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Tucker Ghost

Morality and a missed opportunity.

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I'm not involved in the beta. I've arrived too late to contribute. But I read the first news post and was instantly disappointed.

Why not have some Dark Side heroes and Light Side villains?

Does anybody else feel this was a missed opportunity?

In the movies the line between good and evil was easy. But this is a roleplaying game. I hoped to have a character who used the power of the Dark Side to defend innocents against tyrannical overlords and brutal criminal organizations.

Your thoughts are most welcome.

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I think what you're describing runs counter to the whole way the Force is described in the canon. The Dark side is inherently evil and corrupting; anyone using it for good purposes would still be moving swiftly towards the dark. Frying someone with Force lightning is still evil, even if the target is a bad person. An evil tyrant waging war on another evil tyrant doesn't make either of them a good person just because their opponent is evil.

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I hoped to have a character who used the power of the Dark Side to defend innocents against tyrannical overlords and brutal criminal organizations.

 

Nothing is really preventing a character from doing that, and the Aggressor Specialization in particular keys into straddling the line between light/dark side tactics to doing things. Most other specializations and even powers are a bit neutral and still can be used with the Dark side to do good things.

 

Is there something in particular you're finding that makes you think the game/ the morality mechanic is preventing you from doing good actions in darker ways?

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So like, Jacen Solo from Legacy of the Force series? That would be an interesting character to play.

 

But like Lathrop said, there's nothing in the rules that prevents you from doing this.

 

Ultimately, I think it would be just plain good Star Wars if the power you used to defend the innocent were to somehow corrupt you and turn you into the very thing that you sought to destroy. But that's just me :) 

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I'm not going to attempt quoting so bear with me:

Krieger22:

A gun is not evil, it's who uses it and why they use it. My character's goals could be accomplished with the Light Side, but my character is like me.

Flawed, complicated, strong and pationate for justice, for helping and protecting others and always looking for ways to improve myself. But quick tempered and not afraid to use the power anger gives to overcome what cannot otherwise be conquered.

I'm a nice guy, with strong morals. But I hate bullies, the abusive and injustice.

Does that make me Jedi, Sith or something in between.

Lathrop:

It was the good and evil that made me think I couldn't have a good dark side user. The character is going to be human, as mentioned above a flawed and complicated human, but at his core a good man doing his best to do what is moral and just.

He loves a woman. He has friends. He fears for their happiness and safety so fights to keep them from harm. Apparently that leads to hate which leads to the dark side. True, there are "things" he hates but like me he doesn't hate the person doing the things.

Awayputurwpn:

Exactly. Though I was thinking more Batman, Lone Ranger, Zorro, Triple X and the likes. All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. But in such dark times evil needs to be fought with another kind of darkness.

But I also like your last comment. "Beware the beast within"

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The Morality Mechanic in no way prevents you from doing exactly what you describe. Using certain powers will give you conflict. Doing certain actions will give you conflict. the force does not care what your reasoning is. Use darkside powers and perform certain actions and you fall to the darkside. Even if your intent is good. 

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If you're not mindlessly killing for the sake of killing, you're probably not going to drop to the dark side. Likewise, just popping Destiny Points and strain once in a while to use the dark side to fuel Force Powers in emergency situations every session likely won't drop your morality down either.

 

Morality is good if you want to have a mechanical tie to your character's growth that's affected by their choices. And this will give benefits (and certain penalties) if you decide to be a dark sider or be heavily light side. But if you rather sit as a more neutral character, where morality isn't important, then the game, per the newest update, gives you the option to ignore Morality altogether and just use EotE's Obligation or AoR's Duty.

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There's a difference between the 'relative' morality of the 'real world' and how you might perceive it and The Force in the fictional universe of Star Wars.

 

You can certainly interpret The Force however you wish in your own games. But the intent in the films and in the RPG seems to be that The Force does have a more or less 'absolute' nature. Emotions like fear, anger, hatred and vengeance are seductive and seem to be effective ways of accomplishing what could be abstractly considered 'good' ends. But this leads to the Dark Side, which has tangible results.

 

Anakin Skywalker was convinced he could be the kind of character you seem to be describing. He wanted to have unlimited power so he could bring 'order' to the Galaxy and bypass the corruption he saw in the Republic. Bypassing corruption and preventing mass bloodshed are of course 'good' objectives, but if you do it by slaughtering younglings and killing dignitaries in cold blood, you're on the path to the Dark Side.

 

This doesn't prevent you from dealing with this conflict in your stories, of course, that's part of the fun of roleplaying.

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That's funny because my character would, even with the dark side, would consider Anakin evil. He'd stand between him and the younglings and die to protect them.

However my character feels about Jedi, he'd see the children as innocent.

He wouldn't kill anyone unarmed, cowering or begging for mercy. Though he might punch a corrupt politician just "because he deserved it". Should someone rule by oppression, he might drag them to the cheering freed masses and then walk away.

I said he was complicated. Has his own code.

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Canon disagrees with the possibility that your character concept could work. (Interestingly enough, apparently both Dooku and Skywalker were, at least originally, thinking in this vein.)

 

Of course, you could flat-out disagree with said canon -- and I do in fact recommend doing so because I'd have been happy to throw out everything that wasn't the original trilogy, and possibly toss Return of the Jedi at that -- by tossing out the Morality rules wholesale...

Edited by Chortles

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I'm a nice guy, with strong morals. But I hate bullies, the abusive and injustice.

Does that make me Jedi, Sith or something in between.

 

It's not that complicated.  Depends how you deal with the bullies.  Do you get them arrested and try to bring them to justice?  Or do you slaughter them?  If you lean towards the latter, you lean towards evil.  In the SW universe, that opens the gate to the dark side, and it's tough to resist.  There is no real space for a "Riddick" or the various roles played by Clint Eastwood, at least as far as canon goes.

 

He wouldn't kill anyone unarmed, cowering or begging for mercy. Though he might punch a corrupt politician just "because he deserved it". Should someone rule by oppression, he might drag them to the cheering freed masses and then walk away.

 

 

The role of being a Jedi would be to use that to be a teachable moment, because up to that point, all the mob knows about is power.  They haven't learned to take matters into their own hands and develop systems to prevent it happening again.  Those masses will likely find themselves in a "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" situation in short order.

 

I'm not saying your character wouldn't be fun to play, but the ethics isn't complicated at all:  he's evil, just sort of particular about where he applies it.  Heck, even Stalin was a loving father...

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The system doesn't get in the way if you want to play that way. This isn't Saga Edition, where falling to the darkside gives the GM control of your character (and even in saga, the dev's said you should toss that rule if it fits your game, just be cautious about it).

 

The rules are a frame to play in, the GM and players supply the characters and the story. So if you want to play a character who believes its fine to use the darkside for good and the GM wants to put a lightside antagonist at the party, more power to you. Play the way the group will have the most fun.

 

Personally, I'd run both of those examples as the starting point of the characters. They would eventually fall deeper; the darkside goody-goody slowly being corrupted by the power he chooses to wield, and the lightsider jerk slow turning toward the darkside to reach his despicable goals. Could be some very cool character development and story telling.

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There is no real space for a "Riddick" or the various roles played by Clint Eastwood, at least as far as canon goes.

... so that makes canon worse storytelling than what the OP is attempting. Goodbye canon!

I'm not saying your character wouldn't be fun to play, but the ethics isn't complicated at all:  he's evil, just sort of particular about where he applies it.

... I guess the OP doesn't consider that evil?

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All interesting points to think about. Perhaps my character should be a Light Side Force user with anger management issues. More of a maverick and less of a "by the book" prim and proper Jedi.

I could live with that.

Now that is actually something of an established tradition if not archetype in the old EU/Legends lore and possibly even in Luke's journey*, and if anything one interpretation of the "Grey Jedi" concept in canon is someone for whom the actual boundaries of light vs. dark aren't 1:1 with where the Jedi Council may claim it to be (though that interpretation does use the premise of an "objective" light vs. dark) and that being how a "maverick" Jedi was defined by others...

* Of course, part of the point/difficulty for Luke in the original movies is that, with Obi-Wan and then Yoda gone, Luke being all that was left made the "by the book, prim and proper Jedi" kind of moot.

Edited by Chortles

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That's funny because my character would, even with the dark side, would consider Anakin evil. He'd stand between him and the younglings and die to protect them.

However my character feels about Jedi, he'd see the children as innocent.

He wouldn't kill anyone unarmed, cowering or begging for mercy. Though he might punch a corrupt politician just "because he deserved it". Should someone rule by oppression, he might drag them to the cheering freed masses and then walk away.

I said he was complicated. Has his own code.

 

In a campaign that I was running, this would be perfectly fine--great, even. I love the idea that a character's Morality score might fluctuate up and down because they have a complex view of the world and are willing to take dark actions when they felt it was necessary.

 

See some of my other posts about the challenges of GMing for a party in which the Force users are determined to avoid Conflict at all costs.

 

I just think a character played the way you describe couldn't be expected to avoid Conflict all the time, or to expect to just go straight up in Morality to 100 and stay there. The character's Morality score would probably vary over time as he took these actions he feels justified in taking.

 

To me that's an interesting story.

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All interesting points to think about. Perhaps my character should be a Light Side Force user with anger management issues. More of a maverick and less of a "by the book" prim and proper Jedi.

I could live with that.

 

Absolutely! As mentioned above, the game wouldn't prevent you or even discourage you from playing this way.

 

You just wouldn't be able to play a violent, angry, destructive character and expect to avoid all Conflict and have your Morality rocket up to 100 and stay there. Nothing wrong with that, it's much more interesting!

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Also, the Jedi are/were a specific religious order with teachings, a history, and a framework for how they do things.

 

There can be a difference between specifically being a "Jedi" and being a Light Side Paragon, just as there can be a difference between being a "Sith" and being a Dark Side character.

 

For Luke, it was specifically his goal to become a Jedi, like his father, and to respect and continue the teachings of that order. (In the new film next year it'll be interesting to see what form that continuation has taken.)

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To add to what progressions has said, there's old EU/Legends lore of Qui-Gon Jinn being considered "Grey" by some for this reason, which parallels progressions' reminder of the Jedi (and the Coruscant-based "orthodox" Jedi Order) as being a specific Force-wielding sect, at that.

Alternately, Assassin's Creed Rogue depicts a player character with a code of objective right and wrong, but who joins the Templars (the antagonists of the rest of the series) because he believes that the Assassins committed wrong -- breaking their own Creed (further context would be spoilers) and refusing to recognize as much -- and so he means to stop them from harming the wider world.

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They're an interesting case since their belief system was syncretic, stemming from incomplete training from a 'fallen' Jedi Knight working off a Sith manuscript from a disaffected former follower of Exar Kun (not a recipe for a stereotypical Sith!), with most of the Jensaarai unaware of that Jedi Knight's fall and believing that he'd been murdered by (other) Jedi and the manuscript destroyed during that encounter. There is also no mention of them engaged in stereotypical dark deeds -- indeed, they briefly but openly operated as newfound custodians/protectors for their post-Clone Wars homeworld of Susevfi -- and they too were victims of attempted Imperial purges who in turn fought back with retributive raids against the Imperial garrison.

 

* This doesn't quite square though with how the Jensaarai initially took the Empire as allies, with the Saarai-kaar's son offering himself to Vader as a Jedi hunter yet was struck down because Vader only sensed the light in him... but no wonder Disney decided to "cleave the Gordian knot" of the EU/Legends by rebooting rather than try to retcon such questions.

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For a decent example of a "good" character with moral shades of grey, look no further than Mace Windu - he was willing, in fact viewed it as a necessity, to circumvent any kind of justice system or due process and kill Sidious himself in order to prevent the re-emergence of the Sith. Even Anakin tells him "It's not the Jedi way!"

 

Now while I'm all too aware that the prequels are flawed in many ways, this kind of thing is perfect for the campaign you want to be a part of. Having a moral system that's inflexible is a recipe for amazing storytelling. Does the Force say you can't take a life because you risk the Dark Side? Perfect. I throw my players into situations where the easy thing to do would be to kill someone, and watch them wrestle with the consequences, or find ways around it. That's how great stories are made, in the purest Aristotelian sense of tragedy and pathos.

 

White Wolf games of old (and perhaps still, I wouldn't know) had this down to a T, which was part of what made them so great. The cost of power, the descending spiral of lost humanity, all that good stuff. It wasn't about the powers and the spells; it was about what you had to sacrifice to get them.

 

Now in your case, if there were no penalty for stepping out of line, your character could do it whenever he wanted. But since there is a penalty (conflict and morality and all that), there is a cost associated with doing morally dubious things, which means you now have to make a decision every time you get the itch. And that's what a real story is all about: Decisions. If you knew exactly how your character would behave in every situation, you'd be playing a dice rolling game. Now, however, you are playing a character in a drama, and only you know how it's going to end. 

 

Do not view it as a missed opportunity; it's the opposite. It's the perfect opportunity for you to create great stories for your character.

 

TL;DR the struggle is real.

Edited by Mandurang

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I'm not involved in the beta. I've arrived too late to contribute. But I read the first news post and was instantly disappointed.

Why not have some Dark Side heroes and Light Side villains?

Does anybody else feel this was a missed opportunity?

In the movies the line between good and evil was easy. But this is a roleplaying game. I hoped to have a character who used the power of the Dark Side to defend innocents against tyrannical overlords and brutal criminal organizations.

Your thoughts are most welcome.

 

That pretty much describes our game right there. 

 

Just Do It. 

 

I'm not 'disappointed' because the rules they come up with reflect the canon Star Wars movies fine, and I wouldn't expect anything else.

 

But Morality, like Duty and Obligation, is a sub-system that's bolted-on to the base rules, doesn't use the special dice or anything, and always struck me like it belongs in some other system anyway. I had a long chat about this with the players, and everyone agreed that micromanaging their alignment was no fun for me or them, and would only get in the way of the fast, fun narrative game we wanted to play.

 

So we threw it out, the game plays fine without any of it.  I went with a more Eastern Yin-Yang interpretation of the Force that keeps it mystical (law vs chaos, not good vs evil) without everyone needing to be a Trappist monk or a puppy-eating baby-killer. There's still consequences for your actions, but the players can play their 'Sin City' style dark heroes in a galaxy that has the moral greys of the Mass Effect/Dragon Age games they are familiar with.   

 

As for 'Light side villains' the main antagonists of our game are the returned Jedi. 

 

It's a game, change what you like.  If you want the classic interpretation, that's great. If you'd rather 'Dark Knight In Space', that's great too. As long as your group is happy with it, anything's possible.  Just make sure that the rules you use support the themes you are trying to portray in your game.  If you want to play a guy like Marv, who protects innocents and casually murders the bad guys, you're better off without the Morality rules. 

Edited by Maelora

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When I heard the prophecy about the chosen one, I believed Anakin did bring balance. Not the everyone's a Jedi balance, but a balance between light and dark. An equilibrium of day and night.

Too much day, a planet overheats and life dies.

Too much night, a planet freezes and life dies.

Only with day and night, summer and winter, sun and rain can life flourish.

That was just my viewpoint. It wasn't good and evil, just two sides of the celestial scales. Too much of one upsets the balance and bad things start to happen.

Not Star Wars canon, but an interesting alternative. Could still use a form of morality, perhaps trying to keep things 50/50 so as to achieve balance.

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When I heard the prophecy about the chosen one, I believed Anakin did bring balance. Not the everyone's a Jedi balance, but a balance between light and dark. An equilibrium of day and night.

Too much day, a planet overheats and life dies.

Too much night, a planet freezes and life dies.

Only with day and night, summer and winter, sun and rain can life flourish.

That was just my viewpoint. It wasn't good and evil, just two sides of the celestial scales. Too much of one upsets the balance and bad things start to happen.

Not Star Wars canon, but an interesting alternative. Could still use a form of morality, perhaps trying to keep things 50/50 so as to achieve balance.

Yeah, that's a popular notion (dark side balances the light), but as you infer, it doesn't really jive with what we know of the dark side and also the propehy of the Chosen One. The main thrust of the prophecy was that this person would destroy the Sith, and by so doing would bring balance to the Force.

And as previously discussed, "the light side" is not a phrase we hear anywhere in the six films. There is "the Force," and "the dark side." It is made fairly clear that the dark side is cosidered (at least by the Jedi) to be a perversion, not a balancing factor.

I suppose you could come at it from a different angle, a different philosophy. Examples of "dark side as balance" or "dark side as a natural counterpart" are popular in Star Wars Legends, but usually these philosophies are spun by Sith and the like :) the one exception I can think of are the Aing-Tii monks, but they're their own kind of weird and unusual.

Edited by awayputurwpn

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