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Sabbad

Yet Another Morality House Rule

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I'm not a fan of Force and Destiny's rules for Morality. For all the reasons people have already said - too easy to become paragon, napping to the light side by not doing anything nice but also not anything explicitly evil, trivial penalties for some pretty evil actions etc.

 

I like the idea of chronicling the "good" actions of PCs as well as their evil ones, as other house rules have implemented. But the idea of measuring every action the PCs take within that framework sounds exhausting, and I'd rather cut down on the amount of mid-session book-keeping than increase it.

 

My solution is to move Morality shifts entirely to the end of the session, and measuring a character's virtue not by every single action they undertake, but by the most prominent actions they take in a session.

 

Anyway, here's the link to what I've got so far. What do people think?

 

http://michaelduxbury.com/2016/02/19/ethical-mathematics-new-rules-for-morality-in-force-and-destiny/

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I actually fix the problems with two tweaks:

Was your character ever actually tempted by Dark actions?  By that I mean, was there a point at which doing the wrong thing would have made part of the adventure significantly easier?  If not, two things. First, I screwed up as a GM, because I should be throwing temptation at them left and right.  But also, they don't even get to roll.  If the adventure really was just a dungeon crawl with no real moral choices, they still get Conflict for using Dark pips and going out of their way to be evil.  You stole from the shopkeeper "just because?"  No roll.  "Because it was a really sweet gun?"  No roll.  "He had the MacGuffin and we couldn't reach a negotiation, and the Bad Guy is an hour away!"  Okay, there's some justification, you get the Conflict, but you can also roll.

The second tweak regards your example of "Murdering these children only gives me 20 Conflict, so..."  That one is, "Okay, your character falls to the Dark Side, and you're not welcome at my table."  I've been GMing for 20 years now, and while evil can be interesting, I'm done with sociopaths and psychopaths.  As I've said before, Tywin Lannister is welcome at my table.  The Mountain that Rides, Ramsay Snow and Roose Bolton are not.

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done with sociopaths and psychopaths.  As I've said before, Tywin Lannister is welcome at my table.  The Mountain that Rides, Ramsay Snow and Roose Bolton are not.

English, man. We didn't all watch Lord of the Hobbit: A Dungeon Siege Tale.

 

If you are not watching game of thrones that is on you. 

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The Grand Falloon has pretty much hit the nail on the head.

 

If the PCs were never in a situation where they could gain Conflict based upon their moral choices, then they shouldn't roll for Morality at the end of the session.  I believe this was even confirmed/suggested by the devs, as an answer to the concerns of PCs "sleepwalking" to Paragon status, most specifically Sam Stewart on the O66 podcast episode that centered on the Force and Destiny core rulebook.

 

Personally, one minor alternation I made for my current campaign was to have the Morality rolls made at the end of each adventure rather than each session.  This has slowed down the increases of Morality, and allows for Conflict earned to have a longer lasting impact on the Force-sensitive PCs in my group, and is something they generally like, with the one PC that's reached LS Paragon status feeling like she'd truly earned it, and that her stumbles along the way resulted in her not getting there sooner or being in the higher LS Paragon tiers.  If anyone's having an issue with PCs reaching Paragon status too quickly, this is probably the simplest "fix" to apply, as it works with the already playtested mechanics of the Morality system, but also requires the PCs to not be quite so cavalier towards gaining Conflict if they really want to hit Paragon status.

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My thoughts are to use the alternative rules suggested in the F&D core book. Next game I run I will not be using Morality, at all. The Pc's will likely have Duty but Force Users will not have the moral angst that seems to have become expected. If they start acting like douches I will deal with that in another way.

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Donovan's reference to the O66 podcast is correct - if for whatever reason there's been no opportunity to gain conflict, there's been no moral choice to be made, therefore: no roll.

 

Also: Being able to justify one's actions doesn't mean it shouldn't result in conflict. The "actual" justification is the d10 roll, wherein the effect on the "soul" or your standing with the Force is adjusted. Whether you felt powerless to help or affect the course of events or things happened too quickly, that doesn't necessarily matter, the conflict is gained anyway. Not choosing is also a choice, hesitation can definitely represent a moral dilemma or something along those lines - if you don't choose correctly (i.e. the good way, the light side way) you gain 1+ conflict.

 

Also, I aim at flinging out about 5 conflict per session per player. This doesn't happen of course, as sometimes things are way too intense to even remember the whole conflict thing (and other times, like last night, I have to slap 20 in the face of the beheading executioner ataru striker for unnecessarry, destruction, murder and threatening behaviour in Quolas - and leaving the place Sathari to their own devices with such an immense power vacuum - the other players remained below 10). The reason is that 5 is the number where morality statistically will increase by 0.5 per session. Not such a cake walk to paragon, but also shows us that conflict isn't dark side points, it's a part of the game, part of the Force. Most will/should gain 3-7 conflict per session I think. Someone going for the paragon path would still, at times, flip and use dsps to activate a force power, or have to witness horrible misdeeds and crap, not being able to act, which would still reward him with conflict...

 

 

Either way, it's not easy to get this right, at least not every single session - and if you fumble a bit, like I did, you end up with that eternal paragon PC who started at 71 and just increased from there, players don't move much down, but can long streaks of increases. So I get the desire for change - I'm getting better at it though. I don't tell them when they gain conflict (most of the time), I just jot down whenever I think they should get some. Then they roll at the end of the session. This works well, as long as I remember to jot down ... I try not to discuss it too much, except when everyone knows what just happened was Bad. B.A.D. because then we could be talking lots...

 

 

 

Going for harmony and discord as you outline may be as much work, but it's more static and less organic, so it's perhaps easier as it's more of a mechanic (as I see it) than the F&D rules. It also seems a bit more fiddly.

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Also: Being able to justify one's actions doesn't mean it shouldn't result in conflict. The "actual" justification is the d10 roll, wherein the effect on the "soul" or your standing with the Force is adjusted. Whether you felt powerless to help or affect the course of events or things happened too quickly, that doesn't necessarily matter, the conflict is gained anyway. Not choosing is also a choice, hesitation can definitely represent a moral dilemma or something along those lines - if you don't choose correctly (i.e. the good way, the light side way) you gain 1+ conflict.

Back in the Saga days, it seemed like there were even more arguments about being awarded Dark Side points, and I quickly decided that if someone is trying to justify their actions, it almost certainly deserves some Dark Side.  It's important to remember that the Force really only measures Morality from a certain, fairly simplistic perspective.  It doesn't really judge the outcomes of your actions, only what you actually do.  So if you murder an innocent plague carrier to save thousands, you still murdered him.  Boom, fat Conflict.  Of course, if you allow him to run amok, killing thousands, you're still neglecting the safety of the populace, so there's some Conflict for ya, too.

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I think one of the biggest causes of the cakewalk to paragon is sadly the GM not putting enough hard choices in front of the players and not keeping the gm morality chart in front of them to assign conflict for actions they should get conflict for. And I agree it is hard on the GMs part. If GMing were easy we would all do it :P

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Also: Being able to justify one's actions doesn't mean it shouldn't result in conflict. The "actual" justification is the d10 roll, wherein the effect on the "soul" or your standing with the Force is adjusted. Whether you felt powerless to help or affect the course of events or things happened too quickly, that doesn't necessarily matter, the conflict is gained anyway. Not choosing is also a choice, hesitation can definitely represent a moral dilemma or something along those lines - if you don't choose correctly (i.e. the good way, the light side way) you gain 1+ conflict.

Back in the Saga days, it seemed like there were even more arguments about being awarded Dark Side points, and I quickly decided that if someone is trying to justify their actions, it almost certainly deserves some Dark Side.  It's important to remember that the Force really only measures Morality from a certain, fairly simplistic perspective.  It doesn't really judge the outcomes of your actions, only what you actually do.  So if you murder an innocent plague carrier to save thousands, you still murdered him.  Boom, fat Conflict.  Of course, if you allow him to run amok, killing thousands, you're still neglecting the safety of the populace, so there's some Conflict for ya, too.

 

All of the prior Star Wars RPGs had that issue, as a dark side point had far more impact on the PC than a point of Conflict would.  This was especially engendered with the d6 version, as at one point in the rules you could become an NPC after your second dark side point.

 

I held a similar stance towards the awarding of a dark side point, namely that the more the player tries to justify why their character shouldn't get a one, the more they prove that the PC deserved it.  Thus far, I've been pretty lucky in that none of my players in the times that I've run FaD have questioned if they deserved it when I assigned Conflict; in fact the only time it's been questioned was a player wondering if I'd assigned him too little Conflict for a particular transgression.  Of course, what probably helps is most of those same players are in an AoR game where I'm playing a Shii-Cho Knight, and I've held my PC to the same standards, even going so far as to suggest to the GM points where my PC's actions would generate Conflict as well as playing my character to generally avoid actions that would generate Conflict (he was trained by an Order 66 survivor, so knows the basic tenets of the Jedi Code).

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Our group ejected the Conflict rules and let the actions decide how much Dark Side points you gain. The only time you gain light side points is by using light side pips to power force powers. You also get dark side points by using dark side pips. The conflict system reminds me of Dawson's Creek meets Star Wars and my group hates that angsty teenage bs.

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Our group ejected the Conflict rules and let the actions decide how much Dark Side points you gain. The only time you gain light side points is by using light side pips to power force powers. You also get dark side points by using dark side pips. The conflict system reminds me of Dawson's Creek meets Star Wars and my group hates that angsty teenage bs.

I think you guys are looking at conflict wrong. It is not angsty BS. If you think it is you are doing it wrong. 

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Our group ejected the Conflict rules and let the actions decide how much Dark Side points you gain. The only time you gain light side points is by using light side pips to power force powers. You also get dark side points by using dark side pips. The conflict system reminds me of Dawson's Creek meets Star Wars and my group hates that angsty teenage bs.

I think you guys are looking at conflict wrong. It is not angsty BS. If you think it is you are doing it wrong. 

 

 

It's the mechanical aspects of Conflict that we don't like. That's the part that is Dawson's Creek angsty teenage bs. It's all scripted and has very little in the natural flow of how morality actually works. The way we do it is if the action just doesn't fit with a character's morality they gain dark side points. It's easy to fall to the dark side and succumb to it, but we are mature enough to not need a stupid scripted table to generate faux internal conflict in characters. The player should be deciding that and role playing appropriately.

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Of all the mechanics in the core book, the Morality seems to be the one that most requires a specific play style and pacing.  As such, it's also the mechanic that most needs its GM to evaluate (and if necessary, to correct) to suit the group and game in question.

 

 

I find your system interesting. It's a little more complicated than I like to see in house rules, but I love, LOVE the review and reflection that I think would come from wrapping up a session with this discussion.  It would lend itself well to a shorter night, a slower session, or a group where the players set their own pace.  (I believe that the rules as written shine in fast paced, thoroughly prepared games.  Not everyone runs those.)

 

My biggest concern is that some of the categories seem a little limited in scope.  For example, there are countless meaningful ways of showing compassion that have nothing to do with endangering one's self.  I suppose this could be solved by users adding their own acts of emotional strength and weakness to the table.  (...Yes, I like house rules so much that I put house rulez in mai house rulez...)

 

 

I do have a question:  As written, Harm and Unleash both award/inflict 1 Conflict for simply using them, in addition to the conflict caused by dark pip activation or unethical use.  Using this rule, would you still keep track of conflict earned through using these powers?  What about other, similar abilities?

Edited by ardoyle

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Of all the mechanics in the core book, the Morality seems to be the one that most requires a specific play style and pacing.  As such, it's also the mechanic that most needs its GM to evaluate (and if necessary, to correct) to suit the group and game in question.

 

 

I find your system interesting. It's a little more complicated than I like to see in house rules, but I love, LOVE the review and reflection that I think would come from wrapping up a session with this discussion.  It would lend itself well to a shorter night, a slower session, or a group where the players set their own pace.  (I believe that the rules as written shine in fast paced, thoroughly prepared games.  Not everyone runs those.)

 

My biggest concern is that some of the categories seem a little limited in scope.  For example, there are countless meaningful ways of showing compassion that have nothing to do with endangering one's self.  I suppose this could be solved by users adding their own acts of emotional strength and weakness to the table.  (...Yes, I like house rules so much that I put house rulez in mai house rulez...)

 

 

I do have a question:  As written, Harm and Unleash both award/inflict 1 Conflict for simply using them, in addition to the conflict caused by dark pip activation or unethical use.  Using this rule, would you still keep track of conflict earned through using these powers?  What about other, similar abilities?

 

In the sessions to date, my character's morality is Compassion/Hatred, so sometimes he does questionable things to achieve the end goal. This is balanced by the fact that every villain he's fought that he didn't kill them, except in an extreme case*. He always goes for the leg to disarm them and end combat quickly. Once combat is over, his compassion comes out and tries to ease their suffering through the use of medicine. He'll have a doctor reattach the leg or replace it with a cybernetic.

 

*The one time he killed a villain was because said villain made the mistake of shooting at Sneake's father. She got split in half from head to crotch by a lightsaber for her troubles.

 

In essence, we look at our characters and their actions as it is played out. Sneake is definitely impatient and wants results because of his military training as a SpecOps Infiltrator. This goes against being a Je'daii since they are to weigh everything and come to a balanced resolution. If the character really violates their 'essence' they become conflicted and based upon their personality determines if they go the dark or light side route. One of Sneake's failings is that he tries to go the quick and easy route, so that usually ends him up on the dark side. This isn't for everyone, but it definitely takes a lot of skill on the part of the player to pull it off. My group still remembers Sneake's reaction to killing the Flesh Raider leader and the entire backdrop of the IG assassin droid slaughtering the rest of the village. Sneake fell into the despair of the moment and felt every death that happened in front of him.

 

We'd have it do Dark Side points directly, instead of the artificial layer that's Conflict. However, the caveat is how the power is being used. Our group has the opinion that the powers themselves aren't good or evil, but their application is. Using Harm or Unleash against a door to break it down should never inflict Dark Side points because the target is inanimate. Using it against living beings with the intent to kill would give Dark Side points. Using them to disable an enemy shouldn't cause the player to get a Dark Side point as its application was to end the fight etc... as quickly as possible and with less casualties.

 

Yes, we would keep track of the application of the use of the powers. A dark side use generates 1 Dark Side point while a light side use will generate a Light Side point. At the end of the session, we total up the light and dark side points plus the pips used for powers then subtract the lower total from the higher to determine how the character moves on the morality scale. For us, we use a balance scale since Je'daii are to remain balanced between the Light and Dark side of the Force. However, by tracking the points accumulation through the game we have an active gauge on how to play the character correctly. The more dark side points/pips accumulated the darker and more evil the character becomes. The reverse is true for the Light side.

Edited by ThePatriot

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I'm sorry for the confusion, ThePatriot, I should have been more clear.  My earlier post was entirely referring to the original post made by Sabbad.  But since I'm here, should I critique your house rules too?  I do love talking about house rules.

 

 

Of course, the most obvious strength of your rule is it's simplicity.  Doing bad acts  and using bad pips brings you down on the morality scale.  Doing good in the world and using the good pips brings you up on the same scale.  It's easy to explain, easy to understand, and easy to put into practice.  So many house rules are way too complicated, but not yours.

 

My only real issue has to do with using Light pips to raise your morality in the exact same way as using the Dark pips to lower it, because they aren't quite used the same way by the rest of the Force Power.  A light side force user will naturally trend towards Light pips, because light side pips do not require a destiny point and strain to use.  This means a light side user will naturally trend up the morality scale, with all other things being equal, and vise versa for the dark side practitioner.

 

One possible answer would be to allow players to use either pip without a destiny point and strain.  Which would be interesting, but probably not necessary.  Even without seeing hard numbers, I doubt your rule would be as bad as what sometimes happens with the conflict rules as written.  And of course, the most important thing is that it works for your group.

Edited by ardoyle

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Of all the mechanics in the core book, the Morality seems to be the one that most requires a specific play style and pacing.  As such, it's also the mechanic that most needs its GM to evaluate (and if necessary, to correct) to suit the group and game in question.

 

 

I find your system interesting. It's a little more complicated than I like to see in house rules, but I love, LOVE the review and reflection that I think would come from wrapping up a session with this discussion.  It would lend itself well to a shorter night, a slower session, or a group where the players set their own pace.  (I believe that the rules as written shine in fast paced, thoroughly prepared games.  Not everyone runs those.)

 

My biggest concern is that some of the categories seem a little limited in scope.  For example, there are countless meaningful ways of showing compassion that have nothing to do with endangering one's self.  I suppose this could be solved by users adding their own acts of emotional strength and weakness to the table.  (...Yes, I like house rules so much that I put house rulez in mai house rulez...)

 

 

I do have a question:  As written, Harm and Unleash both award/inflict 1 Conflict for simply using them, in addition to the conflict caused by dark pip activation or unethical use.  Using this rule, would you still keep track of conflict earned through using these powers?  What about other, similar abilities?

 

In the sessions to date, my character's morality is Compassion/Hatred, so sometimes he does questionable things to achieve the end goal. This is balanced by the fact that every villain he's fought that he didn't kill them, except in an extreme case*. He always goes for the leg to disarm them and end combat quickly. Once combat is over, his compassion comes out and tries to ease their suffering through the use of medicine. He'll have a doctor reattach the leg or replace it with a cybernetic.

 

*The one time he killed a villain was because said villain made the mistake of shooting at Sneake's father. She got split in half from head to crotch by a lightsaber for her troubles.

 

In essence, we look at our characters and their actions as it is played out. Sneake is definitely impatient and wants results because of his military training as a SpecOps Infiltrator. This goes against being a Je'daii since they are to weigh everything and come to a balanced resolution. If the character really violates their 'essence' they become conflicted and based upon their personality determines if they go the dark or light side route. One of Sneake's failings is that he tries to go the quick and easy route, so that usually ends him up on the dark side. This isn't for everyone, but it definitely takes a lot of skill on the part of the player to pull it off. My group still remembers Sneake's reaction to killing the Flesh Raider leader and the entire backdrop of the IG assassin droid slaughtering the rest of the village. Sneake fell into the despair of the moment and felt every death that happened in front of him.

 

We'd have it do Dark Side points directly, instead of the artificial layer that's Conflict. However, the caveat is how the power is being used. Our group has the opinion that the powers themselves aren't good or evil, but their application is. Using Harm or Unleash against a door to break it down should never inflict Dark Side points because the target is inanimate. Using it against living beings with the intent to kill would give Dark Side points. Using them to disable an enemy shouldn't cause the player to get a Dark Side point as its application was to end the fight etc... as quickly as possible and with less casualties.

 

Yes, we would keep track of the application of the use of the powers. A dark side use generates 1 Dark Side point while a light side use will generate a Light Side point. At the end of the session, we total up the light and dark side points plus the pips used for powers then subtract the lower total from the higher to determine how the character moves on the morality scale. For us, we use a balance scale since Je'daii are to remain balanced between the Light and Dark side of the Force. However, by tracking the points accumulation through the game we have an active gauge on how to play the character correctly. The more dark side points/pips accumulated the darker and more evil the character becomes. The reverse is true for the Light side.

 

Ummmm I think you are missing the point of morality. It is not a I do x because i am hateful then I do y because I am compassionate...and that is what it sounds like you are doing. It is do you give in to your hatred and kill them because they are doing z bad thing.. Or do you have compassion and avoid the fight try and get them to surrendor? If you try really hard to avoid the fight and they stiff force it then that is on them. 

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Instead of stamping your feet and yelling that everyone here just doesn't get it, how about you describe how you handle morality at your own table?  Specifically, I'd like to know the pace at which you hand out conflict.

 

Join the conversation in a positive manner.

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I'm sorry for the confusion, ThePatriot, I should have been more clear.  My earlier post was entirely referring to the original post made by Sabbad.  But since I'm here, should I critique your house rules too?  I do love talking about house rules.

 

 

Of course, the most obvious strength of your rule is it's simplicity.  Doing bad acts  and using bad pips brings you down on the morality scale.  Doing good in the world and using the good pips brings you up on the same scale.  It's easy to explain, easy to understand, and easy to put into practice.  So many house rules are way too complicated, but not yours.

 

My only real issue has to do with using Light pips to raise your morality in the exact same way as using the Dark pips to lower it, because they aren't quite used the same way by the rest of the Force Power.  A light side force user will naturally trend towards Light pips, because light side pips do not require a destiny point and strain to use.  This means a light side user will naturally trend up the morality scale, with all other things being equal, and vise versa for the dark side practitioner.

 

One possible answer would be to allow players to use either pip without a destiny point and strain.  Which would be interesting, but probably not necessary.  Even without seeing hard numbers, I doubt your rule would be as bad as what sometimes happens with the conflict rules as written.  And of course, the most important thing is that it works for your group.

 

I'm sorry for answering to your questions as well. :lol:

 

We don't use the spending Destiny Points and suffer strain normally for the powers themselves. Spending pips doesn't do anything except for move the character along the morality scale.

 

If you use the Balance Rules I've written then it can be really bad. The goal of a Je'daii Master is to have a balance in the range of 5 to -5 on the scales. A perfect Je'daii, aka a Temple Master, will have a 0 on all three scales. The scales are Light/Dark, Unifying/Living Force, and Cosmic/Physical Force. Using powers with Light pips will move you on the Light/Dark and the scale the power belongs to. However, regular Jedi and other force traditions can still use the balance scales to represent their tenets as well.

 

You can see the Balance Rules here.

Edited by ThePatriot

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Ummmm I think you are missing the point of morality. It is not a I do x because i am hateful then I do y because I am compassionate...and that is what it sounds like you are doing. It is do you give in to your hatred and kill them because they are doing z bad thing.. Or do you have compassion and avoid the fight try and get them to surrendor? If you try really hard to avoid the fight and they stiff force it then that is on them. 

 

 

 

No, I understand the point of morality perfectly. The current morality of the character guides my actions in playing him. It's a guide and nothing more. In all the fights that have occurred in the game, only one was avoidable and that was the Flesh Raiders in the caves behind one of the Temple ruins. My character got Dark Side points for attacking the Flesh Raiders without justifiable cause and started the combat. Sneake has learned to temper his enthusiasm for fighting and striking first as an infiltrator is trained to do. In all the other combats, he usually tries to end it quickly with as little loss of life as possible. Hence why his favorite target is the leg because when someone loses a leg they will fall and the combat ends. He, also, gives them every opportunity to surrender and if they didn't then he will attack.

 

He's also learned to temper his impatience since the last session the party interrogated some hired pirates. Sneake got tired of the crew not answering the questions posed, so took one of the legs from the crew. He got 5 dark side points for that because for that species reattaching of limbs is impossible and sense thoughts would have done the job with no damage. He's also backing off from being the leader of the group as his darker tendencies have earned him the admiration and respect of the most bloodthirsty members of the group. :lol:

Edited by ThePatriot

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Our group ejected the Conflict rules and let the actions decide how much Dark Side points you gain. The only time you gain light side points is by using light side pips to power force powers. You also get dark side points by using dark side pips. The conflict system reminds me of Dawson's Creek meets Star Wars and my group hates that angsty teenage bs.

I think you guys are looking at conflict wrong. It is not angsty BS. If you think it is you are doing it wrong. 

 

It's more his group is using an alternate Morality system that doesn't really jive with what we generally see in the movies and other Star Wars media, with an aim to perform an equal mix of good and bad actions to stay at "moral zero" instead of straying too far light or dark, based upon the his supposition the old Jee'dai Order from the non-canon/Legends "Dawn of the Jedi" comics had it 100% right when it came to understanding the Force.

 

So yes, in terms of the rules provided in FaD, they are doing it wrong, but it's deliberately "wrong."

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