Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Jedi Academy Training Manual
There are few artifacts in the galaxy that are more highly valued and more unique than Holocrons. Holocrons are, essentially, special computers with built-in holoprojectors that contain vast knowledge of The Force. Each Holocron is a small, hand-held device (Usually taking the form of some common geometric shape). Holocrons use ancient construction methods to combine powerful crystals with other technological elements to enhance it's storage capabilities and durability. Though the Jedi order does not allow the study of Holocrons by outside technicians, most technological experts agree that the nature of the Holocron indicates that it's inner workings are vastly more complex than most modern technologies, and that the components and workings of the Holocron follow few, if any, contemporary theories of how computers and other electronic machinery should work.
In truth, a Holocron is more of an artifact than a technological device. Each Holocron is imbued with at least one "Gatekeeper" personality, which serves as the user interface to the library of knowledge stored within. A Holocron's Gatekeeper is far more than a simple voice-interface user interface; the Gatekeeper has its own personality and is usually based on an individual Jedi Master (Or Sith Lord) who was instrumental in creating the Holocron. Most Holocrons have only a single Gatekeeper, as the Holocron represents the sum total of the knowledge of it's creator. Some rare Holocrons have multiple Gatekeepers, each one acting as a means of obtaining subsets of knowledge. For example, a Jedi Holocron might have a Jedi Weapon Master Gatekeeper to impart knowledge of fighting styles, while also having a Jedi Investigator Gatekeeper responsible for all of the Holocron's knowledge of Farseeing techniques.
The depth of a Holocron's knowledge varies, but suffice to say that every Holocron has within it a vast amount of information on Force Powers, Force Techniques, and Force Secrets. Any given Holocron usually contains the sum total of all knowledge of The Force gleaned by an individual Sith Lord or Jedi Master, and in many cases it can contain more than that. Many Jedi Masters of the Old Republic, as well as Sith Lords from all eras, see the creation of a Holocron as a crucial part of preserving their legacies. Though Sith sometimes linger as dark spirits and some Jedi remain can remain as Force Spirits, a Holocron is a far more permanent representation of their legacies. Though the art of creating a Holocron is among the rarest secrets in the galaxy, the most powerful Sith Lords and Jedi Masters of old create Holocrons to spread their influence and preserve their knowledge for ages.
Using a Holocron Edit
Holocrons respond to voice activation. Some Holocron Gatekeepers are stingy when it comes to dispensing information, however, and refuse to impart their secrets to those they find untrustworthy or unworthy. This mostly depends on the personality of the Holocron's creator, but a few Holocron Gatekeepers refuse to impart their knowledge unless certain conditions are met as a precaution against abuse. For example, a Holocron containing the secrets of dangerous Force Techniques might only respond to the commands of a proven Jedi Master who can demonstrate a significant mastery of The Force.
Once the Gatekeeper is willing to impart it's knowledge, the possessor of a Holocron can simply ask the Holocron for information on whatever topic is needed. Holocrons usually have a Use the Force Skill bonus, which is used in place of all Knowledge Skills for information related to Jedi or Sith lore. A Holocron's Use the Force bonus is equal to its creator's Skill bonus at the time the Holocron is created. A character in possession of a Holocron whose Gatekeeper is willing to impart information can use the Holocron's Use the Force Skill modifier in place of any Knowledge Skill bonus on any check related to Jedi or Sith lore. The Holocron normally cannot use it's Use the Force Skill for any other purpose, though Gamemasters are free to make exceptions if it fits the story of the campaign. By default, though, a Holocron is still just an object and has no connection to The Force itself.
Mechanically speaking, most Holocrons can stand in for a Jedi Master with regard to providing basic Force training to a student. For example, if a non-Jedi hero wishes to Multiclass into the Jedi Class, or merely pick up the Force Sensitivity Feat and Training in the Use the Force Skill, a Holocron can provide a basis for the character's transition and basic Jedi training. This is especially useful in time periods when the Jedi are all but extinct, including during the Dark Wars, the Dark Times, the Galactic Civil War, and the time following the Sith-Imperial War. Though there is no mechanical restriction that prevents a character from learning the ways of The Force without a master, possession of a Holocron can offer a good backstory as to how the character learns to manipulate The Force.
Introducing New or Lost Powers Edit
Not every Force Power presented in the Saga Edition Core Rulebook or it's various supplements exist in every era. Many Force Powers considered commonplace in the days of the Jedi Civil War might be long forgotten by the time the Clone Wars comes around. Gamemasters who choose to rule that certain Force Powers are unavailable by default can use Holocrons to reintroduce "Lost" Force Powers from the past. Alternatively, some mechanically inclined Gamemasters wish to create new Force Powers of their own; a Holocron provides an excellent vehicle for introducing brand-new Force Powers into the game.
Typically, a Holocron can include as many new Force Powers as the Gamemaster feels necessary. Possession of a Holocron doesn't necessarily guarantee access to the Force Powers within, but when a hero in possession of such a Holocron takes the Force Training Feat, the Gamemaster can choose to open up one or two new Force Powers for the hero to add to his or her Force Power Suite. Though the Gamemaster is free to make all of the new Force Powers within the Holocron available at once, doling out new Force Powers one at a time over a series of levels can help maintain the Holocron's presence as an important aspect of the hero's study of The Force, and can prolong the rewards for continued training.
A Holocron can also be used to introduce Retraining for existing heroes. Tutelage under a Holocron can represent a hero rebuilding his or her knowledge of The Force from the ground up; in essence, one "Unlearns what one has learned" as the Gatekeeper of the Holocron rebuilds the hero's Force skills at a fundamental level. A Holocron Gatekeeper can be used to retrain a character's Force Talents and Force Powers. Perhaps a player is unhappy with their character's selection of Force Powers, or has decided to take their character in a different direction. Whatever the reason, the player of a Jedi or Force Prodigy hero might need to rebuild their character using different mechanics, and the Holocron can provide a good reason for doing so.
Periods of downtime between adventures can provide the opportunity for Retraining (Much as the heroes of the films evolve significantly between each episode). However, Holocrons can offer more immediate rebuilding methods. In general, a character in possession of a Holocron should be able to trade out one Force Power for another (Or one Force Talent for another) during a significant period of downtime. The exact time needed for the character to study the new ability is up to the Gamemaster, but it should take longer to Retrain a Force Power than to make a jump through hyperspace.
Holocrons in Combat Edit
Typically, Holocrons are of little use in combat. Though they can sometimes provide insightful information, practically speaking most combat encounters are too frantic and dangerous for a Jedi to consult the Gatekeeper of the Holocron for information on a particular enemy. However, there might be times when the Gamemaster wishes to integrate a Holocron into an encounter. There are two primary ways of doing so: using the Holocron as a device, and using the Gatekeeper as a Hazard or boon.
The first method is much like including a computer console or an object to be obtained during the course of a combat encounter. The Holocron might have vital information within it that the heroes need to extract while under fire, or the Holocron might be in the possession of an enemy and the heroes need to obtain it. When designing an encounter that uses a Holocron in this way, the Holocron can be treated as a Datapad or computer console.
Including a Holocron's Gatekeeper as a Hazard or boon in an encounter is a bit trickier. For one, it's not something that should happen during every combat; possessing a Holocron shouldn't become a permanent boon to the heroes anymore than possessing any other single piece of Equipment should drastically shift the tide during an encounter. Likewise, an enemy in possession of a Holocron should be a rare circumstance, and one that really has an impact on the story of the campaign. If every Sith Lord the heroes fight has a Holocron providing beneficial enhancements during every encounter, Holocrons become less special and more of an annoyance.
Including a Holocron Gatekeeper in a combat encounter should be part of a significant event. For example, facing a Jedi Padawan who has turned to the Dark Side thanks to a Holocron might warrant the presence of a Holocron Gatekeeper in combat. Similarly, a hero in possession of a Holocron might use the Holocron to learn new abilities, but it is only when the hero reaches the final showdown with a Sith Lord who was once the apprentice of the Holocron Gatekeeper that the Gatekeeper's true benefits come into play. The Gamemaster ultimately decides when a Holocron Gatekeeper becomes an important element of a combat encounter.
A Holocron Gatekeeper is projected onto the battlefield like any other hologram. While the Holocron Gatekeeper is active, it has its own suit of actions and functions just like any other participant in combat, even acting on it's own Initiative. On it's turn, the Holocron Gatekeeper can use Skills and communicate information as normal, but it doesn't make physical attacks or use Force Powers. Likewise, it cannot be damaged, though the Holocron itself can be (As per the rules of Attacking an Object). For the most part, Holocron Gatekeepers will use their Instructive Bond special quality, which is explained in their individual entries. The two most common Holocron Gatekeepers are the Jedi Master Holocron Gatekeeper and the Sith Lord Holocron Gatekeeper.
Sith Holocrons Edit
Unlike normal Holocrons, a Sith Holocron can have a corrupting influence on its possessor. Sith Holocrons contain forbidden knowledge of great power, and serve only to enhance the reputation of the Dark Side for being the quick and easy path. A young student of The Force in possession of a Sith Holocron can quickly come into possession of dark knowledge that is forbidden to most Jedi Knights. A character with a Sith Holocron can be considered part of The Sith Force Tradition for the purposes of the Sith Apprentice Prestige Class. Furthermore, a character that spends at least 1 hour studying under the tutelage of a Sith Holocron can spend a Force Point as a Swift Action to add one Force Power with the [Dark Side] descriptor to his or her Force Power Suite. That character can do this for one day; the following day, he or she must study for at least 1 hour with the Sith Holocron before gaining access to this ability again.
Creating a Holocron Edit
When a player decides that his or her hero wishes to create a Holocron, the creation of the Holocron should become a major element of the hero's story. Creating a Holocron is no simple task, and it can even be the primary drive and motivation for a hero. Holocron creation shouldn't just be something that is approached casually, nor should it just be something that happens between adventures. Creating a Holocron requires time, devotion, and sometimes resources from any hero who wishes to pass on information to future students of The Force.
When crafting adventures for a hero who is seeking to create a Holocron, Gamemasters can break up the steps toward creating the Holocron over the course of several adventures, giving the hero milestones as they work toward their final goal of Holocron creation. What these steps are, and how prominently they figure into the adventures, is up to the GM, but knowing that a hero wishes to create a Holocron gives the GM several opportunities for rewards specific to that hero's quest.
For example, a Gamemaster learns that the Kel Dor Jedi in their campaign wishes to create a Holocron. Over the course of several levels, the Gamemaster creates adventures that feature rewards for the Jedi hero that bring them closer to creating the Holocron; perhaps in one adventure the hero comes across an ancient Jedi tome that details the basics of Holocron creation, and then in a later adventure the Jedi comes into possession of a crate of Thaissen Crystals that once belonged to a now-vanquished Crime Lord. As the campaign progresses, that Jedi gets closer and closer to creating the Holocron, keeping the player's interest in the campaign and giving the Gamemaster a good set of rewards for the Jedi hero.
Below are eight sample steps in the Holocron creation process that Gamemaster can use as a basis for determining adventure rewards. These steps are by no means comprehensive, and the GM is free to use as many (Or as few) of these steps as they like during the design of an adventure. Each step is a milestone in the process of creating a Holocron, and the reward for the Jedi at the end of an adventure can be achieving one of these milestones.
- The Jedi must discover the method of creating the basic crystal casing that houses the Holocron's inner workings. This crystal casing is what gives the Holocron it's distinctive geometric shape, and it can be crafted out of certain kinds of rare crystals. The process of creating the case is precise, and failure means that the internal components will not function.
- The Jedi must obtain special crystals to create the casing for the Holocron. Only very rare kinds of crystals will work, and among those crystals only a small fraction are large enough to be shaped into a Holocron's casing.
- The Jedi must discover Thaissen Crystals of the precise size and shape for inclusion in the Holocron. Thaissen Crystals are found on the planet Minban, and the Holocron requires Thaissen Crystals to allow it to detect the strength of the user's Force Sensitivity.
- The Jedi must obtain special, malleable crystals that can be shaped into the inner workings of the Holocron. The mechanisms that allow the Holocron to function normally are arcane and esoteric, and they require special crystals to function at all.
- The Jedi must obtain a self-revitalizing power source capable of fueling the Holocron for millennia. Though modern technology has produced power sources capable of lasting that long, they are rare, large, and expensive. Ancient Holocrons use power sources that are self-replenishing, though the secrets behind creating such a power source are all but lost to the ages.
- The Jedi must learn the method of piecing together and molding the inner mechanisms of the Holocron. This is perhaps the most difficult step in the process, as this knowledge is one of the most tightly kept secrets of Jedi Masters and Sith Lords.
- The Jedi must gain access to a locale that is suitably strong in The Force as a site where the Holocron can be built. Constructing a Holocron requires the hero to precisely manipulate the crystals that form the inner mechanisms of the Holocron using The Force, similar to how a Jedi assembles a Lightsaber with The Force. However, Holocron creation is an order of magnitude more complex and more precise, and even Jedi Masters who are strong in The Force need a place of power to help fuel the creation process. With this step complete, the physical structure of the Holocron can be constructed.
- The Jedi must discover the Force Secret required to transfer a replica of one's consciousness into the Gatekeeper program (The Holocron Loremaster Force Secret). Once the Holocron's mechanisms are finished, the malleable crystal interiors must be manipulated to reproduce the Jedi's knowledge and consciousness. Doing so requires a meditative technique that transcends conscious thought and is similar in concept, if not the details of execution, to the Dark Side technique known as Transfer Essence.
Destiny Bonus Edit
The creation of a Holocron replaces the normal Destiny bonus that you recieve for fulfilling your Destiny. Typically, this Destiny bonus only comes from Destinies that can be tied to the creation of a Holocron, such as the Discovery Destiny and Education Destiny from the Core Rulebook, and the Creation Destiny from the Force Unleashed Campaign Guide. When you fulfill your Destiny, your reward is the preservation of your legacy by creating a Holocron with a Gatekeeper modeled after your hero. The Holocron contains all of the knowledge your hero accumulated over the course of his or her career, which can be passed onto future generations.
When you fulfill your Destiny, you create a Holocron with a Gatekeeper modeled after you.
Holocron Gatekeeper Statistics Edit
To create the statistics for the Holocron Gatekeeper, follow these steps based on your hero's statistics at the time you fulfill your Destiny:
- The Gatekeeper's Challenge Level is equal to your CL divided by three.
- The Gatekeeper has no special senses, such as Darkvision or Scent.
- The Gatekeeper has no Reflex Defense or Fortitude Defense and cannot be targeted by attacks or abilities that target those Defenses.
- The Gatekeeper has no Hit Points or Damage Threshold.
- The Gatekeeper retains any immunities that you posses and also gains immunity to all Fear effects as well as physical damage. Physical damage includes damage from Acid, Atmospheric Hazards, Disease, Extreme Temperatures, Fire, Poison, Radiation, Smoke, Gravity, and any effect that targets a creature's Reflex Defense or Fortitude Defense.
- The Gatekeeper cannot attack. Therefore, it has no attacks, no Base Attack Bonus, and no Grab bonus.
- The Gatekeeper is merely a holographic projection and has no Strength, Dexterity or Constitution score.
- The Gatekeeper gains the Holocron Gatekeeper and Instructive Bond Special Qualities.
- The Gatekeeper loses all Talents and Feats that enhance attacks, movement, or other physical interactions. Talents and Feats that pertain to Skill use or other effects remain.
- The Gatekeeper loses Skill bonuses related to the following Skills: Acrobatics, Climb, Endurance, Jump, Mechanics, Pilot, Ride, Stealth, Survival, Swim, Treat Injury, and Use Computer.
- The Gatekeeper may use only the following aspects of the Use the Force Skill: Search Your Feelings, Sense Force, and Telepathy (At the Gamemaster's discretion, and usually only in special cases).
- The Gatekeeper has no Equipment.