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Offline Iaera

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Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« on: 07/07/13, 08:05:42 PM »
This is a somewhat disorganised collection of topics I've had bouncing around inside my head for awhile now. It was brought on in particular by recent discussions of Jedi younglings abroad in the galaxy.

First, a disclaimer! This is not really a jab at how anyone in particular plays an individual Jedi. There is plenty of variance from person to person, even within the Jedi Order, and it's certainly not my mission to say "well you can't play a Jedi like x" (well, within reason anyway! :lightside: :)  ). Rather, this is more of an attempt to collect some of my thoughts on portrayal of Jedi in a more general sense, especially when characterised in an NPC role, and hopefully just raise a little awareness!

In brief: I think there is an (often innocent, but no less significant) assumption that Jedi = Pacifists = Goody-Two-Shoes, therefore soft, naive, and/or innocent. There are different degrees of that assumption, of course, and I would be willing to bet that assumption is usually made subconsciously rather than consciously, so I can't really blame anyone for doing it. It's a natural perspective on a group which stands in many ways in direct opposition with the Sith, who are hard, pragmatic, and ruthless. The opposites of the Sith, then, quite naturally are perceived to be everything the Sith are not.

I want to take some time to challenge this assumption. As I mentioned above, my hope is that this will, if nothing else, get people to consider just what a Jedi is, and how they fit into the greater context of Star Wars and SWTOR RP.

So what do I mean by these alleged assumptions about Jedi? Where the Sith do nasty things, and make the 'hard' choices -- the brutal choices, the questionable things which one may or may not consider 'evil,' depending upon one's thoughts on Good and Evil (a subject for another thread!) -- I think people tend to naturally gravitate toward the notion that the Jedi must therefore be a mirror to these things, and reject 'hardness', and never engage in things which could be considered brutal, ruthless, or evil. While this is true to an extent within the context of the basic Star Wars morality play, I think it's easy to get a little carried away with it.

It is not a problem unique to Star Wars. I see it in other RP media. Paladins, holy priests, and particularly angelic or other divinely-inspired characters frequently suffer from this perception. In trying to contrast with their 'evil' counterparts, these characters often take on child-like qualities of innocence, naivety, and even extreme pacifism to the point of helplessness. While it's true that some portray hyper-militant, aggressive interpretations of these archetypes, that is a problem all of its own (and yet another thread!) -- it skews too far in the other direction, but I digress. The main point here is that I'm not (for once!) singling out Jedi, because this is a broader problem than that.

It is this portrayal of Jedi that I wish to address here, though: The Goody-Two-Shoes. Just like portrayal of little more than a moustache-twirling, damsel-to-railroad-tracks Sith ends up being a fairly weak interpretation of what a Sith is all about, the same is true of the Goody-Two-Shoes innocent little flower of a Jedi. But, as I have been saying, I think this tendency tends to be more subconscious than conscious.

Witness the abduction/killing/attacking/whatever of Jedi younglings. This has been A Thing a couple of times now. First, I would ask "Why on earth are you killing younglings? Can moustaches even be twirled further than that?" but that's, again, another topic.

The question more germane to this topic, then, is Why are the younglings defenceless? If I have a thesis in this convoluted mess, that was it.

Yes, Jedi are pacifists. They prefer to avoid violence wherever possible, and seek peaceful, fair, and equitable solutions to the galaxy's problems. There is a component to that, however, which I think gets subconsciously forgotten: Jedi are warrior-pacifists.

Jedi are instructed in the art of disarming, disabling, and, when necessary, killing an attacker from the age of two (The Jedi Path, 11). While it's certainly possible to grow up or join the Order later and possess no particular talent for lightsabery, what's important here is the implied philosophy. The Jedi are not merely trained to slash things with a saber, they are hardcore warriors-from-infancy. They're not soft -- the soft ones inevitably wash out, and end up in the Service Corps or expelled from the Order entirely.

I would humbly suggest a thought exercise! I'm sure everyone is familiar with movies like 300. Next time Jedi younglings come up in RP... I would like people to pause for a minute. Mentally replace "Jedi younglings" with (as one example, not necessarily the best or the only one) "Spartan kids." Now imagine how this would interact with the current RP! It's, I suspect, a very different mental association and gives different subconscious cues. This is what I mean by the subconscious assumption that Jedi are soft. Why does one assume Jedi kids are helpless babes, and not young-but-potentially-dangerous warrior-children? They are a lot closer to the latter than the former, I think.

OOC (and perhaps IC too, for all I know! :D), it's often said that Iaera Farworlder is a bit of a jerk. This assessment is not wrong! She may be friendly to most strangers, but I'm sure there are plenty of Jedi who agree that Iaera is often not particularly nice. To which I ask rhetorically, "Should she be nice?" Nothing about being a 'good person' or serving the Light Side or following the Jedi Code means you have to be nice. Iaera is a trained killer. A pacifist, but trained to kill nonetheless. A very highly disciplined killer, at that, and she expects that same warrior-discipline from her peers.

While Iaera is a very particular example of a certain facet of the Jedi Knight archetype, and I by no means want to suggest that every Jedi has to be just like Iaera (quite the opposite, in fact!), I think there is still something to be said that 'softness' in a Jedi is, on the whole, a rather strange quality to attribute to a Jedi. Jedi are anything but! So, again, when one is considering portraying a Jedi in a minor role in a story, such as an NPC, or even just as MacGuffins or easy antagonists, I would urge everyone to give some thought as to just what a Jedi represents in that capacity. :)

Thanks for reading my ramblings!
« Last Edit: 07/07/13, 08:11:23 PM by Iaera »
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Offline Wymarc

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #1 on: 07/07/13, 08:16:01 PM »
Agreed. 110%.

I try not to link to tvtroupes, cause it ruins lives, but Good is Not Soft (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GoodIsNotSoft) is perfect for many Jedi, particularly given the state of the galaxy.

Keep in mind that one of the Trials to become a Knight is the Trial of Flesh. During this day in age a common way of passing this trial? Get maimed. Get your arm cut off.

Speaking of cutting off arms... I believe it's in The Jedi Path where it mentions that Jedi are trained to cut off hands and arms because it's merciful.


Jedi are pretty hardcore...
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Offline recoveringgeek

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #2 on: 07/07/13, 08:21:57 PM »
OOC (and perhaps IC too, for all I know! :D), it's often said that Iaera Farworlder is a bit of a jerk.

Really? I wonder what that makes Master Yarwin. He quotes the Code to your face, more than once, and isn't shy about reminding you that  relying on your emotions is not the OneTrueWay...
I knew some of the Palace history, but not the bit about Jaade crashing that barge. That's good lore, right there.  :grin:

Offline Esk

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #3 on: 07/07/13, 08:41:43 PM »

Keep in mind that one of the Trials to become a Knight is the Trial of Flesh. During this day in age a common way of passing this trial? Get maimed. Get your arm cut off.


Or take the Trial of Spirit, also described in the Jedi Path: "If you do not [pass], you will emerge broken and screaming. You should hope you do not fail the Trial of Spirit." Eesh.

Thanks, Iaera, for your thoughts! Lots to think about.

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Offline Colton

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #4 on: 07/07/13, 11:11:55 PM »
Speaking of cutting off arms... I believe it's in The Jedi Path where it mentions that Jedi are trained to cut off hands and arms because it's merciful.

The Jedi Path lists nine Marks of Contact for lightsaber fighting. Six of these are dismembering maneuvers, with one as the removal of someone's head and another as bisecting the person entirely. Of the three remaining Marks, one is piercing someone through the chest with the lightsaber. The last two involve making superficial burn wounds and destroying the target's weapon.

For those keeping score, Jedi in combat have a 2/3 odds of removing a part of your body as their attack, and the odds of outright death by lightsaber strike are greater than the odds of a superficial injury.

Jedi are trained to maim your ass because it's better than outright killing you. Keep that in mind.
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Offline Karmic

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #5 on: 07/08/13, 07:33:20 PM »
I'd only like to point out...that for at least SOME of those "youngling" events..

None of them were killed.  Some of them did try to attack (you can imagine..younglings vs. Darths..?).  The point was always to kidnap...not to kill.

But as people who are not familiar with lore *(like me)* it wouldn't matter if younglings tried to defend themselves or not. They are facing Lords and Darths and I would imagine, would still drop like flies.  But I only know the youngling vs. Anakin fight...

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Offline Wymarc

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #6 on: 07/08/13, 07:40:43 PM »
Anakin was also a supposed friend and mentor. A role model.


Sith are enemies.

I also have to wonder what younglings are doing off Tython, but that's another thread.
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Offline Colton

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #7 on: 07/08/13, 07:45:35 PM »
But as people who are not familiar with lore *(like me)* it wouldn't matter if younglings tried to defend themselves or not. They are facing Lords and Darths and I would imagine, would still drop like flies.  But I only know the youngling vs. Anakin fight...

Well, if we're using the movies as a basis, Padawan Obi-Wan killed the hell out of a Sith apprentice that was powerful enough to kill a Jedi Master.

Power levels = meaningless in the face of a critical success. :)
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Offline Orell

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #8 on: 07/08/13, 08:07:17 PM »
I also have to wonder what younglings are doing off Tython, but that's another thread.

...it's a good one though. I mean... taking younglings to Hoth is like taking 10 year old Army ROTC members to the North Pole. In 1970. To an area with known Russian military bases. And pirates. And even more nasty polar bears.

Here's another thing about Jedi? If you get past the rank of Padawan to Knight, you're probably reasonably smart. Some naivete is understandable if you're a Jedi Gardener or Archaeologist or Librarian (well, maybe not Librarian, Jedi Librarians are pretty nasty...), but still: They're unlikely to be doing obviously stupid actions unless there's some sort of setup, trickery or self-delusion clouding one's judgement.

While there's not a listed "Trial of IQ", the Trials of Insight and Skill would both require a good amount of brainpower to pass, as well as just the basic aspects of learning how to use the Force and the Lightsaber. I'm not saying Jedi are all going to be Da Vincying it up everywhere, but I think its safe to say that most of the dimwitted Jedi would have been flunked out of the Academy and sent to the Service Corps.
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Offline Seraphie

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #9 on: 07/08/13, 08:26:20 PM »
My impression was that the younglings were at the various different planets having just been collected and awaiting transport to Tython for training. As such, they would be young (probably 3 to 7 year olds, assuming some older recruits) and as yet have no training. Maybe younglings isn't the right word in that case. The Jedi Path refers to those already training but not yet having been taken as padawans as initiates. But I think in these rps the children are brand new initiates.

That being said, I consider Lord equivalent to Knight and Darth equivalent to Master. Doesn't mean that an apprentice can't sometimes better a Master and a padawan can't sometimes better a Darth. I don't consider that beyond belief. Nor do I consider the darkside users to be any stronger than the lightside users, nor the darkside to be stronger than the lightside. That's one of my pet peeves, personally, is those who seem to think that a group of 3 or 4 Jedi will automatically lose against a darth, just because they're a darth..... but sorry, suppose that's for a different thread...

Offline Karmic

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #10 on: 07/08/13, 08:35:14 PM »
My impression was that the younglings were at the various different planets having just been collected and awaiting transport to Tython for training. As such, they would be young (probably 3 to 7 year olds, assuming some older recruits) and as yet have no training. Maybe younglings isn't the right word in that case. The Jedi Path refers to those already training but not yet having been taken as padawans as initiates. But I think in these rps the children are brand new initiates.

Not to hijack anymore....but yes..actually..they were on their *WAY* to Tython...I used the term as..others in the event used the term :).  Heck if I know better...

As for crit success rolls, we already rolled off against the jedi NPC..its meant to be a fun Guild event for guildies..time saving to not also then have 10 or so children to roll off against too =D

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Offline Rasczak

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #11 on: 07/08/13, 08:44:38 PM »

I would humbly suggest a thought exercise! I'm sure everyone is familiar with movies like 300. Next time Jedi younglings come up in RP... I would like people to pause for a minute. Mentally replace "Jedi younglings" with (as one example, not necessarily the best or the only one) "Spartan kids." Now imagine how this would interact with the current RP! It's, I suspect, a very different mental association and gives different subconscious cues. This is what I mean by the subconscious assumption that Jedi are soft. Why does one assume Jedi kids are helpless babes, and not young-but-potentially-dangerous warrior-children? They are a lot closer to the latter than the former, I think.


They might be trained since infancy, BUT they would need a lot of luck to stand against a Sith Lord. Most Jedi Knights struggle with defeating an Sith Lord (At least the ones in the Books). I mean, while most Sith are not trained since infancy, they are the best that were at korriban during their time. Otherwise, they would have died.
So, when you put a bunch of incompetent Idiots on Korriban, the most competent of them will survive and become an Apprentice. And will most likely die afterwards due to failure. Meaning that every Sith Lord had his fair share of actual Combat. And I think that actual combat can teach you more then training lessons. Then again, the first combat techniques Jedi learn are for self defense or to render an enemy harmless. The first techniques learned by Sith is how to kill someone who is skilled in self defense. So, those Kids ( younglings are between 2 - 12 years old I believe) might be a danger to normal soldiers, but not to a full Sith Lord or even Darth. At least I think it is like that.


Offline Seraphie

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #12 on: 07/08/13, 08:53:24 PM »
Most Jedi Knights struggle with defeating an Sith Lord (At least the ones in the Books).

That's actually the belief that bugs me. The sith train to kill from when they get to Korriban. The Jedi train to defend, by disarming, through maiming if necessary, from the time they get to Tython. Of course, there will be varying levels of skill, knowledge and experience among Sith and among Jedi, but the -average- Jedi should be well matched against the -average- Sith.

I haven't read much of the EU books, but I have read all of the TOR novels, and I never get the impression that a Sith Lord is going to automatically be stronger than a Jedi Knight, simply because he's sith.

Offline Orell

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #13 on: 07/08/13, 08:56:38 PM »
My impression was that the younglings were at the various different planets having just been collected and awaiting transport to Tython for training. As such, they would be young (probably 3 to 7 year olds, assuming some older recruits) and as yet have no training. Maybe younglings isn't the right word in that case. The Jedi Path refers to those already training but not yet having been taken as padawans as initiates. But I think in these rps the children are brand new initiates.

Not to hijack anymore....but yes..actually..they were on their *WAY* to Tython...I used the term as..others in the event used the term :).  Heck if I know better...

As for crit success rolls, we already rolled off against the jedi NPC..its meant to be a fun Guild event for guildies..time saving to not also then have 10 or so children to roll off against too =D

...that still doesn't explain why they were in a place that could be reasonably attacked on Hoth. Or on Hoth at all. The Republic has a space station in orbit, why not toss them there where it can be safe? Or group them up on... well, a planet that doesn't have known Pirate and Sith bases? Or where you can go outside without your delicate bits freezing off in ten seconds flat?

As for the Jedi/Sith power level stuff, as has been noted elsewhere: The Padawan/Apprentice, Knight/Lord, Master/Darth comparison is inherently flawed because Rank does not equate Power for Jedi, while Power is the main metric of promotion for a Sith. That's why Obi-won was able to outfight Darth Maul, where his master failed: Obi-wan had the combat skill equal or greater than that of his Master, but he was lacking the wisdom a Knight, and Master, needs.
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Offline Wymarc

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Re: Jedi and the Goody-Two-Shoes
« Reply #14 on: 07/08/13, 09:01:09 PM »


They might be trained since infancy, BUT they would need a lot of luck to stand against a Sith Lord. Most Jedi Knights struggle with defeating an Sith Lord (At least the ones in the Books). I mean, while most Sith are not trained since infancy, they are the best that were at korriban during their time. Otherwise, they would have died.
So, when you put a bunch of incompetent Idiots on Korriban, the most competent of them will survive and become an Apprentice. And will most likely die afterwards due to failure.
Meaning that every Sith Lord had his fair share of actual Combat. And I think that actual combat can teach you more then training lessons. Then again, the first combat techniques Jedi learn are for self defense or to render an enemy harmless. The first techniques learned by Sith is how to kill someone who is skilled in self defense. So, those Kids ( younglings are between 2 - 12 years old I believe) might be a danger to normal soldiers, but not to a full Sith Lord or even Darth. At least I think it is like that.

I think you're confusing "Dark Lord of the Sith" with "Lord".  A Lord is equivalent to a knight.

See the above. Only the best become Jedi. Otherwise they flunk out or die.

Cause with the Flesh raiders on Tython, a 30 year war, not to mention the usual gangsters, Jedi don't fight? The symbol of the Jedi order is the lightsaber. They are warriors.

... Inaccurate. Look at Colton's post on points of contact. That's what they're trained to do. And even if they don't kill you, their self defense means cutting off body parts.

ALL OF THAT SAID...
Younglings vs Darths? Yeah the younglings will lose. That's why they stay on Tython.

Supposedly they had just been recruited. From Hoth and Voss. Despite the fact the Voss are VERY against the Jedi and have their own force-tradition. And despite the fact Hoth is... Hoth. I assume these younglings are wampas?

Jedi Master Telline - The Master of Shadows
Initiate Karia Zent - The Rising Hero
Aurena Durane - The Rogue Reporter