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Sporkley

An Alternate Morality Calculation

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After playing quite a bit using the RAW morality, I'm still not a huge fan of how this is calculated and would like to propose an alternative. My initial objections and subsequent discussion are here.
 

First, I would like to introduce the concept of Resolve, which is the counterpart to conflict.  Essentially you can gain Resolve mechanically or narratively, by doing things such as:

  • Protecting the weak / innocent
  • Acting in a fair and honest manner
  • Accepting surrender of defeated foes
  • Avoiding combat, or fighting in a non-lethal manner
  • Putting others ahead of yourself
  • Successfully activating force powers using only light-side pips

So, now that you have both Resolve and Conflict, how does that translate into Morality? 

 

At the end of an encounter you have time to reflect on your deeds.  Make an Average difficulty Willpower check, adding one boost die per resolve and one setback die per conflict gained during the encounter.  If successful, increase morality by 2 for each uncancelled success and 1 for each uncancelled advantage.  If failed, decrease morality by 2 for each uncancelled failure and 1 by each uncancelled threat.

 

So that's the mechanic, and here's why I like it:

 

Immediate Resolution

 

This is a solution to my main complaint that time matters when performing the d10 roll.  Morality should be determined by your actions, both positive and negative, not by how much time you spend at the gaming table.

 

It maintains the randomness

 

This still keeps an element of randomness in the morality calculation, so that players cannot explicitly game the system.  

 

It involves your character's essence

 

By tying the mechanic to Willpower your character's composition is taken into account, which I believe makes more sense than arbitrary adjustment for everyone. A character with higher willpower should be able to resist the pull of the dark side, because they have stronger will. An argument could be made for this being a Discipline check, rather than a raw Willpower check, but I personally feel that it's more about a character's core essence than the skills the training they've had.

 

It uses the FFG dice

 

Another beautiful part is that it uses the narrative dice skill check that powers the rest of the system.  The boost and setback die are already the correct colors, and this feels like it fits in with the other game mechanics.  Most importantly, the dice tell a story. If you succeed, is it because your will is strong (successes on ability dice) or because you did good (successes on boost die).  Did you fail because you did horrible things (failures on setback die), or simply because you cannot resist the pull of the dark side (failures on difficulty die).

 

I understand the chorus of "it works fine as it is," but I simply disagree and I propose this as an alternative for consideration or use as house-rule.  I would appreciate discussion to be civil arguments regarding the above proposed system, and not diverge into "works as it is" or "morality is terrible."

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Nice ideas, you might consider merging brains with the initiators in this thread :)

http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/123605-my-attempt-at-a-morality-rework-peach/

 

I think renaming "Morality" to "Destiny" might be a good first step.  In any case, I like the idea of using the FFG dice on a Discipline roll more than the random d10 (and I do think it should be Discipline, not just Willpower).  At least with the FFG dice you have some narrative prompts.

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The roll for how your actions effect your Morality should not be based on your Discipline. That's like saying you can commit murder, but as long as you rationalize it correctly, what you did was less wrong than if you just acted out of wild abandon.

 

Discipline is already used to reduce conflict in a more realistic way, by succeeding at fear checks, or other temptations that could lead to earning conflict. Resisting the pull of the Dark side happens in the moment, not during meditation in the aftermath.

 

Keeping track of two sets of points also adds additional complication to the game session.

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The roll for how your actions effect your Morality should not be based on your Discipline. That's like saying you can commit murder, but as long as you rationalize it correctly, what you did was less wrong than if you just acted out of wild abandon.

It's not about being more or less wrong, but how much that act corrupts you towards the dark side of the Force. I still think Willpower is appropriate, as it is a measure of how much you can resist the temptation of the dark side.

Discipline is already used to reduce conflict in a more realistic way, by succeeding at fear checks, or other temptations that could lead to earning conflict. Resisting the pull of the Dark side happens in the moment, not during meditation in the aftermath.

Aside from rolling each time you would accrue conflict I'm not sure this is possible. My proposed system moves the resolution from conflict to morality a lot sooner than RAW, which could be game-time days.

Keeping track of two sets of points also adds additional complication to the game session.

Sure, it's two numbers instead of one but the core system manages it with both boost and setback die all the time. Since it resolves at the end of each encounter you don't have to track it through the whole session. End encounter, resolve morality, clear the conflict and resolve counters.

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Oh, I missed that you do it after every encounter.

 

That's even worse for the game. Shutting down the story to do some math is not my idea of a fun moment in a play session. It should wait until between sessions for the same reason you don't award XP after every single fight.

 

----

 

And no, willpower isn't a measure of how well you resist the darkside of the force. You don't need to roll anything to measure that because you're role playing it. Having a disciplined mind keeps you from the darkside because you don't fall into the temptations, not in-spite of all the evil acts you take.

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why not just roll after every session, if no conflict is generated then the player will gain 1-10 morality via the d10 roll?  Ahh..didn't read Morality fully, my question is exactly how it works in RAW.  

 

I believe the point of waiting until the end of the session for adjusting Morality is so you don't fall to the darkside during play, likewise you don't become a paragon of either side in play.  This allows the GM to tailor the story around these events better than attempting to reflect it during play on the fly.  

 

Your proposed way may also encourage players gaming the system to arrive at different Morality scores since they'd have more direct control over the outcome instead of just using a d10.  RAW allows for a player to reach a 'point of no return' for losing Morality should accrued conflict raise beyond 10 in a session.

 

Likewise a character trying to stay light or increase Morality is more pressured to treat every instance of Conflict carefully instead of relying on their attribute/skill levels pulling them back from the brink each encounter.   

Edited by yugwen18

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Not to mention resolve is a terrible name. Resolve is how well you stick to an idea. Problem is resolve is not necessarily going to be towards the positive things. Palpatine had a lot of resolve. It was just towards the darkside and power.

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why not just roll after every session, if no conflict is generated then the player will gain 1-10 morality via the d10 roll?  Ahh..didn't read Morality fully, my question is exactly how it works in RAW.  

 

I believe the point of waiting until the end of the session for adjusting Morality is so you don't fall to the darkside during play, likewise you don't become a paragon of either side in play.  This allows the GM to tailor the story around these events better than attempting to reflect it during play on the fly.  

 

Your proposed way may also encourage players gaming the system to arrive at different Morality scores since they'd have more direct control over the outcome instead of just using a d10.  RAW allows for a player to reach a 'point of no return' for losing Morality should accrued conflict raise beyond 10 in a session.

 

Likewise a character trying to stay light or increase Morality is more pressured to treat every instance of Conflict carefully instead of relying on their attribute/skill levels pulling them back from the brink each encounter.   

Not to mention I see a lot of evidence that people are not using the chart on page 220 for conflict. 

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One problem I see in this is that Willpower becomes the "Light Side stat".  The higher your Willpower, the more likely chance you'll gain Morality. And if Discipline is used, then it's even more likely that you'll shrug off the effects of your misdeeds and go farther to the Light.   I don't see this as the case.  You can be a Sith with a high Willpower, or high Discipline.  Plus you can't just "will" yourself to the Light side despite your actions.

 

Mechanically, it can also be a bit unwieldy if, say, you just murdered someone and gained +15 conflict.  Where are all of those setback dice coming from? :)  I see a lot of re-rolls in your future...

 

The way it is now, if you stay on the straight and narrow, there's a chance you can slowly and incrementally gain Morality.  If you're a murdering thug, you can very quickly find yourself on the dark side.  And I think this was the intent; being a good guy is a lot of work, while becoming a villain is fairly easy.  The movies and lore talk a lot about "falling to the dark side", and it tends to happen rapidly once it starts (even ignoring Anakin's poorly-acted and questionably-motivated, but nearly instant,  fall to the dark side).

 

That said, I could see having some sort of a positive benefit for going out of your way to do good things (like your Resolve mechanic).  But I have a feeling they didn't do it this way on purpose.  It would become a numbers game with "good deeds" cancelling out "bad deeds" ("It's OK that I murdered this child in cold blood, I'll just save the rest of the orphanage to make up for it.").  Again, the way it is now, "good deeds" are par for the course, whereas you're on a slippery slope when you do "bad deeds".

 

Anyway, I think the existing system is more indicative of how it works in Star Wars (and in life).

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OggDude has an excellent point, and the various d20 versions of Star Wars all back it up.

 

In those games, the character's Wisdom score was used as the benchmark for when a PC "fell to the dark side," by simply accumulating a number of Dark Side Points equal to their Wisdom score.  And there have been countless instances of GMs having to deal with metagaming players that literally "gamed the system" and kept using dark side powers/effects and then "atoning" just enough so that they didn't hit that their Dark Sid threshold.  The first season of the Real Gamers Podcast has a stellar example of that sort of metagaming, though the GM was an exception as Brev seemed generally aware that the player was metagaming and abusing the rules to avoid going full dark side.  I spoke with a few of the other players after the campaign had wrapped up, with most of them not being thrilled with how the GM let that one player horrifically abuse the atonement rules that Saga Edition had in place.

 

While there's no such thing as universally perfect mechanic, I think the Morality rules and the randomness factor of the d10 (as well as the Conflict chart that as Daelgan suggests a lot of folks seem to be overlooking) is a pretty solid mechanic that cuts down drastically on attempts by PCs to have their cake and eat it to by committing all sorts of acts that would generate Conflict (of which there are many; pretty much the entire "list of go to" actions for a D&D group will generate Conflict for a FaD character) and stave off falling to the dark side by manipulating the atonoment/good deeds mechanic to "zero out."

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Not to mention the WEG system where DS points were an incredible gain and temptation but ran the risk of falling entirely from the results of a d6 roll.....though this often left players with 1DS point since it was impossible to fall, needing to roll higher than point accumulated on the d6 roll, and the benefits of an extra force die early one were tremendous. FF's system runs a nice balance of not giving too much benefit/advantage for playing either way, DS or LS while keeping the morality progression grounded in the story.

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Not to mention the WEG system where DS points were an incredible gain and temptation but ran the risk of falling entirely from the results of a d6 roll.....though this often left players with 1DS point since it was impossible to fall, needing to roll higher than point accumulated on the d6 roll, and the benefits of an extra force die early one were tremendous. FF's system runs a nice balance of not giving too much benefit/advantage for playing either way, DS or LS while keeping the morality progression grounded in the story.

Well, I think what some GMs and players forgot was that if you used that extra die, you gained a Dark Side Point since you were actively calling on the dark side for more power.  Kinda like how a lot of GMs (self included) often forgot that stormtrooper armor actually provided some bonuses to combat that made them a bit less of a pushover in a fight.

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Not to mention the WEG system where DS points were an incredible gain and temptation but ran the risk of falling entirely from the results of a d6 roll.....though this often left players with 1DS point since it was impossible to fall, needing to roll higher than point accumulated on the d6 roll, and the benefits of an extra force die early one were tremendous. FF's system runs a nice balance of not giving too much benefit/advantage for playing either way, DS or LS while keeping the morality progression grounded in the story.

Well, I think what some GMs and players forgot was that if you used that extra die, you gained a Dark Side Point since you were actively calling on the dark side for more power.  Kinda like how a lot of GMs (self included) often forgot that stormtrooper armor actually provided some bonuses to combat that made them a bit less of a pushover in a fight.

 

Not exactly, only if the resulting action was morally ambiguous or bad did you get another DS point (really up to the GM in most cases).  Ohhh WEG stormtroopers.  I ran them unarmored, taking their normal stats as already being affected by the negatives of the armor...made running into their barracks very hazardous if they were out of uniform ;)

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