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Jegergryte

Reducing conflict

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Hola bandola!

 

I think the beginner game has a few instances where the PCs can reduce acquired conflict. Now, that could be because the beginner game doesn't use the fully fleshed out conflict rules, at least I think so.

 

I know a lot of the discussions here are more about surfing your way to paragon of the light side - and I can see that this could happen unless the GM is both liberal and keep conflict in mind a lot of the time (the FaD GM's screen should've had a conflict table instead of the dice symbol table I think...)

 

The question I'm posing though is: is there any way you'd let your PCs reduce their acquired conflict during game play - before the removal of conflict when doing the roll at the end of the session?

 

I've been thinking about this, either through meditation at a light side nexus or other events the PCs either witness, instigate or are in some way affected by.

 

It's more a narrative thing of course, there's not going to be any check to reduce conflict for no reason - basically it should perhaps be plot related, but have any you considered this?

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I think this is a slippery slope, because I think you'll suddenly get Jedi Players who will pause the story to help that little old lady across the street for a couple conflict reduction.

 

While not a bad thing if used sparingly, if you are dead-set on introducing it, I think it should always be a narrative aid rather than another variable in the mathematical equation that is conflict.

 

There already is a built in way to reduce conflict in my opinion, its called "Not doing the thing that is going to give you conflict" but thats just my two creds.

Edited by BigSpoon

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I wouldn't take those very specific instances from Lure of the Lost as a nod to introduce a static method of reducing a PC's Conflict.

 

The main reason is that if you do introduce such a thing, then you'll have players potentially meta-gaming their Conflict totals even more than they already do, especially if they're trying to work their way to LS Paragon; instead of trying to avoid earning Conflict in the first place (what they really should be doing), you'll instead have players spending their time trying to find "good deeds" to do so they can effectively excuse their earlier inexcusable behavior.

 

Truthfully, the furthest I would take this is that if a character goes out of their way to do an altruistic deed for no reason other than it should be done (such as donating medical supplies you might well need later to sick villagers that do need them now), then I'd give the player a small bonus (+1 in most instances, +2 if it's something that would make Mother Theresa or Pope Francis smile with approval) on their die roll at the end of the session; this way, their Morality is more likely to go up, especially if they've avoided Conflict-earning actions already, and you cut down on the PCs spending time trying to metagame to reduce their Conflict instead of focusing on the actual adventure.

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Again, its not about a static method or mechanic as such, but letting certain events, sites and/or phenomena reduce acquired conflict - if any has been acquired.

So far in my group the dark sider, or the one who wants to go dark side is having difficulties doing just that, so I'm trying to become more generous and liberal about dishing out the conflict. One guy started as paragon and another had a brief session at 71 morality, but dropped below last session (does this work like dark side? Ie do you keep the benefits until <30 morality?).

So this isn't something I feel a big need for, but as a story telling device I am thinking it could be useful.

So... No one else had been thinking about this in this way?

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Again, its not about a static method or mechanic as such, but letting certain events, sites and/or phenomena reduce acquired conflict - if any has been acquired.

So far in my group the dark sider, or the one who wants to go dark side is having difficulties doing just that, so I'm trying to become more generous and liberal about dishing out the conflict. One guy started as paragon and another had a brief session at 71 morality, but dropped below last session (does this work like dark side? Ie do you keep the benefits until <30 morality?).

So this isn't something I feel a big need for, but as a story telling device I am thinking it could be useful.

So... No one else had been thinking about this in this way?

I think the point Jegergryte is making is that there are certain events in the official games that increase conflict outside of the normal scope of actions - therefore it should be ok to have certain events set up to offer a chance to reduce conflict.

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Rather than 'random good deeds' - which usually don't make much sense anyway - reducing the conflict created by an action would best be dealt with by taking responsibility/making amends for the action that generated it. This is mostly a thematic thing, although it could have mechanical costs of some sort as well. IE: if you destroyed someone's property without good cause, you're going to have to (meaningfully) apologize, replace it, perhaps deal with legal ramifications, etc. Essentially, a smaller-scale version of what someone has to do when they've gone fully dark side. Of course, this only works if the character is actually learning something from the experience - if they're routinely smashing stuff up and apologizing afterward, it's not going to be effective anymore.

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I too feel that the players/characters should receive some kind of morality reward for doing good things. Perhaps even GMs should give out or take away morality along with xp. The idea that a character can conceivably torture a person and suffer no morality slip while another gains nothing for pushing a kid out of the way of rampaging critter and ending up needing a bacta bath doesn't feel right thematically.

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I'm thinking less about reducing conflict as a direct result of an action intended to make amends, taking responsibility or make up for something that the PC did - or that of one of his or her allies. I don't believe that would be a good idea.

 

It's more the indirect, unintended and unexpected consequence of cleansing a dark side site, defeating a manifestation of the dark side or a dark side spirit (so, no, not an automatic reduction of conflict just because you cleansed a site or drove out a dark site spirit... nonononono! Sod off!) Witnessing (participating in and/or helping) the birth of a new species or intelligence, new life. Discovering and/or reconnecting with someone or something lost - a species, a civilisation, an intelligence... Undoing something evil that has been affecting a whole civilisation or area for as long as anyone living can remember, the consequence of which is renewed life, hope, forgiveness and so on. And again, it's not about forgiving the PCs in this case (the events and phenomena are more important than the PCs, they're bigger than the PCs), it's about forgiving who/what caused [whatever sh*tty bad stuff] in the first place. It's about understanding. If the PCs can facilitate, help, cause and make something like this happen, intentionally or not, this is what I'm talking about - the effect and consequence of whatever happens is first and foremost something profound and far reaching, going beyond the mere scope of the here and now, the moment in which it happened. The potential conflict reduction is a tertiary effect and not at all the point or goal of the event.

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I would have preferred the system to cap the amount of morality gained based on the character's performance, a la not doing anything bad but not doing anything good won't move your morality much.  If you're going to allow "negative conflict" I'd suggest trying this too.

 

Also, I would try to limit the realm where the players could earn that negative conflict to situations relevant to the story line to limit the "helping the little old lady across the street" behavior described above that I totally agree tanks the flow of the game.

 

[braces for hate and straw-man arguments]

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I wouldn't allow my PCs to reduce already acquired conflict personally. However, when bestowing conflict points on a PC I would take a number of factors into account such as the reason for the action. If the PC is acting brashly and without consideration of the potential effects, normal conflict. If their action is particularly selfish I would likely increase it slightly and if their action is being done for selfless reasons and with great consideration of the consequences then I might reduce it slightly.. usually up or down by 1-2 points.

 

Conflict isn't really carried over so it only affects them for the current session. At the end of the session they make their roll, adjust morality and start at 0 conflict again next session so I don't see a lot of reasons to need to reduce their conflict after it has been awarded. I believe the idea of the roll is to reflect the 'negative conflict' aspect inherent in their normal actions. It's randomized so as not to allow players to play bean counters and try to perfectly balance their gain/loss.

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In the beta book's adventure, there was mention about granting a point (maybe two) of morality if the character(s) accomplished a section of the adventure particularly well, and altruistically.

 

I liked that idea, and it could easily be expanded upon. The greater the deed, the greater morality gained. It would also have to be story driven, and suffused with the chance to gain conflict (the situation in the beta adventure was geared very strongly to generating conflict via hostile opposition). No chance for conflict, no morality bonus. Which means no cookies for helping old lady's across the streets.

 

As for the chance to mitigate conflict during play (with some crunchy mechanics) I'd go with presenting the players with an opportunity to meditate/reflect/harness a lightside nexus/etc... Spend a destiny point, and make a Hard Discipline check, each {failure}/{threat} adding one point of conflict, if successful, make a morality roll at that time, otherwise nothing happens (except for conflict gained for {failure}/{threat}). (Not sure what to do with {advantage} yet...)

 

This allows the player to actively face their conflicted feelings (if they can -- destiny point) with all that entails... with enough insight and discipline, they might cleanse their conflicted feelings and come out on the moral high-ground. But, sometimes we can't face those things we've done, and we slip further towards the abyss... MWAA...HA.HA.HA.

 

Ahem...

 

Anyway, just some ideas.

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It's pretty easy, a bit too easy in my opinion, to gain positive Morality so I don't really agree that there is a need for a specifically positive mechanic beyond the occasional GM awards. Keep in mind that redemption isn't easy, you just can't confess your sins and volia' you're good again, it's going to be and should be a slow process.

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Morality is really interesting.  We have one Jedi in our group who was blatantly bad for many sessions.  she routinely ran up fairly high amounts of conflict in a session, but rolled really well and eventually ended up a Paragon.  Another character (mine) tended to tow the line, used a bit of dark side pips here or there, but generally kep conflict at 5ish or lower per session, but tended to roll really bad.  This character didn't go down, but stayed in the 50 to 65 range throughout and is yet to get Paragon. 

 

Overall the system works well, and averages will eventually play out, but there can be anomalies.  I'm not sure if it's the right thing to do, but it seems like sometimes a little manual GM adjustment wouldn't be inappropriate.  I wouldn't make a habit of it, but I would allow a little adjustment now and again if the random fickle finger of fate leaned a bit to hard to the side for an extended period of time.

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It seems some put way too much into this idea, at least much more than I am. Examples based on outliers are easy, I know, but I trust myself, and other GMs, to have control over their games. If not, well ... we're not doing our job. The extreme examples are only valid insofar as we let them happen. And of course, mistakes happen, so those I hadn't thought of before I will take into account. Thank you.

 

To reiterate: I'm not talking about a dice mechanic. I'm not talking about an easy way to make morality gains that much more likely (and that much easier). I'm not talking about a skill check increasing Morality, or reducing acquired conflict. I'm talking about a narrative, plot related device* that can - at my (the GM's) discretion - be used to reduce acquired conflict if I (the GM) deem it fitting and plausible given the context, event and plot.

 

Perhaps I'm a despot GM, exerting my power and will over the players, game and story to fit into the actions and consequences of what happens. I just like to tell stories, collaboratively - which means players can more or less dictate some things at some times, and I can dictate others things at other times. It's very much an organic process where we play off each others' ideas, actions, reactions and objectives.

 

As for affecting Morality directly, that's of course also an option, but I have a hard time imagining what could cause that.

 

 

*although sometimes these things could be unrelated to the main plot - at least initially, on the surface.

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I'm talking about a narrative, plot related device* that can - at my (the GM's) discretion - be used to reduce acquired conflict if I (the GM) deem it fitting and plausible given the context, event and plot.

 

What you've described is all you need: GM fiat.  If you want to say a player accrues less conflict then the player accrues less conflict.

 

There's nothing more to it than that.

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I'm thinking less about reducing conflict as a direct result of an action intended to make amends, taking responsibility or make up for something that the PC did - or that of one of his or her allies. I don't believe that would be a good idea.

 

It's more the indirect, unintended and unexpected consequence of cleansing a dark side site, defeating a manifestation of the dark side or a dark side spirit (so, no, not an automatic reduction of conflict just because you cleansed a site or drove out a dark site spirit... nonononono! Sod off!) Witnessing (participating in and/or helping) the birth of a new species or intelligence, new life. Discovering and/or reconnecting with someone or something lost - a species, a civilisation, an intelligence... Undoing something evil that has been affecting a whole civilisation or area for as long as anyone living can remember, the consequence of which is renewed life, hope, forgiveness and so on. And again, it's not about forgiving the PCs in this case (the events and phenomena are more important than the PCs, they're bigger than the PCs), it's about forgiving who/what caused [whatever sh*tty bad stuff] in the first place. It's about understanding. If the PCs can facilitate, help, cause and make something like this happen, intentionally or not, this is what I'm talking about - the effect and consequence of whatever happens is first and foremost something profound and far reaching, going beyond the mere scope of the here and now, the moment in which it happened. The potential conflict reduction is a tertiary effect and not at all the point or goal of the event.

 

Ahhh... you're talking about events. The characters were involved in (witnessed, directly brought about, etc...) a momentous event that should have a profound effect on their character.

 

I'd go with LethalDose on that.

 

These events are part of the narrative, and the boons and banes received from them should be brought about by the same. The GM narrates it with particular gravitas and eloquence, and the players do the same from their character's perspective. Each character may take this in a particular direction for themselves. Which may not match the overall intention of the GM, but therein lies gaming/improv. From there, it's up to the GM to come up with what 'happens' and what, or if, there is any mechanical benefit to each characters reaction to the event.

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