Sunday, January 31, 2016

I Can Show You The Ways of The Force

Before I get started today, a little maintenance work is needed on the Falcon...

This should be my last post specifically dedicated to The Force for a while.

The Force is integral to the Star Wars setting, being one of the things (if not the thing) that makes Star Wars unique. and special.

To properly portray The Force and its wielders in Star Wars Traveller, I first needed to explain the ins, and outs of The Force itself, as viewed by yours truly, the guy writing up this project.

Then I needed to clarify a number of house-rule adjustments and alterations my groups and I have made over the years to classic Traveller, and MegaTraveller.

Once that was done, I had to address the actual Force related mechanics for Star Wars Traveller.

While there is still much to say on the subject, my long focus on The Force means I haven't had the chance to cover other topics I really want to discuss. Aliens, Creatures, Droids, and Starships are just some of the things I want to address.

Advice, and notes on how to run Star Wars Traveller, scenario and NPC ideas, and a host of other elements are likewise subjects I really want to talk about as well.

I hope this last entry answers any lingering questions about The Force in Star Wars Traveller, and if it doesn't, please free to leave me a comment on something, anything, that could use clarification, or that needs to be expanded upon.


Oh, adjust your comlinks, and home in on my signal at the end of this post for addition notes on what's coming in the future for Star Wars Traveller, and when.

Looks like Chewie got the Hyperdrive back online. Let's punch it!


Continuing on with how The Force is governed by the rules of Star Wars Traveller, let me tag a few [essentially] random notes that I hope will help fill in the gaps of what has already been discussed.

Close your eyes...feel it...the Light...its always been there 

How do you determine if someone is Force Sensitive?

Originally, I had a system for determining this based on a similar formula for determining if you're PC is Psionic in MegaTraveller. I decided it didn't feel right. It was too complicated, too mechanical.

I then thought, 'If someone wants to be Force Sensitive, let'em be Force Sensitive'. That doesn't really work either. It will result in a party of six Force Sensitive PCs at a table with six players.

This isn't the Prequels. The Force is a rare, special, and mysterious thing. It is largely thought to be myth, and poorly understood except by a select few in the entire galaxy.

So how do you decide who gets to be the Chosen One(s)?

I think it's really a matter of playing it by ear, and listening to your players. If someone comes up to me with an idea for a Force Sensitive character, with an interesting how, or why the Force is Strong with their PC, I am hard pressed not to want to let them explore the idea (and for me to explore it as well).

I think that's it in a nutshell. No Force for Force's sake. Give me a sign of the potential heroes journey you see, and I am happy to let you take it, and come along for the ride.

For now, that is going to be the only rule I need.

I feel it again...the pull of The Light

As noted in the comments of my previous entry, there is a way to turn back to The Light Side of The Force once your character has all but succumbed to The Dark Side. Special Thanks to seaofstarsrpg for asking about this.

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 than that.

The Light Side is a more difficult path. "Quicker, easier is the Dark Side" did Yoda 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, and it 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.

Darth Vader chucking the Emperor down a reactor shaft excluded of course.

I know I slaughtered all those little Jedi kids,
but I just stopped the Emperor from killing you... we're all square ,right?

One more thing, remember that this applies only to a character who still has at least one point of Light Side Force Strength left. If you are all Dark Side, there is no turning back.

The Force is strong in her

How strong is Force Strength? What is a point of it really worth?

Well basically, I have a few rules of thumb, but in many cases it will be a negotiation between the player, and the GM if the player wants their PC to pull off something truly spectacular. Bare in mind these rules are based primarily on the Original Trilogy, and The Force Awakens. No real attempt is made here to emulate the Superhero Jedi of the Prequels.

We begin with the one point you have to spend to use The Force. What can you do with that?

Basically, it represents the very least we've seen a Force user do in the original movies, and the most recent sequel.

One point of Awareness tells you that is danger nearby, or lets you find a familiar individual who is not far away.

One point of Enhancement increases a single Stat by one for one round. It can be used to Heal yourself, or any individual you can make physical contact with, for 1 Stat Damage.

One point of Influence can lift a PC's Lightsaber off the ground, and into her hand from anywhere in a roughly 10-15 foot radius. It would only take the basic Force Strength point and a Skill Roll with a Difficulty of Routine (7 or better) to retrieve it at the aforementioned distance.

Adding Force Strength points can (by way of example):

Enable the Force wielder to perceive the location of someone further from immediate area, to street (two points), 'block' (three points), village (four), town (five), small city (six), etc.
Heal a number of Stat Damage points on a one-for-one basis. A full Hit of Damage requires the expenditure of six Force Strength points (five damage equals one Hit, plus one for the basic use of Enhancement for healing).
Lift an object in size relationship to one point being necessary for a Lightsaber. This means (roughly), two points for a toolbox, three for a box, or crate, four for a large box, or small droid (like maybe BB-8), five points for a R2 unit or tripod mounted weapon, six points for a light-weight speeder bike, etc.
Increase the number of targets from one (which maybe one's self) to one additional per point applied. To Force Push a dozen Stormtroopers would take 13 points of Force Strength.
This is just off the top of my head, but based on some thinking I've been doing on the subject. I may come up with a more detailed system at a later date. I will have to test this during game play and see how well it works.

That Lightsaber belongs to me!
Come and get it!

Lightsabers. Is there any Space Adventure hand-to-hand weapon so cool? An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age.

In Star Wars Traveller, you must have Lightsaber as a Skill in order to wield one, however you can use the Default Skill of Sword at minus one. If the wielder of the Lightsaber is not Force Sensitive, he or she has a penalty Modifier of -2 to any action with it.

Lightsabers are hand-to-hand weapons that have a Penetration Rating of 12 (yes twelve!), and a Damage Rating of 6.

Note that Enhancement can be used to increase the character's accuracy, Penetration and/or Damage with a successful Enhancement Skill Roll, and application of Force Strength.

One roll is needed to add Force Strength to the Lightsaber wielder's 'To Hit' roll. Each point after the first one spent is a positive Modifier to the character's Attack roll.

A second roll is needed to apply Force Strength to the Penetration, and/or Damage of the attack. Remember that each point of Force Strength increases either the Penetration, or the Damage by one. You can spend multiple points and split the effect however.

For example:

Erri Windfire swings her Lightsaber at a Stormtrooper Commander whose unit has her friends pinned down. She rolls Enhancement to apply Force Strength to her Lightsaber skill. She spends three points - one for the Force Skill roll, two to add to her Lightsaber Skill. It's deemed Difficult (as the enemy Commander is a pretty experienced and tough customer), but she makes it.

Erri's player adds a +2 to her Lightsaber skill, needing to beat a Routine Difficulty plus one for the Stormtrooper Commander's partial cover among some vehicle debris, for a total of 8. Erri's player rolls, adds the appropriate Stat+Skill combo, adds the +2, and easily hits.

She than rolls Enhancement again with five Force Strength points added - one for the roll, two for Penetration, and 2 for Damage. The player is concerned that the armor adorning the  enemy that the GM described might be harder to breach than standard Stormtrooper armor. She beats the same difficulty of 8, and applies the Force Strength points. Her Penetration of 14 (12+2), easily cuts into the armor, and causes 8 (6+2) Damage.

The same system can be used to deflect Blaster Bolts as well, with each Force Strength point after the first creating a +1 to the Difficulty of the opponent's Attack roll (or a -1 to the total of the roll made - depending on how you want to calculate it).

Hmmm. Not sure I am completely sold on the defensive mechanics. Also, I don't like there being so much 'Rolling in order to roll/use your ability'. This is going to require a little tweaking.

Show me the power of the Darkness

It has always been implied that some Force abilities are specifically attributed to the Jedi, and their Light Side teachings, or the Sith, and their forbidden knowledge of the Dark Side. The most obvious version of this is Force Lightning, which only Sith have ever exhibited (and only two have ever been shown to possess it in Star Wars canon).

In order to use Force Lightning, one must spend Dark Side Force Strength, no question about it. In addition, you gain a replacement Dark Side point for using it, and another for the act of anger, and aggression it would take to cause its use.

I would also say it is a power that must be learned either by instruction from a Sith Lord who already knows it, or by studying Sith lore.

Not to be left out, the Light Side may have some specific abilities of their own. It is my assumption that returning to the mortal world as a Force Ghost after death is a distinctly Light Side power.

It must also be learned, or taught, and requires a final expenditure of Force Strength, Light Side only, in excess of 25 points to achieve it. I also think it would be cool if how much Force Strength you have after you spend that last burst determines how often you can come back until you permanently become one with The Force (having no more Force Strength).


OK, I'm sure there is more I can talk about in regards to The Force, but I desperately need to take on other topics.

May The Force Be With You,

Barking Alien


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