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Maelora

What will 'Force & Destiny' look like?

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So before you start listening to the fear-mongers on how dangerous the move force power is, check this out.

 

In order to use move effectively you have to roll three light side points. One for the power, one for strength, and one for range (If your target was in short range why not use your lightsaber?) Given the random nature or force dice, even rolling six dice you may or may not get those three points.

 

That being said you still have to hit the target. a silhouette one object would be one diff die IF the target didn't have any ranks in adversary. Range defense would also be applied as it is a ranged attack. Still sound like a game changing force power? This is even more true for players who can stack dodge, side step, and other talents at the cost of strain (if I see a cargo container getting flung at me you can bet I will chew through strain to not eat that damage!) There is also no chance of crit or any special effects.

 

Now compare that to a blaster rifle. At nine damage it hits about as hard as a silhouette one object and has a chance to crit. It can reach longer ranges at higher diffs but that is greatly offset by loads of talents that reduce diff, add boost dice, improve crit roll, ect. Also, barring damage or reload, it can fire every round no questions asked.

 

So yeah there is a chance of dealing 40 damage but that far from a guarantee...unless you flip a destiny point and take two strain to use a dark side point....oh look, the dark side mechanic works, how bout that. Compared along side a simple and common blaster rifle, the overall effects are rather similar. I would also doubt the wisdom of someone who says "well in <insert previous version of rpg> there were these problems"

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From my experience, the mechanical means are the Paladin screw-jobs.  It doesn't matter if the GM just says you commited an evil act and loose your paladin hood or if they tell you to take 10 points on the evil-o-meter and you loose your paladin hood.  Your still basing a mechanical effect on the GMs perception of what is evil or not.  If you are using palaidn screw-jobs to refer to someone playing a sociopathic paladin with no repercussions, then that falls right back into a social problem between the player and GM and no amount of rules will fix it.

 

I don't want to see a hard, character affecting mechanic in the books as the default, but I would be ok with it being an optional rule.  And having a good page or two on different interpretations of how much gray is between the light and dark for a group to choose would be awesome too.  That way we can all play what and how we want.

I think in here we're seeing the fundamental disagreement, boldfaced by myself...

 

The Paladin Screw Jobs come up because of a-hole GMs that didn't want Paladins in their group in the first place but lacked the spine to tell the player "Sorry, I really don't want a paladin in my game," and instead force the PC in into an no-win situation where they are going to fail.  And a large part of that is because the paladin code is a "one strike, you're out!" system, where one evil action results in a fallen paladin but the rules don't really go into "what is an evil action exactly?"

 

WEG and WotC both had a dark side tracking system that wasn't "you break this rule, you instantly fall."  It was a measuring stick of how far off the straight & narrow that a character had fallen.  Under the Saga Edition method, it wasn't anywhere close to that extreme, as Force-users generally had to rack up several Dark Side points before they might be truly considered in danger of falling to the dark side.  WEG's method had more potential to screw a player over, since whether a PC fell or not was also depending upon a die roll (something that as a GM I house-ruled out), meaning that a roll of 1 on a d6 when the PC only had 2 Dark Side Points meant the character had fallen.  The OCR/RCR system had the PCs running a chance of having their physical ability scores reduced after a certain threshold.

 

It seems you, Logan, and Maelora are under the misconception that what I'm proposing is a "one strike, you're out" type of mechanic...  which is the furthest thing from the truth.  For those groups who don't have to deal with players trying to abuse the system, it'd simply be a measuring stick for both player and GM to determine just how close to falling to the dark side the character is.

 

Personally, I'd prefer an approach similar to Saga Edition's, where there's a tracking of Dark Side Points, but problems only come up after certain thresholds are hit.  That way, it's possible for a Jedi to make a bad call  but not instantly fall to the dark side because of it.  Example would be Anakin's slaughter of those Tuskens in the prequels; that was certainly a dark side act, and in game terms would net him a Dark Side Point, but he still had the potential to realize just how much of a mistake that was and try to become a better Jedi.

 

As far as a mechanical effect for falling to the dark side... it already exists, and is documented in a sidebar on page 278 of the EotE core rulebook, fitting labelled "Dark Side Force Users."  So if a PC does fall to the dark side... well, there's what ultimately happens to them.  In the short term, it looks like a power boost due to dark side pips being more likely to occur when rolling Force Dice to activate a power.  But, most of those facings only have a single pip, so the dark sider won't be able to activate as many upgrades for their powers, giving Yoda's words of "not stronger, quicker, more seductive" more weight in regards to Luke's question of "is the dark side stronger?"  Though the sidebar also notes that the game assumes the PCs are reasonably "good" individuals at their core, not rampaging monsters or dark side devotees.

 

The option of taking the character away should they become a dark sider should be just that.... an option.  And one really only reserved for those players that are too immature to actually play a Jedi but rather cling to the "wandering murder hobo" mindset that D&D generally encourages.

 

Hopefully, with the entire book being devoted to just Force-users instead of the "kitchen sink" approach that WotC and WEG followed, FFG will have the space to devote more than half a page to discussion and advice on how to help GMs and players determine what is and is not a dark side act.  And then condense it down into a simple and straightforward checklist; something like Sarli's "5 Questions" would be ideal, as those tend not to have a lot of wiggle room.  And it would cut down things like Logan's "what is harm exactly?" nonsense or the blatant stupidity of "your Jedi ate meat, he's obviously evil!" type of jack@$$ery that leads to Paladin Screw Jobs.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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I think this thread has at least shown us – if not the book itself – at least what the F&D forum will look like.

Well, the problem with this thread is that nobody has any information.

 

Once the Beta is out, we'll at least have something to work with in terms of pretty much everything.

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Ahrimon,

Just because you or anyone else don't want to bother to do the research into the Star Wars universe doesn't mean that FFG won't, or even have a great deal of choice in the matter, given this is a licensed product, and thus FFG has to abide by whatever terms and conditions that Lucasfilm/Disney requires.

 

If nothing else, FFG has to abide by the stuff noted as G-level canon, and that stuff is going to be the bulk of material that people are going to be familiar with.  And that level of canon is the stuff that's going to be sticking around even after the Story Team does their clean-up of the EU material.

 

There's also the approvals process that any licensed product has to go through.  WotC had a pretty good working relationship with the folks in charge of approvals at Lucasfilm, and their books weren't delayed too badly, though part of that was WotC working about a year in advance of when the books were scheduled for release in case something did get hung up in the approvals process.

 

And if the approvals folks at Lucasfilm don't like what FFG has done, they can reject the product and send it back saying "you need to fix these things before we'll consider approving it."  Green Ronin has been suffering from the approval process for their Dragon Age RPG line, with Set 3 having been stuck in approvals for several months, with things submitted being rejected, fixed, resubmitted, and still waiting for approval (though it seems most of the problem is getting the BioWare folks to respond to the approvals request).

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The Paladin Screw Jobs come up because of ******* GMs that didn't want Paladins in their group in the first place but lacked the spine to tell the player no, and instead force the Paladin into an no-win situation where they are going to fail.

 

So lets add a mechanic just to keep bad players in line! BRILLIANT!!!

 

Or we could just try to make better players like other narrative systems and not try to cover every base like D20 tried to do.

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Yeah a PM that you ignored rather than try to console with me so that gave me the first insight into your character (since we are calling each other out ;) )

 

As for my input I would say it is very valid as several people are of similar mind to what I have been saying to the get go. The only person who seems to think I am offering nothing to the discussion is you on the grounds that I have a different point of view on the matter. How dare I, right? I mean who do I think I am? :D

 

I don't think I'm going anywhere. I'm starting to get the hang of this forum thing and now I have friends here. So I think I'm going to pull up a chair, kick back, and share my equally valid opinion just like everyone else is allowed to. OYA!

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It is for the very reason that this is a licensed property that I think FFG will use Guardian/Consular/Sentinel configurations with the careers. Disney/Lucus will, in all likelihood, want recognizable properties in the game. Jedi is probably too broad and would only encompass one of six careers (Jedi career; Guardian/Consular/Sentinel specs). Hence why they will break them down to three careers.

 

And all this other talk of Dark Side mechanics reminds me of the alignment talks on the WotC boards. Fun times.

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Been trying to from the get go Maelora ;)

I won't be surprised to see the guardian, consular, sentinel trio ether. It would be nice to see broader careers (Nomad, Enforcer, ect) for converting to other force traditions but 'm not expecting it.

 

Donovan can be prickly but he's a good contributor. 

 

I'd love to see Guardian, Consular and Sentinel, but I get the odd feeling we won't. 

 

My bet is that the F&D careers will look like the other Force-using specialisations, only with a full Career to back them up. I think we'll see more generic stuff like 'Force-Sensitive Warrior' instead of Guardian. Just my feeling. 

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My thinking is that - so far - the careers and specialisations have all been mostly generic.   I don't feel that 'scoundrel' or 'bounty hunter' are SW-specific at all. These are just real-world terms.

 

So we won't see 'Jedi' as opposed to 'Force-sensitive XXX'.  So we'd see FS-Agent or FS-Warrior instead of Sentinel or Guardian. Which could then cover any appropriate Force tradition from Sith to Jedi to Witches or whatever.  

 

I think they will find some other way to add in the actual membership of the Jedi/Sith/Witches/whatever, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them do it with whatever they decide the 'Obligation' mechanic will be.

 

Let's say they have a career, 'Force-Sensitive Adept'. That could be a Jedi Consular, a Witch of Dathomir, a tribal shaman or any similar concept.  Just as a 'Hired Gun' could be a mercenary, an ex-Imperial solider, a Black Sun enforcer or anyone else who makes his living with a blaster rifle.  

 

Thus far, the system has been very canon-light. It would take very little to reskin EoE to run a Firefly or Mass Effect game, for instance.

Edited by Maelora

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My thinking is that - so far - the careers and specialisations have all been mostly generic.   I don't feel that 'scoundrel' or 'bounty hunter' are SW-specific at all. These are just real-world terms.

 

So we won't see 'Jedi' as opposed to 'Force-sensitive XXX'.  So we'd see FS-Agent or FS-Warrior instead of Sentinel or Guardian. Which could then cover any appropriate Force tradition from Sith to Jedi to Witches or whatever.  

 

I think they will find some other way to add in the actual membership of the Jedi/Sith/Witches/whatever, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them to that with whatever they decide the 'Obligation' mechanic will be.

I would love to see that. Broad stroke careers for broad stroke roleplay.

 

Another way to use "obligation" for F&D would be aspects of the greater force as a whole. For example, you could take one that required you to protect innocents. So if you failed to protect an innocent you got points cut off. Very precise without overburdening the player with RP requirements.

Edited by Logan Ambrose

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You say that scoundrel and bounty hunter aren't specific as regards the Star Wars universe, but what are the first things many fans think of when they spoken of. Han Solo and Boba Fett. You say Jedi and most people think Luke or Obi-Wan. These are recognizable archetypes. I think they will expand and use the trio because they need six careers. They may get somewhat generic with a Force Adept career, but I think they will be more specific with the Jedi ones.

 

I don't think Disney/Lucas want a property with Generic Force-user #9, because that is not going to promote their property.

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And all this other talk of Dark Side mechanics reminds me of the alignment talks on the WotC boards. Fun times.

The problem there is that the mechanics really weren't well defined.  Much like several things in Saga Edition, the authors figured the readers were smart enough to figure out most things on their own, such as when a Dark Side Point should be given.  Sadly, that proved not to be the case, and several things had to be explained in ridiculous detail, and even then some folks still didn't get the memo.  There were plenty of topics on how Jedi and Droid PCs were utterly broken, simply because those people didn't grasp the notion that Saga Edition tried to balance the mechanical upsides of those character types with fluff-based drawbacks.

 

While not every group wants or needs such a thing, FFG has a prime opportunity to provide both players and GMs some solid suggestions and advice on the matter of "when does an action merit a Dark Side Point?"  They can cut those sorts of problems off at the path from the very start, instead of having to play catch-up the way WotC did with the Jedi Counseling article I've mentioned.

 

And to rebut an earlier and generally baseless accusation, if such a Dark Side tracking mechanism was instituted, it's not there just to keep the "bad" players in line or in a gaming group when they should be given the boot, or simply to protect good players from bad or ill-informed GMs, but is primarily there to give both sides a fair and impartial measuring stick, one built upon the morality that's already been ascribed to the Force.  As the EU hasn't been tossed out yet, there's still plenty to draw from in terms of establishing what is and is not evil in regards to the Force, and there's also some very recent material that delves into the subject and isn't likely to be brushed aside as "non-canon" anytime soon, two of those being the Essential Guide to the Force and the Path of the Jedi book, both published within the past few years and both very interesting and informative reads in regards to the Force and the Jedi.

 

Over on the d20 Radio Forums (a much nicer and far more constructive community than this one could ever hope to be), there was a lot of talk about trying to figure out some kind of "dark side point tracker" since the EotE Beta.  Not as a means for GMs to screw over their players, or players to try and game the system, but as a cooperative and objective means of showing where the PC was on the good/evil axis that both player and GM could agree was fair.  At the time, I opted for a purely narrative-guided approach with a list of suggestions on "You're a Dark Sider if..." in a sidebar in my Ways of the Force file.  But that was also written under the caveat that Force Rating wouldn't go beyond a 3 (something I suggested GM's using my material stick to).  And even then, I'm sure there have been problem players that grabbed the Jedi Initiate spec and started doing things that would make Palpatine cackle with unadulterated glee and calling on the dark side like there was no tomorrow in spite of the role-playing based advice I gave that someone truly interested in playing a Jedi should be very hesitant to call upon the dark side.  Then again, I had the luxury of my stuff simply being fan-work and thus not likely to reach a huge audience, as well as being a self-admitted stop-gap measure until Force & Destiny comes out.

 

On a related note, perhaps instead of simply a tracking system as used by WEG or WotC, perhaps something closer to the "karma meter" system used in White Wolf's World of Darkness games.  Those worked fairly well, as they provided a guideline of saying "committing these sorts of actions will cause you to lose points on the meter," with 10 being a saint and 0 being a ravening monster.  Of course, given the crapsack nature of the setting, PCs with a 10 on their karma meter didn't last very long, either winding up dead or becoming just as much of a sinner as everyone else.

 

And again, if certain groups don't want to bother, they can just ignore it.  But with Force-users having the option to now become a great deal more powerful, primarily in that they will be able to activate their powers far more readily as they gain experience, for most gaming groups, there needs to be some kind of measuring stick that's objective and separate from a player's or GM's own morality and instead built upon the morality that the setting already has in place.  Should the GM and player agree that they don't care that Bob isn't actually playing a Jedi as they have been portrayed in the movies and they're cool with Bob instead playing a thug with a laser sword, then jolly for them.

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My thinking is that - so far - the careers and specialisations have all been mostly generic.   I don't feel that 'scoundrel' or 'bounty hunter' are SW-specific at all. These are just real-world terms.

 

So we won't see 'Jedi' as opposed to 'Force-sensitive XXX'.  So we'd see FS-Agent or FS-Warrior instead of Sentinel or Guardian. Which could then cover any appropriate Force tradition from Sith to Jedi to Witches or whatever.  

 

I think they will find some other way to add in the actual membership of the Jedi/Sith/Witches/whatever, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them do it with whatever they decide the 'Obligation' mechanic will be.

 

Let's say they have a career, 'Force-Sensitive Adept'. That could be a Jedi Consular, a Witch of Dathomir, a tribal shaman or any similar concept.  Just as a 'Hired Gun' could be a mercenary, an ex-Imperial solider, a Black Sun enforcer or anyone else who makes his living with a blaster rifle.  

 

Thus far, the system has been very canon-light. It would take very little to reskin EoE to run a Firefly or Mass Effect game, for instance.

Well, as mouthymerc noted, those "generic" terms of bounty hunter and scoundrel do tie into specific character types, even for those folks that have only seen the films.

 

Star Wars is a major property, and folks that pick up Force & Destiny are going to expect to see Jedi as one of the foremost Force-user types.  There was already a fair amount of backlash with EotE not really being a Star Wars game because it lacked one of the most iconic character types that really set it apart from other sci-fi settings: the Jedi.  Again, the recurring complaint that EotE is really just "Firefly with stormtroopers" due to the lack of that iconic element.  The system has weathered those complaints in large part by being a really good system and one that's fun and engaging for both players and GMs (provided the players aren't stuck in the 'passive audience mode' that d20 encouraged).

 

You may want only "generic" Force careers in the book, but unless you plan on buying the entire stock of Force & Destiny books, the bulk of the consumer base are going to want to see at least one Jedi career so that players can now say "I can play a Jedi!"

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You know, maybe this thread should have been titled "The Force & Destiny Wish List" as there's a lot of unrealistic expectations put forth tailored solely upon what some folks want for the very specific tastes of their specific gaming group rather than consider that there are other groups with their own style of play that aren't being represented here.

 

Me?  I'm trying to view this from a professional game design standpoint of "FFG needs to produce something that's fun and useful for as many people as possible, and ties into the Star Wars setting?"  Again, the complaints that EotE is just "Firefly with stormtroopers" rather than being an actual Star Wars game, and that's likely turned a lot of people off from what is a really good game.  What FFG really needs to do here is provide a solid baseline game that will work for a broad audience, which can then be tweaked to best suit a gaming group's particularly preferences and style of play.

 

I've got my own personal tastes, but I also acknowledge that not everybody plays the game the same way, and that while I've got over 30 years in this hobby and experience with a mind-bogglingly wide variety of gaming systems, there are players and GMs for whom Force & Destiny might well be the very first RPG they pick up, and will need some help in ensuring that things don't get out of hand, that they don't have Mickey the Wonder Jedi making everyone else in the group feel like second fiddles because Mickey can do whatever he wants without any real consequence.

 

Point blank, Force-users have a lot more power available to them than other characters, and with that power comes a need to balance that power.  As with any rule listed in any RPG book, the individual GM can modify or ignore that rule as they see fit.  There are threads here about altering the existing rules for the Autofire & Jury Rigged combination, changing how damage past Wound Threshold is handled, and a bunch of other things.  Not because it's intentionally bad game design, but rather those folks don't agree with how the game was designed.  So when F&D is published and there's some kind of dark side tracking system/karma meter/whatever, if you don't like it, don't use it.  But accept that some groups may actually welcome having such a thing, so that much like Wound Threshold shows how much damage a PC has taken or skills reflect how capable someone is at a given task, it's an objective means of showing where a PC stands on the scale of Yoda to Palpatine in terms of light side vs. dark side.

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So if you do have a dark side tracking mechanic, what would you want it to do? I mean lets say I have a Dark Side Threshold of 6 and I exceed it by getting DSP #7. What effect would you consider appropriate? Is it simply acknowledging you're playing a dark character and having the force die results flipped (so dark pips are used without Destiny and Strain, but light pips now require those expenditures), or is a suggestion like in WEG times that the character be removed from the player's control?

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You say that scoundrel and bounty hunter aren't specific as regards the Star Wars universe, but what are the first things many fans think of when they spoken of. Han Solo and Boba Fett. You say Jedi and most people think Luke or Obi-Wan. These are recognizable archetypes. I think they will expand and use the trio because they need six careers. They may get somewhat generic with a Force Adept career, but I think they will be more specific with the Jedi ones.

 

I don't think Disney/Lucas want a property with Generic Force-user #9, because that is not going to promote their property.

Agree on the second point.

 

Truthfully, I was a skeptic about the C/G/S split being careers rather than specializations, but the more I thought about it, the more it does make sense.  Each of those is a rather unique approach to being a Jedi, each with their strong points and weak points.  The Consular is wise and adept at less common uses of the Force, but not as skilled a fighter.  The Guardian is skilled warrior, but their usage of the Force tends to be more direct.  The Sentinel (created for the first KOTOR game) is a balance point between the two, being a capable warrior and capable Force-user, but doesn't really excel at either

 

I'd say Luke and prequel Anakin are prime examples of a Jedi Guardian, with Yoda being an archetypical Consular (although he's so experienced that his combat skills aren't the least bit lacking).  Obi-Wan's a tricker case, and might even be used as an example of a Sentinel, one that's struck an ideal balance between warrior and sage.

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So if you do have a dark side tracking mechanic, what would you want it to do? I mean lets say I have a Dark Side Threshold of 6 and I exceed it by getting DSP #7. What effect would you consider appropriate? Is it simply acknowledging you're playing a dark character and having the force die results flipped (so dark pips are used without Destiny and Strain, but light pips now require those expenditures), or is a suggestion like in WEG times that the character be removed from the player's control?

I mentioned this earlier, but it could easily be lost in the "wall of text" that several of those posts have been.

 

Personally, I'd go with character becomes a dark side Force-user as outlined on page 278 as the major consequence of falling.

 

Removing the character from the game entirely never sat well with me, as it cuts out the chance of the character to redeem themselves and atone for their misdeeds, which to me is wasted story potential.  Look at Spider-Man for a great example of how a character (Peter) trying to atone for one mistake (not stopping the crook that wound up killing Uncle Ben) drove him to great lengths to make amends, to the point that other heroes often tell him that he needs to ease up and not try to stop every crime himself.  Had I followed that rule in WEG, then I and my gaming group of the time would have been deprived us of a great story that dealt with the fall and redemption of a Failed Jedi PC. and the campaign would have been poorer for it.

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