Suspect Insight Forums
We've moved to Discord! Join us here: https://discord.gg/KuX3b8hrrm
Suspect Insight Forums
Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

Go down
Master Azronger
Master Azronger
Moderator
Moderator

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Empty Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin

August 17th 2023, 1:49 pm
Vaylin is character whose stock has risen for me enormously over the past few months. I'm making this brief post to highlight why.

MAIN ARGUMENT


Let's consider the final confrontation of Knights of the Eternal Throne, Chapter VIII. The Outlander has just bested Vaylin alongside Arcann and Senya (or Lana and Theron), forcing her to her knees. However, Valkorion warns that even in defeat his daughter is dangerous, and Vaylin replies by unleashing a Force maelstrom that hurls the Outlander's companions to a wall and knocks them unconscious. The Outlander resists the attack and slowly takes steps toward Vaylin to finally impale her, but the task is evidently onerous. Notably, pausing the video at critical frames reveals that Valkorion shields the Outlander the moment Vaylin's wave washes over, so the game itself drops this hint that the Outlander's success is partially owed to Valkorion. Charles Boyd has confirmed this exact sentiment on Twitter:

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Charle10

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Charles_Boyd_says_Vaylin_is_more_powerful_than_the_Outlander

Given that Vaylin is releasing her energy equally in all directions it means the Outlander is only getting struck with a very small percentage of Vaylin's total output. In that situation you could add, say, five Outlanders surrounding her on all sides and they would all be equally flung back and be equally powerless to find the strength to walk through the bombardment without Valkorion's help. It's the very same outcome as in Echoes of Oblivion when Tenebrae unleashes his full might on his assailants: the team is unable to get up without external assistance. I would imagine that if all the power behind Vaylin's maelstrom were concentrated on a small target, all that would be left of the Outlander would be a pile of smoking ash.

SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

Vaylin's two core character traits are her (at the time) unprecedented connection to the Force and her psychological instability. As a fetus in the womb she was already moving furniture, and as a child her power frightened Valkorion. In response to Vaylin nearly Force-crushing five fully trained Zakuulan Knights as a pre-teen, her father decided to send her to Nathema for conditioning in order to constrict her natural powers and prevent her from one day challenging him. This detail is crucial: Vaylin is the only The Old Republic-centric character who has the potential to rival Valkorion's Nathema-augmented strength without rituals or any kind of artificial empowerment. TOR's Facebook page labeled her a prodigy even by the standards of the Eternal Family whom they called "the most powerful family in Star Wars."


Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin DxlJhRb
Codex: Vaylin's Conditioning

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Dw7woT8
KOTFE Ch. VII

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Unknown

When Vitiate is slain by the Hero of Tython on Dromund Kaas, he is forced to slumber on Yavin IV and his passive hold on Vaylin's restrained power is loosened. This gives Vaylin a taste of her full powers for the first time: in her debut showing in Knights of the Fallen Empire, Chapter. III, she performs the greatest feat of environmental telekinesis in all of TOR up to that point, and Charles Boyd has called her "so incredibly powerful in the Force, probably the most powerful figure that we've introduced short of Valkorion himself" (vs. Revan, Arcann, the Dread Masters, etc.) circa KOTFE Ch. X. Going into KOTET Ch. III, Vaylin's power "grows exponentially" on its own without Valkorion to leash it.


Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin UwoNI5M
Codex: Vaylin

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin SUwSvjr
KOTET Ch. III

Now, the elephant in the room: upon losing to her in KOTET Ch. III, the Outlander proclaims Vaylin to be even stronger than her father. This is despite the fact that they have witnessed Ziost first hand, and this is not merely a product of unintentional "reaction scaling": in KOTET Ch. I Valkorion directly endorses Vaylin's ability to possibly replicate Ziost when the Outlander doubts her power, so to me the Outlander's updated assessment in Ch. III appears to be an intended narrative component. For context, the devastation of Ziost is "a clear display of the corrosive power of the dark side of the Force taken to its extreme" (i.e. the furthest point; the greatest display of dark side power possible), and someone like Revan is horrendously outclassed by Vitiate according to the protagonists; the Hero of Tython has also heard Satele and Scourge's assessments that the whole Jedi Council would be useless against a weakened Vitiate. This is not to say Vaylin can specifically duplicate Ziost, or stomp Revan or the Jedi Council - she doesn't necessarily have the skills - but that she does possess the raw power behind being able to do those feats.


Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
Codex: Death of a World

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
Jedi Knight, Act III

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
SOR, Sith Warrior

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
SOR, Sith Inquisitor

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
KOTET Ch. I

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
KOTET Ch. III

The fight itself is a total beatdown as well. At 10:45, Koth Vortena states a bomb will go off in three minutes. 15 seconds pass before Vaylin and the Outlander begin fighting. At 11:45, the fight ends; Valkorion stops time at 11:55 and resumes at 13:30, from which point the cutscene continues in real-time until 13:50. That’s a total of 55 seconds of cutscenes before the gameplay section where the Outlander cuts the power relays. At 14:05, when the Outlander cuts the second one, a red text appears in the lower left corner, saying "Warning: Two Minutes Until Detonation." Therefore, it would mean Vaylin defeated the Outlander, and the Outlander ran around the ship, cutting two power relays, all in less than five seconds. Even if Koth's initial estimate is imprecise, clearly the fight is very quick and one-sided.


All of this is before Vaylin breaks her conditioning and becomes unchained. The process itself involves Vaylin being fired at by energy beams with such intensity that Vaylin cannot free herself and is screaming for help even at the start. She begins to fight back, however, causing smaller, stray beams to ricochet outward, disintegrating scientists on contact; waves of power to ripple across the facility, eliciting pained moans from the Outlander and Lana as well as audible panic from Valkorion, and driving nearby animals insane; and the whole Sanitarium to shake and crumble, with Jarak stating that Vaylin's power "is racing out of control. When it erupts, the entire asylum will be destroyed." The bombardment continues for multiple minutes, long enough for the Outlander and Lana to have their little chat with Jarak and for him to lead them to Valkorion's vault, yet Vaylin endures the beams all this time. At the end of her ordeal she regains control over her powers, shielding herself from the beams and overwhelming them utterly, fully breaking her chains and causing further ripples across the facility that actually immobilize Lana and the Outlander momentary (note the dark special effect they receive surrounding their bodies, curiously similar to how Vitiate's possessed victims glowed on Ziost). The gap between Vaylin's chained and unchained selves should be humongous, and it's important to note that she accomplished all this under the Force-dampening conditions of Nathema.


All of this taken together, I don't think my initial claim is that unreasonable. Even KOTFE Vaylin in already the strongest candidate for being the second most powerful TOR character to date, KOTET Chained Vaylin is above the Outlander's conception of Valkorion, and Unchained Vaylin can defend against and utterly overpower attacks that reduce Chained Vaylin to helpless whimpering, with a small fraction of her full power being able to send the Outlander flying and overwhelm him unless Valkorion intervenes. And Valkorion himself goes into full-blown panic mode both when Vaylin threatens to and when she succeeds at breaking her chains.

POWER VS. MASTERY


Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin Image
starwars.com: "Teacher of the Masters"

Hot take: Vaylin has the power (but not mastery) to replicate Tenebrae's EOO strike team pin 8258215-2224701754-chose
Galactic Campaign Guide

Those descriptions of Attack of the Clones Anakin Skywalker's power is what I would surmise is going on with Vaylin. It might be strange to say her applicable power is already approaching Tenebrae's if she's being immobilized by him alongside her whole team in both fights (KOTET Ch. IX and EOO), but that is because she cannot harness her power in combat consistently. Her outburst in KOTET Ch. VIII and potentially even in Ch. III are, in all likelihood, "flashes of brilliance." Charles Boyd even commented on this phenomenon in the tweets above, stating "Vaylin has more raw power - she's probably second only to Valkorion on the scale of SWTOR characters - but the player characters have far more fighting experience, which is why they're able to defeat her." And this is consistent with her earlier performances against Senya, where she is able to crush her mother's skull with telekinesis but nonetheless loses in lightsaber combat (cf. Sidious vs. Maul for a contrast). Similar disparities between mastery and power are present in other mega prodigies such as Galen Marek and Kyp Durron.


swtor.com: A Mother's Hope wrote:Senya raised her weapon, only to have it wrenched effortlessly from her hands by the Force. The pike sailed ten meters through the air and into Vaylin’s waiting grasp.

She could crush my skull in an instant, Senya realized. And I’d be powerless to stop her!

But when Vaylin raised the stolen lightsaber pike and charged, she knew that wouldn’t happen – her daughter wanted the visceral pleasure of slicing her down in combat.

Using the Force to pull the lightsaber of one of the fallen knights into her own hand, Senya met the charge head on. The glowing blades clashed with a loud, crackling hiss, and for an instant the two combatants stood face-to-face, only centimeters apart, surrounded by the orange flames spreading rapidly through the camp.

Senya was close enough to stare into Vaylin’s eyes. They burned with hate, pure and savage; all trace of the child that had once clung to her mother’s side was gone. Shocked by the intensity of her daughter’s vicious loathing, Senya was forced to look away. In that instant Vaylin dropped down into a crouch, swinging her pike in a wide, sweeping arc meant to cut her mother’s legs out from under her. But Senya had already sprung clear with a graceful backflip, landing in a defensive stance to meet Vaylin’s next assault.

“Afraid to stand and fight me, Mother?” Vaylin asked with a sly smile. The flames burning all around them cast strange, flickering shadows across her face.
Instead of replying, Senya braced herself for the coming charge, quietly confident in her own skills. They’d clashed once before, and Senya had prevailed: her daughter might be stronger in the Force, but Senya had spent decades mastering the art of hand-to-hand combat. If Vaylin wanted to fight her, the outcome was inevitable.

As expected, Vaylin rushed at her with unrestrained fury, the pike becoming a spinning, whirling instrument of death in her nimble hands. Senya parried the initial flurry, redirecting each blow with subtle counters and deflections that allowed her to slow the momentum of Vaylin’s charge. Then she switched from defense to offense, retaliating with her own sequence of quick cuts and thrusts meant not to kill, but to drive her daughter back, keeping her off balance and in perpetual retreat.

But instead of giving ground, Vaylin countered with another vicious assault, putting Senya on the defensive again. Surprised, the older woman staggered back, ducking to the side as the pike skimmed past her cheek close enough for her to feel the heat of the glowing blade. It clipped the tip of her shoulder, carving a small chunk from her armor.

The next blow nearly took her leg below the knee – at the very last instant Senya snatched her foot clear. But though she’d spared her limb, she was off balance and out of position. Vaylin pounced, hacking and slashing at her mother; what she lacked in technique she more than made up for in speed and relentless aggression.

Reflexes and instincts honed over thirty years of training allowed Senya to keep the killing blow at bay… but only barely. She ducked and darted to the left, leaping over one of the raging walls of fire crisscrossing the camp.

She’s stronger now. Faster. More confident.

But there were still flaws in Vaylin’s form. Now that she had measured her opponent, Senya saw subtle imperfections she could exploit.

Her daughter leaped over the wall of fire between them and charged again. She was pressing the action, trying to overwhelm Senya and go for the quick kill. On the next pass, Senya let the tip of her lightsaber dip, offering a brief opening. As expected, Vaylin seized on the sudden vulnerability. But Senya was ready; anticipating her daughter’s strike she sidestepped the blow and got in close enough to throw an elbow into Vaylin’s chest, staggering her back.

Vaylin caught her footing a step before she stumbled into the nearby flames. Enraged, she rushed her mother again, redoubling her efforts. Senya continued to feint and bait her opponent, using her own aggression against her to control the battle. She could sense her daughter’s frustration mounting as the battle dragged on – her attacks became more desperate, more frenzied. Time and time again Vaylin saw what she thought was an opportunity to end the battle in a single blow, only to have it snatched away at the last instant by her elusive foe.

Fatigue began to take its toll. The blinding speed of Vaylin’s attacks slowed ever so slightly as her muscles began to ache. She was lunging and flailing, off balance and out of sorts. Both combatants were breathing heavily, but unlike her daughter, Senya had been pacing herself, holding something in reserve.

--- --- --- --- ---

I don't really have any concluding remarks. I think the contents of the blog speak for themselves.
Back to top
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum