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    Hardcore Solo Scoundrel Guide by 1Macready

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 01/15/12 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    STAR WARS: KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC
    
    "Hardcore" Solo Scoundrel Guide
    by Macready
    January 15, 2012
    
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    FORMATTING NOTE
    This guide is best viewed in a text editor, or using a fixed-width font such
    as Courier New.
    
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    REVISION HISTORY
    01/15/2012 - First release.
    
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    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    
    [A] Introduction
    [B] Building Your Character
        [B01] Class
        [B02] Starting statistics
        [B03] Skills
        [B04] Feats
        [B05] Alignment
    [C] General Strategy
    [D] Walkthrough
        [D01] Endar Spire
        [D02] Upper Taris
        [D03] Lower Taris
        [D04] Undercity
        [D05] Sewers
        [D06] Vulkar Base
        [D07] Brejik
        [D08] Duel Ring
        [D09] Sith Military Base
        [D10] Davik's Estate
     [E] Final Thoughts
    
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    [A] INTRODUCTION
    
    This guide is not intended for those as yet unfamiliar with the game mechanics
    of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (henceforth to be referred to as
    "KotOR").  If you are not yet acquainted with the game's basics, I encourage
    you to first read a more general guide, and/or spend some time playing the
    game, prior to reading this guide.  For that matter, I'd go so far as to say
    that if you have not yet fully played through the game at least once, it's too
    soon to be using a guide such as this one.
    
    KotOR's Scoundrel class is an interesting one.  Although it suffers from an
    alarming number of combat weaknesses, such as having the lowest number of
    vitality points (VPs) per level, the fewest elective feats, and the worst base
    attack bonus (BAB) progression, it also is the only class in the game to have
    access to the massively powerful and hugely satisfying Sneak Attack feat line.
    Furthermore, Scoundrel's Luck mitigates some of the vulnerability with its
    very nice bonus to defense.  The Scoundrel is also the only class to have
    Persuade available as a class skill from the start of the game.
    
    For me personally, the Scoundrel class presents a major dilemma.  Sneak Attack
    is a coveted addition to my Jedi class of choice (Guardian), and having a
    fully developed Persuade on Taris is hard to live without once you've had the
    chance to experience the game with it.  So what's the problem, then?  Just
    this: once you have become familiar with the game, KotOR is really not that
    difficult.  So, I am simply not satisfied with my play experience unless I
    adhere to a specific set of "rules" in order to increase the difficulty.  They
    are as follows:
    
    * No deaths (or in Diablo terms, "hardcore")
    * No annoying stumbles (e.g., losing a duel on Taris)
    * No skipping of quests, unless for alignment / roleplay reasons
    * No abuse of the save game feature (i.e., if things are going badly, I am
      not allowed to reload mid-fight in order to prevent a death)
    * Play solo (in particular, no use of other NPCs in combat except when the
      game forces them on you)
    * Game difficulty set to difficult
    
    Failure on any of the above counts will cause me to abandon the game in
    progress immediately.  I'll either start over from scratch, or move on to
    another game entirely.  This may seem draconian, but it does serve to raise
    the tension considerably when playing.
    
    In addition, I also try to limit doing things which I consider exploits.  I'll
    mention specific examples as they come up, but for now know that I consider
    using items via the inventory screen as a means to preserve turn advantage to
    be inherently lame.  In my mind, using an item on the inventory screen should
    cause the act of using whatever item (medpack, stimulant, energy shield, etc.)
    to be added to my action queue, where it will take a turn in order to complete
    the action (thereby preventing me from doing something else such as attacking
    the opposition).  Instead, you are often able to use such items instantly,
    without interrupting the execution of your action queue at all.  Although I
    will make use of this "feature" if I feel that my success is seriously in
    jeopardy, it bothers me to do so, and I will remember doing so as a blight on
    an otherwise "perfect" game.
    
    I will unapologetically make use of my prior knowledge of the game, however.
    I simply cannot "un-know" what I have learned in previous playthroughs.  Then
    too, what I am proposing to accomplish is, frankly, quite impossible without
    planning ahead while making full use of your foreknowledge of the game's
    events and combats.  My restrictive rules are just my way of compensating for
    the power of already knowing what dangers are lying in wait for me.
    
    Anyway, by now you should be able to perceive the dilemma of the Scoundrel
    class quite well.  It offers some attractive and unique features, but its
    fragility is a real problem in a hardcore environment.  If you are playing
    solo, you are solely responsible for winning fights, and worse, all enemy
    attacks will be directed squarely at you.  Worse still, the "difficult" game
    setting means that all of those attacks will be significantly more damaging
    (1.5x damage done by all enemy attacks).
    
    So, this guide will mainly concern itself with how to keep a Scoundrel alive
    throughout a solo adventure on Taris played according to the restrictive rules
    that I have described.  Once Taris is safely in your rear view mirror, you can
    enjoy the enhanced defense and the fearsome and powerful sneak attacks which
    are a part of your Jedi arsenal.
    
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    [B] BUILDING YOUR CHARACTER
    
    I should probably take a moment to discuss the methodology I'll be using along
    the way.  This guide will read a bit like a gaming blog, because I will be
    playing the game from the very start and recording the choices I make, and
    more importantly, the reasons WHY I made them.  You are, of course, free to
    make your own decisions, and if you choose to divert from the advice given
    here, at least you'll better understand the dynamics of your decisions.
    
    [B01] CLASS
    
    Choose the Scoundrel.  That was easy!
    
    I will be playing with the goal of becoming a Guardian when the time comes to
    select a Jedi class, for a number of reasons.  For starters, the Sneak Attack
    feat line gels ever so nicely with the Guardian's Force Jump feats.  Then too,
    the Guardian is certainly a good pick for a hardcore play style, with all of
    its VPs and feats.  And lastly, I simply enjoy it the most.  There are times
    during the game when it seems like a Consular is the best pick - you'll find
    rooms full of enemies who can be crushed easily using your force powers alone,
    such that it isn't even worth brandishing your saber.  But regardless of the
    choices we make along the way, we all end up in the same place, which is to
    say, toe to toe with Malak.  If you've been neglecting your combat abilities,
    you'll feel that shortcoming here.  Since I prefer this final battle to be
    a satisfying climax to a triumphant playthrough, I like to build characters
    which are well equipped for saber combat.
    
    As for the level split, I will level my Scoundrel to 7 and then delay any
    further levelling until the Guardian class becomes available.  Scoundrel level
    7 gives me access to Improved Scoundrel's Luck (+4 to my defense rating) as
    well as Sneak Attack IV (6-24 bonus damage for every successfully executed
    sneak attack).
    
    [B02] STARTING STATISTICS
    
    I will be focusing primarily on physical, combat oriented development in order
    to make maximum use of sneak attack.  Use of the force later in my career will
    be confined to limited buffing (force speed and improved energy resistance,
    and force immunity situationally) as well as incapacitation of enemies (stasis
    field, force wave, or insanity).
    
    STRENGTH (STR) - 14
    I will be focusing on strength as my primary stat - most of my elective points
    will go here.  Scoundrels get the Critical Strike feat for free, which can be
    used as a means to stun a single opponent.  Since the DC of the stun is based
    on attacker level and STR bonus, a focus on strength really helps.  Further,
    sometimes the best defense is a strong offense.  In the end game, we are
    shooting to be able to take down most opponents in a single round.  Being able
    to leap in, dispatch the first opponent in a group in your first salvo, and
    then leap on to the next is much safer than staying in one spot for a multi-
    round kill (e.g., if someone throws a grenade at you, you'll already be gone
    from the point of detonation by the time it goes off).  The flow of combat
    against multiple enemies is also supremely satisfying when you are routinely
    scoring one-round kills.
    
    DEXTERITY (DEX) - 14
    Focusing on strength over dexterity does NOT mean that the latter should be
    entirely neglected.  You will make ample use of that two point DEX bonus on
    Taris, in blaster accuracy, use of stealth, and most importantly, overall
    defense rating.
    
    CONSTITUTION (CON) - 14
    You need the bonus VPs.  A LOT.  Playing hardcore will eventually lead you to
    a situation in which you sustain a Surprising Amount of Damage ("SAD").  If
    you barely squeak by, you'll be immensely grateful that your bonus VPs just
    prevented your game from coming to an abrupt conclusion.  If you die, you'll
    wonder if just a few more VPs might have made the difference.
    
    INTELLIGENCE (INT) - 10
    It would be incredibly convenient to have this at 12, but not because of the
    one-time skill point bonus at character creation.  A modified Demolitions
    score of 10 will allow you to recover "minor" type mines set by others (of
    which there are many on Taris).  Since INT is the governing statistic of
    Demolitions, having no bonus here means that you won't be able to recover
    mines until character level (clvl) 6 or 7.  That is a LONG time to wait for an
    ability that we will desperately need in order to make it off Taris.  But I am
    not comfortable with borrowing from any other stat just for this purpose.
    
    WISDOM (WIS) - 14
    Wisdom is important for defense (Will saving throws) as well as offense (force
    power DCs).  It also governs bonuses to force points, which are always nice to
    have (and if you go dark side, you won't get ANY such bonus from equipment).
    
    CHARISMA (CHA) - 12
    Charisma helps with force points and force power DCs, in addition to providing
    a bonus to the Persuade skill.
    
    [B03] SKILLS
    
    I will have 53 skills points available for use (16 starting, plus 24 from the
    6 additional Scoundrel levels, plus 13 from the Guardian levels).  A nice
    feature of the Scoundrel class is that I will have almost all the skill points
    required to invest as much as desired in each skill as soon as I am able.
    
    I will put 18 points into Persuade.  It is extremely useful throughout the
    game.
    
    I will invest 18 points into Stealth.  I suspect that Stealth falls short of
    what anyone interested in it would wish it to be, but it does have its uses,
    particularly on Taris, where we are most vulnerable.
    
    I will be placing 11 points into Demolitions.  This skill level will allow me
    to recover minor mines (on Taris! where we need it most) and to disarm average
    and deadly ones.  Later in the game I'll also be able to recover average ones,
    so long as I keep the Bothan Sensory Visor handy (which I might be wearing
    anyway for its critical hit protection).
    
    Awareness will get 5 points.  The Wisdom bonus and the Bothan Sensory Visor
    can easily push my modified score over 10, which will suffice for detecting
    most mine types.
    
    Finally, I will place one point into Security.  Given that you are able to
    "take 20" just about every time you need to use the skill, it offers a very
    convenient way around minor obstacles (I always think that my poor character
    must feel like an ass when forced to stand in a public hallway, hacking at a
    metal door with a sword).  Again, the Bothan Sensory Visor will boost this
    nicely later on.
    
    Note that I have omitted the very useful Treat Injury skill.  This should help
    me to resist the temptation to resort to the ever-so-lame inventory screen
    heal.
    
    [B04] FEATS
    
    One of the KotOR community's favorite topics to argue over is the question of
    whether Flurry, Critical Strike or Power Attack is better.  So, which of them
    do I recommend you choose?
    
    Easy.  None of the above!
    
    Or at least that's one of the options.  If I had as many feats as I wanted,
    I'd probably opt for Flurry, just to get in one more sneak attack per round
    against every disabled opponent.  But, the bottom line is that we are feat-
    starved.  Our primary goals are to remain alive (hardcore!) and to maximize
    damage per attack in order to achieve those lovely one-round kills once we
    are fully developed, and our feat selection will reflect that.
    
    As a 7/13 Scoundrel/Guardian, we get 10 elective feats in all, three of those
    on Taris.  Our first 6 feats will be the following, chosen in this order:
    
    Toughness, Implant Level 1, Implant Level 2, Two-Weapon Fighting, Improved
    Two-Weapon Fighting, Master Two-Weapon Fighting
    
    Implant Level 2 is a must for Taris, as it is the only way to gain immunity to
    critical hits.  Without that immunity, one-hit kills are a looming threat at
    seemingly every turn for our poor little VP-barren Scoundrel.  That leaves us
    with one more feat on Taris.  Two-Weapon Fighting is way too underdeveloped to
    seriously use.  So, we might as well add the extra VPs from Toughness right
    from the start.
    
    The next two feats will be Weapon Focus: Lightsaber and Weapon Specialization:
    Lightsaber.  They gives us a +1 attack bonus, and more importantly, an extra
    +2 damage per attack, which will contribute along with our STR bonus to our
    minimum attack damage.  Remember, our goal is to achieve as many one-round
    kills as possible.
    
    That leaves us with two last feats, and here is where you can customize to
    taste.  On the defense and buffing front, you can pick from a pool of feats
    including the Toughness Line, Implant Level 3, or Conditioning.  On the
    offensive front, you could spend those two feats on picking up Improved
    Critical Strike and Master Critical Strike.  I don't recommend that you use
    the Critical Strike line when up against multiple targets (unless you've
    disabled them already), because it negates your defenses terribly.  Then too,
    the Critical Strike line does not gel well with the double-bladed saber, which
    is by far the best weapon to use for damage efficiency when chasing one-round
    kills.  BUT, because we are pursuing a strength build, the stun effect from
    Critical Strike is almost a sure bet, especially when you are getting three
    chances per round due to Master Speed.  You'll find yourself using Critical
    Strike against single opponents for that reason, and it also works great for
    disabling force-resistant enemies (fights against terentateks can be won quite
    easily with this).  But you already get the stun effect with the first feat,
    so it's up to you whether to invest any further.  I will say that it is fun to
    see those high damage hits, so if you enjoy that as well, you might as well
    increase your critical hit chances when fighting those single opponents.
    
    The preferred method of attack in the end game will be force-jumping enemies
    while using Master Force Speed (as soon as it is available).  Master Force
    Jump combined with Master Force Speed will give us four attacks, with each
    attack at +4 damage, plus our STR bonus, plus our +2 Lightsaber spec bonus,
    plus our 4-24 sneak attack bonus, all on top of whatever damage is on the
    saber itself.  Once we've jumped into the fray with that opening Force Jump,
    we'll opt to disable any remaining opponents with a force power, and then
    resume sneak attacking (with all bonuses except the Force Jump bonus intact).
    
    [B05] ALIGNMENT
    
    Whether you follow the light side or the dark is entirely up to you.  Be aware
    if you are not already that pursuing a completely light path on Taris will amp
    up the difficulty considerably, moreso for a Scoundrel than for the other two
    classes.  More on this subject to come.
    
    I myself usually prefer to play the light side.  I've completed the game three
    times thus far (twice light, once dark).  This time I will be using a female
    protagonist so that I can see how the Carth romance plays out.  I definitely
    enjoy the light side more, so I will probably go that route, with a few very
    carefully picked exceptions on Taris as needed.  I will make a save before the
    final light/dark decision so that I replay the last bit with the dark ending -
    I've heard there's an extra bit of Carth content if the dark side is chosen.
    
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    [C] GENERAL STRATEGY
    
    The guiding principle of the early game is quite simple: we're going to buy
    our way off of Taris.  No, there isn't some man behind the curtain that we're
    able to bribe for safe passage.  What I mean is that we are going to be using
    LOTS of grenades and mines, far more than the game dishes out to us in the
    form of loot and recovered mines.  That means that we are going to need a very
    steady flow of credits in order to buy them from Kebla and Igear.
    
    This, by the way, is why playing the light side will pose such a challenge for
    our young Scoundrel.  Not only does it mean passing up a number of lucrative
    opportunities, but actually paying out credits to help others out of their own
    pecuniary difficulties.  Although I will be tending toward the light side, I
    suspect I'll be indulging my baser instincts now and again to amass all of the
    credits I'll need in order to act "for the greater good" (e.g., I'm pretty
    sure that the rakghoul serum is going to Davik).
    
    As for combat, the general strategy will be never to fight against more than
    one opponent at a time whenever it can be helped, with few exceptions (one
    such exception might be a couple of garden variety Vulkars with blasters, who
    could be managed by using an energy shield charge to limit incoming damage).
    When there are multiples, grenades and/or mines will be used to whittle the
    opposition down to a single opponent ASAP.  And tougher opponents will be
    handled exclusively via grenades and mines (fair fights are for Soldiers, and
    for the Guardian we will eventually become).
    
    Those of you who are familiar with the game's mechanics may have noticed that
    whenever you level up, any damage you may have sustained recently is fully
    healed.  This may tempt you into saving level-ups for use as emergency heals.
    I would encourage you not to do this.  For one thing, it feels very much like
    an exploit, at least in my book.  Let's not taint our perfect game with such
    foolishness.  More importantly, you really need those levels on Taris.  In
    addition to the very important VP increases, each level brings with it much
    needed abilities.  Stealth and Demolitions increases.  Improved sneak attacks.
    Improved Scoundrel's Luck.  So, level up as soon as you're able, until you
    have reached level 7.
    
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    [D] WALKTHROUGH
    
    One thing which amuses me about following the light path in KotOR, at least
    when compared to the Star Wars movies, is the extent of the body count.  In
    the films, the Jedi frequently find ways to resolve their difficulties while
    keeping violence to a minimum.  You, on the other hand, will make Conan the
    Barbarian look like Mister Rogers.  So, as I progress, I will try to keep
    track of the overall body count.  I will omit droids, as they are not living
    and sentient beings.
    
    [D01] ENDAR SPIRE
    
    There's not much to say about your trip through the Endar Spire, but I will
    mention a few points.
    
    Try to be conservative with your grenade use here.  If you die, the "hardcore"
    penalty of needing to restart is not so terrible.  And even though I play the
    Endar Spire with a riskier hand than I would use anywhere else, I don't think
    I've ever died.  In this playthrough, I used only one grenade.  After the Sith
    vs. Republic soldier fight cutscene, there are three Sith soldiers nicely
    lined up in the distance.  If you target the middle one with a frag grenade,
    you will almost surely kill one or two, and soften up whoever is left.  In my
    game, all three went down.  In hindsight, I wish I had been able to roll that
    grenade like a bowling ball... strike!
    
    Trask will be launched into two or three fights via mini-cutscene.  Don't let
    this bother you.  Keep solo mode on, and ditch him whenever you are able; but
    when he magically appears for a pre-fight cutscene, just roll with it.
    
    I turned on stealth prior to opening the door leading to the second pair of
    Sith soldiers.  I was able to make it to the footlocker and snag the combat
    suit, long sword, and whatever else was in there before I was detected.  I
    got clipped by two blaster shots as I ran away (shaving 6 of 9 VPs), but I was
    then able to exchange my crappy clothing for the much nicer and safer combat
    suit, and have access to the more lethal long sword, prior to stabbing myself
    with a medpack and re-engaging.
    
    I used plain medpacks a few times, but I was either out of combat, or used one
    via my action queue.  No inventory heals!
    
    For that last room full of Sith soldiers before you get to Carth, I always opt
    to repair the droid.  You don't need to bother with activating its shields;
    just spend four parts on activating patrol mode, and back off.  It will clean
    up the soldiers quite nicely, saving all of your computer spikes and four of
    the repair parts for use elsewhere (or for selling - the spikes fetch a nice
    price).
    
    *Body count: ~20
    I'm not counting the third Sith soldier on the bridge, as I had nothing to do
    with his death (I think there's a scripted explosion which kills everyone up
    front).  I'm also not sure how many Sith are in the pre-Carth room, but I am
    pretty sure that it is 4 or 5, so I went with 4.
    
    *Total body count: ~20
    
    [D02] UPPER TARIS
    
    Carth is forced on you for the first fight against the cranky Sith guy in the
    hallway; enjoy the help while you're able.  Focus on taking out the droid on
    your side with your ion blaster, then equip your upgraded prototype vibroblade
    (you DID get that blade on the Endar Spire and upgrade it with the vibration
    cell in your apartment, right?) and sneak attack Mr. Crankypants (who, sadly,
    has his back to you) while Carth takes out the other droid.
    
    At this point you need to begin planning your economic path forward.  The
    first truly difficult (potential) encounter that is facing you will come in
    the form of the beefed up rakghoul threatening poor Hendar the Outcast just
    outside of the gates to the Undercity village.  If you want to play it safe,
    you will opt out of this encounter.  But if you are playing the light path
    and want to keep your options open here, some advance planning is required.
    
    Level 5 is a must, for the added VPs, Sneak Attack III, and Implant Level 2,
    which will enable you to use the Retinal Combant Implant to protect yourself
    from critical hits.  I'm not entirely sure that it is always possible to earn
    enough experience to hit level 5 prior to exiting the Undercity village, but
    I am going to try.  And speaking of that implant, it will set you back around
    560 credits at Igear's store, so plan on having that in your wallet if you
    want to give Hendar a chance to live on.
    
    On the subject of Igear, keep your purchases to a minimum until you've had a
    chance to visit his store.  He's got the lowest prices in town.  That also
    extends to what he offers you for your wares, though, so don't ever sell him
    your loot.  Because he's so cheap, you should wait until the last possible
    moment to fulfill Rukil's quest (if you're going light side) in order to keep
    Igear available if you need him.
    
    But, back to the present.  Normally I'm pretty averse to hard driving sales
    pitches, but I'd go ahead and purchase the energy shield that our green friend
    in the hallway outside our apartment is pushing.  A time will come when you
    are swimming in these energy shields, but that time is not now, and you will
    have occasion to use this one before the winds of Fate blow another one your
    way.  The upgraded Stealth belt (with +2 Stealth bonus) is also a good use of
    credits, although get that from Kebla, who is cheaper.
    
    Avoid speaking to Lena in the Upper City cantina just yet.  Pissing her off
    results in a subsequent fight against two of her father's thugs outside the
    cantina, which is best delayed until we are a bit stronger.  But we don't want
    to placate her either (unless you are really going all out in your pursuit of
    the light, even when force alignment changes are not at stake), because we can
    use the experience and loot.
    
    Save your grenades when confronting the two bounty hunters bullying the old
    man near the exit to the other end of the Upper City.  They're both packing
    blasters, so as long as you maintain your distance, you can use your energy
    shield to negate incoming damage for long enough to take one of them out with
    your blaster in order to make a fair fight of it.  Once I had dispatched them,
    I further assisted my new friend by handing over some credits to help him
    settle his debt.  So what if he had to tug harder than he was expecting to get
    them out of my hand?
    
    Make sure to loot any unlocked, abandoned apartments up here.  Don't be shy
    about stealing from the Sith soldier you met at the cantina, either.  You need
    the credits!  Don't go down to the Lower City until you have purchased the
    upgraded Stealth belt and two frag mines.
    
    *Body count: 5
    *Total body count: ~25
    
    [D03] LOWER TARIS
    Your initial foray into Lower Taris presents an immediate opportunity for
    SADness (you remember my "Surprising Amount of Damage" warning, right?).
    After the little cutscene depicting the Bek/Vulkar fight, you will be faced
    with three melee opponents.  One of them is wielding a double-bladed sword,
    too - so that means four melee attacks per round directed your way.  By the
    way, you are level 3 at this point.
    
    Fortunately, the game developers imparted upon us the small mercy of being in
    control of triggering this encounter; it won't start until you advance near to
    the first left/right intersection just ahead (the bad guys are to the left).
    So, avail yourself of this advantage by preparing yourself.
    
    Begin by taking off that stupid Sith armor and replacing it with whatever
    superior armor you were wearing prior to fooling the guard at the Upper City
    elevator.  Next, immediately lay a mine about halfway between yourself and the
    corner ahead.  Then advance just a bit (not too far!) and lay another ahead of
    it and to the left, like so:
    ____     ____
    
    ____     ____
       | x   |
       |  x  |
       |_____|
      elevator
    
    Finally, go ahead and inch forward far enough to trigger the cutscene.  The
    second it is over, hit PAUSE.  Target the middle enemy around the corner with
    a frag grenade and let it fly.  Then, fall back a bit behind the first mine so
    that anyone left will have to advance through it (but not the second one,
    which should now be to the side of you) in order to reach you.  Make sure to
    space your mines such that this is possible.
    
    There are a lot of variables at work here (three enemies times two explosive
    devices equals six saving throws), so it's hard to say just what you'll be
    facing after your grenade and mine do their work.  If it is just one wounded
    opponent, go ahead and finish them with your vibroblade.  If you feel that you
    are still at risk, cut across to the other side of the hallway past the second
    mine and let it work its magic.
    
    Now that you are safely established in the Lower City, you can easily clear
    the streets with very little risk to yourself.  Whenever you spot an enemy,
    fire off a quick shot to get their attention, and then pull them back to the
    guards outside the cantina and the Bek base.  They will engage the Vulkar
    thugs while you sit in safety waiting to reap the rewards.
    
    When you are clearing the apartments, remember to set a mine or two in the
    hallways to fall back to if needed.  And use that sneak attack!  A great
    strategy for taking on pairs is to activate your shield, stealth your way
    behind your target, and open with a vibroblade sneak attack.  Then quickly
    withdraw a bit to encourage blaster use by your opponents, and mop them up
    from the cover of your energy shield.
    
    Don't mess with Selven until you have obtained critical hit immunity via
    implant and mind-affecting immunity via the Republic Mod Armor.
    
    If you'll be going light side, I'd defer completing light side quests for as
    long as possible.  I've noticed that the alignment swings in the other
    direction seem bigger the further you are from the middle, so if you are
    going to do some "dark" things, do them first before you start piling on the
    good deeds.
    
    *Body count: ~40
    *Total body count: ~65
    
    [D04] UNDERCITY
    
    Upon arriving in the Undercity, I was short of both funding (for the Retinal
    Combat Implant) and experience (for level 5).  But, by backtracking and
    completing the Matrik bounty (light side) and the first two duels (Duncan
    and Gerlon), I was able to solve both problems.  So, now I was faced with
    the big question: do I help Hendar?
    
    I opted not to help ("it's not safe; don't open the gate").  I know, quite a
    cowardly path to follow, especially after I put so much thought and work into
    fulfilling the necessary prerequisites for the encounter with the rakghoul.
    But the simple truth is this: that's a fight for a Soldier, not a Scoundrel.
    By being forced to charge directly into the fray, you sacrifice all of the
    important Scoundrel advantages.  No setting of mines as a fallback; no stealth
    to set up the encounter and guarantee an attempt at a sneak attack.  Then too,
    Hendar's close proximity takes grenades off of the table (if you're serious
    about saving him instead of killing him, that is), and a fast, direct attack
    is required to save his life.  I very seriously doubted that I'd be able to
    kill the rakghoul prior to its killing Hendar.  I also had my doubts about
    surviving myself, and thought it would be especially unlikely without using
    inventory heals, which is lame.
    
    As a weak Scoundrel, you need to make your own luck by stacking the deck in
    your favor, not by leaving things up to chance (and a poor chance at that).
    When that's not possible, you opt out.  So, I very stonily instructed Trewin
    to keep the gate closed, and I stood there and watched Hendar die.  There was
    no dark side shift, but there is no question that this was a real blow to my
    light side resumé.  Alas, poor Hendar: I shed a Scoundrel's tear for you!
    
    Well, that's settled.  Out into the Undercity I go.  First order of business
    was to set a few fallback mines.  Then I took out Hendar's rakghoul (which
    was nearby) using my typical sneaky methods.  It has a weird AI glitch post-
    Hendar which causes it to fall back to a particular spot if you retreat far
    enough.  Not sure what's up with that, but it complicated pulling it across a
    mine.
    
    It's well worth provoking the Sith patrol into combat ("I don't like your
    tone!"), because the loot is awesome (blaster rifles x3 = 360 credits, plus
    Motion Detection Goggles which add a point to Demolitions, enabling mine
    recovery at level 6 instead of 7, and other assorted crap).  Use an energy
    shield charge before approaching, and once they're hostile, chuck a frag
    grenade at them and pull back.  I dropped both the flunkies with my own
    grenade, and then retreated (the patrol leader was too busy activating his
    energy shield and using a medpack to give chase).  Then I stealthed up and
    used a sneak attack with a vibroblade to drop him in one shot.  Sorry, Sithie!
    
    At this point, very shortly after the Hendar low, something good was beginning
    to take shape.  The Sith patrol gave a nice upward jolt to my cash flow.  And
    I barely had to use any mines at all in order to clear the Undercity outside
    of the Outcast camp.  When I finally had the rakghoul serum in my hands, it
    was beginning to look very much like I would never need to cash it in with
    Davik!
    
    *Body count: ~31
    *Total body count: ~96
    
    [D05] SEWERS
    
    Much of the sewers plays out like usual.  Set your fallback mines, then either
    pull singly, or if your targets are clumped, raise hell with a grenade, then
    fall back in order to string them out for separate kills (or mine them if that
    proves impossible).  But it's not long before the opportunity for SADness
    manifests itself again.
    
    You are not getting into the upper sewers without Mission's help.  You aren't
    getting Mission's help without first rescuing Zaalbar.  And you aren't getting
    that done without going through four very dangerous Gamorreans.  The chief in
    particular is to be avoided at all costs.  My original plan was to set a huge
    line of mines (about 10), which I did; but then I noticed the broken droid in
    the room across the hall and thought, "why not?"  I'd been collecting repair
    parts all game and had only spent 4 of them on the Endar Spire, so...
    
    I reactivated the droid, upgraded its defense and accuracy, and activated its
    patrol mode.  I didn't have enough parts for the shields as well.  As it
    turned out, that is one badass little droid, and he did just fine without the
    shields.  He took out all four of the super-dangerous Gamorreans, by himself,
    all at the same time.  And knocked off the two in the next room.  And then
    proceeded to take out 5 or 10 more bad guys that I pulled to it in ones and
    twos.  It was so effective that I nearly got myself into trouble.  I was
    pulling a few rakghouls to it from the other side of the map, when on my way
    back, I ran into the respawn from a rakghoul room I'd already cleared.  Oops.
    Fortunately I managed to lose some of them, and my little droid friend thinned
    out the group that was still on my tail before finally succumbing.  In the end,
    it saved me a TON of mines.  Farewell, Droidicus; you shall be remembered.
    
    Aside from that, nothing noteworthy.  Just remember to always keep a couple of
    fallback mines out in case you get in over your head.  You can always recover
    them later if you don't end up needing to use them.
    
    *Body count: ~51
    *Total body count: ~147
    
    [D06] VULKAR BASE
    
    The upper level here is pretty standard fare; it certainly shouldn't slow you
    up much after having made it through the sewers.  I turned level 7 somewhere
    around here, and also acquired the second upgrade for the Republic Mod Armor.
    Once that had been installed using the workbench on the lower level, I was as
    strong as I was going to get on Taris: 63 VPs, 22 defense, and immune to both
    critical hits and mind-affecting attacks.
    
    Make sure that you don't run into the elevator room until you've dealt with
    the security system, or you'll die a script death.  That'd be a hell of a way
    to go at this point.
    
    On the lower level, stealth up and immediately set some fallback mines.  Once
    the Vulkar Garage Head and his two cronies have made their first pass, set
    some mines in their path and then pull them with a grenade.  Mop up whatever
    is left using a blaster and your energy shields.
    
    Set plenty of mines for the Kandon encounter.  I can't remember what this guy
    and his bodyguard are capable of, but I'm assuming it's bad, so I accomplished
    the whole thing via grenades and mines.  Do NOT opt to betray Gadon, or you
    will be opening yourself up to a world of hurt when you confront him in that
    little room with his own bodyguard at the Bek base.  There's a perfect dialog
    option here for you dark-siders, anyway.  After Kandon suggests that instead
    of just taking the prototype accelerator, you should instead backtrack, take
    out yet another entire base full of gang members, and then kill Gadon, simply
    reply, "how about I just kill you instead?"
    
    I thought seriously about leaving the loading bay alone, because that droid
    inside is about the single deadliest thing on all of Taris.  But you can
    actually take it out safely from a distance using grenades from the edge of
    its AI range (throw one near the edge of its patrol route - when the droid
    doubles back in the opposite direction, it will reach the point of detonation
    just at the right moment).  Of course, that feels like an exploit, because
    it's ridiculous to think that it wouldn't immediately give chase upon the
    first grenade going off.  So, to curb my exploit guilt, I set about ten mines
    in a line outside the loading bay doors prior to opening them.  I knew they
    wouldn't be needed, but by going through the motions I can at least argue that
    I would have won anyway even if that droid wasn't such an idiot.
    
    *Body count: ~24
    *Total body count: ~171
    
    [D07] BREJIK
    
    The Brejik fight which occurs after the swoop race can be dangerous.  Brejik
    is a Scoundrel himself, which means the potential for a taste of our own
    medicine: sneak attack!  The key to surviving is to deny him that chance.
    When the fight begins, activate your energy shield and engage him with your
    blade.  A fight at melee range will deny him his DEX bonus to ranged weapons.
    NEVER turn your back on him, even for a second.  Don't even turn slightly away
    from him - the game is very generous in giving him the chance for a sneak
    attack.  Even if another NPC engages you at melee range, keep your attacks
    focused upon Brejik.  It is actually not all that important to fight well
    here, because Bastila is fighting on your side whether you like it or not, and
    will quickly mop up everyone except him.  Then, the two of you together will
    finish him off.  So just deny Brejik a look at your flank by focusing your
    attacks on him in order to stay alive.
    
    *Body count: ~3
    *Total body count: ~174
    
    [D08] DUEL RING
    
    I'd wait to begin dueling until you are level 7, which you will be once you've
    finished the Vulkar Base.  Improved Scoundrel's Luck and Sneak Attack IV will
    be in your arsenal, and you will have obtained the Retinal Combat Implant and
    the fully upgraded Republic Mod Armor.  However, Duncan and Gerlon are easy
    opponents and can be taken down sooner if you really need the credits.
    
    All duels begin with the combatants at maximum attack / AI range.  There is
    also a very brief period after the announcer finishes before your opponent
    turns hostile.  You can use these two facts to your advantage - if you pull
    back away from your opponent as soon as the announcer finishes and before they
    turn hostile, you will have stepped out of their AI range.  This means that
    they will not advance on you or attack.  Use this opportunity to engage your
    stealth ability.
    
    Does this pass the exploit sniff test?  It's a close call, but I'd say yes.
    It's a bit stupid that your opponent does not immediately advance and attack,
    but the bottom line is that you clearly start on opposite sides of the arena
    by design.  So being able to cloak at that range is OK.  It would be better
    if your opponent then advanced immediately in order to begin registering
    awareness checks, but... there's a limit to how far I'll go to compensate for
    the game's AI deficiencies.  Charging in just because the AI doesn't respond
    appropriately to stealth amounts to throwing away a key Scoundrel advantage
    and acting like a Soldier instead.  So, in the final analysis, I believe that
    the starting distance between you and your opponent can and should be regarded
    as an opportunity to cloak yourself.
    
    With that settled, the best way to begin any duel (except for the Bendak one)
    is to step back and turn on stealth as soon as the announcer finishes.  What
    you do next depends on your opponent.
    
    *Duncan
    Duncan is armed with a sword.  Simply flank him and attack with a melee
    weapon while still stealthed.  If you miss with your sneak attack, stand your
    ground.  He will most likely go down the first time that you land a hit.
    
    *Gerlon
    Gerlon is armed with a blaster.  Equip a melee weapon and flank him as you did
    Duncan.  Since you'll get a +10 to hit bonus for melee on ranged, you will
    very likely take him out with your opening sneak attack (at least at level 7).
    
    *Ice
    Ice is armed with some sort of heavy blaster.  A bit more care is required
    here.  After stealthing, activate your energy shield and then flank her with a
    melee weapon as you did the other two.  Although your opening shot should take
    a nice chunk out of her health (that melee on ranged bonus helping you to hit
    again), Ice will still have around half of her health left.  Immediately pull
    back so that she keeps her blaster equipped, and switch to a blaster yourself.
    Your energy shield will protect you as you whittle her the rest of the way
    down.  If you missed with your opening sneak attack, you might want to soften
    her up with a frag grenade after pulling back before you begin firing the
    blaster.
    
    *Marl
    Do NOT attempt Marl prior to achieving level 7.  Make sure that you are using
    the Retinal Combat Implant AND fully upgraded Republic Mod Armor (for the
    immunity to mind-affecting).  You should be carrying at least 6+ concussion
    grenades and 5 minor frag mines in your inventory.
    
    Marl is supremely dangerous.  He embodies everything that's terrifying to a
    vulnerable young Scoundrel: he's melee only (which means that he won't stand
    still at range to be grenaded), he has multiple attacks per round (due to his
    double-bladed sword), and those attacks are strong (and multiplied by 1.5x to
    boot due to the game difficulty).  If you let this guy even get in a swing at
    you, you're doing something dangerously wrong.
    
    First off, let's talk about fallback strategy in case the stealthing does not
    work for some reason (e.g., he rushes you before you cloak, or his awareness
    pierces your stealth, or whatever).  If he has seen you and is approaching,
    stab yourself with an alacrity stim, and make sure you are wielding a melee
    weapon (to deny him the +10 melee on ranged bonus).  Your strategy will be to
    throw a concussion grenade at your feet once he is in front of you (to which
    you are immune thanks to your armor) and hope he fails his save.  If he is not
    stunned, run around for a few seconds and then try again.  Once he is stunned,
    get in two or three sneak attacks, then grenade him again.  You may have to
    resort to using medpacks via the inventory screen if you are forced into this
    cat and mouse grenade game.
    
    If you do get stealthed successfully, immediately use an alacrity stim.  This
    will boost your stealth skill, and also your defense and running speed if you
    are forced into the fallback plan.  Now, lay about five evenly spaced mines
    along a path that's easy to lead him along:
    
           M
           
           x
       x   x
        x x
    
    Start with the mine positions furthest from him so that you are guaranteed to
    get at least some laid without being detected.  One amusing thing to note is
    that if you finish this fight without Marl having tripped all of your mines,
    they will still be there to recover when you fight Twitch!
    
    Finally, now that your minefield has been placed, sneak up to Marl and flank
    him.  Swing your vibroblade at him, and then immediately pause the game.  With
    any luck, you will have scored a hit - if so, it will be a fairly punishing
    sneak attack.  Immediately retreat and lead him through the mines in order to
    finish him.  If he somehow survives all this (let's say you missed your sneak
    attack and he was lucky with the reflex saves), check his life bar.  If he's
    nearly dead, let him approach and throw a frag grenade at your own feet -
    you'll survive it and he won't.  If not, fall back on the concussion grenade
    strategy.
    
    *Twitch
    Twitch is not bad at all, at least compared to Marl.  You are going to want to
    close to melee range ASAP in order to deny Twitch the opportunity to put a
    dual-wielding blaster beatdown on you.  After you stealth up, use an energy
    shield charge, because Twitch's first attack upon seeing you, even at melee
    range, will almost certainly be with his blasters.  Twitch has a very good
    chance to hit with any weapon, so you might consider using an alacrity stim
    as well to raise your defense a bit.
    
    Once you are all buffed up, flank him as usual and attack with a melee weapon.
    Ah, melee on ranged to-hit bonus, how I do love thee.  Your opening sneak
    attack will almost surely hit, and Twitch's blaster response should be almost
    (or completely) consumed by your energy shield.  By the time he gets his blade
    out, you're off to a commanding lead.  He does hit easily and somewhat hard,
    though, so be prepared to stop attacking and use a medpack if needed.  Aside
    from that, just stand your ground and take him out with your blade.
    
    *Bendak
    Light path or dark, I don't think I've ever given this fight a pass.  It's
    just too much fun, and so very satisfying.
    
    After all the talk you've heard about this guy, you'd expect something pretty
    damn scary.  And Bendak is dangerous, no question about it; but he is still
    much easier than Marl, due to his unfortunate choice to stay planted in one
    spot at range.  You should be carrying a bunch (6+) of concussion grenades
    before starting this duel.  Also, activate a Sith energy shield charge before
    speaking to Ajuur to kick things off - it's long enough lasting to get through
    the introductions and into the fight.
    
    Don't bother with the stealthing here.  It probably won't work, and this fight
    will take place mostly via ranged attacks anyway.  Bendak will begin by
    throwing a bunch of grenades in sequence.  Your response should be to wait
    until each grenade is just out of his hand (i.e., until you know for sure it
    is going to detonate where you are standing) and then sidestep enough to get
    out of the blast radius.  As soon as you have dodged out of harm's way, launch
    your own counterattack.
    
    My preferred strategy is to throw a consussion grenade at him.  If he fails
    his save, you've got time to perform three actions before he comes out of it.
    If he makes his save, wait until he has thrown his next grenade (to sidestep
    yet again - don't let yourself get caught flatfooted by his grenade because
    you started throwing yours too soon!) or committed to using his blaster before
    you try again.
    
    Once you do have him stunned, you'll have to decide how best to make use of
    the time.  Start by tending to yourself; if you are seriously wounded, use an
    advanced medpack.  If your shield is down, activate another charge.  Once any
    housekeeping of that nature is out of the way, it's time to decide what sort
    of hurt to put on him.  If you've got any plasma grenades, I'd probably start
    with those (but do try to save a few for later use on Taris).  Otherwise I'd
    just use the best blaster you've got to launch sneak attacks.
    
    In any event, you can see the winning recipe here.  Make SURE that you dodge
    his grenades, and then apply a stun as soon as possible so that you can hit
    him with grenades and sneak attacks in safety.  Repeat until dead.
    
    *Body count: 1.5
    RIP, Bendak.  I'm also adding 0.5 for Marl since we broke his spirit.
    
    *Total body count: ~175.5
    
    [D09] SITH MILITARY BASE
    
    I came close to dropping the ball in this phase (more than once, too).  It had
    been a while since my last playthrough, and I'd forgotten something: when at
    range, the Sith soldiers throw grenades.  Clearly they realized that the only
    way in which a hardcore Scoundrel could have made it so far was through heavy
    grenade use, and decided to give me a taste of my own medicine.
    
    I had thought about skipping the side room full of soldiers that's just off
    the entrance, but I was worried about running into a small army if I had to
    fall back in a hurry.  So I set two fallback mines, stealthed up, opened the
    door, and threw in a poison grenade.
    
    My first mistake was in not setting some proactive mines right outside their
    door (not for fallback purposes, but to be used immediately to thin their
    numbers).  But, I figured I could stand back and use energy shields to deflect
    damage while I threw much cheaper frag grenades and fired my blaster.  My
    error in strategy was shortly made clear to me.  Blam-blam!  The two grenades
    detonated so close together, that the two red "30" damage numbers were hanging
    in the air above my head simultaneously (I failed both saves).
    
    Let's quickly run some VP numbers here.  I'm a level 7 Scoundrel - 42 base
    vitality points.  I have a CON bonus of two, meaning another 14 bonus VPs.
    Finally, I have the Toughness feat, resulting in 7 more.  42 + 14 + 7 = 63.
    I just took 60 damage in less than a single real-time second.  SAD.  Oh so
    very SAD.  Allow me to quote my own guide: "Playing hardcore will eventually
    lead you to a situation in which you sustain a Surprising Amount of Damage
    ("SAD").  If you barely squeak by, you'll be immensely grateful that your
    bonus VPs just prevented your game from coming to an abrupt conclusion."  If I
    had skimped on CON at all, or passed on the Toughness feat in order to start
    developing Two-Weapon Fighting sooner, I'd have ended my career as a stain on
    the floor of the Sith military base.  Not even a long-lived stain, given
    Malak's plan for Taris.
    
    Feeling chastened (yet grateful), I retreated outside the base, healed up,
    and then came back in and mopped up the soldiers.  Grenades, fallback mines,
    and spreading out crowded rooms into isolated groups made short work of the
    rest of the first floor.  Most of it, anyway.  I had intended to burn some
    computer spikes on downgrading or disabling the big assault droid (I can't
    remember what your options are here), but I mistakenly opened its door before
    doing so.  This was also one of those moments where Bioware gave the stealth
    crowd the short end of the stick, as the game engine was nice enough to dump
    me out of stealth mode as soon as the mini-cutscene ended, leaving me with my
    pants down in front of one big, bad droid.
    
    I ran back toward the now locked entrance to the hallway, then circled back to
    the elevator room.  I'm not sure what I was trying to accomplish.  Trying to
    gain some distance before firing off an ion rifle shot, I suppose.  But I
    somehow managed to confuse the droid, which was left standing at the end of
    hallway.  Since it was out of sight around the bend, I quickly took care of
    the two turrets and decided to deal with the droid later.  I hopped onto the
    elevator to confront the Sith governor.
    
    After surviving two stupid mistakes, I surely wouldn't make another here,
    right?  I know how dangerous this guy is.  But, I did.  Because the hallway
    before his door is short, I set only two mines.  This makes no sense - as far
    as I know, there's no issue with setting mutliple mines right on top of each
    other, so I could have set much more.  But I had an adhesive grenade in my
    inventory, and figured that with that to hold him in place for a few rounds,
    I could pile on the damage with plasma grenades.
    
    He made all of his saves on the grenades - he was not very wounded at all when
    my stickybomb wore off.  My two mines would help whittle him down further, but
    not nearly enough.  At two points in this encounter, I threw critical,
    "this works or it's my a**" concussion grenades.  By looking at the detailed
    combat feedback after the fact, I could see that a roll of 5 or less was
    needed for him to fail his save.  A 1 in 4 chance.  For two grenades to both
    work, make that 1 in 16.
    
    He failed both saves, and the stun periods allowed me to finish the job.  But
    conceptually, this was a failure.  The entire essence of this character's life
    on Taris is the idea that luck is for chumps - we stack the deck such that
    things are not left to chance, and luck is not required.  But if that Sith
    governor had made either of those two critical saves, which he was over 93%
    likely to do, he'd have proceeded to Force-Stasis me and then chop me into
    pieces with his double-bladed sword.
    
    What a miserable mess I'd made of the Sith base.  But despite raging stupidity
    at every turn, I was still alive - and I hadn't even used an inventory heal!
    I did still have to deal with the droid on my way out, though, and this time I
    was taking no chances.  I stealthed up, set eight frag mines in the hallway
    outside the elevator, and then pulled it with a sonic grenade (I was pretty
    sure an ion grenade would be negated by its energy shield that I'd forgotten
    to disable).  The grenade and the mines took it down to a sliver of life - one
    swipe of the sword finished the job.  A win expensive in materials, but I at
    least ended my time in the base with a victory on my terms.
    
    *Body count: ~16
    *Total body count: ~191.5
    
    [D10] DAVIK'S ESTATE
    This should pretty much be a cakewalk for your grizzled Scoundrel.  There are
    only two events worth noting.
    
    Don't get anywhere near the torture droids.  They are packing flamethrowers
    which redefine SADness.  Set some mines to be safe, but if you stay at max
    range, use your energy shields, and plink away with an ion rifle, what could
    have been a game-stopping encounter will breeze by without a problem.
    
    The fight against Calo and Davik is pretty straightforward.  Activate your
    Sith energy shield (yes, use the good one) prior to entering the hangar.  Even
    though you have solo mode turned on, Canderous will appear out of nowhere by
    your side.  Because the game forces him on me, I use him indirectly.  I don't
    ever take control of him or reposition him, but I do swerve my own character
    to the left in the hopes that Davik (on the right) will focus his attention on
    Canderous.
    
    Focus on Calo - just keep the grenades flowing, one after another.  In my game
    I had two plasma grenades left, so I started with those.  He made his save
    against the first and failed the second.  Then I switched to sonic grenades.
    It only took one or two before the scripted cutscene kicked in.  Be aware that
    the Sith orbital lasers will hit you with a ~17 damage pulse every so often
    now, so if you are wounded after the cutscene use an advanced medpack right
    away.  Then quickly loot Davik's corpse and hop onto the Ebon Hawk.
    
    The Sith have one last chance to ruin your perfect hardcore game: the fighters
    that they send to attack your ship.  I've found that as soon as the cutscene
    in space concludes prior to the start of this mini-game, many of these enemy
    ships start lined up right in your gun sights.  So pull the trigger like mad
    just after the cutscene ends and you should take a bunch of them out.  Clean
    up whatever is left, and you've made it!  My own character, Raven, breathed
    a welcome sigh of relief at this point.  Despite her slipups at the Sith base,
    she had lived.  Those jedi masters droning on and on about stopping Malak and
    saving the Republic just didn't seem to get that she had already accomplished
    something much more difficult!
    
    *Body count: ~23
    *Total body count: ~214.5
    
    [E] FINAL THOUGHTS
    The path of peace, serenity and knowledge now lies open to you.  And you only
    had to kill a couple hundred people to get here!
    
    I've summarized the philosophy of this character more than once already, so I
    won't retread that same ground here.  Instead I'll make a few points about
    transitioning to life as a jedi.
    
    Stick with your armor and your prototype vibroblade for a while.  The average
    damage on that blade is 0.5 higher than a standard saber, and it has a +3 to
    hit bonus as well.  In addition, your jedi-ness is still too immature to
    compensate for the loss of defense you'll suffer upon abandoning your armor.
    So pick some starting force powers that are not restricted by armor (energy
    resistance is a great defensive one), and stick to your Scoundrel roots until
    you have developed a bit as a jedi.  You have to do something with all of
    those leftover mines and grenades anyway, right?
    
    I hope that you've enjoyed the guide.  Don't let the Scoundrel's "weakness"
    dissuade you from playing one.  If you develop them like Soldiers (good
    physical stats), but play them like Scoundrels, they'll survive Taris just
    fine.  And they are far and away the best Guardians around, with their massive
    defense bonus and punishing sneak attacks.