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LordUrban

The Golden Age of Force Users

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Recently my Old Republic campaign hit a slight road bump. One of the players has voiced frustration with the more subtle nature of Force powers in this rule set. Given that the intended era for the game is the Galactic Civil War it is understandable that the strength of the average force users abilities would be relatively limited. In era of my campaign though both the Jedi and the Sith are arguably at their peak. How can I represent this greater mastery of the force without unbalancing things? Any feedback or suggestions are appreciated.

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Really, the only thing that needs to be done is for the higher-end Force users like Jedi Knights and Sith Lords simply not be as restrained in displaying/using their powers.

 

Then again, for most of SW media, especially under the new canon, Force users generally don't really go for the big and flashy effects that you saw in the places like video games (which by their nature need to be flashy) and the Tales of the Old Republic comic books series.  You might see Vader pull off some seriously impressive displays of telekinesis in non-film media (lifting two walkers that had collapsed on him in Rebels, or hoisting up an AT-AT in the new Marvel comics) but even he tends go for "boring but practical" over "flashy" when it comes to his Force usage.

 

In the KOTOR games, Force usage didn't get really potent until the end game, and by that point your PC was one of the most powerful Force users in the setting.

 

In the prequels, when the Jedi were at the height of their power and influence, they opted for "strong as I need to be" in terms of Force usage.  It's quite possible that Yoda could have literally thrown an entire building at Sidious, but he never saw the need for that kind of rampant destruction while Sidious (with no witnesses and nothing to hide) went for a more grandiose display of his power (floating and hurling multiple Senate pods at once).

 

It sounds like your player is expecting Force users to be more like comic books superheroes, so the problem might lay more with their expectations of the setting.  Especially since if you look back to the original films, usage of the Force was generally more 'subtle,' with Palpatine's use of lightening in RotJ being a HUGE surprise back in 1983.

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More XP. With agreement from the players not to be min/max hobos the system still balances exceptionally well at 2000xp. Now I wouldn't recommend going that far due to how cumbersome the character sheets become but throwing 500xp at them at the start should net a significant improvement in abilities.

Tell your players to prepare their characters with the intention of being versatile and you would see the characters your looking for.

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In the Old Republic, the force users are unbalanced. Its a force user's paradise with a few gun toters who are so good at their own game so as to be almost forcelike themselves. You might simply let them convert light/dark pips to their own choice to give them a power boost. 1 or 2 points should be more than enough to up force user power over the mundane grunts.

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In the Old Republic, the force users are unbalanced. Its a force user's paradise with a few gun toters who are so good at their own game so as to be almost forcelike themselves. You might simply let them convert light/dark pips to their own choice to give them a power boost. 1 or 2 points should be more than enough to up force user power over the mundane grunts.

True. But the non force users with the party should be like those special gun toters so yes give all extra xp. 

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Honestly the simplest solution is just up the xp. 

This.  In the era being played, the Jedi are pretty much being trained from birth, so they have more experience to start with.

 

 

Wholly agreed.  Jedi Force leaping about, lifting and hurling boulders at each other, Force Lightning, Protect, Bind...plrenty of flashy powers out there, you just need the XP to be able to have them upgraded and the FR to get them off reliably.

 

It helps if you conceptualize a basic "power level" that each amount of Force Die represent.  In my group, it goes like this:

 

FR 1: Initiate (aka dorky kid in blinding helmet)

FR 2: Padawan

FR 3: Experienced Padawan/young Jedi

FR 4: Experienced Jedi

FR 5: Jedi Master

FR 6: Council Master

FR 7: Senior Council Master (Mace Windu, Obi-wan Kenobi)

FR 8: Vader

FR 9(+?): Yoda, Palpatine

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It is the dilemma of stats, FR 6 or 7 IS completely reasonable for the Grand Master, especially backed up by skills, talents and knowledge of stuff.

However in a world where players specialize to a degree far farther than any NPC it becomes a number arms race.

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While obviously skills and talents are going to be required to get the most out of any level of FR, I think that certain NPCs should posses larger rather than smaller stats.  I mean, with re-rolls, DP, and a fair bit invested into Force Powers, you could probably replicate everything Yoda did in the movies with FR 4.  However, part of the marvel of having characters like that pop up in your campaign is seeing them just be bonkers in terms of game mechanics.  When Darth Vader rolls up and the GM announces a Hurl at a friendly platoon, the awe doesn't just lie in the description of the carnage that ensues.  It's also in the eight Force dice the GM rolled to make the check.  At a time when most of the players think three FR is huge, it will really drive home the incredible power and skill of the Lord of the Sith.

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Honestly the simplest solution is just up the xp. 

This.  In the era being played, the Jedi are pretty much being trained from birth, so they have more experience to start with.

 

 

Wholly agreed.  Jedi Force leaping about, lifting and hurling boulders at each other, Force Lightning, Protect, Bind...plrenty of flashy powers out there, you just need the XP to be able to have them upgraded and the FR to get them off reliably.

 

It helps if you conceptualize a basic "power level" that each amount of Force Die represent.  In my group, it goes like this:

 

FR 1: Initiate (aka dorky kid in blinding helmet)

FR 2: Padawan

FR 3: Experienced Padawan/young Jedi

FR 4: Experienced Jedi

FR 5: Jedi Master

FR 6: Council Master

FR 7: Senior Council Master (Mace Windu, Obi-wan Kenobi)

FR 8: Vader

FR 9(+?): Yoda, Palpatine

 

I've got to disagree with this ranking. It's way off the charts. At best it should be:

 

FR1: Padawan

FR2: newly knighted Jedi Knight

FR3: Jedi Master

FR4: Senior Master/Darth Vader

FR5: Yoda/Palpatine

 

There is really no reason to go much above that. 

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First, there is a level of ability untrained or weak Force users have that has to exist below Padawan level.  Otherwise, you could never have people who weren't powerful enough to become Padawans (a situation which explicitly occurred in Legends, and is implied in canon by mention of Obi-Wan taking the "Trials").

 

Second, three force die will leave you high and dry 20% of the time, and only gives you a 50% chance of getting more than 2 pips.  That leaves only a 30% chance for a Jedi Master to get enough pips to...well, do most anything beyond the very basics, really.  Some powers require 2 pips just for the basic power, let alone all the additional effects that require more pips to be triggered.

 

As I said in the other thread, I think you need to play a few games with the system to really get a feel for how the mechanics really flow during gameplay.

 

Also...do you really think a player with a single Specialization tree should be called a Jedi, let alone a Jedi Master?

Edited by Benjan Meruna

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First, there is a level of ability untrained or weak Force users have that has to exist below Padawan level.  Otherwise, you could never have people who weren't powerful enough to become Padawans (a situation which explicitly occurred in Legends, and is implied in canon by mention of Obi-Wan taking the "Trials").

 

Second, three force die will leave you high and dry 20% of the time, and only gives you a 50% chance of getting more than 2 pips.  That leaves only a 30% chance for a Jedi Master to get enough pips to...well, do most anything beyond the very basics, really.  Some powers require 2 pips just for the basic power, let alone all the additional effects that require more pips to be triggered.

 

As I said in the other thread, I think you need to play a few games with the system to really get a feel for how the mechanics really flow during gameplay.

 

Also...do you really think a player with a single Specialization tree should be called a Jedi, let alone a Jedi Master?

Well, I have a character (converted from previous systems), with a FR 3, and five Specs. Unless you take a spec like Hermit, which has 2 FR talents, there is no way any character is going to get up to FR3 with only one spec anyway. Not only that, but Force Rating is really not the only real measure of a Force user's "ranking". Just as important is his/her knowledge of the Force in regards to Force powers. How many Force powers does the character know, how many upgrades per power, etc. Force Rating simply establishes his/her raw ability. It does not measure his/her skill in its use. This is why a character with an FR3 can certainly qualify as a Jedi Master.

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I've got to disagree with this ranking. It's way off the charts. At best it should be:

 

FR1: Padawan

FR2: newly knighted Jedi Knight

FR3: Jedi Master

FR4: Senior Master/Darth Vader

FR5: Yoda/Palpatine

 

There is really no reason to go much above that. 

 

 

Well one of my players will be overjoyed to know he is equivalent to the strength of Yoda/Palpatine (or at least he could be if he wanted; he's intentionally not purchased a 5th FR even though its available to him).

 

I would point out that with about 600 XP you can have a FR of 5, and actually have some level of Force Talents to make use of that FR.

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Well, I have a character (converted from previous systems), with a FR 3, and five Specs. Unless you take a spec like Hermit, which has 2 FR talents, there is no way any character is going to get up to FR3 with only one spec anyway. 

 

I'm talking about level of ability in the Force, not lightsabers.  Yes, there were Jedi Masters who focused on lightsaber combat who could have a FR of 3.  It's not impossible.  However, by the same token you could have Jedi who focused more on their Force skills being a rank "above" their level, like a Padawan who is a Seer or Sage (who would be a jedi Master, by your standards).  The general idea is an average level of skill and what you can accomplish at that level.  As I pointed out, FR3 is enough to get the basics done most of the time, but only rarely do you get the 3+ pips needed to do something that a (non-lightsaber-specialized) Jedi Master would be expected to be able to do.

Edited by Benjan Meruna

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Honestly the simplest solution is just up the xp. 

This.  In the era being played, the Jedi are pretty much being trained from birth, so they have more experience to start with.

 

 

Wholly agreed.  Jedi Force leaping about, lifting and hurling boulders at each other, Force Lightning, Protect, Bind...plrenty of flashy powers out there, you just need the XP to be able to have them upgraded and the FR to get them off reliably.

 

It helps if you conceptualize a basic "power level" that each amount of Force Die represent.  In my group, it goes like this:

 

FR 1: Initiate (aka dorky kid in blinding helmet)

FR 2: Padawan

FR 3: Experienced Padawan/young Jedi

FR 4: Experienced Jedi

FR 5: Jedi Master

FR 6: Council Master

FR 7: Senior Council Master (Mace Windu, Obi-wan Kenobi)

FR 8: Vader

FR 9(+?): Yoda, Palpatine

I'd disagree to an extent.

 

Based upon my own play experiences, Force Rating 3 is quite potent, and would work for your run-of-the-mill Jedi Knight.

 

Personally, I'd break it down something like this:

FR 1: Initiate to Novice Padawan

FR 2: Experienced Padawan to Novice Jedi Knight

FR 3: Seasoned Jedi Knight to Novice Jedi Master

FR 4: Average Jedi Master

FR 5: Esteemed Jedi Master or typical Jedi Council Member

FR 6: Truly Exceptional Force Users, such as Yoda and Palpatine, maybe Luke in the Sequel Trilogy

FR 7+: Beings of legendary status

 

To be honest, unless you're deliberately aiming for big/showy displays of power, you can do pretty well with Force Rating 3 as (barring bad dice luck) you're going to generate around 2 to 4 light side pips per roll.  Be willing to take a bit of Conflict and flip some Destiny Points on occasion, and you'll be able to pull off more.  Though with Force powers, you tend to get much better mileage by investing your XP into buying multiple upgrades rather than hoping for enough Force points to activate a single upgrade type more than once.  Heck, once you've hit FR5 the times when you don't have enough FP to activate a Force power effect are going to be far and few between, especially if you've also invested XP in the upgrades.

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To be honest, unless you're deliberately aiming for big/showy displays of power, you can do pretty well with Force Rating 3 as (barring bad dice luck) you're going to generate around 2 to 4 light side pips per roll.  

 

Well, given that Palpatine threw the Senate at Yoda in Ep 3, and Yoda can stop and reflect Force lightning from Dooku with no problem in 2...I'd say that they NEED to be able to do big and showy, or they're not the character's we saw in the movies.  And they shouldn't need to rely on luck (there is no such thing as luck), nor on flipping DP (which represents using the Dark side, something I would say Yoda and the other Jedi Masters did not do lightly!) to do those big, showy displays of power.  Now, I'd agree that Jedi tend not to show off (in both cases, the Sith started the flashy display) but the higher power ones definitely need to be able to effortlessly use the Force to impressive effect, with the potential to really go nuts if they're desperate enough to tap into the opposing side of the Force.

And again, remember that the odds of getting those 3 or 4 pips with FR3 is fairly small, only 30% of the time, requiring you to spend DP, strain, and Conflict to do anything beyond the basics.

 

 

 

Heck, once you've hit FR5 the times when you don't have enough FP to activate a Force power effect are going to be far and few between, 

 

Which is why I classed that level as a Jedi Master, they're largely able to get powers off without failure and have a pretty good chance of getting that extra oomph for added effects without having to tap into the Dark Side.  Which is as it should be, a Jedi Master deciding to use the Dark Side should be a Big Deal.

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To be honest, unless you're deliberately aiming for big/showy displays of power, you can do pretty well with Force Rating 3 as (barring bad dice luck) you're going to generate around 2 to 4 light side pips per roll.  

 

Well, given that Palpatine threw the Senate at Yoda in Ep 3, and Yoda can stop and reflect Force lightning from Dooku with no problem in 2...I'd say that they NEED to be able to do big and showy, or they're not the character's we saw in the movies.  And they shouldn't need to rely on luck (there is no such thing as luck), nor on flipping DP (which represents using the Dark side, something I would say Yoda and the other Jedi Masters did not do lightly!) to do those big, showy displays of power.  Now, I'd agree that Jedi tend not to show off (in both cases, the Sith started the flashy display) but the higher power ones definitely need to be able to effortlessly use the Force to impressive effect, with the potential to really go nuts if they're desperate enough to tap into the opposing side of the Force.

And again, remember that the odds of getting those 3 or 4 pips with FR3 is fairly small, only 30% of the time, requiring you to spend DP, strain, and Conflict to do anything beyond the basics.

 

 

 

Heck, once you've hit FR5 the times when you don't have enough FP to activate a Force power effect are going to be far and few between, 

 

Which is why I classed that level as a Jedi Master, they're largely able to get powers off without failure and have a pretty good chance of getting that extra oomph for added effects without having to tap into the Dark Side.  Which is as it should be, a Jedi Master deciding to use the Dark Side should be a Big Deal.

 

Except you can get "big and showy" without that excessive amount of Force Rating. If you have enough upgrades in a given Force power, you can do it with an FR of 3 or 4. Really, there is no need to go above FR 5

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A PC with Force Rating 2 can pretty easily replicate the bulk of Palpatine's Senate-tossing from RotS with the following: Move basic power, Strength Upgrade x2, Magnitude Upgrade x2, "hurl objects" Control Upgrade, needing a grand sum of 3 Force Points to activate those.  They'd need to be FR 3 to pull it off reliably (especially if a dark sider), but it can be done with FR 2.  You do need to buy a Range upgrade to get to that "hurl objects" Control Upgrade, but it's not really needed unless you want to smack someone that's currently at medium range (or long range if you've bought 2 of them).

 

Yoda's stopping and reflecting Dooku's Force lightning attempts really just needs 2 Force points if he's just stopping the attack for the basic power + Control Upgrade to use Protect as an out-of-turn incidental, 4 Force points if he wants to bounce it back, both of which are well within reach for Force Rating 3.  Yoda's probably also got a Willpower of 4 (at least) and Discipline 5, so he's sure to get plenty of successes when rolling against a 2 difficulty, allowing him to stop extra damage, with the Strength Upgrades being gravy.

 

So in both those instances, Palps and Yoda could have the defensive and offensive Sense Control Upgrades going and still pull off the stuff we see them do on-screen with only rolling 4 Force dice each if going by the chart I suggested earlier, or even 3 Force dice if the GM pegs them as only being FR5.  In the case of Yoda's stopping Dooku's Force lightning, he probably only had a single Force die committed to Sense's defense upgrade, leaving him 5 dice out of his proposed Force Rating 6.

 

From my play experiences, you can still pull off a fair amount of things with just Force Rating 3, and I do agree with Tramp in this particular instance that in practical experience, getting a Force Rating above 5 is pretty much overkill, and doesn't really serve any truly useful purpose beyond ego-stroking.

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