Part 28: Dxun: Forget the Jedi, How Do We Join the Mandalorians?
We’re picking up where we left off; Mandalore wants Jesus to prove himself before he takes us to Onderon. This means running around doing some sidequests for him.
Sure, sidequests sound boring, but this will be a chance to learn about the Mandalorians. Like the Echani in this game, they’ve been greatly expanded upon since KOTOR 1, and they’re no longer generic villain group #6. They’ve fared better than the Exchange, at least.
Flip a switch? Sounds easy enough.
We’ll be going out into the Dxun jungle. The place is one big winding maze, as you can see.
Doesn't the ship in the concept art here look like those clone trooper transport ships from the prequel movies 4000 years later?
There’s the hidden ammo cache Mandalore told us about.
Nothing’s ever that easy, is it? The explosion woke up a giant pack of beasts.
These things are Bomas, which kinda look like this:
Of all the little details on Dxun, one of the most subtle ones is the establishment of an actual food chain. The first cutscene you see when you arrive is a Maalraas attacking Cannoks. If you look carefully at the dead animal bodies on the ground, you’ll see the Bomas prey on Maalraas and Cannoks, and then the Bomas get eaten by Zakkegs, which are giant Anklyosaurus-type things we’ll meet later. None of this is explicitly explained, you just have to pay attention.
Right now you’re probably thinking, who the fuck cares about some fictional biological ecosystem in a videogame, right?
Anyway, the door we blew open leads to this weapons cache. Luckily it’s mined to all hell.
Mira comes in handy in places like this.
Actually, Dxun is really Miraworld; you really should take her along here on your playthroughs. She has plenty of extra dialogue with other NPCs, and her Demolition skills come in handy. Same with Hanharr if you’re evil, though he doesn’t have the same affinity with Mandalorians as Mira.
We’ve cleared all the mines, but there’s still these damn robots in the way. They’re blocking access to the crates, so we’ll have to figure out a way to move them aside.
The droid foreman has the code to activate all the droids.
We’ll pick… uh, ‘Rampage’ mode sounds promising.
The backstory for this little weapons cache was that Mandalore (the old one that Revan killed) was directing the Mandalorian War from Dxun when the Republic troops invaded. The droids booby-trapped the place and shut themselves down when the Mandalorians failed to return after being defeated on Dxun.
“I'm Xarga. I instruct our rawer Mandalorian recruits in the ways of discipline and battle.”
“Are you sure he's dead?”
“If Kumus wasn't dead he'd be back already. If you find his body, just bring it back.”
“I'm not hauling a dead body all the way back to camp.”
There’s our lost Mandalorian up on the ridge there.
If we wanted to be total jackasses, we’d hit that switch in front of us and blow him to kingdom come. But that might be too easy.
First, let’s find out if he deserves to live.
“I still live... I am just in a difficult situation.”
“What are you doing up there?”
“A patrol was sent to look for weapon caches in this region. They found three sites that looked promising. Xarga told me to prove myself by taking explosives to those sites and uncovering the caches, if they exist.
“So how did you get up there?”
“This was the first site. After easily dispatching some malraas, I removed my pack and began to plant my charges along this ridge.”
Okay, that’s pretty pathetic. Getting your equipment eaten by Cannoks?
Maybe he doesn’t deserve to live after all.
“Blaster rifles don't use much energy, and their energy cells last a long time. How often have you had to change ammo?”
“I do not need you to echo my failures to me. I need your aid.”
Still haven’t heard anything that says we should help him.
Well… ok, I guess that’s a decent effort. We’ll go kill some bomas for him.
Hah, not likely.
Only because he bashed some Cannok’s skull in with a rifle.
Bao-Dur doesn’t say much, but if he’s defined by anything it’s his past in the Mandalorian Wars. He shares a kinship as a war veteran with the Exile, and with it he’s got a huge grudge against the Mandalorians. Which is why it’s disappointing when he doesn’t show much of this side when we’re at a Mandalorian camp.
“He was evasive when I asked him what happened, however. Trying to survive in the jungle must have taken its toll.”
Kumus isn’t going to get off that easy.
In case you can’t tell, Jesus is taking every opportunity to mock and humiliate the Mandalorians we come across. None of them get worked up enough to attack Jesus, so it's ok.
Kumus will probably pull janitor duty for the next 5 years.
There’s the zakkeg.
It’s suppose to be some big boss creature but it dies as quick as anything else. Maybe if there were 3 or 4 of them at once or something, then it would be a challenge. Or 10.
This is a similar setup to the arena fight on Taris in KOTOR 1; there’s a series of fighters we have to challenge. Unfortunately, for most of the fights we’ll be unable to use Force powers, which means trouble for a Consular Jedi.
More than the combat part of the arena, there’s a backstory element woven into it.
As I mentioned, the Mandalorians are far more fleshed out in this game as a group. The first thing you learn is that they are quite complicated people. Their teachings tell them to seek out battle for the sake of the fight; they’re told not to hate their enemies. Yet there’s a human nature vs. Mandalorian nuture element to it that some of them can’t let go of, and a few of them do indeed hold a grudge.
This is a recurring theme that has several big payoffs at the end: what is a Jedi without the Force?
The ability to have survived for so long without the Force is what draws Kreia to the Exile in the first place. It’s what Kreia trains the Exile to recognize.
And it’s also an excuse for the game designers to throw all these goddamn unarmed 1 versus 1 fights into the game.
“What is the battle circle?”
“The battle circle is only a small part of our training regiment. A full Mandalorian warrior is a master of many fighting techniques, and here all of them are tested. If you were to compete, you would have to do so on our terms. For that is the way of the battle circle. Those with great honor decide the terms of engagement.”
“Do I get anything if I win?”
Sometimes I see flashes of Morte in these Chaotic Good dialogue lines.
Anyway, let’s get to the fighting.
Our first fight is unarmed, but thankfully our first opponent is really easy.
I said before there was a backstory element in all this, so if you really want to know about the Mandalorians, talk to them here after each fight. It doesn't serve any purpose except for a bit of post-battle gloating, but they do have their own little philosophies to impart.
If Jesus has the chance to use Force powers, he has to take it.
As with the Telos Handmaiden fight, the fastest way to win these fights is simply to knock them out of the ring.
This is when it gets really troublesome. It’s another unarmed fight, but he’s way tougher.
Too tough, in fact. Jesus only got him down to about 70% before he loses. It’s not even close.
We could turn the difficulty level down, but…
Time for Mira to prove her worth again.
What if we just plant mines all over the battle circle?
The designers probably thought about this cheap trick. There’s no way it could possibly work.
Prowess in planting mines maybe.
The Mandalorians as a whole were basically in awe of Revan. They were in the middle of their war, encountering basically no meaningful resistance from the Republic, and then Revan comes out of nowhere and proceeds to crush them. It’s apparent in how Canderous reacts to Revan in KOTOR 1, and they basically expanded that respect for strength to the Mandalorian people as a whole here.
Kelborn is on a mission out in the jungle, so we’ll have to go out to find him.
That’s Davrel, the first guy we fought .
“I was too young to fight in the Mandalorian Wars. With our clans scattered there was no opportunity to prove myself. What little honor I have earned you stripped from me in the battle circle. This I won't allow.”
There’s actually a way to not fight him. If you ask him to help you hunt a zakkeg together, he agrees it’s a better way to gain recognition than this whole 'Jedi-assisted suicide' business.
Unfortunately he didn’t fight in the Mandalorian Wars…
…so he doesn’t know that a true Jedi fights with Force Lightning spam.
We bump into Kelborn out in the jungle. We'll have to do whatever sidequest he needs before we can fight him in the arena.
“For a Non-Mandalorian. Although you've shown promise by making it this far. Maybe you can prove your worth by giving me a hand.”
“Why are you here? I thought all the patrols had been stopped.”
“I am a Mandalorian scout. I don't go on patrols. Mandalore sent me out here personally to track a ship that landed in the area.”
“Yeah, from what little we could pick up on sensors, it was bigger than your ship, most likely a freighter or dropship.”
“He can't have been the only one crawling around here. If there's more, we need to take them out. You up for some action?”
As I said, Mira has a lot of interjections in Dxun. Though it’s about as different from Nar Shaddaa as you can get, she’s in her element here.
These are suppose to be Onderon troops, but their naivety doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering most of these beasts are present on Onderon’s surface as well. They really send their best and brightest to go hunting for the Jedi, don't they.
I’m far more of an RPG fan than a Star Wars fan, which might explain my reluctance to buy into the whole metal swords vs. lightsaber thing. The story is that swords in this era are suppose to be coated with cortosis, an element that resists lightsabers, so you get ridiculous shit like this.
I could get into the whole physics of the lightsaber and everything, but that’s way outside the scope of this playthrough. It reminds me of the time I got into a discussion about lightsabers and plasma with some of my friends who were Engineering Physics majors, and I never ever want to have that conversation again. I think my brain was bleeding out of my nose by the end of it.
Looks like Kelborn took care of things on his end.
In case you couldn’t tell, I do like the Mandalorians a lot. Their acceptance towards the Exile isn’t friendliness or warmth, but rather because they see him as an equal. There’s a certain camaraderie between there. They don’t need to be jackasses to prove themselves, so they don’t bother. As a result there’s little of the whining and pettiness you see in people on other planets.
I see them almost as a throwback to the WWI era soldiers, where despite all the killing there was some respect across the trenches, and after the battle is over they're willing to sit down and have a beer with the same people they were trying to shoot earlier.
“I came across two groups of scouts. They weren't in the mood to talk, either.”
“They mentioned something about a Colonel. There also seems to be more of them.”
“Tobin's the one who opened fire on our ship and forced us to land here.”
“Hnh. I'm not surprised. He was probably acting on orders from Vaklu. If so, you've made some dangerous enemies.”
“Who is General Vaklu?”
“General Vaklu is the cousin of Queen Talia. He's also in charge of the Onderon military.”
We’ll be meeting Vaklu shortly. But already he’s making a mixed first impression.
“Swords only. No items of the Jedi’s Force. And no sword of the Jedi’s choosing. Just a simple long blade.”
I would have given doing the melee fight properly a chance, but during the last fight not all the mines went off. There’s still like 5 left there I forgot to remove.
Ah well. Jesus probably would have lost anyway.
Yeah… I don’t know about being honorable.
“The Mandalorians really don't hate the Jedi for losing to them during the war?”
“We're taught not to. Mandalorians want to be tested to the limits of our abilities and beyond. We admire anyone who beats us on the battlefield. Instead of hate we study, practice and train until the next time, so we won't be beaten. But some young Mandalorians find this a hard lesson.”
See? Mandalorians are awesome.
Bralor is the final fighter.
And he’s a toughie. Right there he does almost 100 damage in a round, bare-handed.
Fortunately we won’t need to ‘cheat’ to beat him. Force Wave is the great equalizer.
“But our view was the narrow one. I see that clearly now. I sense we've both learned something today.”
With all the meaningless fetch quests out of the way, Mandalore finally agrees to take us to Onderon.
We haven’t seen a lot of Kreia so far, but she’s going to get her licks in here.
“Good. I want the shuttle bound for Onderon within the hour.”
“My only concerns are for the one you escort to Onderon, Mandalorian. Would you do any less for one of your clan?”
“Don't pretend to understand us - we Mandalorians are a breed apart.”
“If by 'apart' you mean scattered, broken, and lost, then yes - you are correct.”
“Not for long. Soon the Mandalorians will be strong again, united as one clan under one banner. Mine.”
Mandalore was at Malachor V too? That makes the Exile, Atton, Bao-Dur, and possibly Mira and Kreia. The Ebon Hawk is one big Malachor V reunion.
“Indeed? The future is always in motion, it is a difficult thing to see. Perhaps there will be no new age, Mandalore, no great Mandalorian crusade. Perhaps your people fought their last battle at Malachor V, and you have been dying ever since, a quiet death that will last centuries.”
It's a bit of a Boba Fett namedrop, but thankfully there’s very little of this in the game.
“You've got some guts, talking to me like that. You think your age or your Jedi whelp are going to keep you safe from me?”
“No, Mandalore, you are wrong. I hope that it is you who will keep the one I travel with safe. You are loyal, and you have served many Masters... even when they abandoned you.”
This is her one knife and she twists it to her advantage.
“I know many things, and I can answer the question that burns within your shell, Mandalore. But there is a price - you must keep the one I travel with safe. He is important to me - more important than anything.”
This is something she keeps repeating, and she's not lying for once. She doesn't care what happens to herself; her only concern is for the Exile. She even deliberately sacrifices a limb to make the Exile 'stronger'. There's a weird dynamic there.
“The one I travel with has walked your same path - and I ask that when the end comes, that you remember that kinship, even if it seems there is nothing else left.”
Sometimes I think they put Kreia in the game just to tear the other characters a new one. Every time we learn that an NPC is a huge badass, Kreia shows up and puts them in their place.
What’s that? Atton is a ruthless ex-Sith assassin?
Huh? Hanharr is a psychotic Wookiee who murdered his entire tribe?
Here comes Kreia again.
And she does it all in a calm, whispery voice too, which makes it all the more unnerving.