Carth, your first "real" party member, frequently states that he doesn't trust you, finds your placement on the Endar Spire suspicious, finds what the Jedi are doing suspicious, and frequently gets angry about what he perceives as getting the runaround. He comes off as a total Jerkass and whiner...until The Reveal comes out. Turns out he was dead right about ALL of his suspicions, just not in the way he expected! The comics and the second game add a few more layers. He encountered a Jedi coverup before, as he helped Zanye Carrick escape from the Covenant. In the second game, Disciple is reporting directly to Carth. Given Carth's trust issues, Mical's reservations (even Exile, his childhood hero, has to be careful when prying info out of him), and how important the Ebon Hawk is, there's likely some strong history between Mical and Carth, meaning Carth may also know more about the Jedi than he let on. Factor in that he's probably an untrained Sensitive, and this gets even more interesting.
Ditto Bastila. She comes across as a total bitch, quoting dogma at every turn, and regarding your PC with a cross of fascination and horror. Then The Reveal. She's a Padawan, set up on a babysitting task that even a Master would get overwhelmed with. She was given a token order to try and capture you alive, because "Jedi don't kill their prisoners" ...except when they do but no one seems to have expected her to actually do it. Worse, she's got a Force Bond to you, like it or not, meaning that (if you play Dark), you're pulling her down with you (see second game for more details on Force Bonds). Alternately, if you play Light, she becomes envious that you're doing her job better than she is; that the Light Side comes so easily to you, the former Dark Lord of the Sith, of all people, whereas she has to struggle to keep it up. Between the stress of all this, the fact that the Masters are no help at all and are, as usual, more concerned with covering their ass and reputation than actually helping... plus the fact that she has issues and doubts of her own? Malak didn't so much pull her to the Dark Side as give her a giant shove over a cliff she was dancing on already.
More a case of clever storytelling, but this only just occurred to me so I'm putting it here: At the very beginning of the first game your soldier is apparently unfamiliar with the details of a war they have supposedly been fighting, and is unable to perform basic tasks which should be second nature. Just the game teaching you how to work it right? Wrong. Your memories have been tampered with, and so any inability on your part to perform simple tasks or remember very important details, it's all because your memory has been blanked. This also neatly sidesteps Story and Gameplay Segregation.
A related piece of brilliance . When you hit Star Wars: The Old Republic's Alderaan level, you learn that Trask Ulgo was a very high-ranking member of Alderaanian nobility. In particular, his house's hat was military service, and Trask was one of their finest warriors. Who better to be the handler (and potential assassin) of a mind-wiped Sith Lord?
When you and Carth are ribbing Bastila for being taken prisoner by a gang of ordinary thugs, she insists that she was weakened from using her battle meditation, and that without it, you might not have escaped. She wasn't using her abilities to help the Republic forces on the ship. She was using them to ensure that you landed unharmed. Which you did... in the Upper City, right next to a disused apartment complex that sees only occasional Sith patrols, in easy walking distance from a Republic-sympathizing doctor. With a decorated military vet who's got the skill and experience to keep you alive and hidden, and the innate goodness to take care of your comatose butt for days, despite his misgivings.
Early in the game, Bastila asks you a series of basic questions about your past. You can point out that the answers to her questions are surely in your Republic service file, and she says she wanted to see how you answered. But what she's really checking for is whether your basic memories are still those of your programmed personality, even though some of Revan's memories, and his Force sensitivity, have begun to reemerge. Likewise, when Dorak is helping you choose a Jedi class, the reason he's unsurprised by your answers is because you're answering just like your programmed personality should or possibly like Revan would have.
On Taris, you get to meet a crazy old kook out on the streets preaching about his hatred for aliens. What he says actually makes sense out of context! Two things he says particularly stands out:
Crazy Old Kook: Listen to me, people! There is a terrible scourge sweeping the planet! Heed my warning, before it's too late!
Crazy Old Kook: The evil walks among us! The enemy is here!
He's actually talking about you, Revan.
He's probably talking about the Sith on both counts.
Possibly Jossed. If you walk up to him as a Sith trooper, he greets you happily. Very happily. And then invites you to share in the alien-bashing.
In KOTOR 1, you can be invited to a Sith party (talking to Sarna as a male or Yun as female) - only for them to get super drunk enough to pass out, leaving their Sith armor for the taking. If you take the time to talk to some of the citizens in the Upper City cantina, one of them will say something about Tarisian ale being an extremely alcoholic drink...
One of my favorite part of KOTOR was the the use of Charisma skill that can be uber helpful especially if you want to persuade other characters and NPCs on your ideas or stances. Now, my favorite class is the Soldier (yes, very generic I know) and at first I was kind of confused why the Scoundrel class gets plus points on the charisma ability, but then I realized: of course they would! After all, Scoundrels are cunning individuals who are quick-witted and perceptively street smart. Being charismatic is practically their second nature!
Definitely ties in with how Han Solo- also a Scoundrel- is just so damn lovable.
And also Mission Vao. I mean come on!
How did Calo Nord, a badass but still a rather short man, survive the crashing of a good few hundred pounds of steel onto his back? Well, when you loot his armor, you find it's second only to Cassus Fett's battle armor!
This may belong more in irony, but I am playing through the game again knowing exactly what's going to happen, mainly in terms of the big reveal. I was talking to Juhani, and when she is yelling at you for indirectly causing her home world, Taris, to be destroyed, she tells you that "...It's so hard to lose your entire past. You wouldn't understand." You are given the option to agree with her and say that no, you would not understand. Which seems perfectly reasonable, until later in the game you discover that you HAVE lost your entire past, when the Jedi mind wiped you.
Brilliance: All those visions you have in the first game of Revan and Malak finding the different starmaps? Those aren't visions. Those are your memories coming back.
Mission Vao has a Berserk Button about being treated as a child. She's also 14 and has very few qualms about violently defending herself. Troubling Unchildlike Behavior? Yup. But she is also of an age, race, gender, and attractiveness level (young, pretty female Twi'lek) that would make her a prime target for thugs, pimps, and slavers. Furthermore, she fell in with Zaalbar months after Griff took off, meaning she was fighting off those slavers, pimps, and thugs from age 12, and maybe earlier. Top it off with regularly exploring the Undercity and going toe to toe with rakghouls. Yeah, the berserk button is justified.
A second bit of brilliance in the above. Carth is the only party member who points out Mission's young age and worries about her. But when you play his sidequest, you see that his son is about the same age as Mission. Carth is still reacting as a father when he sees a kid who would be the same age as his own child. Bastila wouldn't care as she's been training as a Jedi since early childhood. Juhani grew up in the same slums and knows how you have to fight to survive. Zaalbar, being a Wookiee, doesn't age on the same scale. Jolee considers everyone a kid. Canderous? 14 years is considered young adulthood among the Mando'ade, and Mission is already an established fighter, meaning that she's a full adult by his culture's standards.
Adding on to Carth's characterization: his fatherhood is fairly consistent throughout the game. There is one quest in which the son of a wealthy Dantooine man is found dead, and all that his left from his corpse was his diary. The father offers 100 credits to take it off of you. You may either accept it, decline but choose to give it to him anyway, or extort an additional 100 out of it. If the last option is chosen, Carth will get utterly PISSED and berate you for taking advantage of a grieving father. Made all the more reasonable once you learn that he believes his own son to have died.
If you're inclined to roll that way, Carth taking fatherhood seriously could go a long way as to why Canderous can work with him. Mandos are very big on family, fatherhood in particular. (Their worst insult is to say someone is "no longer a Mandalorian." Second-worst more or less translates to "deadbeat dad"). Carth might be a temperamental jackass and a former enemy, but he fights clean and takes his duties seriously, which would make him tolerable.
Since the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic, some have compared the original two games and TOR to the Original Trilogy movies, with KOTOR as A New Hope, KOTOR 2 as The Empire Strikes Back, and TOR as Return of the Jedi. However, the first game itself could be a combination of all three movies itself! Let's look at the beginning of the game, a good guy ship gets attacked by the bad guys in order to find a particularly important young woman. The heroes then escaped on an escape pod to the planet below, and proceeded to train to be a Jedi. (Also, a planet got destroyed) The second arc involves the good guys travelling around the galaxy and being pursued by a Sith Lord, got captured and proceeded to escape but had to leave someone behind, and a reveal of a terrible truth. The infamous Luke, I Am Your Father in ESB and you are Revan in KOTOR. And the final act is a discovery of a superweapon threatening to dominate the galaxy, an epic space battle that didn't go well with the good guys at first, until the main hero went inside the space station to confront the bad guys and do something to turn the tide of the battle, and that something involves the redemption of the hero's loved one. Basically, Knights of the Old Republic is all three Original Trilogy movies put together.
Straddling the line between Brilliance and Horror: Marriage and family are forbidden by KOTOR's era, but forty years prior in Tales of the Jedi, no one batted an eyelash about married Jedi and Jedi with families, such as the Sunrider and Qel-Droma families. The ban must have been enacted fairly recently. Then, you hear of how Jolee trained his wife in secret, after the Council forbade him to do it. Nayama Bindo fell to the Dark Side, Jolee spared her life out of love for her, and she went on to kill many Jedi before dying at the end of the war. Jolee blames himself, but Jolee could have been the reason the Order put a ban on marriage and family for most of its history after that.
It certainly didn't help. There were two factions in the Order, one that believed that having families was alright and the other that believed that the Jedi should turn away from attachments like love and family because of the potential dangers. It so happened that after the Exar Kun Wars the anti-attachment faction gained more and more power in the council (I think their group had more survivors) and they specifically blamed love and attachment as why some of the Jedi fell or weren't killed when the chance sprang up. Eventually they were able to change policies after a couple of decades.
There's a conversation or two where Canderous refers to Revan as "he," regardless of the gender you pick. The brilliance? Mando'a rarely uses gendered pronouns or gender-specific terminology. Vod, for example, translates to "brother," "sister," or "friend" depending on context. Falling back on "he" says more about Basic not being his first language than it does about Revan.
You can use Force Choke (but not the Shock and Awe powers) while being armoured, just like Vader.
One that stretches to the film era (and possibly puts KOTOR into Disney's continuity); in Rogue One it's the Taris senator, Tynnra Pamlo, arguing loudest that a rebellion against the Empire would be hopeless. Considering what happened when they defied Malak, and the eventual destruction of Alderaan, her argument wasn't without merit.
Zaalbar being a Big Eater. Well, he's a Wookiee, so we're already dealing with over two meters' worth of empty stomach. When you take him around Kashyyyk, he towers over most other Wookiees in terms of height and bulk. Secondly, food was probably not easy to find in the Taris slums, so "I see food, I eat it" - good survival strategy. Thirdly, Zaalbar is frequently called "young" by the other Wookiees and his banter with Mission is less Little Guy, Big Buddy and more a pair of Like Brother and Sister street kids. Zaalbar is likely an adolescent like Mission is. He's already a big boy, and he's still growing.
Brilliance mixed with Tear Jerker. Mission teases Zaalbar a lot about his lack of hygiene, and Zaalbar comments it's a cultural thing. Seeing as he's an exile and a "madclaw" on top of being a Shrinking Violet in personality, it's very likely he doesn't tend to his appearance because he doesn't feel worthy of it.
On Taris, you can play Pazaak with a guy named Niklos. If you beat him five times, he accuses you of cheating and refuses to play further. Technically speaking, he's right, since you have Save Scumming at your disposal.
The Leviathan level. Here's Saul, and he's got the Player Character, Carth, and Bastila. He knows who your character really is, but he puts on a very good show of playing the arrogant ass of a Sith Officer. Now, he could have just spilled the beans right there, but decides not to. And he knows the answers to the interrogation questions already. So what is is really after? First off, he wants to see how loyal the Player Character is to the Republic and/or Carth and Bastila under duress. Secondly, he wants to see if you're reacting as the Revan he knew by sacrificing their loved ones for a bigger goal. It wasn't just your character he was testing, either. It was a test to see if Carth was in on the big secret. As Saul's former Number One, Saul knows how Carth thinks and would know exactly where to hit his former lieutenant. Once he confirms Carth had been Locked Out of the Loop, Saul now has the equivalent of a thermal detonator to toss into the crew's loyalties, so even if they do get away, they might be too divided to proceed. Now, as for why he's even more hell-bent on breaking the Player Character Notice he's not in the flashback to Revan's flagship. He was likely on Malak's, which means he fired the shot that nearly killed Revan. Saul knows full well how many bridges he's burnt and how thin of ice he is with Malak, so he's going to double the effort.
Not sure if this is brilliance, horror, or sheer Black Comedy...but if you run a female Player Character with the Carth romance, how weirded out do you think Saul was about the situation? His former Number One, a diehard Republic loyalist who was Happily Married when Saul knew him, is now shacked up with his former boss, the Dark Lord of the Sith. It must have looked like the ultimate Crack Pairing.
For the comic and the second game: After the First Jedi Purge, the Order was pretty down on its luck. The council was dead, and a vast majority of the order's knights and masters died on Katarr, and though the Exile might want to rebuild the Order, it's up for the player to decide. So how is it that the Order is back at full power by the time of the Great Galactic War? Lucien Draay. At the end of the Vindication arc in the comics, he reforms the Jedi covenant to a peaceful secret order meant to hide out a potential rise of the Sith, so that the Jedi teachings might survive. It's not unlikely that he and/or his covenant was vital in rebuilding the order from the ruins of Katarr. We also know that he was in a romantic relationship with Q'anilia, so he could have formed the new order to take it a bit easier on the no romance rule, explaining how Satele Shan can have a son and both Jedi classes in SWTOR can have romances without repercussions.
If you take Canderous with you when talking to Jon of the Mandalorian Raiders quest, Canderous scolds Jon for not fighting back to protect his daughter, who got shot dead by the raiders. Yes, it's callous. And it's also a brilliant bit of Deliberate Values Dissonance mixed with Genius Bonus. Mandalorian culture puts fatherhood on a very high pedestal. Yes, Ilsa got shot dead fighting back, but she fought back, and there's no shame in dying that way. However, the fact her father didn't fight back, even to avenge his daughter, is reprehensible by Mando standards. By Canderous's value system, Jon isn't a grieving father, he's a Dirty Coward and a deadbeat who dishonors his daughter's memory.
Another Deliberate Values Dissonance bit is Adum Larp, the Rodian salesman outside the Enclave. It's Played for Laughs when it comes to his "noble purpose" in selling quasi-legal and incredibly powerful weapons at reasonable rates. The Brilliance? The Rodian homeworld is a Death World full of all kinds of horrible predators. That's why Rodians make a hat out of being scary-good trackers and bounty hunters. Hawking potent black market weapons at reasonable prices to settlers under siege by hostile wildlife and raiders so those settlers can fight back is an incredibly noble and honorable profession as far as a Rodian would see it.
HK-47 isn't allowed to be stolen; he can be bought or gifted, but if stolen, he must give himself to the authorities. There are two possible reasons why. First, it's a legitimate reason to get close to powerful targets, and he's useful enough to be impounded up the ladder. Second, Revan anticipates being at the top of that ladder, so if their droid is stolen, they can simply impound him back. Otherwise, they'd have to buy or steal him, and Revan or the Sith taking interest in a specific droid would give too much attention to what looks like a protocol droid.
It seems kind of odd that the Action Prologue on the Endar Spire has its own dedicated music theme that never plays anywhere else in the playable game. It's only if one takes the dark side ending that you hear it once again, as Revan takes control of the Sith once again. That distinctive theme is actually Revan's Leitmotif.
In Knights of the Old Republic, if the Jedi plan had actually worked, the Endar Spire not been attacked, and the Star Forge still found and destroyed, what would they have done with the mind-wiped former Sith Lord who thinks (temporarily at least) that they are an ordinary Republic grunt? Someone like that would be far too dangerous to just leave alone. Would they find some way to draft them into the Service Corps and take the risk of them influencing other Force-sensitive Jedi washouts? Would they mind-wipe them again? Would they turn them over to the Republic? Would they arrange an accident?
Oh, that's not even the beginning of it. Remember the horror you felt at the berserk Selkath on Hrakert Station, or the Peragus Mining Facility, or the Harbinger? Now remind yourself that you are the kickass protagonist, a real face. Imagine what it must have been like to be one of the nameless victims.
Here's another: Just what exactly did Revan do to the Jedi that they were kidnapping to places like Dxun, Korriban, and Lehon? You know, the ones they wanted to "break"?
And if they aren't broken, where did they go? Just killed, shoved in a capsule, and used as a power source for the Star Forge?
Carth and Canderous have an argument in the first game about "warriors versus soldiers" where Canderous is playing his Proud Warrior Race Guy card to full effect and Carth (a die-hard supporter of the Republic) is having none of it. Of course, they're arguing about the recent (for that era) Mandalorian War. Flash forward three milennia and change later, and we have the Clone Wars, where the "Grand Army of the Republic" is composed of (essentially) Mandalorian slaves. Somehow, I think Misters Ordo and Onasi would be grateful they're long dead by that point.
Mandalorians are not a race. They are a culture. A bunch of clones with no understanding of that culture could not possibly consider themselves or be considered Mandalorians.
Yes and No. While the fact that they are clones of a Mandalorian isn't enough, the EU suggests that Fett incorporated Mandalorian traditions into their training.
Something that should be considered: Jango Fett sold his genetic code to the Kaminoans and helped develop the training curriculum for the Clone army, so if the Republic is to be bashed for using Mandalorian slaves, then they were enabled by a Mandalorian traitor.
Does that make Jango the Mandalorian equivalent of Chuundar?
So, you decided to be a good guy and help the old, rightful Wookie chieftain rise back to power. Finally, a truly independent leader to stop all of slave trading with the corrupt Czerka Corporation!.. By killing every non-wookie in said corporation's colony. Even though the slave masters got their comeuppance, it shudders to think about what happened to the peaceful personnel and merchants (including optional quest-givers!). Not to mention that Czerka will not be very happy to hear about their old trade partners destroying the colony, and will probably send more troops to get revenge on the Wookies - this time fully enslaving the whole tribe instead of trying to buy slaves from the chieftain!
Well, the Czerka did have an impressive spaceport and capacity to transport large amounts of sentients in a hurry. While the casualties among the security staff would have been atrocious, it's likely that most everyone else got on the transports and burned sky. If they tried to make an appeal? Well, the Republic wouldn't want to help because that is a slaving operation and Czerka's in bed with the Sith. The Sith would shrug Czerka's misfortune off as not their problem; if they didn't have the means to hold the planet, it's their own damn fault.
Another bit of subtle horror. Most of the Wookies initially believe that you're a Czerka slaver, despite your protests to the contrary and refuse to believe you until you prove yourself. After the change in leadership, they state that they don't expect any human to show their faces on their world for quite some time, subtly implying that they view any human as a possible agent of Czerka and they will be shot on sight. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!
Now imagine the fate that might befall some poor bastard who hasn't heard the news and decides to land there....
Well, you and your companions are said to be welcome there anytime so hopefully there will be some kind of communication system set up to warn innocent persons away before any shooting starts since they'd need to identify you if you ever come by for a visit.
Fridge Horror: Remember how the group of people at the lowest level of Taris went off to find the Promised Land in KOTOR? Well, assuming that they survived the destruction of Taris, a very disconcerting thing was found in the unused voice clips of KOTOR II. Read on if you dare. The HK-50's are talking about the Droid Factory, and how there is more than one factory. One of them comments on how there was one located on Taris. If the Promised Land was, in actuality, a Droid Factory that contained very hostile droids, then that means the group of people are.... That is Fridge Horror.
Not quite. HK-50s may not have been in production at the time, and the factory could have been built after the destruction of Taris. After all, no ones going to find (or expect to find) a droid factory in the giant smoking pile of rubble that remained of Taris.
You want Fridge Horror? How about this. You just convinced a bunch of people in an underground bunker of a city, surely the safest place on the planet, to pack up and leave for what one expects would be a green outdoorsy type place. I don't think anyone would call more tunnels and sewers "paradise". A couple days later, the entire surface of the planet was bombarded with turbolasers. If paradise WAS there, it isn't anymore. If they were in paradise when this happened, THEY aren't there anymore either. Congratulations, Light Side Jedi, you just sent an entire settlement to their deaths!
Another awful piece of Fridge Horror. Remember Dr. Zelka Forn, the stubborn but selfless medic working on a cure for Rakghoul Plague and keeping dying Republic soldiers comfortable, despite risking discovery from the Sith? His medical center on Taris is still reasonably intact by the time Star Wars: The Old Republic rolls around, enough so that generators work and a viable sample of his vaccine is still sitting in the basement. It means he likely survived the carpet bombing, and spent the life he had left hip-deep in the wounded and dying with no one coming to help them and his supplies running out.
The Mandalorian Raiders quest is horror, brilliance, and some Backstory in miniature form. A bunch of Mandalorian bandits are camping out a stone's throw from the Enclave. They're harassing, robbing, and killing the farmers who have nowhere to turn, but to the Jedi. The Jedi talk a good game about being protectors of the law on the planet, but they sit on their thumbs and let the farmers get robbed and killed. And for added irony, here's your Player Character doing what they did as Revan, going out kicking their shebs to stop their predation.
The whole situation with Juhani. Okay, so they have a troubled Force User who is dedicated to the ideals of the Order, but needs a lot of help to deal with a hell of a Trauma Conga Line involving slavery, racism, classism, and poverty. So, what do they do? Her Master goads her into a moment of weakness. Juhani injures Quatra, but doesn't go and take the next ship to Korriban. No, she realizes she screwed up and self-exiles in the nearby grove. To protect herself from the Mandalorians rampaging about (see above. There are a couple dead Mandos near where she's hiding, indicating they tried and failed to harass her) and keep others away, she drives the kath hounds crazy. The kath hounds are killing settlers (including Cassus Sandral, which almost sets the whole Sandral/Matale feud into turning bloody). And again, the Jedi don't seem to give much of a damn about the dead farmers. Instead, they decide that this is going to be a GREAT test for the Player Character aka the mind wiped Dark Lord, who either kills her or brings her back home. Even if she's killed, they just shrug it off. They are lucky that the Player Character didn't Take a Third Option of convincing Juhani to turn her back on the Jedi and swear personal loyalty to them by pointing out that the Jedi set them both up and wouldn't care much if she was killed.
If you go to Korriban before she gets captured, everybody decides that Bastila should stay on the Ebon Hawk since all the Sith are looking for her and she'd be easily recognized. Makes sense. But wait. Back on Taris, wasn't she running around in public all over a planet crawling with Sith troopers? Why did she not stay in hiding then, or create some sort of disguise? If anything, you'd think that the Sith troopers on Taris would be more likely to recognize her than the teachers and students at the Sith Academy. The ones on Taris had fought her before her ship crashed and had been given her description and orders to track her down and bring her in. The people at the Academy, on the other hand, were pretty far away from the front lines and would probably be less familiar with her.
One could assume that maybe she had been using the Force as a perception filter. Meanwhile, the people on Korriban are Force-sensitive, so they'd probably be immune to such things.
Another possibility would be that her pod crashed in the middle levels of megalopolis, and we know that middle and lower levels weren't under control of Sith forces, but controlled by gangs instead (at least in middle levels case). By said gang members she was captured eventually.
They explicitly say in the game why Korriban is a problem for Bastila: Most of the Sith at the academy there were formerly Jedi, they would know her personally from when they were at the Jedi Academy together. That's the issue, not just that Sith in general would recognize her, but that she'd run into old friends and classmates that aren't just operating on a description or picture.
The troopers on Taris upper levels are possibly notToo Dumb to Live and taking care of their own hide. A solo grunt Sith trooper (and maybe two of them, if they're patrolling near each other) might have second thoughts trying to bring in a known Jedi being escorted by two bodyguards (i.e. Carth and the Player Character) because the trooper knows they'll just get killed. The trooper can call for backup, but that'll alert their superior—and maybe even Darth Malak or Admiral Karath—that something is up, and the price for failure is execution so they'll die anyway after they somehow survive their encounter with the Jedi.
In the Light Side path for dealing with Bastila's mother, Bastila gives up 500 credits so her mother can get to Coruscant and pay for medical treatments. It's literally everything Bastila has to her name. It's very sweet... until Fridge Logic sets in and you remember that your character, or at the very least your party, can at this point have tens of thousands of credits. Granted, the money Bastila gives is hers and hers alone (it isn't deducted from your total), but you'd think a Light Side Jedi would at least have the option to cover the expense.
Well, your party isn't exactly playing by Jedi Order rules of property ownership, in about the same way that a rhinoceros isn't exactly a cuddly lap animal.
Even so, later in the game you can give up 500 credits to a swoop racer for parts, not to mention the numerous other giveaways. Giving within your own party would be a bit weird, but something easily handwaved.