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Jedi Guardians

As we get nearer and nearer to the epic release of SWTOR, I cannot help but be nostalgic for those very early podcasts when we truly knew nothing of this game.  I was listening to some of them recently and as the classes were being announced I kept hearing, “Oh that’s the Darth Vader class,” and “That’s definitely Palpatine’s class.”  As part of my series of looking closer at the Jedi, I have decided to examine the three types of Jedi active at this time in Star Wars.  We start with those saber-swinging Jedi Guardians.

 

“While I am not here to disparage the work of our Jedi Consulars and Sentinels, it’s a fact that we Guardians are the Republic’s first line of defense against the thousands enemies who seek to destroy it.”

–           Crix SunBurris, Jedi Ace

 

Since this lesson is the first in a series, I feel that I should probably explain the reason I am taking time to examine these three branches of the Jedi Order.  If you may recall from KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic), the three Jedi classes that we could choose were Jedi Guardian, Consular and Sentinel.  This was done because KOTOR was based on the d20 pen-and-paper Star Wars Roleplaying Game.  These three classes existed in the rulebooks for the RPG and BioWare used them accordingly.  The RPG has since changed (they would say updated) those classes by combining them into a single Jedi class.  Those three types of Jedi still exist, though only as talent trees of that class, with which the player customizes their character.  I have wondered why they changed this class structure; my only theory goes back to my introduction to this article.  I feel that fans might have been trying to point to a class and saying that Anakin was a Jedi Guardian, or Obi-Wan was a Sentinel.  The characters that we know and love from the films are far too unique to be classified into one of these classes.  Yoda is a prime example.  At first glance he seems to be a Consular, but he is described by Obi-Wan as a great swordsman in Episode Two.  One almost gets the sense that in the Old Republic time period, Jedi were classified into three branches in a World of Warcraft approach, each having a class that defined them and their abilities.  Later, in the movie era, Jedi seem to be using a RIFT mechanic, choosing many different aspects (talents) to specialize.

 

I theorize that this was done for a specific reason that I have not heard anyone talk about in my few years of following this game.  The Old Republic was a different time in a cultural sense.  This affects Force users and non-Force users alike.  For example, in the Old Republic, I could see a trooper learning about the abilities of a Sith as part of their training.  Perhaps they could even take shock treatment to toughen them up for the inevitable lightning a Sith will throw their way.  In the Galactic Civil War and the Clone Wars we do not see this kind of training mostly, I theorize, because the Sith were thought removed from the galaxy.  It could also be argued that these training techniques could have simply been forgotten since the Republic had no standing army at the time.

 

At its beginning, the Jedi Order was a gathering of philosophers on the Force.  As with any group of academic and philosophical people, fraternities (or sororities) will form, just like those running rampant on college campuses around the world.  Over time these evolved into three “branches” of the Jedi Order: Guardians, Consulars and Sentinels.  When the Jedi reorganized themselves at the end of the New Sith Wars (when Darth Bane founded his Rule of Two), they structured their training and teachings into the RIFT-like approach.  That is only my own personal theory though.

 

After that preamble, let us start our true discussion about the Jedi Guardians.  At first glance, the Guardian struck me as the soldiers of the Jedi Order.  To an extent that is true; they are on the front lines with the troops, fighting right alongside them.  The greatest fighters of the Order are Guardians.  According to legend they were the first Jedi Knights.

 

It should be emphasized that they are called Guardians, not Warriors.  The definition of Guardian is “One that guards, watches over, or protects.”  Guardian as a class shows up in many MMOs, including EverQuest 2, Age of Conan, and Lord of the Rings Online.  In each of these games the Guardians are defensive warriors that soak up damage and “Guard” their teammates.  We call this a tank in MMO terms, but my point is that the Guardian acts defensively, defending those in his charge.  A Jedi does not act aggressively or offensively.  His lightsaber is only used to defend himself and others, never to attack.  Guardians in particular can fall to this need for aggression in war time.  This is best illustrated in a Clone Wars episode from Season One entitled “Lair of Grievous.”  Jedi Master Kit Fisto and his former apprentice Nahdar Vebb have the following exchange:

“But in this war, strength prevails. The rules have changed,” said Nahdar.

“Perhaps you are the one who has changed,” replied Kit Fisto.

 

This is not to say that all Guardians are brutish or only training physically.  Like all Jedi, Guardians are expected to keep their minds sharp through continual learning.  This is not limited to military matters; philosophy, art and engineering are topics they study as well.  The main difference between the Guardians and their Consular counterparts is the way they are trained to feel the Force.  Guardians learn to feel the Force through physical conditioning.  Obi-Wan uses this teaching approach when training Luke to sense the remote.  Yoda continues this with Luke running and jumping around on Dagobah.  Through these exercises the Guardian learns the feel the Force flowing through them.

 

There are several specializations or ranks within the Guardians, some of which are listed below.

  • Jedi Peacekeepers are Jedi who specialize in security and policing.  They do not serve in the front lines despite being great fighters, as they are trained in police work.
  • Jedi Gatekeepers, not to be confused with Holocron Gatekeepers, guard the main entrance to the Jedi Temple.
  • Jedi Brutes are intimidating Jedi that patrol the temple and its surrounding district to scare away troublemakers.
  • Jedi Snipers are stationed at the tops of tall buildings just like normal snipers might be.  From their high vantage point they use lightsaber throws to guard the temple from there.
  • Jedi Aces were an elite corps of starfighter pilots.  In the time of the Old Republic the Jedi had their own fleet and the aces were Jedi who used the Force to be better pilots.
  • Lightsaber Instructors were the instructors in Jedi lightsaber forms to Initiates and Padawans.  The temple had one instructor who was designated the Battlemaster or head instructor.
  • Exotic Weapons Specialists were trained in unarmed martial arts, and any weapon that was not a standard lightsaber.  These weapons included double-bladed lightsabers, lightsaber pikes, quarterstaffs (strengthened through the Force), whips, flails and ranged weapons (like blasters).

 

The Guardians were integral to the Republic war effort of any time period.  In the Jedi Knight Class Trailer, at 0:58 we see the Jedi Knight directing the troops in battle, giving them hope and direction in the fight.  To me that is iconic.  That is the essence of being a Jedi Guardian.

 

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Until next time, may the force be with you all.

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