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 Post subject: Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide Review!
PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 2:48 pm 
Droid Army Commander
Droid Army Commander

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Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide
By: Fool

The Knights of the Old Republic Era was made popular by the video game of the same name released almost a decade ago. When Knights of the Old Republic was released it introduced a new Star Wars Era that was completely separate from the original film trilogy with no similarities other than it was based on “another time” in the Star Wars Galaxy.

Encompassing everything from the “glory time” of a peaceful and stable Republic to the seemingly endless and violent wars that occurred between both the Republic, Sith and Mandalorians, the Kotor Era became incredibly popular and introduced many new household names such as Revan, Malak and the Jedi Bastila Shan. Building upon the success of Knights of the Old Republic, a second game was released a few years later (Kotor 2) which wasn’t as popular in terms of game play but still introduced a wealth of popular Sith (Darth Traya, Darth Nihilus and Darth Sion) as well as the “Jedi Exile” and Atton Rand. Following that, a comic book was released further telling some of the intricate story lines about the Knights of the Old Republic Era.

The Knights of the Old Republic Campaign Guide thoroughly covers this era in depth and the factions at play during this time including the prevalent Sith, Republic and of course the ever popular Mandalorians. Ancient Weapons, Technology and Races key to the era are highlighted (such as the Water friendly Selkath and the Arkanians) are key elements to the Kotor timeline. The Kotor timeline is so vast and more especially war-torn (encompassing the Great Sith War which occurs 4,000 years BBY to the Mandalorian conflict just 35 years later which leads into the Jedi Civil war 6 years later and then finally, the Dark Wars which occur approximately 3955 Years BBY). This gives the opportunity for many different character options, excellent story lines and many great adventures.

Starting with Species, which in each era differ immensely in their contributions to the galaxy, the Kotor timeline has a few that are unique just to it – especially the seafaring Selkath who specialize in the refining of “Kolto” (an ancient form of Bacta). Also important at this time are the Miraluka – the popular Jedi Visas Marr is one of them, the Cathar (Juhani is an example of a Cathar), the Draethos (Odan-Urr who helped foster the Jedi Code), Feeorin, Arkanian and Arkanian offshoots are some of the popular species. Khil, Kissai and Massassi, Snivvian and finally perhaps the species that started it all the Rakata are all given templates to build new characters.

With so much going on in the galaxy during this time period, there are definitely lots of options for character creation. After choosing a species and building a character template, one must consider a few basic questions and these are covered at the beginning of Chapter 2 which highlights the new Heroic Traits introduced during the Era. It also covers some sample groups concepts to give parties new ideas of groupings that work during this time period.

One of the most anticipating parts of a new Campaign Guide is of course Heroic Classes and these are covered in depth in this chapter introducing new Jedi Talents, Noble Talents, Scoundrel talents, Scout and Scoundrel Talents as well. There only a few new Skills (affecting Acrobatics, Climb and Use the Force) in this Campaign guide however, there are a few new feats that are introduced. This includes “Echani Training” (giving a bonus to hand-to-hand combat), Force readiness (allowing you spend Force Points as a free action) and Sith/Republic Military Training just to name a few. Of course, the Soldier receives the most bonus Feats highlighting the war torn and conflicted riddled time in the galaxy.

There are a few new Talent Trees for the Prestige Classes and these are covered in Chapter Three. The Elite Trooper benefits from what can only be the popular Mandalorian Warrior Talent Tree. There are a few new Talents for Force Adepts (Force throw and Primitive Block) and a new Talent for the Gunslinger Prestige Class (Mobile Attack – pistols). The Jedi Knight Prestige Class gets some new Duelist Talents and The Jedi Battlemaster and Shadow Talent Trees as well as the Jedi Watchmen are introduced as new Talent Trees.

There are three new Prestige Classes introduced in the Kotor Campaign Guide. The Corporate Agent covers Government like agents working for corporations (Such as the Czerka), the Gladiator which are underworld combatants who fight for credits (such as the popular Gladiator from the Kotor game Bendak Starkiller or more appropriately the “Mysterious Stranger” for those that played the game) and finally the Melee Duelist who covers individuals specialized in single combat. All three give some interesting and new Prestige Classes to give your character a few more options for talents and abilities.

Of strong importance to the Galaxy and specifically the Knights of the Old Republic era, the Force has an enormous impact on the galaxy during this era. The Campaign guide brings some nice new Force Powers from Energy Resistance which works well to avoid energy damage, a new Dark Side Mind Affecting power called simply “Fear” to a few other nice Force Powers such as Ionize (which unloads Ion Damage – which will work well against Droids and electronic systems), Resist Force to avoid the enemies Force Powers and Valor which helps boost your allies strength, the Force is surely prevalent.

The Force Talent Trees also see some fitting new abilities like Telepathic Link in the Alter Tree, Beast Trick in the Control Tree as well as Force Suppression. A few new Force Techniques are also introduced in this Chapter such as Dominate mind, Improved Energy Resistance, Force Stun and Slam, Ionize, kinetic Combat, Resist Force, Valor, Vital Transfer and finally Absorption.

The Jedi Order during the Knights of the Old Republic era introduces a fairly Unique time. While during the Prequel Trilogy (preceding the Dark Times) we see the Jedi have the single Jedi Temple on Coruscant. During the Knights of the Old Republic, many different facilities exist. From the Jedi Temple on Coruscant to both the Enclave on Dantooine and Taris Academy, the Jedi have many prevalent quarters to house their domination of the Galaxy. This doesn’t include the Jedi Covenant established by Krynda Draay (mother of Lucien Draay) which is one other grouping of Jedi Hierarchies that includes the WatchCircles, Executors and Covenant Shadows.

Also introduced in this Campaign book are a couple of new Force Using Traditions. This includes the Jal Shey – who focus on the intellectual and Scientific point of view the Force offers rather then the spiritual journey. The Keetael are also introduced who hail from the Draethos homeworlds of Thosa and are warriors and hunters dominating the culture. The powerful and Sith inspired Krath are another Force Using Tradition that rose to power during the Knights of the Old Republic time period and they themselves led spearheaded the Great Hyperspace War.

Two other smaller Force Using traditions are also introduced – the Luka Sene which is a Miralukan Force tradition and the Order of Shasa which formed after the end of the Jedi Civil War. Both offer interesting and diverse options for members looking to join their ranks and different character options that are unique and diverse that can be offered by both.

Each different Star Wars era brings different Equipment and weapons. During the Knights of the Old Republic era some of the popular weapons of the time include vibroblades and shockstaffs for Melee Weapons. War swords of all types are also wielded by many of the ancient Sith Lords (such as Naga Sadow) and also there are some unique Exotic weapons such as the Shyarn (a rare weapon of Cerean design), Fira (a Selkath Warrior Weapon), Arg’garok (a Gamorrean weapon) and a Zhaboka which is a ceremonial weapon of the Zabrak.

We also see in this chapter some interesting Alternate Lightsaber Crystals that will give characters more options – in later Campaign Guides we will see this covered in more detail (see the Jedi Academy Campaign Guide for a more comprehensive list) but in this guide, we do see the Bondar, Firkraan, Jenraux, Opila, Phond, Rubat, Sigil and Solare crystals.

Ranged Weapons are obviously covered and we see everything from sonic disruptors and pistols, ion carbines, sonic rifles and blaster assault rifles. A couple of new grenades are introduced similar to the Knights of the Old Republic game which includes the Adhesive grenades and CryoBan grenade both of which as restricted weapons can be difficult to attain by legal means.

A few new Armors are also introduced during this time period where war was prevalent. A few light armor options are given which covers everything from light Energy Shields to light Battle Armor and Fiber Armor. Medium Armors include Mesh, Weave and powered Battle Armors and Matrix and heavy powered battle Armor for the Heavy Armor options.

One of the unique aspects of the Knights of the Old Republic eras is a focus on all kinds of implants. Implants are prevalent during this time and included in this chapter is a breakdown of many different implant options. Also included are many different detection and surveillance devices (such as Aural Amplifiers and Neural Bands) to Medical Gear, Tools and new Life Support options such as the Vacuum Mask.

The last few topics under Equipment anyways are accessories which were a crucial part in the game. Armor reinforcement, beam splitters, Durasteel bondings, Enhanced energy projectors and Hair triggers are just some of the enhancements one can add some nice modification boosts to Weapons and Armor.

We also see some Gear Templates – a new way to make weapons and armor more diverse by offering different options of manufactures different makes. This covers any makes from the popular Arkanian to the Echani, GenoHaradan, Krath, Mandalorian and Cortosis Weave/Phrik Alloy among many others. Gear Template is a nice introduction to make more different options available for the entire different weapon types making for a more diverse and unique types of weapons and gear available. Weapon Templates are also introduced and this covers everything from Bothan, Gand, Quick Draw, Rakatan and Sith Alchemical Weapons to name a few. Finally, the last Template available is Armor which includes Bonadan, Bronzium, Durasteel, Environmental Bastion and Eriadun Armor.

Droids are a huge part of the Star Wars galaxy and it would be remiss to not go over some of the new types of Droids that are highlighted during this time period. The First Degree Droid ET-74 is a Communications Droid that is a decent compliment to handle communications for the party. The Aratech G0-T0 Infrastructure-planning Droid is also a new second Degree Droid along with the ever popular T3-Series Utility Droid which definitely will make it into many different Campaigns.

A couple of other popular Droids include of course the HK-Series Droid (along with an excerpt on how to play this class of Droid) and the Juggernaut War Droid as well as the Patrol Droid Mark 1, Devastator War Droid, Sentinel Droid and T1 Bulk Loader Droid.

Chapter VI next covers Vehicles and Starships of the era and there are a few new introductions of ships of the era as this era is certainly a new age for the engineering and manufacturing of vehicles and starships. Perhaps the nicest thing to note is the use of Space Transports both as a method of Transport or a “Home Base” (similar to the Knights of the Old Republic game). Note Page 97 of a nice outline of the options one has for a Space Transport as a base.

The next Chapter discusses some Campaign ideas and a lot of options are covered giving Gamemasters many different options to choose from. Obviously, Campaigns set in this era have an abundance of Force Users that much is of the obvious. A few other fine details are covered and this includes important orders such as the Jedi, Sith and Krath as well as a few different criminal organizations such as the Exchange and GenoHaradan and Swoop Gangs.

“Constant Warfare” is the best way to cover the Knights of the Old Republic era and this leads to many different options for Campaigns. Everything from heroes, to villains to groups that can help either side during these times of strife, Campaign options are of the plenty and they cover everything from the Great Sith War, Mandalorian Wars, Jedi Civil Wars and the Dark Wars that follow that.

This Chapter is also useful to Gamemasters and players alike as it covers a nice few pages on “Mysterious Enemies” covering many of the betrayals that take place and some of the major Hidden Dangers of the time. This includes the Dark Reaper and Mass Shadow Generator as well as the many Rakatan Mysteries and the Star Forge.

We also see finally Campaign options that cover a few new Powers on the rise during this time including the Hyperspace Navigators guild, Adascorp, Czerka Corporation and Lhosan Industries – any of which can be introduced or comprise key elements to Campaigns that occur during this setting. Closing out this Chapter is an awesome timeline of the many events that take place covering one of the most tumultuous 50 year spans the galaxy has ever seen.

For Gamemasters, it’s important to know what exactly is occurring on many of the various planets in the galaxy. Chapter VIII is the well known “Galactic Gazetteer” to update the key planets of this era. This Chapter introduces many new popular planets to the Star Wars galaxy (including Telos, Korriban and Taris just to name a few) as well as covers some planetary updates of the many popular planets that have already been covered in previous Campaign Guides as this era obviously is a very different timeline in that planets history.

Chapter IX is the first of five Chapters that focus on the many new Character types and introduces the many different Factions at play. Chapter IX covers the Jedi, X the Sith, XI the Republic, XII the Mandalorians and XIII the many different Allies and Opponents prevalent in this time period.

Each Chapter focuses both on character and non-character options and introduces many different new archetypes to draw from popular during this era. Each chapter does an excellent job to first go into detail about the appropriate timelines and the effects they have on each of the different classes.

Some of the popular include character sheets for the following: (Jedi) Ulic Qel-Droma, Zayne Carrick, Bastila Shan, Lucien Draay, Jolee Bindo, Juhani, Vandar Tokare, The Jedi Exile, Visas Marr, Atris and Celeste Morne; (Sith) Darth Revan, Darth Malak, High Leady Brezwalt III, Darth Bandon, Admiral Saul Karath, Darth Traya, Darth Sion, Darth Nihilus; (Republic) Senator Haydel Goravvus, Commander Carth Onasi, Atton Rand; (Mandalorian) Demagol, Rohlan Dyre, Cassus Fett, Mandalore the Indomitable, Mandalore the Ultimate, Bendak Starkiller, Canderous Ordo (Mandalore the Preserver); (Allies and Opponents) Brianna, Calo Nord, The Gryph, G0-T0, HK-47, Jarael, Mira, Mission Vao, Dob and Del Moomo, T3-M4 and finally Zaalbar.

This doesn’t even include the many different Droids, Starships and other generic characters introduced for each specific group of which there are many.

The Knights of the Old Republic is one of the most war-stricken eras in all of the Star Wars Timeline. It includes many different wars, heroes, enemies, and opens the door for many different Campaign ideas. Definitely one of the most tumultuous times in the galaxy, this is one unique time period where heroes can be abound both in the simplest and smallest ways to many different complex storylines and part of the galaxy as a whole. Definitely worth investing if you are a fan of the video game series (as well as comic books), this Campaign Guide is crucial to running Campaign during this very chaotic time period.

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