Part 25: Dantooine - Money for Nothing, Chicks for Free
We're going to take care of some Ebon Hawk business before we leave Dantooine for good. This is probably our longest update yet, I think we went over 130 screenshots this time (sorry).
First up is getting our reward from Goto.
Goto's droid is on board to make sure you do his bidding, which is to stabilize these worlds so that the Republic can remain strong. We're not going to get back to Telos for a while, and Onderon is still up next, but Dantooine is now done.
This incurs a Dark Side hit, but... c'mon, it's not like we're murdering people or tossing babies out the window. Asking for a little money isn't that bad.
There's two other planets at stake, Nar Shaddaa and Korriban, but Goto doesn't particularly need us to deal with them. We've already fucked things up on Nar Shaddaa plenty, and Korriban is an unpopulated Sith shithole, so it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Again, Dark Side hit but... free money!
Anyway, we're going to get to the main course for this update: breaking Handmaiden. I haven't been using her a lot so we could save an update for this. Handmaiden is the serious, stoic type (I suppose being at the beck and call of a cold fish like Atris will do that to you), though she does have her moments. And like everyone on board the ship, the Handmaiden's backstory will end up being conveniently linked to the Exile's own.
Although I have to say, I'm getting fed up with calling her Handmaiden. Doesn't she have a real name like a normal person?
"What was it?"
"We all have value in our oaths to others, and the promises we make. When we make that pledge, we are pledging ourselves to something greater."
It sounds like something Atris taught, and she's just repeating it.
Her delivery is so deadpan sometimes, you can't tell whether she's simply being straightforward or she's being passive aggressive.
For his part, Jesus is being an insecure whiner.
"Right now the only question I'm asking myself is why I'm letting you stay."
"I meant no offense, but the question remains. If the question angers you, oftentimes there is a reason for such anger."
Nope, that's definitely passive aggressiveness.
Well, let's ask mom what she thinks of Handmaiden.
"We could drop her off on the next planet."
"No - she may have her uses. I will abide her presence, and so should you. But I will abide her presence. She may have her uses."
"Why do you say that?"
"I will keep in that mind - and watch the Handmaiden carefully."
"Good. That is the most to be done until events unfold... as I am sure they will, in time."
She's suppose to 'look different' from her sisters, but there's a slight mistake here. I normally wouldn't bring something this small up, but since there's a whole dialogue branch stemming it from it I should point it out.
When you first meet this Handmaiden on Telos, she looked like this.
This is actually the identical head model as her sisters. So she doesn't in fact look any different.
But then when she joins your party she looks like this:
Notice the braid? She magically has one on each side of her head.
Anyway the braids are what this dialogue path we're suppose to be talking about here.
It seems such a retardedly small thing to pick apart, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's actually significant later on. Everything in this game is apparently significant later on. Even a fucking braid of hair.
"Yes, that is correct. I feel that I may trust you with such things, so I shall speak of it, if you wish to hear it."
"If it'll loosen you up a little, sure."
This is another one of those writer's tricks, doing exposition through player choices. The first 3 dialogue choices here all lead to the same response, so there's no functional difference in choosing between them. However, the Exile has a history, and since there's no narration in this game, his history is mostly told through his own dialogue choices.
The first option here implies the Exile knew a lot about the Mandalorian Wars, though we know of course that he fought in them. From the second option we can infer he might have even known Yusanis personally. Put them together and the Exile just communicated some exposition to the player without having 'said' anything.
This kind of thing happens quite a lot.
"If your face is any indication, she must have been beautiful."
"My father returned from the Mandalorian Wars and did not enter battle again. He entered politics, a caste where one's battles are fought through words rather than action."
"What happened to him?"
"The fact that our father chose battle is not shameful, but that is not the reason he went to war."
To summarize, she's the bastard child of a Jedi and an Echani general, which is why all the other girls at school pick on her.
"I am the mark of that disloyalty. It is said that such things run in the blood, and I have fought long to prove that this is not so. That is why I am different from my sisters. Yet I am pledged to them and Atris, and I would die before betraying them."
"I tell you this in trust, and ask that you not speak of it to others. I only wish you to know."
"Why tell me?"
Speaking from experience, when a chick starts comparing you to her father, it's not a good sign.
"He did not speak of what had happened there. And with us, he was silent. Changed."
So she basically wants to believe in the Exile because if she doesn't, then she can't believe in what her father did.
"I appreciate your trust - thank you for telling me."
"You have earned my trust. I wished to honor the trust you have shown me, and I wished to explain what you meant to me."
I should find some concept art for Handmaiden to post here. Lemme see.
Oh fuck fuck FUCK. Jesus Christ. That's NOT it.
Here we go. Much better.
One of the challenges from Obsidian's design point of view was trying to make the Handmaiden look young, which is always a problem whenever a character has short white old lady hair. According to Chris Avellone, Handmaiden is suppose to be around 25 years old. I'll let you decide whether they succeeded or not, but personally I can buy 25 years old in-game, though in the concept art she looks a bit older.
If the Echani are suppose to be so great at fighting, then she should be able to teach us some moves.
"Training is something reserved for certain caste members of the Echani... but I do not see the harm in instructing you in some basic principles."
That's because Atris and the Exile fight with their minds, man.
"All Echani fighting principles rely on foundations. If one does not understand the most basic of fighting moves, it is not possible to understand the higher tiers. It is similar to learning the alphabet of a language before being able to use words, then sentences."
"Can we dispense with the lecture and get on with this?"
"You are correct. Words are merely words, and they fail to communicate what I intend to teach you."
"It is not something that can be described - let us duel, you and I, and that shall teach you more than my words can."
"Use only your hands and feet to strike at me - nothing else, or our combat shall be over. Do not resort to using any items, or any Force techniques you may possess - such things will obstruct learning."
"Duels among the Echani are rituals, and do not allow for armor or anything that restricts movement."
"Well, to duel without clothes seems a little - exposed."
Well, if she wants to wrestle around in her undies then it's all right with me.
I do have to admit, the Jesus brown undies are a bit embarrassing. Can't someone find Jesus some real underwear?
And the red shoes. Oh god, the red shoes. They look like the stuff you wear to go bowling.
"Before you go, there is something I must know."
You can decide what the Exile thinks of his return here...
... But whatever the reason the Exile thinks, it's not the full story. The truth is that he was manipulated by others into returning to face the council.
But we'll get into that some other update. It's a complicated story.
Atton drops by to have a little chat.
"Fine, don't mind me, I just need to get some stuff from the cargo hold."
Atton is, as we know, some sort of super duper Sith assassin, though he hides it well.
"What can I say; I'm a quick study."
"You lie. Few know the Echani styles by reflex."
"Oh, yeah, one other thing - don't think I haven't noticed the way you've been sparring with our ex-Jedi friend."
This is a really roundabout way of saying, "Stop flirting with the Jedi."
"So keep your hands where I can see them."
Ah, another pair on board who hate each other.
I'm trying to think of two party members who get along and the only one I can think of is Mira and Handmaiden. Kreia doesn't like to talk to anyone; nobody likes Atton because he smells; even the droids are busy zapping each other.
Let's go for another round of sparring.
"For this, we will keep the etiquette of the last duel, but we shall add any melee weapon you choose to the ritual, with the exception of the Jedi weapon, the saber. Vibroblade, Bothan stun stick, force pike - whatever you wish. But no items, no Force techniques."
Some of these contortions they get into look quite painful.
Sparring here, like on Telos, is rather iffy since a Consular or less melee oriented class has problems fighting without Force Powers.
Though I guess that's our own damn fault, since Kreia keeps harping on the fact that we shouldn't be relying on the Force as a crutch. Which is a bit hypocritical, since she's a Consular herself, but she's always been a, "Do as I say, not as I do" type of teacher anyway.
"I now have a favor to ask you."
"The weapon the Jedi use, the Force... I would like to know more about it."
"What do you want to know?"
"It is not something you can see, or fight, yet the Jedi use it... and struggle with it their entire lives."
"I only know what its loss feels like."
The thing about Handmaiden is that she's a Force sensitive, but Atris forbade her from training in it. Meanwhile, Atris has all these Jedi artifacts and teachings lying around the academy. It's like putting a fat kid on a diet and then surrounding him with chocolate bars. When a 'bad boy' like the Exile drops by, of course she runs off with him; I'm not going to say it's teenage rebellion on Handmaiden's part, but it's close.
She's speaking from her experiences.
:: It is knowing what you want to say and never finding the words. It is a chorus, replaced with silence. Heaing teachings without meaning. ::
:: It is like a beloved pupil to whom you have shared everything, sacrificed everything, and then having them turn from you... and forget all you were. ::
Do you think she's talking about Revan? Or what will happen with the Exile?
Anyway I don't know about her, but the cargo hold is pretty cold and we're going to put some clothes back on.
"I disagree. In fact, if you don't train while encumbered, you are crippling yourself."
Not that we didn't love the whole bra and panties thing, but c'mon, we're on galactic mission here. Atton had a point. Plus Mira sufficiently fulfills our cleavage quotient anyway.
"Will this do?"
"Those look like Jedi robes."
"They suffice for training purposes. They belonged to my mother."
"They belonged to your mother? Who was she?"
Now that we know the robes belonged to her mother, pay attention to the colour: grey. Most Jedi wear brown or white (like Atris), while Sith wear mostly black or red. But grey robes? Who the heck would wear a grey robe? Could be a clue.
"These are her robes. I have not worn them since they came into my possession. They are the only thing of her that I possess."
"Do you miss her?"
"I never knew her. There is no absence of presence when there was nothing there to begin with."
Hmm. If her mother was a Jedi, Kreia would know something about it. Kreia was a Jedi historian after all, before she got booted.
The voice direction for this like is: "Calm, like caught player's hand in the cookie jar."
I do like option #4.
"She joined the Mandalorian Wars after the shame of her birth was revealed."
Let's put together a rough timeline here. The Mandalorian Wars started about 12 years prior to this game. Arren Kae had the baby and left the order 10 years later. According to Chris Avellone, Handmaiden is 25 years old.
Adding that up, there was roughly a 3 year period between this Arren Kae leaving the Jedi Order and joining the Mandalorian War. Something doesn't look right.
The Mandalorian War was huge, with hundreds of Jedi joining millions of Republic troops. If you can buy into that, then you can buy into the Exile not remembering Atton, who was at Malachor V as well, and not remembering all the Jedi who served in the war like this Arren Kae.
"The Force flows strongly in the blood of those born from Force Sensitives. I doubt that Arren was any different. If the servant of Atris is of her blood, then the potential lies within her. If you train her, if you teach her the ways of the Jedi, you will be asking her to break her oath to Atris. It would be best not to train her, and let the bloodline die with Telos."
"Ah, that was an interesting choice of words, indeed. She has sworn not to follow the path of the Jedi, by her oath... but even that oath is limited. One does not need to be Jedi to learn the ways of the Force. I suspect it cares little for our codes and philosophies."
"Are you proposing teaching her the ways of the Sith?"
"I propose nothing except what you choose to read into my words. But no, I would not advocate such teachings, either. I am only saying that she has sworn not to follow the teachings of the Jedi... and that is a curious distinction in her oath."
"But shouldn't she know her heritage?"
"Should she? By whose judgment should such truths be revealed? I do not have such arrogant presumptions."
Cryptic as always. These profound consequences - who would be most affected if Handmaiden was to be trained into a Jedi? Kreia? The Exile? Atris?
Uh oh, it's the mommy birds-and-the-bees talk again. No, we're not charging up anyone's loading ramp this time either.
"Ah, so then perhaps I was mistaken in my judgment."
Here comes the creepy sexual innuendo.
Well what do you expect for someone who has been wrestling half-naked women in the cargo hold. Gimme a break.
Time for our last round of training. Incidentally, you're only allowed to do this last round if you're level 18, which is why I've saved all this till now. Jesus is level 20 by now, so it's ok.
"For this, you may use any melee weapon and any shields you possess. But nothing else, no Jedi saber and no other items."
With the new rules, we can make it real easy on ourselves by just spamming Mandalorian Melee shields, preventing her from even hurting us.
See, this is why the other crew members are suspicious of what's going in here.
It's like some bizarre sexual tantric yoga position.
"You seem to be anticipating my attacks."
"It is the way of the Echani to be able to read their opponents - to know where an opponent is going to strike before it connects, anticipate it, and then strike against them. Echani battles are fought several minutes in advance - in many ways, it is much like the game of dejarik played in the core systems. The most advanced among the Echani are able to predict the course of battles by months, and the most revered are said to be able to predict the path of wars."
That's what the Mandalorians said while Revan slaughtered them too. Boy Revan gets a lot of slack for killing all those people.
"Can you teach me to do this?"
"You are already doing it."
"What do you mean?"
"Come - as we fight more, I will teach you. Do not think about predicting my movements - react instinctively."
"You are doing better. At first, I was afraid that your awareness of your own ability might ruin it, but that is not the case. You learn quickly. Perhaps it is your connection to the Force that allows such things, but I do not think so."
This is a very useful bonus, especially for a Consular like us who has high Wisdom.
The Echani people were basically made up from scratch for this game. Here's a snippet from the head writer of the game talking about it:
I don't have anything to contribute on my part.
Chris Avellone posted:
The "Echani" were mentioned in Kotor1, and they are also the people responsible for the fighting styles used by Palpatine's Imperial Guard (at least as it's explained in the Expanded Universe, most notably in Crimson Empire, I believe). The Echani rely heavily on hand-to-hand combat and personal shield technology, and they had their asses handed to them by Revan during the Jedi Civil War, because, not surprisingly, there weren't many people able to face Revan across a battlefield and survive the encounter.
With little to go on for K2, we decided to expand the culture with those elements in mind, and even have a member of the Echani be able to join your party - which is responsible for much of the new hand-to-hand fighting feats and animations you'll see in the game, as well as potentially new powers.
Echani are a culture that communicates through battle, and there are many fighting rituals they use when dealing with their own people - and perhaps your character as well. If you wish to gain influence with them, engaging them in sparring matches or combat can earn their respect, their trust, and perhaps more.
The greatest among the Echani are said to be able to read their opponent's moves so well they can predict the path of a battle several seconds, sometimes even minutes in advance, by gauging their opponent's fighting style, heart rate, and their movements in combat. In many ways, the Echani see combat as a rapid dejarik game, calculating feints, attacks, and dodges with a speed that few can surpass.
Well, okay how about : did you know Echani is the same as the word "mechanic" with the first and last letters removed? Now you know.
This is always a good way to start off a conversation.
[Influence: Success] "This is already known to me. Why are you telling me this?"
"Because the Force runs strong in bloodlines, and you could learn to use it to help others."
[Influence: Success] "I... think I have always known this. It has always been on my thoughts. As I followed Atris, perhaps what I wished to follow was the call of my bloodline, of my mother. I have felt incomplete, hollow, since her loss at Malachor V... and with your help, perhaps this wound might be healed."
"Then maybe I can teach you some things."
Our ultimate goal with all this is to train her to be a Jedi, like we did with Mira and Atton.
"What's the problem?"
Oh. This is the 'let's just be friends' talk. I've heard this one too .
"And I have taken an oath to Atris against studying from a Jedi, or anything of the Jedi teachings."
"But do you want to learn?"
"If I were to follow a Jedi against Atris' wishes, then I would be betraying her. For you."
"This is a difficult thing for me to say, but I ask that you be silent as I tell you this. It is my desire to learn from you what you can teach me of battle. I have already learned much in our duels, but with every battle, I wish to know more of you. Your stance, your movements, I can sense shades of meaning, and an echo of something I have yet to experience."
Yeah well, Atris says a lot of mean things.
One one hand, she sees you as she sees her father, so she trusts you more than Atris. But on the other hand... she sees you as she sees her father.
"And you are important to me, more than you know. I will accept whatever you wish to teach me, though it breaks my oath to Atris."
"If I were to train you, then I might harm you - and I would not wish that."
"Listen to me. I am already committed. There is no one else I would want to train me. I have seen you in battle, I have seen your heart, and you are what I want to be."
This treads the fine line between the sweet and the weird.
"There is the betrayal of Atris, and there is the betrayal of my mother and father. After seeing you in battle, I know you more than I have ever known Atris. And I am not convinced that serving her is the greater good."
She seems to think she knows a lot about her mother, but most of it is based on assumption. For most of it she was too young to remember, so it's told second hand by her father.
"I will not let you down, exile. I will honor you, as I honor the face of my mother."
Finally. Handmaiden starts off as the Soldier class, and a Jedi Guardian is more or less the same thing except with some Force powers thrown in. She's amazingly effective with just unarmed attacks, so we'll keep her that way.
And as we've noted, training her has certain consequences.
Uh oh, we've pissed off Atris. Again.
"She is your sister no more. She does not travel with the exile - instead, she has chosen to walk the path of the Jedi."
"Mistress... forgive us, but are you certain? She would not forsake her oath so lightly..."
"It is the truth. And it is done. Do you doubt me?"
Ah. So she was the one responsible for stealing all the stuff on Dantooine.
Remember, Atris wanted to recreate the Jedi Order in her image, here at the Telos Academy. It's why she set up the council chamber to look exactly like the old chamber on Coruscant, and why she trained a bunch of girls to be deaf to the Force. She's basically a paranoid control freak at this point, so the Exile stealing and training one of her students is really the last straw.
One last look at Dantooine before we leave. We'll be back one more time as well, after we gather all the Jedi Masters.
Next update, we're headed to Onderon. As people have pointed out, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to do Onderon last, and I do want to pick up our last party member there.