Jump to content
DaverWattra

A little bit of Conflict for hurting people with the Force?

Recommended Posts

In some earlier versions of SWRPG (the first d20 edition, and also in D6 from what I understand?) hurting living beings with the Force counted as Dark Side use.  This changed in Saga Edition, probably largely as a result of some of the offensive Force use we saw from Light Side characters like Obi-Wan.

But there's still something that feels borderline-Dark Side or "un-Jedi" to me about constantly whacking someone with Move.  I like the idea that it's in the nature of the Force that using it to directly harm a person is taking a sort of risk, and this isn't the kind of attack you want to be making frequently.

In this system, the Dark Side mechanic is very forgiving.  This strikes me as an opportunity to bring in this picture of the Force without cramping players' style too much.  One could say that using a Force power to do wound damage causes one Conflict each time you do it... enough that it isn't a good idea to do it constantly, if you want to be a light sider, but a limited enough penalty that it's fine to do it once or twice a session.

Thoughts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as Conflict and using the Force to deal damage, a couple of things to keep in mind...

One, is the Force user instigating the fight?  If they're attacking first and do so by hurling anything bigger than a Silhouette 1 object, then that's ground for more than just the 1 Conflict for resorting to violence as the first response to a possible threat.

Also, bear in mind that a Force user can gain Conflict for causing excessive and/or unnecessary property damage.  Tossing around Silhouette 2+ objects or tearing up the terrain for things to hurl falls under that category, so there's another potential source of Conflict for PCs that rely upon the Move power.  If you've seen The Legend of Korra, think to the first season where the series' protagonist does a lot of property damage in the process of stopping some petty crooks by way of her reckless use of earth-bending.  And if the PC rolls a Despair on that Discipline check to attack with a hurled object, by all means use that to say the PC causes an excessive case of property damage, such as obliterating that poor cabbage merchant's cart with the large chunk of rock you just tried to clobber an antagonist with, especially if the Despair is part of a failed check, just don't go too crazy with the Conflict if employing a Despair this way.

And finally, excessive force can itself be a source of Conflict.  Generally speaking, the PCs probably shouldn't be casually throwing around things that are Silhouette 2 or more, due not only to potential property damage as I noted above, just from the sheer overkill aspect of it.  After all, is it really necessary to drop a Silhouette 3 object onto a minion group when there's likely to be less physically destructive ways to deal with them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

How would you feel about a system that makes it so that you can only use your combat skills once or twice a session?

What's the benefit of this rule for the game, in terms of play balance? And how does it enhance the game experience for the players?

 

My thought is that it might enhance the game experience by making combat feel more like the movies, in which dark siders frequently use the Force to harm people and Jedi rarely do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

My thought is that it might enhance the game experience by making combat feel more like the movies, in which dark siders frequently use the Force to harm people and Jedi rarely do.

It might be neat depending on the context of your campaign. If morality and the Force are THE major story aspect then it could be interesting, but if it's just a side focus, then it would probably be frustrating, more than immersive. Also, it raises a point about which is worse, using lethal force or using lethal Force. Did the Jedi avoid using their powers offensively or just try and avoid those situations at all? Would using a minigun on those younglings have prevented Anakin from falling?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Dunefarble said:

It might be neat depending on the context of your campaign. If morality and the Force are THE major story aspect then it could be interesting, but if it's just a side focus, then it would probably be frustrating, more than immersive. Also, it raises a point about which is worse, using lethal force or using lethal Force. Did the Jedi avoid using their powers offensively or just try and avoid those situations at all? Would using a minigun on those younglings have prevented Anakin from falling?

Most star wars works I've seen do emphasize intent over methods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

My thought is that it might enhance the game experience by making combat feel more like the movies, in which dark siders frequently use the Force to harm people and Jedi rarely do.

Yoda uses the Force to attack a bunch when he fights Sidious. He Force-slams those guards, he throws the Senate back at Sidious, and he blasts him with his own lightning. Not to mention more nebulous cases like sensing the clones' intent to attack and Force-leaping to kill them instead of just disabling them.

Also, why only powers? When you add a Force die to your lightsaber attack, you're using the Force to slice someone to pieces. Why's that not a problem, but throwing someone into a wall is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Stan Fresh said:

Yoda uses the Force to attack a bunch when he fights Sidious. He Force-slams those guards, he throws the Senate back at Sidious, and he blasts him with his own lightning. Not to mention more nebulous cases like sensing the clones' intent to attack and Force-leaping to kill them instead of just disabling them.

Also, why only powers? When you add a Force die to your lightsaber attack, you're using the Force to slice someone to pieces. Why's that not a problem, but throwing someone into a wall is?

Yes, but in the battle with Sidious it wasn't overkill...Yoda was in a fight for his life against a Force user of equivalent power and no qualms about murder, not to mention property destruction. If Yoda used the same moves taking down some low-life pirates or pickpockets, then that would be excess.

The Jedi way is one of restraint. That is why using a lightsaber, a more "civilized" and precise weapon, is the lesser of two evils on that front. 

I wouldn't award Conflict for every instance of "excess," but if it became a pattern, then there would definitely be RP concerns raised, as well as possible Conflict, as the PC flaunts his power more and more.  Pride, arrogance, and lack of restraint are certainly hallmarks of a character on their way to the dark side. So at some point you would do well to pay attention to such occurrences. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, awayputurwpn said:

Yes, but in the battle with Sidious it wasn't overkill...Yoda was in a fight for his life against a Force user of equivalent power and no qualms about murder, not to mention property destruction. If Yoda used the same moves taking down some low-life pirates or pickpockets, then that would be excess.

The Jedi way is one of restraint. That is why using a lightsaber, a more "civilized" and precise weapon, is the lesser of two evils on that front. 

I wouldn't award Conflict for every instance of "excess," but if it became a pattern, then there would definitely be RP concerns raised, as well as possible Conflict, as the PC flaunts his power more and more.  Pride, arrogance, and lack of restraint are certainly hallmarks of a character on their way to the dark side. So at some point you would do well to pay attention to such occurrences. 

*blinks* did you actually say that using a lightsaber is "using restraint" ? and is more "civilized" ?   Hacking someone to pieces with a contained plasma tube is the "less evil" option?  Man you and I have got some really divergent ideas of what civilized behavior is :D  

 

I don't think it matters what method the Force user uses, if he's using it in a way that triggers conflict, he should get it.  To arbitrarily say that "You hurt someone with the Force, thus you get conflict" is a bit unfair.  Especially if the method ends up being fairly minor in the context of permanent injury.  It's about intent more than anything.   

 

If the Jedi intends to cause harm, without provocation, and inflicts unnecessary harm, then they will get Conflict from that all by itself.  And possibly some Conflict if they used Dark Side pips on the roll.  To then, on top of that, add more Conflict simply for using a power at all, the only outcome you will get from that, is training your players to not use the powers at all, because they end up with tons of Conflict every time they do it.   

It just seems unfair to add another layer upon which they can generate Conflict, given how many ways they can already earn it.   Unless you just want to shove them down to the Dark Side no matter what.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Stan Fresh said:

But the issue here isn't excess, it's automatically getting Conflict just for using the Force to attack at all.

 

Yes, I understand the question asked by the OP. And my answer was, in essence, "if it is excessive in nature, and especially if it shows a pattern of lack-of-restraint, then probably yeah it's worth some conflict."

So it should go without saying that you shouldn't dole out Conflict just for using the Force to attack.

And heck, if we're taking about chopping someone to pieces using a lightsaber, then yes, absolutely, that is wanton (or perhaps simply out-of-control) destruction worthy of Conflict.

The method of dealing damage can and should figure in, but it's also a matter of emotional state, situation, and degree of violence. You can't just take one of those things and say an absolute yay or nay on Conflict.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally don't believe that force users should receive conflict from necessarily using the force directly on someone but rather the intent behind it. If the intent was to quickly take someone down with the least amount of "disruption" possible then it shouldn't matter directly. Morality covers it already since they can already generate conflict on unethical unprovoked or outright fear generating behavour. Cutting off a bounty hunter or a thugs hand is acceptable if that party doesn't back down; particularly in Mos Esely where any sign of weakness will result in all the criminal scum converging; in that particilar case cutting his hand off in a public way was ObI-wans way of saying "Look, there is a Jedi in the room, I mean business unless you back off immediately.". Sure, one could argue that act lead to suffering but it kept the order.

I would assign conflict for using the force to torture someone; but again that covers it's own rules that should be fairly self explanatory. Even then, there's nothing that the force cares greatly about the morality of the action; just those that sink into depravity are easier to corrupt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

Yoda uses the Force to attack a bunch when he fights Sidious. He Force-slams those guards, he throws the Senate back at Sidious, and he blasts him with his own lightning. Not to mention more nebulous cases like sensing the clones' intent to attack and Force-leaping to kill them instead of just disabling them.

What makes you think he didn't take conflict. Conflict isn't bad, it is just a consequence of choice.

It is like eating junk food. Too much can lead to disease and weight gain. But sometimes you gotta eat a cheese burger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

Yoda uses the Force to attack a bunch when he fights Sidious. He Force-slams those guards, he throws the Senate back at Sidious, and he blasts him with his own lightning. Not to mention more nebulous cases like sensing the clones' intent to attack and Force-leaping to kill them instead of just disabling them.

Except we don't see Yoda tearing down half the Senate Hall at any point, or really being all that excessive in his usage of the Force during that scene.  His responses are generally measured, using what he judged to be enough oomph to get the job done.

For the guards, he does a simple Force slam effect, bouncing them off the walls and likely into unconsciousness as opposed to carving them up with his lightsaber or hurling them at the wall with such velocity that they wind up going through the wall with the majority of their skeletal structure winding up broken.  The guards did move to intercept Yoda as he walked through the door, so it could be argued that Yoda wouldn't get Conflict for taking them out before they could properly attack, though personally I'd give him a point of Conflict for taking the direct route of removing those two guards from the ensuing fight.

Yoda only hurls a single Senate pod in that entire fight, catching one of the many that Sidious had already lobbed at him, going for a single precision strike against his enemy, who had already done a pretty good job of trashing the Senate by that point whilst cackling with demented glee; in comparison to the damage Sidious was doing to the place, Yoda barely scratched the paint.  The lightening reflection was primarily an act of self-defense, with Yoda using Protect against Sidious' Unleash, and attempting to turn said lightning back on its originator (a Sith Lord responsible for a years-long war that resulted in an astronomical death toll) would also be "acting in defense" in a vein not unlike a PC using Improved Reflect to redirect an antagonist's blaster shot back at the shooter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, KungFuFerret said:

*blinks* did you actually say that using a lightsaber is "using restraint" ? and is more "civilized" ?   Hacking someone to pieces with a contained plasma tube is the "less evil" option?  Man you and I have got some really divergent ideas of what civilized behavior is :D  

 

Hey, you got a problem with it, take it up with Obi-Wan :) lol

Seriously though, "hacking someone to pieces" is one thing, and is absolutely deserving of conflict. I agree wholeheartedly there. Indiscriminately dismembering people is near-psychopathic behavior, and is the exact opposite of "civilized."  

However, taking off someone's arm before they can take someone else's life, that's another thing entirely. That's why a Jedi will use a lightsaber to defend himself, and to resolve the fight decisively, but without excessive force. And it's entirely situational as to what "excess" is. That is why we have GMs. I'll point to the Lair of Grievous episode from the Clone Wars, where Nahdar Vebb, newly knighted Jedi, had developed a habit of giving in to his darker impulses. Despite his old master's warnings, he tried to overpower Grievous in an un-Jedi-like fashion. And it didn't go so well for him. 

So no, I'm not talking about "extra ways" a player can earn conflict. I'm just saying, if you're gonna play like a dark sider, I'm gonna start assigning Conflict. And not as a punitive measure, just as a warning from their conscience: "If you keep going down this path, you'll be generating a bit of conflict for your character. You suddenly remember your training: the dark side is the quick path to power, and is very seductive." Resorting to over-the-top violence as a preferred measure is right up there with all that other dark-side stuff...I didn't think I'd have to justify this kind of ruling :)

Final point, as an aside: you should always allow a player to choose whether the Conflict is worth the action, before he takes the action. I never assign Conflict without first communicating with the player, unless of course (as a player did once) they look directly at me and say, "While he's unconscious, I take his own blaster and blow his face off with it." 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jhekata said:

Most star wars works I've seen do emphasize intent over methods.

I'm not sure this is true.  It's clearly portrayed in the films that certain powers count as using the Dark Side, no matter what purpose you use them for.  Force choking an enemy or killing him with lightning is using the Dark Side; killing him with a lightsaber is not.

Everybody draws the line somewhere about which are the dark side Force powers.

The consensus view, as exemplified in the old WOTC Revised Core Rulebook (where using the Force Strike power against a living target earned you a Dark Side Point), used to be that using the Force to directly harm someone always counted as using the Dark Side.  Following Revenge of the Sith, that's no longer the consensus, but it makes a lot more sense to me than "Killing a guy by slamming him into a wall isn't Dark Side, killing him by choking him is Dark Side."

Edited by DaverWattra

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Intent and methods both figure in. You might get less conflict if you use Harm or Unleash in a dispassionate way, with the intent of protecting innocent people from harm. It might even be the best option available to you! But you're still gonna get some Conflict because there are uses of the Force that are inherently dark, unnatural.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sure, but what is it that makes Harm and Unleash inherently dark?

I like the idea that what makes these powers dark is that they use the Force, which is supposed to connect all life together, to destroy life instead.  But then the same reasoning would apply to using Move to deal potentially lethal damage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

Sure, but what is it that makes Harm and Unleash inherently dark?

I like the idea that what makes these powers dark is that they use the Force, which is supposed to connect all life together, to destroy life instead.  But then the same reasoning would apply to using Move to deal potentially lethal damage.

Yeah, so Harm and Unleash would be what we call "dark side techniques," or possibly "Sith magic." Just performing them connects you with the dark side, and it goes beyond simply "using the Force to attack." Telekinesis can be used for any number of things, and using it as a giant warhammer can be destructive and potentially Conflict-worthy...but generating lightning from your fingertips is flat-out dark side, so no matter how much damage you do with it, it generates a whole bunch of Conflict really fast. That's just kinda how the setting is laid out. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
34 minutes ago, DaverWattra said:

Sure, but what is it that makes Harm and Unleash inherently dark?

I like the idea that what makes these powers dark is that they use the Force, which is supposed to connect all life together, to destroy life instead.  But then the same reasoning would apply to using Move to deal potentially lethal damage.

 

22 minutes ago, awayputurwpn said:

Yeah, so Harm and Unleash would be what we call "dark side techniques," or possibly "Sith magic." Just performing them connects you with the dark side, and it goes beyond simply "using the Force to attack." Telekinesis can be used for any number of things, and using it as a giant warhammer can be destructive and potentially Conflict-worthy...but generating lightning from your fingertips is flat-out dark side, so no matter how much damage you do with it, it generates a whole bunch of Conflict really fast. That's just kinda how the setting is laid out. 

 

Yep. Harm and Unleash in particular are fueled by hate and aggression. That is why they are purely Dark Side. They draw their power from the user's negative emotions, and channel it into destructive ends. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Dunefarble said:

It might be neat depending on the context of your campaign. If morality and the Force are THE major story aspect then it could be interesting, but if it's just a side focus, then it would probably be frustrating, more than immersive. Also, it raises a point about which is worse, using lethal force or using lethal Force. Did the Jedi avoid using their powers offensively or just try and avoid those situations at all? Would using a minigun on those younglings have prevented Anakin from falling?

It certainly would have made the scene much more entertaining.

Kid: "Master Skywalker!  I know exactly what we're going to do!"  revs up the rotary barrels on the minigun

Anakin: ...spinning's a good trick.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

Yoda uses the Force to attack a bunch when he fights Sidious. He Force-slams those guards, he throws the Senate back at Sidious, and he blasts him with his own lightning. Not to mention more nebulous cases like sensing the clones' intent to attack and Force-leaping to kill them instead of just disabling them.

 

People bring this up as if it proves anything. But who said Yoda didn't gain any Conflict during those scenes? During those uses of the Force. Remember Conflict is not the same as dark side usage. Yoda's Morality can likely soak up raking up some Conflict from that fight. The assumption here seems to be that Yoda would never do anything to gain Conflict. But that wouldn't be true. Yoda would have done a lot to gain Conflict over his long life span. He is likely better at avoiding situations where he likely does gain it but I have my doubts that he always avoided it. 

The inherent idea that some Conflict should be gained from the use of the Force to harm others is sound. A lot of previous Star Wars lore seems to support the idea that light siders don't use the Force to harm other people. So I don't see a thematic problem with awarding 1 or 2 points of Conflict when PC's do it. It would actually kinda force them to make hard choices during combat. 

The idea has merit. I think it could work. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...