succeed is in the player character – the Exile is a much stronger figure, a character who is haunted by the horrors of war he committed, and by keeping said horrors ambiguous and to the imagination of the player, it allows for both a character with a freedom to role-play as you see fit and a character with some semblance of history and grounding in the world.

  27. Cuthalion says:

    My favorite thing is that Purple Sith Lady doesn’t use Planet Name Earth Animal examples. No “Terellian Hawk” or “Cardassian Vole”. She just uses an alien name for an alien animal. Because that’s what people would call them. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW REFRESHING THAT IS.

  28. Joshua says:

    This whole evil = murderous backstabbing has its routes in D&D’s silly alignment system. While you may have individuals who might act like that, cultures or societies made up of people who not only have no value for each others’ lives, but actually desire to kill/cause each other suffering would simply be gone within a generation, if not a couple of years. I find it especially laughable with the Drow, who as elves take almost a century to reach maturity and have low fertility rates.

    What you need for evil cultures is what a lot of other media does with having a race/culture that has traditional values and virtues for each other, but finds anyone else to be lower beings who do not deserve the same treatment. But that tends to clash with D&D’s alignment system that typically assumes that Good is Good and Evil is Evil. The rulebooks like to say that sometimes people act outside of their alignment, but in practice that usually refers to good days/bad days, not “I’m good for these situations and evil for these other ones.”

  29. Audun says:

    So when the Sith brodudes kill freshmen to farm xp it’s bullying?

  30. Richard says:

    Murderclown Circus…

    Find a name for the new metal band… check!

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