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Maese Mateo

Conflict & Force Powers

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On one of my current games, the Sentinel is learning the Move power which he eventually plans to use to slam adversaries into walls and into each other.

 

Now, in the movies, when we see stuff like this is against droids, not living creatures (the one ones that I remember using Move to attack a living thing are Count Dooku and Palpatine). Should a character gain Conflict if he uses the Force to inflict direct harm with a power that doesn't have a Dark Side version like Move?

 

I know Move allows characters to throw objects at adversaries for no Conflict, but I find it weird that Harm gives you Conflict but smashing someone with a giant rock is totally cool.

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Depends where you want to draw the lines. Does injuring someone with a lightsaber cause Conflict? It's all "damage", but RAW doesn't distinguish.

In one of the Season 6 episodes of TCW, Mace has to rescue Jar-jar in a Temple of Doom-like setting, and he very clearly spends more effort to only incapacitate the enemies (where possible, though a couple fall into lava...). So perhaps the Conflict comes with Wounds, not Strain...something only you and your group can decide.

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Getting Dark Side points for using Move (or back then, Telekinesis) was the policy back in the WEG edition of the game. They changed it because, well, it's fun to use the Force in that manner.  You could add in a condition that if you use Move to harm another target you gain a point of Conflict (in addition to any gained by using Dark Side pips). I wouldn't limit it to just living beings though, as using the Force to cause destruction of property should thus earn conflict as well.

 

Actually, that might be something to consider, an effect of Move that isn't spelled out directly or left vague enough that it's up to the GMs if they want to implement.  Destruction of property without due cause is a 3-4 point hit, it's certainly well within the rights of the game to say that using crates, tearing up deck plates, or using someone's new Saddlethruster speeder bike as a projectile will damage or destroy said projectile. Was that use "necessary"? I don't know, that's up to the GM.

 

Using someone else as a projectile is rather cruel too, and probably should earn the PC a point of Conflict (maybe 2, one for each person they "tormented").  I don't really see it as punishment as I see it as balance, using a person as a projectile to smack another person with, and dealing damage to each is the sort of "combat efficiency" that dances on the edge of the Dark Side, which is what this Conflict system is all about. 

 

Some things to consider if you have someone bent on using Move to deal damage.

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I would say there is no difference between smashing an object into a person or a person into an object.  Either way you are using the force to do "mundane" damage.  Same as using the force to guide your hand into striking with a lightsaber.  The difference is I guess the force is not the thing doing the damage, whereas with Harm or Unleash the Force is the thing doing the damage.

 

I'm sure the Sith would say "what does it matter of the force is the gunpowder or the bullet, it's all the same in the end" but it seems in the lore of Star Wars there is a difference.  Jedi clearly us the force to make them into better warriors and to help them kill when necessary, but only Sith are shown to use Force Lightning and other direct applications of using the force to take a life despite Yoda demonstrating the ability to manipulate force lightning.

Edited by Squirrelsan

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I would say there is no difference between smashing an object into a person or a person into an object.  Either way you are using the force to do "mundane" damage.  Same as using the force to guide your hand into striking with a lightsaber.  The difference is I guess the force is not the thing doing the damage, whereas with Harm or Unleash the Force is the thing doing the damage.

 

I'm sure the Sith would say "what does it matter of the force is the gunpowder or the bullet, it's all the same in the end" but it seems in the lore of Star Wars there is a difference.  Jedi clearly us the force to make them into better warriors and to help them kill when necessary, but only Sith are shown to use Force Lightning and other direct applications of using the force to take a life despite Yoda demonstrating the ability to manipulate force lightning.

 

The only real difference is the Physics.  For Unleash and Harm, you are using the Force as the killing...er..."force". You are using the Force itself, and specifically the Dark Side of the Force, to inflict damage to your target. It's the source of the damage and the medium by which it is delivered.

 

In the case of Move, you're using physics (kinetic energy) to deal damage. The Force is allowing you the increased power to move the mass at a velocity, which when it strikes another object moving at a slower speed there is damage done to both objects. The Force is the medium by which the damage is dealt, but the source of the damage is raw physics.

 

The difference when using someone as an object of a Move attack is that you're taking away the target's "free will" for a moment, and using them as a weapon to inflict harm on another person.  There's a certain amount o cruelty to that, in my mind, which is why I'd likely bestow a point or two of Conflict on a person who used Move as such. It's not enough to make them go dark unless they're running around every session with that as their default way of dealing with multiple opponents.

 

AND THAT SHOULD BE FINE. PCs should not be concerned with anything less than 5 Conflict every game. In fact they should expect to have sessions where getting more than that is likely. Becoming a Paragon should be something you have to constantly work towards and be on your best behavior to get to.

 

But sometimes you just need to knock some Stormtroopers around and escape the Empire, you know?

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I've always looked at it from the motive point of view.

Is the Jedi active out to do damage for the sake of causing pain or 

Is He/She trying to take out a threat to Himself or others she is trying to protect.

 

Example: Asoka in Rebels repeatedly uses Move to throw the Brother and Sister into the ground and pillars but always backs off after they are disabled or unable to continue.

She is acting to protect the children and Phantom crew, and not going out of her way to do more damage then necessary so I don't see her getting any Conflict from the fight.

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I guess everything boils down to the character's mindset. When using move to throw a rock or enhancing his lightsaber skill the character is giving a fair fight to his opponent, on the other end when choking him with the Force he isn't.

 

Manipulating the Force with the sole and explicit purpose of destroying life (Harm or Force Lightning) is the sort of shortcut that leads to the Dark Side.

 

It's a thin line, but it's there.

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My opinion on the matter is intent.

If the character uses the force to attack rather than defend then conflict should be given. Same for a lightsaber did the character defend themselves or just showed up and started swinging.

Do you kill by desire or do you kill for survival?

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Actually, in Star Wars Rebels, both Kanan and Ezra have used the Move power on several different enemies.  So there is definitely a precedent for a Jedi to do such.  Whether they gained Conflict from doing so is debatable at the moment.

 

Personally, I think it would depend on your intent when you use the Move power.  The Harm force power is using the force to directly cause another being pain and potentially death... so yes you definitely get Conflict here.  However, using the Move power is not directly harming a person, it's a potential effect of them hitting something hard.  Sure it's a bit of a gray, foggy, ambiguous area.  As a GM, you just have to make calls as best you can.  I personally allow Move to be used against living beings without Conflict, if the intent is not clearly to kill.  So using Move to knock back/down a group of Stormtroopers chasing you is perfectly fine and doesn't earn Conflict.  However, using Move to throw someone off a cliff or into a laser-wall is absolutely going to earn you Conflict.

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Maybe, as long as they are throwing small objects (Sil 0 or 1), players could be given the option to inflict Strain rather than Wounds with Move, as if using a Stun weapon.

 

Seems like a good use of an Advantage if you ask me.  For 1 Advantage you buffer the Move attack just enough to bruise instead of smash!

 

EDIT:  Say each Silhouette size costs 1 Advantage to limit to Strain damage (so 1 Adv for Sil 1 or 2 Adv for Sil 2 objects).  Limited to Silhouette 2, as I'd rule it'd be difficult to limit damage when you hit someone with a speeder sized object.  Silhouette 0 improvised objects automatically do Strain damage.  Sil 0 weapons are a different story, a knife is rather pointy and just isn't going to do Strain damage typically.

Edited by TalosX

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I have recently started to GM a new group playing this system.  It is an interesting debate as some people prefer it to depend on if it is a direct or indirect use of the force.  I am of the opinion force smashing an opponent into another is no less cruel than committing 3 force die to increase pierce(force seek) to your ranged heavy blaster attacks or slicing off limbs with your lightsaber, nevermind using enhance on your piloting skill to kill a swarm of tie fighters.  Either all offensive actions cause conflict or none of them should.  Claims of cruelty are extremely subjective, and it could be argued the fear a lightsaber causes poses undue stress on the poor, villainous underlings and gives the wielder conflict.  If you are giving conflict for using force move, and not when a Jedi uses saber throw (as an example), you are doing a disservice to the spirit of the game imo.

 

My advice is to give conflict based on the circumstances and decision to use violence to solve a problem, not on the Jedi's use of the tools he is meant to wield once the decision has been made.  Conflict is common enough just deciding to use force powers when the dice come up black, nevermind the moral choices that inevitably happen during an adventure or campaign.  A jedi who uses his lightsaber to chop up a minion should probably receive the same conflict that a jedi uses to force throw him off a cliff.  As the GM, this helps you focus on the decisions and not the method.  I know if I got conflict for using force move as a weapon every time I used it, even if it was in self-defense, and I was trying to play a light side Jedi,  I would stop spending points on it and start investing in agility and ranged weapons.

 

Just my two cents.

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Also the lightside vs the darkside is a matter of why you do what you do. For instance, if you were to randomly use force power move on a guy that could be a conflict, but if you use force power move on a guy because he is going to kill a guy then no conflict. 

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Also the lightside vs the darkside is a matter of why you do what you do. For instance, if you were to randomly use force power move on a guy that could be a conflict, but if you use force power move on a guy because he is going to kill a guy then no conflict. 

To an extent, but depending on you used Move on the target could be a factor.

 

Simply hurling the target into the nearest wall to save the target's would-be victim is generally fine, but might warrant a point of Conflict if that was the Force user's knee-jerk response rather than at least making an effort to talk the target down or otherwise dissuade them.

 

Of course, if you lift the target a couple dozen meters into the air and then let them plummet to the ground, some GMs may assign additional Conflict for using excessive force to dispatch the target, especially if that was the first reaction the PC took in response to the situation.

 

To pull from an old WEG example, using telekinetic kill (their name for Vader's Force grip effect) would still be a dark side action even if you did so to stop a maniac from triggering a bomb that would wipe out an entire city.  In spite of what the Sith would say, the ends don't always justify the means.

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Slightly off topic but I was  thinking about Force Lightning. It appears to cause pain but it also incapacitates a target with no long term damage. So, for example, in the Cantina scene, if Obi-wan had used Force Lightning on Evanzan and that other dude, he could have incapacitated them and ended the fight. Instead, he chopped their freakin' arm off. Same with the similar scene from AotC. So Force Lightning would logically be something that all Jedi would want to know as it's application is less evil than the standard lightsaber. 

 

I also think Jedi should carry around a stunning lightsaber (if that is even a thing) for those types of situations.

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It appears to cause pain but it also incapacitates a target with no long term damage.

Force Lightning is very much lethal. In RotJ Luke was going to die but Vader saved him. In RotS Palpatine kills Windu with it (if you listen to the scene, you'll notice that by the time Windu flyies through the window he is already dead since he stops screaming).

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I would say it depends on how hes going about it if the PC is using Move to throw someone into a a wall or even another person I would let that go as it would be using Move like the good old fashioned Force Pull or Push but if hes constantly picking up the same guy and throwing him around or hell picking up corpses to throw around I would give conflict the first cause I just find that kinda cruel even if its a bad guy hes doing it to the second well hes defiling a corpse not really a Light Side act.

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Force Lightning is very much lethal. In RotJ Luke was going to die but Vader saved him. 

 

Force Lightning can be lethal, I don't deny that, but Palpatine hit Luke with it for quite a while without any long term effects. His line, "an now you die" implies that he was, up until that point, using a low power dosage and was about to turn up the juice. Killing someone with it is quite bad and warrants Conflict but, IMO, no more than killing someone in other ways. 

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I believe the gaining of conflict in almost all cases is highly situational. Use of move to slam two enemies into eachother would gain conflict more on the basis of if the PC is resorting to violence as the first course of action or if they are defending themselves or tried to find an alternate route first. If the combat is already underway and you wouldn't award conflict for the combat itself I wouldn't award it for using the move power against enemies any more than I would for the use of a blaster or a lightsaber. On the other hand, if the PC sees stormtroopers across the plaza and slams them into eachother with Move and without looking for alternatives, then I would be more inclined to give them conflict. Not because they used move but because they resorted to violence first.

 

As for Force Lightning, I don't believe this power is directly and explicitly lethal. And the dark side nature of it is not because it is lethal. It is because it's sole purpose is to inflict pain and injury. I suspect it also, by it's very nature, taps into the dark side and requires those using it to focus negative emotions such as rage, fear and hate in order to fuel it and to cause that pain and injury. The power, however, doesn't need to kill. In fact, not killing with it makes it a quite effective tool for torture. In contrast, powers like move and enhance do not solely cause pain and injury but can be used for many purposes and can be used without fueling the power with negative emotions, even if you are using it to push a droid off a cliff or slam two imperial agents into eachother.

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Maybe, as long as they are throwing small objects (Sil 0 or 1), players could be given the option to inflict Strain rather than Wounds with Move, as if using a Stun weapon.

Remember that when you defeat minions, you can choose if they're incapacitated or dead, if logical (I'd allow this to carry over to rivals and nemesis as well). It makes perfect sense that if a PC slams two stormtroopers together they're knocked unconscious.

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Maybe, as long as they are throwing small objects (Sil 0 or 1), players could be given the option to inflict Strain rather than Wounds with Move, as if using a Stun weapon.

Remember that when you defeat minions, you can choose if they're incapacitated or dead, if logical (I'd allow this to carry over to rivals and nemesis as well). It makes perfect sense that if a PC slams two stormtroopers together they're knocked unconscious.

 

 

The helmets, they do nothing...

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Maybe, as long as they are throwing small objects (Sil 0 or 1), players could be given the option to inflict Strain rather than Wounds with Move, as if using a Stun weapon.

Remember that when you defeat minions, you can choose if they're incapacitated or dead, if logical (I'd allow this to carry over to rivals and nemesis as well). It makes perfect sense that if a PC slams two stormtroopers together they're knocked unconscious.

 

True, and it is the GM that typically makes the call, but I don't see why a decent GM wouldn't take player suggestion and have minions or rivals defeated via Move simply be knocked out instead of killed.

 

While we do see battle droids being reduced to scrap via Force slams in the prequels, they're also droids and thus the Jedi wouldn't hold back when dispatching them.

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Maybe, as long as they are throwing small objects (Sil 0 or 1), players could be given the option to inflict Strain rather than Wounds with Move, as if using a Stun weapon.

Remember that when you defeat minions, you can choose if they're incapacitated or dead, if logical (I'd allow this to carry over to rivals and nemesis as well). It makes perfect sense that if a PC slams two stormtroopers together they're knocked unconscious.

True, and it is the GM that typically makes the call, but I don't see why a decent GM wouldn't take player suggestion and have minions or rivals defeated via Move simply be knocked out instead of killed.

While we do see battle droids being reduced to scrap via Force slams in the prequels, they're also droids and thus the Jedi wouldn't hold back when dispatching them.

I wonder if the droids are held together with magnets...

Anyway, if viable I almost always let my players make the call as to whether or not an opponent is killed. Heck, the "Jedi" in our game routinely subdues enemies with her lightsabers by way of non-lethal yet painful strikes, leaving them unable/unwilling to fight. That may be a stretch to some, but for me, it goes a long way towards being a lightsider when you don't kill everyone. That's not to say she never kills, but the player is fantastic about trying to maintain balance.

Back on topic, and coupled with the above player's mentality, there was a scene where the PCs were caught in a crossfire by two Imperial stormtrooper squads, at the intersection of a derelict starships' main corridor. The Force-user decided to use Move to tear the already weakened bulkhead down and block the path. Another player suggested they crush the squad, but the "Jedi" decided against it, explaining that the enemies were still defeated and that would be unnecessary killing. I loved it and as a GM, reward players for that kind of play.

Edited by Alderaan Crumbs

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