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The Force - SW's Ultimate Mary Sue

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Jaina_Solo_15, Feb 20, 2006.

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  1. Jaina_Solo_15

    Jaina_Solo_15 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Okay, Oh Great and Wise Mods, I know we already have a Mary Sue thread. Please keep reading before you lock.


    Just as Mara Jade chastises Anakin Solo for using the Force as a crutch in Dark Tide I: Onslaught, this thread is for discussing how the Force is sometimes used as a crutch in storytelling.

    By definition the Force is all encompassing. This means that as far as we've been shown, both throught the movies and through the novels, that there is almost nothing that can't be done with the Force as long as the being manipulating the Force can believe and imagine it, ie "Size matters not." "There is no try, only do." yadda yadda.

    This sense of limitlessness in what the Force is capable of can sometimes lead to the tendency to use it as a quick fix to get out of a situation where a writer is has back themselves into a corner, plot wise. In that sense, the Force is kind of like a Mary Sue, it can do everything and everyone loves it (so to speak ;)).

    Okay, so has anyone experienced this in their writing? I know that I have at times. Does anyone have any suggestions about avoiding this tendency or any suggestions about what they've done to recognize this tendency?

     
  2. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    Actually I think the term in fiction would be closer to deus ex machina, which is an unexpected or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly to resolve a plot.

    Writing in Star Wars it's definitely a concern. Even Luke's use of the Force in profic recently has been borderline. The one nice thing is that Denning always shows the consequences of the use. I try to remember that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So we see Luke in the Dark Nest Trilogy actually aging from the exertion. So say I wouldn't expect Anakin Skywalker to think a building into collapse and at the same time show no toll on him personally.

    It's always a good thing to keep in mind when composing our stories and examining where our plots are going.
     
  3. Zonoma

    Zonoma Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jun 28, 2005
    THANK YOU for starting this thread! I am so sick of reading about the "all powerful nose picking Force" (as one of my Crechlings just put on his app) in fanfic and even profic these days. Whatever happened to equal and opposite reactions (if I may quote you, TKL)?

    It is way, way too late for me to try and articulate anything intelligent of my own but I will be back tomorrow.
     
  4. Eleventh_Guard

    Eleventh_Guard Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 17, 2005
    I have the opposite problem... I keep putting characters into situations that would be really rough for a non-Force user, and sometimes fail to take into account that for a Jedi (or a Sith, Or Dark Jedi, or whatever as the case may be) it might not be so bad because the Force could get them out. Especially since some of the Jedi are so powerful now in the DN3-and-later era it's almost difficult to find problems for them that they will have trouble handling without resorting to acceptable but often overused plot devices like the bad guys holding someone hostage. (It doesn't help that profic uses the Force as a very pliable plot device as well.)

    The only EU era that I've read quite a bit of is the post-RotJ period, so I don't know if this happens as much with earlier eras, but I keep seeing that more and more in canon, and it is not easy to come up with things to throw at the Jedi that they couldn't just use the Force to deal with, when push comes to shove, in profic.

    I can see how using the Force as a crutch would be easy to do, but honestly I don't think there's a whole lot that it can't do canonically - the trick is that there would be some sort of consequence, or that not every Jedi would be strong enough and trained enough to do the task or at least not do it safely.
     
  5. Kidan

    Kidan TFN EU Staff star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2003
    TKL is correct.

    The Force has long been handled as the biggest, baddest Deus ex Machina in existence.

    With it, Luke can rebuild castles, feel people die, pilot the Falcon all by his little ole lonesome self and my all time favorite, bring himself back to life, not once, but twice.


    And that is the pro fic.

    With those examples, it is not unexpected that fanfic-ers would hold the Force as the 'get out of jail free' card for their writing.


    Also, just as TK said, if you have your Jedi do something nigh upon impossible, then there needs to be ramifications. Luke's illusion caused aging, Luke playing with the Dovin Basil's voids caused exhaustion.

    The other thing, is that nigh upon impossible power display should be a logical progression of an existing power or attribute that some Jedi has done.

    Example of the good: the illusions, that was a more extreme use of the skill as learned from the Fallanasi

    Example of the bad: we have Jedi with their healing trances, and their ability to control their bio-patterns (muscle control, nerve control, senses control, etc) all of the sudden, being 'given' life energy from badgers and worms.


     
  6. Exeter

    Exeter Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 2, 2005
    I am so sick of reading about the "all powerful nose picking Force" (as one of my Crechlings just put on his app) in fanfic and even profic these days.

    See, I would be one of those kids who washes out of the five-step padawan program and gets thrown in the AgriCorps. While all of my fellow students were practicing and studying and all of those other things that good little Forcespawn do, I'd be picking my nose with the Force, crashing "Ultimate Fight Championships" on Coruscant, and trying to pick up women by using Jedi/Force-related pickup lines ("Heh heh want to see my lightsaber, etc.) - and failing when they realize I force-choke in my sleep.

    Anyway, back on topic, I'd have to agree. The Force is interesting because it allows for much more than is possible in the world we know, but once you use it as that "get out of jaii free" card every time the characters get into a fix and once you have superhero-caliber Force users flinging planets at each other while doing crossword puzzles it starts to weaken the credibility and coherency of the plot and it begins to show in your story as a whole. Not to mention, it doesn't make things very interesting. How can a reader really feel any sense of tension or concern for a character who has been known to implode suns when he/she gets a Jeopardy question wrong? They know the character always has an out, and will never take seriously any threat they face.

    In order to avoid from doing that (and it is tempting at times to make a "Neo" in the Star Wars Universe), I try to keep a humanistic perspective when approaching my Force-sensitive characters. Even among the most powerful of them, I always paint them as beings who suffer from indecision, confusion, and even doubt (whether Luke Skywalker or a Hutt-Jedi) when delving into a deeper understanding of the Force. They are beings like us who use the Force to enhance their abilities, not Force-users who are occassionally beings like us. And as such, they can even make mistakes. I find that when you build a character from that perspective - powerful but not a lightning-bolt tossing Thor - you tend to avoid placing yourself into situations where it proves difficult to excavate yourself and the character without stooping to a belief-suspending improbable Force-aided escape.

    After all, we've not seen anything to suggest the Jedi are god-Kings who manipulate the fabric of time and space for fun on weekends. Even Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan chose to flee from two Destroyer Droids, and they were accomplished Jedi. Sure, we've seen Yoda and Sidious tossing Senate pods at each other, but they were presented as the absolute pinnacle of their kind. Like I said, just exercise restraint when assigning abilities to your characters or you'll end up with a cast that seems at home on Mount Olympus than Corellia.

    If the reader can at least relate to them at least on some level, I think you've . There's nothing wrong with using the Force as a plot device - after all, that's basically Star Wars in a nutshell - but never forget it's the characters who make things interesting. As TKL said, if you're going to go with extremely powerful Force users, I would try to demonstrate incredible actions by the difficulty of their accomplishment. Just as Yoda didn't look like he was drinking a strawberry daiquiri on Tahiti while he was holding back Sidious' force lightning, see what you can do to temper the improbability by emphasizing the reason the character is able to do it, the effort needed to achieve it, and the consequences (see TKL's post) of it.

    In my opinion, that would make for a far more interesting work. Don't be afraid of using the Force to further the plot, but just make sure it's in keeping with who you are dealing with. You wouldn't see Saesee Tinn levitating folks like Dooku, and if Bail tried to absorb a gout of force lightning he'd probably just end up with a bad case of indigestion.
     
  7. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 1999
    It brings to mind a problem that James Fenimore Cooper had with his famous character.

    In the second and third books of the Leatherstocking Tales series (chronologically), Natty Bumpo was written as such a larger than life woodsman character that it's basically impossible for him to be bested in that setting, so Cooper had to work around that. It would have been inconceivable for someone to sneak up on him and kidnap one of his companions, but if Natty wasn't around, then it was okay.


    It's a huge problem to have a hero who is too far above his contemporaries in ability. The hero is good only if he defeats a believable villain, and with no Sith to draw on post-ROTJ, the number of contrivances to counteract the abilities of the Jedi has had to grow. Myrkr anyone?


    And as with popular fables, the hero gets more and more powerful with each re-telling throughout the generations. It seems to be the same deal with different authors handling Jedi powers. A sort of one-upsmanship

    Qui-Gon lamented that young Anakin was right that nobody could kill a Jedi, but he knew it wasn't so. Speaking as someone who quit reading the EU quite a while ago, is it still believable that someone 'ordinary' could face off with a Jedi and win?

    The Force too often seems to make characters so super-human that they're really not human at all (or whatever the species may be).
     
  8. Mjsullivan

    Mjsullivan Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Dec 8, 2003
    Great idea for a thread! I seem to remember there being a similar discussion about this some time ago (I've been away for a long time, so I mean quite some time ago :p) about Jedi that are written solely for the purpose of slice'n'dice action sequences. More or less if a force-using character is written for the purpose of being able to say "Look! My Jedi character is just the best thing to happen to the universe ever!", then there's problems.

    You've always gotta take these things back to basics. If you think about why the Force was written into Star Wars in the first place - I mean waaay back in the day of the first drafts of Luke Starkiller and the Journey to the Great Planet-Destroying Orb, or whatever GL originally penned - then you can kinda get a grasp of what the Force is all about. GL didn't write it so everyone would think "Wow, those Jedis sure are the bizniss." It was a plot device to separate the main characters from the secondary ones. There needed to be two primary characters that somehow embodied the opposing sides and wielded enough power to symbolically play out the inevitable battle between those two sides, if that makes sense.

    There's nothing wrong with using the Force as a plot device - after all, that's basically Star Wars in a nutshell - but never forget it's the characters who make things interesting.

    That's the crux of the matter, Exeter. The force is a plot device, but was never intended as a miracle cure to the problems of the galaxy. In the end it wasn't the force that killed the Emperor but an internal character struggle between right and wrong.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the Force is less a mystical power for the characters than it is a mystical power for the author. In my opinion it should only be used to underline and reinforce already existing elements of the plot, never to create new elements of the plot and overcome them purely on its own merits. If you stick to that sort of logic, then it's very much possible to have a non-force user square off against a Jedi and come away the winner because the battle between them isn't about the force, it's about their character development up until that point.

    Ha, I'm sorry if that sounded a bit confusing. It's late at night over here :p
     
  9. Inara

    Inara Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 30, 2005
    While I will concede that Jedi powers and mysticism is the core of Star Wars, I also think that the Force users have become too powerful.

    The Jedi in Dark Nest were becoming too powerful (almost KOTOR level, in fact). Even though Denning showed some consequences of such blatant displays of power, Luke's invisibility trick (and he really doesn't need to be aging a whole year in a five minute span), Jacen's "hiding" from the assassin bugs and when he left a message in the future, and even when Jaina used the Force on the pilot's flight stick, really downplayed prequel era Jedi like Obi-wan Kenobi (who, in Denning's hands, would have shut off the Death Star's tractor beam using the Force while sitting in the Falcon lounge playing holochess with Artoo).

    Being so powerful in the Force doesn't do anything for one's character. After all, Luke was great in TTT even though he was without the Force. He didn't have it as a crutch on Wayland. He could only rely on his wits, his knowledge, and his training - and that is what made him really shine. Obi-wan killed Grievous using parlor tricks (that handy little trick of pushing him around - Obi-Wan did not just reach out with the Force and open his organ compartment). Traitor was great because we saw Jacen as a strong person without the Force.

    It's why I enjoy Zahn's novels. I like how he makes things more challenging for the Jedi, such as in SQ. A lot of people didn't like the fact that it took Luke and Mara so long to deal with that droideka, but it was a nice change from Luke blasting it with his eyes closed.

    But perhaps the Jedi have always been this powerful, and the waning of the Jedi Order towards the end of the Old Republic narrowed the ways a Jedi could use his powers (especially taking KotoR into account), but it's still hard for me to accept, especially after so many years of more subtle displays of the Force.

    I tend to use an understated approach in my writing. Making a Jedi invulnerable doesn't make a story fun, and it can make a plot weaker when there is an easy solution. For example, in of my fics, Jacen tries to cut through a wall, but the lightsaber has a difficult time cutting through it, and it's easier just to break through it with a big vehicle.

    I like seeing Jedi sweat, and at times, I like to see the Force not be the best solution to a problem.

     
  10. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jun 4, 2002


    [face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh]

    Oh Lord.....

    OK, feeling people die I'll give a pass for - after all it's a change of a state of being, but as for the rest?


    *Waits for some rogue Jedi to use the Force when the Charmin is gone.*

    *sigh*

     
  11. JadeSolo

    JadeSolo Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2002
    I sometimes liken the Force in a fanfic to playing a SW videogame. No, really, there's a point to this. :p

    Take "Jedi Knight," for instance. You have cheat codes that give you umlimited weapons, ammo, Force powers, plus the ability to fly, "turn off" enemies, and skip whole levels. There are also secrets that give you bonus Force points, so to speak, that you can later divvy up among the various Force powers you'd like to have. But then, why waste points on Force healing when you've got a cheat code to bring your health and shields back to full?

    That would be a Jedi who can get out of every scrape simply with a flick of the hand. Or in this case, a click of the mouse button, and the code to turn off enemies.

    The limitations of a Jedi with the Force are shown through playing the game like it's meant to be played. That means Force jumping over a huge canyon instead of using the cheat code to fly, which then means you'll have to save often and maybe redo it a few times if you keep missing the ledge. The Force with limitations means looking high and low for those secrets, earning your bonus points the hard way. It means that with 30 stormtroopers and mercs coming out of the woodwork, sometimes it's better to hide and run away, rather than blast them with your unlimited ammo.

    The second version is harder, it takes longer, and you feel like a fool for not knowing which switches to pull in what order. But you get your story's worth out of the plot. Not to mention those snarky one-liners from Kyle. [face_laugh]
     
  12. Shinar

    Shinar Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    May 30, 2002
    This whole thread is so true and so halarious [face_laugh]
     
  13. TKeira_Lea

    TKeira_Lea Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 10, 2002
    I've mentioned this another thread but it bears repeating. Back to the equal and opposite reaction idea I go. Obviously Obi-Wan has even noted in canon that there are no limits to what a Jedi might do with the Force. And I think that's a fair mindset for a Jedi. Do, there is no try.

    Even with humans of no Force potential there are moments when a person can exceed his/her ability. I had a friend literally rip the steel roof off her horse trailer when it flipped on its side. She did this with her bare hands. On a normal day, not even a strong man could have achieved what she did in the heat of the moment. There was no try.

    So I believe that Jedi too can perform extreme feats in the heat of the moment.

    Now, there is no way, beyond the critical exertion that a small woman could keep up such output from her body without something failing. Probably the same would hold true for a Jedi. So when considering this idea of extreme Force use at a critical juncture, I turned to a lesson I learned as a vet technician in my younger years. Polo ponies can only play at peak condition for so long. To maximize their output and speed, they are often given performance enhancing drugs. These polo ponies often perform above and beyond expectations.

    The cost to the pony comes after this peak performance period. They actually go through a major down time, with low energy and lethargy. They just can't play anymore. A vet once described it to me like this -- Horses have a finite energy level, but with the drugs it's like borrowing from the pot. Here's one for you math fans -- In essence, the area under the curve for energy output of a horse will never change, but if you exceed the normal limit, then you've got to make up for the peak with a valley elsewhere. Thus keeping the area under the output level line the same.

    So if we consider this in light of a Jedi, perhaps each Jedi has a different lifetime potential, but in order to perform some amazing feat he/she has to borrow from that potential. It's why in starfighter combat, Obi-Wan wouldn't just flick the buzz droids off with the Force if there was another way (or was that just a GL suspend your disbelief moment :p ), but Jaina might yank a stick out of a pilot's hand if there was no other possibility to achieve her end goal. Too, you have to balance the feasibility of the action.

    I also tend to weigh the actions against how much energy the action would really take. To lift an X-wing the Force still has to overcome the effect of gravity. Lots of energy. To move a planet, I think a Jedi might implode from the effort. To perform a Force illusion requires reflacting light, definitely a doozy. Making a small sound happen on the other side of the tractor beam on the Death Star, down on the scale.


    Too you have to be reasonable with the action. Moving a lever might be no big deal with the Force, but doing it from across the ship in a hanger never seen before, should be impossible. There is no visual or physical reference to start from for the Jedi. Really it's about perspective.

    It's something to chew on, and pretty much the theory I use when balancing a Jedi's ability.
     
  14. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    Excellent topic.

    I think that, especally in profic, the Force is being used as too powerful. It goes along with all the bad guys in the EU being beaten in a single trilogy (Thrawn, the Killiks, Thrackan Sal-Solo, etc.). Even when they made the NJO really long so as to aviod that, it's implied that they weren't betaen as easily because the Jedi couldn't feel them in the Force.

    I like that Corran Horn and his family can't lift objects with the Force. It's a handicap, but he gets around it using his gift, the ability to make people think he lifted the rock (or whatever). I think very Jedi should have a handicap like that. Maybe not something as extreme, but not everyone should be good at fighting and flying and healing. A line needs to be drawn. Jacen and Luke, especally, seem to be immortal with the Force. I liked that in Rebel Stand Leia had a hard time opening the prison door. It shows that they can't rely too much on the Force.

    Because they do, it sets them apart from the 'regular' people. That was one of the downfalls of the Old Jedi Order--they were too far removed from the regular people, so those people didn't necessarily feel their loss (at least at first) when Palpatine and Vader killed them. In the last NJO books, Jag doesn't understand what about Jaina makes her so sure the Force will take care of her parents when she can't feel them in it, and it drives a small wedge between them. Like Han in AHN, he can't see or feel it, so how does he know that it exists? Only on the word of the Jedi (and in his case, seeing the effects of that use, but not everyone is that involved with Jedi. Most people would not have that benefit). Also, because the Jedi rely too much on the Force, when there are ysalamiri around, the Jedi are horribly crippled. The Force is being used too much as a crutch, and that is making it a handicap for the Jedi.
     
  15. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 16, 2005
    Great answers all, and I personally feel that is a problem in my writing if I do try to make my Jedi "vulnerable" when many folks think a Jedi wouldn't be so vulnerable.

    So I think of it and present it as "limits" - a Jedi can do much more than non-Jedi, but they might be tired and make mistakes, face too many enemies, whatever.

    One of the somewhat early EU books actually had that Yoda and Obi-Wan could have defeated Vader but chose Luke to, as the more powerful a Jedi was, the less they liked to use their full power. I'm not quite sure I buy that view, but I can buy the view that a Jedi is aware that there is consequences, many unseen, to any action, and the older/wiser/more experienced are more aware of this than the younger.
     
  16. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    The Force can be all powerful...

    ...it's the Jedi that you have to set rules on, like:

    -- How much attention do they have to devote to do something?
    -- How much time do they need to do things?
    -- How much can they really sense?
    -- How fast can they move?
    -- How long can they go without sleep with the Force?

    There are limits to what a Jedi can do; they just need to be laid out and stuck to in a story.

    I haven't been writing any Beyond the Saga fic, but whenever I get around to it I'll likely go nuts over the cortosis sheilds. ARG! they drive me nuts. And those Force-repelling critters in the Thrawn books. Double ARG! They're like Jedi kryptonite. Yech. A cheesey plot device to limit the energy field defined as being created by all life. But, oops! I guess not? Let's take back that energy field generated by all living things because it doesn't give us enough plot complications? Double yech.

    Well, if you don't have the Force then that must mean that you're DEAD, at least in the GFFA. And even dead Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin STILL have the Force.

    In my AU perspective, nothing 'blocks' the Force. You can block the Jedi, but not the Force.

    OK, rant over. :rolleyes:
     
  17. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 1999
    What is too often forgotten is that while the Force is unlimited, the users aren't.


    Credibility was first really stretched (for me anyway) when Luke's Jedi students started tossing around Star Destroyers.

    It's a real slippery slope. Once profic authors start saying: "If we know the Force can be used to do this, then we can extrapolate and use it to accomplish that as well."


    And I hate to bring up Star Trek, but there's a somewhat similar comparison between how authors use the Force and stuff that happened in TNG. After a few seasons they demonstrated how they could use the transporters to remove viruses or other harmful contaminants. Eventually there's just the logical question that if you can molecularly deconstruct and person and then put them back together again, what can't you do?

    If someone breaks an arm, just put them in the transporter and when you put 'em back together, just fix the arm while you're at it.

    In no time at all, it seemed like every week they were using the transporter as the solution to the problem in that episode. It was no longer a handy tool to get people back and forth, it was this handy little crutch that could magically solve any problem.


    Personally, I'm bothered at the thought that using the Force takes a toll on the Jedi and ages them. The Force (light side anyway) is supposed to be created by life and support it. Its use shouldn't age a person like some sort of toll charge. Yoda lived 900 years and used to Force all that time. To me it's ridiculous for Luke to age from using the Force.

    It seems like the profic authors can't stop themselves from making the Jedi use the Force to do unbelievable things so they have to construct these artificial impediments as pointless plot devices.

    EDITED so I don't contradict myself in the opening sentences.
     
  18. Eleventh_Guard

    Eleventh_Guard Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 17, 2005
    I try to limit activities based on the user, too. I have an OC who's skilled at sensing the Force and sensing life, but she's weak with mechanical things, so she can find other Force-users at short distances and even vaguely find shielded beings through the ripples they create in the Force (not as well as Jacen, but this is 14 years post DN3 and some of the more skilled Knights in that area could have learned from him). However, she'll never fly like Jaina or even an average Jedi, no matter how much Force she uses, and things like building lightsabers are difficult for her.

    Even powerful canon characters have some limits. (Jacen is actually tricky to write post-DN3 for the reason that there isn't a whole lot he can't do. I had to go to great lengths in a chapter of my longest fic to make his failure to protect his daughter from kidnapping believable. After some of the DN3 shenanigans, I wondered if pitting him against 24 Force users of average Force strength (for a Jedi/Sith/Dark Jedi) and below average training was enough. [face_plain] I think it was. I hope, anyway.)

     
  19. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Jun 25, 2002
    Hello, my name is ophelia and I . . . I like midi-chlorians.

    ::hides face and weeps for shame::

    They have the worst name ever--it always makes me think of a computerized music sequence involving Clorox or something--and yes, they strip the Force of some of its spirituality and turn the Jedi into a sinister hereditary Master Race of superbeings.

    The one good thing about midi-chlorians is that they're concrete--physical and alive, even--and so they tie the Force to the world and the laws of physics as we know them. When something has no known qualities (except for that "life creates it; makes it grow" and "it surrounds us; penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together") then you can make it into anything you want. It can wash your dishes, kill off your Yuuzhan Vong, bring you back from the dead, get rid of unsightly static cling, and anything else that does not involve ripping off Toydarian junk dealers. Midi-chlorians, at least, provide a physical--and, by implication, fallible--interface between all-too-human Jedi and "one all-powerful Force controlling . . . everything."

    I like to attack my Jedi at that weak interface point. We don't know a whole lot about midi-chlorians, except that they're a stand-in for mitochondria as per a very hypothetical "ancient symbiont" theory. Therefore you can give them just about any qualities you want--provided that you stick with what we know about the biology of living things. If Jedi "plug in" to the Force via their midi-chlorians, and midi-chlorians are alive in the conventional sense, then Jedi cannot, for example, close a massive power circuit by holding an end of damaged wire in each hand, and acting as a living power conductor. Several zillion joules of energy will kill any living thing--including midi-chlorians. So even if the Force can be everywhere and everything, it ceases to be a factor for a Jedi if he's got enough electric current to power up ten square kilometers of Coruscant running through his body. A Jedi could sacrifice himself in an emergency by closing a circuit in this manner, but so could anybody else. Better yet: "Send a droid." :p Metal works better than flesh at conducting energy, anyhow.

    Under these criteria, the list of things that the Force will not allow a Jedi to do is fairly long. He cannot survive unprotected out in the void of space. He cannot survive being hit by multiple blaster bolts. The forces of gravity and inertia will not allow him to fly, unless his species has wings. ("Falling with style" seems to be a Jedi staple, however.) He cannot escape hunger, thirst, fatigue, old age, illness, and death. He is likely to suffer and become less effective in bad weather. He can temporarily bend, but not shatter, the basic physical laws of the universe (no "turning off" gravity around a planet and dragging it off into space, for example) because these are the same physical laws that allow life to exist. Tear the spacetime continuum to shreds, and the next thing you know all the subatomic particles in your body will have separated and gone to hover in 1,000 different places around the Outer Rim. At best, a Jedi can channel forces (no pun intended) that are already present in the universe, but which are inaccessible to most people. He cannot create a new force ex nihilo, or tie the universe up in knots by making time run backward, because such drastic changes would nullify the conditions which allow his physical body to function. (Ever reverse time and had your heart beat backward? Nasty.)

    Because I am evil, I like to take things a step farther and give Jedi special vulnerabilities because of their peculiar biology. What if there were things that weren't dangerous to a Jedi's particular species, but were lethal to midi-chlorians? What would happen to the "symbiont system?" One possibility is that the Jedi would lose his Force-sensitivity, at least temporarily. (Presumably, midi-chlorians reproduce?) Another possibility is a total "ecosystem" crash, in which the annihilation of one species dooms the other. Presumab
     
  20. SakuraTsukikage

    SakuraTsukikage Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 24, 2005
    I am so glad someone started this thread. The all-powerful Jedi in the EU were really getting to me. :p

    And--wow, ophelia. You are evil [face_devil]. But very, very creative ;).

    I actually liked the midichlorians too. It gives a more concrete reality to the Force, just as Ophelia said, so that you can't just make it whatever you want it to be, you have to follow physical laws.

    Also, I agree with something stated above about the aging thing--this is the energy of life. Why would it make you age unnaturally? That's just creepy. It sort of reminded me of D&D and "wish" spells, and that's not a good association to be having with Star Wars, I think ("wish" spells--a DM's nightmare, but that's another story for a different forum).

    In my stories, I think of the Force as something akin to the Lifestream in Final Fantasy VII. The Lifestream is created and generated by all living things, similar to the Force, and you do have instances of people in the game (the main villain, Sephiroth, mainly) using to accomplish impossible things. But using the Lifestream to accomplish things like that disrupts the natural order and can actually damage the integrity of the world, which is in the game creatively called the Planet. While the Lifestream has far more physical reality than the Force, the basic concept is similar. In my mind, at least, a Jedi has something like "internal Force," that which is generated by themselves and their own body, and can be utilized, and the Force in the world around them, which can also be utilized. The talent for one or the other is usually explained as a talent for "control" as opposed to a talent for "sense" or "alter." A Jedi can use the Force in their own body to accomplish things, but that exhausts them and I would imagine it's best used for little things. Using the Force around you would enable you to do amazing things, but I would also imagine that they would have pretty huge consequences, as you disrupted the balance of life. I would think that you could end up draining the life from a huge section of forest, for example, or disrupting weather patterns, or sending ripples through the Force to smack some other Force-user upside the head.

    Another thing brought up above that I think is important to consider is that while the Force might be unlimited, its users aren't. They get tired, and weak, and reckless, and stupid, just like everybody else. When they're tired, I imagine the ability to perform tasks with the Force would weaken, and drawing on the Force to push away the weariness would probably be only a superficial "fix." After all, you get tired for a reason; it's your body trying to tell you something. Pain is the same way. If you ignore your body's signals or use the Force to mask them, you're going to pay for it later. Healing wounds with the Force exhausts you--so nothing comes without a price, even if that price is only concentration and a bit of weariness. If you channel too much of anything through your body, it burns you out. I imagine that if you channel too much of the energy of life through your body, you could do serious injury to yourself--maybe that's where the aging comes in, though it still screams "D&D!" to me . . . . [face_thinking]. And, like with Obi-Wan in ANH when he feels Alderaan's destruction, connection to the Force can also be a bad thing in some situations. It can hurt you. An average thug could kill a Jedi who was collapsed on the floor from feeling the destruction of an entire planet, for example, or perhaps the death of their Padawan.

    So, that was disjointed and I'm not sure how much sense it made, but that's what I think.

    And really, there I was mainly thinking and talking about the Light Side. I think the Dark Side is a whole different can of worms--or whatever.
     
  21. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Oooooh, lots of people have been thinking about this. :) That's so nice to see. :)

    About the midichlorines...I didn't like them when they first came up in TPM. They seemed like a plot device to me. Lucas is supposed to have said that he had them in mind all along in the SW saga, but I have my doubts. The Force, before TPM, was entirely mystical, but tacking on the midichlorines mixed it with the technology, which lessened it for me.

    But they never made a big deal about the midichlorines and they seem to only be a marker for the the Force, not the Force itself, so I suppose I got used to them.

    I didn't even KNOW about the thing the Force aging Luke. If anything, I'd think that the using the Force would extend life, if it has any effect on lifespan at all. I won't be using that in any of my fics! Are they trying to explain why Obi-Wan looked so old in ANH, like living as a hermit on a harsh desert world won't age a person? Yes! Jedi powers draining them really scream D&D to me. Like they have a certain number of hit points. That's the perfect way of putting it.

    One thing about Anakin and Luke is that they are supposed to be exceptionally strong in the Force, like once in a hundred generations exceptional. Then suddenly EU writers have to bump everyone up to that level. What's with that? Can't they deal with ordinary Jedi, who still have amazing powers. Jedi have limits. Normal regular limits that can be countered by normal, regular means. And oooooh, that immuno-stimulant thing is quite evil.[face_worried]

    The only NJO book I read was The Unifying Force. The writing was fine, but I didn't care for the whole cancelling the Force business at all. One could make a case for the Force being a local pheonomenon for the GFFA, but that's not how it came across. They just needed a bigger, huger bang for the end of the story. They'd already threatened the whole galaxy, so the only damsel in distress left was the Force. Yeesh.

    I like to think that the Jedi/Sith battle in the six movies are the peak of the conflict for a long time. The Force is BALANCED after Vader does in Palpatine, so I like to think that the GFFA goes back to it's usual chaotic state and Luke was able to pass on the Jedi learning with only random ordinary disasters going on. Bringing back Anakin to the light side was his high point; can't he have a decent life after that? Can we please have a hero who can manage to save the galaxy only ONCE in his life and be OK with that?

    I don't know what having a balanced Force really means. Does it feel differently to Luke afterwards? Do all the Jedi in the Old Republic talk about how unbalanced the Force is, like, "Oh, the Force is really crooked today." How can they even tell an unbalanced Force from a balanced one if it's always been out-of-whack for them?

    Obviously the dark/light struggle was leaning toward far toward the light with the Jedi Order as powerful as it was, then it went waaaaaaay over to the other side when the Sith took over. And Anakin cancelled it all out. I wonder why the Jedi never saw it? Was that their blind spot?

     
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