Why are Jedi so hard to play?

Discussion in 'Games: RPG & Miniatures' started by dp4m, Mar 21, 2003.

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  1. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Seriously.

    I know we've had the "Jedi=Munchkin" thread here, and this is a sub-set of that, but what makes a Jedi such a hard character to play?

    For instance...
    - We've all experienced the player who's of the "l00k at mah 1337 Jedi skillz!" munchkin style of Jedi play.
    - Then we have the other end, Jedi who fear to take action because they're worried about game mechanics (DSPs) or emotional content ("There is no emotion")

    The Power of the Jedi Sourcebook details that the life of a Jedi is a hard one, and playing one should be no different -- but is it really THAT hard to play a Jedi character correctly?

    Qui-Gon Jinn was a rebel -- he didn't bow to the Council, wasn't afraid to cheat at dice, but he followed the Force and did its bidding -- thus he was a Jedi, and a darn good one.

    In our current campaign, we've had one guy who played Munchkin Jedis all the time. One turned to the Dark Side, his second one was pasted by Sith War Droids which redeemed his first character, then he fell AGAIN (then I finally blew his starship up so there was no third chance).

    Our OTHER Jedi is a n00b, but one who's followed Star Wars for quite a while. But as for role-playing -- not good. Role-playing a Jedi is even worse. She's just not up for it and gets paralyzed by indicision at almost every encounter.

    At this point, I'm begging my GM to run me through a solo adventure once or twice so I can play a Jedi and see if it's his games or the people (you all know which way I vote). My next few character concepts involve Consulars who refuse to take sentient life with lightsabers (think Vodo Baas) or Jensaarai just to prove that there IS a way to play Jedi AND a way to not make them combat monsters.

    As a side-note, we have a Force Adept in our group. Definitely one of the top two characters I've ever, ever played with (and one of the best roleplayers in general I've ever played with). So it IS possible for Force-users. ;)

    What are y'all's thoughts? Is playing a Jedi tough in your campaigns? Any good stories of people playing them right? Any good stories of you playing them right?
  2. Quiwan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 4
    I've never thought playing a Jedi was hard. The people I game with always fall in the middle of the munchkin/unable to act category. We take what we see in the movies as how Jedi should act, not all the rules made up by the EU that seem to weaken the Jedi.
  3. yodaismygod Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 4
    I don't think it is so much hard to play as is fear of retribution from the rest of the group if you do something bad and fall to the dark side. Everyone has their ideas of what a jedi should be and do so no matter what you do with your jedi there will be someone who will think you are role playing badly. My only experience with jedi involves 2 noobs who couldn't role play for anything so the droid of the group wound up killing them. One decided out of character that he just wanted to go dark side and the other, well he was just an idiot. I think while playing a jedi would be cool its following the boy-scout code of honor all the time that makes it very hard, sometimes frustrating, and it allows the characters to just get old very quickly.

    Just my thoughts.
  4. Padawan_John Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2002
    star 4
    I think the printed rules "governing" Jedi behavior - which most GMs (IMO) are painfully familiar with, and most players (IMO) are painfully unfamiliar with - are a big ol' pain in the poodoo-hole.

    Look at the Jedi in the movies. Qui-Gon became frustrated with his situation on Tatooine, so he resorted to using the Force to cheat at dice. Obi-Wan became furious over the death of his master. Later on, he became impatient and almost angry with Anakin. In turn, Anakin gave in to his concern for his mother. Mace Windu was almost angry during his confrontation with Count Dooku. Yoda was pretty close to flipping out on Dooku. Luke was a whiny, self-centered brat who couldn't see the obvious sometimes.

    All of these were accepted, at some point, as Jedi Knights. So, I am led to conclude that the Order isn't a super-strict "if you have emotions, you're out" type of organization. To deny emotion is to deny your own humanity - and how can you care about anything, to have compassion for anyone, if you deny your emotions? Even Jedi Masters screw up, fail to see the obvious, and take the wrong side from time to time.

    Players and GMs alike have to realize that the Jedi Code, much like the RPG rules, is not writ in stone (as far as I know). They are very similar in that they are guides on how to do something. Becoming overly-focused on the rule, rather than seeing the bigger picture of the principle behind the rule, bogs down play.

    And, as GM, you have to know your players. If they can't handle being Jedi, see if you can't persuade the group to play during the Rebellion and enforce the rule that you have to find a teacher of some sort in order to become a Jedi. Then, don't provide the players with a teacher. They can be Force Adepts, but not Jedi. And anyone who becomes too Force-happy will attract Imperial attention.

    Just my two-and-one-half dactaries. :D
  5. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Right -- the point of "There is no emotion; there is peace" is it's okay to HAVE emotions, but you shouldn't ACT out of them.

    I think that's where most people get confused...
  6. Fingorfin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2001
    star 4
    Agreed. Jedi do have emotions, but they are supposed to learn how to incorporate them into their decision making process and not act out of pure emotion. This is where Jedi often get in trouble with the Dark Side; much like Anakin in AOTC.

    I have only played one Jedi character. He was a councilor that did not like to fight, because he felt that diplomacy was always a better option. However, this did not stop him from using his lightsaber when the situation called for it. He knew that sometimes you have to fight. Some players forget that there is a diplomatic character does not have to be a pacifist. In fact, Jedi do not make good pacifists. Even as their training teaches them how to deal with problems in a peaceful manner, they are also taught to be some of the fiercest fighters in the galaxy.
  7. Padawan_John Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2002
    star 4
    Actually, I've found that people with actual (real-world) martial arts training play Jedi rather well. Something about how they've studied combat, but are taught to avoid it until it is the absolute last resort helps them relate to the Jedi character.

    :)
  8. Spike_Spiegel Former FF Administrator Former Saga Mod

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2002
    star 6
    I play an Ewok Jedi and its not easy. As a Jedi you try to be the "good guy" even when your character is really pissed. A Jedi played well is also not a munchkin since a Jedi will use a weapon only for defense, never for attack. This usually means that you have to be attacked first before opening a can of Jedi woop buttocks.
  9. Tremaniac Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2002
    star 3
    Our one consistant jedi (I say this because he is always ready with a Jedi character, often an exact clone of a previous character), cannot play a jedi because he can't see past the power that a jedi can possess. He's of the firm belief that no one else can beat a Jedi with 8d in Control, Sense, and Alter. That he often dies, or goes over to the darkside, around the 4d mark, doesn't seem to derail his train of thought. While he's busy dying messily or failing to stay true to the light, the non force chuckers are getting really good at skills like Dodge, Persuasion, Con, and Brawling or Melee.
    I've played a jedi type once or twice as a player. The first time went extremely well, considering the short time it lasted. Since the character sucked at his force abilities (I learned them during the campaign), he often relied on other tactics in battles. As for dealing with the darker elements, well, from a purely role played out instance, thanks to that guy there was at least one more jedi in training brought back to the light, and one less darksider, who died a very silly death at the hands of a light repeater wielding Barabel Bounty Hunter.
    The second jedi played was another short term project (games never do last when I don't GM!), that ended when I earned my first darkside point for dropping an Imperial Intelligence Agent out of a YT-1300 for selling out a group of somewhat naive students and thier professor. The professor died saving me. Killing the guy who was responsible for his death was the least I could do. Darkside, yes. But the guy had it coming, and I figured I could always atone for it once I was off planet. Never did get a chance to atone.
  10. JediBendu Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 1999
    star 3
    Watch 7 Samurai.

    That's a movie about being Jedi. Then you'll get it.

    There's a reason Lucas is letting someone who made a Cartoon called Samurai jack make the Clone Wars TV series.

    It's simple to be a Jedi, just be a hero. If the story demands that you get a dark side point, then do it, but only when it is A) Dramatically appropriate and B) absolutely neccessary. Then be wracked by guilt for many sessions (yay, guilt is good roleplay).

    But mainly just be a good guy. It's really easy when you think about it in those terms.

    I was starting my big star wars campaign years ago and was going to have the Jedi Order doing some dubious stuff in it. Then my brother asked me "Why?". he reminded me that the Jedi are good guys, and that became the core of my campaign, so when they fell, the galaxy trembled at their passing.

    There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
  11. Jacen13 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2002
    star 2
    I have a question. It is the climax of the campaign. A Jedi knight, soldier, and several other char. are fighting a Sith Warrior at the edge of a cliff. The sith is about to finish off the soldier(Coup de Grace) (who is the jedi's friend) when the Jedi uses Move Object to hurl to Sith off the cliff edge. Would the jedi gain a DSP (for using the Force to kill a sentinet being) a FP (for dramaticaly saving his friend) neither or both?
  12. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    It depends on your gaming style.

    I would grant the PC a DSP, no doubt. Why? Because if a scene like the one you described happened on screen, the Jedi would be haunted by remorse and guilt after killing the Sith in such an... expeditive... way. And because I'm an evil GM. [face_devil]

  13. FusionBlaster Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2001
    star 3
    I've played two jedi...

    One was basicly a two shot character that was tempted by the dark side. Never fell but then again I didn't play him too much


    the other I was basicly makeing a Twi'lek Weapon master who tried everything he could to not fight. Many times if he had the drop on an opponent he ruined the surprise by giving them a chance to surreneder. Just when he did use the light saber he made the fight as quick as he could. Played him as he wanted to be a scholar but he just ended up having to battle. Now I plan to cross his levels (When ever the hell we get back to the game) between Jedi Scholar and Weapon Master.
  14. Jedi Merkurian ST Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    The thing about properly (IMHO) playing a Jedi is that you must learn detachment, or more properly, a lack of attachment. The best example is that given in the OCR & RCR about the Jedi whose friend was eaten by members of an alien species.

    For the Jedi to wish to punish those aliens would mean that he had to attach his own moral values about what he considers to be cannibalism to a species who does not share that same moral framework. They were only acting in accordance with their nature when they ate his friend.

    Let me transpose that example onto a campaign I played on. I was playing a human Jedi Weapon Master, and our group was attacked by a giant beastie. It was in it's nature to attempt to kill us, however it was in our nature to not wish to die. I faced down the beast in order to give my group cover in order to escape. I only battled the creature long enough for it to realize that it would die were it to press the attack, and then let it escape when it chose to flee.

    Later, we faced several darksiders & soldiers in a temple-like area that had a lava moat. One of my compatriots was Force-pushed over the edge and was hanging over the lava. My character charged into the midst of the darksiders and proceeded to "fire for effect" with a lightsaber/martial arts combo (he took the Martial Arts Kata weapon mastery)

    One of the house rules we use is that if you inflict enough wound damage to kill an opponent, you have the option of striking to maim instead, dropping your foe to exactly 0 WP (which leaves them Disabled) Given that there were still several opponents up, and my comrade-at-arms was still in mortal danger, I chose a lethal attack.

    In the situation given above, I most certainly would not give the Jedi a DSP for saving his friend from the Sith Warrior, so long as they didn't use a specifically dark side power (like Force Grip) to do so.

    Understand, as seen in the movies, Jedi have no problem with killing. After all, Obi-Wan drop kicked Jango Fett over the edge at Kamino, presumably to his death.
  15. Jacen13 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2002
    star 2
    Ah, many different oppinions. I just wanted to see what you would say. Personally, I would give the Heroe two Force Points and a DSP. One FP for defeating the Sith, one for saving his friend, Plus a DSP for using a Force move to kill a Jedi. It would even out as earning 1 FP.
  16. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    Ah, many different oppinions. I just wanted to see what you would say. Personally, I would give the Heroe two Force Points and a DSP. One FP for defeating the Sith, one for saving his friend, Plus a DSP for using a Force move to kill a Jedi. It would even out as earning 1 FP.

    Not if you play without "burning" Force Points to rid yourself of DSPs, you don't... ;)

    I don't like that stupid rule. The only time I think it'd be acceptible was if the hero was to get a FP for a heroic act AND was during the adventure trying to atone -- they'd have the option of burning a DSP instead of getting +1 FP...
  17. wicket1138 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2002
    star 5
    I think one of the reasons why they are so hard to play is the fact that our players create so many of them. We've had far too many Jedi campaigns, and its difficult to make sure they follow everything correctly as to how the society of a Jedi is run. More often than not, we cant keep them on a specific track (like say for instance, being a padawan that is training to become a knight) and they are far too ambitious for their own good. Yes, they want to improve their force skills, but they also want too many other things, and get too involved in the politics of the world. Theyre always looking to do too many things, and they dont know how to settle with simply doing as the council has instructed them. Yes, Qui-Gon was a rebel... but Qui-Gon wasnt a best friend of a Hutt either. *shrugs* Theses guys want to essentially be regular people with the force and a lightsaber.
  18. Fanboy_Solo Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 7, 2001
    star 4
    In other words, some wish to convert their munchkins to SWD20 :D
  19. Ping Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 23, 1998
    star 3
    In the example given, I would have given a force point (two if they burned an FP to make sure it worked), but no DSP. This was a case of using your skills to defend someone who couldn't, and there's nothing wrong with that, in my book.

    However, I think I've faced different problems than many here.

    I have a hard time convincing my players to actually use the Force. It's not that they're necessarily scared of earning DSPs. I think it may be because of, here's an odd thing, religious reasons. We're all LDS, and free will is an important aspect of that. Includign the player that I felt did the best at being a Jedi, they all seemed to feel that using the Force to affect another's free will was wrong.

    Now, in a debate about ethics, I'd probably agree with them. However, in the context of Star Wars, using the mind trick to get storm troopers to leave you alone, or to convince a scuzzy used-parts dealer to accept what should be legal tender was obviously not "wrong." Killing Darth Maul was not "wrong." Vader tossing the Emperor was not "wrong." It's a different set of ethics.

    But convincing my players that it's okay to actually use the skills they've spent so much time and energy (and CPs) on is like pulling teeth!
  20. Tremaniac Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2002
    star 3
    Having to convince your players to use force powers?!?!? I bet there's tons of d20 GMs who wish they had that problem! Personally, thanks to my stance on setting (classic Empire), playing a Jedi isn't an option for everyone at the table. Especially at the same time. Some may argue that part of the reason for wanting to play SWRPG is to be one of those cool lightsaber wielding heroes. I will accomidate, but being a jedi is tough when the Empire has deathsquads scouring the galaxy looking for you. And excessive reliance on the Force will put them in a bad spot.
    I can't really do that in other settings, so I stick with what works. Don't go evil in a galaxy that is overstocked with evil, because the niche you fill may be what they put your coffin in. In a pre Empire campaign, Jedi roamed pretty much freely, though they got saddled with a master, who probably shouldn't be around all the time from an RPG standpoint as it can make things difficult for GMs.
  21. Daikuma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2003
    I don't believe Jedi are hard to play at all, but you have to study. Fortunately, there is a TON of information on the web, so all you pay is your net connection. You cannot just go with the films though, and to really appreciate it - your group has to adopt some house rules.

    I play a Jedi in my current campaign, and my GM is new to running SW, but he is a fan. Unfortunately he does by the book playing, and frankly wizards released D20 revised without finishing the damn thing. He got so mad the other night when my jedi just kept blasting the dark jedi he was chasing with stun bolts until they fell. He actually said "but you're supposed to use your lightsabre!" I nearly passed out laughing.

    We are not limited to the restrictions of the lightsaber for our characters, especially when trying the bring 'em back alive option. Expand beyond the basics of te system, and play hard, play deep, play often.

    Daikuma
  22. Daikuma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 31, 2003
    <<<<<[I have a question. It is the climax of the campaign. A Jedi knight, soldier, and several other char. are fighting a Sith Warrior at the edge of a cliff. The sith is about to finish off the soldier(Coup de Grace) (who is the jedi's friend) when the Jedi uses Move Object to hurl to Sith off the cliff edge. Would the jedi gain a DSP (for using the Force to kill a sentinet being) a FP (for dramaticaly saving his friend) neither or both? ]>>>>>

    He gets a DSP and NO FP - Here is why...

    With move object, you can do a lot more than shove; you can lift, or shove and lift, or pull. You could have done a lot more to save the life of your friend and the sith (imprisoning him or leaving it up to the council to decide what his fate would be). You could have pulled your friend clear of the finishing move, you could have pushed him (the sith) off of the cliff and then held him there as long as you had vitality (or d6 equivalent) to spend.

    DSP are rewarded on intent, not application. Yes you intended to save your friend, but you intended to do it by intending to kill the Sith with the Force - this is a rage type act, and as such, you are the winner of a fresh new DSP and all of the doubt and guilt that (should) go with it...

    Daikuma
  23. The_Ghost Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    "Understand, as seen in the movies, Jedi have no problem with killing. After all, Obi-Wan drop kicked Jango Fett over the edge at Kamino, presumably to his death."

    to this i can quote Master Odan-Urr: "If a Jedi ignites his lightsabre, he must be ready to take a life. If he is not so prepared, he must keep his weapon at his side."

    my opinion on the topic is to agree: Detachment and the lack of Attachment are key.

    There is no emotion; There is peace.
    emotions are volatile and short-sighted, hate or love can both drive one to the Dark if they rage unchecked. one must calm and be at peace with themselves and thusly the universe.

    There is no ignorance; there is knowledge.
    peace to the absence of all else brings ignorance, with peace one must then reach out and help guide others. knowledge allows one to properly help themself and others along the road of peace.

    There is no passion; there is serenity.
    knowledgable peace itself can still cause harm if one seeks it relentlessly. when one puts the passion aside and moves forward serenely, they gain a greater acknowledgement of the universe.

    There is no death; there is the Force.
    when peace, knowledge and serenity are attained, one realizes that when their body ceases they themselves do not, they and everything are one with the Force. this acceptance, this burden is placed upon a Jedi when he takes up his lightsabre and vows to uphold peace and justice.

    The temptation to misuse this is great and many will fall because they do not understand, or more importantly they do not try to understand. My players who wish to play Jedi find me very strict on them, but it is not supposed to be easy. if it were easy, there would be no great reward.

    and yes, i think those who practise some form of discipline can play them easier. i find no trouble playing my Jedi and i practise martial arts, am a Taoist, and a military member. all three of these things can help you learn the difficulties a Jedi faces.
  24. Stridarious Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 27, 2002
    star 6
    I am not sure, perhaps its because there are so many rules to being a Jedi. I mean so many things you have to take into account. And also perhaps their fighting styles have alot to do with it. For they do not fight with anger and rage for that leads to the darkside. Its alot of info that goes with each character.
  25. Koohii Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 30, 2003
    star 5
    I think it comes down to the players not being up to the task.

    A lot of the players I've been gaming with have a tendancy to want to do the sorts of activities that they'd never get away with in the real world, many of which would go against the jedi code. The result is that the good players who could play jedi don't, and the ones who can't try to.

    Plus, with the d6 system, the penalties for failing to live up to the code are pretty harsh: stray too far and you loose your character.

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