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Grey Jedi / Grey Force User Rules - What do you think?

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6 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

How's that even supposed to work?

Today, I'm helping a granny cross the street. Tomorrow, I'll be skinning kittens for fun. But I'm not evil, perish the thought! I'm a cool morally ambivalent "gray" person!

That and it ignores how the darkside will distort your view and tempt your character

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6 hours ago, Stan Fresh said:

How's that even supposed to work?

Today, I'm helping a granny cross the street. Tomorrow, I'll be skinning kittens for fun. But I'm not evil, perish the thought! I'm a cool morally ambivalent "gray" person!

I think it would work like many serial killers operate.  They don't see anything wrong with what they are doing, but they tend to keep it hidden.  So while it's advantageous to them to help granny right now, because it helps maintain their persona of "he was such a nice, quiet, friendly neighbor."  But then allow them to have a basement of severed human body parts that they snack on.   

This is an example of someone who has already taken that step across the line though, but then doesn't go Full Palpatine.   And since the majority of Dark Siders' manifest traits that are flags for mental disorders and psychosis's, I usually just attribute them the other traits associated with their most obvious disorder.   If they are "cool and calculating", then they will tend to be the Dexter kind of psychopath.   If they are aggressive and violent, they exhibit traits of Bipolar Manic behavior, possibly mixed in with some schizophrenia, paranoia, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc.   And there are plenty of ways for a character to act "normal" while still being well and truly dark.   They might think they are ok, using self-justifications like Dexter does "well I only kill killers, so I'm ok."   But the reality is far different.

As to the dark distorting your view, and tempting your character, that's up to the player to represent via roleplay.   There is no way to codify that based on a number.  They need to genuinely think about how their PC would behave, based on their current Morality score, and behave accordingly in play.  

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The single greatest issue I have with the morality rules is the possibility of being a completely selfless, altruistic, darksider. I'm not sure how exactly I'd design rules to limit it, but it'd be nice to see some more encouragement to role play "darksided" via rules. Some force powers, like Influence, actively limit what you can do with Dark/Light pips and I'd like to see an expansion of that kind of mindset.

Perhaps, since most people fall to the dark side for a reason, maybe when a character does, a clear goal should be set for them, either as, or in addition to a motivation. In every case I can think of, those who fall to the dark side lust for power, but usually have different reasons for doing so. As a Darksider, it should be a bit of a struggle to do things that don't further your own goals. Maybe darkside pips should be disallowed for use that do not directly benefit you or your own goals, such as putting yourself in danger for the sake of others (if you fall, then who is going to save the galaxy?).

The dark side should be about ego and justified means. You should have a goal that will let you justify throwing everything and everyone away to gain the power you need to achieve that goal and it would be nice to set up some rules based guidelines to help you as a player, or to enforce it as GM rather than just going "You're roleplaying wrong!".

As taking additional conflict once you fall has pretty limited effects, it's quite tempting to just shrug and just go full on darkside from that point on, and if you're going that route, I'd honestly prefer to older systems' approach of the GM just pulling the character. By imposing rules based limits on what you can to as a darksider and encouraging you to play selfish and power-hungry, perhaps to the detriment of other PCs, the player gets an incentive to hold back on spiraling to the dark side that the system is more or less lacking at the moment.

Anyway, so that was a rant.

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3 hours ago, penpenpen said:

The single greatest issue I have with the morality rules is the possibility of being a completely selfless, altruistic, darksider. I'm not sure how exactly I'd design rules to limit it, but it'd be nice to see some more encouragement to role play "darksided" via rules. Some force powers, like Influence, actively limit what you can do with Dark/Light pips and I'd like to see an expansion of that kind of mindset.

Perhaps, since most people fall to the dark side for a reason, maybe when a character does, a clear goal should be set for them, either as, or in addition to a motivation. In every case I can think of, those who fall to the dark side lust for power, but usually have different reasons for doing so. As a Darksider, it should be a bit of a struggle to do things that don't further your own goals. Maybe darkside pips should be disallowed for use that do not directly benefit you or your own goals, such as putting yourself in danger for the sake of others (if you fall, then who is going to save the galaxy?).

The dark side should be about ego and justified means. You should have a goal that will let you justify throwing everything and everyone away to gain the power you need to achieve that goal and it would be nice to set up some rules based guidelines to help you as a player, or to enforce it as GM rather than just going "You're roleplaying wrong!".

As taking additional conflict once you fall has pretty limited effects, it's quite tempting to just shrug and just go full on darkside from that point on, and if you're going that route, I'd honestly prefer to older systems' approach of the GM just pulling the character. By imposing rules based limits on what you can to as a darksider and encouraging you to play selfish and power-hungry, perhaps to the detriment of other PCs, the player gets an incentive to hold back on spiraling to the dark side that the system is more or less lacking at the moment.

Anyway, so that was a rant.

The rules already do this. Just not in the powers them selves. It is in the table in n the gm section

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48 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

The rules already do this. Just not in the powers them selves. It is in the table in n the gm section

Table 9-2? That only lists conflict penalties, and once you cross that barrier at 30 morality, conflict and morality doesn't really much matter anymore.

In fact, in this system, the results of falling to the dark side is more akin to what people want out of playing gray Jedi. You're not necessarily evil and you can mess around with dark side force powers pretty much consequence free.

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24 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

Table 9-2? That only lists conflict penalties, and once you cross that barrier at 30 morality, conflict and morality doesn't really much matter anymore.

In fact, in this system, the results of falling to the dark side is more akin to what people want out of playing gray Jedi. You're not necessarily evil and you can mess around with dark side force powers pretty much consequence free.

So your premise is the items on 9-2 are not wrong many of them outright evil?

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2 hours ago, Daeglan said:

So your premise is the items on 9-2 are not wrong many of them outright evil?

No, I'm saying there's no encouragement to avoid OR indulge in them anymore, as conflict doesn't matter. Using the dark side should be corrupting. It isn't.

Maybe I play ridiculously goody two shoes characters, but the stuff on table 9-2 isn't generally something even my more cynic characters do on a regular basis. I guess there is an argument to be made for logic, that if you've fallen to the dark side where conflict barely matters, you're less resistant to doing stuff that grants conflict, be it snide remarks, theft or torturing someone to death. Problem is, it doesn't really matter if you do or you don't from a mechanics perspective. Also, it's not enough that it gets "easier to be evil", it should be harder to be "good". Because my problem is with the selfless, heroic darkside user who still has a single digit morality rating due to a steady diet of dark side pips.

Don't get me wrong, I love that you can fall simply from using the dark side, trying to do good while giving in to fear, hate and anger. Problem is, falling barely means anything.

"Did you hear? Dave fell to the Dark side last week!"
"Oh bummer. He's still on our team though. Right?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't he be! Still our great buddy Dave! He ran out to pull me out of the crossfire just yesterday, shielding me his own body, and just this morning he rescued a litter of kittens from a burning orphanage! Force choked the flames, he did!"
"Wait... kittens?"
"Well, after the orphans of course."
"Right, of course. But still, the dark side?"
"Oh, most definitely. You can tell from the way he's always testy during his heroics. Once he even said something really rather mean. He apologized right away of course. Good ol' Dave."
"That Dark side sure is insidious..."

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48 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

No, I'm saying there's no encouragement to avoid OR indulge in them anymore, as conflict doesn't matter. Using the dark side should be corrupting. It isn't.

Maybe I play ridiculously goody two shoes characters, but the stuff on table 9-2 isn't generally something even my more cynic characters do on a regular basis. I guess there is an argument to be made for logic, that if you've fallen to the dark side where conflict barely matters, you're less resistant to doing stuff that grants conflict, be it snide remarks, theft or torturing someone to death. Problem is, it doesn't really matter if you do or you don't from a mechanics perspective. Also, it's not enough that it gets "easier to be evil", it should be harder to be "good". Because my problem is with the selfless, heroic darkside user who still has a single digit morality rating due to a steady diet of dark side pips.

Don't get me wrong, I love that you can fall simply from using the dark side, trying to do good while giving in to fear, hate and anger. Problem is, falling barely means anything.

"Did you hear? Dave fell to the Dark side last week!"
"Oh bummer. He's still on our team though. Right?"
"Yeah, why wouldn't he be! Still our great buddy Dave! He ran out to pull me out of the crossfire just yesterday, shielding me his own body, and just this morning he rescued a litter of kittens from a burning orphanage! Force choked the flames, he did!"
"Wait... kittens?"
"Well, after the orphans of course."
"Right, of course. But still, the dark side?"
"Oh, most definitely. You can tell from the way he's always testy during his heroics. Once he even said something really rather mean. He apologized right away of course. Good ol' Dave."
"That Dark side sure is insidious..."

Using the dark side is corrupting. Every dark side pip is 1 conflict.

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1 hour ago, Daeglan said:

Using the dark side is corrupting. Every dark side pip is 1 conflict.

And that means essentially nothing once you fall as far as the rules are concerned. That is what's bothering me. You can pop dark side pips like candy and all it does is shuffle your wound and strain threshold around a bit. All while you're being just the nicest guy.

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29 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

And that means essentially nothing once you fall as far as the rules are concerned. That is what's bothering me. You can pop dark side pips like candy and all it does is shuffle your wound and strain threshold around a bit. All while you're being just the nicest guy.

What are you looking for? I dont think you are going find a mechanical punishment in game. Mostly because i dont think FFG is into that. 

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7 minutes ago, Daeglan said:

What are you looking for? I dont think you are going find a mechanical punishment in game. Mostly because i dont think FFG is into that. 

I know it's not there, I'm lamenting that it's missing and that I haven't figured out a good way to implement it myself.

And it's not exactly a punishment I'm looking for, more guidelines, or limitations. To a point, table 9-2 serves this purpose, but only until you fall. 

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39 minutes ago, penpenpen said:

I know it's not there, I'm lamenting that it's missing and that I haven't figured out a good way to implement it myself.

And it's not exactly a punishment I'm looking for, more guidelines, or limitations. To a point, table 9-2 serves this purpose, but only until you fall. 

How do people react to vader? I suspect darksiders give off a nasty vibe unless they work to hide it. Look at how Palps behaves i see seriously creepy moments. 

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So here's a thing with regards to how a dark sider should or shouldn't act...

I don't think there's really any one defining guideline that says all dark siders should act a certain way, apart from a callous disregard for the general well-being of most others.  And if you accept SWTOR as part of the equation, it's even possible to play a Sith who very much embodies the "noble demon" trope, being of the dark side but not being a cackling villain about it.

To instance, we've got Darth Vader who is cold, without compassion, and pragmatically ruthless, and then there's Darth Maul who's a walking cauldron of barely-repressed seething rage during TPM and a demented vengeance-obsessed loony during Rebels.  Or Kylo Ren, who has a hair trigger temper yet generally only lashes out at machines and inanimate objects.  Or Palpatine who takes a frankly sadistic glee in causing the suffering of as many other beings as possible no matter how grand or small the scale.  To pull from WEG lore, there's the Dark Jedi/Inquisitor character of Adalric Cessius Brandl, who is pretty much a star-crossed tragic character in the vein of Hamlet, who is undoubtedly a dark sider but isn't out and out "evil" and even goes rogue from the Empire as well as doing some good deeds along the way (not enough to even come within a light year of redemption, but just enough to show that he's not a completely callous a-hole).

So it really seems that other than fueling your Force usage by drawing upon darker emotions (anger, hate, fear), there's just not a "by the book one size fits all" metric to how a dark sider should act.  Which with that mind, I guess it makes sense that FFG didn't hard-code anything into the rules about how a dark sider has to act once they've fallen to the dark side.  Granted, per the rules reaching redemption (i.e. no longer being a dark sider) isn't a mechanically simple thing either, since they still earn conflict for using those dark pips and need to hit Light Side Paragon status in order to be "redeemed."

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Posted (edited)

I also think there is a note to a GM in the book that the actual fall should be roll played in a significant way. Like if you know your player is getting close to it, make the act that does it really tick. Also The whole using JUST Dark side pips to fall to the dark side and being a perfect angel otherwise is possible on paper, but not really practical in practice. Since you are Rolling a D10 after every session against your conflict you are rolling 5.5 on average and thus need to be generating on average 6 conflict a session for 40 sessions to fall from 50 to 30. To do this with ONLY dark side pips with an FR of 2 would cause you to also take 6 strain a session and likely flip on average of 3 destiny points a session just to do this. This also means a usage of at least 3 to 4 force powers a session and given the setting the base game takes place in that much Force Power usage would bring A LOT of unwanted attention.


As far as the things on the list of 9.2 there are all kinds of things on that list that I know even players playing morally good characters will depending on the circumstances. Like turning a blind eye to cruelty to avoid getting in trouble with the empire. Lying for personal gain. Theft is very common if the players have joined the rebellion, they steal from the empire all the time yes it is mitigated a little because of this, but it is still conflict. Torture is one of those slippery slopes that an evil person can REALLY EASILY justify. Like an assassin is trying to kill a high level government official and the players catch him and he is not talking. The players need to know who hired him so they can take this bounty off the officials head.... torture sounds very reasonable to any evil player even coercion and threatening with violence sounds reasonable to most good players, and what do they do once they have that answer. Again for an evil darkside player the answer is simple we kill them (Murder 10+ Conflict), heck for most players I have played with that is the answer but the system would force them to try and talk to this person and get them to back off another way besides just murder. (also I love the fact that the system does that because it allows me to have more evil megalomaniac characters that order minions to do everything for them but are basically untouchable that need to be talked down).

 

Edited by tunewalker

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1 hour ago, Donovan Morningfire said:

So it really seems that other than fueling your Force usage by drawing upon darker emotions (anger, hate, fear), there's just not a "by the book one size fits all" metric to how a dark sider should act

Selfishness, or at least a disregard for others, and a lust for some kind of power tend to be common denominators.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/15/2019 at 9:12 PM, penpenpen said:

Selfishness, or at least a disregard for others, and a lust for some kind of power tend to be common denominators.

Just take a page from any villain from storytelling and it's a good fit for a Dark Sider.  Whether that's rage/violence, ego/megalomania, obsessive compulsive stalker, etc.    Self-destructive behavior, and outwardly destructive behavior to those around them.  Basically any antagonist really.   Palpatine's cool, calculated, manipulative behavior is just as valid as some rage filled murderhobo, or anywhere in between.   It's really quite easy, because nothing about how they behave, is unique to a Star Wars Dark Sider.   They are just Bad Guys, who are ubiquitous in fiction.  The only unique thing is they are Bad Guys due to a universe spanning energy field that pushes them to indulge their baser, destructive natures.

I will say that they tend to lean towards the overly dramatic, larger than life types of villains, but that's not a requirement.  Palpatine was very cool and chill up until the climax of Revenge of the Sith, where he went full on Cackling Loon.   

Edited by KungFuFerret

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On 6/17/2019 at 4:00 PM, KungFuFerret said:

Palpatine was very cool and chill up until the climax of Revenge of the Sith, where he went full on Cackling Loon.   

And was still like that in the Return of the Jedi, more than 20 years later.

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@penpenpen Well, a dark sider according to the rules, can't actually use light side points, and spending the destiny point to be allowed to use them will still make the force use dark sided, which means a dark sider can't use the light side of the force - it means it's become ultimately harder to use the light side of the force, being it's impossible, which actually is incorrect according to lore. It has never been impossible for dark siders to use the light side of the force, just much harder. Which essentially is their penalty, that they can never use the light side of the force, and if they want to be able to, they have to stop using force powers until they've redeemed themselves, not that I agree with that it should be this way, because I don't, but thats essentially their penalty for going dark side.

Also, making it so that it requires a destiny point to use dark side points as a light sider, is in my opinion a big mistake, because it does make it harder to use the dark side, where in fact it's supposed to be easier - and just because the point distribution on the dice makes the dark side more accessible, doesn't make it any easier, as you still need the destiny point. Making it so it requires a destiny point to use the light side of the force as dark sider, is a step in the direction, but not necessarily the best way to reflect it being more difficult to use the light side of the force, especially when considering that when a dark sider tries to use the light side points even with a destiny points, it's still becomes a dark side force power, which essentially means, that a dark sider will never use the light side of the force, even despite it's never been that way. Dark siders should definitely be able to use the light side of the force, but should be harder. Perhaps, require discipline check when the destiny point has been spent, to allow the dark sider to at least attempt to use the light side points as a light sided force power - this way it's harder for the dark sider, but not impossible, and light sider can much more easily fall to the dark side.

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10 hours ago, WolfRider said:

And was still like that in the Return of the Jedi, more than 20 years later.

Yes, because he didn't need to be anything else.  Hard to say if he was always a cackling loon under the hood, and just kept it under wraps during the prequels, and then let his freak-flag fly once Revenge happened.  Or if it was something of a change for him, personality wise, over time.   Psyches' do alter as our lives progress, and events happen to us.  So maybe juicing himself with 1.21 Gigawatts!?!? when facing Mace Windu, tipped him over the edge.   Or maybe he always was that batty, doesn't really matter either way.

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1 hour ago, KungFuFerret said:

Yes, because he didn't need to be anything else.  Hard to say if he was always a cackling loon under the hood, and just kept it under wraps during the prequels, and then let his freak-flag fly once Revenge happened.  Or if it was something of a change for him, personality wise, over time.   Psyches' do alter as our lives progress, and events happen to us.  So maybe juicing himself with 1.21 Gigawatts!?!? when facing Mace Windu, tipped him over the edge.   Or maybe he always was that batty, doesn't really matter either way.

His appearance in his Sidious guise before Order 66 are pretty melodramatic. The black hood, the low voice. I don't see the unleashed cackling maniac of the Yoda fight as different at all. It's more of the same, just going in the other direction. It's all being an over-the-top goth murder diva.

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1 hour ago, Stan Fresh said:

His appearance in his Sidious guise before Order 66 are pretty melodramatic. The black hood, the low voice. I don't see the unleashed cackling maniac of the Yoda fight as different at all. It's more of the same, just going in the other direction. It's all being an over-the-top goth murder diva.

Yeah, I was thinking more of his "day to day" persona of the Senator/Chancellor before he just shed all pretenses.   Though it could be that at that point, his Sidious persona was still an act, as he hadn't gone full Gary Oldman in The Professional yet.    Either is valid, really, as a mask, or the real persona.   Since Dark Side users frequently are portrayed as having traits normally associated with extreme mental disorders, it's perfectly viable that Palpatine is just a juiced up Manic, and both personas are genuine.  But he's clearly capable of being calm, methodical, and calculating, as evidenced by what he did in the prequels.  But he's also not above just losing his **** and going full Jeremy Irons in Dungeons and Dragons too.   It's all valid portrayals of a DS user.

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7 hours ago, InfinityIncarnate said:

@penpenpen Well, a dark sider according to the rules, can't actually use light side points, and spending the destiny point to be allowed to use them will still make the force use dark sided, which means a dark sider can't use the light side of the force - it means it's become ultimately harder to use the light side of the force, being it's impossible, which actually is incorrect according to lore. It has never been impossible for dark siders to use the light side of the force, just much harder. Which essentially is their penalty, that they can never use the light side of the force, and if they want to be able to, they have to stop using force powers until they've redeemed themselves, not that I agree with that it should be this way, because I don't, but thats essentially their penalty for going dark side.

Also, making it so that it requires a destiny point to use dark side points as a light sider, is in my opinion a big mistake, because it does make it harder to use the dark side, where in fact it's supposed to be easier - and just because the point distribution on the dice makes the dark side more accessible, doesn't make it any easier, as you still need the destiny point. Making it so it requires a destiny point to use the light side of the force as dark sider, is a step in the direction, but not necessarily the best way to reflect it being more difficult to use the light side of the force, especially when considering that when a dark sider tries to use the light side points even with a destiny points, it's still becomes a dark side force power, which essentially means, that a dark sider will never use the light side of the force, even despite it's never been that way. Dark siders should definitely be able to use the light side of the force, but should be harder. Perhaps, require discipline check when the destiny point has been spent, to allow the dark sider to at least attempt to use the light side points as a light sided force power - this way it's harder for the dark sider, but not impossible, and light sider can much more easily fall to the dark side.

Wrong. A Dark Sider can indeed use Lightside points, and thus the Light Side of the Force. However, as you said, he has to use a Destiny Point to do so. In fact, if he wants to have any hope of redemption, he not only needs to avoid doing evil, but also avoid using DSPs when using the Force, and that means using  LSPs only, and thus flipping Destiney Points and Strain anytime he wants to use the Force. Thus, he must consciously use the Light Side. If it were impossible for a Dark Sider to tap into the Light Side, at all, any use of the Force would garner Conflict for him regardless of what Pips he used, and that is simply not the case. 

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