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FuriousGreg

How I do Morailty

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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.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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37 minutes ago, FuriousGreg said:


I feel this system maintains the lure and consequence of using the Dark Side without the obtuse and randomness of the Conflict mechanic

It's not really that random.  Everything except for the roll at the end of the session is a specific metric that has a defined amount.

37 minutes ago, FuriousGreg said:

and leaves it nearly all in the Player's hands as to how to manage their Morality.

It's all in the Player's hands already.  They are the ones who choose to use those Dark Side pips or not.  They are the ones who choose to kill someone or not.

As to your system, it's fine I guess, but it makes EVERYTHING very binary.  Not every bad decision someone does causes negative results to their Morality.   The narrative effect being reflected when a PC has a drop in morality, is that something they did, and the way it effected them, has caused a significant shift in their mental state, heading towards emotional instability and erratic behavior.   But sometimes people are able to soldier through a trying ordeal, and come out stronger on the other side.  They learn from their mistake, or re-dedicate themselves to an Ideal they hold dear, that was put to the test by the previous events.  This is when the Morality score stays the same or goes up.  This is when the player needs to actually reflect this in their roleplaying.   

My issue with your system is that there is no way for this to be reflected.  If you steal something, you lose Morality, period.   If you do anything bad, you lose Morality, period.   Which does turn the Morality system more into a punishment system in my opinion.

Edited by KungFuFerret

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Man, I hate(d) WEGs Light/Darkside mechanic. Part of that was because there was so little "resolution" it - not much space for "the middle", which having a sliding scale from 1 - 100 helps, but still... I don't like it for FFGs Star Wars.

As has been suggested in other threads with similar subject matter:

I think if you can't make the Conflict/Morality system work for you, as-is, out of the book, you and the entire FFG Star Wars community are best served by just handling it narratively. Keep the Strain/DP costs of using the "opposing" Force pip for you (as this is a mechanical balance point for Force Users v. "Normies"), and just handle Light or Dark actions and shifts narratively.

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2 hours ago, FuriousGreg said:

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.

It's not fundamentally different from the RAW Morality, which has the key flaw:  treating ethics like a scale.  The minute you have a scale a player can rationalize the nickel and dime approach:  you can do murder, then make up for it by helping little old Ithorian ladies across the street.  If you're a Morality 100 paragon, a couple murders are no sweat.

Whether you use Conflict or forego it, if you're still using the scale it's just a band-aid.

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I must say I like the original Morality rules because they have some leeway - you get the die roll to mitigate the conflict points, which in turn takes some of the sting out of the mechanic. If the first three to four points of conflict each session most likely just keep you from improving your rating rather than immediately dragging you down, players seem far less likely to argue in the game whether an action should give Conflict or not.

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4 hours ago, whafrog said:

It's not fundamentally different from the RAW Morality, which has the key flaw:  treating ethics like a scale.  The minute you have a scale a player can rationalize the nickel and dime approach:  you can do murder, then make up for it by helping little old Ithorian ladies across the street.  If you're a Morality 100 paragon, a couple murders are no sweat.

Whether you use Conflict or forego it, if you're still using the scale it's just a band-aid.

Only if the GM is stupid.

No, you can't say that helping a little old Ithorian lady across the street "balances out" a murder.  You still killed someone, destroyed everything they were ever going to be and all the things they might have done with their lives, all the little old Ithorian ladies they might have helped across the street.  You took something wholly unique in the entire universe and erased it.  Any sane GM's response to this argument should be "You're joking, right?"

Moreover, that really isn't represented in the Morality and Conflict system in-game as I understand it.  You don't earn "unConflict" for good deeds, you don't get bonuses to your Morality roll for positive actions, and your Morality doesn't automatically go up for taking time out of your busy murderhobo schedule to toss a couple of credit chits at a nonmurder hobo.  It's actually a pretty simple and elegant system, once you get the hang of it:  Here's how much Conflict you earned, here's what you did to get it, and now the rise or fall of your Morality is predicated solely on the result of this little plastic agent of Chaos I hold in my hand.  If you don't want to gamble, don't place a wager.

If the entire table, GM and players, can come to an agreement about what constitutes Conflict-worthy actions in their game, there should be zero problems.  I've rarely thrown Conflict at my players for actions they've done, and every time I have, they've just nodded and said "Yeah, makes sense."  So we're on a wavelength as far as that goes.  Just remember that you're discussing the morality of a long time a go in a galaxy far, far away, a fairy tale, fairly cut-and-dried, black versus white sense of right and wrong that does not have to, and probably should not, reflect the ever-changing landscape of our own, real-world moral dilemmas.

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28 minutes ago, ErikModi said:

1. Only if the GM is stupid.

2. No, you can't say that helping a little old Ithorian lady across the street "balances out" a murder.  You still killed someone, destroyed everything they were ever going to be and all the things they might have done with their lives, all the little old Ithorian ladies they might have helped across the street.  You took something wholly unique in the entire universe and erased it.  Any sane GM's response to this argument should be "You're joking, right?"

3. Moreover, that really isn't represented in the Morality and Conflict system in-game as I understand it.  You don't earn "unConflict" for good deeds, you don't get bonuses to your Morality roll for positive actions, and your Morality doesn't automatically go up for taking time out of your busy murderhobo schedule to toss a couple of credit chits at a nonmurder hobo.  It's actually a pretty simple and elegant system, once you get the hang of it:  Here's how much Conflict you earned, here's what you did to get it, and now the rise or fall of your Morality is predicated solely on the result of this little plastic agent of Chaos I hold in my hand.  If you don't want to gamble, don't place a wager.

4. If the entire table, GM and players, can come to an agreement about what constitutes Conflict-worthy actions in their game, there should be zero problems.  I've rarely thrown Conflict at my players for actions they've done, and every time I have, they've just nodded and said "Yeah, makes sense."  So we're on a wavelength as far as that goes.  Just remember that you're discussing the morality of a long time a go in a galaxy far, far away, a fairy tale, fairly cut-and-dried, black versus white sense of right and wrong that does not have to, and probably should not, reflect the ever-changing landscape of our own, real-world moral dilemmas.

1. Situations come up like this with players that are either murderhobos or like to exploit systems.

 

2. Theoretically it doesn't, narratively it doesn't, thematically it doesn't. Mechanically, it does but we'll get to that in a minute.

 

3. No, you don't earn un-Conflict but say you murder an innocent man for refusing to provide you safe harbor when fleeing from the law. You earn maybe 20 Conflict for such a selfish action. In the next couple of sessions, you intentionally choose not to take any actions that would accrue you Conflict points but you certainly have the choice to do so. Because  you had the option to take Conflict, regardless of actually taking any, you are allowed to roll for Morality at the end of those sessions and quickly make back up what you lost for murdering an innocent man.

 

4. Agreement upon what earns a player Conflict points is good, being on the same page is always good for an RPG. That isn't the issue. The issue is with the Morality system being easily game-able by doing what you want the majority of the time and then choosing to not take evil actions for a couple sessions so you don't lose your Paragon status. Instead of your morality changing to being both good and bad, the system is designed in such a way that being passive and choosing not to take selfish actions while not necessarily being "good" will let you slide up the Morality scale. RAW it's easily manipulated which means the system is flawed and requires constant nitpicky supervision by the GM to ensure the players aren't gaming the system, or it requires GM's to be extremely strict in how much additional Conflict they award a player.

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Ever since she first described it to me, I've loved Marcy's version of Morality, and I use it in my own games.  Apparently she took it from an old Warhammer RPG that FFG did that was mechanically similar (possibly an RPG-ancestor) of this system.  It may not track as well with the typical Star Wars version where the Dark Side is a constant temptation.  Rather, it focuses on the Yin/Yang duality within everyone.

At the top level, each character still has a Strength and a "Weakness," although the latter is not so much a fault as a darker aspect of their personality.  Each character also chooses which side of the Force is their natural center.  People who center in the light side use white pips, and must spend a Destiny Point and take strain to use black ones, while those who center in the dark side do the opposite.

Actions throughout the session can cause someone to change which side of the Force they draw on, and it can happen multiple times.  Someone who normally draws on the light side who takes an action fueled by dark emotions will change, and then use dark pips until they have a chance to rest, meditate, and generally "reset" themselves to their standard method of behavior.  Likewise, someone who is normally drawing on the dark side who takes actions that are especially selfless, virtuous, or driven by "light" emotions will flip to using the light side of the Force.  At least until they stop acting all goody-goody and return to their normal, sensible ways (or the session ends and the next begins).

Finally, if you pursue an action strongly motivated by your emotional Strength, you get the stats of a Light Side Paragon (+2 Strain, flip a Dark Side Destiny Point light) for the encounter, while if you take actions strongly motivated by your emotional Weakness, you gain the Dark Side Paragon traits (+2 Wounds, -2 Strain, add a Dark Side Destiny Point to the pool; yes, I know the Destiny Point mechanics are backwards, but I'd argue it's the official ones that are backwards :P ).

It works well, I think.  It gets rid of the nitty-gritty of having to bean-count your Morality, and lets you explore all sides, both good and bad, of your characters, without getting permanently locked into a state you don't enjoy roleplaying as.  Like I said, traditional views of the Force may not like it as much, but for what it intends to do, it's excellent!

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Random thought I just had. Since the Dark Side is supposed to be a corrupting influence that can seduce and almost take over a person's actions, what if it was setup in a sort of DnD style will saving throw way? Throw out Conflict, throw out strain, throw out the Morality Scale. You can use Dark Side points whenever you want. The more you use them and the more selfish stuff you do, the more "Will" Discipline saves you have to make. Failing them brings you closer to the Dark Side, Succeeding them allows you to maintain a level of control. For each failed save in the session, the GM can have the Dark Side act on your behalf at some point, drawing you even further towards it and further requiring you to roll "Will" Discipline saves.

 

As for achieving Paragon status, you will be granted that the more good things you do, rather than sliding upwards on a scale based on being passive.

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