The Way Of The Warrior
If you are someone who does their best to avoid battle and prefers a peaceful life, then you do just that. But if you crave the thrill of battle, the spoils of war and the honor which can only be achieved when your enemy lies lifeless at your feet, then perhaps you have what it takes to become a Mandalorian.
To become a Mandalorian, there are Four Tasks which must be completed:
- Studying Mandalorian History & Lore
- Proving Yourself in Combat
- Donning Mandalorian Armor
- Continuing the Mandalorian Legacy
Each of these Tasks will now be covered in detail...
Mandalorian History & Lore
Asside from battle, the most important thing to a Mandalorian is their heritage. Therefore, the First Task that must be completed to become a Mandalorian is learning about their history and culture.
Brief Historical Overview: Mandalorians were a predominantly human cultural group who originated on the planet Mandalore. Mandalorians had a particularly unique role in galactic history as legendary warriors against the Jedi and, occasionally, the Sith. Mandalorians could be commonly found not only on their homeworld and it's moon, Concordia, but across Mandalorian Space and the galaxy at large on worlds such as Kalevala, Krownest, and Concord Dawn. Mandalore had a largely martial history, but by the time of the Clone Wars the pacifist and reformist New Mandalorian political faction controlled Mandalore's government, led by Duchess Satine Kryze. This led to internal conflict with other Mandalorian groups like Death Watch, who wanted to maintain the warrior ways of their Mandalorian heritage.
After the rise of the Galactic Empire, the Mandalore system came under the rule of the Empire with Gar Saxon as their Viceroy while other Mandalorian worlds such as Concord Dawn were free from Imperial rule until CLan Saxon was defeated by the Mandalorian clans loyal to Bo-Katan Kryze who later took up the title of Mandalore soon after.
For more information on Mandalorian History, click here.
Culture: Mandalorian culture consisted of a very straight-forward nomadic society, influenced by many other cultures around the galaxy. As a whole, Mandalorians were not prejudiced of any species, but tolerated all Mandalorians, as long as they followed Mandalorian principles. Many war-orphaned children (such as Jango Fett) would be adopted into Mandalorian society and brought up as Mandalorian children.
Mandalorian women were expected to have the same combat skills as men in order to defend their homes when the men were away. If they didn't have children to raise, they fought alongside men on the battlefield. The ideal Mandalorian woman was physically strong and resilient.
Not all Mandalorians constantly fought on the front line. There were farmers, regular factory workers, engineers, and doctors too. However, all Mandalorians were warriors at heart, and all knew how to fight.
There were six acts one needed to follow to be a Mandalorian, known as the Six Actions (Resol'Nare). They consisted of: wearing armor, speaking Mando'a, defending themselves and families, raising children as Mandalorians, helping the clan succeed and sustain itself, and when called to arms by the Mandalore, rally to his cause.
Religion: The Mandalorian religion reflected the sensibilities and values of the Mandalorians. Like the culture itself, it changed over the years, but still maintained its fundamental tenets. In ancient times, Mandalorians were intensely religious, worshipping war and taking their myths literally. However disillusionment with devastating wars of conquest led to a re-interpretation of the stories as parables, to confer philosophical meaning rather than fact.
In Mandalorian myth, the sloth-god Arasuum eternally fought the destroyer god Kad Ha'rangir. This represented the constant struggle between stagnation, and the opportunity for change that stemmed from destruction. Every Mandalorian warrior who died was supposedly joined an army in the afterlife; there they defended their wives and children, who live on an enduring, peaceful homestead. This was viewed as the only place where Mandalorians could finally settle down permanently.
Later generations moved away from a belief in a literal heaven to emphasize the idea of the manda. The manda was described as "a combination of the collective state of being, the essence of being Mandalorian, and an oversoul." To be part of it, a Mandalorian must understand their culture and truly live out its ideals. Otherwise, they would be a dar'manda–someone who was ignorant of their heritage, and would have no soul and no afterlife. This was regarded as a fate worse than death. This emphasis on culture helped to preserve the identity of the Mandalorians even when scattered across the galaxy.
Feats of Strength
Besides simply having the necessary knowledge of Mandalorian history and culture, one seeking to join the ranks of the Mandalorians must prove themselves a warrior of the highest caliber. Therefore, the Second Task that must be completed are the Feats of Strength...
- Feat I - Defeat an Ancient Krayt Dragon on the planet of Tatooine
- Feat II - Defeat the Acklay on the planet of Yavin IV
- Feat III - Defeat a Gorax giant on the planet of Endor
The Third Task that must be completed to become a true Mandalorian is earning and wearing a suit of Mandalorian armor. It does not matter which type of armor is chosen, but earning and wearing SOME type of Mandalorian armor is a requirement to becomming a true Mandalorian.
The Armor: Throughout Mandalorian history, three major features remained constant in Mandalorian armor design:
- The wearer was protected from the majority of all blaster fire. Armor made of actual Mandalorian iron, which could also deflect blaster bolts, made it lightsaber-resistant as well.
- The helmets almost always possessed a T-shaped visor and a sophisticated heads-up display (HUD). Mandalorian warriors decorated their armor to reflect personal accomplishments, clan affiliation or simply personal preference. They often repainted their armor to reflect rank, clan and possibly the current terrain. They were also known to paint their armor in the traditional colors that represented specific causes the individual might currently be undertaking. The colors, however, did not always have a specific meaning. Sometimes they were just colors that the particular Mandalorian liked. Some Mandalorians wore pieces of armor to honor relatives, both dead and alive. As of the Clone Wars, these colors were known to have significance:
- Gray = Mourning a Lost Love
- Red = Honoring a Parent
- Black = Justice
- Gold = Vengeance
- Green = Duty
- Blue = Reliability
- Orange = A Lust for Life
- White = A New start
Traditional Mandalorian armor consisted of a helmet, shoulder pauldrons, vambraces, breastplate, codpiece, kneepads, thigh and shin guards clasped over a body stocking.
Mandalorian armor was traditionally made out of almost indestructible Mandalorian Iron (beskar). The name for the armor in Mandalorian, beskar'gam, meant Iron skin, or Iron carapace (for Mando members without fleshy skin), because Mandalorian iron was a crucial part of the armor design for millennia. The secret of producing armor made from Mandalorian iron was kept within the Mandalorian clans for years and is still a closely guarded secret that they do not trust to outsiders. Some Mandalorians would also wear cloaks on the outside of their armor.
The helmet served as the control center for most of the suit's abilities. A range finder, which can be pulled over the view plate to enhance imagery, attached to the armored helmet was a common upgrade and could track up to thirty targets, while a battle computer inside the helmet allowed the wearer to control the suit's weapons, sensors and jet pack through verbal commands. The dark macrobinocular viewplate offered a variety of vision modes, including infrared. A pineal eye sensor on the helmet combined with an internal overlay display to provide tracking information within a 360-degree radius. Motion sensors, an encrypted internal comlink, and a broad-band antenna completed the helmet's devices, all of which could be linked to the wearer's weapons or their personal starship. The helmet could also act as an environmental filter system, with a two hour reserve tank providing breathable air to the Mandalorian warrior.
Mandalorian vambraces were computer-controlled tools bristling with weaponry designed to combat the abilities of a Jedi or Sith. They potentially included:
- Wrist Lasers
- Wrist Rockets
- Whipcord Throwers
- Projectile Buzzsaws
- Shield Emitters
- Retractable Wrist Blades
- Kamino Saberdarts
- Grappling Lines
- Paralyzing Darts
The Mandalorians used many models of jetpacks, including the Z-6 jetpack, to increase maneuverability in combat as well as fly. These were often tipped with a launcher that were used to fire anti-vehicle homing missiles. However, they could also be used to fire a grappling hook linked to an internal winch. Gyro-stabilizers made it easy to maneuver in the air.
The Mandalorian Legacy
No matter how great anyone's knowledge of Mandalorian heritage, or how deadly someone's fighting skills may be, they are all worthless without a protege to pass them on to. The Fourth Task that must be completed to become a Mandalorian is training an apprentice.
Taking an Apprentice: A Mandalorian should select a worthy warrior to be their apprentice. Even though the apprentice may be of any race, they should still have proven themselves an able warrior and deserving of Mandalorian training. The master may assign their student tests to determine whether or not they are worthy of training.
The Master: The master's role is to help their apprentice advance. This advancement comes in 3 main ways:
- Teaching them about Mandalorian history, culture and religion
- Helping them hone their combat skills
- Helping them earn Mandalorian armor of their own
The Apprentice: The aprentice's role is two-fold:
- Always be respectful of their master
- Meet any advancement goalstheir master sets
Purpose: The purpose of the Mandalorian Apprenticeship System is for the mutual enjoyment and benefit of both the master and the apprentice. The apprentice benefits from the system by having a more experienced warrior helping them as they need it. The master benefits from the system in that only by fully training an apprentice can they become a true Mandalorian themselves.
Completion: An apprentice is only fully trained when they have:
- Been trained in Mandalorian History & Lore
- Completed three feats their master has given them to complete
- Earned a full suit of Mandalorian armor and to wear it with pride and honor
Once the apprentice is fully trained, the master has completed the last of the Four Tasks and has proven himself a true Mandalorian. For the apprentice to become a true Mandalorian himself, they will have to train an apprentice of their own.
Mandalorian Ranking System
Even after a warrior has completed the Four Tasks and proven themselves a true Mandalorian, it does not mean their crusade has ended. Below is the Mandalorian Ranking System for those soldiers ambitious enough to advance in the Mandalorian ranks.
- Mandalorian Soldier - A Mandalorian who has completed the (Four Tasks)
- Mandalorian Crusader - A Mandalorian who has fully trained (1) Apprentice
- Mandalorian Guardsman - A Mandalorian who fully trained (3) Apprentices
- Mandalorian Battlemaster - A Mandalorian who fully trained (5) Apprentices
- Mandalorian Super Commando - A Mandalorian who completed the Super Commando Tests
Super Commando Tests
The Super Commando Tests are an advanced version of the Feats of Strength, and must be completed to become a Mandalorian Super Commando:
Test I - Defeat the Death Watch Overlord on the planet of Endor
Test II - Defeat a Dark Jedi Sentinal on the planet of Yavin IV
Test III - Defeat an HK assassin droid on the planet of Mustafar
Though Super Commando is the highest rank that can be achieved in the Mandalorian Ranking System, it does not mean a Mandalorian has nothing left to do. The more soldiers that are trained, the stronger the Mandalorians will be. And for those who are interested, a Mandalorian could even form their own clan.
Mandalorians are broken up into various clans, which function much like families & military units with a sense of duty, honor and loyalty. Clans and Clan ranks are as follows:
- Mandalorian Recruit
- Mandalorian Cadet
- Mandalorian Soldier
- Mandalorian Crusader
- Mandalorian Guardsman
- Mandalorian Battlemaster
- Mandalorian Super Commando
- Mandalorian Elder
How the Clan works: To join a clan, a Mandalorian will need to submit an application to one of the Mandalorian Elders. If the application is approved, then that warrior will be invited to join the clan and upon joining that warrior will be granted the rank of Mandalorian Recruit.
After 1 week of membership in the clan, a warrior will be eligible to become a Mandalorian Cadet. To do so, the warrior must approach the governing body and announce his/her desire to become a Cadet. The governing body will then assign several trials the Mandalorian must complete. After doing so, the warrior is granted the rank of Mandalorian Cadet. The warrior will then be assigned to a Master, who will mentor him/her until they are eligible to become a Mandalorian Soldier.
To achieve the next rank, the warrior must have one year of experience and once again approach the governing body and announce their desire. As before, a series of tests will be assigned to the warrior. Upon completion the next rank is achieved. The next 3 ranks are gained by training apprentices of the Mandalorian's own:
- Mandalorian Crusader - A Mandalorian who has fully trained (5) Apprentices
- Mandalorian Guardsman - A Mandalorian who fully trained (10) Apprentices
- Mandalorian Battlemaster - A Mandalorian who fully trained (15) Apprentices
To achieve the ranks of Battlemaster and Super Commando, one must repeat the steps above and have at least 5 years of experience as a Mandalorian. Once a Mandalorian becomes an Elder, it does not mean he gets a seat as a part of the Governing body. However, whether or not a Mandalorian becomes a member of the governing body will be determined by their combat skills.
How the Governing Body works:
- The Governing Body is made up of 12 members known as Elders
- 6 members will be permanent and 6 members will be determined every month by competitive dueling.
- To be eligible to become an Elder, a warrior must be a Mandalorian Super Commando.
- Super Commando's that want to become Elders will have to duel among themselves for the 6 slots.
- The 6 permanent Elders will determine the rules of how the dueling will work and enforce them.
- The top 6 Super Commando's in the tournament will win the 6 temporary seats on the Governing Body.
- Terms on the body will last 1 year and then a new tournament will be held for the 6 temporary slots.
Regarding the Permanant Members: On the Governing Body there is 6 permanent Elders. They do not have set terms and their spots do not become available again every year like the 6 temporary spots do. The reason for the permanent members is to impartially govern the process of selecting the 6 temporary members by overseeing and judging the competition.
However, these permanent members can be voted out of their position by a majority vote from the other permanent body members and replaced by one of the 6 temporary members (which one will also be determined by a majority vote from the 5 remaining permanent body members).
Mandalorians do not like any sort of in-fighting among themselves, so they came up with a way to settle any issues in the only way that they know how: The Mandalorian way.
Mandalorians settle some quarrels and disputes with the two warriors dueling it out in what is called a battle circle. The higher ranking Mandalorian always chooses the desired weapons to use in the duel regardless if he is the challenger or his opponent. Three rounds are usually given to the duel, but it can be shortened to just one if it is deemed necessary but only a Mandalorian Super Commando can decide this. If two rounds are won back to back by the same Mandalorian, then the duel is won in his favor. Weapons can be changed in between the one minute rest period in between rounds, but only if the higher ranking Mandalorian decides to do so. Rounds last for 5 minutes each. Regardless of who wins the duel, the dispute is considered settled and the loser must honor the results or risk being punished by the Elders. Also, every duel must be watched by the Elders, at least one Super Commando and the two Mandalorian clans involved in the dispute. One Super Commando, each one from the opposing clan, preside over the dual as judges. Cheating in a duel is considered dishonorable and is frowned upon. If the opponent cheats in order to gain a victory, they immediately lose the match and are sentenced to one year to guard duty and shoveling animal dung every day for a whole year.
Mandalore was the basic transliteration of the title used by the supreme leader of the Mandalorian people and culture. In it's truest, native rendering as Mand'alor, the title meant "sole ruler" in the Mandalorian language of Mando'a. Originating with Mandalore the First, the mythic leader of the Taung warriors who went on to become the first Mandalorians, Mand'alor became the title passed down for use by the subsequent leaders of the people for generations after. Functioning as a combination of both King and warrior general, the Mand'alor was the closest to a head of state the widespread Mandalorian clans possessed, and in addition to holding the secondary title of Al'Ori'Ramikade—"Commander of Super Commandos"—Mand'alor was the de facto ruler of the Mandalorians' conquered home planet, the eponymous Outer rim world of Mandalore. Outsiders to the Mandalorian culture often respectfully addressed the Mandalorian leader as Lord Mandalore. The importance of the Mand'alor was reflected in the six tenets that outlined Mandalorian culture, the Resol'nare, one of which dictated that a Mandalorian rally to the Mand'alor when called upon.
The position of Mand'alor was traditionally symbolized by the passing of the mask of Mandalore upon the death of the previous owner. However, the current Mandalore can be challenged for his position. In which case, a dual to the death would commence at the earliest convenience. If the challenger wins, then he would become the next Mandalore. But if the challenger loses, then the current Mandalore would retain his title.
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