Now Playing KOTOR: Search for Bastilla I

Last time, we survived the Sith attack on the Endar Spire and crash-landed on the planet of Taris.  We’re now looking for the Jedi Bastilla, who also crash-landed albeit in the planet’s under city.

We can deduce from Carth’s earlier scouting (and from the fact that the Republic escape pod we were in is within walking distance of the apartment) that that is the reason for the Sith inquiries.  Also, note the Sith leader’s field uniform and how similar it is the early 20th century German Army.  Star Wars has a rich tradition of using Nazi motifs to make the bad guys obviously evil and KOTOR is no different.

The comment about humans hiding out with aliens being an oddity is less a reflection on Sith prejudices and more an introduction a planet-wide theme.  We’ll see more of Taris’ alien prejudices throughout this update.

The evil dialogue options were always too blatant for my tastes.  Why would you pick option 3 unless you were going out of your way to be an asshole?  We’re doing the light side canon playthrough, although we will not pass up any opportunities to snark.

I do like this scene and think it establishes sympathy towards the aliens (and hatred towards the Sith) better than the original movie.  In Star Wars, we see Jawas (who are OK with ripping off moisture farmers by selling them droids with bad motivators) and the aliens of Mos Eisley (who pick fights and either ignore an old man sawing off a guy’s arm with a laser sword or tip off the Stormtroopers about Docking Bay 94) and none of them are endearing.  In fact, the only alien the audience cares for is Chewbacca, who is known to rip people’s arms off when he loses at recreational games.

Even if we count the later movies and add Yoda, Admiral Ackbar and the Sullistan co-pilot…we still have the Trandoshan bounty hunter (and other aliens The Empire hires…so much for discrimination), the Ugnaughts (who don’t do much of anything but power the equipment that carbon freezes Han Solo), the entirety of Jabba’s court and the Ewoks to counter-balance their positive influence.

In this sequence, however, we have aliens who are willing to help the party.  They sheltered them from the previous Sith raid and were going to do so again.  He even agrees to help hide the bodies (and does a good enough job to prevent any further Sith inquiries).  This scene had two goals:  Establish Sith villainy (as if we didn’t already know that) and empathize with the plight of Tarisian aliens…and it met those objectives.

The upper level of Taris in all its glory.  Taris is a city-wide planet like Coruscant or Nar Shaddaa and it has some elements of both in it.  Like Coruscant, the upper levels of Taris look clean and habitable (if you can stand the prejudice against the aliens).  It was once an intergalactic hub.  Unfortunately, new hyperspace routes have caused Taris to undergo severe urban decay.  The deeper you descent into Taris, the more the planet becomes like Nar Shaddaa.

To our immediate right is the Republic escape pod we crash-landed in…

Crash-landing on an urban planet didn’t leave Carth too many options of where to hide out, especially since he had to worry about our unconscious body.  But scouting about and returning to base on a mostly alien apartment definitely attracted the attention of the Sith.

Speaking of Carth, we don’t know too much about him.  KOTOR will give you these prompts every so often with party members if they have something to talk about, although they’re only scripted to occur at certain places I think (this spot before you enter the path to the cantina is one such location).

I feel it’s kind of random to ask to know a little more about someone with no lead-in, so we’ll see what Carth knows about Taris…

The game seems a little unclear about the duration of the Sith occupation.  We know the Sith only blockaded the planet a few days ago, in the aftermath of the attack on the Endar Spire.  Yet, Carth’s comment here implies the Sith have been in control for a lot longer than that.

The Mandalorian Wars started about a decade before this game and only ended 4 years ago.  It was immediately followed by the current Jedi Civil War.  If Carth’s birth year on Wookiepedia is correct, he would be 38 years old right now.

Carth’s home world is Telos IV, a planet the player will see more of in Knights of the Old Republic II.

Because the Sith who bombed Telos IV were also Jedi (or Republic soldiers) that Carth fought along with in the Mandalorian Wars, he has a lot of trust issues stemming from this event.  It’ll take a long while to find out all the exact reasons, however…such as his former teacher being the Sith admiral who gave the order to bomb Telos IV.

Carth suggested we get supplies and information…and we can acquire both by heading towards the cantina on the city’s upper level.  At the cantina, we can just talk to every named NPC who isn’t in the entry lobby (those guys are usually pazaak [i.e. card] players).

You can talk to every other patrolling Sith soldier and they tell you to “screw off” (essentially).  In contrast, Sarna is awfully forthcoming about who she is and what she does…a real chatterbox.

You don’t need Persuade to get through this dialogue successfully.

Most of the locals don’t even have names!

A party invitation from a Sith soldier who will probably leave her uniform unattended (and who is voiced by Grey DeLisle)?  How can we say no?

There’s other stuff to do in the cantina (dueling ring) but I’m focusing only on the main plot.  Otherwise, there’d be like 600 shots per update.

We head towards the other accessible upper city area…

…and get our first look at Davik’s crime syndicate.

Carth whispers a little too loudly because Davik’s two goons immediately spot us following this.

I was content to ignore this situation.  It’s not very light side to ignore a guy getting hassled by the space fantasy equivalent of the mafia…but then he probably should have known the risks before he borrowed money from the space fantasy equivalent of the mafia.  The “Davik doesn’t like witnesses” comment implies we’re going have to fight our way out of this so we might as well.

After dispatching the thugs…

We could offer to pay him back (at no loss, since you can loot the exact number of credits he owes off the two guys we just killed)…but since this whole planet is doomed and this guy never shows up again, we’ll just leave him be.

The other area of Taris’ upper city.  Across from us is the apartment where the humans stay at (and is the location for the Sith party).  Instead, we take a left and…

…get accosted by drunks!  Who don’t know the cantina is on the other side!

You can fight them but I figure it’ll attract unwanted attention.

Further down the way…

…We encounter a would-be prophet heralding the destruction of Taris.  He’s actually a huge bigot with some grudge against the aliens.

The only other areas of note are a droid shop (to the left of the above shot), the Sith military base (inaccessible at the moment) and the entrance to the Lower City…

…which is guarded by a lone Sith soldier.

“It’s obvious from the way you’re dressed…” hint hint

His comment about authorization papers is also something that will come up by the end of this update.

Yeah, thanks, Carth, I got it.

We head to the Sith party at the human apartments…

So much for “don’t be late”…

Tarisian ale (or, at least, the ability to brew it) will come up later as a side quest.

The next morning…

That yellow backpack is what we need to acquire…

…a Sith uniform!  I suppose the Tarisian ale would give the Sith here a major enough hangover to prevent them from remembering Revan’s exact description.

The Sith uniform opens up alternative dialogue options with just about everyone.  People will randomly call out anyone who goes around looting their belongings…unless you wear the Sith uniform.  Then they’re all intimidated and do anything to avoid trouble.

You can also talk to the patrolling Sith NPCs, although they still don’t have much to say.

“Patrolling this planet almost makes you wish for an orbital bombardment.”

And we can get by this asshole.

Upon entering the lower city…

…we’re introduced to the lower city gang wars.

You fight the Vulkars (who are scripted to win this cutscene fight), including the guy with the shock stick.  He’s a rather nasty wake-up call for certain builds.  A successful attack with the shock stick provokes a fortitude save that can be tough to meet.  Failing that save paralyzes the subject for a couple rounds while the other Vulkars are free to wail on you.

We dispatch the Vulkars and move on to the cantina…

The one rule seems sensible enough…

…too bad everyone seems to completely disregard it.

Poor guy doesn’t realize his only purpose in life is to establish how badass Calo Nord is.  Some players may have had trouble with the Vulkars upon entering the lower city…

…but Calo takes them down with a flashbang and three blaster shots in the ensuing confusion.

Calo leaves the cantina and we can try talking to him…but he’ll just count down until you leave him alone.  If you persist, he kills you (it’s scripted that way).

Instead, we’ll just leave him alone and find other named NPCs to talk to.

This “little girl” is 14 years old, so she’s in that “I’m not a kid but I’m not really an adult either” phase of life.

Indeed.

We talk to Mission and hope she doesn’t command Zaalbar to pull our arms out of our sockets.

Up until now, all of the aliens we have met have been speaking in their own language (the English subtitles show that we can understand them).  Still, this exchange comes off as a bit weird.  Since the game is based off d20 rules and galactic Basic is established as the galaxy’s trade language, it would make sense that everyone can speak/understand it.

Usually, the game engine centers itself on the person speaking…but this cantina is a bit awkward.  This is Carth talking, by the way.

We take Mission’s word about her street smarts and since she would have given us a tour (under non gang-war circumstances), we’ll ask her a few questions.

So, we know of a ship that might break the Sith blockade and the only way to get access to it is to join the local crime syndicate.  We won’t question that it’s a second-hand rumor.  In RPGs, everything rumored is true.

This comment and the subsequent dialogue establish the Hidden Beks to be the “good” gang and the Vulkars to be the “evil” option.

Gadon Thek seems to be the next person to meet.  We can’t speak to Brejik, the Vulkars attack random civilians and everyone else in the cantina works for Davik but can’t do anything to get us to meet him now.

The Hidden Beks is a horrible name for a gang.  The location for this “Hidden Bek base” is also bad, as it is within eyeshot and walking distance of the cantina.

We put up with some shenanigans from the bouncer before we’re finally let inside…

…only to put up with more obstructive bureaucratic security measures.

Thankfully, Gadon is not very fond of those obstructive security measures.  He prefers convoluted quest lines, such as the one he’s about to give us.

Good thing we’re not wearing the Sith uniform…

“You’ll never find her.”  If only because the area she’s being held isn’t accessible from the game world.

Of course, there’s always a catch…things can never be simple in a RPG.  No, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to fulfill a sidequest for some guy so you can progress with the main plot.

From what we’ve seen, Mission’s street smarts directed us to Gadon…but she only appeared to be a source of information.  Also, she’s completely reliant on her Wookie companion.

We don’t have much choice.  Even if we get by the Sith guard ourselves, we still have to retrieve Bastilla from Brejik…and the only way to do that is to participate in the swoop race, apparently.

Next time:  We murder our way through an entire gang to acquire a prototype swoop accelerator so we can win a race to get our Jedi back!

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