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SavageBob

Alternative Force Tradition: Ewok Shamanism

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So, I finally got my copy of Disciples of Harmony, and I'm really jazzed about the new rules for Mentors who come from outside the Jedi tradition (pp. 79–80). In brief, having a mentor from a non-Jedi tradition grants your character both benefits and drawbacks. The benefits tend to be discounts on certain Force powers or upgrades to specific Force powers, but it can also include ignoring conflict in certain situations, or pretty much anything. The drawbacks are usually requirements that make accessing the Force more time consuming (like having to meditate first), or more restrictive (like no combat Force use at all without conflict).

The section got me thinking about how to treat Ewok shamanism as a new tradition, so here's my first pass at the concept. I'd love any feedback on this. I've tried to model this on what we know about Ewok religion from Legends, but I think this is generic enough that it could probably be used for any form of shamanism with only minor tweaks. The idea is that a shaman working for a specific tribe would likely focus on powers that benefit the group and its wellbeing. That's the logic behind the powers it discounts, and for the discounts to the Magnitude upgrades (to let the shaman help more tribemembers simultaneously). The ceremonial/material component drawback is also based loosely on what we see in the Ewok-related Legends material. It seemed pretty restrictive to me, hence the hefty (30 XP) buy-off cost. I debated adding a Knowledge (Lore) check somewhere (either in combination with Survival to find the components, or to sanctify them in the ceremony), but I wasn't sure if that was necessary with the other restrictions.

Please let me know what you think! I'll give @KRKappel a shout out here, as I understand he wrote the rules I'm riffing off of here.

 

EWOK SHAMANISM

Ewok shamans recognize the Force in the form of spirits that animate all things. Shamans use rituals and ceremonies to petition these spirits for aid, and to imbue material components with their power so it may be accessed at a later time.

This form of Force use largely focuses on helping the shaman's tribe thrive and prosper. Calling on the aid of beneficial deities, such as the Light Spirit, Brother Sky, Mother Land, and the Forest Father, can give access to most uses of Battle Meditation, Foresee, and Heal/Harm. Shamans can access most other Force powers by petitioning various nature spirits, from the most powerful divinity to the smallest rock or tree spirit. However, only the evil Night Spirit offers access to uses of the Force that draw on the dark side, leaving its power to the Ewoks' traditional rivals, the Duloks, and to those Ewok shamans selfish enough to call upon it.

Benefit: Reduce the cost to purchase the Battle Meditation, Foresee, and Heal/Harm basic Force powers by 5 XP, to a minimum of 5 XP. Also reduce the cost to purchase any Magnitude upgrades to these three Force powers by 5 XP, to a minimum of 5 XP. A character trained in Ewok shamanism can use the Battle Meditation basic power to aid allies with the Survival skill for purposes such as gathering, agriculture, hunting, and primitive construction, in addition to its standard functions.

Drawback (30 XP): A character must possess the proper material components to use any Force power except Battle Meditation. Gathering the appropriate components for one use of a specific Force power requires a Survival check; the difficulty varies based on the environment, from Easy (P) in a lush area, such as a forest, to Daunting (PPPP) in a desert. Each additional uncanceled [Success] on this check provides enough components for another use of the power, and each [Advantage] can halve the time required to gather the materials. Once obtained, the materials must be ritually sanctified, a process that takes at least three hours and costs the character two Strain per hour. However, the same ritual can sanctify several use's worth of the materials for a single Force power at no extra cost of time or Strain.

Edited by SavageBob
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1 hour ago, Richardbuxton said:

Quite interesting, I'm unsure if Battle Meditation is the right power but I think I need to think more on that. Farsight may be a good power for them as well, but so would Sense.

The challenge is to model what shamans tend to do, which is buff a large group (the tribe) via ceremonies. Like, a war ceremony before a big battle, or a fertility ceremony to get a good harvest. Ebb/Flow was another candidate, but Battle Meditation seemed to be a better way to get the large numbers of affected beings a shaman would need. Farsight and Sense would be available to a character from this tradition, for sure. But the examples of DoH seem to pick the three or so most important powers and give them the discount, hence the choices her of BM, Heal/Harm (for that "medicine man" role), and Foresee (for divination/visions/etc.) 

Edited by SavageBob
clarification

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51 minutes ago, Decorus said:

Dang it you left out the eating sentient beings who are not Ewoks part....

A tribe with a Force-sensitive shaman would be much better at doing that following these rules. :P

Edited by SavageBob

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I love that this thread exists, and hope the community develops tons of other blocks for other traditions! This was one of my favorite things to shove into my part on this book. It was honestly somewhat outside the parameters of what I was supposed to be writing (using mentors in campaigns), but FFG was gracious enough to indulge me

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I honestly wish I could have included like 20 alternate Force traditions, and maybe even create a few new ones, but the section really needed to remain about Mentors, and not get too sidetracked. The Baran Do and Gand Findsmen are personal favorites from the EU, and I had a pretty good grasp on how they would fit within the rules paradigm for a benefit and penalty, given the divison of Force powers by FFG. the Sith and the Dagoyan Masters are both new canon, so they ranked being included as well. 

I actually wanted to include Weik Sorcerers (since they're an FFG creation), until I realized that Nexus of Power sort of provided a similar sort of framework for them already. I felt like I'd be reprinting a lot of material to include them, and that you guys would prefer new content instead. 

Obviously, the EU has a deep roster of alternate Force Traditions for those looking to homebrew new ones. 

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Force-based_organizations 

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28 minutes ago, KRKappel said:

I love that this thread exists, and hope the community develops tons of other blocks for other traditions! This was one of my favorite things to shove into my part on this book. It was honestly somewhat outside the parameters of what I was supposed to be writing (using mentors in campaigns), but FFG was gracious enough to indulge me

I've always kind of found the Jedi boring, so your alternative traditions section really was a great addition. I'm a GM now, but I really want to try out a character who uses the Force in an interesting and unique way when I get to play a PC again.

For the shamanism I outlined above, I just kind of took a shot in the dark for how expensive the drawback should be to buy off. Did you have any system for deciding how pricey to make the various drawbacks? Or was it kind of a gut feeling for each, with the costs getting tweaked after playtesting?

Edited by SavageBob

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I mostly just went with my gut on it. 30 seems high in general. I only went that high for Sith Lords, and that was kind of trying to show just how hard it is to shake off the influence of a Sith Mentor, and how it impacts your ability to stay to the light. Otherwise 15 felt about right across the board. I mean, think of what you can buy for 15 XP. Learning to stop casting spells and instead access things more quickly as the Jedi did, that doesn't seem that different than, say, acquiring rank 1 and 2 in a class skill. It's just a bit of study and relearning some things, or a new context for those things. 

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17 hours ago, Decorus said:

Dang it you left out the eating sentient beings who are not Ewoks part....

To be fair, how were the Ewoks supposed to know that the Rebels were fully sentient? They chatter back and forth like birds, and even the most dense Ewok cub would have known that net trap for what it was.  Why the Golden God would travel in the company of such primitives is a mystery that will have the shamans puzzled for years.

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16 hours ago, KRKappel said:

I mostly just went with my gut on it. 30 seems high in general. I only went that high for Sith Lords, and that was kind of trying to show just how hard it is to shake off the influence of a Sith Mentor, and how it impacts your ability to stay to the light. Otherwise 15 felt about right across the board. I mean, think of what you can buy for 15 XP. Learning to stop casting spells and instead access things more quickly as the Jedi did, that doesn't seem that different than, say, acquiring rank 1 and 2 in a class skill. It's just a bit of study and relearning some things, or a new context for those things. 

Cool, makes sense. It's more about how difficult it is to relearn Force use than it is about how onerous the limitation is.

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Someone mentioned this in another thread, so I figured I'd post this for posterity's sake. Here's how I think the drawback should probably work on this Force tradition to simplify things a bit:

Drawback (15 XP): A character must possess the proper material components to use any Force power except Battle Meditation. PCs may assume that their character has these components on hand, but if the character rolls 3 Threat or a Despair on a Force power check, the GM can declare that the components are lost or used up for that power. The character must then gather new components with a Survival check with a difficulty set by the environment (e.g., Easy (P) in a lush area, Daunting (PPPP) in a desert). Sanctifying these materials takes at least three hours and 2 Strain per hour.

Edited by SavageBob

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