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Reorganizing Force Powers
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:37 am    Post subject: Reorganizing Force Powers Reply with quote

Some of the decisions made about Force Powers - insofar as their place in the Control / Sense / Alter framework - have always bothered me a little. In particular, the "Control Another's" family of powers. Under the RAW, the three Force skills have defined portfolios, with Control being the ability to sense and manipulate the Force in one's own person, Sense being the awareness of the Force outside one's self, and Alter as the ability to manipulate that external Force. So why is it that the Control Another's group of powers all grouped under Control/Alter? My take is that all of these powers should be moved to Sense/Alter, but with the personal Control power as a prerequisite. My reasoning is that, for example, with Accelerate Another's Healing, the character must already know how to accelerate their own healing, but to do so for someone else requires awareness of the Force within the other's body, which requires a Sense component.

Thoughts? Other powers that you feel are not properly placed?
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Naaman
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your logic is sound. I personally would like (am actually working on) this same project, but the goal is to have all powers be single skill use, even if they jave cross skill prereqs.

For example, healing another, IMO, would be an alter only power (when rolled), but would require the life sense power as a prereq thus implying that there is a sense component to that power.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Your logic is sound. I personally would like (am actually working on) this same project, but the goal is to have all powers be single skill use, even if they have cross skill prereqs.

My main problem with this is how it potentially alleviates a lot of the MAP burden that helps keep Jedi from being too overpowering.

Quote:
For example, healing another, IMO, would be an alter only power (when rolled), but would require the life sense power as a prereq thus implying that there is a sense component to that power.

I don't think the implication is enough. Simply knowing how to sense the Force in something isn't the same as actually sensing it.
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Darklighter79
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
My take is that all of these powers should be moved to Sense/Alter,

I wonder why "Control" is "Sense & Alter" combined. Logically, if Accelerate Another Healing would be moved Sense/Alter, then Accelerate Healing should be Control/Alter. They did not have the idea for Control powers as just "Inner Sense"?

As for the strange skill placing:
Greater/ Lesser Force Shield - why sense/alter? Looks like pure alter. In D6 Fantasy they got it right.

Quote:
My main problem with this is how it potentially alleviates a lot of the MAP burden that helps keep Jedi from being too overpowering.

Make some of the powers like all or nothing. Luke's doppelganger in TLJ is good example.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darklighter79 wrote:
I wonder why "Control" is "Sense & Alter" combined. Logically, if Accelerate Another Healing would be moved Sense/Alter, then Accelerate Healing should be Control/Alter. They did not have the idea for Control powers as just "Inner Sense"?

That's how WEG organized it, and short of a complete re-write of the Force rules (and all the attendant stats), it's what we've got to work with. Personally, I don't see any real need to change it. It's not a perfect system, but unless someone comes up with a marked improvement, changing it will be more trouble than it's worth.

Quote:
As for the strange skill placing:
Greater/ Lesser Force Shield - why sense/alter? Looks like pure alter. In D6 Fantasy they got it right.

Personally, I think Force Shield in general needs either a re-write or just to be dropped completely, with the protective aspects folded into Absorb/Dissipate Energy. That's essentially what the scene in the Jedi Academy Trilogy described to justify it.

The other strange skill placing that stands out to me is Projective Telepathy. If you're projecting your thoughts out to someone else, that's Alter, yet the power is Control / Sense. I say make it Control / Alter, and keep Receptive Telepathy as the prerequisite.

Quote:
Make some of the powers like all or nothing. Luke's doppelganger in TLJ is good example.

You mean like "use the power and die?" That's a bit extreme...
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Darklighter79
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:

You mean like "use the power and die?" That's a bit extreme...

Not in that way. More like: “this power requires full concentration and nothing else can be done at that time”. For example, while performing surgery, character won’t be able to dodge or make astrogation checks.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darklighter79 wrote:
More like: “this power requires full concentration and nothing else can be done at that time”. For example, while performing surgery, character won’t be able to dodge or make astrogation checks.

I dislike absolute prohibitions on a character's actions. I'd much rather put really high Difficulty Modifiers or skill penalties on a character's actions than make a flat-out statement that you can't do something, no matter how high you roll.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaman wrote:
Your logic is sound. I personally would like (am actually working on) this same project, but the goal is to have all powers be single skill use, even if they have cross skill prereqs.

Like Raven Redstar's Revised Force Powers. I'm also going in this direction.

CRMcNeill wrote:
My main problem with this is how it potentially alleviates a lot of the MAP burden that helps keep Jedi from being too overpowering.

The problem with Jedi in RAW is not starting out PCs. It is after they advance so far. Under RAW, Jedi characters utterly suck starting out. To help Jedi starting out, I have The Force attribute with two normal skills defaulting to it, Control and Sense. (Alter is an advanced skill with Control and Sense of certain levels as prerequisites.) Single skill roll powers not having the MAP burden also helps Jedi characters not suck at first.

There are a couple ways to control the advancement rate of Jedi. First, the GM should have a higher standard for roleplaying Jedi, and if the roleplaying isn't up to par then they lose out on some CPs that come easier for non-Jedi PCs. I've had a lot of Jedi PCs over the years, but not a lot of really well played Jedi. I make my standards for Jedi clear up front and I've still been a little disappointed at times. (And I was absolutely disgusted in one case and when that PC crossed over the Dark Side, I never roleplayed with that player again.)

The second way to control Jedi advancement is to require teachers for Force and Lightsaber skill advancement and learning new powers, and "pace" the availability of teachers. Just because the Jedi has CPs to spend on Force skills doesn't mean there should always be a master readily available whenever they want one. I play in the classic era. It is typical for Jedi PCs in my game to have 4-5 different masters over the course of a campaign, and there are dry periods with no teachers. The player can put some CPs in the bank for the next teacher, but he might as well develop other non-Jedi skills like non-Jedi PCs in the mean time. I encourage all advanced PCs to be somewhat well-rounded, and Jedi not putting everything into advancing Force ability allows them to not be a one-trick pony.

Finally, there is an upper limit in my SWU. The teachers of Jedi PCs are mostly padawans who survived the purge and non-Jedi Force-users, so their skills aren't going to be too great. My campaigns support film canon, and RotJ is most dramatic to me if Yoda was correct that Luke was the only near-Knight when Yoda died. So my SWU is not one where there are a bunch of Knight-level teachers for PCs available.

All PC advancement tends to be a bit on the slow side for me, so I just don't see Jedi ever get outrageously powerful in my campaigns. I start non-Force PCs out better than RAW, so I don't expect removing some Jedi burdens at the beginning are going to imbalance anything when it is cake to not let them ever get to the point of overshadowing the other PCs and breaking my adventures.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Naaman wrote:
For example, healing another, IMO, would be an alter only power (when rolled), but would require the life sense power as a prereq thus implying that there is a sense component to that power.

I don't think the implication is enough. Simply knowing how to sense the Force in something isn't the same as actually sensing it.

In my game, Control and Sense are tied together as two skills on the same attribute. Alter is an advanced skill with Control and Sense (plus non-Force skills and attributes) as prerequisites. I feel the power prerequisites for Alter powers on top is a lot of "implication". And specific powers still have to be taught, so it is not like the Jedi's new abilities are coming out of thin air.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to agree here. Jedi may appear to be OP on paper, but I I gamed with a particular gtoup for over a decade and never once did any of them play a Jedi for the sole reason that they did not want to be bound by the code of conduct.

At times, I would roll a big pile-o'-dice playing a Jedi and nobody seemed to care that I had so many "advantages." What I achieved through force skills, they often had a piece of equipment that simulated a similar effect. Force jumping vs. jet packing, for example, or telepathy vs. commlink.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
The problem with Jedi in RAW is not starting out PCs. It is after they advance so far. Under RAW, Jedi characters utterly suck starting out. To help Jedi starting out, I have The Force attribute with two normal skills defaulting to it, Control and Sense. (Alter is an advanced skill with Control and Sense of certain levels as prerequisites.) Single skill roll powers not having the MAP burden also helps Jedi characters not suck at first.

I'm with you on the Attribute, but I'm questioning making Alter an Advanced Skill. CP point expenditures to improve Advanced skills slope up pretty fast, so a lot of Force powers with Alter aspects are going to be suddenly a lot further out of reach, save for Named-character elites. Now, if you're combining that with a re-written Force system that lowers the Alter Difficulty levels, that makes a bit more sense, but...

Quote:
There are a couple ways to control the advancement rate of Jedi.

...personally, I think your suggestions here are more than enough to put a limiter on Jedi development, if played properly.

Quote:
In my game, Control and Sense are tied together as two skills on the same attribute. Alter is an advanced skill with Control and Sense (plus non-Force skills and attributes) as prerequisites. I feel the power prerequisites for Alter powers on top is a lot of "implication". And specific powers still have to be taught, so it is not like the Jedi's new abilities are coming out of thin air.

A long while back (possibly here), I recall the point being made that there has to be some window open in the skill system for experimentation and self-instruction, if nothing else because at some point in the far distant past, there would've been at least one Force user who didn't have anyone to teach him. I think this is a valid point; there does need to be a way for PCs to experiment without being taught, or to use unlearned powers at heroic moments.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Reorganizing Force Powers Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
So why is it that the Control Another's group of powers all grouped under Control/Alter? My take is that all of these powers should be moved to Sense/Alter, but with the personal Control power as a prerequisite. My reasoning is that, for example, with Accelerate Another's Healing, the character must already know how to accelerate their own healing, but to do so for someone else requires awareness of the Force within the other's body, which requires a Sense component.

Thoughts? Other powers that you feel are not properly placed?


On the whole "control other's pain/healing other" grouping, i always felt they should be a CSA power, not just a CA power. Sense to know what's needed in the other person, alter to do it, and control cause "YOU are controlling it"..

BUT i can see the logic in just dropping it to a SA power.

Quote:
Make some of the powers like all or nothing. Luke's doppelganger in TLJ is good example.


Most powers are already 'all or nothing'. You either use them or you failed to activate them.

Whill wrote:
The second way to control Jedi advancement is to require teachers for Force and Lightsaber skill advancement and learning new powers, and "pace" the availability of teachers. Just because the Jedi has CPs to spend on Force skills doesn't mean there should always be a master readily available whenever they want one. I play in the classic era. It is typical for Jedi PCs in my game to have 4-5 different masters over the course of a campaign, and there are dry periods with no teachers. The player can put some CPs in the bank for the next teacher, but he might as well develop other non-Jedi skills like non-Jedi PCs in the mean time. I encourage all advanced PCs to be somewhat well-rounded, and Jedi not putting everything into advancing Force ability allows them to not be a one-trick pony.


Very true Whill. Whether a PC of a jedi can even locate a trainer or not, is a big limiter on how far they can advance their force powers. Heck, imo there's certain force abilities that can't be self taught.. You HAVE to have a teacher to learn it from.

Quote:
Finally, there is an upper limit in my SWU. The teachers of Jedi PCs are mostly padawans who survived the purge and non-Jedi Force-users, so their skills aren't going to be too great. My campaigns support film canon, and RotJ is most dramatic to me if Yoda was correct that Luke was the only near-Knight when Yoda died. So my SWU is not one where there are a bunch of Knight-level teachers for PCs available.


I've often seen DM's have a rule where the 'student can't be taught' if the teacher is not 2d or more above where you are training to. So if the teacher's force skill level is 6d+2 Con/6d Sen/7d Al, the one learning from him can ONLY go up to 4d+2/4d/5d under that teacher.

Quote:
A long while back (possibly here), I recall the point being made that there has to be some window open in the skill system for experimentation and self-instruction, if nothing else because at some point in the far distant past, there would've been at least one Force user who didn't have anyone to teach him. I think this is a valid point; there does need to be a way for PCs to experiment without being taught, or to use unlearned powers at heroic moments.


There already is.. It's Double the CP cost!
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Reorganizing Force Powers Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
On the whole "control other's pain/healing other" grouping, i always felt they should be a CSA power, not just a CA power. Sense to know what's needed in the other person, alter to do it, and control cause "YOU are controlling it"..

It could go either way, really. It depends greatly on what you think the Control roll on the RAW skill is for. Since Control represents the "passive and active" aspects of Sense and Alter, except focused on the Force user themselves, it incorporates both the sensing part of perceiving the problem in one's own body and using the Force to correct the problem. My thinking was that it was just the latter, and that knowing how to do it from the original skill translated into knowing how to identify the same issue in others (Sense). So, Sense / Alter.

Quote:
BUT i can see the logic in just dropping it to a SA power.

To clarify, it's not so much dropping it as it is transitioning it from one of the WEG two-skill classifications to another.


Quote:
There already is.. It's Double the CP cost!

Sorry, I should've been clearer. I was referring to learning new powers. If I read Whill correctly, he doesn't allow Jedi characters in his game to learn new powers on their own, and instead requires them to be learned from a teacher. I'm just saying that there is evidence - both logically and in the EU - that would suggest otherwise.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:17 am    Post subject: Re: Reorganizing Force Powers Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Whill wrote:
The problem with Jedi in RAW is not starting out PCs. It is after they advance so far. Under RAW, Jedi characters utterly suck starting out. To help Jedi starting out, I have The Force attribute with two normal skills defaulting to it, Control and Sense. (Alter is an advanced skill with Control and Sense of certain levels as prerequisites.) Single skill roll powers not having the MAP burden also helps Jedi characters not suck at first.

I'm with you on the Attribute, but I'm questioning making Alter an Advanced Skill. CP point expenditures to improve Advanced skills slope up pretty fast, so a lot of Force powers with Alter aspects are going to be suddenly a lot further out of reach, save for Named-character elites. Now, if you're combining that with a re-written Force system that lowers the Alter Difficulty levels, that makes a bit more sense, but...

Rewriting powers is an absolute must with making all powers a single skill roll anyway. That might include lowering some Alter difficulty numbers but I'm not sure yet. Removing MAPs on some Force powers will help things. I haven't read all the way through Raven Redstar's system yet to see how he did it, but based on my quick look-through I will likely be further simplifying the system for my beta since my son will be using it for his PC.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Whill wrote:
There are a couple ways to control the advancement rate of Jedi.

...personally, I think your suggestions here are more than enough to put a limiter on Jedi development, if played properly.

A long while back (possibly here), I recall the point being made that there has to be some window open in the skill system for experimentation and self-instruction, if nothing else because at some point in the far distant past, there would've been at least one Force user who didn't have anyone to teach him. I think this is a valid point; there does need to be a way for PCs to experiment without being taught, or to use unlearned powers at heroic moments.

I agree with the logic that Force abilities had to have some self-development to come into being and improve up to certain levels in the first place, but not that PCs necessarily have to be able to do that. Force-using PCs are very tiny fraction of Force-using characters in the galaxy, less than 1% of 1% of 1%. I'm ok with PCs not having access to every single ability that exists somewhere in the galaxy. It could be that NPCs are the ones developing the abilities.

But even if a GM does allow a PC to improve Force skills without a teacher, the GM can still limit those occasions like he limits the availability of teachers. Or the GM can just limit self-improvement beyond a certain skill level. Even going by RAW, improving Force skills without a teacher costs double.

CRMcNeill wrote:
Sorry, I should've been clearer. I was referring to learning new powers. If I read Whill correctly, he doesn't allow Jedi characters in his game to learn new powers on their own, and instead requires them to be learned from a teacher. I'm just saying that there is evidence - both logically and in the EU - that would suggest otherwise.

In my game new powers come with the skill pip advancements as in RAW, except that there may not always be a new power available with every single skill pip improvement. The powers aren't taught separately - The new power comes with the training for the improved skill pip.

Like you said in the Force attribute thread, yes PCs should start with some powers that come with the skills they start out with. According to the character's background, those powers may not have been taught but rather were natural abilities and possibly self-developed. But after gameplay begins, PCs are subject to Force advancement rules.

The division of characters into NPCs and PCs is completely a construct of the RPG so the EU does not in the slightest way suggest that PCs specifically must be the characters self-teaching new powers. It's not a requirement for PCs to have every option that NPCs have. PC character creation and advancement are governed by rules, while NPCs are poofed into existence with whatever abilities a GM sees fit, and they also advance as a GM sees fit. If a GM feel compelled to give PCs every option NPCs have, they can, but nothing says they have to. Logic only dictates that some people in the galaxy developed new powers and to new levels, not that PCs must be the ones to do that.

garhkal wrote:
I've often seen DM's have a rule where the 'student can't be taught' if the teacher is not 2d or more above where you are training to. So if the teacher's force skill level is 6d+2 Con/6d Sen/7d Al, the one learning from him can ONLY go up to 4d+2/4d/5d under that teacher.

2D higher is too stiff. At most I can see 1D higher. I'm ok with teachers training Jedi PCs up to their own level. In my campaigns it is not uncommon for PCs to learn everything they can from a master and move on, so PCs often end up improving beyond the ability of their early teachers.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Rewriting powers is an absolute must with making all powers a single skill roll anyway. That might include lowering some Alter difficulty numbers but I'm not sure yet. Removing MAPs on some Force powers will help things. I haven't read all the way through Raven Redstar's system yet to see how he did it, but based on my quick look-through I will likely be further simplifying the system for my beta since my son will be using it for his PC.


With the system I worked out, almost all of the powers work exactly the way they were written with a few small exceptions. To make them single roll, most multi-tier powers got their difficulties increased to essentially give the power the MAP penalty without actually giving them a MAP penalty. The one exception that I can think of was Affect Mind, because I feel like the power got way super over-complicated in RAW, so it might not have had the difficulty increased quite that badly.

For some of the powers, I would choose the higher difficulty between skills, so if one had an easy difficulty and the other had a difficult, I would make the power roll single and they just had to hit the difficult difficulty. Now, to be fair, I did the bulk of this writing a few years ago, so there may be a couple of on the spot decisions that differ from my overall thought process.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking more about how a character can learn a new Power without improving his Force Skill, at the cost of 5 CP. If the same pattern holds for improving Force Skills with or without a teacher, a character could conceivably learn a new Power without a teacher at double the cost (10 CP). As an aside, I'd probably also increase the CP cost depending on the complexity of the Power (8 CP base for a C/S, C/A or S/A, and 10 base for a C/S/A). As far as explaining it in the game, I'd say that, via meditation and farseeing, the Force itself reveals the possibility of the new power to the Jedi, which inspires him to pursue it through his own efforts.

There is also the Force Point rule suggested in the TOTJ Companion, where a character can use a Power in a moment of critical need by expending a Force Point.
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