Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Have You Felt It? The Dark Side, And The Light.

Summarizing what we have so far:

Force Strength is the measure of how Strong an individual PC is with The Force. Int + End + Soc = Force Strength.

There are three Force Skills - Awareness, Enhancement, and Influence.

These skills are obtained by being a Force Sensitive individual, and attempting to use these abilities. If the attempts are deemed to be within the proper context of a Star Wars story (determined by both the Player and the Gamemaster, with GM having final say), the PC will be awarded ATs toward gaining the appropriate skill(s) at zero (0). After that, you can use, and practice/train the Skills as normal for any Skill.

We good? Cool.

Now things get really interesting...

A Force Sensitive character's Force Strength is written down on their Character Sheet in two ways. First, the total is listed next to Force Strength. Then, below that, there are the terms Light Side, and Dark Side. A character's total Force potential is divided up among these two categories.

At the start of the game, all Player Character's, unless otherwise noted, should consider all of their Force Strength to be Light Side points.

It would look something like this (Assuming our example character has the following Stats: Int: 8  End: 9  Soc: 6):

Force Strength: 23

Light Side: 23
Dark Side: 0

Each time the PC uses a Force Skill, one point of Force Strength is spent. At the beginning of each new session, the PC's Force Strength is always fully restored. If a single session spans a number of days, or longer, and the PC has had the chance to meditate, and/or gain sufficient rest, the GM may return the spent points of Force Strength back early as he, or she deems fitting to the span of time.

If the spent Force Strength is from the character's Light Side points, and the actions taken with them are in line with the Jedi philosophy of peace, defense, hope, faith in friendship, and the like, they will get them back at the end of the session. The GM can award additional points of Force Strength for particularly well role-played or heroic actions.

If however, the Light Side Force Strength is spent for an act of revenge, in anger, out of fear, or in some way that leads to the Dark Side, the points the PC gets back will be Dark Side points. Also, if a Dark Side Point is spent to perform a negative, evil act, the PC will get the point back, plus one additional Dark Side point at the end of the session, automatically. As above, particularly evil uses of the Force may result in being award additional Dark Side Points.

So let's say our example Force user, Erri Windfire, and Resistance Star Pilot Dalon Norbro are trying to escape from a First Order facility with proof of the Order's plans to invade the planet of Nor Randan...

The two get separated, so Erri uses her Force Awareness to locate her missing ally. She spends a point of Force Strength (She is now at 22), and it is a Light Side point. She rolls and beats the difficulty of 11 (Difficult). She does not know his exact location, but knows he is nearby in a dark room, with white lights, and...vibrations. Some kind of ominous hum. She searches, and fights through some Stormtroopers to find Norbro in makeshift brig near the facility's Reactor Core.

Erri Windfire is now at:

Force Strength: 22

Light Side: 22
Dark Side: 0

After freeing Dalon, the two run to the hangar area hoping to liberate Dalon's repainted TIE/sf Starfighter. They run into another ally, an NPC Technician who is sympathetic to the Resistance, and has been helping the PCs get through the base. The three make a break for it, but they are caught in a crossfire between two groups of Troopers.

The Technician is hit! As he crumples to the ground, Norbro returns fire with his Blaster Pistol. Windfire shields the Tech, and tries to render first aid. It isn't easy with all the blaster bolts streaking around her. She decides to use Influence to Force Push a group of Stormtroopers, hoping to knock them down, and open up an avenue of escape.

She spends one Light Side Force Strength Point...then decides to add four more since she wants to Force Push a few of them. She declares the additional Points are to increase the effect. She rolls an Influence Skill check, and succeeds, barely beating the needed 15 (Formidable). Five First Order Stormtroopers are knocked clear off their feet, and go tumbling to the ground. All are disoriented, and two even drop their weapons completely.

Erri Windfire is now at:

Force Strength: 17

Light Side:17
Dark Side: 0

Fast forward to a few moments later, as Dalon has dropped into the cockpit of his TIE/sf, now designated Sunburst Three. He helps Erri lower the Tech into the fighter craft, as Erri tries to also get in, figuring she'll sit in the gunner's seat. Unfortunately, a Heavy Weapons Stormtrooper lobs a grenade at them! The explosion injures Erri, and nearly kills the Tech.

Erri's pissed! (So says her player) The Technician had been risking his non-combat neck for the PCs, and she's grown fond of the guy. She gets angry, zeroes in on the Heavy Weapons Stormtrooper, and wants to use her Force Influence to toss him out a window. The GM reminds Erri's player that the First Order base they're in is on top of a very high mountain. He is told Erri doesn't care.

Wow. OK. Erri spends a one, plus...hmmm...two additional points of Force Strength - Light far... - and rolls her influence. The goal is Formidable, and she beats it! The player running Erri is rolling hot! Sadly though, she acted out in anger. That's going to cost her later.

Erri Windfire is now at:

Force Strength: 14

Light Side: 14
Dark Side: 0

The group escapes, though Dalon's TIE/sf takes some minor damage. The Technician is handed over to medical personnel, and droids when our heroes get back to their Resistance HQ on the planet Ordando.

At the beginning of the next session, Erri Windfire must face the consequences of her anger. All her points are returned to her, but not as they were.

Erri Windfire begins the next session at:

Force Strength: 23

Light Side: 20
Dark Side: 3

Erri Windfire used her Force abilities in anger to kill another living being! She is now saddled with the three points she used to do that returned to her as Dark Side points.

When a character has more Dark Side points than Light Side points the character is considered to have 'fallen to the Dark Side'. Unlike in the Star Wars D6 RPG by West End Games (still my favorite system, and a huge inspiration for elements of this one), a character who has fallen to the Dark Side does not become a GM controlled NPC.

Instead, the player continues to use their PC, but occasionally they will 'loose control' - On rolls of 'Snake Eyes' (a one on each of the two dice rolled for Skill checks), the GM assumes temporary control of the PC to perform an action as the PC has been overwhelmed by the negative emotions of the Dark Side of The Force.

Alternatively, the GM may 'save up' such instances, later on telling the player that his/her PC is looking oddly pale, has strange eyes sometimes, is being a real jerk, sweats a lot, has become thinner, or any number of other signs that the Dark Side has taken hold.

It is only if/when a Character has no Light Side points left, when all of their Force Strength has turned over to the Dark Side, that the character is no longer a viable PC.

What I mean by that is, simply put, I personally have no interest in having a PC in my campaign being evil enough to warrant having completely given themselves over to the Dark Side. The conflict is interesting. Pure evil bores me to tears.

You may do as you wish in your own campaign of course.

Dang, this ran long. I still have quite a bit to cover.

Come back soon.

Barking Alien


  1. Will there be some way to win your way back to the Light Side? Mechanically, this would be flipping Dark Side points back to Light Side.

    Or do you just do good things to increase you Light Side score so it is more than your Dark Side score to free yourself from the grip of Darkness?

  2. Yay! Someone asking a question! Woohoo!


    If you spend a Dark Side point to do something good, we're talking truly altruistic, the Gamemaster may return the point to you at the end of the session/beginning of the next, as a Light Side point.

    Or...Hmmm. It should be harder.

    The Light Side is a more difficult path. "Quicker, easier is the Dark Side" did You say. I'm thinking that perhaps instead of getting a Light Side point back for the Dark Side point you spent with good intentions, you lose the point entirely. It doesn't automatically come back as Light Side, or Dark Side.

    Rather, through continued play, dialog and actions during the session, the GM must decide if you get one back at all. If the answer is yes (and the other players can weigh in with opinions, and evidence as they do when awarding ATs), then the PC is at last rewarded with a Light Side point.

    The key element is make it situational, truly a case by case basis. Make it role-play driven, not solely a mechanical rule. This is more fitting to the description of the nature of The Force, as goes a ways toward helping define it as not perfectly defined.

    Depending on how the player has played his/her PC up to that moment, perhaps the difficulty should be raised when one attempts to use a Dark Side point for a positive, good intentioned action. You can't be a murderous a**hat for a stretch of time, suddenly say, "And now I feel like doing good" and just assume the universe is going to be OK with that.