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Destiny Points: When both sides use, over and over and over

44 posts in this topic

LethalDose said:

creature feature said:

 

This may be going too far for a house rule but perhaps a bidding system would work. Each side bids DP and the most gets the use. You could even do it secretely and then have the bidded amount flipped anyway, even as the loser. Sorry if this is out there. I like house rules.

 

 

Huh.  That interesting.  I don't think I'd use it, for two reasons.

  1. They make a point of stating the players and GM aren't opponents, but I worry the bidding would create too much of a adversarial back and forth.  Also, the GMs could block players out of using DPs when the players felt it would be appropriate.
  2. This 'zero sum' bidding could create situations where, after a single big bid, the other side would have free run with a bunch of DPs that the opposing side couldn't respond to.

But I do kind of like the idea.  I just don't think it'd be a good match for my game.

-WJL

Yeah, i'll probably stick with RAW in the meantime.

 

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So, subitted for consideration, a house rule: 

The players and the GM can only use the DPs faces showing at the start of an action.  For example, if the pool has all Dark points showing when someone takes an action (player or GM, doesn't matter), A DM could flip one to a light side for whatever appropriate use he desires, but the players would be unable to respond because there were no point showing whent the action was declared.

So now when the players have decided to use all their DPs, they can no longer respond one for one when the GM plays a DP when fate is entirely in his favor.

This is the simplest variation, others include a free opposing upgrde on the same roll, or a free upgrade to be spent by the opposing side within one turn.  The general idea is to keep the destiny pool out of 'extreme configurations' where the whole pool is one color, or only one color except for one point.  There's a more severe penalty for "that last" DP, since it represents pushing so destiny/karma/fate/the force/the FSM so far out of balance.

So if one side games the system, where everytime the other side plays a DP, they do too.  But, presumably, the DPs are a bonus resource for them as well, so, in my games, the both sides want to use them proactively.  If one side is matching their use one-for-one reactively as well as proactive use, it's a simple matter of NOT going responding when they boost their rolls and the 'abusive' party will back themselves into corner quickly.  

Yes, the 'abusive party' may still just shift their preferred position one bead away from the most extreme configuration, but it takes lesst time to get there and each DP becomes more valuable.

Just a thought.

-WJL

 

 

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Lord Dynel said:

I pretty much use it the way it's written up:

  • You can use one Destiny Point per action.
  • Both sides get a chance to use one.
  • The Destiny Point(s) is/are flipped the other way (light/dark) and is/are available for use after said action is resolved.

The only thing I've had an issue with so far - and it's really a minor one - is that I have to break in before the players roll dice to add a Destiny Point.  My players are eager to throw the dice and I've had to stop them so I could modify the check. 

Yeah, those crazy players, ready to throw those bones before the GM is even done talking reir

I think the RAW works pretty well, both from the perspective of a player (when I remember to make use of them) and as a GM.  That said, I think that last bullet point might the issue, not because it exists, but more to the fact that players and GMs forget to that tidbit.

The only time I ran into an issue was when running Escape from Mos Shutta for my Wednesday group, and running the adventure pretty much as written, where Destiny Points didn't get included until almost the end, and my players kept forgetting they were there to spend, even when the pool was nothing but Light Side Destiny Points.  Could just have been that they were too used to Destiny Points being something big and cool in Saga Edition, but as that group has little interest in pursuing an EotE campaign, I'll probably never really know.

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Donovan Morningfire said:

I think the RAW works pretty well, both from the perspective of a player (when I remember to make use of them) and as a GM.  That said, I think that last bullet point might the issue, not because it exists, but more to the fact that players and GMs forget to that tidbit.

 

And I don't mean to sound better than anyone on this thread, but that was the headsratcher for me.  I wasn't understanding what the big discussion was about.  I'm thinking to myself, "Gee, it seems to be spelled out in the rules right there in black and white."  But maybe it just clicked for me, I don't know.  

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LethalDose said:

, the 'abusive party' may still just shift their preferred position one bead away from the most extreme configuration, but it takes lesst time to get there and each DP becomes more valuable.

See, I don't think this is an abusive party issue. I think this can come from using DPs as intended.

Here's a few examples:

  1. The party runs into a fallen Jedi, who rushes them with a lightsaber. The GM wants this to be a scary fight and spends a DP on the attack roll. The defending player doesn't want to get hit with a lightsaber, and spends a DP in response. The GM wants this fight to be brutal, so he spends a DP whenever the Jedi attacks. The party doesn't want to be hit with a lightsaber, so they save their DP for defense.
  2. The party is ending an adventure and facing off against the mastermind behind thier troubles. They have been waiting for this moment and want to take him down, so they use DPs on their attacks. The GM doesn't want the fight to be over so quickly, so he spends DPs on defense.

Who is abusing the system in the above examples? Everyone? I don't think this is a "blame the players" issue. 

In any other game where fate points are limited, both of these scenarios would be fine, because both sides could run out of points. In addition, since DPs are unlimited, there is less incentive to hoard them and more to spend them (for both sides). 

 

And to those saying "refresh DPs at the end of an action" aren't seeing the issue. If there are 4Light and 3 Dark DPs at the start of an action, there will be the same if each spends a point. That's part of the problem, it can be done forever.

 

The more I think about it, the more I like refreshing DPs at the end of a scene. If you do it this way, when you start a scene with only one or two DPs (or none), you know things aren't going to go well for you. It heightens an existing feature of DPs. 

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Doc, the Weasel said:

LethalDose said:

 

, the 'abusive party' may still just shift their preferred position one bead away from the most extreme configuration, but it takes lesst time to get there and each DP becomes more valuable.

 

 

See, I don't think this is an abusive party issue. I think this can come from using DPs as intended.

Here's a few examples:

  1. The party runs into a fallen Jedi, who rushes them with a lightsaber. The GM wants this to be a scary fight and spends a DP on the attack roll. The defending player doesn't want to get hit with a lightsaber, and spends a DP in response. The GM wants this fight to be brutal, so he spends a DP whenever the Jedi attacks. The party doesn't want to be hit with a lightsaber, so they save their DP for defense.
  2. The party is ending an adventure and facing off against the mastermind behind thier troubles. They have been waiting for this moment and want to take him down, so they use DPs on their attacks. The GM doesn't want the fight to be over so quickly, so he spends DPs on defense.

Who is abusing the system in the above examples? Everyone? I don't think this is a "blame the players" issue. 

In any other game where fate points are limited, both of these scenarios would be fine, because both sides could run out of points. In addition, since DPs are unlimited, there is less incentive to hoard them and more to spend them (for both sides). 

 

And to those saying "refresh DPs at the end of an action" aren't seeing the issue. If there are 4Light and 3 Dark DPs at the start of an action, there will be the same if each spends a point. That's part of the problem, it can be done forever.

 

The more I think about it, the more I like refreshing DPs at the end of a scene. If you do it this way, when you start a scene with only one or two DPs (or none), you know things aren't going to go well for you. It heightens an existing feature of DPs. 

So, when I said "Abusive Party" I didn't explicitly mean the players, I was trying to imply it could be either  the players or the GM hoarding the DPs.  And when I said 'abusive', i mean that someone routinely wasn't using the DP rules in the nature they were intended.  This actually IS a place where we get Jay's (or at least some designers) thoughts on the topic, in Destiny Point Economy in Gameplay (pg 24, Beta Text).

My point was you could use house rules if it was a consistent problem because the players routinely played in a particular way.  So citing particular examples doesn't really address what I was talking about.

I'm also not blaming anyone, I was just trying to address the concern of the OP.  My group doesn't seem to have this issue because they don't do the one-for-one DP use and they don't hoard, so I haven't needed to implement a rule like this.  Though, they are pretty separate problems.

I think the intended the 'solution' to the one-for-one exchange is for the other side not to respond when a side is proactively uses their own DPs.  This shifts the The problem is it leads to an "all but one" configuration of the pool, which someone above I think mentioned "As long as a side has at least one DP of a certain color, they're 'safe'", so the problem isn't really solved, and its not really a solution.  It's the players finding their 'preferred equilibrium' point.  If that point is undesirable because of either the 'spirit' or the 'mechanics' of the game, then it should be disincentivized.  

And really, what I posted only the variants changed the rule, since theres already a line in the book about the DPs flipping after the action, which I had never noticed.  So, mea culpa.  Feel free to ignore the ever loving crap out of that part of the post.

Personally, I don't like the pool refreshing every encounter, because I don't think it would solve the problem, but actually increase the intensity of the problem.  Under these rules, the players (PCs or GM) not playing in the spirit of the rules could move to a "all but one" configuration every encounter.   If a side knows the pool will be refreshed to a random state at the end of every encounter (or beginning of every encounter, not much difference), if their DPs are depelted, the worst case scenario is that you still have zero DP at the start of the next, and more likely, you get some back.  Also, you have to define "encounter" or at least when the pool is refreshed. I feel like this could cause problems with encounters that had a small number of rolls, like social encounters.  The parties would have no incentive to not blow all the DPs they could because they come back later.  In short, I think each the DP pool for each encounter should have memory of the earlier ones in that 

I think the actual solution is to do it in a way that both sides declare DP use simulataneously.  Like, everyone takes 2 cards from a deck, a red card and black card.  Every roll, the GM and player each choose one of their two cards, and put them face down on the table.  Whoever chose a red card spends a DP, black means no DP for that side.  

Or to prevent this from slowing down the game, either side can simply say "DP check" when they want to either spend a DP or have a chance get a DP back.  There are essentially 2 reasons to call DP check: Get a bonus, or to increase your pool (and therby decrease their pool) .  Looking at this like the Prisoner's Dillema, we get:

  GM Choice  
Player Choice DP No DP
DP

Both sides get bonus, 

No chance in pool, 

Player gets upgrade,

GM gets a DP refreshed

No DP

GM gets an upgrade,

Player gets a DP refreshed

No bonus,

No Change in pool

Except for the "No bonus, no pool change" outcome (Which has no utility value), The utility value of all the outcomes is situational (depends on what a party is trying to accomplish), so no equilibrium point exists.

Actually, I think I may try this next time we're playing to see if it slows things down or leads to any other issues.

-WJL

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LethalDose said:

Personally, I don't like the pool refreshing every encounter, because I don't think it would solve the problem, but actually increase the intensity of the problem.  Under these rules, the players (PCs or GM) not playing in the spirit of the rules could move to a "all but one" configuration every encounter.   If a side knows the pool will be refreshed to a random state at the end of every encounter (or beginning of every encounter, not much difference), if their DPs are depelted, the worst case scenario is that you still have zero DP at the start of the next, and more likely, you get some back.  Also, you have to define "encounter" or at least when the pool is refreshed. I feel like this could cause problems with encounters that had a small number of rolls, like social encounters.  The parties would have no incentive to not blow all the DPs they could because they come back later.  In short, I think each the DP pool for each encounter should have memory of the earlier ones in that 

When I say refresh at the end of the encounter, I don't mean randomly. What I am saying is when you use a DP, it is flipped to the other side and then returned to the pool at the end of the scene (or suitable "breather" moment if it's a long and dice-heavy scene). You would still have the flow from one side to another, and still have a reason not to use them in a scene.

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Doc, the Weasel said:

When I say refresh at the end of the encounter, I don't mean randomly. What I am saying is when you use a DP, it is flipped to the other side and then returned to the pool at the end of the scene (or suitable "breather" moment if it's a long and dice-heavy scene). You would still have the flow from one side to another, and still have a reason not to use them in a scene.

Sorry, I misunderstood what you meant.  I had presumed that "refreshing the pool" meant removing all the DPs in the current pool and re-rolling a force die per player like you did at the beginning of a session.  

For clairifcation, under the house rule you described, a DP spent by the PC's would be flipped from light to dark, but that dark point would be unavailable to the GM until the encounter was over, correct?

-WJL

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LethalDose said:

For clairifcation, under the house rule you described, a DP spent by the PC's would be flipped from light to dark, but that dark point would be unavailable to the GM until the encounter was over, correct?

-WJL

Yes.

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I have been thinking along the lines of it being up to the gm to control the flow of DPs by spending the dark side DPs sparingly.  I would encourage players to use light side points as often as they want to accomplish what they need but as a GM I would not start spending dark side points until near the end of an encounter, the caveat being that I would try to have a minimum of 1 light side point on the able at all times.

For example, the players walk in on a group of bounty hunters and a fight ensues, the players are likely to want to succeed and start spending light side points.  They watch the number of dark side points rise with a growing sense of dread until there is only one light side point left in play, I then introduce the big bad bounty hunter to harass the group, and he starts using the dark side points on his action.  The players now have a decision to make, which player spends the remaining light side point on their turn, as there are no longer enough to go around.

So used this way the spending of destiny points starts to affect the narrative and increase the fear factor.

Just my thoughts, I will try it out during my next session.

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A pity this issue was rised post beta testing! These kind of "bugs" anoy me infinitely!

I think I would adopt the house rules proposed by Doc, they make a lot of sense.

Have anyone there tested them? Works?

Cheers,

Yepes

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Yepesnopes said:

A pity this issue was rised post beta testing! These kind of "bugs" anoy me infinitely!

I think I would adopt the house rules proposed by Doc, they make a lot of sense.

Have anyone there tested them? Works?

Cheers,

Yepes

I don't think designers consider it as a "bug", either during beta or now.  There's a few passages in the book and some statements from the designers that indicate it's on the players and the GM to stick to the nature/intent/spirit of the rules.  The one I can easily point to is in the GM section at the end of the "Rules Adjutication" subsection (p188):

"However, rules lawyering-using the minutiae of the rules to gain an unfair, unexpected, or unintended advantage in the game-should be avoided by both players and GMs."

Basically, instead of writing rules of greater volume and complexity to explictly close loopholes, they chose to write rules of reduced volume and complexity, and expect the GMs & players to not exploit the rules.

And I'm NOT saying one way is right, and the other is wrong.  Its JUST PREFERENCE.  So lets get that $h!t out of the way to start with.

You do, however, have to acknowledge the consequence of either choice.  And the consequence of this particular choice is that there are rules as printed, e.g. the DP rules, that allow exploitative behavior (what you would refer to as the "bug").  The GM and players are expected to not adopt these play styles, because such actions and their results would be "unfair, unexpected, or unintended".

This does cause a problem because different GMs and players may have extremely different views on what is fair, expected, and intended.  Just look around at these forums.  Though it has been remarkably civil lately.  The solution ends up creating a myriad interpretations and house-rules that grow up separately around every table.

Coming back around to where we started, yeah, it can be annoying, but its the price to be paid for a 'lighter', narrative rule set.

-WJL

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LethalDose said:

"However, rules lawyering-using the minutiae of the rules to gain an unfair, unexpected, or unintended advantage in the game-should be avoided by both players and GMs."

See, this is one of those places where stating "don't be a ****" actually doesn't solve the problem. This is a rare instance where playing the narrative and playing the rules both end up with the same action: spend destiny points on important rolls.

For this problem not to come up, both the GM and players have to not spend DP on important rolls, which is counter-intuitive. It's not clear what playing "properly" is in this case. 

 

My group made the switch, and it works great, btw. 

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Doc, the Weasel said:

My group made the switch, and it works great, btw. 

Sorry, I am still with my morning coffee. Does this mean that your group uses the house rule of refreshing at the end of an encounter /scene and that it works fine?

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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We already houseruled only 1 DP per action and that the active player (this can include GM playing NPC's) gets first dibs on whether or not he/she is going to use a DP or not for that action.  If they choose not to when assembling dice pool, other side can use one.

I think this is really the intent they had when making the DP system.  It does make it much more epic when you do decide to use them and if the other side does sit on theirs for awhile things get tense.  Players have to ration/pace themselves to make sure the dark side doesnt loom over them.

 

Its kinda fun as GM to be constantly asking/reminding/proding the players, are you going to spend a DP? And they sit there and sweat, because I might use one against them if they dont..which could make their challenge even tougher.  Its almost akin to a game of POKER.  I might be bluffing, I might not.

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Yepesnopes said:

Doc, the Weasel said:

 

My group made the switch, and it works great, btw. 

 

 

Sorry, I am still with my morning coffee. Does this mean that your group uses the house rule of refreshing at the end of an encounter /scene and that it works fine?

 

Cheers,

Yepes

Yes.

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Diggles said:

We already houseruled only 1 DP per action and that the active player (this can include GM playing NPC's) gets first dibs on whether or not he/she is going to use a DP or not for that action.  If they choose not to when assembling dice pool, other side can use one.

….

Its kinda fun as GM to be constantly asking/reminding/proding the players, are you going to spend a DP? And they sit there and sweat, because I might use one against them if they dont..which could make their challenge even tougher.  Its almost akin to a game of POKER.  I might be bluffing, I might not.

That sounds good - I think I'll pinch that one. As you say, I think that is closer to the intent of the system, and it does work around this issue nicely with the minimum of rules changes.

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While I like the current rules for Edge of the Empire, there are three points that don't feel like they should for me :

1- Character creation points as XP with additionnal options (ie: buying caracteristics)

2- The obligation system

3- The destiny points system


First I will explain what I feel is wrong with those 3 rules, and then I will propose possible houserules to fix them.

----------------------------
1- Character creation
----------------------------

The problem:
------------

We have probably all read by now the thread about buying caracteristics points during creation. The fact is that the current system seems to rewards buying the maximum abilities points possible during creation, as you won't be able to buy them easily after that (the only access being the dedication talents), while other options like skills and talents will be cheaper to buy or upgrade later with standard XP.

Someone has made some calcultation showing that a player buying skills and talents during creation wouldn't really be less powerful that other characters during the pace of a campaign, so it's not trully a balance issue. For me the true problem here is that a new player creating a character might feel cheated later seeing that he cannot upgrade his abilities as easily that another character can upgrade his skills.

Yes, a competent DM can take the time to explain it, so the player make the choice knowing what he does, but as a computer programmer I don't like letting obious flaws like that that could just be prvented at the source from happening even with a rookie user.

----------------------------
2 - the Obligation system
----------------------------

The problem:
------------

I remember when DMing in the Word of Darkness from White Wolf that the character creation had a merits & flaws system that allowed to buy special advantages during creation, or get more points by taking flaws.

The problem is that there were several king of merit and flaw, some where just numerical modifiers, like getting a bonus in some situations, or being vulnerable to something else, or situationnal advantages, like having a contact with the police, and those where usually fine (except of course that their points were not always appropriates), but the other kind was the true source of problems and I soon forbidden them.

What was this other kind ? It was the "pure story" kind, like having a nemesis wanting to kill you (flaw), or maybe someone you want to protect (flaw) or a dark secret that you knwon and could spell trouble for you later (flaw).

There were also some merit with similar problems, and while having contacts within the police was perfectly appropriate, having on old and powerful mentor able to help you could be a big problem for the DM (can you spell "Deux ex Machinae" ?)

You will recognize some of them as being close to some Obligations. So what was the problems with them exactly ?

For me it was that they were not really problems for the *player*, just potential sources of problems for their *character*.

I used to call those flaw as "give more work for the DM for free points".

A good rule of thumb for me was that if the work of using the flaw was only based on what I -the DM- had to do, and not on actions or choices by the player, then I didn't allow it.
(the problem was mainly about the flaws, the merits were usually not taken as too DM-dependent)

The obligation system try to get it slightly right by at least giving a numerical impact with the chance of lost strain, but there are several problems with it:
a) I have seen people saying that just losing some strain was not really felt as too bad, as you can easily get it back in game.
b) a player can chose to get more points at the cost of the rest of the group. Sure the player can lose more himself, but most of the time what the player with more obligation do is giving more chance for the groupe getting the strain loss each session.

----------------------------
3 - the Destiny tokens
----------------------------

The problem has been discussed here, so I won't go into too much details, but the fact is that here we have 3 pages of discussions on the topic, and we still cannot all agree on how to best use the tokens in game, and too often it seems to get into a (almost) zero-sum game of both the DM and players using the tokens.

This doesn't feel like real choice for me. A good system would be "I have a limited ressource to use during epic and dangerous situations", while here we have "do i use my token now, but if I do I will give the DM one bad token … ?". When a supposed choice is a zero-sum game, the choise could as be be removed.

Would the system be really different if it was replaced by "both the players and the DM can select a roll as being 'decisive', updating both an ability and a challenge die.", without even a token system ?

Note, this last point is *not* my proposed houserule, just an exemple of what is bad with the current system.


================================
Now for the possible fixes …
================================

For point 1, some people have suggested allowing abilities upgrade to be bought using XP (at a high cost of course), the dedication talents being just cheaper upgrades, but It don't thinkg that it is needed.

From my point of view, if it is a perception/system mastery proble, just presenting the creation rules differently could resolve it.

For exemple, if instead of 100XP during creation, humans had 10 "abilities points", that could be used to buy abilities (for 1/10 th the cost of in XP from the current rules), with unspend points being able to be converted into 10 XP each, then the players would known that those points are supposed to be used first for abilities, and only those knowing what they do should convert more that the minimum into XP.

You want to play a force user ans spend most of your starting points into XP for buying the specialisation tree and the needed talents ? Go on you can still do it, the system allows exactly the same things as before.

Yes this is purely cosmetic, but it means that even a group with rookie DM and players will at first glance know thatbuying abilities is something exeptionnal that you do mainly during character creation.


For points 2, I have liked the houserule that someone proposed in the forum, it was something like that :
- obligation has rank like abilities or skills
- each player starts at 1 rank of obligation
- buying additionnal credits or XP costobligations points. The smaller upgrade of each cost 1 point, and the bigger 2 points. So somebody maxing starting obligation would get 5 ranks
- as an option, the group as a whole could get its own obligation rank/pool, I'm thinking of 2 ranks at the start of the game (it could represent the debt from the starting ship for exemple)
- in game, each obligation rank would represent one black die that the DM could add to any roll of the corresponding player (the group obligation pool could be added to any player)
- If you want to keep from the offocial rules the fact that obligation cannot go to zero, you might just say that the group obligation cannot be less than 1, even of all players have resolved their personnal obligation.

For point 3, the simplest thing that I can think is simply that dark side tokens are still flipped to the light side, but light side tokens are just removed from play.

Remember that the force die has more faces with dark side points (but less points on each face), so the DM should almost always get at least a few points to use during the session, while the player would be able to spend their points without bad feeling. This would make the players slightly more powerful, but it should still be acceptable.

An optionnal variant combined with the obligation houserule could be that instead of using the obligation pool to add black dice, they could be used to flip light token to the dark side instead of removing them.

Ie: player 1 has 3 ranks of obligation, and spend a light token. The DM use one obligation to get the token back on the dark side, the player still has 2 ranks of obligation to apply during the session.
 

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@jtrowell:  I like your first point, it's a semantic shift that clarifies, but doesn't change things mechanically.  Can't comment on point 2, we've only played the beginner game, which doesn't have Obligation.  

For point 3, I haven't bothered with the Destiny tokens yet, as I don't like the concept.  In another recent thread I started regarding GM secret dice rolls (when I was new to this narrative stuff) I was told my old way of playing was "antagonistic" where the GM is set against the players…a fair point and something I hadn't considered.  So we play through the beginner game and really enjoy the mechanics and the cooperative storytelling aspect, and then I reread the bit about the Destiny tokens…and lo and behold it's back to GM and player antagonism.  The whole mechanic feels anachronistic compared to the rest of the game.  I don't see what other purpose they serve.

I think for my own games the most I would do is allocate a few dice as a pool to be drawn from by the players during the session, with possibly a few more added as the game progresses as a reward for good roleplay, cooperation, etc.  If I want to impose a Destiny-like dark side penalty, that will come into the story via environmental factors like the weather, or increased opposition.  I might even (once I see the force user rules) suggest there is a "disturbance", and add a setback die…but it will be for reasons that are plot-related, not just because I'm "against" the players.

 

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