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HappyDaze

Morality for Antiheroic/Villainous PCs

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15 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

I'm sorry.  If you've never understood it, I'm not likely to be able to change that. 

I wasn't asking you to.

15 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

However,  I see nothing wrong with a player playing someone like Asajj Ventriss (spelling?) or maybe even someone like Savage or Maul as a PC, but I'm more interested in seeing a more subtle shade of dark in a rogue Inquisitor (likely not fully trained at the start of play). 

Play what you like, I don't care, it just seems based on your comments in this thread, that you don't actually want to play a bad guy, as you keep putting up "what about X" as ways to avoid getting Conflict, even though your initial worry was that you wouldn't get enough Conflict, and float up to Paragon.   It just seems like you're all over the place with what you want to have this "bad guy" actually do to be bad, without being BAD.

As to playing a character like Maul...sure, play a brainwashed cultist who murders simply based on the orders of his Master, based on some slight that didn't actually have anything to do with him directly.  "At last we will destroy the Jedi, at last we will have our revenge" is the only line he ever said, and I think they even removed that from the film.  That's the talk of someone who was conditioned to find slight in an organization that didn't actually do anything to him, before he decided to become butt hurt about it when he became a Sith.   Though I don't see how anyone can have that person be considered an anti-hero, based on what he actually does.

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2 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

A huge share of Maul's story is after TPM. The Maul that appeared in TCW and Rebels was an interesting example of a flawed character.

And he's still not a "hero", anti or not.  He's a broken guard dog lashing out at everyone around him, angry at the world for how his master abused him.  Willing to sacrifice anyone to get his own goals accomplished.  That's someone most definitely not "just being subtle and under the radar" of their dark side nature.   He was willing to lie and kill and steal from anyone, embrace his anger and lash out at those in his path, etc.  Which would very easily keep him in the Dark.   It doesn't sound like that's the kind of PC you want to play, based on how you described the things he would/wouldn't do.

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21 minutes ago, KungFuFerret said:

And he's still not a "hero", anti or not.  He's a broken guard dog lashing out at everyone around him, angry at the world for how his master abused him.  Willing to sacrifice anyone to get his own goals accomplished.  That's someone most definitely not "just being subtle and under the radar" of their dark side nature.   He was willing to lie and kill and steal from anyone, embrace his anger and lash out at those in his path, etc.  Which would very easily keep him in the Dark.   It doesn't sound like that's the kind of PC you want to play, based on how you described the things he would/wouldn't do.

I have had a character much like that, but he wasn't Force-sensitive. He was a Nikto slave that escaped from his Hutt sugar daddy and wanted revenge against the whole Kadjidic. Fun character.

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19 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

How can it depend on the final outcome when Conflict and Mortality are checked per session (well beforethe final outcome is known)?

Intended final outcome.

Jedi remove governors/rulers too, if they feel doing so is for the greater good. The question is what “removal” actually comes down to. Light siders will likely (and prefeably) try to achieve this outcome with minimum (ideally none) casualties including the governor himself and without causing harm to others in the process. Does the end justify any means for you? Is the end going to be deliberately violent even if that’s not necessary? Then you’re generating Conflict.

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39 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

A huge share of Maul's story is after TPM. The Maul that appeared in TCW and Rebels was an interesting example of a flawed character.

“Flawed” is a massive eufemism. Maul absolutely got a raw deal in life, but he was definitely thoroughly evil because of it.

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On ‎5‎/‎8‎/‎2018 at 12:47 PM, HappyDaze said:

What about a dark sider that works to undermine and bring down a planetary governor? Each step he takes is no different than what a Rebel cell might take save for less concern about collateral damage and the fact that his motivation is personal revenge--he doesn't care about freeing the world from the Empire, he just wants to make that bastard (and his friends & family) pay for what they did to him.

This is where I'm wondering if the motivation for the act is as/more important than the act, because much of what he'll be doing isn't so different from the light side guy that's working with him.

Absolutely. A lot of the balance of the force is about your intentions; you can both be looking to remove a planetary governor, but if you're doing it out of hatred and anger, then that's a dark side action, even if it's arguably the right thing to do. Especially when you're gleefully looking to splash some collateral damage on his friends and family.

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Just gonna throw it out there that "the Darkside", in and of itself, has nothing to do with what you do, morally.

It just means you use anger, and pain, and other strong emotions to make the Force do what you want (rather than being at peace with what the Force "wants").

It just means your relationship with the Force is one of domination - not harmony.

You can be a Darkside User and never do a "bad" thing ever.

Like, what even is supposed to be being discussed here?

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1 hour ago, emsquared said:

Just gonna throw it out there that "the Darkside", in and of itself, has nothing to do with what you do, morally.

It just means you use anger, and pain, and other strong emotions to make the Force do what you want (rather than being at peace with what the Force "wants").

It just means your relationship with the Force is one of domination - not harmony.

You can be a Darkside User and never do a "bad" thing ever.

Like, what even is supposed to be being discussed here?

If your actions are motivated by pain and anger, I’m guessing they likely aren’t going to be “good” a lot of the time and probably “bad” some of the time.

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41 minutes ago, nameless ronin said:

If your actions are motivated by pain and anger, I’m guessing they likely aren’t going to be “good” a lot of the time and probably “bad” some of the time.

Possibly.  As a for instance, you've got Batman, who is pretty much driven by the pain of his loss and the anger of the injustice of a world that would allow something like what happened to him happen to children, while by and large being considered one of the heroes of his setting.  He's certainly no light side paragon, but neither would he be an out-and-out dark sider.

Then again. Star Wars is generally more black and white, due to it having a mystical energy that has a possible degree of sentience, which last I checked the DC universe doesn't have.

Of course, you've also got the Punisher, driven by the same major factors as Batman, but would most certainly be a dark sider given his undeniably brutal methods, even if the intended end goal is beneficial.

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33 minutes ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

Possibly.  As a for instance, you've got Batman, who is pretty much driven by the pain of his loss and the anger of the injustice of a world that would allow something like what happened to him happen to children, while by and large being considered one of the heroes of his setting.  He's certainly no light side paragon, but neither would he be an out-and-out dark sider.

I’m not sure that’s true. As an origin story, sure, but I’ve seen relatively few instances of Batman being driven by anger (and one of those resulted in him killing the Joker). Also, it’s a fairly common thought that Bats is as much of a nutter as the baddies in the Batverse 

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1 hour ago, nameless ronin said:

If your actions are motivated by pain and anger, I’m guessing they likely aren’t going to be “good” a lot of the time and probably “bad” some of the time.

I don't disagree.

But take every child ripped from their families to train at the Sith Academy in the time of the Old Republic.

Those kids probably never did anything evil (until they did) for a looong time (until they could be trusted with evil Sith doin's).

They were just trained by the Sith that to use the Force you have to make it do what you want and fuel it with anger. They were by definition "Darkside", but probably never did an evil thing that registered strongly in the "Morality Chart" for years and years.

So where does that leave us with the mechanics we're presented with here?

Well, those kids in training are of course fueling the Force every day, all day with their anger and fear, and so you can see where they "combat" the "Lightside buoyancy" by ample Force Use thru dark pips.

What about erstwhile Darkside Anti-heroes?

At the very basic level we have common sense GMing, right? Don't roll the d10 unless the player/PC has had to make significant moral choices in play.

Ok.

What about the Darksider that practices restraint, isn't Chaotic Stupid, and avoids moral naughtiness, just doing "normal" stuff while he's getting to his end-game? Well, if he's already Darkside he's got a looong way to go on the Chart from zero (or wherever they start at) to 70. And when they get to their end-game, if they're a "true" Darksider, it's probably going to bring them back to their Darkness. But beyond that if they're not making the choices, "along the road", to not be a murder-hobo based off of moral reasons (i.e. they're making the choice for "business reasons"), is it a game-mechanics "Moral Choice"? Without having thought too deeply into, it seems to me there's an argument to say "No, that doesn't qualify as a Moral Conflict (since it's not, it's not a choice at all) and so doesn't warrant a Morality roll."

Then, finally, what about our Batmans, or that Darksider that only does bad things to bad people cause they did bad things to him? This is the guy that this Morality system was designed for, IMO. This system, I have found, does really well at examining the struggle of "Jedi Morality" (as we know it from the media). This guy doesn't think of themself as a Darksider/bad guy, right? That doesn't matter, what matters is the Cosmic Force - the Will of the Force. In the game Morality mechanics, this is the d10, right? How can you do "bad things" yet still possibly progress toward Paragon (or vice versa). If the d10 is the Cosmic/Will of the Force, then every Force User is an agent of the Force, whether they know it/want to be or not. The Force is acting through them (or trying to) whether they know it/want to or not. Then we can see the Darkside is not about any Morality internal to the PC or absokute to the world, but rather to the Force. It means to a certain degree (how high you rolled on that d10), even if you're doing "bad things", something in there was something the Force "wanted" you to do. So then it becomes very easy to see, that guy isn't a Darksider at all, unless the Force determines he is.

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1 hour ago, emsquared said:

I don't disagree.

But take every child ripped from their families to train at the Sith Academy in the time of the Old Republic.

Those kids probably never did anything evil (until they did) for a looong time (until they could be trusted with evil Sith doin's).

They were just trained by the Sith that to use the Force you have to make it do what you want and fuel it with anger. They were by definition "Darkside", but probably never did an evil thing that registered strongly in the "Morality Chart" for years and years.

So where does that leave us with the mechanics we're presented with here?

Well, those kids in training are of course fueling the Force every day, all day with their anger and fear, and so you can see where they "combat" the "Lightside buoyancy" by ample Force Use thru dark pips.

What about erstwhile Darkside Anti-heroes?

At the very basic level we have common sense GMing, right? Don't roll the d10 unless the player/PC has had to make significant moral choices in play.

Ok.

What about the Darksider that practices restraint, isn't Chaotic Stupid, and avoids moral naughtiness, just doing "normal" stuff while he's getting to his end-game? Well, if he's already Darkside he's got a looong way to go on the Chart from zero (or wherever they start at) to 70. And when they get to their end-game, if they're a "true" Darksider, it's probably going to bring them back to their Darkness. But beyond that if they're not making the choices, "along the road", to not be a murder-hobo based off of moral reasons (i.e. they're making the choice for "business reasons"), is it a game-mechanics "Moral Choice"? Without having thought too deeply into, it seems to me there's an argument to say "No, that doesn't qualify as a Moral Conflict (since it's not, it's not a choice at all) and so doesn't warrant a Morality roll."

Then, finally, what about our Batmans, or that Darksider that only does bad things to bad people cause they did bad things to him? This is the guy that this Morality system was designed for, IMO. This system, I have found, does really well at examining the struggle of "Jedi Morality" (as we know it from the media). This guy doesn't think of themself as a Darksider/bad guy, right? That doesn't matter, what matters is the Cosmic Force - the Will of the Force. In the game Morality mechanics, this is the d10, right? How can you do "bad things" yet still possibly progress toward Paragon (or vice versa). If the d10 is the Cosmic/Will of the Force, then every Force User is an agent of the Force, whether they know it/want to be or not. The Force is acting through them (or trying to) whether they know it/want to or not. Then we can see the Darkside is not about any Morality internal to the PC or absokute to the world, but rather to the Force. It means to a certain degree (how high you rolled on that d10), even if you're doing "bad things", something in there was something the Force "wanted" you to do. So then it becomes very easy to see, that guy isn't a Darksider at all, unless the Force determines he is.

If you've ever played KotOR, you'd know that part of the training at the Sith academies was in backstabbing your fellow trainees to get ahead and curry favor with the instructors. The whole training process was designed to turn the students to the Dark Side through the very process of learning. 

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1 hour ago, Tramp Graphics said:

If you've ever played KotOR, you'd know that part of the training at the Sith academies was in backstabbing your fellow trainees to get ahead and curry favor with the instructors. The whole training process was designed to turn the students to the Dark Side through the very process of learning. 

Yea? You start play as a toddler in KotOR? No. You don't. If you're taken as a child, you're probably still waiting for your first murder for years and years. While they encourage competition, they also want to see what a given individual's potential is before they discard them, or allow them to be diacarded.

Never played KotOR, but have read tOR novels.

Take Dessel (Darth Bane), innate Force User, never trained in the Force, but used it inherently via the Darkside. This is made clear by how his inner monologue is narrated. Granted he was no peach by the time we met him, but it's made clear he was just an angry kid that grew up to an angry dude, and my point is the Darkside at its core is your relation to the Force.

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I would not play an anti-hero with the goal of having a static morality score. Instead I would aim to have the morality be between 30 and 70 and be ok with it fluctuating. To me the compeling part of an anti-hero is the inherent conflict of doing bad things for good causes. I would roleplay it as doing what is nessesary until I hit 30. Then my character would realize that he is no better than the enemy and try to be better(and increase morality score). The fun part then is when he has to break his conviction because **** hits the fan and has to start taking conflict again. And then keep bouncing beteween 30 and 70 or any other values that feels appropriate.

If the character becomes a darkside paragon I would ask the GM to introduce a character to act as a morality pet. Someone like Padme to Anakin, someone who tries to keep him good.

On the other hand, if the character is a lightside paragon, it is time to introduce a personal tragedy. For example when Anakins mother is killed by tusken raiders.

Hope this helps. I know the example isnt the best, but hope my point gets across anyway.

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17 hours ago, emsquared said:

Yea? You start play as a toddler in KotOR? No. You don't. If you're taken as a child, you're probably still waiting for your first murder for years and years. While they encourage competition, they also want to see what a given individual's potential is before they discard them, or allow them to be diacarded.

Never played KotOR, but have read tOR novels.

Take Dessel (Darth Bane), innate Force User, never trained in the Force, but used it inherently via the Darkside. This is made clear by how his inner monologue is narrated. Granted he was no peach by the time we met him, but it's made clear he was just an angry kid that grew up to an angry dude, and my point is the Darkside at its core is your relation to the Force.

When your character reaches Korriban, he needs to "enroll" in the Sith Academy there. The teachers there constantly encourage their students to engage in backstabbing, manipulations, deceptions, bullying, betrayal, murder, and other nefarious means to get ahead of their fellow trainees and gain favor in the eyes of the instructors. Your character has to succeed in spite of this particularly if he's a light side character. 

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Lot of useless "That's not how the Force works!" talk going on, but I'm with @emsquared on this one. The only difference between using the Light and Dark Sides are your emotional state. Reserved, harmonious emotions allow one to use the Light, while passionate, discordant emotions allow one to use the Dark. The rules as written, however, fail to capitalize on this difference. And we've seen plenty of characters in fiction who are fueled by chaotic emotions but are still heroic, such as the Punisher, Batman, Wolverine, and pretty much every heroic Barbarian in fantasy literature. Similarly, we've seen plenty of characters who are calm and dispassionate while still being evil, Thanos being a prime example.

As far as a solution to your problem goes, the best advice I can offer is to fiddle with the Morality system. Make it less reliant on random rolls and binary choices, and more on the characters' actual role-playing. Are the characters acting out of a desire for peace or the well-being of others as they fight the bad guys? Then they'll gravitate towards the Light. Are they fighting the bad guys for personal reasons, such as revenge for oneself or a loved one? Then they'll gravitate towards the Dark.

Edit: Consider taking your characters' moral strengths and weaknesses into account for a more personalized experience.

Edited by Nivrap
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1 hour ago, Nivrap said:

Lot of useless "That's not how the Force works!" talk going on, but I'm with @emsquared on this one. The only difference between using the Light and Dark Sides are your emotional state. Reserved, harmonious emotions allow one to use the Light, while passionate, discordant emotions allow one to use the Dark. The rules as written, however, fail to capitalize on this difference. And we've seen plenty of characters in fiction who are fueled by chaotic emotions but are still heroic, such as the Punisher, Batman, Wolverine, and pretty much every heroic Barbarian in fantasy literature. Similarly, we've seen plenty of characters who are calm and dispassionate while still being evil, Thanos being a prime example.

As far as a solution to your problem goes, the best advice I can offer is to fiddle with the Morality system. Make it less reliant on random rolls and binary choices, and more on the characters' actual role-playing. Are the characters acting out of a desire for peace or the well-being of others as they fight the bad guys? Then they'll gravitate towards the Light. Are they fighting the bad guys for personal reasons, such as revenge for oneself or a loved one? Then they'll gravitate towards the Dark.

Edit: Consider taking your characters' moral strengths and weaknesses into account for a more personalized experience.

There's a lot more to it than that. The Dark Side is also corruption and doing  objective evil, such as murder, torture, etc. It is malice, hate, cruelty, etc, whether passionate or coldly calculated

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46 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

There's a lot more to it than that. The Dark Side is also corruption and doing  objective evil, such as murder, torture, etc. It is malice, hate, cruelty, etc, whether passionate or coldly calculated

Where is this codified? Because we've seen Dark Siders who do far less, and Light Siders who do exactly what you describe, so clearly it's not so cut-and-dry. Nobody, Jedi, Sith, or other, has ever mentioned this "mandatory" puppy-kicking.

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28 minutes ago, Nivrap said:

Where is this codified? Because we've seen Dark Siders who do far less, and Light Siders who do exactly what you describe, so clearly it's not so cut-and-dry. Nobody, Jedi, Sith, or other, has ever mentioned this "mandatory" puppy-kicking.

Canonically, it’s codified within the Jedi Code. Rules wise, it’s spelled out in the Conflict rules, and what sort of actions warrant Conflict. There’s a whole table full of actions which warrant Conflict, the ones which grant the most being torture and murder, actions which will guarantee a downward slide on the Morality scale. 

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3 minutes ago, Tramp Graphics said:

Canonically, it’s codified within the Jedi Code. Rules wise, it’s spelled out in the Conflict rules, and what sort of actions warrant Conflict. There’s a whole table full of actions which warrant Conflict, the ones which grant the most being torture and murder, actions which will guarantee a downward slide on the Morality scale. 

It kinda goes without saying that the Jedi code would talk smack about the Dark Side, the primary tool of their rival religion. In fact, I'd argue that the rules as written are written from an explicitly Jedi-based point of view, rather than as a game providing tools for the GM and players. This, to me, is a failing of the game, as I believe it fails to accurately represent the Force.

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37 minutes ago, Nivrap said:

It kinda goes without saying that the Jedi code would talk smack about the Dark Side, the primary tool of their rival religion. In fact, I'd argue that the rules as written are written from an explicitly Jedi-based point of view, rather than as a game providing tools for the GM and players. This, to me, is a failing of the game, as I believe it fails to accurately represent the Force.

I disagree. It fits perfectly with how canon depicts the Dark Side. Palpatine isn’t emotional or full of rage. Neither is Snoke. They’re both dispassionate cold, cruel, calculating villains. They revel in hate and malice, but aren’t filled with uncontrolled emotions. Their malice is cold, calculated, diabolical, and manipulative.

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Just now, Tramp Graphics said:

I disagree. It fits perfectly with how canon depicts the Dark Side. Palpatine isn’t emotional or full of rage. Neither is Snoke. They’re both dispassionate cold, cruel, calculating villains. They revel in hate and malice, but aren’t filled with uncontrolled emotions. Their malice is cold, calculated, diabolical, and manipulative.

Palpatine, as far as new canon is concerned, seeks revenge for the Jedi slaughter of the ancient Sith (Darth Maul comic), as well as his desire to dominate, so I would argue he is emotional, he just doesn't express it outwardly. Snoke, I have no idea on, and I don't think anyone else does either. We have no idea of his motivation beyond recreating the Empire, so perhaps his is also revenge (makes sense for a Sidious knock-off), but without any supplemental material, I don't know.

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3 minutes ago, Nivrap said:

Palpatine, as far as new canon is concerned, seeks revenge for the Jedi slaughter of the ancient Sith (Darth Maul comic), as well as his desire to dominate, so I would argue he is emotional, he just doesn't express it outwardly. Snoke, I have no idea on, and I don't think anyone else does either. We have no idea of his motivation beyond recreating the Empire, so perhaps his is also revenge (makes sense for a Sidious knock-off), but without any supplemental material, I don't know.

Palpatine feels hatred for the Jedi, but he’s not controlled by his emotions. He’s a text book sociopathic megalomaniac. He seeks power and domination  over others, and to plunge the universe into slavery. Snoke is pretty much the personification of the Dark Side, and seeks to kill all hope in the universe, plunging everything into despair and misery. There is nothing about either of them, though, which is uncontrolled or emotional. It’s pure, cold, malevolence.

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Just now, Tramp Graphics said:

Palpatine feels hatred for the Jedi, but he’s not controlled by his emotions. He’s a text book sociopathic megalomaniac. He seeks power and domination  over others, and to plunge the universe into slavery. Snoke is pretty much the personification of the Dark Side, and seeks to kill all hope in the universe, plunging everything into despair and misery. There is nothing about either of them, though, which is uncontrolled or emotional. It’s pure, cold, malevolence.

A lack of control isn't necessary to use the Dark Side, as stated in Dark Disciple. It's possible, though incredibly difficult, to use the Dark Side without devolving into a maniac like Maul was, but the threat of one's emotions taking over is ever-present. This is why Palpatine and Snoke (and to a lesser extent, Vader) hold the positions of power that they do, because they're able to use their emotions to fuel the Dark Side without being consumed by them. The threat of the Dark Side doesn't come from the Dark Side itself, but from the potential instability of whoever's using it.

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