Part 27: Dxun: Good Morning Vietnam
Last update, we were on our merry way to Onderon when someone in the local security forces fired on our ship. Being damaged, we managed to land on the nearby moon, Dxun.
Dxun is a jungle world, which is a first in these KOTOR games. I know we went to Kashyyyk in the first game, but that was more of an old growth coniferous forest sort of thing.
Dxun is also noted for being loaded with wild animals. Back when we were on Telos, the Ithorians mentioned they had imported some of the wild predators from Onderon and Dxun to help repopulate the ecosystem.
These bug-eyed things are Cannoks, which are relatively innocuous.
There's also these weird looking cat things called Maalraas.
I don't know what they were going for with that name. Is it suppose to be a play on mallrats? Either way it's terrible.
Back at the Telos Academy, we've got another cutscene to remind us Atris and her crew are still in the picture.
Incidentally, Dxun and Onderon are both noted for their fauna, and they share many of the same species of animals. Even though they're technically different planets.
"But Scorchy", you ask, "How do animals cross from Onderon to Dxun? Did Cannoks build starships and fly across space on the wings of imagination?"
Well, supposedly, they jumped.
Which is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've seen yet.
Atton chimes in with some good news.
"Most of our ship's systems are powered down, so that's about all I got. That ship may have landed nearby, though. Or it may be on the other side of the moon."
Atton is busy 'fixing' the ship, so he's not available for us to take on our little trek. Although, the ship would probably be fixed by now, it's just that Kreia's blackmailing Atton into delaying the repairs till she feels the Exile's found... whatever needs to be found here.
Despite its murky vegetation, Dxun has a fairly interesting backstory. When the Mandalorians launched their campaign to conquer the galaxy (or whatever), they first set up base here. This was where the Mandalorian Wars 'started'. As a result, there was a huge battle fought here, which explains all the downed ships and rusted hulks we'll find.
I'm certain the place was inspired by the whole Vietnam War era, with the foliage and the animals and the corpses. It's Star Wars as a gritty war movie.
Look, it's even got the obligatory dead pilot's journal.
Incidentally, the droids he's talking about : they didn't take out the anti-air turrets. We find them broken and scattered around the map, having succumbed to the moisture in the jungle atmosphere. 5 to 1 odds they were made by Czerka.
Meanwhile, we keep trudging through all these Cannoks and Maalraas.
9 times out of 10, when someone says, "Are you think what I'm thinking?" - they're not thinking what you're thinking.
No, that's not what I was thinking .
Whatever. We can try it her way. Mine the place up and lead some animals back to it.
I suppose that kind of worked. It would have been ten times faster just to shoot them, though. Seriously it took a minute or two to set up the mines, run up to the Cannoks, and drag them back.
Atton again. Bothering us, again.
He said it, not me.
Up next we've got some... Duros? I thought we ditched these guys back on Nar Shaddaa. This must have been the other ship that got shot down; the one that Atton mentioned earlier.
"What? There are more of you Zhugs?"
"The Zhug family is very large, very virile. Avenging our brothers will make this quite enjoyable."
You tell him, girl.
And a Jedi now too.
"I find your lack of manners distasteful. The small female is no threat to the Zhug family."
"I didn't start the space battle."
Ok, we don't need lessons on personal responsibility from a Duros. We get enough of those from Goto and Kreia.
"You have caught the eye of someone very powerful on Onderon. And he wants you dead. But you do not need to worry about that now."
With Handmaiden and Mira both trained into Jedi now, 3 bounty hunters isn't much of a challenge. In fact, not much in the game is a real challenge any more. Jedi Jesus is level 21, and I think mobs stop scaling in difficulty after level 20.
Another dead pilot's journal here. You ever watch Clear and Present Danger, with the abandoned soldiers in Columbia calling for help on the radio?
Dxun is the first glimpse we get of what the Mandalorian War was really like on the ground. We hear about the epic space battles and the grand strategies of Revan and Mandalore, but you don't really get to see how a couple of hundred Jedi actually led thousands of Republic troops to victory until you get here. From the sounds of it, they had their share of fuckups too.
Ah, our mysterious attacker from the space battle. This is Colonel Tobin from the Onderon military.
That's not foreshadowing anything at all.
Meanwhile we're still busy shooting jungle cats in the head. Will this misery never end?
It's our first non-skeletal body.
"A lone Mandalorian. Fresh kill, too. I can't figure the percentage in them still being on this rock."
"Do you think he was alone?"
Remember, Mira is a Mandalorian herself, so if anyone would know about them, it's her.
"Why would the Mandalorians return here?"
"This used to be their headquarters during the wars. Could be all sorts of reasons. He's probably employed by someone. All Mandalorians are these days."
"How long since he died?"
"Less than a standard week. Someone must have paid a lot of money to hire him. Mandalorian mercenaries don't come cheap."
I'll take a moment to talk themes, Dxun, and Planescape.
Obviously, it's by the same writers as Planescape: Torment, so there are bound to be shared ideas, but they even have the same basic plot: protagonist goes searching for his past. What's remarkable about KOTOR 2 is that the plot is only concerned with two things: the Mandalorian War, and the fallout from the Mandalorian War. As such, the game basically takes place 8-10 years ago, and the Exile is just reliving the consequences of it at present. There is no great war right now, no real galactic struggle; there's nothing really driving the Exile onward except his own personal desire to find out what happened to himself. Conflicts make for a good story, but the conflict in this story happened during the Mandalorian Wars. The game can be seen a prequel to KOTOR 1 if anything.
With these kinds of stories, it's the easy route for writers (TV, games, movies, whatever) to use flashbacks judiciously, but there's not a lot of it in this game. There's one flashback on Coruscant when the Exile returns to the Jedi Council, and there's one more coming up in Korriban, but that's pretty much it. Instead of flashbacks, they uses planets like Dxun, where Exile fought a huge battle in his past, and then used the environment to tangentially fill in the cracks of the story.
A squad of living Mandalorians pop out of stealth to surprise us.
Well she must feel at home then.
Oh don't be wimps, it was just a bunch of Cannoks.
"That was a joke, right? It'll be interesting to see how long you keep your sense of humor here. We're both veterans, and we can test each other again if you choose. But I have orders. So answer my question, why are you here?"
"I was exploring. Who are you?"
"I am a Mandalorian warrior, and this area you're "exploring" is our territory. We have orders to escort you to our camp - our leader wants to speak to you."
"Your leader may be of use to me. Take me to him. Now."
This is the Mandalorian base camp and the main 'town' of this planet. We'll do a little flyby before we talk to the Mandalorian leader.
And this must be... Colonel Kurtz.
"But we killed Mandalore during the war."
Like, do they have a vote of some kind? A plebiscite? Does an arm come out of the water and throw a sword at the new Mandalore?
"I thought the Mandalorians were disbanded."
"Scattered, perhaps, but we're still alive. Alive and rebuilding."
"The only Mandalorians I've seen are thugs."
"What is this place?"
"Your camp looks like it's seen better days."
"Covert camps are not meant to attract attention. Because we conquered them, the people of Onderon still hold a grudge against the Mandalorians. So we keep our presence here a secret."
"Why did you use Dxun?"
"Mandalorians have a rapport with this jungle. Every moment here is a struggle, all creatures gripped in a constant war for survival."
Well, isn't that convenient. Let's 'persuade' him to part with this shuttle and we'll be on our way.
"I make occasional trips to Iziz for information and supplies. If you want to go with me, you're going to have to prove your worth."
"Why do you go to Iziz?"
Damnit. Although, there can't have been that many Mandalorians that have traveled with Jedi before.
"How can I prove myself?"
Ok, one more thing left for this update. People were asking about a character sheet shot earlier. Be careful what you wish for.
For a gunslinger you want two things: you want your Force stunning powers to land consistently, so pumping Charisma and Wisdom is a good idea. Second, you want to be able to hit things with your gun obviously, so high Dexterity is helpful.
No headgear, as per our self-imposed 'No looking like a retard' rule. We're using an Onasi Blaster and a Mandalorian Heavy pistol, both pimped out with upgrades. On the high end they're comparable to a lightsaber, but on the low end they're lacking. Our ultimate guns should be Mandalorian Rippers, but they can be pretty hard to find.
We've got high repair and some computer, mostly to upgrade T3 with. Awareness and Persuade aren't totally essential to this build, but they do provide additional dialogue options which I wanted for this LP.
This is our feat list. Having started off as Consulars, we didn't get a lot of feats to play around with, but we're mostly going with dual wielding, Close Combat, and Precise Shot. The latter two reduce the penalty for fighting in close quarters and for fighting against lightsaber users, respectively, which makes playing a gunslinger in this game 10x more bearable.
And finally, our Force Powers. There's the obligatory Force Heal, Force Speed, and Dominate Mind, which everybody gets anyway. The only gunslinger specific Force power is Force Deflection/Reflection, which lets you shrug off blaster shots without using a lightsaber. And then there's Force Confusion, which lets you mind control enemies to fight for you. It's kind of useless since it's faster to just kill them instead, but I got it for shits and giggles.
Next update we'll be running around doing menial errands for Mandalore so we can hitch a ride. Which isn't so bad considering this is the first planet since Telos where everybody isn't trying to kill Jesus or sell him to the Exchange for money; it's just ironic that the warm(er) reception is from a Mandalorian outpost of all places.