The Path Less Traveled is a regular series in which I’ll be examining a single specialization from the Star WarsEdge of the Empire/Age of Rebellion/Force and Destiny lines of games. The purpose and hope is to take a look at a specialization that perhaps many players might overlook or ones that are somewhat new to the game lines. We will look at strengths and weaknesses, synergies with other species and specializations, roles in a party, how to incorporate them into a campaign, and perhaps some uses which are not always obvious at first glance.
This column of The Path Less Traveled isn’t because it’s a specialization that is rarely chosen at the table. This one is because, as of the writing of this column, a new specialization debuted in Disciples of Harmony… the Teacher. Of many of the specializations that have come out for the Force and Destiny line, I’ve really awaited this one. It’s one that I figured would be coming in one of the expansion books, as the Master/Padawan relationship is renowned in Star Wars. But I was pleasantly surprised with how flexible and powerful the specialization is. I would love to get the Teacher on the table sometime. So… let’s take a deep dive into what the Teacher can do.
Teachers have a wide range of skills that can assist teams in learning important facts or passing on and sharing his or her knowledge. In Star Wars, often Teachers are thrust into such a role by war and circumstances… researchers and scientists that are pushed from their jobs as the Empire gets their foothold. Perhaps they’re formally educated or have just learned a lot over a long life or career.
Skills and Characteristics
A Teacher’s skills definitely surround Knowledge skills and Intellect. Not only that, but a high Presence is definitely needed. A Teacher, as part of the Consular career, gets Cool, Discipline, Knowledge (Education), Knowledge (Lore), Leadership, and Negotiation to start. The Teacher gets to add another rank in both Knowledge (Education) and Knowledge (Lore), along with Leadership and Perception. That definitely leaves Intellect and Presence as the two characteristics a Teacher should focus on, with Cunning and Willpower maybe being tied for third place.
Species that have a high Intellect and Presence would include the Drall (the only Species with a four in Intellect), Cerean, Chadra-Fan, Duros, Elomin, Ishi Tib, Lannik, and Mon Calamari. You can also consider the Falleen, Gran, Pantoran, Toydarian, and Twi’lek which have slightly higher Presence than Intellect, but all the Species listed have at least a three in one of them and a two in the other. With Discipline and Perception as career skills, Cunning and Willpower can be considered, but the bulk of the skills the Teacher have will key off those two characteristics.
The Talent tree for the Teacher, at least from my perspective, does not have any specific paths through the tree as you work down. It’s one of my favorites in the game, bar none. The top two rows intersect the bottom three rows at a single point, forcing all Teachers to take the same relative path down through the talents. So let’s just talk about the types of talents a Teacher gets instead of working through specific archetypes that trees at times demonstrate.
Researcher and Respected Scholar help the Teacher navigate institutions of learning and Knowledge checks. Sense Danger is a great skill that lets you remove two Setback Dice from any check in the game once per game. With Well Rounded, any two skills become Career Skills, and Well Traveled make Knowledge (Core Worlds) and Knowledge (Outer Rim) career skills. So when choosing skills for Well Rounded, be sure not to pick either of those.
Encouraging Words helps out any PC with his next skill check, and Skilled Teacher, the talent that every Teacher must take to get to the bottom three rows, the Teacher can help out with extra successes for an ally’s next check. That talent also leads to Master Instructor, which allows allies to use the Teacher’s ranks in Discipline for a Discipline check.
Getting down to the great talents in the tree, we get to Wise Warrior and its Improved version. Wise Warrior lets the Teacher use any characteristic, for a Destiny Point, for any combat check. The Improved version allows an ally at short range to use the same characteristic for their next combat check as well. Once a Learner costs a lot, four strain in fact, but the Teacher can increase the Force Rating of an ally in short range by the Teacher’s Force rating. That single check might change an entire game. Furthermore, and one of the coolest talents I’ve heard of, we come to Now the Master. Now the Master lets the Teacher, once a session, choose one Force power or talent that any other character in the current encounter possesses, and gain that talent until the end of the whole encounter. Wow. That’s pretty awesome. Up there with my favorite talents in the game for sure.
Specialization Synergy and Character Concepts
This section of The Path Less Traveled might be a bit shorter than others. How come? Because the Teacher, in this writer’s opinion, blends with just about any and all Force and Destiny specializations. The talents in the tree are almost all universally usable in any adventure and for any character type. It’s such a versatile tree, that any character concept in F&D would benefit from the addition of the Teacher.
Blending with the other lines of Age of Rebellion and Edge of the Empire is a bit more interesting, however. Just about any of the Knowledge skill-based specializations can be great. From EotE, the Doctor or Scholar I think could be beautiful fits. Imagine a character who was at a university teaching, or in a hospital, secretly Force-Sensitive, thrust into being a mentor to someone as war breaks out.
The Analyst or any of the other Commander specializations might also blend fantastically with the Teacher. If you have any specialization that uses Knowledge skills, or perhaps wish to supplement your character with career knowledge skills and Presence, the Teacher can easily fill out the build. This is one of my favorite skill trees, and if you’re creative enough in the game system to use Knowledge skills in a variety of ways, you’ll be in great shape and be able to make a strong character.