The day I accidentally killed a Jedi Padawan.

Gaming for the Non-GamerAs my Jedi Sage alter ego, Lomerell, I was on a mission for the Republic:

A plague is afflicting Jedi Masters, clouding their minds with the dark side and driving them insane. I have learned a Force Shielding technique which cures the afflicted and protects them from future influence…when I can confront them directly.

On the planet Taris, I tracked down Jedi Master Cin Tykan, thus afflicted and threatening thousands of innocent lives. In fact, he threatened to destroy most of Taris’s much-needed restoration project.

Unfortunately, by the time I reached him, Tykan had been joined by his Padawin, Aris. She was a bright and talented pupil, who fully embraced the Light Side…until she allied with her plagued Master.

I find peace and serenity in the light, but I’m perhaps too quick to fire up my lightsaber. I don’t take kindly to threats, and sometimes convincing someone I could hurt them (even if I don’t plan to) is expedient.

When I confronted Master Tykan and his Padawan, I started calm, but they greeted me with bravado and threats. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but I grew impatient. I don’t know whether I could have resolved the entire matter peaceably, but somehow I offended Tykan.

They both attacked.

In battle, I dispatch the weakest foes first. It’s instinct. A duel with a Master might last several minutes, but I can defeat bodyguards and sidekicks in seconds. There’s no sense letting them assault me the entire battle.

Without thought, I engaged Aris first, unleashing a barrage of Force Attacks to finish her quickly. In seconds, she was dead.

The battle with Tykan lasted longer, but I was victorious. Tykan surrendered, however, offering me the chance to spare him or kill him. I spared him and healed him. After being released from the plague, his first question was how his Padawan had perished.

I confessed killing her. It was a uncomfortable to say the least. When I returned to Republic HQ, the question was raised again: What happened to Aris, our best and brightest?

Nobody blamed me, but nobody was happy about it. Though I embrace the Light, I destroyed an innocent pupil. I hope she is one with the Force.

As a Jedi, I’ve killed hundreds of mooks this war…nameless, endless troops of enemy organizations. Many are droids and animals. Some are people, but they shoot first. There’s no chance for dialog or reconciliation.

Aris was different. Special. I felt a connection with her. I wondered whether I could take her as a companion on my travels.

Those were my in-character reactions. Behind the screen, I searched the web for alternate outcomes of the mission. Tykan can be killed (a Dark Side option) and it sounds like he can be talked down without combat (unverified).

What hurt most, though, is that Aris’s death is optional. Even if she attacks, if you defeat Tykan first, when he surrenders she also surrenders…alive.

Lomerell gets notified every time dialog is explicitly Light/Dark aligned, because some choices are morally ambiguous. Deliberately hurting people is always Dark Side. Threats, bravado and impatience are unaligned…but still have consequences.

It amazes me that Bioware contributed resources to dialog, animation and voice acting for events that might happen, tangential to the plotline. O expected different dialog if Tykan dies. I didn’t expect NPCs to react (and strongly) to Aris’s death…at my hands. It was brutal. In the events that followed, I could be callous or contrite.

I have never been so contrite.

I felt terrible about what had happened to this fictional character, just as I would in a book or movie. The magic of video games, though, is it was my fault. It’s made me more cautious about my decisions.

Those are deep emotions for an hour of gaming.

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