THE FORCE

THE FORCE

THE FORCE

The force represents a large portion of the SWO’s rules mechanics due to one underlying concept: superpowers are cool. Characters enjoy having access to supernatural abilities that let them perform feats that would be outside of even their normal RPG expectations. As such, the choice to role-play force users have become rather prevalent in the SWO, and so has the necessity for a sufficient quality of rules in order to govern them.

Alignment – also referred to as MORALITY, in the SWO

General Comments:
  • Morality is SIGNIFICANTLY more important for a Force Sensitive character than for a regular character. For starters, ‘Dark Side Points’ and ‘Light Side Points’ count for twice as much when applied to a force sensitive character. (1 LSP results in +2 alignment.) More importantly, alignment has a direct mechanical effect on a force sensitive character’s abilities, and often has a moderately direct influence on that character’s RP. However, even taking this into consideration, please, please, please remember the following:

    Do not be afraid to give out LSP and DSP!
  • Players will react strongly to changes in their alignment despite any and all attempts to assure them with any logical argument you may muster, particularly if they are at their ‘sweet spot’ in terms of alignment. They may question your decisions, complain, even shout at you for any decisions you may make which, in turn, makes GMs less inclined to bother with paying attention to alignment. You must not let this happen!
  • Alignment is MEANT to be a ‘fluid’ system, a quality of a character that should often be changing unless they are truly playing toward one alignment extreme or another. Every real decision a character makes in a sim could potentially result in an alignment shift. Obviously, you are not required to award alignment for every thing a player does, particularly if nothing ‘big’ comes up, but even a character’s overall actions over the course of a sim should normally add up to something if they are RPing at all.

Morality, the Advanced Edition
  • Characters that make 'neutral' decisions will normally gain alignment slowly and settle within the -50 to +50 morality range. But what about those characters who choose to make their actions and decisions...a little more extreme?
  • Generally speaking, there are 3 tiers of alignment shifts for both moralities:
Positive vs. Negative

Personal Generous vs. Selfish
Public Peaceful vs. Aggressive
Heroic Benevolent vs. Malicious

A the “personal” level, generosity generally involves a character going out of their way to help someone, taking an action they would not normally take for the betterment of their peers. Conversely, selfishness is just that: taking actions that better themselves at the cost of someone else’s prosperity.

The “public” tier governs actions handled on a slightly larger scale than the “personal”. Peacefulness is indicative of solving a given situation diplomatically or in a similar manner. Again, aggressiveness is the opposite of that: solving a given dilemma through brute force, violence, or even through some form of nefarious dealing.

Finally, the “heroic” tier returns to a more personal nature, but deals with actions above and beyond what would be considered in the “personal” tier. This is an interesting distinction, but key: “heroic” refers to the personal choices that a character makes, not necessarily the results of the actions they do. Sacrificial details characters that will give anything for the greater good, be it significant chunks of their personal resources, or their own life. Malignancy speaks of characters that intentionally and maliciously cause significant harm either for their personal gain or purely for pleasure.

“Personal” tier actions should result in 1 LSP/DSP, 2 for “Public” and 3 for “Heroic”.

With these six possible definitions for an alignment shift in hand, now it becomes even more complicated, as these definitions change slightly for people of various alignment. Consider ‘sacrificial’ for a generally neutral character. This may include actions such as making a sizeable donation to charity (sizeable with respect to their personal resources. Giving up 10k credits when you’re a multi-millionaire is not a ‘great personal sacrifice’), choosing to assist in a pitched battle at the cost of using the confusion to raid a nearby stockpile of valuable goodies (with the knowledge that they’d somehow be unable to get at it later), or other such things.

Meanwhile, for a character whose alignment is above about 70, all of those things should be fairly common place, and fall under ‘generosity’ rather than ‘heroic’ levels of good. At this point, ‘sacrifice’ really starts to mean just that: 3 LSP actions become tossing oneself in front of blaster bolts for their comrades, expending great personal resources to redeem a ‘fallen’ character, and other levels of what one might call ‘epic’ actions. Like with making donations however, shifting over to stand in front of someone when you have LSC, GFS, a suit of armor, and full HP is not a measure of real ‘sacrifice’, that’d be more of a generous action.

We have only demonstrated here one possible tier of shift out of six, for only two out of the three possible alignments a player was already in. There are a myriad other combinations that can and will come up throughout a sim, and it is up to you as a GM to interpret them to the best of your ability.

As with all GMing, remember two things: Be FAIR and be CONSISTENT.

Even if your opinions on what actions qualify as X for Y kind of people are a bit wonky, as long as you are consistent, players can at least KNOW your expectations and react accordingly.

As an aside: as a general GMing practice, it is good to keep a notepad file open so that you can take notes while you GM. Additionally, if you are giving out LSP/DSP, it is a good practice to keep a note of why that character gained that amount of LSP/DSP, or if nothing else, WHEN they performed that action. You are not required to tell players during the course of the sim that they are gaining LSP or DSP, in fact, you are encouraged NOT to in order to permit them to RP unfettered. However, you ARE required to clarify your alignment decisions to a player should they so ask. After all, players deserve to know what they are doing that provokes LSP or DSP so that they may adjust or continue their actions accordingly.


Combat

Moving on to another aspect of alignment, one thing that often comes up is how a player handles themselves in combat, or more precisely, when dealing with their enemies. Generally speaking: Light characters refuse to take a life, neutral characters kill to defend themselves, dark characters see murder as a valid solution to any and all problems. You should only really give alignment shifts for overall combat theology per entire combat rather than a blow by blow basis.

Consider being attacked by a group of thugs. For a neutral character, defending oneself with lethal force is perfectly acceptable. If the thugs start to run away however, it would be DSP worthy to shoot them in the back as they ran. Additionally, choosing to incapacitate them rather than kill them so that they could be arrested would be LSP worthy. This even includes shooting them in the shoulder, or pulling an Obi-Wan and lopping off an arm.

For ‘light’ aligned characters, (+50), the situation is a little different. Killing when there are alternative methods available is wrong and should warrant a DSP. Simply incapacitating one’s opponent is not really LSP worthy anymore, and is generally expected in combat. Managing to talk one down through Persuasion, however, would still be LSPable. For REALLY light characters (+90), things are even more strict. Pulling an Obi-Wan should now be considered DSP worthy as you’re causing lasting physical damage when you could just stun. “Aggressively” stunning, or rushing into situations and stunning everything without seeking alternative solutions to combat could even be considered DSP worthy if done throughout the entire sim. (An exception to that would be if there were not any other available options, such as foes that had proven to be resistant or immune to persuasive efforts). Actually killing people in combat at +90 alignment, even in self defense, should be considered “Aggressiveness” and warrant 2 DSP.

This results in an interesting conundrum with really light sided characters. If a +100 alignment Jedi Knight is facing off against some great evil Dark Jedi that has shown no hope for redemption and, if incapacitated, would eventually just keep killing again… what does he do? A character sticking to pure positive alignment would still REFUSE to kill this person, either accepting the responsibility of stewarding his opponent for the rest of his life to keep him in line, or coming up with an alternative option. “Taking him down” for the greater good is STILL a negative action, and should NOT be offset by LSP for “in the end, it was the right thing”. Killing is killing, and the player will just have to live with that alignment dip until they can redeem themselves.

Now, let us consider negatively aligned (-50) characters in our thug situation. Obviously, if it’s OK to kill in self defense for a neutral, dark characters are just fine. Similarly, shooting your opponent in the back after he flees pretty much expected, and shouldn’t warrant any additional DSP. However, choosing to spare and/or stun one’s opponents now starts to be worth TWO LSP, with pulling Obi-Wans still being worth just one. For really twisted and dark characters (-90), going out of their way to save the lives of people trying to kill them is completely out of character, and could be worth THREE LSP. Meanwhile, the character would pretty much have to intentionally start shooting passers-by on the street mid-combat to get any DSP at all from simply fighting.


Dealing with force sensitive players:

• Having characters in your sim that are Force-sensitive tends to throw off the normal balance of thinking. Challenges that would normally present a problem to a standard squad of commandos may end up being simplistic for a single low level force user.

• Consider, for instance, an exaggeratedly simple puzzle of a mechanical lever protected by a force field. A standard team would have to go about disabling the force field in whatever convoluted manner you concocted, while the force user could simply telekinetically pull the lever at a distance. While this example was rather academic in its simplicity, it illustrates some of the considerations required in dealing with force sensitive characters.
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