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FrogTrigger

Running a campaign with Sith?

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My play group is going to start a new campaign soon, will be 3-4 players and me as GM. 2 of the 3 have already expressed a great interest in becoming Sith, so much so that they basically have said "what do we have to do to fall to the dark side as fast as possible". 

While preparing for this campaign, just curious if anyone can offer up any advice for playing with Sith players? Is it possible to run a campaign with Sith and Jedi players? Which adventures/hooks/modules will be best for this type of campaign?

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What timeframe is this in? Also, do they actually want to be Sith or do they only care about using the dark side?

 

In "modern" times (around the movie era) there's only two Sith, after all - and all the known spots are taken unless you're playing after Return of the Jedi. Which might not be terrible - you could have some of the campaign be about raiding Palpatine/Vader's secret stash of knowledge and artifacts. 

 

If you're playing in the Old Republic period, and there is a Sith Empire, then it's easy enough to just have other Sith resent, plot against them for their Jedi origins. Once the Empire isn't looking, they may well attack. 

 

More generally, GMing a group of Sith, I'd try to set things up so that they can't just start killing/terrorizing things at will. Here's this annoying NPC that they can't kill because he has a crucial skill they don't. Put big sections of the campaign in civilization, so if they start murderizing people they find out their contacts don't trust them, or the locals setup a posse to go bag them. Or hire bounty hunters.

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I think it would be set right around the Rebels era, like pre Episode IV or right in that area.

So yes becoming actual Sith would not be possible, but Dark Side Force Users.

I guess it's just that if half the party wants to be dark side and half light, how do you make that work? Can they exist together? Is it possible to run multiple story lines and actually keep everyone engaged?

How fast do you let them fall to the dark side?

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There's no "letting" to it, unless you're willing to substantially re-write the rules, overrule your players or just delete all dark side talents - and any dark side element of force powers from the trees.

 

If a player takes Heal/Harm, they get conflict every single time they use Harm (even if they fuel it with light-side points). If they're actively trying to turn dark, they'll pop destiny on every force power until they're out of points. Or they'll use talents that have built-in conflict.

 

What you can do is threaten to take over their char as an NPC when Morality hits 0 ... but that's very heavy handed when they've outright told you they want to be darksiders before you started. 

 

If you also have light-siders in the party, you'll probably have to relax some of the rules for giving Conflict for group actions. Yes, the light-siders should endeavor to keep the darkos on a bit of a leash, but unless you allow unrestricted player-vs-player combat, they can't really stop them if the darkside folks refuse to cooperate. That'd be how it's handled ICly, with the Jedi expected to intervene to defend innocents ... but most tabletop groups don't last long if you encourage open combat between the group members.

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1 hour ago, FrogTrigger said:

I think it would be set right around the Rebels era, like pre Episode IV or right in that area.

So yes becoming actual Sith would not be possible, but Dark Side Force Users.

I guess it's just that if half the party wants to be dark side and half light, how do you make that work? Can they exist together? Is it possible to run multiple story lines and actually keep everyone engaged?

How fast do you let them fall to the dark side?

Maul is still around during that time, and he's Sith even if he doesn't use "Darth" anymore. He could certainly impart the Sith tradition to others if he wanted to do so.

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2 hours ago, FrogTrigger said:

While preparing for this campaign, just curious if anyone can offer up any advice for playing with Sith players? Is it possible to run a campaign with Sith and Jedi players? Which adventures/hooks/modules will be best for this type of campaign?

1. RE: Playing with "Sith". The actual Sith (aka Vader and Palps) care no more for random Darkside Force Users than they do for random Lightside Users - they will try to find and kill them. They want NO ONE in the Galaxy to have mastery over the Force aside from them. So, unless your DSUs all plan on vying for the "right" (aka killing each other) to bargain to become Vader's apprentice (there can be only one), they will be hunted along with all other Force Users.

Theymay be allowed to become Inquisitorious IF they're powerful enough. Which of course the plan is still to kill all Inquisitors once they've outlived their usefulness (eradicated the Jedi). This is literally the best they can hope for.

UNLESSthey play it smart and stay as low-key as possible, like all other shadow Force Users in the Galaxy. If they do a bunch of stupid murdering and havoc-wreaking, the Big Boys will notice, and they'll frankly probably be more interested in putting them down then the Jedi themself, for to their blatant defiance and use it the Force.

2. The problem with having Lightside and Dark players in the same group is, the Darksiders will do things that cause the Lightside to go dark - ie to accrue Conflict and degrade their Morality, IF they (the Lightsiders) don't try to stop them (the Darksiders) - because if you don't try to stop bad ppl you know are doing bad things, the Force votes that as you being bad.

So, you're gonna have a situation where players will likely be in constant conflict with each other over how to handle situations to maintain their "Sidedness"... Is it possible? Sure. If your Darkside aren't "Chaotic Stupid", they may be able to do their Dark stuff without the Light becoming aware of it, and thereby without having to argue over it, and without negatively impacting their Morality. That's the only case it might work, and it probably won't work all the time, cuz at some point they're gonna decide "I need to murder this idiot.", with your Lights right there, then it's PVP time.

Important to remember, RE: Destiny Pool, the White Chips are the Player pool, always - it doesn't matter if the Player is Light or Dark, they flip a white chip to use a Destiny Point. This is important to know so they can't exploit the system and just "volley" Destiny back and forth, with you in the middle getting taken advantage of.

Good luck. You're gonna need it.

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20 hours ago, FrogTrigger said:

My play group is going to start a new campaign soon, will be 3-4 players and me as GM. 2 of the 3 have already expressed a great interest in becoming Sith, so much so that they basically have said "what do we have to do to fall to the dark side as fast as possible". 

While preparing for this campaign, just curious if anyone can offer up any advice for playing with Sith players? Is it possible to run a campaign with Sith and Jedi players? Which adventures/hooks/modules will be best for this type of campaign?

You can let players who want to be darksiders use the option to start with 29 morality at character creation. Imo, that's the fastest way to fall to the darkiside.

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Interesting point about Vader and Palp being more interested in dark side users. I like that a lot actually. And Maul is a wild card source for lore/knowledge that would obviously be manipulating them the entire time.

This is actually sounding more and more fun as it goes on.. I'd like to make the fall more dramatic if I can. Not just they go to a village and kill 10 people, but some hard choices that makes the fall occur over a few sessions.

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6 hours ago, WolfRider said:

You can let players who want to be darksiders use the option to start with 29 morality at character creation. Imo, that's the fastest way to fall to the darkiside.

Many games start with a combat scene fairly early on. If you want to play dark side characters, just go for a scene of unnecessary carnage and mayhem. It won't be hard to go dark side quickly even if Morality started at the default 50.

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5 hours ago, FrogTrigger said:

Interesting point about Vader and Palp being more interested in dark side users. I like that a lot actually. And Maul is a wild card source for lore/knowledge that would obviously be manipulating them the entire time.

This is actually sounding more and more fun as it goes on.. I'd like to make the fall more dramatic if I can. Not just they go to a village and kill 10 people, but some hard choices that makes the fall occur over a few sessions.

Never underestimate the hard choices that arise from butchering a village.

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Posted (edited)

To be honest, I would expressively prohibit Jedi and Sith being in the same party for two reasons. One, the camps are almost entirely unrelateable to one another and two, quite frankly I don't expect any player to handle it with the maturity to handle a fall properly. "I kill it. Yes, I kill the person we are searching for because I am a sith and I laugh at you stupid Jedi for putting up with us for this long? Upset? Well we will kill you. Then I'll kill you and WE WILL ENACT OUR EVIL NON-SENCIAL SCHEME BECAUSE I LOVE BATHING IN ORPHAN BLOOD MAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! Wait, you killed us? You utter bastard, I hate you and never want to game with your meta-gaming backside AGAIN! I WAS HAVING FUN AND YOU RUINED IT!". Might sound silly, but that's how about 3 of the campaign's I've experienced with "wishy washy" sith have turned out in one form or another.

So yeah, Jedi and Sith working together? Right out, no. Sith are always villains are evil by their very nature and very much a corrupted facet of whom they once were, and are generally morally apposed. Jedi are not always villains. I do not expect players to have any maturity to put the two parties together properly and most likely any such alliance is inevitability short lived. TBH I would be half tempted to say "if you guys can't take this seriously, then we will just have an Edge/AOR campaign." Honestly, you would save yourself so much headaches, at least until your players have some experience of roleplaying in themselves to handle the "alignment" option with some maturity, otherwise you are just setting yourself up for a hearty dose of disappointment and heartbreak. Have a session zero, talk about what you guys are looking for out of this experience and figure out a comfortable space for everyone to operate in.



Now that's out of the way, it's possible to play a corrupted person or conflicted who struggles to the Dark side, being conflicted between good and light is a fascinating space to be in as long as you have no delusions about being "grey". I played as a force Emergent who was being used by a spirit housed within a Sith lightsaber and at that time there were no Jedi within our party, if anything they were nearly as resentible as the sith to us due to their underhand mechanisations up to this point, so my character ended up being a tool to it's whim, it would help him get revenge on the man who killed his father provided he could survive the tests directed at him. In truth it made for a very unique dynamic, a sith who's notions of conquest was based on Freedom Nadd's principles compared to a impressionable Rodian who was weak willed, but a bit of a smart **** who recognised that discovering an energy sword wasn't a legitimate form of government. Needless to say the saber wanted rid of this irritating Rodian who it perceived to lack power and ambition, but he kept killing the inquisitors he was beckoning in until about 2 years after his discovery.

What it created was something of an abnormality, a guy who ultimately had some subscription on he sith philosophy, especially the concept of freedom who by himself wasn't evil. If anything he found large chunks of the self indulgence entirely unnecessary, why would anyone want to actually rule the galaxy? Wouldn't be much effort, and my force emergant certainly isn't the charismatic type. It's much more useful to manipulate events so that the people making the decisions are making the decisions I want, without ever realising it. But ultimately, the teachings that warped his views on the galaxy, even after the saber had long abandoned him and his duty to his friends and the galaxy put such an incredible strain. There have been moments where he had subtly betrayed the party that even years on, he keeps close to his chest like a battle scar. Most of these my players know out of character which is subscribed into; which is balanced out by being an incredibly effective infiltrator/machanic.

Being a coward and a traitor in the midst of the alliance, just because the desire for self prestation overrides a frail sense of duty is a much more interesting premise of "Lets stick the good guys and evil guys together and see who wins." Talk about conflict, talk about the interesting character narratives together but establish the theme of your campaign early, together and at least for the first few arcs just focus on letting the party grow before introducing the spice of internal party conflict.

Edited by LordBritish

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Speaking further with the players and outlining some of the challenges we could face, the attention has shifted slightly. They asked if I could make the entire campaign about their fall to the dark side, meaning they aren't planning to just walk into a dungeon and kill as many people as possible ALA Ultima Online 1997 becoming a Dread Lord with Adept Swordsmanship (anyone? anyone get that reference?).

They want it to be a thematic experience, akin to Anakin, but obviously not the same or as grand in scheme. Perhaps I could use Maul as the manipulator, then once they start falling on the Empires radar, Vader sends Inquisitors, then eventually himself.

This isn't a play group that will want a multi year campaign, this is a group that wants to play once every few weeks and have it last maybe 6 months? Probably less? I think they would rather try multiple different campaigns, then draw a single one out forever. They are ultimately prepared for and are expecting character death at some point, they want it to be more about the journey than the destination. All the players are on board with this approach, ultimately it could end with PvP as some choose to take the moral high ground and the others take the low (GUESS WHO WINS?!?!!? YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE!!!!).

I'm getting more and more excited for this campaign. At the end of the day its a group of good friends, and very casual gamers. Who don't take anything to serious and more than not just look at it as an excuse to get together and drink some beers and smoke some legal weed. OH CANADA!!!

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Posted (edited)

That's far more workable, in my opinion. FaD has far and away the best mechanical support for a story where the fall is the point. Granted, specifying an ending before the adventure is played is a bit meta-ish for my taste, but who knows ... maybe they'll change their minds part way through because they don't feel their chars would fall in that scenario after all. 

 

So the easiest way to make something like this happen is to constantly give them challenges that would be much easier if they just landed "perfect" force dice rolls. You want to bait them into tapping that dark side. I have a campaign going where the Seeker just can't stop using dark side with Seek to follow people around, because that's just so much easier than the party following clues and investigating. It's not meant as inimical or hostile at all: When describing the results I bill it as "frustrated" or "zealous" in my descriptions - make it sound all very reasonable and natural. She's not a "bad" person, she's just committed, righteous and passionate about success!

Edited by sarg01

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4 hours ago, FrogTrigger said:

They asked if I could make the entire campaign about their fall to the dark side

This is where the Force & Destiny Morality system really shines: as a tool to help Players tell their PC's stories.

It does not work as an adversarial, "Can I, as GM, trick you, Player, into falling to the Darkside?", let's-see-what-happens mechanic. That's not what it's for.

It works best when used with intent and mindfulness of PC story-development goals.

Sounds like that's where you guys are going with it and that's great.

The situation you describe above improves your chances of having a positive experience out of all of this considerably, IMO. Still I could see it turning to PvP too soon, and/or unexpectedly (from one side or the others view) - long before you got through all the exploration of "the fall" that you wanted to, and everyone being like; "Whelp, you and you are dead, you're missing a leg, and we've all got two or three crits built up... how do we move forward from here?"

I think having this be the kind of success you envision would require a large meta-level agreement; "That's the deal, gang. No PVP unless the whole table agrees to enter into it in advance, which means no taking actions that will cause PVP without everyone agreeing you can take the action in advance." Which may or may not impact your group's enjoyment of the game.

I haven't played this type of campaign in this system, but I have in others, and this is really what it takes in my experience to be a success: abdicating some of your agency, so that everyone can enjoy the process of getting to that point in the story.

What that looks like in-play is, PC1 says, "Screw this guy. I shoot him in the face." PC2 says, "Na na na na na na no, if you do that, I will have to try to kill you, and we're not there yet.", PC1 says, "Ok, I will just shoot him in the knee.", PC2 says, "Alright, I'll just have to restrain you then, do it!" It's not a complete loss of control of your PC, it's just an acknowledgement that the story at large and the tables enjoyment is more important than any one Player's, which in adversarial set ups like this means this kind of maturity.

IMO

Again, good luck.

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A lot of people here are on the whole moustache twirling style of sith. And sure that's an option. But there's also a more subtle way. Example. Me (playing a DS character) and my group (which had 2 paragons) were tasked to find a imperial defector and get him safely to the rebels. And we did. I helped all the way. Then at the end I gave his safe house location to the local stormtroopers for credits and that entire rebel cell was destroyed. There can be common ground between a mixed group. Your players just have to be less murderhobo and get inventive. 

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Though the change in views and shift in play style changed, I would still like to put something here to reflect upon the original question.

15 hours ago, LordBritish said:

So yeah, Jedi and Sith working together? Right out, no.

This peaked my interest, and despite all the rest of LordBritish's post is well thought out and elaborately written, I must disagree here. From a certain point of view. 😉

While I doubt anybody would see it as even remotely canon, simply Legends at best or 'unrelated' entertainment more probably, I like to refer to the single player story line of Star Wars The Old Republic. Jedi and Sith work together. Imperial and Republic armies share bunks. Fleets operate jointly. As long as the story line progresses through the rise and fall of the Eternal Throne (a fall which makes it, interestingly, not so eternal).

When the Sith are represented as more cunning and intelligent instead of Dark Side eye-color-mutated psychopaths, and as long as the Jedi don't behave as borderline extremist paladins of old (you are evil, therefor you must die, Die! DIEEEEE!!!!!) a strong common enemy could provide plenty of reasons for a truce, and cooperation, as long as the mutual threat exists. In the Galactic Civil War era this might be represented by having the Galactic Empire and the Rebellion both come under attack from, for example, a previously unknown Mando'a fleet. The characters, all potential Jedi and Sith through the FaD careers and specializations, could ascend to paragon levels, or fall into darkness, easily by the choices they make during this (extended) adventure/campaign. At its conclusion, they may remain friends with everlasting friction, or part ways as potential enemies with opposite points of view too different to allow further cooperation when the mutal threat is gone. It would matter little, as the adventure/campaign would be concluded and those choices would simply be a part of a denoument.

11 hours ago, FrogTrigger said:

Speaking further with the players and outlining some of the challenges we could face, the attention has shifted slightly.

Continuing with the subject at hand now, good for you. This is probably a more fitting start and exciting campaign (even with potential player versus player situations), than one with conflict crashing in from session 1 as and when some of the players start to accumulate Conflict through wanton destruction, mass murder, and starting a sushi restaurant where Mon Calamari and Quarren are especially invited into the back rooms for... "special offers".

However, be very aware of that moral high ground. Don't take Obi-Wan as your prime example. He wasn't the master of the high ground... he mastered the low ground. First, against Darth Maul, he hung low. from that position he lured Maul into a trap of overconfidence so he could surprise Maul and slice him in half. In his Duel of the Fates with Anakin, he also claimed to have the high ground. Anakin jumped up and then, from below, lost his two legs and another arm in a single circular motion from Obi-Wan. Low ground man. Low ground I tell you! 😉

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