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DaverWattra

House rule for using Dark Side pips without conflict

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I've realized recently that I don't like forcing my PCs to either fail a Force power roll or take conflict.  I'm considering something like the following house rule to give them more options:

--When generating Force points, a PC may either use the usual rules for generating Force points from Dark Side pips, OR they may instead spend 2 Destiny Points to convert Dark Side pips to Light Side pips, at a price of 2 strain per pip converted.

So if a PC really doesn't want to fail a given Force power roll, they have a way to pass it without using the Dark Side, at twice the normal price in DP and strain.  I don't know whether to make this a Force talent, or just give it to all my PCs as a blanket option, or whether it's a bad idea in the first place.  Thoughts?

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Is there a reason you're so averse to Conflict?  The system as written assumes that you're going to be gaining a few Conflict every session, and you can gain an average of 5 every session and in all likelihood stay in the middle of the Morality scale.  Conflict isn't Dark Side Points from previous systems, it doesn't mean you're turning evil.  It just means that you aren't perfect, that you occasionally let your emotions get the better of you, especially in tense situations.  I don't think a change like this is strictly necessary, because Conflict just isn't as bad as the rap it gets.  People just have a tendency to flinch reflexively away from any semblance of the Dark side.

However, judging the suggested rule alone...Hmm.  I'm still not a big fan.  The problem is that it negates the seductive pull of the Dark Side entirely.  If you implement this change, every PC will use it every opportunity they get.  Destiny Points flow back and forth so the extra point, while a considerable cost, won't be too much of a barrier.  Destiny Points will simply stop being Narrative tools and become "Force Boosters."  Additionally, the extra 2, maybe 3 strain won't be a huge deal, unless the PCs are already having trouble maintaining their strain levels.

And with all that, PCs will now no longer ever have to worry about going Dark, unless they choose to.  It's already a noted problem with the system as a whole, the "Race to Paragon" as it's called.  Removing one of the main speed bumps to that and you might as well drop Morality altogether.

In fact, that may be a better way to go.  If you don't like giving out Conflict, drop the Morality scale entirely.  Everybody's light side, everybody gains access to Dark side points the normal way, and they don't go Dark unless they make a habit of doing Dark things, or want to tell that particular story arc.  It gives players less to worry about, you as the GM one less thing to adjudicate, and doesn't require tweaking any existing rules and creating unforeseen problems.

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I think it's a bad idea in the first place.

But then again, I've had discussions and given multiple reminders to my players, built a trust with them, letting them know that Conflict isn't a paddle that I punish them with, but rather a tool for me and them both to help tell the story of a Force Users struggle.

I follow all the rules - warning my PCs if they are going to do something that gets them Conflict, and they are able to manage their Conflict gain intelligently. Whether through Force Powers or Actions. They have no problem letting that easy power go if they don't get the pips and there's another way to do it, or if it's a critical moment they'll grab that power and take the Conflict because they get that this is the struggle of a Force User, and they enjoy seeing where playing with that balance takes them in the story.

And you can do this too. No houserule needed. Just the appropriate transparency, and a mutual (earned?) trust from each side.

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13 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

If no conflict, Morality does not go up.

The players will still get conflict from any antics they get up to, presumably. I agree with him that using the Dark Side shouldn't generate conflict, because conflict represents your character's conflicted feelings over something they've done, and only a Jedi would feel bad about simply using the Dark Side.

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1 hour ago, Nivrap said:

The players will still get conflict from any antics they get up to, presumably. I agree with him that using the Dark Side shouldn't generate conflict, because conflict represents your character's conflicted feelings over something they've done, and only a Jedi would feel bad about simply using the Dark Side.

From a GM/work perspective, Dark pips are the bread-and-butter of Conflict. It's the easiest way to face the player with a choice: the easy way, or the hard way? That's what the Light/Dark struggle is supposed to represent.

Removing/adding a work-around to Conflict for literal Force Power is to abandon one of, if not,  the main theme of the Star Wars "hero's journey".

Its not about some subjective view of the Force, like you would prefer to pose it Niv, it's about easy power.

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The dark pips should be narrated, too: using them is giving into anger, fear, hatred, and other dark emotions. Just because Palpatine doesn't care about calling on the dark side (i.e., is not subjectively conflicted by it) doesn't mean he doesn't get conflict for using dark side pips.

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2 hours ago, Absol197 said:

If you don't like giving out Conflict, drop the Morality scale entirely.  Everybody's light side, everybody gains access to Dark side points the normal way, and they don't go Dark unless they make a habit of doing Dark things, or want to tell that particular story arc.  It gives players less to worry about, you as the GM one less thing to adjudicate, and doesn't require tweaking any existing rules and creating unforeseen problems.

Maybe we should just forget the morality system, you might be right.  We've already house ruled it for exactly the reason you mentioned, that it's too easy for a non-terrible person who uses the Dark Side in moderation to become a paragon (we use a Force die instead of a d10 for morality rolls, and you only gain morality if you roll light side pips--most of the +morality in our game comes from doing good deeds).

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1 hour ago, emsquared said:

From a GM/work perspective, Dark pips are the bread-and-butter of Conflict. It's the easiest way to face the player with a choice: the easy way, or the hard way? That's what the Light/Dark struggle is supposed to represent.

Removing/adding a work-around to Conflict for literal Force Power is to abandon one of, if not,  the main theme of the Star Wars "hero's journey".

Its not about some subjective view of the Force, like you would prefer to pose it Niv, it's about easy power.

This isn't about my view on the Force (which is a whole 'nother can of worms), this is about conflict. The way conflict is presented, it represents the character's feelings about his own deeds. Therefore, a character who acts against his own moral code would generate conflict.

Now, on its own, that would be fine, but the problem is that the game ties conflict to a character's Force alignment. That, to me, is in conflict with the Star Wars narrative. In the game, gaining conflict (self-doubt) is the path to the Dark Side. But in the movies, the only Dark-Sider who doubts his own actions is Darth Vader. All the other Dark-Siders seem to be in line with their moral codes.

You claim I prefer a subjective view of the Force, but I actually think that, under the rules as written, the Force is too subjective. Theoretically, using the conflict system, a character's Force alignment is completely dependent on their own moral code and how well or poorly they follow it.

Personally, while I enjoy keeping the moral strengths and weaknesses as role-play opportunities, I separate the Force into a more concrete, objective system in which your Force alignment is determined by your use of the Force, meaning a Light-Sider will have to consciously work towards getting bonuses rather than simply saying "Dark pip = failure." Same goes for Dark-Siders, though obviously in the opposite direction.

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No, it doesn’t. If you look at the Conflict table in the core book, it spells out several concrete actions that will earn a character Conflict. These are very much tied into the black and white view of what actions are “good” and what are “evil” ( and thus Conflict worthy).

Edited by Tramp Graphics

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1 hour ago, Nivrap said:

This isn't about my view on the Force (which is a whole 'nother can of worms), this is about conflict. The way conflict is presented, it represents the character's feelings about his own deeds. Therefore, a character who acts against his own moral code would generate conflict.

Now, on its own, that would be fine, but the problem is that the game ties conflict to a character's Force alignment. That, to me, is in conflict with the Star Wars narrative. In the game, gaining conflict (self-doubt) is the path to the Dark Side. But in the movies, the only Dark-Sider who doubts his own actions is Darth Vader. All the other Dark-Siders seem to be in line with their moral codes.

You claim I prefer a subjective view of the Force, but I actually think that, under the rules as written, the Force is too subjective. Theoretically, using the conflict system, a character's Force alignment is completely dependent on their own moral code and how well or poorly they follow it.

Personally, while I enjoy keeping the moral strengths and weaknesses as role-play opportunities, I separate the Force into a more concrete, objective system in which your Force alignment is determined by your use of the Force, meaning a Light-Sider will have to consciously work towards getting bonuses rather than simply saying "Dark pip = failure." Same goes for Dark-Siders, though obviously in the opposite direction.

I think you're fundamentally misunderstanding what the game says about Conflict. "The character can also accumulate Conflict for performing immoral actions, as determined by the GM. Extreme actions, including taking lives, can give a PC a significant amount of Clnflict" (F&D 51). "The GM bestows 1 to 10 (and sometimes even more) Conflict for narrative actions, depending on the severity of the PC's deeds. See Table 9-2: Common Conflict Penalties, above, for examples of Conflict awarded for common negative or evil actions" (F&D p. 324). There is some room for PC intent: "Character intent should influence the amount of Conflict awarded, as some actions may be considered good in one situation and evil in another."

But aside from intent, there's no mention of Conflict meaning the PC is conflicted or that the PC is violating his moral code. Conflict is about the GM's idea of right and wrong, as defined by the Star Wars movies. It's not about how a character feels about what he is doing. 

Edited by SavageBob

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4 hours ago, DaverWattra said:

Maybe we should just forget the morality system, you might be right. 

I've tossed it completely, I think the morality scale is a completely thoughtless mechanic.

I allow DP flip and Strain to use dark pips normally, but these don't generate Conflict.  Instead I've opted for a more vague system of "moral crits".  I treat them like critical hits, in that they require a Discipline roll at a set difficulty to get rid of, but the attempt to remove them also requires a story-based resolution of some kind.  Each level of crit imposes some kind of penalty or bonus, from setback on Charm with a possible boost to Coercion on the easiest crit, to something more severe on higher level crits.  (I haven't play tested higher levels, my players aren't murder hobos.)  Something like murder would probably flip the PC over to the dark side immediately.

 

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I basically tossed it out, if you roll dark side points instead of taking the conflict just stick with taking a one or a few points of strain. It has basically made morality a pointless addition.

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6 hours ago, kaosoe said:

I agree with the others. If Morality isn't working for you. Toss it and leave it entirely up to the roleplaying.

I concur.

Morality doesn't work for all Characters and campaigns. If something like Duty or Obligation is more appropriate, there's your solution.

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I don't like it personally and my table doesn't use it. I find it a bit.. Gimmicky for ds users. However I don't the system is... Bad.. I just personally dislike it for ds users specifically. 

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Honestly Force and Destiny really needs to switch to a system more like the Beta Legend of the Five rings RPG that goes to the Eastern Warrior Monk ideal that George Lucas shamelessly culturally apropriated for Star Wars.

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2 hours ago, Decorus said:

Honestly Force and Destiny really needs to switch to a system more like the Beta Legend of the Five rings RPG that goes to the Eastern Warrior Monk ideal that George Lucas shamelessly culturally apropriated for Star Wars.

I'm not familiar with the L5R mechanic. Any way to explain it in a nutshell?

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3 hours ago, Decorus said:

...George Lucas shamelessly culturally apropriated for Star Wars.

Truly the wokest comment. Unless that's sarcasm, I dunno. Hard to pick that up on the internet.

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Star Wars is basically stolen combination of Japanese Samurai movies and Spaghetti Westerns set in space. Cultural theft on a pretty epic scale.

Not that I care about it at all, but there are SJWs who are completely blind to it.

L5R uses Honor Duty and Glory. You gain and lose based on choices the character makes not on die rolls its all in the Beta section on FFG's website you should read it.

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I don't use Conflict or require flipping a Destiny Point any more instead I've come up with a version based a little on the old WEG system:
 
Every time a PC uses a Dark Side Pip they lose one Morality directly and the stronger in the Force the more pips they can use at once (ie. at FR1 can use 1DSP, at FR2 the PC can use 2DSP ec.) - The Dark side is seductive...
Every time they Murder or whatever, using the Conflict chart as a guide, that number is a direct hit on the PC's Morality. - I'm pretty lenient when it comes to killing during combat so my PC's aren't racking up negative Morality in normal encounters unless they really do choose to go all murder hobo.

The ways to increase a PC's Morality.
The first way is through play, if the PC finds a non-violent solution, does something selfless, defeats a great evil, or some other appropriate challenge I as the GM will award them Morality, usually between +1-5 points, in a rare circumstance I have given +10 but that was a special moment. This represents the rewards of Light Side choices.
The second way to increase a PC's Morality is by spending EXP at a cost of 10 EXP = +5 Morality between 40 and 60 and 20 EXP = +5 Morality for under 40 and over 60. You must buy it in the 10 or 20 EXP chunks and you round added Morality down if you run up against the 40/60 limits. You cannot use EXP to lower your Morality. This represents the sacrifice made by the PC in meditation and study to gain a deeper understand and oneness with the Force.

I feel this system maintains the lure and consequence of using the Dark Side without the obtuse and randomness of the Conflict mechanic, and leaves it nearly all in the Player's hands as to how to manage their Morality.

PS. I'm going to start a new thread to discuss this.

 

Edited by FuriousGreg

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