Part 12: The GrovePart 12: The Grove
Last time, the Jedi Council on Dantooine trained us as a Jedi apprentice and talked a lot. To become a proper Jedi, we need to complete the three tests which, unlike the three trials of Melee Island, do not involve sword mastery, thievery, or treasure huntery. Instead, we had to recite the Jedi Code, build our first lightsaber, and as our final test we need to cleanse some sort of dark taint from a nearby grove. I think Master Zhar mentioned something about spooky perverts, or something like that.
The kath hounds are being affected by the darkness, so they've recently become aggressive and started attacking settlers. That's one of the reasons we need to cleanse the grove.
Sure is, but we're in a hurry and you're kind of in the way.
Is there something I can help you with?
We could ask about the task and Nemo here would give us some extra hints, but we don't need his help. Instead, we'll ask about him.
As I have said, I believe, my name is Nemo. I am here by the will of the Jedi Council.
You are a Jedi?
Indeed, my young friend, that I am. I have served the Council for many years, and have seen many apprentices pass through this Enclave.
Are you a member of the Council?
What? No! We were just asking!
Okay, enough of that. We've got more named NPCs up ahead, and we know what that means.
Ah. I'm sorry. I was mistaken. Does the Council require our presence?
How in the hell are we supposed to know? When we left, they didn't say "Hey, tell the old man waiting outside the Enclave that he can come in now!"
Oh, I see. I am mistaken. How may I be of assistance?
Who are you?
...live on one of the northern farms. But the kath hounds and the Mandalorian problem has been getting really bad of late, and we're here to ask the Jedi Council to help.
Ever since the Republic beat them years ago, little groups have been roaming all over the place. With the Sith invasion, the Republic doesn't have the manpower to hunt them down. The Jedi are even worse off because Malak has been hunting them specifically. They're worried that he might even be supporting these raiders, so don't want to face them directly. That puts us in a kind of hard situation. Is there anything else I can help you with?
You mentioned kath hounds?
Recently the kath hounds have been acting much more aggressively. They've even attacked some of the settlers! Those Mandalorian raiders have been milking the outlying farms dry, too... I hear Jon got hit really bad. Too bad about his daughter. I'm not sure exactly what the Council will do about it, but we need some help with this. I only hope they'll listen to me...
Sadly, I wouldn't hold my breath if I were him.
Jon? Is this the same Jon who was mentioned by Gar just now?
Can't really say he's wrong, at least if what Gar said is any indication. The Jedi don't seem to be doing a lot to help out here.
Those Mandalorian brutes have killed my daughter! They came to our land, demanding our livelihood. But Ilsa, my Ilsa, said no...
There was nothing I could do... Too many of the Mandalorians and their Duros allies... I've come here to ask you, please, master Jedi, stop these raiders and get revenge for my daughter.
We're not exactly a full-fledged Jedi yet, and revenge is not the Jedi way. However...
I will give you all I have, just please, annihilate them from the face of this planet!
...since it seems the Council is worried about the Mandalorians potentially being allied with the Sith, they're not going to do anything for fear of Darth Malak materializing at their front door. It's obvious these Mandalorian raiders are dangerous and the Jedi are simply leaving the settlers to their own devices, so someone has to step up before the Mandalorians wreck everything. We kind of have a miniature Mandalorian Wars scenario here.
Lots of named NPCs in this area.
What happened to you?
I am a victim, a refugee, yes. I flee... fled from my world once the Sith fleet comes. They bomb my world, destroy it, yes? They scour the continents, boil the oceans. Sith are bad, yes. But I run here, find the Jedi already here, unknown. They take me in... one left of a billion, yes... The Republic fights, but does not win. Not you to blame, of course, no. The Sith are strong and destroy those who would oppose them, yes. My thanks you have, and your Order. Is there anything else you require?
Yes. I mean no, not really.
That was exciting.
Nothing else on this side, just some generic NPCs with equally generic lines.
So, let's head east towards the grove.
This lady clearly wants something, so let's hear it.
I heard the door to the house open, but not close. I went to see and found it wide open! I searched everywhere, and could not find him! I worry so much. I need him back so badly. I wonder if he... Could he have been kidnapped?
Not that I know of... Er... *ahem* None of my neighbors really know he's there.
Kath hounds are not intelligent enough to open doors. Although they have been more vicious lately... No, it must have been someone who could open the door by himself. Come to think of it, the door was locked!
But he is very valuable to me all the same! He is the last piece of my poor, passed-away husband that I have left. He is very dear to me, my precious is. I don't know what I'd do without him!
Concerned about his current situation or the fact this lady seems slightly too attached to him?
He is a personal assistance droid. My husband was a genius at constructing droids. He made this one capable of taking care of me for the rest of my life. As the last legacy of my husband, for my own personal ease of mind, I need him back! His absence gnaws at me like a gaping wound. Please, I beg of you, return my droid to me!
Well, we can't promise anything, but I suppose we can keep an eye out. For now, we'll slowly back off and go talk to the Rodian opposite to her.
This is Adum Larp, who runs a shop out here. He's not selling anything particularly interesting, so we'll keep our credits for now. Well, we do spend 4 credits on maps and grab some concussion grenades, but that's it.
I also put Mission back in the party because T3 is sadly kind of boring. Mission's gained a level as well, so we set up her skills. She also learns Sneak Attack IV.
Now that we've spent entirely too much time talking to these people, let's finally get a move on. I want to actually get somewhere in this update.
One of the kath hounds, I presume.
Now that I'm actually getting a good look at these things, they really don't look very much like hounds at all.
A small pack of regular kath hounds is no trouble whatsoever, especially with Improved Critical Strike.
Further to the east is the location of the ruins we saw in our vision, the ones visited by Revan and Malak years ago. We're not allowed to go there yet.
So, we'll make our way towards the south instead.
For some reason, we didn't get a map for this area, only the courtyard and the grove.
Hello, what's going on here?
Some poor settler getting shaken down by a Mandalorian raider, apparently. We should step in before this turns violent.
Actually, never mind. Carry on.
Okay, that's enough of that. The Mandalorians in KotOR are basically just generic raiders for the most part.
Huh, Force Push straight-up doesn't work on him.
This, however, does work quite nicely. Those are some half-decent damage numbers.
Can't forget about his little buddies here, either.
That first Mandalorian was a pushover, but as the journal suggests, things will get much more difficult soon enough.
We're not taking the path east just yet. There's nothing stopping us from exploring the entire grasslands area, but right now we'll focus on the task given to us by the Council and that means heading further south.
If you're playing this on PC, you may experience crippling frame rate issues in this area regardless of your configuration. That is a known bug and is easily fixed by adding the line Disable Vertex Buffer Objects=1 under Graphics Options in swkotor.ini. The GOG.com release has this fix applied right out of the box, so you won't have to mess with the INI file. Well, not for this reason, anyway...
Okay, we're heading in the right direction.
The horn kath hounds are much more dangerous than their basic brethren, and still don't look anything like hounds.
To the east is our destination, the ancient grove. The Sandral family grounds are further to the south, but we have no business there at the moment so let's continue on our merry way.
Zaalbar murders enough kath hounds to gain a level, so he gets another attribute point which goes to DEX (to get his DEX up to 14, although I forgot he was already wearing some DEX-boosting gear so his DEX is now an odd number). He also learns Implant Level 3, meaning he can now equip any implant in the game.
Mission levels up as well and gets another DEX point as well as Improved Sniper Shot.
Hm? Who's this? Looks like he's wearing a Jedi Knight robe, although that doesn't necessarily mean anything in this game.
Who are you?
I was going to handle this case myself, but now that you are here this could be an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate how well you have been learning your lessons at the Academy. Though you are not yet a full Jedi, perhaps you could assist me in sorting out the truth from the lies.
I quite like this little bridge area. And yes, apparently Bolook here wants us to assist him on what seems to be a murder investigation.
Listen to the stories given by the two suspects. I have brought an information retrieval droid with access to the archives both at the Jedi Enclave and the planetary capital.
Seems simple enough.
Consider each man's account and check the facts with the information droid. Once you have gathered all the evidence you think you need, run through the possible scenario with me. If you are unable to come to a satisfactory resolution, then I will take these men to the Enclave and deal with this myself.
Alright. Let's do this.
Err... that guy has been dead for a very, very long time, Bolook. Are you sure that's the victim?
Both men say they did not do anything, and that they came across the body. But both also accuse the other. Obviously there is more to this than what we have been told.
If there is anything else you need, I will remain here while you question the witnesses.
Okay, got it.
We should probably start by getting all the known facts from the information droid.
I am an information retrieval droid. I can assist you by accessing the records of both the Jedi Enclave and the central government facilities here on Dantooine. If you have any need of my services, please do not hesitate to talk to me. I have already retrieved some information from the archives on Calder Nettic, Rickard Lusoff and Handon Guld. I have also had time to examine the body of Mr. Nettic. Is there any information you require?
What did you find out about the body?
As for why BioWare chose to use the "long-dead desiccated corpse" model for the murder victim who died three hours ago, your guess is as good as mine. I know they had at least one non-fucked up corpse model, which they used for the dead Outcasts in the Undercity (and looked nothing like any of the Outcasts, and certainly not Rukil's apprentice Malya as the model was an old man). This kind of thing isn't a big deal or anything, but it just feels odd.
There have been over 35 catalogued attacks on settlers by kath hounds in the last 2 weeks. A general advisory was given out three days ago to carry a weapon at all times when on the plains. Small farms and holdings dot the plains, and can provide safe refuge for those in need.
Okay then, that'll get us started. Time to question the two men at the scene.
We'll start with Rickard.
I'm Rickard Lusoff. Maybe you can figure this out and let me get out of here.
Tell me what happened.
So I shoot it and it drops. I walk over here and find Handon standing over Calder's body! So why don't you get this whole farce over with and send that whiner Handon to the prison he belongs in!
Hm. Okay. Let's not get ahead of ourselves yet, Rickard.
What have you got for us, Handon?
I am Handon Guld, perhaps you've heard of me?
Um... I guess, under the circumstances, no. Well, I presume you wish to hear my story then? I shall tell you, of course, but there is not much to it. I am sure that you'll agree that Rickard is quite obviously guilty of murder.
Obviously. Let's hear your story.
When all of a sudden I heard a shot coming from over here. I ran over and found this man Calder lying on the ground dead!
Uh huh. Anything else?
Well... there, that's my story. Now please hurry this up and arrest Rickard so I can get on with my day!
Well, we've heard both men's stories and gotten all the facts from the droid, so we should present our findings to Bolook.
Handon said that he was nearby and heard a shot and ran over, only to find Calder already dead. He said Rickard came out of the shadow of the rocks holding a blaster in his hands. Rickard said that he was hunting iriaz, saw one through the glare of the sun and shot at it. It is possible that Rickard may have shot Calder accidentally and Handon may have found the body, but that seems a very unlikely explanation. It is more likely that at least one of them is lying. Obviously one of these men is not telling us something, but where does the truth lie?
This one is easy if you've been paying attention.
Bolook mentioned the weather that morning had been cloudy, so there would've been no sun glare in Rickard's eyes. This is the correct answer, although technically the first option would also be correct because there literally are no iriaz in the game, as they were cut out at some point in development. Still, that does not count as a correct answer for the purposes of this quest, so the only acceptable answer is to point out the weather conditions.
It seems I was correct in assuming you could help me with this case. This lie doesn't prove Rickard is guilty, but I think you have taken the first step in unravelling this mystery. We should proceed on to the next point. We need to find a motive for the killing. Maybe you should talk to the men about their relationship with the victim.
Got it. We'll start with Rickard again.
*sigh* Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on him... especially now that he's dead. We actually got along pretty well most of the time. We just had our... differences. We were actually business partners. We were involved in some orbit-to-ground transport operations for Aratech. Can I leave now? I should probably be the one to give the news to his wife.
Why would someone want to kill him?
You Jedi are so predictable. Always seeing some greater purpose behind everything, when the simple answer is usually the right one. Can't you see that it must have been Handon? I found him standing over the damned body! I don't know why this is causing you so much trouble. You almost seem as lost as this Bolook guy.
Your observation has been noted. Okay then, Handon, what do you have to say about the victim?
I never really associated with him that much. In truth, I didn't really want to. He had a... reputation. Very inconsiderate of family, I heard. But merely having heard unkind things about someone wouldn't make me want to kill him!
Why would someone want to kill him?
Um... well, you see, Calder was involved in some pretty sordid business from time to time. More often than not, I've heard. Disreputable business practices, even more disreputable clients. I've even heard he had dealings with... a Hutt! A Hutt here on Dantooine! Now I bet you're wondering if I had any reasons to kill the man, but I tell you I hardly knew him! Saw him once or twice, yes, and I have heard some pretty unkind things about him, but... Certainly nothing that would make me want to kill him!
Okay, good. Droid, your turn.
What can you tell me about Calder and Rickard?
According to the municipal authorities near the Garang spaceport, there had been news of violent drunken activity in a cantina attached to the port. Apparently a Mr. R. Lusoff was making accusations at a Mr. C. Nettic about cheating him in a business deal. Jedi Tooka was dispatched to the scene and restored order.
Interesting. It appears there was bad blood between Calder and Rickard, and the two recently got into some drunken fisticuffs over a business deal. If Rickard thought Calder was cheating him, that'd potentially provide a motive for killing Calder. However, we shouldn't jump into any conclusions yet, certainly not before talking to both men again.
Handon claimed he barely knew Calder, but the two rented a speeder together. That in itself is not evidence of anything other than Handon lying to us, though, so we should confront Handon about the matter.
What's this now?
It may have been my own fault for driving my wife away. I must try not to take the law in my own hands. I was just out running, trying to clear my head for the divorce proceedings, not stalking him to kill him. Running is not a crime.
Well, he changed his story quick, and that means he's also got a motive for killing Calder. Before we inform Bolook of this, we still need to talk to Rickard again.
We've been partners in that business for well over twenty years, and we've been doing just fine the way we are.
Okay then, Rickard doesn't seem to think there was actually any bad blood between him and Calder. Maybe the episode at the cantina was just a drunken altercation and nothing more?
Handon told me he barely knew the victim. On the other hand, Rickard and the victim were business partners. However, according to Rickard they got along quite well. On the surface, neither man seems to have a motive for killing Calder.
With Rickard it could go either way, but Handon is most definitely lying.
You might want to see what information the witnesses and the information droid can provide you about the blaster found near the body.
On it. Rickard, let's hear about the weapon found by the body.
Always wished I could get myself a rifle like the one he had... That blaster ain't it, though. Calder only had the one rifle, too, so he either must have borrowed that... or it's someone else's.
According to Rickard, the weapon did not belong to Calder. Let's see if Handon knows anything about it.
I hardly have enough money to afford a single blaster, let alone another. I can't tell you how important it is to have a weapon on hand with all these ravenous kath hounds around. Even an iriaz can take a man down if it gets in the mood. Every settler has a weapon. It's our most prized possession. I would most appreciate it if I could have that back after you determine that Rickard is the killer.
Hm. Apparently, the blaster is Handon's, but it was stolen recently. We should ask the droid if it has any information on the weapon.
Is there a report of Handon's blaster being stolen?
If it was such a prized possession of his, surely he would've filed a report when he discovered the blaster was missing.
I thought to find the record of the missing weapon report Mr. Guld filed with the authorities, but there does not seem to be one.
How about that. The case is taking shape, so let's bring our latest findings to Bolook.
There was a blood sample on the weapon that had been sent back for analysis just before you arrived. Perhaps you could inquire with the information droid about it.
We shall do exactly that.
The blood on the weapon is definitely not Calder's. Unfortunately there was a bacterial contaminant in the sample that had been taken back to the laboratory, and it had become degraded. We cannot get any more specific analysis from that sample other than the fact it did not belong to Calder.
Hmm... Bolook did mention both men were showing some signs of injury. You okay there, Handon?
Great, just checking. Rickard?
Thanks, Rickard. That'll be all.
So, we'll inform Bolook that the blood was not the victim's.
Rickard said he sprained an ankle, but that isn't going to bleed profusely.
That leaves Handon.
He insists he's fine, but it doesn't seem like he's just out of breath from running.
It would seem there is one logical scenario: Handon killed Calder for having an affair with his wife. Rickard was out hunting and accidentally shot Handon after he had killed Calder.
Why would he accidentally shoot Handon, though? That doesn't add up.
We know Calder was having an affair with Handon's wife, but what possible motive could Rickard have for wanting Calder dead?
Handon found him first and shot him because of the affair Calder was having with his wife. Shortly after, Rickard arrived on the scene. From a distance he saw Handon and thought it was Calder, so he shot him in retaliation for the credits Calder had cheated him out of in their business. Handon would have dropped his blaster - the one we found at the scene covered in blood. He probably thought Rickard was going to kill him so he called us, hoping he could convince us it was Rickard.
Thanks for the admission of guilt, Rickard!
I place you both under the arrest of the Jedi Order, and will escort you to holding facilities in the Jedi Enclave.
Bye, guys! Have fun!
Good day, and may the Force be with you.
If you fail to figure out both suspects were guilty, you'll get less XP from the guest. The easiest way to fuck that up is to forget to ask Handon about the speeder he rented with Calder, because then you will not be able to establish a motive for him. If you get completely stumped, you can just let Bolook handle everything but you don't get anything if you do so.
Zila levels up, and I make sure to teach her Force Resistance. If the dark side is affecting this grove in some way, it's not too far-fetched to imagine we might run into a Force user here. In that case, Force Resistance is an incredibly handy power to have as it mitigates the effects of powers used against you. Its upgraded version, Force Immunity, is even better and one of the most important Force powers in the game as we will be facing off with some very powerful dark side users down the line. I also put another skill point to Repair.
Further into the grove, we encounter some more horn kath hounds. Nothing special.
Also, more Mandalorians. These guys have some goodies on them, such as the Eriadu Strength Amplifier which boosts STR by +2, meaning we can get Zila up to STR 16 and a +3 modifier. They also have a couple of datapads:
Mandalorian Datapad posted:
Jarg, did you remember not to take the XT-model bike out today? There was something funny with one of the intakes, and I thought it could jam.
Ha! Consider yourself lucky! If someone was dumb enough to take that thing out he would have ploughed right into the ground within a kilometer.
Another Mandalorian Datapad posted:
Jarg went missing in Sector B, then Reeza saw someone moving south of there. Take a couple troops and find out who it is.
If they look suspicious: terminate.
We're almost at our destination, but there's something else we need to do before we proceed. Some Force powers, you see, are restricted by armor for reasons related to game mechanics, and we don't want that.
So, we'll equip our regular Scoundrel outfit, which has some powerful Ned Flanders skiing suit energy on both male and female characters. We shouldn't dwell on that, though, because we seem to have located the source of the darkness in the grove.
??: I WILL BE YOUR DOOM
Mission and Zaalbar aren't going to be of much help in this fight. Whoever this is, we'll face her alone.
This is Juhani, a Cathar Jedi who has fallen to the dark side. Here in Finland, Juhani is a common male name (albeit pronounced differently than it is here) and was presumably chosen for this character because BioWare thought it sounded exotic. Or maybe it was a coincidence, who can say? This, of course, isn't the first time gratuitous Finnish appears in a Star Wars work - I'm sure we all remember Teräs Käsi, which literally means "steel hand" both in-universe and in Finnish (although it's supposed to be a compound word, i.e. teräskäsi).
Erm, where was I? Yes, the fight. We don't really need Force Resistance against Juhani because she won't use Force powers often unless you try to run away. Energy Resistance or an energy shield would be more useful.
Our critical strikes and saber/vibroblade combo make quick work of Juhani. Once you get her health down to 25%, the fight ends.
The Cathar are supposed to be a race of cat-like humanoids, but the visuals here just kinda make it look like she has a fucked-up face. Speaking of cats, Juhani's original name was inspired by a certain Egyptian feline goddess. That name was... Bastila Shan, after the goddess Bast. There's concept art of her with the name Bastila Shan floating around. Why did they change it, you ask? I'll tell you, but first let's hear what Juhani is doing here in this grove.
When I slew my Master, Quatra, I knew I could never go back. And now I revel in my dark power. Power enough to crush the life from someone such as you... or so I had thought...
So, Juhani fell to the dark side after striking down her Jedi master, and she has been here for some time. Her dark side powers caused the kath hounds to become aggressive and start attacking people.
But... it was not enough... *sigh* What is it you want? Why do you bother me?
Somehow, it doesn't seem Juhani has fully embraced the dark side. She seems confused and lost more than anything, so perhaps the best option for us would be to simply talk and listen to her.
You can kill Juhani if you want, but that just means you're killing your next party member and that just seems counter-productive even if you're a dark side character. Personally, I don't kill party members in RPGs unless I absolutely have to. Yes, massive spoilers, Juhani will be a party member.
I am pathetic. I sit here and think myself to be great by embracing the dark side, but I am nothing! There is no way I could be turned back! I always thought they held me back, were jealous of my power. But it is only because I was not good enough to meet their standards... I never have been.
You don't actually have to persuade Juhani to spare her. If you find your Persuade skill lacking, you can simply pick the options that most closely follow the tenets of the Jedi Code and it'll do the trick just as well. If you fail a Persuade check, you can just talk to Juhani again to retry.
You seem to know just what affects me... I seem to still have much to learn... Both about being a Jedi, and about myself. But I wish the cost of my ignorance had not been so high. I wish that my Master had not suffered because of me.
Juhani, by the way, is voiced by Courtenay Taylor aka Jack/Subject Zero from Mass Effect, of "I WILL DESTROY YOU" fame. Juhani's battle cry of "I WILL BE YOUR DOOM" kinda sounds like it's coming from Jack with some kind of vaguely Russian accent.
If she were alive now, there would be so much I would say to her... So much I would apologize for. I think, in my own way, I truly loved her... Oh, how can the Council ever take me back with what I have done? Striking my Master down in anger is unforgivable!
Juhani has done a terrible thing, but she can still redeem herself.
Maybe, just maybe, they would accept me back. Do you think they would? Could it be possible after what I have done?
I will return to the Council, then. I shall submit myself to their judgment, and hope that they will forgive me. If only there was some way I could make this up to you... Again, I thank you. I am sure I will hear great things about you in the future.
Mission accomplished. The ancient grove is now free of the dark side influence, and while the kath hounds will still be aggressive they should calm down eventually. More importantly, we've managed to convince a fallen Jedi to abandon the dark side and return to the light. Our three tasks are now complete, so next time we'll return to the Enclave and officially become a Padawan.
Before we finish this up, let me get back to the whole Juhani/Bastila thing. The character that became the Bastila we know was originally supposed to be Vima Sunrider, the daughter of Nomi Sunrider from Tales of the Jedi. However, due to a legal issue with the name Sunrider (apparently having to do with the fact Tales of the Jedi author Tom Veitch owned the name and had used in another work - it most likely wasn't an issue with the Jeep Corporation and their Sunrider model, as was often rumored), BioWare couldn't use Vima so they had to come up with a different character. Presumably, they then took the name of the Cathar Jedi they'd created and gave that to their Vima Sunrider replacement, and the former Bastila Shan became Juhani. I'm not 100% certain this is how it all went down, but it at least makes sense based on the information that is out there.