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Use of the Force in combat - back then and now
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Akumakaji
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:32 am    Post subject: Use of the Force in combat - back then and now Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

today I want to examine the use of the force in combat.

Back in the days when I started playing StarwarsD6 under 1st and 2nd Edition rules, the force was a rather subtle influence in combat. It was mostly used for lightsaber combat and most offensive stuff like Force Lightning or Telekinetic Kill was the domain of the dark side. The rules stated that you would get a darkside point for using the force for doing evil or to injure or kill others, beside in self defense or defense of others (SWd6 1st Edition p66); some force powers always gave a darkside point on use, no matter the circumstances, like Force Lightning etc. I couldn't find the exact statement in my 2nd Edition rule book, but it is more or less implied, and it states that a character recieves a darkside point if any power is used for evil (SWd6 2nd edition p 142).

So under my GM back then it was rather enforced that any use of the force to acually damage or kill another being counted as an evil act, but I can see that the rules actually have a little bit of leeway here. For the most part of the extended universe, thats how things seemed to work, evil Jedi threw Force Lightning and used telekinetic kill, and good Jedi used the force to power up their body or for the occasional lightsaber throw.

But the prequals and many of the Star Wars computer games that followed added their own touch to this. The force push was introduced and became the goto direct offensive lightside force power, to be used in combat. And I am fine with this, giving someone a severe push and let them tumble to the ground in order to get a better position in combat seems to be totally in line with "using the force in defense or defense of others".

But soon we would also see more creative use of the force push, ie pushing people from landing platforms or pulling them into yawning chasms, and this somehow sits not right with me. Most people have little defenses against offensive use of force skills, only your raw perception skill, or if you permit it, the Willpower skill, but even this represents some extensive training on your side to harden yourself.

The telekinetic powers like push and pull are, of course, not inherently evil, but is there really a difference of killing someone with Force Lightning or giving them a severe push to let them fall into their certain doom? It seems to be ok and clever to do so, but I always counted this as an "evil and destrictive act", or at the very least governed by dark thoughts and emotions, so I would dole out darkside points for this. But over the years players would always be a bit let down by this pactise of mine, for not being able to use their powers to their full extent, of being held back artificially and unreasonable good-mongering etc.

So how do you see this, where do you draw the line? Personally I really like the way of black and white thinking that Starwars allowed. Normal life is never that clear cut, and Starwars alowed a much simpler outlook on life. Thats why I never really liked the concept of Grey Jedi and never alowed them in my games, but I can see the appeal of a moraly conflicted and grey person, so I don´t critizice this at all. But to me the line is a direct usage of the force to kill or injure another person, not some indirect use like buffing your own combat prowess and fighting for a good cause.
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Potroclo
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the day our GM would give dark side points to any jedi that killed, period. Be it using the force or not. Sole exception was in a fight against a dark side user that's beyond salvation. Inducing injuries in any way when not in self defense or defense of others could get you dark side points too. That made playing jedi rather... interesting.

I'm not that strict when I GM, I balance the consequences to the awareness of the character about the Force and the jedi code. Say, a Force sensitive character that doesn't even know about the jedi may kill using his "special skills" without getting dark side points if it's not made in a selfish or sadistic way. But I do abide by a more lax judging code, instead of blindly applying the rules.

In the case you mention of a jedi using Force pull to throw an enemy down a yawning chasm, I'll totally give a dark side point. The intention is what matter.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've always been in the 'black-and-white' camp myself. Certain powers always give DSPs, others are less likely to.
Force push (TK) someone, to hold them. OK. Doing it while your friend get a whak on him and he can't defend - DSP.
Affect mind to make someone fall asleep - ok.
AM to make them fall asleep, then a comrade coup-de-gras him - dsp.
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Mamatried
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My issue with DSPs and force use within the rules

We see in movies, games and comics, jedi killing in droves, using the force to do so, and more than the "mere 6 times aka 6 DSPs" before they fall to the darkside completely.

Now if we look to further legends and eu material, which should be relevant to rules made from the scourses, we see jedi that actually do posess the power, jedi that do very "dark" things in a back and white setting.

To me the mere use oof a power should never warrnat a dsp, even force lightning, and force choke.
though the latter is harder to pull off without actually injuring someone.

so to me it is the intent and how the powers are used that determine DSP or not, not a 100% black and white thing we have absolutely zero referances to withing the lore
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're using the force for defense I won't give you a dark side point, irregardless of the power you use.

I've long allowed that if you're using force lightning to charge a battery then you won't give you a dsp.

Luke used force choke on the Gamorrean Guards at Jabba's palace. I doubt he killed them, though we don't see what happens off screen, it was just an efficient way to deal with two adversaries.

It happens at the 30 second mark or so.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The mere fact of Luke using Force Choke in RotJ is not itself an argument against a character in the game using it getting a DSP. Dramatically, its purpose in the plot is to show that maybe Luke might turn to the Dark Side like his father (and the Emperor who also wears a black hood). Luke's climax in the film is him choosing not to cross over to the Dark Side. In the game Luke is only an NPC, but maybe him doing that was worthy of a DSP. There's no rule that says Luke can't have DSPs.
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oddly, I was thinking about the 'Luke Force Choke' the other day, and wondered if it could be interpreted that he was actually using Affect Mind to make them believe they were being choked?

It seems possible, as the description of the Power says "A character believes he is affected by any successful illusions – a character who thinks he is struck by an illusionary object would feel the blow. If he thinks he was injured, pain would be felt, or if he thought he was killed, he would become unconscious. The character does not suffer any true injury."


The hand motion that Luke makes is not as visceral or sustained as the one Vader makes, which could be used as supporting evidence of this.
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Urban Spaceman
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one that's always bothered me is a Jedi automatically getting a Dark Side point for using Telekinesis to attack someone with a levitated object. If a one kilogram object does only 1D damage, then that seems like a distraction technique, rather than an attempt to kill.


In my game I take in to account the intention of the player, I make sure they have the knowledge their character would be reasonably aware of (i.e. yes, the spanner won't kill him, but remember he is standing next to a cliff edge), and take it from there.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
The one that's always bothered me is a Jedi automatically getting a Dark Side point for using Telekinesis to attack someone with a levitated object. If a one kilogram object does only 1D damage, then that seems like a distraction technique, rather than an attempt to kill.


In my game I take in to account the intention of the player, I make sure they have the knowledge their character would be reasonably aware of (i.e. yes, the spanner won't kill him, but remember he is standing next to a cliff edge), and take it from there.


I tend to agree with this, with powers that aren't necessarily direct kills. I mean, if we want to go THAT route, do we claim Luke got a DSP for killing tons of people who weren't a direct threat to him on the first Death Star, given that the official rules are that he was using Concentration to do it?

(I'm reminded of the Good Place; eventually, you wind up carrying a chain of causation so far that no one is good, because their actions cause untold problems)
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Oddly, I was thinking about the 'Luke Force Choke' the other day, and wondered if it could be interpreted that he was actually using Affect Mind to make them believe they were being choked?

It seems possible, as the description of the Power says "A character believes he is affected by any successful illusions – a character who thinks he is struck by an illusionary object would feel the blow. If he thinks he was injured, pain would be felt, or if he thought he was killed, he would become unconscious. The character does not suffer any true injury."


The hand motion that Luke makes is not as visceral or sustained as the one Vader makes, which could be used as supporting evidence of this.


And we know from the ROTJ sourcebook luke carried 2 DSPS by then. So perhaps this is where he earned one..
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, it seems like a small point in balance in what is already a pretty combat-broken system for Jedi. Giving them ranged combat options seems to be letting go of the one thing that limits Jedi combat monkeys.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've already had a pretty extensive conversation on the ins and outs of Telekinetic Kill here: Light-Side Force Choke

Urban Spaceman wrote:
Oddly, I was thinking about the 'Luke Force Choke' the other day, and wondered if it could be interpreted that he was actually using Affect Mind to make them believe they were being choked?

My problem with this is that the obvious ret-con wouldn't be necessary if WEG had just allowed Luke to do a limited "Force Choke" (doing Stun damage) in the first place. IMO, that should have been the obvious conclusion reached from the films, and the OP has already pointed out that Force Lightning and TK Kill are noticeably different from what we see in the films.

garhkal wrote:
And we know from the ROTJ sourcebook luke carried 2 DSPS by then. So perhaps this is where he earned one..

Again, this is a poor ret-con, trying to shove an RPG-shaped peg into a film-shaped hole. Everything that Luke goes through in the films, and he deliberately soaks two DSPs just to "impress the door man" (as was so aptly put in the above link)? Highly unlikely.

Stats aren't canon, after all. Just because WEG gave Luke two DSPs as of the end of Battle of Endor doesn't make it in-universe fact.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheshire wrote:
For me, it seems like a small point in balance in what is already a pretty combat-broken system for Jedi. Giving them ranged combat options seems to be letting go of the one thing that limits Jedi combat monkeys.

My thinking here is that the limits on Jedi should be more philosophically (read Role-playing) based, as in, rather than arbitrarily saying "you can't do that" in pursuit of game balance, make the balance come from pursuing the "Jedi way", and use CP rewards as an incentive

As in, sure, a Jedi character could do those things, but he will earn more CP and thus greater understanding and power in the Force if he doesn't.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Urban Spaceman wrote:
The one that's always bothered me is a Jedi automatically getting a Dark Side point for using Telekinesis to attack someone with a levitated object. If a one kilogram object does only 1D damage, then that seems like a distraction technique, rather than an attempt to kill.
For Telekinesis (and Force Push) I think the intention matters, but also the effect. 1D of damage shouldn't kill anyone. 8D damage will kill most any sentient. If you hit them with too big of a rock or push them too hard into the wall and kill them, even if the PCs intent wasn't to kill the target, I think that's a step towards the Dark Side.*

garhkal wrote:
Force push (TK) someone, to hold them. OK. Doing it while your friend get a whak on him and he can't defend - DSP.
What if the Jedi didn't know that's what the friend was going to do, i.e. the Jedi intended to hold him. And while he was doing that, a friend or ally takes advantage of the situation to kill the target?


* While I think the Jedi should get a DSP (or if one uses fractional points, a Dark Side Pip), I think that in the case of "oops I accidentally pushed them too hard and killed them" a repentant Jedi should have a pretty easy path to atonement.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a take on this, read What's So Bad About The Dark Side? from Polyhedron #108.
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