- Jason Dietzel
Force Organizations: Teepo/Grey Paladins
By: Jason Dietzel
The Teepo Paladins trace their beginnings back to the waning years of the New Sith Wars. During this period, the Jedi took a more active role in government, appointing Jedi Lords to rule over sections of the Republic in order to protect their regions from Kaan’s Brotherhood of Darkness. One such Jedi Lord was a male humanoid named Teepo.
Teepo and his host of Jedi, coined Paladins, chose to break with Jedi tradition by incorporating blasters into their collection of tools used to defend their people from the marauding Sith. Likewise, Teepo and his followers also chose to wear devices that deprived their senses so that they would be forced to rely on their connection to the Force to supplement and enhance their abilities, especially in combat.
During the war, the Jedi Order tolerated this break from orthodoxy, as Teepo and his paladins proved to be loyal allies of Lord Hoth’s Army of Light, coming to his aid many times. However, following the climatic Battle of Ruusan and the reorganization of both the Republic and Jedi, the order was quick to censure their practices, forcing Teepo and his paladins to retreat to the corners of the galaxy to practice their views.
It is unclear if they fully severed themselves from the Jedi Order or merely remained a secret subgroup, but these Jedi Knights loyal to Teepo would become known as the Teepo Paladins. Teepo’s Paladins would thrive through the centuries and possibly survive the Great Jedi Purge and into the years of the New Republic; however, the organization did experience its own schism.
Some time before the Clone War and the rise of the Empire, the Teepo Paladins would go through a break. Some within the organization chose to break and call themselves the Gray Paladins. These “radicals” viewed their interaction with the Force in a different light. Instead of limiting their natural sensory abilities and relying on their connection to not only make up the difference, but also enhance it beyond their natural levels, the Gray Paladin chose a different philosophical path.
Because the Force was present in all living things, these Gray Paladins believed that any sentient being couldn’t be independent from the Force no more than any sentient being could be independent from basic physiological needs. As a result, they viewed the Force as an influential aspect of normal, daily life. As a result, their philosophy of their interaction with the Force inversely differed from the Teepo cousins, believing that there should be minimum dependence on using the Force, so that it wouldn’t be hampered from carrying forth it’s will naturally.
This meant that their philosophical direction went more to building a militaristic practice. The Gray Paladins focused their attention to naturally expand their military tactics and weaponry. This led to the organization downplaying, though not completely eradicating, the need for lightsaber skills, favoring the idea that a real warrior should naturally be able to use any weapon at their disposal to achieve their goals.
Likewise, this philosophy parlayed over to physical attributes, prompting the Gray Paladins to forsake relying on the Force to augment their physical speed and accuracy, and instead relying on honing their natural martial arts skills, reminiscent of Echani combat techniques millennia prior. In a way, the Gray Paladins could be seen as ninjas, relying more on the physical than the Force, and relying more on esoteric craft weapons than the traditional Jedi weapon.
One such Gray Paladin to approach the use of the Force as an auxiliary or secondary aspect of life, the Twi’lek Laranth Tarak, was able to deflect or destroy bolts from a blaster or shrapnel from an explosion simply using her natural abilities in combat and weaponry to intercept these threats with bolts from her own blasters.
Unfortunately, because of their focus on more militaristic skills, they became a prime target of the Great Jedi Purge, along with the Jedi. As a result, it is doubtful if the Gray Paladins survived the purge, in contrast to the Teepo Paladins, as mentioned above. The only official reference in the Expanded Universe to both the Teepo Paladins and Gray Paladins comes from the Coruscant Nights trilogy and The Last Jedi novels.