Saga Edition Dark Side Rules

Discussion in 'Games: RPG & Miniatures' started by inkpenavenger, May 6, 2008.

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  1. inkpenavenger Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2005
    star 1
    The latest Jedi Counciling has a couple of variant rules involving the Dark Side. I thought I would show the article to everyone and share my own Dark Side variant.

    Once You Start Down the Dark Path...
    Once you have a Dark Side Score of at least one, it gains a modifier just like an Ability score. From that point on, whenever the option exists to commit a transgression, make a Wisdom check opposed by a Dark Side score check. If your Dark Side score wins, the Dark Side overwealms you and you commit the transgression. If your Wisdom check wins, you retain the free will to make your own descision.


    I use this rule in my own game to keep players from metagaming the effects of the Dark Side.
  2. Rogue_Thunder FanForce CR, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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    Jan 7, 2003
    star 6
    Hmm... I like this. I think I'll be adopting them.
  3. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah that's good. I like it a lot. It really adds to what Yoda told Luke about the dark side. The d20 game has needed a tougher ruling on DSP's for some time
  4. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    I'm apparently the discordant voice. What's exactly a transgression? How many extra checks per session are we going to make? Plus, and this is my main objection, I don't like taking choice out of my players' hands and forcing their characters to behave the way I think they should. No one likes cutscenes, after all.
  5. inkpenavenger Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2005
    star 1
    I consider "potential transgressions" to be a situation where an obvious choice of right or wrong exists.

    Some Examples:
    By use of Persuasion or the Demand Surrender talent, the heroes have convinced their foes to flee or surrender. Kroke, the Gungan soldier with a Wisdom score of 13(+1) and a Dark Side score of 6(-2) makes his opposed checks to resist the Dark Side. His Wisdom check rolls a 9 (result of 10), and his Dark Side check rolls 14 (result of 11). Kroke's anger overwealms him, and he draws his blaster to kill the prisoners.

    or

    Krosh Des'haun, a Bothan Jedi, has dabbled in the Dark Side. His Wisdom score is 14(+2) and his Dark Side score is 2(-4). When he calls on the Force to aid his actions, he feels the pull of the Dark Side and its promise of power. He rolls his opposed checks: Wisdom - 16 (total 18) Dark Side - 9 (total 5). Krosh resists giving in to his aggressive feelings...this time.

    I use this rule, not to take freedom away from the players, but to Force them to be accountable for their characters' past actions. With the normal rules regarding the Dark Side, players often call upon it when its convenient thinking "it's ok, I can just atone with my spare Force points right before I level up."

    The other aspect of the rule is that, even if you atone your Dark Side score back down to 0(-5), it's like with an addict: the lure, the craving is always there. To cull an example from the EU, I imagine that Kyp Durron stll feels the pull of the Dark Side when using it would be easier. Even though he's turned away from it for good, that shadow is still there, in the darkest recesses of his mind. I imagine he, and other redeemed darksiders, take it "one day at a time" like an adict must.
  6. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4


    ;)
  7. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    Excellent Yoda quote, but this is still a role-playing game. Taking a character's control out of the player's hands is just a bad choice.
  8. inkpenavenger Jedi Knight

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    Sep 26, 2005
    star 1
    It's not taking control away from the player. They CHOSE to commit the initial transgression. They CHOSE to take that first step toward the dark side. Rules like this don't take away choice, they enforce the conseqences of that choice. It's just been my experience that players will exploit the rules whenever possible. My rule just makes it so that, once you CHOOSE to take that fist step, you will pay for it for the rest of the campaign. Also, it allows players whose characters fall to the dark side to continue playing. If you want to talk about taking away choice, look at the offical rules regarding dark PCs in the rulebook: It says for the GM to seize total control of the character and make the player roll up a new one. With my rule, the player can still run a dark character, they just have a roughly 50/50 shot of doing the "wrong" thing all the time.

    (I have a feeling that I won't convince you to see my point of view, Schwartz, but it's this kind of discussion that I really enjoy on the boards!)
  9. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    Heh. Me too, me too. :)

    It's probably a matter of different gaming groups. I know my players would hate that rule and feel offended if I assumed they didn't know how to play a tainted character.
  10. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4
    What I think it comes down to is that there isn't really a cut and paste rule for all game settings, but hey, if I had my way it'd be like it was in WEG all the way.

    You're right Schwarz, it's a roleplaying game, designed to put you in the role of someone in the Star Wars Universe. In the Star Wars universe, those who start using the dark side typically end up lost in it if they don't put a lot of effort into atoning, and I think this ruling goes to some way of showing that, the control is taken away from the player just as it would be from the character.

    Anyway, that's the temptation and corruption path. In a true Dark Side campaign the characters should embrace it, in which case there's not much point in the rule.
  11. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    I absolutely hate it. One, it's a bad RPG mechanic because it violates a pretty sacrosanct area of player choice. Two, that's not how the Dark Side works.
  12. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    If the player wants his character to become a murdering bastard it should be his choice, not an imposition. I know I wouldn't want my Jedi character to start raping Twi'leks just because I used Force Lightning in a tragically appropriate situation.
  13. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4
    Then why is Force Lightning in their Force Suite if they don't expect to touch the dark side? That's the risk they take by choosing that power with their Force training feat!

    The odd dark side point isn't going to really come into play, even with a natural 20, but the risk is there and I like that. This for me sums up Anakin Skywalker's slaying of Dooku and possibly even the dismemberment of Windu in RotS

    Bottom Line: Play with fire then expect to get burnt.

    There is always a choice, where Force Lightning becomes tragically appropriate, I don't know. Powering a kettle? Use the energy cell from the lightsaber or something.
  14. dizfactor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 5
    Oh, hell no. Both of those were deliberate, calculated decisions he made - in an RPG, they would have been the player's choice.

    The dark side doesn't make anyone do anything ever. Yoda's warning is not about some kind of mystical heebier-jeebie devil on the shoulder who makes you do things. It's about the slippery slope of self-justification and the spiral of having to do more evil things to get yourself out of the situations you get into when you start doing evil things. You choose at every step of the way - it never takes over your mind.
  15. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    What diz said.
    What about saving my loved ones just to end up becoming a pawn of evil before being redeemed by said loved ones? Like, you know, that little character named Darth Vader?
  16. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4
    Diz, the self-justification typically comes after the deed, when they're on the verge of self loathing from doing something bad.

    As for Anakin using the dark side to save his loved ones, if you're referring to him attacking Windu, then the kid was a twit, pure and simple. Sidious was the reason Skywalker lost his arm, not to mention so many friends and soldiers, yet despite being lied to for years and put through all that crap, he still believes that he's telling him the truth about being able to save Padme. Heck, he could have stepped up and been honest with Kenobi for his help. He ain't tragic, he's just thick.
  17. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    Force Lightning=Evil=Darkside.
    Same with TK Injure/kill.

    No two ways about it.

    yes, the Dark Side is like any other addiction: Once you're hooked, even if you clean up, it's still there, nagging at the back of your mind. The later Dresden Files books had a neat parallel when the main character has an evil entity lurking in the back of his mind, constantly offering him power and tempting him with the occasional boost or assistance.

    Look how hard your own bad habits are to break.

    Now, do I like a game mechanic that takes control away: not really. The one exception is the D6 dark-side seduction. Once the DM and Dice determine that your character has gone to the Dark Side, that character is forever an NPC. If it was force sensative, your next character cannot be force sensative until it has defeated the previous (house rule).
    It can be a lot of fun to start immitating the way someone else has played a character, then tweek it & exagerate to show the corruption of the dark side.
  18. inkpenavenger Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2005
    star 1
    I'll say again: The main purpose of my rule is to prevent calculated METAGAMING use of the dark side rules. If you read the article I posted from Wizards, the rule about rolling random DSPs gained from a transgression might be more appealing. With that rule, the choice is still entirely the player's, but he won't know how many DSPs he'll gain for it. Therefore, he runs a greater risk of going dark and losing his character to NPC status each time he chooses the dark side.

    Also, regardless of whether you consider the dark side an external force seeking to corrupt people, or the internal struggles of self-justification and ends-justify-the-means-ness, the abstract rule of the DSP covers it. With my rule, the Dark Side vs Wisdom check can represent a character's attempt to resist the dark side as a force, or it can represent the character's willingness to justify an evil act to himself. The more dark a character becomes, the more likely it becomes that he will remian dark.

    I don't think I made this clear either: With my rule in place, I don't turn PCs into NPCs when they go dark. To me the 50-50 shot that they'll do the wrong thing all the time is enough. It also isn't impossible to perform dramatic heroism under my rule. I'm not sure how the game designers expect a player to get his character to perform an act of dramatic heroism if he/she has given the character up to GM control.

    (I'm loving this debate! [face_dancing] This is one of the best I've ever seen on this board!)
  19. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I always saw it as both.

    Yeah, this is way I stick to an antiquated system that is out of print: I know the rules and they aren't in dispute.
    Oh, and also why I have so many house rules too, I guess... Maybe we should revive the House Rules thread...
  20. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4
    Wahey!

    The Dark Side offers power, and to the weak it's a drug. I think a Will save could be a more appropriate opposing roll to Wisdom but I don't wanna open that can of worms at this moment in time.

    Wookiee's have the berserker ability which, in D6, required a willpower roll to break out of, I don't see this as being any different.

    If you don't want your character to slide down the slippery slope, stop playing with fire!
  21. inkpenavenger Jedi Knight

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    Sep 26, 2005
    star 1
    In Saga Edition there is no Will save. There is a Will defense rating, but an Ability check alone would never be able to beat it at higher levels.
  22. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    What if I want my character to slide down said slope because, after all, Star Wars is a redemption tale and that's exactly what I want to play? I don't want that choice to be taken from my hands. I have Call of Cthulhu for corruption and craziness, thanks.
  23. inkpenavenger Jedi Knight

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    Sep 26, 2005
    star 1
    How are you going to choose for your character to redeem himself if he's become an NPC? My rule at least leaves the character in the player's hands.

    Another film example: At the end of ROTJ, Vader's Wisdom check beat his dark side check and he decided to save his son.
  24. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

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    I don't like dark side characters becoming NPCs. I really hated that from D6.

    But I like even less Vader's defining moment being just a matter of rolling 17 or higher!
  25. jenna010986 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2008
    Yeah, i agree with you..It is better to leave the character in the player's hands.
    That would become more challenging...



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