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Grievous999

Question about Morality

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Hello there, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions:
- How do you handle morality when there is only one force-user in the party? For example, how do you perform the morality check? Are there any official rules about it?
- Do you know any alternative rules on morality other than official ones?

Thank you

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In regards to our group, who's force sensitive tendencies varies with time (we have had few as 2 force sensitive characters in a particular party, then up to the extent that we had to hard rule a period of "no more force sensitives" because literally everyone was making one the moment they dropped off the mortal coil. It was getting really immersion breaking to have these extraordinary characters joining this group of commandos.) we roll morality as it stands. They generate conflict in the usual ways, depending on how they respond to situations (which keep in mind, they can't be held responsible for matters outside their own control and generally are aware if they may generate conflict for their action/inaction). Then at the end of the session they roll as per the book. The only thing I would do is completely exclude rolling on the morality table as being the only member of the party they would trigger all the time. Just create a situation to challenge their morality strength and weakness which should be hard baked into any backstory and you will be doing well.

In regards to alternative rules, I don't know any. I know a good number of people whom have sworn off the morality system entirely. I personally find it moderately useful as long as both player and GM are aware that it is a story telling device and not a system of punishment. Without that understanding it can make for some tension at the table. I personally play into it, I've known some that try to avoid notice from the conflict table but it will always have to be something at the back of your mind if you intend to use it.

Edited by LordBritish

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Morality is really only useful if 'internal struggle' is meant to be the character's specific focus and/or the focus of the campaign, so if there's only one force-user and the game is otherwise centered on obligation or (especially) duty, you can simply ignore morality and stick to the other thing.

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I personally don't bother with the Morality roll, even with a party of just F&D characters.  I found it to be more hassle than it's worth, due to it being very easy for a player to simply decide not to engage with the Morality-based scenario that I've presented (which I had one player refuse to do thrice during a Beta campaign).  But with just one Force user in the party, it's probably best to just discard that rule since otherwise that one PC's Morality is going to constantly be triggered.

The main alternative rule to Morality is simply "just don't bother." There's been a number of ham-fisted/laughable and inherently janky homebrew attempts to "fix" the Morality mechanics, but none of them did what the poster claimed they were trying to do, and ultimately just made things worse mechanically when the root of the problem was the players involved.  EotE and AoR worked fine regarding Force users long before F&D introduced the Morality mechanic, so if the GM of your group feels it's too much hassle, they can simply handwave it away and instead focus on Obligation or Duty, whichever one the group is using.

Personally, I use Morality as more of a roleplaying tool, treating a PC's emotional strength/weakness as being akin to Motivations; if the player does a really good job of roleplaying their character's emotional strength and/or weakness during a session, I hand out bonus XP the same as if a character played to their Motivation.  I don't feel the bonus XP above what an EotE or AoR PC might get is a problem, as F&D PCs have so many different things to spend their XP on that it ultimately balances out.

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Thank you for your answers. What does not satisfy me of the morality system is the D10 roll at the end of the session. So it's too easy for a player to stay on the light side path and also create flat characters without an interesting inner conflict. Being careful, a character like that can use dark side points without ever risking falling into obscurity, or he can ignore someone's request for help. I generally appreciate conflict points, but not doing the wrong thing does not necessarily mean doing the right thing as this mechanic would.
On the other hand, however, I would not even use good points, like medals, to represent the rise of the Light...
For example, in my party, there is this player, who is not exactly a great performer, he is a jedi (Force Rank 4) to whom the Empire has killed his brother, and his emotional strength and weakness are: Empathy and Revenge. He is part of a rebel cell and uses only a few dark side points per session, and almost never gets conflict points due to his actions. His morality is 100, yet he never shines for courageous deeds and generous gestures to the rescue of his neighbor.

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Actually, I find conversely that morality is much easier to focus on the less force sensitives there are. It allows one to really tailor challenges to that particular set of players rather then having to plan for up to 4/6 potentially different options. It also makes the consequences of falling to the dark side more meaningful, since there are less players around who are likely to understand what had occurred. If your player is a moral wallflower, it is going to be difficult to apply without major consequence, or requires really tugging on someone he loves. Issue with Jedi is that unless they write up a backstory that has significant other NPC's then it's practically impossible to move a character like that.

One situation that might help is regularly making an easy path/hard path system to objectives that require venturing into the cities undercover. It's easy to put a bomb up the governers behind, but that act of easy terrorism is likely to hurt many innocents, maybe there is another rebel cell that has come to the conclusion that this is an acceptable cost and shares it with the party at some point. This puts the Jedi into a direct moral quandary between duty and desire.


Again, I feel it's a system that I feel that the GM has to commit to, the player has to desire it and that the GM must be prepared to enforce consequences on the character on a regular basis. If it's designed to be a more light and casual campaign? I wouldn't bother.

 

What you might do however is eventually throw Vader at him. If this is during the dark times or the rebel civil war this is when the Dark Lord of the Sith is at his most active, especially if the Jedi has made a name for himself. This then begs the ultimate question; does he let Vader have free rein to tear up the rebel faction in search of these rumours and hide, gaining potentially ton's of conflict for forsaking his duty in fear? or does he come out to challenge the ultimate lord of the sith to buy them time to move out? My traditional view to handling Vader is that it isn't so much that he is invincible, but he has a good support network around him and is cunning enough to engineer situations that would put him in a one on one confrontation.

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With the d10 roll, one thing to keep in mind is that the writers wanted to try and prevent players from "gaming the system" and thus ensuring a certain result to increase (or decrease) Morality, and so added the element of randomness to the game.

Best ways to address the issues that brings up are to only allow a player to roll for Morality in incidents where their actions at the very least had the potential to generate Conflict; if they didn't do anything that could have earned them Conflict, then they don't get to roll the d10.  You may or may not want to exclude the Conflict from using dark pips to generate Force points; it is taking an action that generates Conflict, but a player could easily metagame things to earn one Conflict from a minor usage of the Force and then just avoid potential Conflict-earning actions the rest of the session, and thus largely ensure a Morality boost, but that's a decision for the GM to make based upon the nature of the player.

The second change that helps alleviate concerns of dramatic Morality increases while better enabling those who want to go dark side the chance to do so is that instead of rolling for Morality at the end of each session, you instead roll at the end of the adventure (or major story arc/act for longer adventures).  This way, those players that want to head for Light Side Paragon will need to be mindful of how much Conflict they earn over the course of each session, while those who want to go dark side aren't as likely to have all their Conflict gains wiped out in a single roll.

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12 hours ago, Grievous999 said:

Thank you for your answers. What does not satisfy me of the morality system is the D10 roll at the end of the session. So it's too easy for a player to stay on the light side path and also create flat characters without an interesting inner conflict. Being careful, a character like that can use dark side points without ever risking falling into obscurity, or he can ignore someone's request for help. I generally appreciate conflict points, but not doing the wrong thing does not necessarily mean doing the right thing as this mechanic would.
On the other hand, however, I would not even use good points, like medals, to represent the rise of the Light...
For example, in my party, there is this player, who is not exactly a great performer, he is a jedi (Force Rank 4) to whom the Empire has killed his brother, and his emotional strength and weakness are: Empathy and Revenge. He is part of a rebel cell and uses only a few dark side points per session, and almost never gets conflict points due to his actions. His morality is 100, yet he never shines for courageous deeds and generous gestures to the rescue of his neighbor.

The ways in which I've got the Morality mechanic to work, as written, is employing it over the following ways:

1. Present the Darkside as "the easy way" through any given campaign arc. Look for opportunities in your campaign as play goes along, for where performing a Conflict-worthy action (lie, coercion, stealing, initiating combat, ignoring evil, destroying property, and yes, murder) could present a "shortcut" to your player (s).

2. Use the Fear mechanic. Fear is one of the biggest themes of how people supposedly fall to the Darkside, yet my own campaigns are virtually the only places I've ever seen anyone use it. First time they take a nasty Crit? Fear. First time they see an ally go unconcious? Fear. First time they kill, possibly (depending on campaign premise and character concept)? Fear. First time they gave a Sil 2 (and then 3, then 4) enemy? Fear. First time their ship is disabled? Fear. So on. And spend the narrative symbols to cause Conflict.

3. Allow the Force to achieve great things. The results of using the Force have to be better than an analogous skill, otherwise why would they "risk" (even though any given single incurrence of Conflict is hardly a risk) Conflict? So you have to let the Force let them be awesome. Give them a reason to seek out that power.

4. Get buy-in. Tell your players you want Morality to be a big theme of your game (of you so want that), and ask them to engage the mechanic mindfully. Ask them for help on implementing it. Let them know you're not gonna use it to "make them" turn to the Darkside, but rather that it's just a tool for them to tell their PC's story. That they will be in control of where there PCs go Morality-wise. Do as the system describes, and warn them before they incur Conflict. And have/let them identify places where Conflict can arise if they want. Furthermore, ask them to be intellectually honest when they RP, and ask them to tell you when their PC is angry or afraid, and tell them that they can make checks (Discipline? Cool?) to avoid Conflict in those cases. Ask them when you think their PC is afraid or angry. So on... 

This mechanic isn't supposed to be a trap. It's not supposed to be the GM tricking the Players into being a Sith. It's not designed to be an adversarial meta-mechanic. It's just like Obligation and Duty, a mechanic that brings the PCs story to the forefront occaisionally to complicate their PCs lives and make the game more interesting.

I've been using the "vanilla" Morality mechanic for years now with great success, using these simple guiding practices.

D10 roll and all.

At elevated XP ranges, I really usually can stop using these practices because by then the Force Users tend to have upgraded Powers to such a point that they need to use a Dark Pip or two on any given Force Power check to get the result they want. YMMV of course.

Good luck.

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15 hours ago, Grievous999 said:

Thank you for your answers. What does not satisfy me of the morality system is the D10 roll at the end of the session. So it's too easy for a player to stay on the light side path and also create flat characters without an interesting inner conflict. Being careful, a character like that can use dark side points without ever risking falling into obscurity, or he can ignore someone's request for help. I generally appreciate conflict points, but not doing the wrong thing does not necessarily mean doing the right thing as this mechanic would.
On the other hand, however, I would not even use good points, like medals, to represent the rise of the Light...
For example, in my party, there is this player, who is not exactly a great performer, he is a jedi (Force Rank 4) to whom the Empire has killed his brother, and his emotional strength and weakness are: Empathy and Revenge. He is part of a rebel cell and uses only a few dark side points per session, and almost never gets conflict points due to his actions. His morality is 100, yet he never shines for courageous deeds and generous gestures to the rescue of his neighbor.

@Donovan Morningfire and @emsquared nailed it. With the D10 roll, if they have any Conflict, there is always the chance that their Morality score will go down. 

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On 3/2/2019 at 3:19 PM, Grievous999 said:

- Do you know any alternative rules on morality other than official ones?

Well there's always the rules from EotE and AoR. Keep the Destiny Point and Strain cost of using the other side of the Force, throw out the Morality and Conflict entirely. It works really well.

 

I prefer to just tell the players that a significantly important and dramatic selfish action will make them go dark and only a significantly important and dramatic selfless action would bring them back into the light.

When it came time for that the first time in the campaign I am currently running, it was a player choice: Accept Sith training and more power at the cost of going to the Dark Side or reject it and become a Paragon of Light. The party is half and half but through story reasons and their own desire not to betray one another, they have found reason to work together as a group.

At least one player has had the chance to go back to the Light since but had decided against it at that time.

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On 3/2/2019 at 2:19 PM, Grievous999 said:

Hello there, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions:
- How do you handle morality when there is only one force-user in the party? For example, how do you perform the morality check? Are there any official rules about it?
- Do you know any alternative rules on morality other than official ones?

Thank you

The same way they handled Morality in the Original Trilogy, since Luke was technically the only PC in that party who was Force Sensitive.   For his PC, questions about why he takes certain actions, have more significance than anyone else in the party.   

The rest of the team was mostly on the same morality axis as him anyway, so it didn't make for a lot of internal conflict with the group.  But it was important for his PC when he want off on his own little story arc with Daddy Vader and the Palps (...ok I'm coining that for a name for a ska/swing-band).   

As to the check, it should come up when the player does things that would reflect on the Morality of the PC.   This just means they accumulate some Conflict about whatever it was they did.   At the end of the session, they roll a d10 to see if they lose/gain Morality.   

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I replaced the Morality system with something akin to Pendragon's Passions system.

The basic idea is that using your emotions allows closer contact with the force. ("Use your feelings, Luke." "Give in to your anger, strike him down!") Mechanically, you have to bring in your emotions to use the dark force points rolled; if you control your emotions, you can't use those points. 

The downside is that if you do that a lot, you'll end up not being able to resist your emotional drives. You'll have a tendency to lash out, and that makes you unpleasant and dangerous to be around.

You can read the full mechanical writeup. I created this for my current EotE game, with one Force user.

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1 hour ago, NeilNjae said:

"Use your feelings, Luke." "Give in to your anger, strike him down!"

Just pointing out that Obi-wan was not telling Luke to use his emotions... He was telling him to not use his ships targeting system (nor his eyes), but to use the equivalent in the rpg to probably Force Sense with the Attack upgrade...

As for the mechanic... I feel like it's only loosely connected to the Force as a narrative or mechanical concept. Which is to say, under this mechanic as I understand it there is no difference between being a Light or Darkside Force User. No matter which you are, you are free to use the other side without any real cost or consequence, with respect to the Force or even the game meta-currencies which regulate/balance power and ability use (Strain, Destiny). Sure it shifts you up or down the "Emotion Scale" some, but you can have all the power (pips) you want at any moment and all you have to do to "pay" for that is rp that you're not emotional whenever your not using the Force so that you can maintain "full control" over your PCs actions all the time.

It just seems highly gameable, if not outright completely broken, and just generally disconnected from the lore of Star Wars.

Edited by emsquared

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I find that using the system works fine if both player and GM are able to see the morality system as a toolkit to help both sides of the table provide guidance to what is good and noble and what isn't. If a player lacks the role-playing experience and maturity to play a Force user, the GM can use the toolkit to explain to them "your PC feels a cold haunting of the dark side as if a flashforward is warning them of the dire path they are about to take". I would have the PCs player roll a fear check even before they proceed to the action I'm warning them about, before they cross the moral line per say. Probably a HARD check depending on the circumstance. If they pass, and still take the action i would give the standard allotment of conflict, plus flip a lightside destiny to the darkside. If they fail and still take the action i give them 1.5 to 2x the conflict and flip 1 or 2 lightside destiny to dark. If they fail and decide not to take the action i still give them about half rounding up conflict and flip 1 lightside destiny to darkside. If they pass, choose not to take the course of conflicting action, depending on the roll, i may flip 1 or 2 darkside destiny to light. 

In a past campaign, a force user attemping to escape a holding facility threw a thermal detonator at a pursuing AT-ST, horribly missed (i recall two despair). It ended up next to a supportive building structure. It easily annihilated the I beam and its anchor block. The back half of the structure came down, killing or wounding about 3 dozen prisoners and ISB staff. Though unintended by the player, the destruction of the building generated 6 conflict, i awarded another 25 for the unwarranted deaths, even though some of them would of killed or captured the player if they had the opportunity. Why? When the bombs landed they hadn't gone off yet, the player possessed the Move force power and could of waited till the next turn to grab the bombs and gotten them away from the building. Instead they chose to run to cover to get away from the AT-ST bearing down on the party. Once the had moved away, the PC was too far to use their move power to reach the thermal detonators. So instant 31 conflict. That PC was haunted by the action afterwards only for a short time. He fell to his death on a really horrible Enhanced Athletics check roll, and if the fall didn't kill him, the fumes at the bottom of the chasm would of melted his lungs...

 

Or

Player says to GM, i think my PC will probably generate some conflict as my PCs morailty makes leaving those heathen pirates without any supplies to survive feel cold hearted, but she is compassionate. I think they need to be taught a lesson, so if i leave them some supplies, but not where they expect, but leave a clue can i lessen my generated conflict? They still might all suffer, perhaps even die, but i want them to know what its like to feel helpless like the settlers they ravaged. 

So i would have the player make a average or hard discipline, if they are successful they would lessen the conflict, if 7 or 8 conflict might be generated by causing nonfatal torment per creature and i moved it to 10 due to the number of pirates suffering, each success reduces the conflict by 1, each advantage reduces the chance the pirates don't figure it out. 

 

Something like these are how i handle morality adjudication.

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1 hour ago, doktor grym said:

Player says to GM, i think my PC will probably generate some conflict as my PCs morailty makes leaving those heathen pirates without any supplies to survive feel cold hearted, but she is compassionate. I think they need to be taught a lesson, so if i leave them some supplies, but not where they expect, but leave a clue can i lessen my generated conflict? They still might all suffer, perhaps even die, but i want them to know what its like to feel helpless like the settlers they ravaged. 

The "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you."  Batman morality play.  Heh, amusing.   

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6 hours ago, emsquared said:

Which is to say, under this mechanic as I understand it there is no difference between being a Light or Darkside Force User. ... you can have all the power (pips) you want at any moment and all you have to do to "pay" for that is rp that you're not emotional whenever your not using the Force so that you can maintain "full control" over your PCs actions all the time.

It just seems highly gameable, if not outright completely broken, and just generally disconnected from the lore of Star Wars.

Thanks for the comments. Yes, you're completely right. 

But...

I'm not that keen on the idea of objective "good vs evil" in the universe. I think my approach makes it easier to play out a story of the road to **** being paved with good intentions. And the struggle of power vs discipline is something that is interesting for both our group. Yes, the setup is entirely abusable if that's what you want to do. All I can say that that, for our table, exploring these issues of how far you'll go for power and what it will cost you, is something we're getting our teeth into.

If these ideas aren't suitable for your table, please don't use them! Do what's best for your game.

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18 hours ago, NeilNjae said:

...for our table, exploring these issues of how far you'll go for power and what it will cost you, is something we're getting our teeth into.

The vanilla Morality system excels at exploring exactly that kind of theme, so I'm really confused what a mechanic based on emotion (which has no direct connection to pursuing power) serves toward that end.

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I note that on one of the sticky resources, a counter to conflict exists that awards players for doing noble and heroic deeds, sacrificing and humbling actions, calming sides to avoid conflict for example. It looks like the conflict chart, but with the opposite flavor. I am trying it out in our game. I find that having something a player can work towards is sometimes easier for them to work with. This is a useful idea as sometimes what a player or PC knows isn't the whole picture. They might think i should be ok if i do X, but unknown to them, following through with that action places a heavy toll on the players PC morality score. In my above example, my player and his PC knew their were imperial and prisoners within the facility, in fact all the players and their PCs knew this. They did not free them because the ice planet they were on had a dangerous level of amonia in the air. If they had tried, they figured the environmental impact would of hurt or killed many prisoners and the lack of supplies to boot.

This example though shows how a PC not knowing and what is truly at risk, can become detrimental to a players character they may have spent substantial time on. Players sneak into a gambling house to gather some funds from what they've been told is a criminal organization. Note:Providing players information on X, whether acurate and truthful or slightly off, because who they got it from is secretly in competition with said X, or just completely different can be a good plot tool if not used too often... So the Force user of the party is using some combination of flavor to enhance his groups winning potential. It works they earns credits and rejoice. What the Force user did may not of caused much harm to the organization, perhaps generating 3-5 morality. However, when they leave they are acosted by a innocent gambler who somehow shouldn't of lost. He accuses one of them of cheating him out of his winnings somehow. He verbally threatens them, players scare him off easily as he is just one average person, Force user gains 1-2 morality.  They leave, he storms off to the organization and tells the story to the pit boss. They review the vid logs... Now that morality is based on the idea the player being informed, PC follows through or doesn't stop to influence or stop the actions of his fellow PCs.

Now not every player wants to be on the lightside of things, but a lightside force user is a lot better at hiding amongst the people over a darkside user whom tend to leave a wake. 

The otherside with the positive morality, a player has some guidance on responsible behavior. Think D&D paladin rules, which are pretty restrictive, but seeing the same but different perspectives of what constitutes a preferred action for someone to maintain their morality on the lightside. So, the Force player above, reviewing a positive morality action list might engage the acosting gambler seeing on an opportunity to offset the theft of someone else's property, even when from a criminal organization. They see that perhaps taking some of their ill gotten winnings and giving it to the gambler and offering them a favor in the future(useful as a plot tool) to tide over their feelings. Perhaps giving the player 1-2 positive morality.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, doktor grym said:

Now not every player wants to be on the lightside of things, but a lightside force user is a lot better at hiding amongst the people over a darkside user whom tend to leave a wake. 

Palpatine proved the contrary for many years. He even dealt with many lightside Paragon, including Yoda, without being detected as the evillest darkside Force-user in this part of the universe. Not all darkside Force-users are always advertising how bad guys they are. Especially if you play in the time frame set of F&D, it's better to not advertise you're a Force-user whatever side, dark or light (or grey 😉), you align to.

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11 hours ago, WolfRider said:

Palpatine proved the contrary for many years. He even dealt with many lightside Paragon, including Yoda, without being detected as the evillest darkside Force-user in this part of the universe. Not all darkside Force-users are always advertising how bad guys they are. Especially if you play in the time frame set of F&D, it's better to not advertise you're a Force-user whatever side, dark or light (or grey 😉), you align to.

To be fair, Palpatine did have the benefit of the Jedi’s ability to sense through the Force being diminished via the Dark Side Nexus below the Jedi Temple.

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Palpatine specifically was trained and focused his talents as a wolf among sheep, his former master knew that for the sith to have their revenge, patience and having others do the dirty work was the key. Reading the books and comics it provided me with a lot of insight to just how crafty Palpatine is. At times I've struggled with the idea of how did he hide so easily, with the Jedi council right around the block? Though he had vast power as a Sith Master and Force user, he always seems to use the least amount he could for any situation. The use of others to perform the the truly dark deeds, he insulated himself. His edicts to his cronies are never in a hateful manner, just matter of factly, just as order 66 carried out by the clones wasn't done out of emotion, it was just them following an order, plain an simple and why the Jedi were really caught off guard.

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On ‎3‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 9:19 PM, Grievous999 said:

Hello there, I wanted to ask you a couple of questions:
- How do you handle morality when there is only one force-user in the party? For example, how do you perform the morality check? Are there any official rules about it?
- Do you know any alternative rules on morality other than official ones?

Thank you

What I do is, instead of players 'automatically' triggering morality checks at the end of the session, a roll is only triggered if:

- The character has 10+ conflict points.

- The character performed at least one high moral/altruist act during the session, at the GM discretion.

I feel that an high moral paragon status should not be obtained just by 'Refraining from doing evil' but from 'Acting exemplary' too.

This way, if characters don't get conflict points but they don't do anything truly remarkable either, they stay as they are (no roll). This eventually allows for a slow stockpiling of conflict points between sessions, that if left unchecked, will probably lead to a decrease in morality.

It's working for our group so far.

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4 hours ago, Jehan Menasis said:

I feel that an high moral paragon status should not be obtained just by 'Refraining from doing evil' but from 'Acting exemplary' too.

This way, if characters don't get conflict points but they don't do anything truly remarkable either, they stay as they are (no roll).

I could probably not agree more with these statements. More often than not, people don't do anything that gives Conflict, or a point or two at most, and as such their Morality simply increases by 1d10 each session. Turning into a Light Side Paragon without exemplary behaviour.

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