Saturday, June 2, 2012

Clone Wars Campaign: Tarn Tamarand, Jedi Idealist

Tarn Tamarand was one of the most important characters in the entire campaign, which is an interesting statement when you think of the fact that he was absent for most of it.  Tarn was one of the initial four PCs when the campaign started, and was a memorable character from the moment he leapt into an air-transport of B-1 battledroids and almost single-handedly destroyed them all.  Tarn was portrayed as a young, clean-cut Jedi Padawan who was very much an idealist and perhaps even slightly naive.  He was prone to dramatic, arguably foolhardy risks, but always ended up successful when it came to swordplay.  An ironic (for a Jedi) quirk quickly developed that would become a crucial part of the character's development: he was terrible with the Force!  Oft-told tales involve the character being asked by a bystander to prove he was a Jedi by levitating a pebble, and rolling so low on a Use the Force check that it failed!  Similarly, while undercover  in a Separatist embassy, Tarn tried to simulate the sound of blaster fire outside a control room in order to gain access to the computers; his roll was again infamously poor, and the mission failed.  Examples could easily multiply.

The campaign took a direction I had never anticipated when two of the PCs, Tarn and Arresta, began to role-play a mutual attraction leading to a love affair.  Romance had never been a plot or even subplot in any game I had ever directed or played in before, and I was surprised at how quickly it became a major story element in the campaign.  The player running Tarn had to drop out of the campaign soon after the romance was consumated, and for a while the character was completely off-screen.

Several months later, it became apparent to me that I needed to bring the character back as an NPC in order to move the story forward (both in terms of the romance and in terms of the overall campaign plot of the Anomaly).  Continuing on the concept expressed in-game and in short stories that Tarn had continued his tutelage under Master Creen, I worked in the idea that Creen recognized early on that Tarn would never be a great master of the Force.  Instead, Creen saw that Tarn's innate courage and persistence could be bent in another direction, and focussed Tarn's training on streetfighting and lightsaber combat.  It felt a little bit weird to be running a character formerly played by someone else, but it was crucial that I make Tarn seem . . . cool.  An image of Tarn as a goofy Jedi who always had to be rescued had started to develop in the minds of some of the players, and I wanted to rehabilitate Tarn's image while simultaneously providing an example of a "Lawful Good" character who could do some impressive things.

In the end, I was really happy how the character turned out.  He provided, at least to my mind, an example of everything that was good about the Jedi but with weaknesses and character traits that kept him from being a generic "good guy".  He provided a great counterpoint to Stefan's ruthlessness, and a heroic, epic quality that served as a nice counterpoint to the rest of the PCs sometimes selfish, mercenary tendencies.

To my mind, Tarn was one of the best characters in the campaign, and when it was over, I still wanted to know more about him: how would he integrate having a daughter into his good samaritan ways? Would he ever be able to win Arresta over?  What would happen to him and his quest to stop Jocasta in the Anomaly?  Some of these stories I've now told, and others I want to tell someday.  A character you don't quite want to let go of is a good character indeed.
Tarn Tamarand, Jedi Knight

Jedi3/Soldier7/Elite Trooper 7

Strength +4, Constitution +2, Dexterity +3, Intelligence +1

Defences:  (add 10 if not using house rules)  Reflex +22, Fortitude +20, Will +14

Hit Points:  144 (Threshold: 30); DR: 3

Attacks:  Double Punch (as standard action): +14/+14, d. 2d10+13;  Single Attack +19 d. 2d10+13;  Lightsaber +16, d. 2d8+12

Special:  Ignores Damage Reduction; Targets goes 2 steps down condition track if over threshold; +5 against Dark Side;  Delay Damage (1 round)

Force Powers:  Move Object, Mind Trick, Surge

Skills:  Use the Force +15, Acrobatics +15, Swim +17, Endurance +14, Perception +12

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1 comment:

CanuckMom said...

I don't think that those of us who knew Tarn as a PC ever thought of as "uncool" - we were able to see the foibles of the character as mentioned in your post, but we could also see the bravery, the skill, etc.

Ironically, some of Tarn's most successful efforts with the Force happened around Arresta. Perhaps she had boosted his confidence.

I think that some of the players who came later and who only knew Tarn as a) an NPC and b) a character who seemed to need rescuing perhaps took a while to realize his capabilities.

To be fair to Tarn, he didn't even really need rescuing all of the time, but since that was Arresta's POV, that influenced the other characters.

The romance was unexpected but it made sense for the characters and I think that it provided a nice through line for the campaign. Tarn (and what had happened in the anomaly) mattered to Arresta and that helped make it matter to the new PCs who might not otherwise have cared.