HoloNet Uplink: Jar Jar Binks and You, a GM’s Guide

Welcome to the HoloNet Uplink, citizen. This series focuses on Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars Roleplaying Game, with content aimed mostly at the Gamemaster. Threats, adventure seeds, rules supplements, and more are all to come for those who access The HoloNet Uplink.

So based on what I’ve seen posted the last few days, I’m a bit embarrassed. I think I missed an email at some point or something, because it looks like it’s a joke week or….? Guys, I’m sorry, but all I’ve got ready is a serious article about incorporating one of my favourite Star Wars characters in your game. I’ll see if I can work a joke article in later as a make up, but for now I hope this will do.

It is not always easy to roll existing characters from the films in a tabletop RPG, and given the stature of this character this may prove to be even more challenging. Step aside J.J. Abrams, it is time for the original Star Wars J.J. to return to prominence. Jar Jar Binks is the topic for today, and meesa think yousa gunna like it.

Canon: Jar Jar As We Know and Love Him

“Jar Jar is the key to all of this.” -George Lucas

Let’s be honest with ourselves. It is not easy to work in famous characters into RPG adventures. It’s hard to capture the magic of their on screen performance, and ultimately expectations can be so high that only the most skilled GM can pull off this often discouraged move. I’ve heard of GMs integrating more minor characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi or Darth Vader before, with stories of success and failure, but when it comes to a character of this stature utmost caution is recommended. I mean, Jar Jar was THE breakout character of The Phantom Menace. How then to bring the Jar Jar we know and love to the gaming table?

Your best bet, I think, is to take inspiration from The Phantom Menace. Like, a lot of inspiration. Like, basically copy Jar Jar’s role from that movie into your game. Have your PCs stumble through the wilderness only to encounter an odd alien creature. Maybe be a little vague at the start to up the suspense and to keep your PCs guessing, “Could it really be Jar Jar?!?” Arrange (because “contrive” is such a harsh word) a reason that Jar Jar must accompany the party – basically make him the only way to keep the plot going.

Some readers out there may feel a bit uncomfortable taking so much inspiration directly from the films. Remember, it’s poetry. It rhymes. It’s what the lesser J.J. of Star Wars did. Not to mention, it’s not like you’re emulating the clearly superior Attack of the Clones.

With a character as beloved as Jar Jar in your game, it’s vital that you make sure he features prominently in the adventure. GMs should take this opportunity to run Jar Jar as more of a PC versus an NPC, a sort of GMPC if you will. Make sure Jar Jar has the biggest share of the spotlight, your PCs will actually enjoy taking a bit of a backseat to watch and marvel at this beloved character’s antics.

Jar Jar Binks [Nemesis]

Copyright LucasFilm

Br 2, Ag 3, Int 1, Cun 2, WP 2, Pres 3

Soak 3, W. Threshold 14, S. Threshold 12 Def M/R 0/0

Skills: Athletics 2, Deception 1, Stealth 2

Talents: Deceptive Taunt (Once per session, may make Deceptive Taunt action. Make opposed Deception check. If successful, one adversary must attack the character during adversary’s next turn), Distracting Behaviour 3 (Make a Distracting Behavior maneuver and suffer strain no greater than ranks in Cunning. Until the beginning of next turn, equal number of targets suffer One Disadvantage on checks. Range increases with additional ranks.), Improved Distracting Behaviour (When affected by Distracting Behavior, targets suffer Two Disadvantage when making checks targeting the character’s allies, instead of One), Jump Up (Once per round, may stand from seated or prone as an incidental).

Abilities: Amphibious (Gungans may breathe underwater without penalty and never suffer movement penalties for traveling through water), Clumsy (Add Two Setback Dice to any action Jar Jar Binks attempts or assists with), Okie Day (The GM may flip a Destiny Point to spend Two Threat generated by Jar Jar as a Despair).

Equipment: Do you really want to know?

From Theory to Reality: Darth Jar Jar at your Table

“It was a very dark, very personal, quiet scene, but for some reason Palpatine decided to confide in Jar Jar that pretty much he was going to reap havoc. Wherever that scene is, that would really give great credibility to the Darth Jar Jar theory.” -Ahmed Best

Far from a mere fan theory, the realization of Darth Jar Jar is an absolutely phenomenal act of cinematic archaeology. When it comes to the silver screen, we can only ask ourselves what could have been. Luckily, in the theatre of the mind we as roleplayers can bring life to this clearly intended, but cowardly cut, plot twist.

The best way to run Darth Jar Jar is to save him for the absolutely very end of your campaign. Honestly, just put him in as a final encounter. His amazing deception skills are all the justification you need to plop him in wherever. Whatever you do, don’t provide any foreshadowing that Darth Jar Jar is secretly the Big Bad Evil Guy of your campaign. Even the most subtle of clues could ruin the delightful surprise coming at the end of a long running campaign.

Remember, Darth Jar Jar is an absolute mastermind. If Palpatine was the man behind the man, pulling the strings of the Clone War, then Darth Jar Jar was the Gungan behind the man behind the man. Use that fact to explain away any inconsistencies frightened players may bring up. Surprising your players with Darth Jar Jar is best used after years of running the same campaign. This will be a great way to cap off hours spent building a story together. I guarantee your players will talk about it for years to come.

Darth Jar Jar, Hidden Lord [Nemesis]

Br 3, Ag 5, Int 4, Cun 4, WP 5, Pres 5

Soak 4, W. Threshold 18, S. Threshold 24 Def M/R 1/1

Skills: Athletics 4, Cool 4, Coordination 4, Deception 5, Discipline 5, Knowledge (Lore) 4, Lightsaber 5, Stealth 4

Talents: Adversary 4 (Upgrade difficulty of all combat checks against this target four times), Ataru Technique (When making a check using the Lightsaber skill, the character may use Agility instead of Brawn), Hawk Bat Swoop (Take the Hawk Bat Swoop action. Perform a Lightsaber (Agility) combat check against target within short range, adding Force Dice no greater than Force rating. Spend Force Points to engage target and spend Force Points to add Advantage to check.), Parry 6 (When hit by a melee attack, suffer 3 strain to reduce damage by 2 plus ranks in Parry), Plausible Deniability 5 (Remove up to Five Setback dice from Coercion and Deception skill checks), Reflect 6 (When hit by a ranged attack, suffer 3 strain to reduce damage by 2 plus ranks in Reflect), Saber Swarm (Perform the Saber Swarm maneuver; suffer 1 strain, to make next Lightsaber (Agility) combat check this turn gain the Linked item quality equal to Force rating during check.), Force Rating 5 (Darth Jar Jar’s Force Powers are too numerous to list, and as such GMs should use their discretion to simply use powers and upgrades as deemed appropriate.)

Abilities: Amphibious (Gungans may breathe underwater without penalty and never suffer movement penalties for traveling through water), Dark Side Force User (uses Dark Side results instead of Light Side results, see page 281.)

Equipment: Corrupted crystal lightsaber (Lightsaber; Damage 8; Critical 1; Range [Engaged]; Breach 1, Sunder, Vicious 3, Special: Add 1 Dark Side Point to Force power checks), concealing Sith robes (soak 1, defense 1).

DISCLAIMER: Christopher Hunt, d20Radio, and the Gamer Nation assume no liability for any damages suffered by Gamemasters who implement the above suggestions.

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Christopher Hunt

Christopher Hunt

Staff Writer at d20 Radio
Ready to pull the ears off a Gundark, Chris is new to writing in the gaming industry. Up in the mystical Canadian land of Manitoba, he can be seen running Star Wars for his home group and at PrairieCon events. Chris has a passion for gaming he hopes to unite with academic and corporate writing experience .