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Desslok

Dev Diary on the Morality system is up

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That's the fight isn't it? I foresee many nasty arguments at a gaming table as a player argues 'looks on in horror as he fails' vs. a GM saying 'willfully chose not to.'

 

I would not care to play at a table where the GM exercises that degree of control over the narrative. And I would caution my fellow GMs to make sure, when this stuff happens, they aren't actually disallowing the players from collaborating—in essence, shutting them down.

 

Conflict is one of the GM's tools to influence the PCs. They can totally lay down some conflict for an action, and a player isn't allowed to argue (but can narrate it however they choose). But when a GM starts overriding the players' wishes like that, that is what I would call "overreaching." 

Edited by awayputurwpn

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Interesting discussion. When I first tried to get my head around the system, I felt it was backwards, i.e. having the dice determine the character's feelings. But since then I have come to understand that this is not necessarily the case. Failure to produce light side pips just means the character failed trying to connect to the force using the "Jedi way", something we see often enough in Star Wars. Dark side pips allow the character to use their darker emotions, but that is an option, an opt out if you will, the easy way.

 

It is actually quite elegant and does a rather good job of portraying what we see in the films.

 

At the heart of every good story lies conflict, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. Jedi struggling with themselves is very Star Wars and I pity those who do not understand that conflict is so very important and that internal struggle is one hell of a roleplaying opportunity. Achieving a goal is much sweeter if one had to overcome adversity, and becoming a Light Side Paragon while actually having to struggle should feel like a much greater achievement than just sitting around until it happens by itself. Although allowing bad things to happen because of one's own adherence to a strict and cold code could be used for juicy roleplaying, too, I guess.

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That's the fight isn't it? I foresee many nasty arguments at a gaming table as a player argues 'looks on in horror as he fails' vs. a GM saying 'willfully chose not to.'

 

Not at my gaming table.  Or any gaming table I've ever played at.

 

And even if such a fight is going to happen at your table it's not because of the Morality or Force Power or Conflict rules in this game - its because you've got a domineering GM and this fight could just as easily crop up over any interpretation of the effects of a die result with any system.  The FFG rules don't establish a by-the-book way of interpreting Conflict gain and spending DS points except in terms so broad they actually require the players to interpret them given the action, the Character (and Motivation, Strength/Weakness, or whatever), and the situation.

There is nothing in the book that dictates what a proper interpretation is.  The game is clearly designed (and the devs have pretty much stated this) so that the players and GM work together to come up with their own interpretations of not only the specific results of a dice pool but what meaning it has: it's the core mechanic of the game.

A GM that tells you what your character act, thinks, and feels - whether the task failed because the Character chose to or not - is also going to take over the interpretation of other dice pools and generally be a horrible GM, particularly in this system where Players interpreting dice pools is the core mechanic of the game.  Certainly the GM can push back in how dice pools are interpreted but this is typically only done in so far as the interpretation affects NPCs or the environment.

 

In other words, if you've got a GM who dictates what your character thinks and feels then the problem is your GM and the system isn't going to fix that.

 

It's also interesting that you are the one who seems to be consistently pushing the notion that there is very little leeway in what it means to gain Conflict and/or spend DS pips, so you seem to be decrying a situation that you're promoting.  Or are you saying that you want the rules to force the Players to interpret things the way you do instead of having to rely on the GM do it?

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Actually, you've got it backwards. Player saying 'looks on in horror cause I refuse to spend Dark Pips' is 'my point of view' vs. GM saying 'willfully chose not to because you could've spent dark pips' is  'majority point of view.' That is, most say NOT spending the Dark Pips is a very bad thing, and, in fact, a misdeed. As if not spending the Dark Pips is equivalent to murder. Or at least knowing inaction.

 

So the scenario I'm picturing is if I were a player in their game.

Edited by Angelalex242

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Actually, you've got it backwards. Player saying 'looks on in horror cause I refuse to spend Dark Pips' is 'my point of view' vs. GM saying 'willfully chose not to because you could've spent dark pips' is  'majority point of view.' That is, most say NOT spending the Dark Pips is a very bad thing, and, in fact, a misdeed. As if not spending the Dark Pips is equivalent to murder. Or at least knowing inaction.

 

So the scenario I'm picturing is if I were a player in their game.

 

Really? 

 

The way YOU have described the "I won't spend a DS point to save a friend" fit very neatly into the category of the Character deliberately deciding to let another Character die because "using the dark side" even just a little is worse. 

 

Maybe you didn't intend for this to come across as the Character motivation but that's how I've understood your phrasing of the scenario and this is the context in which I was saying NOT spending a DS point would be bad and likely be worth gaining 10+ Conflict.

 

This is a little bit unclear because you as a Player/GM seem to advocate for a very steep slope from "using the dark side at all" to falling to the dark side.  YOU have been insistent that gaining Conflict and using DS pips be interpreted a specific way that you prefer.

 

And most of the interactions I've seen with you on this point (including myself) have tried to point out to you the myriad ways in which gaining Conflict and spending DS can be interpreted.

 

But now you're saying that interpreting Force Power dice pools including gaining Conflict and spending DS is open to a wide range of interpretation?

 

EDIT:

To quote myself from up thread - I think I was pretty clear in what I was saying:

 

"Same for your typical example of whether or not to spend DS points to save another character with Move.  Spending the DS is moving closer to the dark side.  Letting your friend die moves you much closer than just spending a DS point (though, I will note that, again the narrative aspect of the game can actually work here in your favor as you can easily narrate the result as the PC being unable to pull off Move and looks on in horror as their friend falls to their death, but you typically present this as the PC refusing to save a friend and not merely failing to do so)."

 

Maybe I've misunderstood you.

But it's been my position all along that there's a lot of possibilities when interpreting dice pools and that your preferred interpretation is perfectly valid in the system but not the only one and not one explicitly or implicitly encouraged by the system.

Edited by Jedi Ronin

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Actually, you've got it backwards. Player saying 'looks on in horror cause I refuse to spend Dark Pips' is 'my point of view' vs. GM saying 'willfully chose not to because you could've spent dark pips' is  'majority point of view.' That is, most say NOT spending the Dark Pips is a very bad thing, and, in fact, a misdeed. As if not spending the Dark Pips is equivalent to murder. Or at least knowing inaction.

 

So the scenario I'm picturing is if I were a player in their game.

 

I think all the negative reaction to the original situation you posted, a long time ago, was due to a commonly held perspective that the refusal to act was on the player character's vantage point, not that of the player.

 

Now that I understand (I think!) what was going on, I can view your recent posts (such as I can remember them) in a different light, especially since you have clarified your stance somewhat and given some concrete IC info about your character's motivations and methods and such.

 

The original situation that you posited seemed to be one of roleplayed willful inaction, rather than out-of-character willful inaction...so that's where all the pushback comes from.

 

Hope this helps to clear things up.

Edited by awayputurwpn

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Agree with your points Jedi Ronin. The Morality system actually encapsulates the spirit of the movies quite well. Even among Jedi there's an ebb and flow, and decisions are made which might be questionable, or considered suspect, but ultimately it is the willful decision to "Give in" to your anger or hatred... it's the final act of allowing yourself to become consumed by hate and anger... ocassional slip ups, or even the use of a DS pip are not going to send you forever down the path of the Dark Side. Yoda certainly warns that if you start down a path of evil it will consume you, but it's not so cut and dry.

In Phantom Menace, Obi-Wan certainly attacks Maul with an amount of hatred and agression after Qui-Gon falls. He immediately leaps headlong into battle, agitated, and itching for this fight... that's certainly not the Jedi way, but Kenobi is certainly not in any real danger of turning to the Dark Side. He doesn't alow that hatred to consume him. Later, in The Clone Wars animated series, the one woman he loved. Duchess Satine of Mandalore, is brutally murdered by Darth Maul... you can see the rage building up in him, but he ultimately is able to let go.

Finally, I would suggest you read issue #7 of the new Star Wars comic series from Marvel; this story is canon. Basically it's a story of Obi-Wan's years on Tatooine, and how in order to hide his past, allows evil to take place for the greater good of keeping Luke safe. Jabba's goons have been harassing moisture farmers, and stealing their water while Tatooine is in the middle of a drought. It's a very interesting story, and the moral dilemma posed could make for some great role playing.

Edited by Gallandro

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Wow. Now I understand what's going wrong. Everyone was interpreting my refusal to use DSP as a in character thing instead of a player choice.

 

The character doesn't go 'well, I could've saved him, if I'd just given into my fear and anger.' He say, "No, why couldn't I save this guy? My power didn't work!"

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One question I have with the Morality mechanic is when you are rolling for your conflict roll if you have say 6 conflict and you roll a 6 on the D10 what happens then? Do you get no points on the LS or DS so you don't move on the scale? 

I wasn't in the beta so I don't know if it was answered or not. An answer would be much appreciated  :)

Edited by Blue Nova

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Wow. Now I understand what's going wrong. Everyone was interpreting my refusal to use DSP as a in character thing instead of a player choice.

 

The character doesn't go 'well, I could've saved him, if I'd just given into my fear and anger.' He say, "No, why couldn't I save this guy? My power didn't work!"

 

Depends on the situation. If you roll the needed amount of force points but are just electing not to dip into the Destiny Pool and gain some Conflict and Strain, then it's still ultimately a situation of them throwing their hands up in the air and saying welp, sucks for you. Because they were still fully capable of doing what is needed to save somebody, both the player and the character, but decide that just because they didn't have enough normal Light side points to use, that the power failed. They're only unable and fully in the "there was nothing I could do" spot if they didn't roll enough points at all (dark and light), if there's no Destiny Points to flip, or if the strain would just knock the player out (though I'd personally give the player a chance to save the other player before knocking out if it really were a matter of a player dying).

 

 

One question I have with the Morality mechanic is when you are rolling for your conflict roll if you have say 6 conflict and you roll a 6 on the D10 what happens then? Do you get no points on the LS or DS so you don't move on the scale? 

I wasn't in the beta so I don't know if it was answered or not. An answer would be much appreciated  :)

 

Correct, no movement on the scale.

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One question I have with the Morality mechanic is when you are rolling for your conflict roll if you have say 6 conflict and you roll a 6 on the D10 what happens then? Do you get no points on the LS or DS so you don't move on the scale? 

I wasn't in the beta so I don't know if it was answered or not. An answer would be much appreciated  :)

You gain (d10 - Conflict) morality. If you roll a 6 and have 6 conflict, that would be zero (6 - 6 = 0). So yes, you are correct!

-EF

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Honestly, if it weren't for the conflict, I'd be happy to knock myself out saving someone else. Even a random NPC.

I honestly don't understand this stance. Why are you so adverse to a few points of conflict? You don't go Dark Side until your morality drops below 30, so a starting character with 50 Morality is in no danger of falling to the Dark Side if they use DS results here and there every few sessions when they're needed. The odds of rolling that many 1s in a row to cause you to lose Morality are astronomical.

3–5 Conflict every few sessions will, at most, keep you around the 50–60 range: no danger whatsoever of falling to the Darkside.

-EF

Edited by EldritchFire

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They're only unable and fully in the "there was nothing I could do" spot if they didn't roll enough points at all (dark and light), if there's no Destiny Points to flip, or if the strain would just knock the player out...

Speaking only for myself, I would always save someone if it meant me (my PC) getting knocked out! The scene just becomes more juicy. Easier to play off the drama generated... When an opportunity for a sequence like that presents itself, not seizing it is a shame. Edited by dfn

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They're only unable and fully in the "there was nothing I could do" spot if they didn't roll enough points at all (dark and light), if there's no Destiny Points to flip, or if the strain would just knock the player out...

Speaking only for myself, I would always save someone if it meant me (my PC) getting knocked out! The scene just becomes more juicy. Easier to play off the drama generated... When an opportunity for a sequence like that presents itself, not seizing it is a shame.

 

 

No, you need to max out your Morality to 100 because that's how you win at Star Wars.

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It's still the haracter making the choice.

Player: "He could have been saved, but only if I used my darker emotions and that can lead one to the darkside. I believe I a purity of the force."

Everyone else: "That's great but we're going to go ahead and work with someone we can rely on to save us when the chips are down. Have fun with that enlightenment thing but it doesn't mesh with our current goals."

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My only misgivings in that scenario is that you were talking about the character of a fellow player. If it had been a NPC, I could see it go either way and be fun. But letting a PC die because you want to reach Morality 100 a little faster? That would be a no-no at most of my tables, especially in a group with Jedi which means we are talking good guys. You weighed consequences for your character and that of another player and decided that a very minor mechanical hit to your character was worth more than character death. All the while totally ignoring the fantastic roleplaying opportunities saving the PC could have created.

 

I do not know your table, so maybe all is fine and dandy there (although in your description it does not sound that way, your fellow player certainly does not sound happy), but in my experience, a lot of players would be irked by your decision. Roleplaying is a social game, you are supposed to be a team, and sometimes that means taking a hit for the team.

 

And again, that is without considering the narrative and the awesome opportunities for inter-party roleplaying giving in to a tiny bit of Dark Side opens up - does the Jedi become overprotective? Does he try to distance himself and become aloof to avoid this level of attachment in the future? Does he come to resent the other character for "making him use the Dark Side"? So many options, so much fun. Han came back for Luke knowing that Jabba would do him over, Luke left for Cloud City despite Yoda's warnings; nobody wants to hear/read/see stories about the ones that ran and did not come back. Star Wars is such a phenomenon because the characters are like that, because we see them as heroes not despite but because of their struggle against their own darker sides. Luke does strike at the Imperator, he gives in but he finally manages to overcome, not Palpatine or Vader, but himself. Great story material (as evidenced by the fact that so many people can relate to it).

Edited by Franigo

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On the other hand....

 

How would the PCs know he could've been saved? Are they all Force users? Well then, shouldn't they all be trying to roll move to save him? If none of them are Force users, they'd have to metagame to hell and back to know he could've been saved.

 

"Couldn't you have done that handwavey thing you do?"

 

"Well, it doesn't always work."

Edited by Angelalex242

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"Oh, it didn't work that time. That sucks."

"Well. It could have, but I would have had to dirty my mental pristine-ness."

"So... you let him die because it would have been a minor bump on trip to super Galactic creamy oneness?"

"Yep"

"Yeah. Your fired."

That would be the expected exchange at any table I've ever been at.

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On the other hand....

How would the PCs know he could've been saved? Are they all Force users? Well then, shouldn't they all be trying to roll move to save him? If none of them are Force users, they'd have to metagame to hell and back to know he could've been saved.

"Couldn't you have done that handwavey thing you do?"

"Well, it doesn't always work."

That's a moot point, because the player will know, and that's the crux of the argument. If that was my character you let die you dâmn well better believe I'd be pissed as all get out at you, the player, not your character. You chose a minor mechanical widget over my freakin' character. There would be words, and either a major change in how you play or one of us would walk.

In effect, you're saying that your character's "purity"—whatever that really means—is more important than my enjoyment of the game. I interact with the game via my character, take that away and I'm not a player anymore, I'm a bystander. Balls to that.

-EF

Edited by EldritchFire

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I'm the kind of guy who likes having his morality score in the high 90s, if not 100 outright.

Once you get above 90, there is no mechanical incentive to go higher. Heck, even at Paragon—81+—you're golden. Taking a point of conflict here and there is not going to make you fall from 92 to 78 and lose your pretty halo. Two or three conflict is very unlikely to move your morality down at all.

-EF

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