Hello again everyone. In this week's edition of The Darker Side of Life we'll be discussing force sensitive and normal characters, and how they match up. In the movies, Jedi and Sith are always the heroes and villains, but does it have to be that way? Can a normal character be just as heroic or villainous in The Old Republic? We'll be diving into this issue using your responses from the Darker Side of Life thread, as well as discussing how the characters can interact with one another.

As the title image suggests, who would win in a fight; Darth Vader or Boba Fett? A few years ago everyone but the Mandalorian fanboys would have said Vader. The Old Republic however puts all of the classes on an equal footing. But can the force really be offset by kickass gear? We'll attempt to answer this as we dig through your responses.

The question really is how they match up in practice out in the roleplay world. Can a Sith Lord boss around a Bounty Hunter? How about a Jedi with Troopers? These sorts of questions have been all over the forum recently, and we'll be diving into them as well. The Old Republic's class stories are supposed to make all the classes heroic, but is this a good thing, or could it inflate egos too much, only to have them burst when dealing with players instead of NPCs? Read on and let us know what you think!

"Hey, he can deflect blaster bolts. Put him in front. I don't care if he's self-righteous!"

OddjobXL: I kinda hate to say this but it feels...good. In SWG there were tons of Jedi and Dark Jedi everywhere and I just, well, just kinda had to run with it even though there aren't supposed to be any. But in a setting where it makes sense they're fairly plentiful it'll help suspension of disbelief (a little).

Teral: The era that SW:TOR resides in, Jedi and Sith are expected to be abundant. We are no longer in the Galactic Civil War era of SWG, and it will be a wonderful change of pace. As someone who RPed an Imperial in SWG, I can now walk around, see a glowbat and not automatically decide to shoot the wielder. You also have to take into account of forcers in your RP. No longer will battles be held at ranges but you have to look out for that Jedi/Sith charging at you with his lightsaber.

Roleplaying in The Old Republic's universe is very different for most of us, especially the Star Wars Galaxies vets. In the Galactic Civil War era we're all used to, Jedi are rare or near-extinct and there are only two Sith at a time. Knights of the Old Republic turned that all upside down. 3,000 years before the Battle of Yavin, Jedi and Sith are everywhere. For the most part, this is a good thing. They were everywhere in our previous RPs too, we just had to ignore canon. Whether or not you like following canon, I think we can all agree it saves fights to go along with it and avoid the trolls.

With the restrictions lifted, force sensitive RPers can not only practice openly and in public, but expand their horizons. Orders and cults are now far more believable. Without the many rules of the GCW era, we can all stretch out a little. TOR gives us a unique opportunity to roleplay in the Star Wars saga with new, looser rules that allow us to create believable Jedi and Sith. While they may be everywhere, and it can get a bit annoying at times, overall things will be much better for it. The movies make force sensitives the main characters most of the time, so many people will want to play them. We can't stop it more then we can the new CGI blinking Ewoks, or Darth Vader's scream on Blu-ray.

Fair fights don't usually end too well for the normals, but...

Berdrin Asteilard: In my guild's background, and my own, Force sensitive characters are actually probably less important than elsewhere in the stories being told during this Old Republic era. They can't be absent, of course: unless your character comes from a planet where there are absolutely no Force-sensitives, a planet that has no communication with the outside world, the relative high numbers of Force sensitives roaming the Galaxy, and their positions within the grand galactic scheme of things makes them extremely important. For non-Force sensitives, I believe Force sensitives should be polarizing figures, either seen as Masters or Guardians, or as Tyrants.

Solon Kanet: I think I'll mainly be RPing non forcies, but for some stories, they will be, yeah -- but that's because they're the big players in the galaxy right now. Heck, in the Empire, Sith run the joint, no questions, so they've gotta be important. I think that how important they are depends entirely on the story being told, however.

Do force sensitives have to be more important though? It's true they often steal the spotlight. The reality is we decide what is important to ourselves, and you've overwhelmingly said no. I think BioWare would agree. The non-force sensitive classes have epic heroic storylines, so my thinking is, if the devs can do it, so can we! For years roleplayers have taken the environments given them and improved on them with their own creativity. Now we have a blank check to make that badass Han Solo knockoff, so get on it!

I look forward to seeing all the stories of Troopers, Agents, Smugglers, and Bounty Hunters. Jedi and Sith will always be at the heart of Star Wars lore, but they are not everything. It's important to remember that even with so many Jedi and Sith running around, they still make up less then one percent of the galactic population. As roleplayers we're already pigeon-holing ourselves to be less powerful than canon characters like Darth Malgus, so taking another step down and removing the magic is second nature to many. Even if you aren't playing a forcer, you're still immersed in The Old Republic's universe, and telling your own story as a part of it.

...throw in a jetpack and his sword is now a handicap!

Siriin Knorei: In a fair fight a non-Jedi/non-Sith better be damn good in my opinion. And I am okay with people being 'damn good.' Even being 'bad ass.' I think lots of people like to cheer for the underdog and like to see the challenger win. For a fair fight to occur, I think the non-Jedi/non-Sith needs to be at the top of their game profession wise. They would need to be the best of the best. I would also say pitting a little fledgling Jedi or Sith against a trained professional would be a massacre for the little guys. In an unfair fight its a total toss up for me. I like it.

Yospeck: With caution. My character is well aware of how dangerous a Force user can be, and so as an Imperial grunt they wouldn't take the chance of taking one on alone if they could avoid it. Out of character my guy is an Imperial, but he doesn't exactly hate the Republic or the Jedi, he just became disillusioned and abandoned by the Republic when they retreated from his sector during the Great War leaving his people to fend for themselves. So out of combat he would look at them like anyone else, similar to the Sith. He doesn't revere them as Imperial Loyalists do, but he knows his place to 'yes my lord' when needed.

Sith and Jedi are mostly trained from young ages for combat. Even without magic and laser swords, that kind of person can be deadly. To kill them, you need an advantage or to be equally skilled. Jango Fett showed us how a Bounty Hunter can effectively combat a Jedi like Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Bounty Hunter had the element of surprise, and used his equipment, and decades of training to make himself a fair fight for the Jedi. Obi-Wan managed to escape, but in space, was totally outmatched by the master pilot and very nearly killed.

However, in a fair fight, Jango gets an extreme haircut from Mace Windu. Monks or not, these people are dangerous! While your character might not show fear, or even reverence for their power, underestimating them would be a fatal mistake. The same can be said of the other classes as well, but let's face it, the Force gives the Jedi and Sith a big leg up in most battles, or even avoiding traps. They've been set up all our lives as the most powerful heros and deadliest villains. Even in a new environment, we can't just walk away from that. Just remember: magic doesn't mean invincible. A blaster hole in the head still kills them.

Maybe getting Smugglers to follow won't be so hard after all...

Adlai: As an Imperial Agent, Adlai has learned you don’t violate the chain-of-command. Because of this, Adlai will not take orders from most Sith, as he does not recognize them as being part of his chain-of-command; for good reason. The trouble with taking orders from every random Sith is that you quickly can become part of a Darth Vich Rebellion situation. He will politely refuse to acknowledge the Sith’s orders, except if they have the backing of the Dark Council…

Scriptorum: TBOT's kind of a special case. The guild is constructed such that the IC command structure is skill set/merit based. So command of a cell or unit falls on the character best suited to direct the mission. If that's an insertion in a hot zone, it might be a trooper. An extraction from enemy territory? Smuggler. Going up against a Sith Lord? Jedi Knights come to the fore. Going on a dig to discover an ancient Jedi relic? Consulars take the con. It's all about context and mission, without the hierarchical baggage.

This is something that comes up over and over in Star Wars roleplay. In Star Wars Galaxies, people would RP Imperial Moffs to try and boss other players around. As I've said before: if you're not in the same guild, you should probably ask for OOC consent before giving orders -- this goes for both sides. While it may be important ICly for the Sith to seem in charge, that's not really the case. The Imperial Military does most of the work. If anything, the Sith often get in the way or cause problems competing with one another. It may be easier to say "Yes M'lord," roll your eyes, and wait for him to move on than become extra crispy after some lightning.

Jedi face a similar problem. Many love the Clone Wars series, which features Jedi Generals leading Clone Troopers into battle. This just doesn't really fit The Old Republic though. Jedi still can and will lead Troopers in battle, but they have been massively disgraced by the Sacking of Coruscant ten years ago. Many in the military would still be hesitant to trust them. Being the understanding souls that they are though, I'm sure Jedi can figure out a way to heal those wounds and support the fighting men and women of the Republic on the front lines.

Well that's it for this week! Be sure to visit the Darker Side of Life thread to comment on next week's topic: Vampires, Dragons, and Catgirls, oh my! We'll be chronicling non-Star Wars lore used for characters and the problems that accompany it. The comments section below could use some love too, so let me know what you think. For more, you can follow me on Twitter @SebayaKeto or check my wall for updates including topic votes. Until next time, may the Force be with you!
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