When you think of the Star Wars universe, it can be really easy to divide it into two segments – Light (Good) and Dark (Evil). But is it really that clear cut? Even in Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker yells to his former Master Obi-Wan Kenobi that “In my opinion it is the Jedi who are evil“.
The more I play SWTOR, the more I find other faith systems, religions and cults that exist outside of the Jedi and Sith Orders. What I write here is not a comprehensive list and I intend to update this post as more come to light. In fact, feel free to add some to the comments and I’ll see about adding them in. But your SWTOR Character exists in a rich cultural and spiritual galaxy, so here are the religions / faith systems I could come up with so far:
- Whirling Blade (or Great Healer)
- Revanites Mark I
- Revanites Mark II
- Heralds of Zildrog
- The Voss
- Order of Shaasa
- Scions of Zakuul
Trandoshan Belief System
Very early in the Jedi Consular storyline, you’re introduced to Qyzen Fess, a Trandoshan. Trandoshans believe in a goddess called the Scorekeeper. Throughout their lives, Trandoshan hunt valid prey to earn points. Defeating their prey must be done in honourable battle, not through short-cuts (like explosives). The greater the prey, the more points you score, the greater your reward in the after-life.
Being defeated in honourable battle means your points are tallied up by the Scorekeeper. However, if you are captured, this is of great dishonour and you lose all your points, meaning you have to play catch-up to recoup your score.
The Sith Inquisitor Cult
Part of the Sith Inquisitor storyline sees you set up a cult in your name on Nar Shadaa. Depending on your choices you either set up the Whirling Blade or the Great Healer. Your cult either takes on rival gangs on Nar Shadaa (taking down your enemies) or helps others through illnesses and other ‘charitable’ causes.
Apart from that not much is said about the cult. You return to Nar Shadaa later in life to recover a component for a massive Imperial weapon, that takes out an entire capital ship in one shot. Your cult got into this technology to raise money for its activities.
Revanites – Mark I
I will need to check my details out, but if memory serves me correctly, the Revanites on Dromund Kaas (any Imperial-aligned SWTOR class can do this story arc), are a secretive society with their own initiation rites of passage. They are led by ‘The Master’ a mysterious figure and seems to be an ex-Sith.
They believe that Revan is the Emperor, lying in wait for centuries to come back and reveal himself when the time is right. As Revan himself, was Jedi, then Sith, then Jedi, they don’t limit their Force knowledge to one side or the other. They make you retrieve Revan’s mask from Lord Grathan’s estate as part of your trials, so obtaining relevant relics seems to be of importance to them.
They draw members from all over the galaxy and claim to have Revanites in both Republic and Imperial camps. On Dromund Kaas you find even some Mandalorians who are part of the Order of Revan, so it’s not just open to Force Sensitives.
Revanites – Mark II
As Lana Beniko says, the incarnation of the Revanites during The Shadow of Revan expansion pack, bears little ressemblance to the order on Dromund Kaas. It’s similarities lie in the fact that Revanites are still all over the galaxy and on both sides of the war.
This order, led by the Dark Side of Revan, split from his Light Side personality, seeks to draw the Emperor back to a physical form to cause his final defeat. While the Dromund Kaas incarnation was a passive, subtle society, the Mark II version was very militant. They aimed to drawn both Imperial and Republic against each other and made friends with pirates and other nefarious groups to build a stronger and stronger power base.
Heralds of Zildrog (KotFE)Zakuul holds one of the oddest cults in SWTOR – the Heralds of Zildrog. They believe in a Great Serpent. They also believe in prophesy and that the world must conform to it (almost a self-fulfiling prophesy). The leader of the Heralds is called The Exalted. As part of KotFE, they say that the interferance of the Outlander does not conform to prophesy. Although Arcann must fall, they believe it is not by the Outlander’s hand, and therefore try to have you killed.
The Heralds apply a fear-driven approach, happy to kill anyone who doesn’t cooperate with them. As Knights of the Eternal Empire have no authority in the Underworld, the Heralds step in to achieve their aims.
They know that the Eternal Empire under Arcann is ‘wrong’ somehow, but await for the Great Serpent to come and ‘cleans Zakuul in firey death’ to put all things right again.
Neutral-Aligned Force Orders
What follows here are a few Force-sensitive belief systems, but where they don’t align themselves to Jedi or Sith, or Light/Dark. The Force is used and manipulated for power, or ability, or seeing the future, with good/evil not really being apparent.
The Voss system is led by two powerful groups – the Mystics who see visions (and a mystic’s vision is never wrong) and Interpreters, who tell the ordinary Voss what that means. Their power is absolute and most Voss will follow the visions of their Mystics, even when it means their death, or if an alternative future could be fashioned.
At the end of the Jedi Consular storyline, you have a Voss Mystic as part of the Rift Alliance and he tells you that the Voss can teach the Jedi the ‘grey’ of the Force. Although I don’t remember seeing a Voss wielding a Lightsaber, this is the closest that SWTOR comes to acknowledging the existence of Shadow Jedi.
A Mystic must walk a set path to obtain their first vision, so in that sense, there is the Voss Trials, similar to the Jedi or Sith. This is a belief system, but not one that worships The Force, but one which holds a Mystic above all other authorities. And in that sense, it is a belief system.
The Order of Shaasa (Manaan)
As this group appears in a Flash Point as part of the Shadow of Revan expansion, there’s not a lot we can learn from the in-game dialogue. They are Force-using Selkath, skilled with Force abilities and melée weaponry. Theron Shan tells us that they are “neither Jedi nor Sith”.
They are most likely being used by the Revanites, when they are looking to create a super-army of Cyborg Selkath. You have to fight their Cyborg Chamption in a timed battle at the end of the Flash Point.
The Scions of ZakuulVery similar to Voss, the Scions of Zakuul have Force-inspired visions of the past and future. Before Arcann they held great power in the decision-making of the Eternal Empire.
During your trial to gain the Scions as allies, Valkorion refers to them as ‘the old ways of Zakuul’ praising their mythology and pageantry.
They want to know everything, but don’t always see the full picture.
Heskel has to duel the Outlander to learn his/her fate, because resisting Valkorion’s power temporarily hides it from them.
For the Scions there is no greater power than Destiny and Fate. A rather fatalistic faith system, it denies the reality of a person’s actions affecting fate or destiny.
They know many must die for Arcann to be removed from the Eternal Throne, but instead of working to minimise collateral damage, they believe “What must be, will be”.
TL;DR Religions in SWTOR
I have no doubt missed some! But as with the real world around us, faith is a personal thing, dependent on the planet and culture that surrounds it. Many different orders arise from belief in The Force, each with their own take on its nature and purpose. To that degree, there is no ‘one faith’ being encouraged for all people. The exception is the Eternal Empire, who is led by Arcann and Vaylan – both proficient in the Force but not aligning to classic Jedi or Sith dogma. That being said their Force Usage is bent around obtaining more power and absolute authority so leans more towards Dark Side philosophy.
At least their Knights are not infallible, but that leads to a possible weakness in the system. Lana Beniko says “You Knights, you are never taught to properly channel your anger”. A chink in the armour? Let’s hope so!
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