Category Archives: Ancient Jedi Runes

Does This Look Jedi to You?

This Week in Aurebesh turned five years old just a couple of days ago, and to celebrate my choice of translation subject was an easy one. One of the most recent of many Mandalorian themed additions to SWTOR recently was the “Hired Gun’s Decoration Bundle” which includes the very large “Outdoor Jedi Temple” decoration.

Although interactable decorations are nothing new, this one sports a unique and cool feature because only Force using characters can fully discover all this decoration has to offer. When a Jedi or Sith click the stone in the center of the temple, the ancient runes light up and a swirling pillar of Force energy erupts into the sky. This item is clearly meant to recall the Jedi ruins on Tython visited in the episode The Tragedy from the second season of Disney+’s popular series, The Mandalorian. While the runes inscribed on the stone in the TV show do not seem to be translatable, the ones in SWTOR‘s version can.

The writing inscribed on the pedestal shares the same alphabet with runes players will have encountered on Ossus, and those familiar with this runic alphabet may notice that I’ve reversed the position of the phrases on the inner ring. The question of where and how to read text on a circular baseline is surprisingly complex. My personal impulse in this case is to start at the bottom and work my way up to the right and around on the left, so that’s what I did here, even if it means my recreation doesn’t track exactly with the original. For the outer ring, in the interest of bringing balance to the Force, I did match each phrases’ position around the circle.

The content of the text is very similar to what we saw on Ossus, and both refer to the Jedi code. The code cited here is once again an earlier version, rather than of the one most commonly used both in SWTOR and Star Wars lore in general. Personally, this fan has always found the particular version of the code we see here to be more in keeping with the themes of my favorite Star Wars stories. The “regular” Jedi code’s negation of emotion, ignorance, passion, chaos and death strike me as somewhere between confusing and foolhardy. If the Sith literally exhorts followers of the Dark Side to break free of these notions, it seems to me that the Jedi are better served by seeking to strike a balance between them.

Metaphysics aside, this is truly a neat decoration, and one that quite honestly should not be limited to just player strongholds. I very much hope that the designers find away to incorporate this temple into the open game world. It would be entirely appropriate to place it atop some out of the way hill or mountain on Tython. It would be a very cool easter egg for players to discover by accident or to seek out for roleplaying or just fun.

The Best View in SWTOR

On a related note, I do want to mention The “Best View in SWTOR” Contest that is in its final day as I post this. While I have been active in the game recently, working to get Marcus his first Nightmare operations clear (and my first in several years), and helping the good folks in the Ootinicast guild complete the operation on Dxun for the first time, I have also been journeying from one end of the galaxy to the other taking screenshots of the many, many breathtaking views the game has to offer. I have always loved the exploration aspects of MMOs and find the simple act of traveling around on a favorite mount and seeing where I can get to be an extremely relaxing way to pass the time. In SWTOR, revealing hidden corners of the maps, finding lore objects and collecting Datacrons have all been activities in which I am eager to engage.

Moreover this contest is also an opportunity for a few lucky and keen eyed players to directly affect the game, even if only in a small way. I don’t imagine that this is something that happens a lot in many games, especially a Star Wars game. I don’t expect to win, but I am glad to have had an excuse to revisit some favorite locations and uncover a new vista or two I missed the first time around.

I thought I’d finish up with this view from Tython. Even though it was not iconic enough to be my submission, it is nevertheless my favorite snapshot from my travels this past month. I wasn’t even trying to get this specific view, instead I had climbed a ridge to get an overview of the valley below, when I turned around, the sun was shining through the leaves at a perfect angle. Ten years in and SWTOR can still surprise me with a quiet moment of beauty.

And that’s pretty much why I started this blog five years ago, to remind myself to stop and look around and take a closer look at things I might normally race past on the way to the next boss or quest objective. It’s something that I hope is good advice both in this game and this life. I am immensely grateful to everyone who has stopped by on this journey, and I hope we’ll continue to find some new wonders to discover in a galaxy far, far away.

 

5 Comments

Filed under Ancient Jedi Runes, General SWTOR

An Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age

In general, I aspire to keep this blog focused on things that any player can encounter in the game as a part of regular play, but I’m going to make an exception this time, and take a close look at the Ancient Jedi Blade, a new addition to the Cartel Market because, let’s face it, it is pretty darn cool.

Given SWTOR’s setting, it’s not surprising that the most common weapons used by the Jedi and Sith are lightsabers, but there are examples of less fantastic weapons from training sabers and vibroswords to even the occasional axe or quarterstaff. The Ancient Force-Imbued Blade is the latest example of this type of weapon, not only for the back slung sheath where the blade is carried but also for the ancient runes carved on the length of the blade.

Inscribed swords such as Aragorn’s Andúril and Elric’s Stormbringer are common in fantasy literature, but in our own world, swords engraved with the names of their makers, their wielders, their deeds or mysterious inscriptions go back thousands of years.

In the Star Wars galaxy, therefore, it does not strike me as unusual that the earliest of the Jedi’s weapons would share in this tradition. Not surprisingly, the writing on this blade refers to the Jedi code. I really have to compliment whoever designed this weapon. That the word “Peace” at the tip of the sword is the first thing that goes into the wielder’s foe is an irony probably lost to many of this weapon’s owners, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

I want to thank my guildmate Alaer for modeling the sword for me. I am notoriously wasteful with my monthly Cartel Coin grant and wouldn’t be able to afford this luxury for four or five months! As a platinum item, the sword is especially pricy, so please don’t take this post as an advertisement. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to spend their money. If you’re like me and have to appreciate it vicariously for now, I hope you enjoy this close look.

Misguided

I usually wait a bit to digest new additions to the game before commenting on them, but I feel like time won’t really change my thoughts on the new Galactic Guide feature. I’m not sure where to begin with this misfire; I’m mainly just confused by it. Most folks seem to think that it is first and foremost there to highlight the daily Cartel Market sale, and I can’t really argue with that. In fairness, after greeting guildmates and clearing out my mail box, checking the daily sale is among the first things I do when I log on. As a whole, however, the guide is redundant with the main task bar atop the screen. It is not a good entry point to the Missions tab or Conquest tracker, indeed all it does is put an extra window in the way of those screens. I can’t think of a reason why I’d ever want to toggle it open.

It also does not help that the guide doesn’t play nicely with our existing customized interfaces and can’t be locked in place by the Interface Editor. As for the design itself, it seems like it is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist; replacing straightforward descriptors of our location, friends and guild with non-specific icons seems pointless at best and confusing at worst.

Ideally I want to set it and forget it, but it’s not even there yet since it can reset its position when I switch characters or instances. SWTOR‘s recent upgrades to the Cartel Market interface, Activities window and the Conquest tracker have been nicely done and welcome improvements, but the Galactic Guide hits so far from the mark that I’m not even sure what it was aiming for.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Ancient Jedi Runes, General SWTOR

Cracking the Jedi Code

Today, “This Week in Aurebesh” celebrates a somewhat surprising third anniversary! I’d like to sincerely thank anyone who has taken time to stop by and check out this silly little corner of Star Wars fandom.

To celebrate the milestone, I’ve translated some writing from Star Wars: The Old Republic that is not in Aurebesh, but still figures prominently in the latest story arc and exploration area of the ancient runes near Ood Bnar’s datacron on the planet Ossus.

When Ossus was released last year, I took a half-hearted stab at translating the runes on my own. I assumed, correctly as it turned out, that the glowing letters probably referred to keywords from the Jedi Code. However, I was stymied by the fact that the words to which the letters refer are not in the same order as they appear in the code; additionally the lines of the code were also out of order on the wall in the initial release of Ossus, making translation even trickier. Later, when the Galaxy’s Edge theme park was opened at Disney World this summer, a translation key for the runes was discovered in merchandise available to visitors.

With this new information and a game update that restored the inscription to its proper order, I was finally able to easily decipher the runes. The inscription clearly refers to important parts of the Jedi Code, but which Jedi Code?

There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

The version above is the Jedi Code most familiar to Star Wars fans, but according to Star Wars lore, the code’s first version was rather less absolute.

Emotion, yet peace.
Ignorance, yet knowledge.
Passion, yet serenity.
Chaos, yet harmony.
Death, yet the Force.

I believe the Ossus inscription is meant to evoke the earlier version of the code since it does not include the negation of emotion, ignorance, passion, etc. Given the age of the ruins of Ossus, this strikes me as an appropriate choice.

Regarding for the language itself, I am not aware of any official name for this alphabet. As with other constructed languages, including SWTOR’s own Zakuulan, it derives from Norse runes. Furthermore, like so many other iconic images in Star Wars, the specific inspiration for this alphabet comes from the artwork of Ralph McQuarrie who included runic inscriptions on a painting of the interior of the temples on Yavin IV in the 1995 book The Illustrated Star Wars Universe. These glyphs would again appear as inscriptions inside the ancient Jedi ruins on Lothal and in the “World between Worlds” in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. From there, examples of the writing can also be found in promotional material for the upcoming Jedi: Fallen Order video game and in Disney’s Galaxy Edge theme parks.

Most of examples of this writing seen on Rebels and elsewhere cannot be translated into English, but the Ossus inscriptions can, and they function as clever bits of world building that evoke both the spirit and the history of the Jedi and the ancient world of Ossus. A character’s discovery of these runes is only the first step in a journey across Ossus that I highly recommend that every SWTOR player take!

 

Comments Off on Cracking the Jedi Code

Filed under Ancient Jedi Runes, General Star Wars, General SWTOR