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After being in a Jedi heavy game for several months now and having run in that Jedi heavy game a handful of weeks now, I can say with authority that the Morality game mechanic sucks.
 
Consider Obligation - a nice, sold very defined parameter: you've angered a Black Sun vigo, so bounty hunters could show up at any time and now you need to take dubious jobs that you might otherwise skip because you need some money to pay him off. If you have to go to Nar Shadda, you have to be very careful where you go and who you talk to. There's plenty of story hooks and some great meat for even a lazy GM to spin off into lots and lots of games.
 
Duty, okay - we've only really started using Duty for the first time ever a couple of weeks ago, so the jury is still out on this mechanic. However on the surface, it still looks to be a very solid story telling tool.  It's easy enough for a GM to dangle tons of fish hooks throughout his game and see which ones the players jump at. "Well, you're sneaking across the airfield, and you notice that the way the spotlights cover the tarmac, you can probably sneak over to that troop transport, rig the hyperdrive to blow up when they jump out of system and still not fall behind schedule in keeping your rendezvous".
 
But Morality? So my hypothetical player has Courage and Recklessness. Um, okay . . . . so what does one do with that. It's narratively a dead fish. Give them a ton of stormtroopers at a guardpost they have to get past and hope the player jumps into the middle of them and starts swinging because they're courageously reckless? That's nice - can I get back to the Hutt threatening your family because they've fallen behind on their protection payments?
 
And so the players just kind of drift on up to paragon-ness.
 
Mind you, unlike some of the other threads that go "Oh my god! My players are Easy Paragons! Overpowered!", I don't particularly care about that status. They get an extra Destiny Point and a little bit extra strain. Big deal. The mechanic effects of Morality I have no issue with - just that it's a narrative cul de sac, a sargasso sea where good story telling goes to drift aimlessly until it dies.
 
I mean I guess I could hand out little bits of conflict here and there for every little thing - "You looked at that stormtrooper with anger in your heart. Have one conflict", but that sort of micromanaging bullshittery makes me feel like a nitpicking, heavy handed GM. I don't like that. And I hate the idea of having to come up with some kind of psychological torture for the players every episode just to get a rise out of them. "My master was just murdered by a sith, the hutts burned down my family farm last week, the week before we came across a blind nun being gang-raped. I wonder what terrible thing happens this week."
 
It feels like trolling.
 
There should be some kind of system in play for those big "I am a Jedi like my father before me" moments. Yes, absolutely! Moral choice is the whole cornerstone that the saga was built on. It's in the very DNA of every movie. But this mechanic simulates that very poorly. 
 
And I just cant abandon the mechanic, since the whole light/dark pip thing on the dice pretty much depends on it. Mind you, the Jedi of the group generally shun those black pips like they were covered in cooties or something.
 
The point of this? Venting, I guess. It's been something I've been thinking on for a while now, something I just wanted to put down and bounce my thoughts off you guys.
Edited by Desslok

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Hmm, its not treating it as 'courageously reckless' its either/or.  If there are 'alternatives to fighting' but the player insists on the more action packed approach regardless then that would be showing recklessness instead of courage.  This doesn't need to be physical either. Does he mouth-off to the Hutt gangster?  Conflict for being reckless.  

 

No need to micromanage internal thoughts of the player at all, just follow the suggestions of conflict giving actions as stated in the book since not everything relates to their morality, that's just another tool to apply conflict and have the possibility for a 'defining moment' during the campaign, not every session.  

 

I must say that when I've run with a force using player (not often, granted) they do not gain Morality fast, it usually is less than 5 points per session, when there is a gain at all, getting negative die results almost as often as positive ones so after 6 gaming sessions they were still at 58 morality.  Walking the paragon path is not and should not be easy, but if it is the goal of the player then it should at least be interesting and feel earned. 

Edited by yugwen18

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The Conflict mechanic is designed for nit-pickery.  It also caters to the faulty (IMHO) premise that lots of little good deeds can make up for lots of little bad deeds, or a few really bad deeds.

 

I just tweak Morality directly.  The scale useful as a broad sense of the lightness or darkness of a character at that point in time, but you can slide the scale as you wish...a paragon with Morality 70 shouldn't expect that murder will only bring him down to 60.  Depending on the circumstances it should either bring you to the dark-side line, or cross over immediately.  And it should be a lot easier to go down than up.

 

To that effect I'm treating Morality hits like Critical hits.  I'm still winging it (we haven't explored a lot of Morality stuff yet in my group) so I don't have a solid framework, but in general terms, evil acts impose a critical hit that you have to redeem within the narrative.  Otherwise those critical hits stick around, possibly having a mechanical effect.

 

The other thing I'm considering (but haven't had cause to implement yet) is that dark siders and light siders have some penalties and benefits to certain social skills.  I'm not a fan of the DP and Strain mechanic, but tweaking Charm and Coercion (and maybe others) would have more of an impact, especially in a social setting.

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I like what you said, whafrog. I'm curious to see how it plays out.

 

I personally use the system where if you roll under your conflict, you lose that much morality. It raises the stakes a little.

 

If a system could be put into place similar to what desslok or whafrog said, I would be more than pleased.

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I was under the impression that it's not supposed to always be some massive moral question (I mean, sometimes sure, but not every time) but instead more of a push for approach options. One option emphasizes their strength (bravery) the other weakness (recklessness). The strength and weaknesses are similar so the option doesn't have to be a huge swing...

 

 

So like the Stormtrooper checkpoint thing....

 

Option Bravery: The player sneaks in ahead of the party and disables the comm antenna before the party attacks so the troopers don't alert the main base.

 

Option Reckless: The player screams LERRROOOOYYYY JENKINS, highjacks a speeder and crashes it into the comm shack as the opening move in the party's attack.

 

Both technically resolve the same issue, but one is ballzy and one is semi-suicidal, and both options (or any similar alternative) is kept in the full control of the player.

 

Kinda like the Paragon/Renegade system in Mass Effect. Sometimes you had a blatant melodramatic "Save the puppy or kill it" options, other times it was just as simple as "Press a button to interrupt the monologing villain and set him on fire because you've had enough of his poop and have real problems you need to deal with."

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My take:

 

Obligation and Duty work as much as game master storytelling tools and prompts as they do player roleplaying tools. If a player isn't the best RPer, the GM can still use their Bounty Obligation or Combat Victory Duty to build a story and involuntarily rope a player in. Morality is a less of something a GM can really use to draw their player out short of baiting them, and works best with a player who is really into the roleplaying part of the game. A player can't just build a character and pick a morality as an afterthought, it has to be really built into the character, and the player has to keep the morality in the forefront of their mind.

 

But the morality pairings, I can think of concepts for them all day long. A character who puts themselves in harm's way when there's not alternative and despite their apprehension would be Courageous. On the other hand, if they put themselves in harm's way despite there being safer alternatives, and there's no true need to endanger themselves, and especially if they put others at risk, they would be Reckless*. As a GM, I can't do anything with that unless I looked at the player pointedly and say "this is bait." As a (thoughtful) player, see above.

 

*Come to think of it, wouldn't Courage/Recklessness be the quintessential murder hobo morality?

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Of the three, Morality really does require the players to buy into and and be involved in playing the Emotional Strength and Emotional Weakness of that character.  Far more than Obligation and Duty, a character's Emotional Strength and Weakness are role-playing hooks.

 

Doesn't mean they have to do it all the time; I played a youngish street rat with Bravery/Recklessness as his Emotional Strength/Weakness, and personality wise he was fairly bashful and often stammered his words, but when push came to shove he stood his ground no matter what the threat, and would take unexpected risks that put him in jeopardy just to help his friends.  Sometimes those risks were semi-calculated (Valin lived and breathed the concept the "Indy Ploy") and other times it was him rushing in where wise men run the hell away.

 

Morality is also much more of a personal thing than Obligation or Duty, both of which are group orientated.  But that also fits with one of the themes of FaD, in that a big part of the character's development is internal, as opposed to EotE and AoR having their main focus being external (surviving on the fringe or battling the Empire, respectively).

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I'd recommend listening to the grey jedi order 66 podcast episode, because I think that if you looked back their were probably times you should have earned conflict and you didnt or if your were the gm then you didn't give them those difficult choices. Even the choice of sneaking up behind a stormtrooper and shiving him would be an automatic 10 conflict. It does not matter that he was an enemy or that the place he was guarding held 20 refugees. However leaving him alone and letting said refugees die would be 5 conflict. Confronting the stormtrooper results in a much more difficult fight against an emporers hand, these are the hard choices the Gm should place. Now if it plays into one of players morality selections (like justice in this case) then so much the better.

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After being in a Jedi heavy game for several months now and having run in that Jedi heavy game a handful of weeks now, I can say with authority that the Morality game mechanic sucks.
 
It feels like trolling.

 

Not gonna get any argument there from me.

 

I tossed that out before the first game, and the game plays fine without it.

 

I adored the concept that F&D was about exploring the extremes of your own personality, a journey of the Self... and that the PCs could explore that without getting bogged down with 'what would a Jedi do?'  And that 'dark side' is a perfectly valid PC option and doesn't make you a baby-eating puppy-murderer. By default, you're NOT a 'Jedi' or 'Sith' and nobody is telling you what to do. Explore the galaxy, sift over history and decide for yourself what 'light' and 'dark' really mean.  That's an unusual 'yin-yang' concept in Star Wars, which usually treats the Force as binary.  

 

I left 'alignment arguments' behind with D&D, and the thought of micro-managing my players choices and assigning a JRPG-style number to each action fills me with horror.

 

I found the Morality mechanic actively prevents you from exploring your own personality fully, only encouraging an artificial rush to one extreme or the other.  A wasted opportunity, given the incredible concept and narrative freedom the FFG game seems to be trying to give us.

Edited by Maelora

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*Come to think of it, wouldn't Courage/Recklessness be the quintessential murder hobo morality?

 

Garrus Vakarian in Mass Effect would disagree with you.

 

He's very much a good guy, but he's an impulsive Cowboy Cop who never backs down and seldom thinks things through when he finds Bad Guys. 

 

This combination is actually pretty common in movies; Max Rockatansky, for instance.

 

 

Kinda like the Paragon/Renegade system in Mass Effect. Sometimes you had a blatant melodramatic "Save the puppy or kill it" options, other times it was just as simple as "Press a button to interrupt the monologing villain and set him on fire because you've had enough of his poop and have real problems you need to deal with."

 

Actually, if we're talking Mass Effect, I felt that the two most awesomely badass options (standing up to Zaeed and tricking Tela Vasir) were Paragon ones.

 

And a few of the Renegade options (concerning Garrus and the asari Erinya) are actually the 'nice' ones.

Edited by Maelora

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And I just cant abandon the mechanic, since the whole light/dark pip thing on the dice pretty much depends on it.

 

For what it's worth, we treat it like 'stance' in WHFRP3 (the game on which the FFG SW game was based).

 

You can only be in one 'stance' at a time, depending on your recent actions and mindset.   Luke taunted by Vader about his sister? Shifts to Dark Stance and lets rip with Unleash and Harm, drawing from his DS pips. Battle over, cradles a redeemed Vader in his arms and forgives him? Shifts back to Light Stance. While (say) Qi-Gonn stays in Light Stance for his entire fight with Maul.

 

It's not for everyone but it works for us.  I very much wanted a yin-yang version of the Force, considering the Jedi are our main antagonists. 

 

The players can fully explore their light and dark sides, and aren't arbitrarily penalised for doing so.  And they're not 'murderhobos' because they're not kept in check by an alignment system... they're just good players and don't want to play their characters like that.   The narrative conflicts between their light and dark sides is a great thing to role-play at the table too.

Edited by Maelora

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I've only just started incorporating Morality into my games, as the Force-sensitive PC in my EoE game only just bought her first F&D tree and I have two F&D characters in my new AoR game. And I've been underwhelmed so far, and not sure how I'm supposed to really best utilize it. My quick fix is only calling for a Morality roll at the end of the session if I think someone's done something particularly moral (or immoral). It's individual, too: one of the Force-sensitives in AoR did something moral and got to roll; the other didn't and so didn't.

 

My friend who runs an F&D game modified it to be more like honor from L5R, by basically flipping the Morality table. You have to earn your slow climb towards paragon status by taking action (1 Morality point) or actively intervening to save or spare someone's life (10+ Morality points). I didn't just ape his system because 1.) I wanted to try playing by the book, and 2.) I don't think the rewards you get for paragon status are worth the increased difficulty.

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And I just cant abandon the mechanic, since the whole light/dark pip thing on the dice pretty much depends on it. Mind you, the Jedi of the group generally shun those black pips like they were covered in cooties or something.

 

The light/dark pip mechanic actually doesn't depend on the Morality mechanic, it existed in the two previous iterations of the system. You still spend strain and must flip a DP. Also it should be pointed out that the F&D corebook has a list of suggestions for cross compatibility which states:

 

Groups that want to play a more spiritual campaign featuring the struggle between good and evil should use Morality. 

 

And

 

(Note: PCs from Force and Destiny who are not using the Morality mechanic should ignore any Conflict they earn, and they cannot become dark side Force users or light side paragons as per page 52)

 

[Emphasis mine]

 

This says for me that you can play this system quite happily without the Morality mechanic. 

 

In fact I plan to dump the Morality mechanic in any further game I run unless the whole angst thing is an important plot point. Should they become Murder-hobo's with glowy deathsticks you can always dump on them with Obligation gain/Duty loss or something else of your own design.

Quote

Desslok, on 10 May 2016 - 7:27 PM, said:

I mean I guess I could hand out little bits of conflict here and there for every little thing - "You looked at that stormtrooper with anger in your heart. Have one conflict", but that sort of micromanaging bullshittery makes me feel like a nitpicking, heavy handed GM. I don't like that. And I hate the idea of having to come up with some kind of psychological torture for the players every episode just to get a rise out of them. "My master was just murdered by a sith, the hutts burned down my family farm last week, the week before we came across a blind nun being gang-raped. I wonder what terrible thing happens this week."

It feels like trolling.

 

 

This I can heartily agree with you over, I never liked the inference that I need to always be trying to trip up the Pc's. 

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*Come to think of it, wouldn't Courage/Recklessness be the quintessential murder hobo morality?

 

Garrus Vakarian in Mass Effect would disagree with you.

 

He's very much a good guy, but he's an impulsive Cowboy Cop who never backs down and seldom thinks things through when he finds Bad Guys. 

 

This combination is actually pretty common in movies; Max Rockatansky, for instance.

 

Is joke. Watch:

 

GM: What's your character?

 

PC: Gumdrop the Courageous!

 

GM: Alright, you are walking down the street. You spot a squad of stormtroopers down the road.

 

PC: I kill them all, courageously!

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Personally, I like it, but haven't tried it it much, and if it rubbed me wrong, I'd probably throw it out and let a player decide if they fall to the Dark Side or not, or have some big skill challenge dictate it.

 

As an alternative, Desslok, one theory I had prior to F&D being released was that Destiny would be the narrative mechanic... Your destiny is some big thing that is in your future, and it is measured for the group, just like Obligation or Duty. When rolled on the chart, you're getting closer to your destiny, slowly, inexorably. Doubles means is a bigger step towards it. It increases whenever it is rolled, with additional bonuses if you work towards it specifically.

 

When group Destiny exceeds 100, whoever has the highest, well, their destiny is coming, whether they're ready for it or not, and they gotta hope so. Then their Destiny resets to the base value and they get a new one.

 

For example, the Heroes of Yavin are the PCs, and Luke's Destiny is "Heir to the Jedi Order", or what have you. It's increasing as Obi-Wan trains him, but sits dormant for a while after Vader puts him down. Then on Hoth, it's rolled, and Ben appears as a ghost, telling him to go to Dagobah. With Yoda's training, it keeps increasing, and by the next adventure, it's rolled, but it's doubles. Now Luke has to face Vader. When, at long last, group Destiny hits 100, he must confront Vader again to become a Jedi Knight.

 

Is it elegant? Nope. But it's an idea. Maybe you could have a Light and Dark Side to your Destiny (Revan's is "Savior" / "Conqueror"), and when Destiny exceeds 100, you'll be forced into one or the other in the coming session.

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On the contrary, I have great fun with the morality mechanic. I was running Onslaught at Arda 1 recently with a group of 3 force users and two rebel characters. At the moment they needed to set up the bomb to blow up the base before escaping, I had a 20 minutes arguments between the characters, when I told them that action would be conflict worthy. The rebel character were like "We got orders. Set up that bomb" and the Force users were thorn up between following orders and killing the stoormtroopers and all the people who would not get the chance to escape.

 

It was a great moment of roleplay.

Edited by vilainn6

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I feel the opposite way, Morality is the only metagame mechanic I like.

 

Obligation is completely useless to me as a GM. I would find it's use to be quite disruptive and probably detrimental to the emerging narrative. Plus I'm not a big fan of "Who are we doing a favor for this week?" kinda games. As a GM being forced to engage the narrative in a specific way by a metagame mechanic just doesn't fly.

 

Duty is pretty much just "equipment XP" and a reputation mechanic. The purchasing, gifting, finding, and stealing of equipment is handled by narrative means. No number on a character sheet is gonna stop me from starting the PCs with their own rebel fleet and infantry regiment! Likewise, I prefer the PCs fame and infamy be based on deed rather than a number on a character sheet. If the group kills Grand Moff Tarkin three sessions in I guarantee they are on the Empire's most wanted list...they may not be bigwigs with the Alliance or have shiny equipment though...might even be bad for them...bunch of nobody's killing Grand Moff Tarkin!...that's weird to say the least.

 

Morality on the other hand is a measuring stick and roleplaying tool, and it is totally in the player's hands. They can engage it or ignore it as they see fit.

 

Let the Dark Side Pips flow freely and all will be well...

Edited by zarion

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I think this has been tread on quite well, but I'm going to throw in my 2 cents as a GM.

 

Morality should not take the place of Obligation and Duty - it doesn't work well for that, as Desslok has noted.  Rather, motivations are good for the hooks provided by Obligation and Duty.  I'll grant that these were present for AoR and EotE as well, but when paired with morality any action can by judged by the way a character reacts within the scope of their motivation.  All the role-playing hooks are present here if these work in tandem.

 

As a numerical, conflict is very clumsy.  Eldath was good enough to point out that the morality system is not intended to be a hinging game element.  This is especially true if the mechanics ever get in the way of creating a cinematic and engaging story.  It is present as a number for the purpose of triggering morality more than it is for tracking a character's descent or ascent to paragon status.

 

If you are using morality as a number, I would not advise doling out conflict as it comes.  This is not what I do in my games; instead, I'll make notes of conflict-generating reactions so that total amounts of conflict can be reflected upon and distributed at the end of a session based upon the actual events of the story.  This way, a couple nit-picking conflict can be happily ignored while a collection of conflict-generating activities can add up*.  Much of the storytelling system is based upon the assumption that you are communicating constantly with your players about the kind of game you all want to play.  With this assumption in mind, you should have an idea of whether a player wants their character to tread the dark path or the light.

 

*To clarify, I do not collect conflict for the group and then divvy it up evenly.  I make notes for each character individually, usually quickly, usually in the margins of my notebook paper.

 

Looking at Jedi paragons in canonical sources, there is quite a lot of lateral maneuverability for justifiable violence.  The Clone Wars were predicated upon this freedom, and it is assumed that the entire Jedi Order did not simply turn to the dark side.  (Just watching the Clone Wars cartoon series you get to see some good people do some pretty rough things without moral recourse).  As a GM you must always use your best judgement and take the advice of your players into consideration.

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[...]

 

[...]

Is joke. Watch:

 

GM: What's your character?

 

PC: Gumdrop the Courageous!

 

GM: Alright, you are walking down the street. You spot a squad of stormtroopers down the road.

 

PC: I kill them all, courageously!

"Killing equals honor"

 

Glorion_crop..jpg

Image: Glorion from JourneyQuest. A "Knight" in his own mind but a sociopath by any other standard.

Edited by kaosoe

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i'm currently making all characters have obligation with duty becoming a part later in the campaign.

 

all force sensitive characters have to use morality as well, I agree it is something that has less impact on the game but I do believe it is also something that's has an effect on playing the character and can lead to some nice roleplaying.

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What if crossing certain Morality thresholds triggered big narrative moments automatically? Like you talk with the player and establish what those moments look like generally, and how they relate to your emotional strength / weakness. Thresholds could be say, 30, 50, and 70. Morality stops when it would cross a threshold. So if it's at 54, and a player would lower it by 6, it drops only to 50, and triggers for the next session. When it triggers, the session has a distinct moment, and their choice in that moment moves them up or down 5 points of Morality, in addition to regular conflict for the session. It's more drastic.

 

But suppose you have a character with Ambition / Greed, who starts at 69. When, in the course of a regular session, he drops to 50, it shows that he has been falling away from the Light. The GM and the player have discussed this, and the character really, really wants to be a Jedi of old, as wise as master Yoda and powerful as master Windu. In the next session then, the GM puts the group in a Dark Side vergence, where the party is facing tough foes, and gaining extra Dark Side pips is very easy, and could make a character much more powerful. The character must then choose if his ambition of being a powerful Jedi is so great that he allows himself a simple lust for power (greed). He chooses to give in to the Dark Side, and his Morality immediately drops to 45, plus Morality is modified normally after the session ends.

 

Later, he hits 30, the threshold in total darkness. An Inquisitor attacks as the group is on a mission to an old Sith Temple, and destroys their holocron, robing their chance to become Jedi (at least in the character's mind). The party fends of the Inquisitor, and complete their quest, but come away with something truly dangerous: a Sith Holocron. The gatekeeper is a fallen Jedi, and offers to teach the character. Now the player can plunge down to 25 and choose the Dark Side and his greed for power, or refuse, jumping back up to 35. Before he can manage to become a Light Side Paragon, he'll have to face another moment at 50, and a big choice at 70.

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I'm agree to some of your concerns;

in the game i'm GM'ing, there are all rebels (with Duty) plus one is also a Jedi (and thus have Morality in addition to Duty). 

 

Duty is a narrative option with many possibilities; however, most of time does'nt trigger, so i go in the empasse of foregoing this part of the adventure (1) or letting them do it anyway (thus rewarding a little Duty bonus at the end of the session).

Morality, btw,is a personal roleplaying issue: it's mainly a tool for the player, not for the GM. So long, it sucks or rocks depending on player's (and of course GM's) individual rolplaying style.

 

As for the pargon run, i got similar issue: my Jedi got courage/recklessness too, plus is (strictly) following a lightsaber fighting specialization so he gain really little conflict and rise up quickly his morality score. Being the only Jedi on the party, adventures are less morality-centric so he honestly got really little occasion for conflict. I could micro-mnage them thus throwing conflictual event at every corner, but i agree is not funny.

Btw, paragon is not a reall game changing issue: destiny point are used very often, a couple of strain point is not enormous. My main concern is an high morality means a little fear of dark side temptations. But i can live with it.

 

I still think your concerns are real, in the end, but not easy to resolve...

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But Morality? So my hypothetical player has Courage and Recklessness. Um, okay . . . . so what does one do with that. It's narratively a dead fish. 
 

What do you do with it?  You jump out of a speeder on Coruscant, and free fall 5 bajillion stories to try and catch an escaping assassin's car so you can try and hack them to death at high speed, at the risk of your own life as you destroy the speeder you are currently perched on.

 

You leap out of a window on Coruscant, hoping to grab hold of a droid that just delivered murder bugs to the noblewoman you are protecting, now finding yourself dangling 5 bajillion stories over Coruscant traffic, being shot at by a sniper.

 

You get into a fist fight with a guy on the outside of a really frictionless dome, in the rain, while tied to him, and you do a flying kick to knock him off the side of the building...forgetting you are still tied to him, and thus dragged to your near doom.

 

You leap ahead on your own, instead of working with your Master to take on a dangerous enemy, and get your arm hacked off for the effort.

 

You decide to fly into an asteroid field to try and avoid the Imperial fleet chasing you, even though this itself is almost certain death.

 

And that's just from the 6 movies.  I'm sure you could come up with tons more from Clone Wars and Rebels, but you get the idea.  The Player can come up with all kinds of things to do with that kind of morality binary, but it's on the player to do it. They have to actively decide how their character will behave, which sometimes means doing things that are detrimental to their well being/sanity.   "Yes, it's very stupid to decide to challenge a terrorist leader on public, live television, but my character is Prideful, and he's pissed, and he's going to do it, even though it's probably going to bite him in the a$$ no matter what."   And that I think is where most gaming tables have problems.   I can't speak for anyone else, but most of the people I game with, look at gaming as some kind of test to win, instead of as narrative theater with some dice for variable situations.   They try to minimize anything negative that might effect their character, and maximize things positive, from a meta level.  They will make a character and say "He's reckless and brash!"  but then they don't actually have the character do anything reckless and brash because that might result in negative effects.  

 

Morality is firmly plopped in the player's lap to deal with, and for the GM to simply mediate the results.  If the player isn't actively engaging in their positive/negative traits, then that's on them.  

 

I'm playing a Sage with Compassion/Obsession as his moral duality.  And I simply play the Obsession part as his lust/love for ancient lore and knowledge about the Force.  So far, nothing has come up to cause this to become a problem.  But if there is a choice between helping someone, and losing some vast knowledge forever, he might choose the knowledge.    Depends on the dramatic tension of the moment, and other factors.  But that's on me to handle.  So far, I just have it show up as a hunger whenever he learns something new, and if something happens to distract or limit the knowledge he can gain, he gets irritable, and might snap at those around him.  "Can't you see I'm working here?!" kind of thing.

 

As to the mechanics of it, I don't find it to be a problem, and I'm running a F&D campaign with 2 players that are both Force users.   They do suffer from my above problem of metagaming their behavior, but I do call them on it, and they comply and acknowledge that their character might do something contrary to what they would do themselves.  So it works out fairly well.  They are both close to being Paragon true, but that's also partly because they've taken the higher path in most cases that I've presented them with.  They take the tougher choice, instead of the easy (and Conflicty) choice.  They put themselves in peril to help others, instead of saving their own skins.   They choose not to use Influence to shut up the annoying, and beligerent nobleman that is stranded on the planet with them, or make him do something harmful, and instead just ignore him and go do something else.   They choose to not attack first, when confronted with the local natives, and instead try to negotiate with them, despite being basically surrounded by a dozen or so warriors with bows and spears.

 

The mechanics work fairly well for me.  One thing that you might consider, is something that GMPhil mentioned on an O66 podcast, and he was quoting someone else that I don't recall.  "Conflict isn't  Dark Side Cookies.  Conflict is conflict.  You break up with your lover?  Get a little conflict as you are upset by it.  Get seriously injured, and thus have a near death experience?  Conflict.  Lose a job or get shunned in some way by your social circle?  Conflict."  etc etc.  It's to try and track their emotional/mental stability.  If things are happening to make them question what they should do, they should probably earn some conflict.

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I think the real issue of emotional strengths / weaknesses isn't "It's a narrative dead fish" - it's a lack of player buy in and actual roleplay. People don't want to do something reckless because it's dangerous and the player thinks about it when his character wouldn't.

 

But incentivizing playing a character with flaws is tough... FATE had a system where the GM or another player could grab a Fate Point token (more powerful than just a Destiny Point in this game) and offer it to a player and say, "I think your character's aspect X means he'd do this." And if the compelled player did it, he got to keep the Fate Point. It gave you incentive to make aspects that were two-edged swords to get you points and let you use the points well. "Brash as he is brave" would not only net you Fate Points from compels because people loved to get you in trouble over it, but is also a great aspect to spend a Fate Point triggering for bonuses on something bravery-related.

 

So how can players who don't actually get into roleplaying the character be given incentive to make poor choices that fit their character? I could probably think up a few ideas... I already offer players up to 3 bonus XP for cool / dramatic narration. Most of the players walk away with all +3 XP, but they still look for opportunities to be creative, especially around Triumph and Despair. So why not offer a similar bonus for playing their emotional weakness well, and it a way that actually hinders them? I.E. Negative dice. It's like motivation, but nasty.

 

For example, the players are landing their ship in an enemy occupied hangar, and might clear out the stormtroopers with the gun turrets before landing. The pilot is Brave / Reckless, so he reaches across the table and grabs a Challenge die. "We're going in full throttle, guns blazing. None of this cautious stuff." The GM nods, grinning. "That's worth a couple bonus XP." The pilot then rolls his Piloting check with the added Challenge die, trying to spin the freighter and flare the sublights, knocking down the troopers in the process.

 

Obviously, cap the amount of XP you can get from it, and give the GM veto power - that way a player can't just get extra XP for negotiating... er... recklessly? It has to be a dramatic moment. And of course this opens the door to players who just want to get their quota of bad choices in and try to minimize the damage they might deal... Maybe, however, to eliminate that, you say that the player can't ask if something will give his character extra XP - it has to be the GM or a fellow player that says, "Hey you should make this bad decision because it'd be awesome and horrible."

 

EDIT: I'm by no means saying a GM should have to dangle cookies in front of his players like this to get them to play a freaking role. He shouldn't. But if it gets the table involved...

Edited by MuttonchopMac

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From what I've seen, I still like Morality, from the point that no other Star Wars game I've played really gave the Dark Side any real draw. Sure, if you learned a Dark Side power, it was potentially very good, but if you never used it, no DSP, no draw. Saga gave Sith Lords one of the dumbest mechanics in my gaming history, with Dun Moch (something like that), where the Sith NPC could taunt you, instead of attacking you, and if you spend a Force point, before their next action, you had to gain 1 DSP, or move down the condition track. In some ways, it seemed decent, with said Sith using the Force, instead of the skill this ability calls for, and so probably hitting, but they aren't doing any damage, and you don't need only a few DSPs to have a problem, so you'll probably take those, instead. Worst, though, is it needed you to spend a Force Point, which wasn't frequent, as they don't come back till you level up., so it often meant the Sith Lord DIDN'T attack, thus didn't give you a reason to need to spend a Force Point, thus nothing happens.

 

What I'm babbling is most games of Star Wars don't MAKE you fall to the Dark Side; you have to be one of those kinds of people who grab it, whole hog, and make yourself do it, intentionally. I only ever played a little WEG d6, and didn't care for it, mechanically (that might've been the GM, in question), but didn't ever have to worry about the Dark Side, unless Vader was at Shantipole (we were recovering the B-Win prototypes), and neither Revised d20 (you could have hundreds of Dark Side Points), or Saga Edition, ever really made me feel like the Dark Side was trying to tempt me, and even the little temptations were only  a pebble in the river. Again, that could've also been my GMs, I know that what they confront you with will have a massive impact on what you choose to do, to survive it, but I like how the Morality tracks it, and it can be fixed, if you are willing to try. In Saga, getting rid of DSPs is almost as worthless as they are, themselves. You can spend a Force Point to cancel a DSP, when you level up, but that progressively becomes more rare, and those Force Points don't refill until you level up, either. You can also do something heroic, for the greater good, and if you don't call on the Dark Side, while doing it, lose a DSP. Still sort of a pain in the ass. I know they should be slightly harder to get out than a food stain on a shirt, but whatever.

 

For me, Morality seems to work, and not bog you down, like Obligation seemed to, when I was reading it. I like Duty, and would probably use it, and Morality, in most games, unless the strong criminal element was needed. Also, Duty feels like something you should want to do, while Obligation is have to do, and you want out from under it, but like the Mayor in Animal Crossing, you never really do get out from beneath it, or you'd lose a game mechanic. Sorry to do all the babbling about other versions of Star Wars, up there, but I appreciate that th eDark Side does have some pull here, but it CAN be fought. It isn't just there for the criminally insane player to say "well, I know what I'm doing, this game :P ", or a silly counter you can't avoid, like Insanity, in Call of Cthulhu, just by playing the game. Granted, I haven't gotten my friends to play this, yet, so I'm going more on what I've read, in the book, and here, on the forums, but I like what I've seen, and hope to test it out when school stats back up, in the fall.

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