Jump to content
thinkbomb

General Design ... issue ... with Duty (v Obligation/Morality)

Recommended Posts

k, so familiarizing myself with the mechanics of the game at a high level ... I'm posting this to see if I'm reading it right.

 

I noticed something regarding AoR's Duty mechanic that makes it hard to cross pollinate with the other systems: it isn't fluid.  (there's gross oversimplification here for the sake of being concise, so bear that in mind)

  • Obligation is generated mostly by poor character choices, and fixing those mistakes reduces obligation.  For example: you can voluntarily take on excess debt to gain more obligation, then pay it off to reduce it.  (obvs mission failure can tack on more obligation, but it's more player choice)
  • Morality is affected by player choice.  That can go from dark to light to dark again.  Mission failures don't affect this.
  • Duty is generated by helping the rebellion and doing things your character excels at ... but it doesn't ever really decrease in rank (unless you fail or desert a mission or something like that).

So that's what I'm seeing that kinda turns me away from potentially getting that book ...

  • A fringer can assist a rebel cell, but still be dealing with his debts
  • A faux jedi can continue to struggle with their morality balance while helping a rebel cell
  • ... but a lone rebel operative can't really help a group a smugglers while maintaining their duty rating in a meaningful way.  His inclusion will eventually just draw a star destroyer on the smuggler's head.   Or worse: the inclusion of a rebel soldier alongside force users in hiding can rapidly draw in Inquisitors

Then there's the non-fluid nature.  It's a one-way progression without decreasing.

 

So...

Am I reading the situation wrong?  Or is there a homebrew alternative to Duty where it's more meaningful to personal character choice (in the same way obligation and morality is)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, thinkbomb said:

Or is there a homebrew alternative to Duty where it's more meaningful to personal character choice (in the same way obligation and morality is)?

As noted, you can run one, two, or all three systems at once if you like.  They work fine together (though you might want to limit which one is used for chargen XP purposes).  My first long campaign was technically using Obligation (barely), but everybody was running AoR specs.  There was only one Duty-related Talent that came up, and I just reworked it to remove setback from Negotiation.

It sounds to me like you'd be better off using the Obligation mechanic, and just handle the PC's rank in the rebellion in-story.

However, I think the first question to ask about these mechanics is "why use them at all?"  They aren't necessary at all to play the game.  Personally I find them more of a hinderance, even a crutch.  In some ways they are like training wheels, nice to get the creative juices flowing and helping structure a campaign, but eventually it's better if you take them off.  A good story, along with player injection, should trump these mechanics entirely.

So maybe start there.  Ask yourself what you want out of such a mechanic.  If one of the existing ones works for you, great.  If not, make up your own or toss it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  

14 minutes ago, P-47 Thunderbolt said:

There's nothing to say that a character can't have both Duty and another system.

jedi smuggler rebel commander!  Morality, obligation, and duty all rolled into one.

 

in seriousness, I just feel like there's a lack of personal-free-will between duty and player in comparison to the other systems.  Duty kinda just feels like a tertiary group XP meter as opposed to something indicative of the character's personal being.

 

I'll restate the original issue with cross pollination, as I feel this may have gotten lost...

If there's a lone fringer with obligation in another system, that player has the advantage/onus of dealing with that.

If there's a long forcer with morality in another system, yada yada

Duty kinda only kicks in as the squad performs enough to rank up.  8\  so ... a lone asset with Duty ... doesn't work.

 

2 minutes ago, whafrog said:

However, I think the first question to ask about these mechanics is "why use them at all?"

I do have an answer!

Obligation - I don't like the random roll table.  I do like the social interaction table, however.  ... but, again ... that mainly works given the fluid nature

Morality - that's core to the thematic of being a force user

Duty - issues explained above

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lone asset with Duty... Really doesn't work. UNLESS! You treat it almost as a Motivation. For example: Duty: Personnel. The character is specially careful to preserve the lives of their companions and will go above and beyond the call of Duty to ensure they survive to contribute to the Alliance.

If they are largely in an Edge campaign, just give them the Dutybound Obligation to the Alliance and call it a day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Totally get where you're coming from with Duty.

Tbh, even if I was running AoR with a full squad of rebels, I'd still use obligation. Narratively it's just far more interesting to have your real life problems get in the way of your freedom fighting, like Han in Empire, and even Luke's arc could be looked at as the Family obligation rearing its head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

stepped away for a bit, came up with pseudo replacement, read your comments, refined the idea.  This is just the concept pitch, shouldn't be too hard to iron out mechanics with numbers...

 

The [some cool sounding word like notoriety] Table!
A duty alternative (or supplement), targeted mainly at lone Rebellion asset

  • Have a number rating that affects how strongly the Empire associates your character with the Rebel Alliance
  • This does not cover your character's ACTUAL relationship with the Rebel Alliance.  Establish how that will pan out with your GM.
  • If the party member performs actions that are deemed to be in league with the Rebel Alliance, this rating will go up.  HOWEVER, if it's just deemed as criminal activity - the number will remain as is or only increase by a lesser amount.  (likewise, you could leverage this if the empire thinks your innocuous criminal activities are Rebel ordered)
  • The higher the number, the higher chance that the Empire will be actively looking for the specific character during a session. (jury rig something similar to obligation checks.  Didn't like them at first, but having a forced random chance can be of use)
  • After each session, if you didn't actively increase the rating, the number will go down by 5 points or so.  Likewise, you can do other narrative things to decrease the association.

instead of listing gameplay benefits, I'll list party compositions where this would theoretically work...

  • Your party of fringer scumbags have a rebel spy/operative in their midst (that they're ok with).  He can periodically be activated (when GM feels it's plot convenient) and the party will attempt to fulfill this responsibility to the rebellion.  If they make themselves known, or deliver a Jyn Erso quality speech to civilians, their [notoriety] goes up (namely the person who did the thing) which may make the next mission of smuggling Hutt goods a bit more complicated.  (With there being a number attached to the relationship, it's easier to juggle character plot lines)
  • The rebel alliance sent out a soldier to help safeguard some rumored forcers.  While she's bringing firepower, she's also bringing some [notoriety] with her.
  • Or, you're running a full on AoR campaign with career rebels, but the party's working as saboteurs rather than buzzing X-Wings.  Separating the military ranks from Imperial Recognition could be interesting.

 

Anyhoo, that's the thought I'll tinker with for a while.  Basically just divorcing part of duty out of the formula so that the number-rating can be more fluid.  Thanks for the input / thought prompts!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, thinkbomb said:

  jedi smuggler rebel commander!  Morality, obligation, and duty all rolled into one.

You say that jokingly, but minus the Jedi part, Han Solo fits that archetype perfectly.  He starts out as a smuggler, and eventually becomes GENERAL Solo.   So it's not at all out of theme of Star Wars to have overlapping complications like Obligation/Duty/Morality.

In fact, Luke probably had all 3 at one point in the original trilogy.  He definitely had a Duty to the Rebellion, and the Morality system as well.  He...probably had something in his character that would qualify as Obligation?  I'm drawing a bit of a blank at the moment on what that might be, but I'm sure someone could find something that would be appropriate.  

Well, actually, now that I think about it, the easy Obligation is the Hunted one, since he's a Force Sensitive.  A lot of people are of the opinion that in the Rebellion Era, it's almost mandatory for an Force character to have an Obligation, of being hunted by the Empire.  So Luke could easily fit all 3, and Han is a close second.   Again, you were being silly I know, but you were more on point than I think you realize.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Stethemessiah said:

Family! It played a preeeety huge role in the whole plot, ;)

Like I said, I'm sure someone would think of something.  I was mostly drawing a blank because I haven't played this system in a while, and don't remember the different types of Obligation, so I wasn't sure what story elements of his character would most fit.  But yeah Family is definitely one, though not so much in New Hope, as he didn't really have any Family to speak of, that was still alive at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there's a case to be made that it was, then swiftly followed by revenge once the homestead is burned. Which is fulfilled when he nukes the Deathstar.

I think possibly through Empire you could argue that his GM is keeping his new Family obligation secret from him until the big reveal. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  There's nothing keeping Duty to a squad level - a single person with Duty is still duty-bound to whatever it is. If it's the Rebellion then they can fulfill that duty as part of whatever operation they're involved in, even if the other PCs don't care about it.

  Smuggling? Resource Acquisition is definitely one Duty that fits neatly into that shtick; the Alliance brass might not want to know where that hard-to-acquire but conveniently plot-necessary thing came from, but they sure appreciate having it when it's needed...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@thinkbomb

While I'm personally not a fan of Duty (mostly because it only reinforces missions instead of complicating them), it's not static.

Once you hit 100+ Duty it resets to 0 and the group's Contribution Rank goes up by 1.

If you look at all 3 as narrative hooks, Duty is the most bland. The players want their Duty to trigger, because it grants a benefit.

Obligation is the most fun, because if used right, it should complicate the main main plot of an adventure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, salamar_dree said:

@thinkbomb

While I'm personally not a fan of Duty (mostly because it only reinforces missions instead of complicating them), it's not static.

Once you hit 100+ Duty it resets to 0 and the group's Contribution Rank goes up by 1.

If you look at all 3 as narrative hooks, Duty is the most bland. The players want their Duty to trigger, because it grants a benefit.

Obligation is the most fun, because if used right, it should complicate the main main plot of an adventure.

you never really lose Duty, though.

I mean, your rebel players would have to do something that would get them demoted in order to make them lose Duty ... and while there are some GMs (and a fringe case group or two) who like to "explore the grim dark realities of running a secretive organization where if the truth got out of what they did..." crap, I would wager that the super majority of players who sign up to be rebels want to play honorable good guys (or at the very least, honorable intention heroes).

And yeah, what you said about obligation probably being the best due to the complication factor = 100% spot on the nose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/26/2019 at 8:16 PM, thinkbomb said:

but a lone rebel operative can't really help a group a smugglers while maintaining their duty rating in a meaningful way

Make their duty about civilian outreach, providing (smuggled) resources to the Rebellion, etc? That way the group activities and the rebel's goals overlap.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...