Although an earlier scene set up what the Jedi were, this conversation between Han and Obi-Wan while the latter trained Luke really shows what the Force is: a mystical energy field that can control your actions or obey your commands. The premise was the set-up for many hokey religions and ancient weapons to be birthed in the Star Wars universe. I would like to take some time to explore the other religions born from the Force. Granted, this will not be exhaustive, but it should give you a taste of some of the possible "simple tricks and nonsense" (as Han Solo called it) that we may run into in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
These descendants of the Jedi Allya were introduced in what I consider to be one of the more horrendous Star Wars novels ever written, but with Tenel Ka in the Young Jedi Knight series of books and the introduction of the Dathomiri in the Clone Wars storyline, these witches have stretched beyond their abhorrent beginnings. Their religion is a mix of Druidic magic and Amazonian barbarism. Although it is unclear why Allya was originally exiled from the Jedi Order, we do know that she was the one who tamed the indigenous Rancors and prevented them from devouring the population of the prison planet. She set herself up as Clan Mother of this matriarchal society and penned the articles of their religion in the Book of Law.
Although I find it highly unlikely that we will see Dathomir or the Dathomiri witches in Star Wars: The Old Republic, I do think it is likely that we will see a religious group very similar to them. Depending on how long ago the reverse continuity regarding the Rattataki was set up, I would think that we may see precursors involving these pale-skinned and tattooed humanoids.
I have seen many roleplayers take on this view of the Force. Personally, I like it, and it makes for very interesting storytelling with the backdrop of polar opposites duking it out for supremacy. The Potentium is heretical to both the Jedi and the Sith. These followers of the Force believe that the Force is neither inherently good nor evil. Rather, these Force followers believe there is no Dark Side, that all is the Force. It is the user's intentions that determine to which side his moral compass points.
I definitely see this point of view in the Voss. The Jedi find them dangerous and the Sith cannot deceive them, as the story goes. This puts this religious sect right smack dab in the middle. I look forward to seeing how this not only affects my character's story, but also dark side and light side points. Are they moral choices made by your character or are they more religiously aligned? For instance, most would agree that it is not morally wrong to love someone, but there are statutes in the Jedi code that forbid it. Is that going to give me a dark side point?
These cultists will get a mention here because they predate the classic Star Wars trilogy, and they may have been started about the time of SWTOR. We know these Dark Siders are not Sith, yet they existed during the time of Darth Ruin, 2,000 years before the Battle Yavin and only 600 years after the events of SWTOR. These were not your typical force-lightning, saber-toting Sith. In fact, I'd say that although they are Dark Siders like the Sith, they were more interested in exploring the depth of the Dark Side versus conquering the galaxy.
The Prophets of the Dark Side were just that: Prophets. It is said that Palpatine called on these seers to check the validity of his visions. They predicted the exact time and date for the destruction of both Death Stars. Yet the Emperor still died on one of them -- hmmm. Maybe they were hiding something from him, which suggests that they are actually working for themselves, not the Empire.
I fully expect to see this group or one very, very similar to appear in SWTOR -- a Sith group that is interested in the depths of the Dark Side, not the power of the Dark Side. The group will most likely oppose the Sith Emperor and will try to steal acolytes from him.
I have just barely touched the number of cults, sects, and mystics in Star Wars universe. My enthuasism swells thinking about the types and tropes BioWare latches onto in its storytelling. I think the greatest thing about setting SWTOR in the era 3,000 years before A New Hope is that this allows all sorts of exploration. Nothing is really set in stone in regard to lore or even religious beliefs of Force wielders. Also, if you're into roleplaying, you'll be able to bend the background of your story to try to fit into one of these unique groups.
Until next time, may Ashla, Bogan, the Current, Galactic Balance, or whatever you want to call it be your guide.
Star Wars: The Old Republic is finally here, and the Force is with Massively! We've prepared a Hutt-sized feast of class introductions, gameplay guides, lore roundups, and hands-on previews to help you navigate the launch period and beyond. And don't forget our weekly SWTOR column, the Hyperspace Beacon!