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erik_wolff

Yet another Morality suggestion.

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I apologize in advance if someone else has come up with an idea like this one. I haven't read through all the morality threads.

 

After a few sessions of play, my group agrees that the random die roll leaves a lot to be desired. I just came up with an idea that might work and figured I'd toss it out here for everyone to check out.

 

Basically, toss the die roll. With my idea, it's not needed.

 

The GM can hand out Conflict points and Peace points (feel free to come up with a better name). At the end of the session, take the difference between the two and lose that much Morality if Conflict is higher and gain that much Morality if Peace is higher.

 

We haven't tested this yet in game, as I literally just came up with it a few minutes before typing this. I've sent it to my group but haven't heard back from them yet, but personally, I think it could really work.

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I would be curious to know why you and your players think that the Conflict 'random die roll leaves a lot to be desired.'  I have not yet put this into practice so I would like to have a bit of foreknowledge on the matter based on your experience. Thanks.

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It's been suggested before, although "Peace" points is new :)  Other names include "Resolve" and "Serenity", but mechanically the same idea.

 

I'll repost my concerns with this again.  Basically, having a dueling good deed/bad deed system for morality would turn into a numbers game with players doing horrendous things, or using DS pips to their heart's content, only to "make up" their wrong doings with bogus "good deeds", just so they don't have to dip below the DS threshold.  In other words, it promotes metagaming, and is inherently unrealistic, anyway, since "evil" and "good" don't just cancel each other out.

 

The way the system is now, being "good" is the status quo.  It's the way you're supposed to act.  You don't get brownie points by helping old ladies cross the street.  Your rise in morality is slow, but steady (average of 5.5 per session, assuming no transgressions).  However, doing "evil" things drastically affects your morality, the more evil it is, the more the effects.  This actually emulates what we see in the movies and in lore, where enlightenment with the Force was a lifetime task, but falling to the Dark Side was pretty close to instantaneous.  Plus, it's supposed to be harder to be a "good guy" than it is to be a "bad guy" :)

 

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

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I would be curious to know why you and your players think that the Conflict 'random die roll leaves a lot to be desired.'  I have not yet put this into practice so I would like to have a bit of foreknowledge on the matter based on your experience. Thanks.

Anecdotally from me:

My Gm and I sat down after I acquired the F&D Beta and figured out what my character's Morality would have been*.

Despite hitting 0 in the second session, I managed to climb back to about 40 by the game's end. Even though I was a lying, conniving, scheming, stealing, vicious, murderous, little cannibal.

We also determined where (had we been using the Morality during the game) I'd have taken slightly different options and probably would have been safely in Paragon territory... despite still being a lying, conniving, scheming, stealing, vicious, murderous, little cannibal.

What did it? Most sessions I ended with 2-3 Conflict (I was bad, but not consistently bad, nor did I have access to the Dark Side not being a Force User) and earned between 2-5 Morality points. The handful of session I went "really dark" I'd hit 6-10 Conflict and lose between 2-4. So despite "starting at" 0, within 24 game sessions I climbed back to start.

* We did this with all the characters... and determined I was a lodestone keeping the merry band of thugs from hitting 100 Morality (most of them hit 60-80). They lost 1 each session for "Knowing Inaction". Yes, the Trando Bounty Hunter who was a slaver and who's every thought was "Can I start a fight and kill them now?" was losing Morality because he knew me.   :lol:

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In our current game, one of the players got a 2 or 3 conflict for converting DS pips, then rolled a 0 at the end of the session. I can't remember what the character was doing at the time. My character also got 2 conflict for converting in an attempt to heal someone and I ended up rolling a 1, dropping me down 1 point. In my case, it made storyline sense for me to lose a point, but it really didn't make that much sense for the other character to gain so many points.

 

None of the other characters moved at all. In our defense though, this is the current GM's first time running Star Wars and we're all still learning the systems.

 

Oggdue, the current system heavily supports meta gaming too though, in my opinion. If I want to quickly go up in morality, all I need to do is convert 1 ds pip and then play the rest of game as a goody goody.

 

I don't think my system is anymore of a numbers game than the current one. It's entirely up to the GM to police it, regardless of which system is being used. I'm certainly not trying to stop characters from being good or bad, just trying to have the morality numbers match more closely to what's happening in the actual game.

 

If I harm someone and gain a couple conflict points, then roll a 10 on the die, I probably shouldn't gain morality for that. It really depends on what's actually happening in game.

 

The whole reason I posted this though is to get opinions on it, so please continue the discussion.

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That is pretty odd. Is that the way that the system is supposed to work?  It doesn't appear to be working very well if your experience is the common one.

I actually read his post, and it sounds like he and his "GM" weren't really applying the Conflict table in the GM chapter right, since acts of murder are a 10+ hit on the chart, which itself is a set of guidelines as noted on page 220, with said chart being guidelines for common acts that would generate Conflict and that the GM should adjust or improvise based upon unusual situations.  If the GM just looks at the chart and says "well, I don't see that action listed, which I guess means 0 Conflict," then that's a screw-up on the GM's part.  Much like the tables suggesting uses for Advantage, Threat, Triumph, and Despair, it's a consolidation of suggestions, not an all encompassing list of circumstances.

 

There's also the problem that the Morality system is built first and foremost to be used by Force users, and that other character types aren't likely to drop in Morality since they lack one of the biggest temptations, namely converting those dark side pips on the Force die into usable Force Points when activating Force powers.  As such, if a PC isn't a Force user, they shouldn't be using Morality in the first place, and should instead stick with Obligation or Duty, whichever better suits the campaign.

 

The Morality system is also geared towards the idea that the PCs are generally going to be heroic individuals, and not a pack of murderous brutes, much as how Saga Edition handled dark side infractions; so long as you weren't a psychopath that casually indulged in rampant slaughter, you were a "good guy" even if you only had a few Dark Side Points for those particularly heinous actions, but again the big temptation of the Dark Side in that system were the Dark Side powers such as Force Lightning and Rage; if you weren't a Force user, that temptation never existed.

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That is pretty odd. Is that the way that the system is supposed to work?  It doesn't appear to be working very well if your experience is the common one.

I don't know if mine was common. I do know the GM tended to roll between 4-6 on the d10. We had I think 8 rolls that were in 8-10 range, and 2 of them were when I'd really hit a dark patch (multiple "premeditated shooting firsts"*, thefts, and lying hitting the 8+ Conflict range).

Also note: When I say "murder"... it was more "made sure we were going to have to fight the Imperials". So often it was only 1-2 Conflict points. Personally... I might have awarded myself a full 10, since we might have been able to find a non-violent path. Maybe. They were tough "post campaign" calls, but at the time I remember thinking I was very much steering the party to my agenda ("Kill all Imperials"). What can I say, I was a Jawa on a revenge mission.

And again, had we been using the Morality during the game, I'd have probably toned it down a bit, at the very least I wouldn't have lost over 50 in the second session (causing a shuttle to crash into a Hutt's Palace killing and wounding most of his staff/guards/innocents).

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That is pretty odd. Is that the way that the system is supposed to work?  It doesn't appear to be working very well if your experience is the common one.

I actually read his post, and it sounds like he and his "GM" weren't really applying the Conflict table in the GM chapter right, ...

 

Yes.  That was my thinking as well.

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I actually read his post...

Uhuh. Read it, but failed to understand it.

... and it sounds like he and his "GM" weren't really applying the Conflict table in the GM chapter right, since acts of murder are a 10+ hit on the chart...

And the 4 people my character actually killed himself, I took the full ten on. Note: Those were also the only people my character ever directly did damage to. The few times I engaged in combat my Blaster was on Stun (my Droid minions were also on Stun, once I had Droid Minions).

However, as I said, I was "in the driver's seat" so to speak. So in situations that we "ended up" shooting first (about half the time) I took 2, the others took 1. 3 times we were shot at first and I still took 1 Conflict (for having put us there and ensured we'd end up fighting).

The only actions my character took that were really questionable, that I got a pass on, was the "cannibalism". Which was a ritualistic eating of my revenge targets (it's not like I went around snacking on every Imperial we downed... though I did joke about the waste of meat).

Hmmm. We did stop at 0 and I had more than 50 in that particular session (I think it was like 65 or so and that was after the die roll), so had we gone into the negatives I might not have climbed back quite so "high".

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I actually read his post...

Uhuh. Read it, but failed to understand it.

... and it sounds like he and his "GM" weren't really applying the Conflict table in the GM chapter right, since acts of murder are a 10+ hit on the chart...

And the 4 people my character actually killed himself, I took the full ten on. Note: Those were also the only people my character ever directly did damage to. The few times I engaged in combat my Blaster was on Stun (my Droid minions were also on Stun, once I had Droid Minions).

However, as I said, I was "in the driver's seat" so to speak. So in situations that we "ended up" shooting first (about half the time) I took 2, the others took 1. 3 times we were shot at first and I still took 1 Conflict (for having put us there and ensured we'd end up fighting).

The only actions my character took that were really questionable, that I got a pass on, was the "cannibalism". Which was a ritualistic eating of my revenge targets (it's not like I went around snacking on every Imperial we downed... though I did joke about the waste of meat).

Hmmm. We did stop at 0 and I had more than 50 in that particular session (I think it was like 65 or so and that was after the die roll), so had we gone into the negatives I might not have climbed back quite so "high".

 

 

Thank you for the clarifications, however, I am confused by what you wrote concerning if you had actually been using the Morality system.

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Angelicdoctor,

From the sounds of it, it's more like his group used a "cliff notes" version that applied their own personal perspectives on good and evil rather than what FFG used, which reflects that the Force is very much a Black and White system of morality, with zero allowances for "cultural norms."  A member of a Force tradition that routinely practices ritual sacrifice or cannibalism is still going to earn large amounts of Conflict simply because such actions are irrevocably evil where the Force is concerned, no matter how the character tries to spin it.

 

Your safest bet is to pretty much discount what he has to say about the rules, since 9 times out of 10 he's using some Frankenstien's hodge-podge of a ruleset that bares little resemblance to what's posted in the book, making such "feedback" completely worthless.  Particularly in contrast to those folks that generally stick with what's in the books and make our feedback suggestions based upon that shared point of reference vs. some insane home-brew game he's claimed to devise that makes Palladium look like a sensible and well-written RPG system.

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Thank you for the clarifications, however, I am confused by what you wrote concerning if you had actually been using the Morality system.

Well, there's a reason I'm not bothering with Morality in the game I'm going to run. I'm just going to "eyeball" it.

But then the next game has the Players playing "good guys" so I highly doubt there will be as much mayhem, shooting first, and theft (and far less murder and random atrocities).

Mostly I'll have to keep a weather eye on Dark Side usage and the one Jedi (at the start anyway) engaging his emotions instead of peace and harmony.

And Dono: Sure, sure. That's why there have been 4 threads on this topic so far, because only you truly understand the RAW and how to best apply it.

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And Dono: Sure, sure. That's why there have been 4 threads on this topic so far, because only you truly understand the RAW and how to best apply it.

Compared to folks like you, there's plenty of people that understand the Morality mechanic, how it actually applies, and how it's intended to work far better than you.  Primarily because we actually take the time to understand the rules as presented and how they operate, which is one of the primary requirements to be able to effectively playtest these rules and provide useful feedback, something you've failed miserably at doing.  Hell, we probably understand the rules of the entire system a lot better than you ever will, since by your own admission you play such a heavily-hacked version so as to be barely recognizable as FFG's Star Wars RPG.

 

Each thread has can be summed up as "OP doesn't like how the Morality systems works because they can't manipulate the numbers, and so presents a half-backed concept that only creates more problems."  None of them have been any sort of "improvement" except in letting the OP twist the concept so that they can indulge in all the dark side atrocties they want and never actually fall to the dark side by making it a defined zero-sum game with "good deed points" balancing out "bad deed points," thus enabling a PC to use dark side effects with impunity so long as they rescue the occasional kitten.  A concept that has ZERO place in this setting, with a substantial amount of lore, both canon and Legends, to back that up.

 

Whether you give a flying flip about how the Force has been defined by Lucas, the fact remains that as the creator of the setting, his the outlook that ultimately matters.  It'd be much the same as declaring that Professor Tolkien didn't know jack-all about the Elvish culture of Middle-Earth, or that J.K. Rowling was utterly clueless about the general workings of magic in the Potterverse, or that Joss Whedon doesn't grasp the group dynamics of the crew of Serenity.  In cases, those are the folks that defined the setting and understand a lot better.  And it's Word of Lucas that's laid down how the Force works, which negated one of the main tenets of the NJO series that "there is no dark side" and gave need for the writers to retcon the NJO series to account for Jacen's view being flat-out wrong.

 

Obviously you can't bothered to give FFG the benefit of the doubt, in spite of the high quality of work they've done since the EotE core rulebook has been published, something you made very clear based upon some minor element of the EotE Beginner Box, which itself was sent to be published while the EotE rules were still in beta.  Frankly, one has to wonder why you even bother posting here, since there's a number of other Star Wars RPGs to draw from, and you've brazenly admitted to pirating a copy of the book rather than actually pay for it, so you'd certainly wouldn't be shy about pirating WEG or WotC books if you really wanted resources for your bastardized GURPS-based version of Star Wars.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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I wasn't trying to add fuel to any fires. I just felt that someone possibly gaining 9 morality from 1 conflict is a bit much. It really has nothing to do with going dark or trying to game the system.

When I first read the morality system I really loved it. But after a few sessions it just doesn't feel quite right to my group.

Edited by erik_wolff

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I had a slightly different idea that keeps the die roll but subtracts 5 from the roll if your conflict points are 4 or below. That would eliminate the giant gains that are possible with the current system.

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Oggdue, the current system heavily supports meta gaming too though, in my opinion. If I want to quickly go up in morality, all I need to do is convert 1 ds pip and then play the rest of game as a goody goody.

Exactly :)  Or just don't gain conflict at all, preferably.  That's the point.  It's not about "cancelling" your conflict with brownie points that you make somewhere else.  You can't cancel out conflict.  You did it, you pay the price.  Sometimes, your conflict is minor (using your anger once or twice to fuel a Force power for a good cause), so you continue your slow but steady rise in morality (albeit a bit slower this time around), and your slip-up is forgiven.  But if you go on a killing spree, no amount of good-deed afterthought attempts at atonement will save you from your drop in morality.

 

This is why I'm against any replacement to Morality that includes "good deeds" canceling out "bad deeds", and so far, pretty much all of them have suggested a mechanic similar to this.  You don't play ping-pong with the Force :)  If you screw up, you're going to pay for it, either by getting your morality lowered, or having it rise at a slower pace, depending on how badly you screwed up.

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Oggdude, I admit that your explanation makes the most sense I've read so far regarding keeping the original morality rules. I really did love the system when I first read it. Unfortunately, I still have a major issue with the giant gains that are possible with the current system. If you use dark side, you should lose morality. Maybe not a bunch, but some. Same holds true for the opposite, if I gain 9 conflict and roll a 10, story wise I shouldn't be gaining any morality.

With that said though, I really like your explanation of things.

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For GMs and aspiring dark side players, there's one thing to learn from this discussion:

If you want a character to gain conflict, you need to make sure it's about 6 points per session.

 

Moving on.

 

Edit: If you use regular fear checks, you're there a lot quicker than you think.

Edited by GranSolo

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Oggdude, I admit that your explanation makes the most sense I've read so far regarding keeping the original morality rules. I really did love the system when I first read it. Unfortunately, I still have a major issue with the giant gains that are possible with the current system. If you use dark side, you should lose morality. Maybe not a bunch, but some. Same holds true for the opposite, if I gain 9 conflict and roll a 10, story wise I shouldn't be gaining any morality.

With that said though, I really like your explanation of things.

Page 220 look at that table. Enforce that conflict. You get conflict in more ways than just using darkside pips. 

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Same holds true for the opposite, if I gain 9 conflict and roll a 10, story wise I shouldn't be gaining any morality.

 

Don't think of it as "I just gained 1 morality point".  Think of it as "I had a chance to gain 10 morality, and all I got was 1 because I was tempted by the Dark Side.  Dopey me.". :)

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I think a lot of the frustration comes for a common root, we want something the PCs cant "game" or work to their advantage and something the GM can game and use for the stories advantage. As the current system stands the GM has little to no control. This is my issue with the current system in place. I do want a system that the PC's can’t work for their advantage but at some point the responsibly of that has to fall on the PCs not to game it. if you want a system you can game go back to D20, I think FFG's rules set is more geared for a group that wants to tell cool stories and not power level, and we need mechanics and rules that reflect that.

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Same holds true for the opposite, if I gain 9 conflict and roll a 10, story wise I shouldn't be gaining any morality.

 

Don't think of it as "I just gained 1 morality point".  Think of it as "I had a chance to gain 10 morality, and all I got was 1 because I was tempted by the Dark Side.  Dopey me.". :)

 

Stop countering my arguments with your **** logic, lol. ;)

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Oogy,

Actually, the GM does have a lot of control over when Conflict gets assigned, simply by devising the adventure to include options for the "quick and easy" path to a dilemma, and the player can choose to either take that option (much as Anakin frequently did) or find an alternative solution that isn't as questionable or damning.

 

There are countless tales of what's become known as "Paladin Screw Jobs" where the player of a D&D Paladin is put in no-win situations by jerkass GMs that causes the character to fall from grace and loose their paladinhood.

 

So in a FaD game, the GM can be just as much of a railroading jerkass and put their characters in situations where the only solution is to undertake an action that generates Conflict, and simply stonewall the story until one or more players accept the "sadistic choice" being offered.

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