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Comrade Cosmonaut

Shall we discuss morality?

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I run for two groups. Both this system. One is full of role playing and laughs and we're telling a great story. The other gets combative with me, secretive, and metagames like they're getting paid for it.

I don't care, per se, if someone metagames if the rest of the table is cool with it. But I won't encourage it. Take away the carrot and let us see where the horse goes, shall we? So I took away the morality and replaced it with my non-mechanical colors idea.

There are a lot of times I blame the GM for things gone wrong, but power gamers are gonna power game.

 

 

Considering the games I've been in and the games others have reported I have full faith that the problem lie in how those players view the game and not the mechanic itself. Otherwise your problem would be more rampant. 

 

Though I'm also never convinced with a sample size of 1. 

 

Also if your power gaming Morality in this system then ...... because honestly there is no real power gaming benefit. The bonuses are just not that awesome that you need to power game that unless you just have a general desire to power game. Which no mechanic can address. 

 

In the end I've yet to see a strong case (and to be clear you haven't actually built a case you've just called it bad) that didn't somehow rely on people fundamental not agreeing with FFG's vision of Good vs Evil. Most of these conversations always circle back to a fundamental disconnect between how the group in questions views Good and Evil and how Star Wars portrays Good and Evil. The mechanic, more often than not, is just the scapegoat. 

Edited by Kael

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I'll never understand why meta gaming is portrayed as somehow being a fault of the system itself as opposed to the players that do it and the GM's that allow it. 

Probably because those GMs are looking for an excuse rather than trying to actually address and correct the problem.

 

Granted, there's going to be some degree of meta-gaming in any RPG, but it's just a matter of setting what is an acceptable level for the group (which is going to vary from one group to the next) and sticking to it.  Some groups are fine with crazy amounts of metagaming, others prefer to stay "in the moment" and keep metagaming to an absolute minimum.

 

 

A system that penalizes roleplaying encourages metagaming.

 

Except this system doesn't penalize roleplaying, unless the players are themselves already meta-gaming it.

 

There are a number of players that are able to work within the Morality system as written just fine, and play their characters the way they would normally.  And if an action they want to undertake would net them Conflict, they simply accept it as a consequence of their character doing what they would do and move on with story.

 

But by your logic, then this version of Star Wars has one of the worst combat systems in the history of RPGs, because it sure has hell encourages a great deal of metagaming in terms of what the player has their character do and at what point they take their respective turns.

 

Of course, just about every RPG encourages a degree of metagaming to some extent or another, as it's simply the nature of the beast.  If there are stats involved, then some degree of metagaming is to be expected.

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This isn't something I think should be used as a mechanic, but a role playing tool. How many times did you play a game with a morality system, or have players in your own games now, who either set out and said, "I'm gonna be a paragon of good!" and called that a day? We have seen the stories about players refusing the use dark side pipe to use Move to save a life because the life lost was worth LESS TO THEM THAN THEIR FAKE MORALITY POINTS. That is a mechanic that is driving the role playing and this should a role playing driving the mechanic.

 

 

This touches on one of my big issues with the "Force morality" as often presented, and as pushed by quite a few fans. 

 

According to this version of "Force morality", if you let a "badwrong" emotion (anger at the unfairness of life, fear of harm coming to others, whatever) flow to summon up the "Force oomph" to stop a falling chunk of building from crushing a group of innocent bystanders, then that's the dark side, and that puts you down the "badwrong" path to "evil". 

 

But if you calmly, coolly acknowledge that you don't otherwise have enough power to save them, and so you let them be crushed when you could have saved them by taking on that risk, then that's "the light side", and you're "good".

 

 

:(:huh:

 

 

e: typo

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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This isn't something I think should be used as a mechanic, but a role playing tool. How many times did you play a game with a morality system, or have players in your own games now, who either set out and said, "I'm gonna be a paragon of good!" and called that a day? We have seen the stories about players refusing the use dark side pipe to use Move to save a life because the life lost was worth LESS TO THEM THAN THEIR FAKE MORALITY POINTS. That is a mechanic that is driving the role playing and this should a role playing driving the mechanic.

 

 

This touches on one of my big issues with the "Force morality" as often presented, and as pushed by quite a few fans. 

 

According to this version of "Force morality", if let a "badwrong" emotion (anger at the unfairness of life, fear of harm coming to others, whatever) flow to summon up the "Force oomph" to stop a falling chunk of building from crushing a group of innocent bystanders, then that's the dark side, and that puts you down the "badwrong" path to "evil". 

 

But if you calmly, coolly acknowledge that you don't otherwise have enough power to save them, and so you let them be crushed when you could have saved them by taking on that risk, then that's "the light side", and you're "good".

 

If your player does that then yes, it's game mechanics dictating role-playing, though that isn't what the system is about.

 

To illustrate, I'm going to use White Wolf's old World of Darkness: Vampire. In that game, you are constantly beset by choices that force you to run counter to your person ethics. In order to use your powers you consume blood, and eventually you run out. The only way to get more puts in very real danger of losing your humanity, if you lose too much humanity, you fall to your beast and become a monster, effectively ending your characters existence as a PC.

 

The thing is, the entire role-playing experience was about how you dealt with this fundamental truth. Did you try and restrain from using your powers and giving in? Did you decide to ride the roller coaster as long and hard as you could? Were you somewhere in between? Sometimes, in order to survive another night, you had to take the risk. This is what led to the morality plays that made the game interesting.

 

Now, in Star Wars, it's important to understand the same. The idea of the dark side pips causing conflict isn't there to make a character not use, but rather as an opportunity to push the fact that sometimes we find ourselves in a position where are motivated by those things about us we don't like.

 

Luke wasn't always a paragon of morality, neither was Obi-Wan for that matter - the fight against Darth Maul was a prime example of a whole lot of Dark Side pip use. The decision to use the dark side pips presents an opportunity to roleplay that conflict of morality.

 

Using the example above, the PC sees that he rolled Dark Side pips, and decides to let the people die because he doesn't want to get conflict. As a GM, I'd really strike home with this - narrating the situation. "You reach out the Force to stop the rocks from falling. The ebb and flow of the mystical energy field surrounds you, penetrates you, but you see the rocks falling faster than you can summon the concentration to stop them. Pinpricks of fear lance through you, as desperation grips you. Do you stop the rocks now, or take the extra time to calm yourself?" Explain to them that they have the opportunity and capacity to save them, and if they don't conflict will ensue from ignoring their plight. They can take the small conflict gain for the Force Point conversion, or risk a greater one if the helpless NPC's die.

 

Is this a case of being penalized for a bad roll? Kind of, but so is dying because you fail a Fortitude save in D&D. What it really is, is an opportunity provided by the dice to explore how the character deals with their own shortcomings. How do they recover from their fear motivating their actions. They either used the fear of failure to save the people, or gave in to the fear of falling by letting the rocks go. In either case - you as the GM can help get your players over the mechanical intimidation of the Force/Conflict/Morality system and into the joys of role-playing their inner fight between their Emotional Weaknesses and Strengths.

 

I think it's important when dealing with the system, it's important not to look at the Force Pip generation/Morality/Conflict/Destiny Point/Emotional Strength and Weakness systems as separate entities, but rather part of a whole "nervous system" of functionality. 

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In my mind only one of those actions generate conflict. I wouldn't give any dark side for failing a roll. Obviously the will of the force is that you do not manage to stop it, you can impose your will on the Force (and take the consequence of twisting it) or you can live with the fact that you are too weak to save people and have to deal with the consequences of that.

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This isn't something I think should be used as a mechanic, but a role playing tool. How many times did you play a game with a morality system, or have players in your own games now, who either set out and said, "I'm gonna be a paragon of good!" and called that a day? We have seen the stories about players refusing the use dark side pipe to use Move to save a life because the life lost was worth LESS TO THEM THAN THEIR FAKE MORALITY POINTS. That is a mechanic that is driving the role playing and this should a role playing driving the mechanic.

 

 

This touches on one of my big issues with the "Force morality" as often presented, and as pushed by quite a few fans. 

 

According to this version of "Force morality", if you let a "badwrong" emotion (anger at the unfairness of life, fear of harm coming to others, whatever) flow to summon up the "Force oomph" to stop a falling chunk of building from crushing a group of innocent bystanders, then that's the dark side, and that puts you down the "badwrong" path to "evil". 

 

But if you calmly, coolly acknowledge that you don't otherwise have enough power to save them, and so you let them be crushed when you could have saved them by taking on that risk, then that's "the light side", and you're "good".

 

 

:(:huh:

 

 

e: typo

 

 

No, actually that's not good, as this has been mentioned above.   If a player, or character willingly allow innocents to die, when they could've helped, that's worthy of Conflict.  And if they are making the choice, based on OOC, metagaming reasons "I don't want to lose my paragon status to save that person", well that's going to get an even harsher Conflict Hammer from me, if I'm the GM.    That's not the right thing to do.  Besides, taking that possible, what, 1-2 conflict for actually tapping into the Dark Side, out of Fear for the lives of those innocent people, and you blame yourself if they die, and you couldn't save them.  that's very likely not going to result in a Morality drop, all by itself.  If that's literally the only negative action you took that session, you are, at most, going to lose 1 Morality.  Any other roll is either "You matched your conflict and thus make no change either way" or "you rolled above that conflict, and have gained morality".    If your GM is letting you get away with refusing to help someone by tapping into the dark side, and you both think that this isn't also a conflict worthy action, you're doing it wrong.    And if you've been doing lots of other things that session to warrant conflict, well, then are you really surprised if you lose some morality?

 

    I had this happen to one of my players a few months ago.  It was a stressful situation, and he was trying to use his Force powers all scene, and he just couldn't get light side pips.  Then, after the stakes got really high, and it was Do or Die time, he said "ok so, my guy is frustrated at this point, and genuinely afraid for his life, so I'm going to actually use these dark side pips for once, so I can not die in this situation".   It was the only negative thing he did that night, and he rolled a 1.  So he lost 1 Morality.  ONE.  That's nothing by itself.  Over the course of the game, he consistently sticks to the good guy path, and you know what?  He is 1 point away from Paragon status at this point.  Next time we play, if he doesn't net any Conflict (which he usually doesn't, he's very conscientious about that), he's guaranteed to become Paragon.    Heck, the session immediately after the one where he lost 1 Morality, he gained like 7, because he didn't do anything Conflicting, and rolled really well.   It was a tiny dip on an otherwise, steadily increasing Morality.  Which is fine.  As Sam Stewart has said before when talking about this very subject.  "Look, Yoda beat on R2 D2 with a stick, and he stole things!  What a jerk!"  If Yoda can occasionally do something that's a bit of a jerk move, and still be the posterboy for Paragon Jedi, then your Force user can risk a little Morality now and then to save a life.   It's definitely the better course than letting them die to save your Morality score.

 

Besides, even if you did lose some Morality, so what?  Let's say you do tap into the Dark Side, and spend those pips, and save the person in danger.  Ok, so now, maybe your character has the mindset of "But why is the Dark Side always bad?  I used it to save those people didn't I?  Is that bad?  It was a good thing right? "  And, to quote a fairly controversial scene from Man of Steel  "What was I supposed to do, let them die?!"   So now you have a great roleplay opportunity for your character, who might begin to develop the belief that the Dark Side isn't bad, if it's used for good purposes.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions after all.  That's roleplaying gold right there!   Why would someone be upset about the opportunity to explore that story?  

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This isn't something I think should be used as a mechanic, but a role playing tool. How many times did you play a game with a morality system, or have players in your own games now, who either set out and said, "I'm gonna be a paragon of good!" and called that a day? We have seen the stories about players refusing the use dark side pipe to use Move to save a life because the life lost was worth LESS TO THEM THAN THEIR FAKE MORALITY POINTS. That is a mechanic that is driving the role playing and this should a role playing driving the mechanic.

 

 

This touches on one of my big issues with the "Force morality" as often presented, and as pushed by quite a few fans. 

 

According to this version of "Force morality", if you let a "badwrong" emotion (anger at the unfairness of life, fear of harm coming to others, whatever) flow to summon up the "Force oomph" to stop a falling chunk of building from crushing a group of innocent bystanders, then that's the dark side, and that puts you down the "badwrong" path to "evil". 

 

But if you calmly, coolly acknowledge that you don't otherwise have enough power to save them, and so you let them be crushed when you could have saved them by taking on that risk, then that's "the light side", and you're "good".

 

 

:(:huh:

 

 

e: typo

 

 

No, actually that's not good, as this has been mentioned above.   If a player, or character willingly allow innocents to die, when they could've helped, that's worthy of Conflict.  And if they are making the choice, based on OOC, metagaming reasons "I don't want to lose my paragon status to save that person", well that's going to get an even harsher Conflict Hammer from me, if I'm the GM.    That's not the right thing to do.  Besides, taking that possible, what, 1-2 conflict for actually tapping into the Dark Side, out of Fear for the lives of those innocent people, and you blame yourself if they die, and you couldn't save them.  that's very likely not going to result in a Morality drop, all by itself.  If that's literally the only negative action you took that session, you are, at most, going to lose 1 Morality.  Any other roll is either "You matched your conflict and thus make no change either way" or "you rolled above that conflict, and have gained morality".    If your GM is letting you get away with refusing to help someone by tapping into the dark side, and you both think that this isn't also a conflict worthy action, you're doing it wrong.    And if you've been doing lots of other things that session to warrant conflict, well, then are you really surprised if you lose some morality?

 

    I had this happen to one of my players a few months ago.  It was a stressful situation, and he was trying to use his Force powers all scene, and he just couldn't get light side pips.  Then, after the stakes got really high, and it was Do or Die time, he said "ok so, my guy is frustrated at this point, and genuinely afraid for his life, so I'm going to actually use these dark side pips for once, so I can not die in this situation".   It was the only negative thing he did that night, and he rolled a 1.  So he lost 1 Morality.  ONE.  That's nothing by itself.  Over the course of the game, he consistently sticks to the good guy path, and you know what?  He is 1 point away from Paragon status at this point.  Next time we play, if he doesn't net any Conflict (which he usually doesn't, he's very conscientious about that), he's guaranteed to become Paragon.    Heck, the session immediately after the one where he lost 1 Morality, he gained like 7, because he didn't do anything Conflicting, and rolled really well.   It was a tiny dip on an otherwise, steadily increasing Morality.  Which is fine.  As Sam Stewart has said before when talking about this very subject.  "Look, Yoda beat on R2 D2 with a stick, and he stole things!  What a jerk!"  If Yoda can occasionally do something that's a bit of a jerk move, and still be the posterboy for Paragon Jedi, then your Force user can risk a little Morality now and then to save a life.   It's definitely the better course than letting them die to save your Morality score.

 

Besides, even if you did lose some Morality, so what?  Let's say you do tap into the Dark Side, and spend those pips, and save the person in danger.  Ok, so now, maybe your character has the mindset of "But why is the Dark Side always bad?  I used it to save those people didn't I?  Is that bad?  It was a good thing right? "  And, to quote a fairly controversial scene from Man of Steel  "What was I supposed to do, let them die?!"   So now you have a great roleplay opportunity for your character, who might begin to develop the belief that the Dark Side isn't bad, if it's used for good purposes.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions after all.  That's roleplaying gold right there!   Why would someone be upset about the opportunity to explore that story?  

 

 

In addition to this it is also worth pointing out that it is bad GMing to put a player in a situation where the only way to prevent innocent life from being killed is the use of a Force power that may or may not work. The GM needs to provide a more challenging option when creating a moment that is going to draw Conflict so that the PC has the actual choice to let those innocents die or to heroically save them without the use of Move. 

 

You need to give your players a fair chance to succeed in a variety of ways and the non Conflict gaining path needs to be there. It should be harder, but it needs to be there. 

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Good point, multiple options is key.   Of course, if the player only thinks to use Move, that's on the player, but as long as the other options are there, it's fine. 

 

Actually now that you mention it, I had a scene pretty much just like this.  I had an escape pod of fellow survivors from the crash, stuck in a tree in a dense forest.  One person was dangling from the open hatch, about to fall.  They could use Move to try and get something to grab onto near the victim, or they could climb the tree they were stuck in, and try and help directly.  One player did try and climb the tree, but he was suffering from a maimed leg, and had a hard time with Athletics checks.  The other person, used Move to "move a vine or branch or something 0 silhouette near the person, so they can grab onto it and not fall".   They succeeded, so I gave the minion a boost die on their check to climb down.  It worked fine.    I had another scene with a different survivor, about to fall....I use that a lot now that I think about it.  The survivor was being attacked by a native beast, and her friends were holding it off as best they could, but it was a losing battle.  They could've run in, spending strain to cover multiple range bands to get to them and help directly, or try and taunt/scare the beast away, or again, use Move to help the dangling person.  The same player did exactly that, while the other player rolled REALLY well on a Coercion check, to scare the beast away.  He even described it really sweet  "I'm going to drag my lit saber along the gravel, making the pebbles burst and pop as they are atomized, and charge at the thing, yelling and screaming."  I gave him a boost die for that description, and he got like a ton of advantage, and a triumph.   So I just said "ok, encounters over, you successfully spooked the beastie, it wants nothing to do with you guys anymore, and has turned tail and ran".   It was supposed to be a tense fight, but they bluffed their way through it, and the player was very pleased with his epic scare tactic.    

 

...I'm rambling at this point, anyway!  Point is, they had options!  They might not always take advantage of all those options, but they had them!  And they even came up with some novel ones of their own that I hadn't considered. 

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This isn't something I think should be used as a mechanic, but a role playing tool. How many times did you play a game with a morality system, or have players in your own games now, who either set out and said, "I'm gonna be a paragon of good!" and called that a day? We have seen the stories about players refusing the use dark side pipe to use Move to save a life because the life lost was worth LESS TO THEM THAN THEIR FAKE MORALITY POINTS. That is a mechanic that is driving the role playing and this should a role playing driving the mechanic.

 

 

This touches on one of my big issues with the "Force morality" as often presented, and as pushed by quite a few fans. 

 

According to this version of "Force morality", if you let a "badwrong" emotion (anger at the unfairness of life, fear of harm coming to others, whatever) flow to summon up the "Force oomph" to stop a falling chunk of building from crushing a group of innocent bystanders, then that's the dark side, and that puts you down the "badwrong" path to "evil". 

 

But if you calmly, coolly acknowledge that you don't otherwise have enough power to save them, and so you let them be crushed when you could have saved them by taking on that risk, then that's "the light side", and you're "good".

 

 

:(:huh:

 

 

e: typo

 

 

No, actually that's not good, as this has been mentioned above.   If a player, or character willingly allow innocents to die, when they could've helped, that's worthy of Conflict.  And if they are making the choice, based on OOC, metagaming reasons "I don't want to lose my paragon status to save that person", well that's going to get an even harsher Conflict Hammer from me, if I'm the GM.    That's not the right thing to do.  Besides, taking that possible, what, 1-2 conflict for actually tapping into the Dark Side, out of Fear for the lives of those innocent people, and you blame yourself if they die, and you couldn't save them.  that's very likely not going to result in a Morality drop, all by itself.  If that's literally the only negative action you took that session, you are, at most, going to lose 1 Morality.  Any other roll is either "You matched your conflict and thus make no change either way" or "you rolled above that conflict, and have gained morality".    If your GM is letting you get away with refusing to help someone by tapping into the dark side, and you both think that this isn't also a conflict worthy action, you're doing it wrong.    And if you've been doing lots of other things that session to warrant conflict, well, then are you really surprised if you lose some morality?

 

    I had this happen to one of my players a few months ago.  It was a stressful situation, and he was trying to use his Force powers all scene, and he just couldn't get light side pips.  Then, after the stakes got really high, and it was Do or Die time, he said "ok so, my guy is frustrated at this point, and genuinely afraid for his life, so I'm going to actually use these dark side pips for once, so I can not die in this situation".   It was the only negative thing he did that night, and he rolled a 1.  So he lost 1 Morality.  ONE.  That's nothing by itself.  Over the course of the game, he consistently sticks to the good guy path, and you know what?  He is 1 point away from Paragon status at this point.  Next time we play, if he doesn't net any Conflict (which he usually doesn't, he's very conscientious about that), he's guaranteed to become Paragon.    Heck, the session immediately after the one where he lost 1 Morality, he gained like 7, because he didn't do anything Conflicting, and rolled really well.   It was a tiny dip on an otherwise, steadily increasing Morality.  Which is fine.  As Sam Stewart has said before when talking about this very subject.  "Look, Yoda beat on R2 D2 with a stick, and he stole things!  What a jerk!"  If Yoda can occasionally do something that's a bit of a jerk move, and still be the posterboy for Paragon Jedi, then your Force user can risk a little Morality now and then to save a life.   It's definitely the better course than letting them die to save your Morality score.

 

Besides, even if you did lose some Morality, so what?  Let's say you do tap into the Dark Side, and spend those pips, and save the person in danger.  Ok, so now, maybe your character has the mindset of "But why is the Dark Side always bad?  I used it to save those people didn't I?  Is that bad?  It was a good thing right? "  And, to quote a fairly controversial scene from Man of Steel  "What was I supposed to do, let them die?!"   So now you have a great roleplay opportunity for your character, who might begin to develop the belief that the Dark Side isn't bad, if it's used for good purposes.  The road to hell is paved with good intentions after all.  That's roleplaying gold right there!   Why would someone be upset about the opportunity to explore that story?  

 

 

Not to be brusk, but where did I mention gaming mechanics in my post?  It had nothing to do with meta-gaming or player motivation. 

 

I'm speaking of character motivation and things that happen within the fiction.  My comments there are about the way that the overall source material and more than a few fans thereof present "Force morality" as based on "oh-so-proper emotional state" rather than motive and outcome.   

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Not to be brusk, but where did I mention gaming mechanics in my post?  It had nothing to do with meta-gaming or player motivation. 

 

I'm speaking of character motivation and things that happen within the fiction.  My comments there are about the way that the overall source material and more than a few fans thereof present "Force morality" as based on "oh-so-proper emotional state" rather than motive and outcome.   

 

 

You didn't use those words no, but what you described is a meta evaluation of the rules.   You say this is something that happens within the fiction, but I can't recall a single example of "I'm sorry, I can't save you, because to do so, I would have to tap into the Dark Side, so I'm going to let you die, and this is ok with the Light Side of the Force"   Granted, I'm not a rabid consumer of the Legacy/EU stuff, but I would be surprised to see this plot device used for any character who wasn't being sent down a dark side fall by design.   No heroic character would call that a good decision.  That's not what heroes do.  They risk their own lives, their own sanity, their own soul, to help those around them.  They will take that burden, so that another doesn't have to.  

 

What you described however, was more of a meta example of gaming the system, so i responded accordingly.    And again, tapping into the Dark Side in this system, with the Morality, doesn't automatically make you a Dark Sider.   Luke Skywalker did it multiple times in the movies,  Ezra has skirted with the Dark several times, but he's still a good guy, who usually does the right thing, for the right reasons.  he didn't tap into the Dark Side to speak to those animals who are allergic to sunlight, and then instantly went Sith.  He took some conflict that session, and maybe lost a few morality.  But then, in later sessions, he's gone out of his way, and literally risked his own life, to try and save the innocent (namely those floaty hyperspace whale thingies), and come out stronger for it.     What he hasn't done, is let some people die, because he just couldn't let himself touch the Dark Side to save them.

 

    Seriously, I am drawing a total blank on any examples of a "hero" actually doing this, and it not being portrayed as them being naive, or suffering from poor judgement.  In fact, I can't think of any example of a character doing this at all, in any form of entertainment.   I can think of TONS of examples of heroes touching a bit of the dark side, to actually save a life, or at least try to, and it creating conflict for them, and character growth, that ultimately makes them a stronger person in the long run.   If you can provide some examples of what you described  "A heroic character, willingly letting someone die so they don't sully themselves with the Dark Side, AND this being presented as the right and just course of action by the story"  then I'll retract my statement.  But if it's someone who is simply misguided, and is ultimately being led down an actual Dark path, due to their innaction, but thinks they're doing the right thing, then I feel what I said stands, in regards to the Morality mechanics, and in a narrative sense in general.

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What I described was what I said I described.  An inference or interpretation that makes it about metagaming doesn't change that.

 

Read some of the past discussions on the matter, and you'll find posters here who've made it quite clear that they view "force morality" exactly as I described.  

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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What I described was what I said I described.  An inference or interpretation that makes it about metagaming doesn't change that.

 

Read some of the past discussions on the matter, and you'll find posters here who've made it quite clear that they view "force morality" exactly as I described.  

 

The fact that you view it that way, doesn't mean it actually IS that way.   The fact is, the force morality in this game, doesn't consider letting someone die so that you don't touch the dark side as a good thing.  Quite the opposite.

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MaxKilljoy,

Your very post strongly implied it was about the game mechanics.

 

In terms of in-character knowledge, the character wouldn't have clue 1 that their actions would gain Conflict points.  In terms of the narrative, the character might feel a bit of fear and/or panic as their control of the Force slips at a critical moment, and in an act of desperation they call upon the dark side to ensure that their attempt to telekinetically save their ally succeeds.

 

Point of fact, I've had a PC be in that exact situation, where there wasn't enough time to stop a fellow PC from plunging to their deaths off catwalk on Cloud City (they wound up there due to the abundance of advantages rolled on the attacking stormtroopers' combat check), and had failed their Coordination check to pull themselves out of peril on their turn, though she'd only fall if she rolled 3 threat or Despair on the check.

 

When it was my PC's turn to act, I rolled my two Force dice, and came up with 3 dark side pips.  In that situation, it made perfect sense to mechanically take the 3 Conflict and save his good friend's life, but it was narrated as him directly drawing upon his darker emotions to fuel his use of the Force, not unlike what we see Ezra occasionally do in Rebels, which by extension opened him up to the dark side.  I don't know if the GM would have assigned Conflict if I'd chosen not to use those dark side pips.  But it's a moot point, since at the session's end I rolled well enough on my d10 to hit LS Paragon status.  My character had no idea that he'd used dark side pips to save his friend, but rather that he'd felt intense fear at loosing his friend should he fail, and proceeded to act on that fear.  Since our campaign (and in fact, most campaigns) aren't set up like the Order of the Stick webcomic where everyone knows they're in an RPG and thus aware of their stats and such, my character had no idea that he generated Conflict for saving his friend, or that his Morality ultimately went up, or that he even has a Morality score.

 

Outside of using the Force, a FaD PC doesn't get Conflict for feeling angry or vengeful, but instead on directly acting on those emotions.  It's part of the cost of playing a Force user, and has always been there since the WEG days.  For all their skill and wisdom, Yoda and Obi-Wan certainly felt the emotions of fear and anger, but generally had the training and mindset to know better than to deliberately act on those emotions.  Doesn't mean they always succeeded, as Obi-Wan certainly drew upon his anger in his fight with Darth Maul in TPM after Qui-Gon died, and Yoda admitted to Ezra in "Shroud of Darkness" that even had to constantly struggle to let his fears turn into anger.

 

And even acting on those negative emotions, whether they are using the Force or not, what actions they take would determine how much Conflict they'd earn, and is probably going to vary from one GM to the next.  Anakin lashing out in his anger to slaughter an entire tribe of Sand People (and the women.... and the children!) would net him a whole bunch of Conflict, even if the only tool he used was his lightsaber.  Kylo Ren would probably earn some Conflict for his temper tantrums, even if all he did was destroy equipment rather, since he's directly acting upon his anger and frustration.

 

Yoda was probably getting quite frustrated more than once with how stubborn Luke was being in regards to clinging to what he'd learned, but he never acted on it by lashing out at the boy, and thus wouldn't earn any Conflict, even if mentally he's cursing in a plethora of languages; at 900 years of age, I imagine the catalog of swear words you can call upon is quite extensive, and could probably make Han blush.

 

We see Luke verbally vent his frustration at the deception regarding his father to Obi-Wan's spirit, but I wouldn't assign Luke any Conflict as he didn't take it beyond words, and never made any kind of violent threat towards Obi-Wan or even the surroundings; heck, Luke was able to calm down pretty quickly after he sat down to talk with Obi-Wan.

 

Over in Legends and probably the new canon as well, it's been said that a Jedi isn't immune to feeling "negative" emotions like fear, anger, or passion, but instead are trained to not let those emotions get the better of them.  PCs in FaD generally lack that kind of training, and thus are more susceptible to the dark side, especially when calling upon the Force.  Luke's progress in the Force at the time he left to confront Vader on Bespin was probably akin to that of a young Padawan; though Luke could feel the Force, he couldn't control it the way a properly trained Jedi could.  In the terms of this game, that would mean that Luke's player would likely need make use of dark side pips if he wanted to be certain if an attempt to use a Force power would actually work.  He could likely pull off simpler tasks by that point without resorting to dark side pips, such as using Move to call his lightsaber to his hand; he struggled to do so on Hoth, but did it effortlessly while in combat with Vader on Cloud City.  Or using Enhance to trigger the Force leap effect to leap out of the freezing pit and into the collection of tubes overhead, actions that would only require a single Force point on his part, and with a Force Rating of 2 (which is a safe assumption for where he stands in terms of his proficiency at that point in the trilogy), odds are pretty good he'll get that one light side pip.  During the Hoth scene, Luke probably didn't think he was in too immediate danger when he made his first attempt to use Move to retrieve his lightsaber, so he didn't use the dark side pip he rolled on his first attempt to use Move to grab his lightsaber.  Second attempt, he got a light side pip, narrated as him closing his eyes, focusing his thoughts/efforts, and then successfully using the Force to pull the 'saber to him.

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@comrade a lot of people who have studied Yoda and Obi-Wan especially their actions to Luke have been seen as opportunistic. They mislead and manipulated him and outright lied about his past so he would go down a path they desired "for the greater good" as far as not telling him he had a sister. Luke lost everything his family and home only to get lies. Also with the treatment of ashoka tano they were willing to throw her to the flames in order to maintain their standing in the Republic. Not something I would like to say Yoda was was a good jedi but if you look at many decisions he's not what I call a good jedi.

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@comrade a lot of people who have studied Yoda and Obi-Wan especially their actions to Luke have been seen as opportunistic. They mislead and manipulated him and outright lied about his past so he would go down a path they desired "for the greater good" as far as not telling him he had a sister. Luke lost everything his family and home only to get lies. Also with the treatment of ashoka tano they were willing to throw her to the flames in order to maintain their standing in the Republic. Not something I would like to say Yoda was was a good jedi but if you look at many decisions he's not what I call a good jedi.

You mean they weren't perfect?  No, of course not.  A lot of the actions they do, specifically in regards to Luke are a bit shady yes.  But withholding information to protect someone from a harsh truth is hardly new, and it's not always a bad thing.  We withhold information from our children all the time, trying to judge when they are mature enough to handle it.  For a kid, 18-19 years old, who only recently saw the only parents he ever knew gunned down, their smoking carcasses in front of him, to turn around and say then "Oh yeah, so the guy behind all this bad stuff?  The people that murdered your aunt and uncle?  Yeah that's totally your dad.  He was kind of an sasshole, murdered a bunch of people, and we're going to pit you against him.  Have fun with that information!  I'm going to have some blue milk!"  As far as Ben's reluctance to explain, well he hardly had any time with Luke if you actually look at New Hope.  He'd barely been able to explain that Force to the kid at all, before they got separated and he died.   And I don't know about anyone else, but I was a pretty dumb teenager.  I had known ahead of time, that the giant scary dude in black armor, who I just saw kill my mentor, was my dad, I'd probably do something stupid like blurt out "Dad! No!", and tip off to the Empire that Anakin had a son, a LOT sooner, perhaps not giving him enough time to escape and eventually learn of the Force.  

 

As for Yoda, well at the point he comes into the picture, Luke's their last chance.  Yeah yeah "there is another" but let's face it, nobody ever had any real plans for Leia being a Jedi.  She was mostly useful (to the writers of most of the EU anyway) as a baby factory.  Sure some had her take up a saber, but most stories just had her be the mother of the next generation of Jedi.  So she's not a viable "we need you to go fight the emperor and vader" option for the narrative.  So you've only got Luke.   And Yoda was busy just trying to teach him the basics, and give him some mental resistance to Dark Side influence.  You don't start someone on a difficult training montage, by hitting them upside the head with "Vader's your father....now go run through this bog with me on your back, and lift up rocks"   Besides, Luke left his training early.  Yoda and Ben both had no intention of him going off half cocked to fight Vader, and warned him not to go repeatedly.  "You're not ready".  It's very likely that before all was said and done, they would've told him, but we won't know, because young, hot headed Luke, being the teenager he was, ran off anyway to do his own thing, and found out the hard way.

 

And for the record, Yoda never outright lied to Luke, he trained him, and kept some knowledge to himself.   We all do that, that's hardly direct manipulation.  Ben?  Yeah, I'll give you that much, "Our own point of view" always felt like a bit of a cop out to me.  Though to be fair, I've heard that originally Vader wasn't going to be his dad, so Lucas was stuck with the task of trying to retcon that "Vader killed your father" line.   I don't know how accurate that is, but I'm willing to forgive the character a crappy line, because the writer/director changed the script mid-game.    But regardless of that either way, yeah they needed him to fight Vader, and it wasn't a pretty situation, they had to do some less than Paragony things to accomplish it.   That doesn't make them "not a good jedi".  It just makes them flawed.  They were given a tough choice, and made the best decision they could, given the situation.   That's called dramatic tension and conflict.  Which is what makes storytelling interesting.   Besides, Yoda wasn't reluctant to tell Luke about his father out of some personal reason, he flat out says  "Unfortunate that you must yet face him, to complete your training!  That, not ready for the burden are you."    He didn't want to add Patricide to Luke's list of insurmountable problems already.   Vader and Emperor had to be stopped, if the galaxy was going to have any chance of recovering, and the only person who had a chance of pulling it off, was the son of Vader, thus forcing him to kill his own father.  It was a terrible situation, that Yoda didn't want to put on Luke's shoulders.  He was trying to protect Luke.  In hindsight, knowing how the story ends, yeah we can say "That was a bad call", but in the middle of it, it's not so clear  "Difficult to see, always in motion is the future"

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Yeah, Yoda practically begs Luke to abandon his friends and allies in favor of the ancient war of total annihilation between the Jedi and the Sith.

 

That's inaccurate.  The reason Yoda gave was:

 

"Decide you must, how to serve them best. If you leave now, help them you could; but you would destroy all for which they have fought, and suffered."

 

Basically, they're all in the same fight together.  And of course Yoda has a less attached view on life vs death.

 

Also, the future was cloudy.  One of those clouds was Vader himself:  Vader saw an opportunity to turn Luke to be his own ally against the Emperor.  And nobody predicted that Luke would willingly put his faith in the Force and simply drop into the bowels of Bespin.  Basically, nobody acted in an "expected" manner, and this changed the outcome to something impossible to foresee.

 

Casting Yoda's opinions as a vendetta doesn't seem right to me.

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It's also been stated that the jedi order were going down a dark path when they decided to assist a side in the war. Their path should have been well you folks started a war and we are keepers of the peace so have fun and we will come back when it's all over. Given their involvement the Republic would have lost the war and said order 66 would have never happened hindsight being 20/20. Remember people don't stop being force sensitive because a jedi order is no more they simply take a organic path with the force. So I don't buy the Leia baby factory narrative.

But back to morality it's a matter of intent do I throw those storm troopers to their death laughing how pitiful they seem or do I give fair warning and throw them off a cliff knowing I gave them a chance to live. It's that sort of thing that separate a thin line. Protect and serve or punish and enslave to ones will.

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But back to morality it's a matter of intent do I throw those storm troopers to their death laughing how pitiful they seem or do I give fair warning and throw them off a cliff knowing I gave them a chance to live. It's that sort of thing that separate a thin line. Protect and serve or punish and enslave to ones will.

At my table, both instances of pushing the stormtroopers of the cliff is going to earn you Conflict, the first one simply earning a couple points more for how much of prick you're being.  Whether you gave them the chance to surrender or not, the end result is that you have consigned those troopers to a pretty horrific death via excessive force, when there were far less excessive options available.

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well i sort of buy it but also don't having someone twist a blade or shooting you to death is pretty horrific regardless. I think the separation is do you do it in defense of yourself and others or do it just cause you hate storm troopers.

 

 

Seems anytime you kill anyone under the morality mechanic would earn you conflict one of my characters uses stun weapons just to avoid this issue altogether which isn't a fix or a way out of conflict. problem i see with the morality system is that its highly subjective and down to the gm's personal moral compass and that can be skewed by a number of things. I think there needs to be more clarification from FFG's side on this. This topic comes up way too much and i've seen plenty of out of game conflicts come from this mechanic where Duty and obligation are very cut and dry.

Edited by Tassedar

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well i sort of buy it but also don't having someone twist a blade or shooting you to death is pretty horrific regardless. I think the separation is do you do it in defense of yourself and others or do it just cause you hate storm troopers.

 

 

Seems anytime you kill anyone under the morality mechanic would earn you conflict one of my characters uses stun weapons just to avoid this issue altogether which isn't a fix or a way out of conflict. problem i see with the morality system is that its highly subjective and down to the gm's personal moral compass and that can be skewed by a number of things. I think there needs to be more clarification from FFG's side on this. This topic comes up way too much and i've seen plenty of out of game conflicts come from this mechanic where Duty and obligation are very cut and dry.

 

First, it doesn't help that the source material is very inconsistent about morality, or that The Force is often interpreted in away that runs perpendicular to any sort of morality we would recognize as sane.

 

Second, there are always going to be a plethora of issues that arise from trying to reduce something as complex and nuanced as morality into a a black-and-white mechanic (or black-and-white "understanding").

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well i sort of buy it but also don't having someone twist a blade or shooting you to death is pretty horrific regardless. I think the separation is do you do it in defense of yourself and others or do it just cause you hate storm troopers.

 

 

Seems anytime you kill anyone under the morality mechanic would earn you conflict one of my characters uses stun weapons just to avoid this issue altogether which isn't a fix or a way out of conflict. problem i see with the morality system is that its highly subjective and down to the gm's personal moral compass and that can be skewed by a number of things. I think there needs to be more clarification from FFG's side on this. This topic comes up way too much and i've seen plenty of out of game conflicts come from this mechanic where Duty and obligation are very cut and dry.

 

I don't think FFG would do much to "clarify" Morality. The book itself is pretty straightforward. The problems that crop up aren't really due to the book itself but to the fact that there is no universal agreement on morality and each person brings his own baggage to the table when they play (which in turn gives the illusion that the book is subjective when it kinda isn't). That can't be fixed by FFG or any mechanic. The best that one can do is just get into the Star Wars mindset on Morality as opposed to playing by your own morality. 

 

Also .... you don't earn Conflict for just killing people. If you're killing in defense of self and others you're fine. You gain Conflict when you torture, murder, and resort to violence as the first option. So the PC who uses stun weapons could still earn Conflict if he .... say ..... opted to shoot someone first and foremost as opposed to exploring other options. In other words .... the stun setting does not protect you against Conflict. Violence is violence no matter if you stun or kill. It's when and how characters enter violence that matters. If he engages in actions that would gain another PC with a different weapon Conflict he too will gain the exact same amount. 

Edited by Kael

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well i sort of buy it but also don't having someone twist a blade or shooting you to death is pretty horrific regardless. I think the separation is do you do it in defense of yourself and others or do it just cause you hate storm troopers.

 

 

Seems anytime you kill anyone under the morality mechanic would earn you conflict one of my characters uses stun weapons just to avoid this issue altogether which isn't a fix or a way out of conflict. problem i see with the morality system is that its highly subjective and down to the gm's personal moral compass and that can be skewed by a number of things. I think there needs to be more clarification from FFG's side on this. This topic comes up way too much and i've seen plenty of out of game conflicts come from this mechanic where Duty and obligation are very cut and dry.

 

I don't think FFG would do much to "clarify" Morality. The book itself is pretty straightforward. The problems that crop up aren't really due to the book itself but to the fact that there is no universal agreement on morality and each person brings his own baggage to the table when they play (which in turn gives the illusion that the book is subjective when it kinda isn't). That can't be fixed by FFG or any mechanic. The best that one can do is just get into the Star Wars mindset on Morality as opposed to playing by your own morality. 

 

Also .... you don't earn Conflict for just killing people. If you're killing in defense of self and others you're fine. You gain Conflict when you torture, murder, and resort to violence as the first option. So the PC who uses stun weapons could still earn Conflict if he .... say ..... opted to shoot someone first and foremost as opposed to exploring other options. In other words .... the stun setting does not protect you against Conflict. Violence is violence no matter if you stun or kill. It's when and how characters enter violence that matters. If he engages in actions that would gain another PC with a different weapon Conflict he too will gain the exact same amount. 

 

Precisely.

 

99.99% of the problems regarding the interpretation of Morality/Conflict has much of the same root cause as the many debates over what sort of action merits a Dark Side Point in prior Star Wars RPGs, which is to say players generally trying to apply their own personal morality and justifications to a course of action.

 

Stun setting or not, shooting someone is still shooting someone, so Conflict would be awarded unless you were directly acting in self-defense.  How much Conflict would vary based upon situation and target; shooting a guard that's actively hunting you would likely be 1 Conflict (he wasn't actively attacking you, but was a potential threat), while shooting an unarmed civilian that just happened to cross your path at the worst possible time would be worth significantly more (my call as GM would be 6 Conflict, since it's completely unnecessary violence but a step below out-and-out murder).

 

As you've said, the book is pretty clear on how the Morality system is meant to work with in the Star Wars setting, where "morality" isn't very nuanced, since it's very much a setting where the heroes and villains are generally clear-cut.  The problem comes when players try to bring real-world morals into the equation, mostly to weasel out of why their Force user's actions would generate Conflict (or earn them DSPs in prior SWRPGs).  A prime example is using Move to simply lift a target up or over a long fall and then letting gravity do the work, trying to claim their character shouldn't receive Conflict because "gravity did the work."  Contrast this to a defendant trying to claim "gravity did the work" when they had deliberately pushed someone over a ledge to fall to their death; most sane legal systems would convict the defendant since without that push, the victim would have been fine.

 

It's very much deliberate that Force users have to hold themselves to a higher standard than regular folks like Han or Lando in this setting, as it's all a part of the package deal of having access to quasi-mystical powers that enable you to accomplish feats that ordinary folks can't fathom.  As the old saying goes, power corrupts, and Force users can be very powerful, especially in the long run as they start gaining access to powers like Bind and Protect/Unleash, but also in early going as they invest in the Move power.

 

If you've got a group of sensible and mature role-players such as the crew that Maelora has, then a group can easily set the Morality/Conflict system aside and not have their game go off the rails.  But there are enough RPG groups that have that one player (generally a guy) that will twist/abuse the system to hell and back if there's not some sort of braking system in place that the GM can use to try and reign that player in.  And before anyone spouts off about "Rule Zero," not every GM is comfortable with just completely overriding the existing rules just because one guy is being a tool, and prefer to having at least something in the rules to back them up when it comes time to call shenanigans on that one disruptive player.

 

Of course, if the entire group, GM included, is fine with the players being a bunch of quasi-mystical murder hobos that routinely commit heinous acts that would make Palpatine cackle with demented glee, they'll probably just ignore the Conflict/Morality system entirely because it doesn't suit their style of play and hampers their "fun."

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Of course players are going to try to apply some common-sense moral judgement to the questions.  Many fans and the RPG systems posit a bizarro orange-and-blue morality that has nothing to do with anything resembling actual morals or ethics -- a morality that originates from equal parts Lucas's original bad 70s pop-syncretism, EU writers going off in silly directions, and fank-wankery. 

 

Never mind that morality and ethics can't be reduced to a set of simple platitudes and a numerical scale. 

 

But of course, when you try to point out that morality might be a bit more complicated, someone will respond by presenting a false dichotomy between strict adherence to the same Jedi code that lead them to attempt genocide against the Sith species multiple times and prefers letting others suffer to risking one's own "spiritual purity" on one hand, and being wackadoodle "murderhobos" on the other hand.

Edited by MaxKilljoy

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Of course players are going to try to apply some common-sense moral judgement to the questions.  Many fans and the RPG systems posit a bizarro orange-and-blue morality that has nothing to do with anything resembling actual morals or ethics -- a morality that originates from equal parts Lucas's original bad 70s pop-syncretism, EU writers going off in silly directions, and fank-wankery. 

 

Never mind that morality and ethics can't be reduced to a set of simple platitudes and a numerical scale. 

 

But of course, when you try to point out that morality might be a bit more complicated, someone will respond by presenting a false dichotomy between strict adherence to the same Jedi code that lead them to attempt genocide against the Sith species multiple times and prefers letting others suffer to risking one's own "spiritual purity" on one hand, and being wackadoodle "murderhobos" on the other hand.

 

Who crapped in your cereal? Donovan is right - when you're playing in a setting that has set rules regarding this sort of thing, it should be expected that you adhere to it if your GM is playing that way. It's like playing The One Ring and trying to say it's not fair that you got a Shadow point for not coming to the aid of your companions and let them die because 'it was their own fault', when Tolkien also has a pretty clear line of "good vs. evil" in the TOR setting.

 

Some fictional settings have predetermined moral rules to them. Who knew?

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