Thursday, July 21, 2016

Alternate Metaphysics Mechanics for Open D6 III: More Ideas

DEX + Blaster + Force Point
     Welcome back, RocketFans, to another in our series on Alternate Metaphysics Rules for Open D6.  Of course, it may seem like I'm spending an inordinate amount of time on examples and rules specific to Star Wars, but since the Metaphysics rules in Open D6 were an evolution of the SW rules for the Force, what can you expect?
     The last two posts on this topic have generated lots of observations and suggestions on how to take my basic idea (i.e.: ditch the Metaphysics Attribute, all of the Force Skills and Force Powers, and just use Force Points) and make it work more smoothly with what we've seen in past movies and game materials.  When going through all of the comments, I tried to give all the ideas a fair look but keep true to the central goals I have for making a new system in the first place.  To re-cap, those are:

  • To reduce/eliminate the "Linear Warrior, Quadratic Wizard" syndrome.  Force Users shouldn't be so powerful that they punish the other players for choosing normal Characters.
  • To reduce/eliminate the inevitable complexity bloat, so the game can be played with a minimum of book-flipping.  As I've said before, the genius of D6 is that it can be played with only the Difficulty Chart and the Standard Skill Chart.  I want to still do that with Force Users.
  • Account for what seems like Force use among non-Force sensitives like we see in the movies.  Because, especially in Episode VII, we see it all the time.
      That last point is especially evident in the Battle of Takodana in The Force Awakens.  Poe Dameron makes ten kills in like, fifteen seconds.  A double ace in fifteen seconds.  Beat that, Anakin!

    But I put the above points in order of priority - I really don't want Force Users to have more Attributes/Skills available than other Characters.  It slows the game down so much when you have to take into account all the special rules and tables for Force Powers.  Many of you suggested Force Powers without Skills, Skills without Powers and other permutations involving taking one level of complexity off of the system while still leaving Force users more complex overall than their non-sensitive counterparts.  In the end I decided I didn't want that.  I've taken for granted for thirty years of gaming  that magic users would have more power and complexity than fighters, and having the opportunity to use rules where that isn't the case is just too tempting to resist.  So, I decided against using any suggestions that involved Force users having more Attributes, Skills or Powers than other characters.  
Also DEX Blaster + Force Point
     But that doesn't mean I have it all figured out.  One of the most common concerns I saw in the comments dealt with the comparative rarity of Force Points in the RAW.  As I said in the second post on this topic, we would need to modify how Force Points are gained, spent, and regained in order to depend on Force Points as our primary mechanic.  One of the ideas I already mentioned was automatically regaining spent Force Points at the end of a session, unless the use of the Force Point would grant a Dark Side Point. We also briefly discussed making it easier to gain new Force Points.  For one thing, we may need to establish a way to buy Force Points with Character Points, but frankly I haven't figured that one out yet.  The most deal-breaking complaint about how my alternate system would work is that lightsaber duels would burn through Force Points every round until they ran out, so pretty much whomever had the most Force Points at the beginning of the duel would win. 

KNO + Willpower = Extra use of Force Points.
          After re-watching Episode VII (What? It was only the fourth time - I saw the original Star Wars that many times before I was six months old.) I was struck by the final duel between Kylo Ren and Finn/Rey.  It was a textbook example of Force users calling upon the Force during a fight to augment their abilities.  The obvious example is Rey, near the end of the fight when Kylo Ren offers to teach her and she puts the smack down on him.  But Ren calls upon the Dark Side several times in the fight, when he punches his bowcaster wound in order to increase his anger and suffering.  Anyway, this gave me the idea to make it possible to use the Force when out of Force Points.  But after talking to Debra, who has an intuitive grasp of Star Wars all my years of trivia-memorization can't match, we came up with a way to get through things like lightsaber duels without having to burn a Force Point every round which - let's be honest - would get old real fast.

     So, Force Points activate a skill combination, like lightsaber combat.  Just like in the current Force Mechanics, this skill may now be "kept up" until the end of the encounter.  You may use one Force Point per encounter for free.  After that, like if you want to use telekinesis, You have to make a Willpower roll at Difficult to use a second Force Point in the same encounter.  The Difficulty on the Willpower roll will increase with every additional Force Point You attempt to use.

     This would mean you could make multiple doubled Dice Pool rolls with the use of a single Force Point, and that may seem over-powered to some.  If this is the way we go, then Force Points will probably remain as difficult to gain as they are in the RAW, but still be regained at the end of a session.  Also, there's a lot of room to tweak this mechanic - Should you lose 1D off of your doubled Die Pool every round the boosted Skill is kept up? Or lose one pip per round?  If you fail your Willpower check, is the Force point still spent? Should there be a hard limit on how many times you can summon the Force this way per encounter? And it also has implications for Force Ghosts - perhaps by succeeding in Willpower rolls, a Force spirit could manifest after using their supply of Force Points?

Because Star Wars!
   I'm also interested in situations where using the Force is outside of a Player's control.  There seem to be instances, like the two pictured above, where the Character's don't seem to be using the Force, the Force seems to be using them. When Rey shot the Stormtrooper, for example, she first left the safety on, then dodged a blaster shot without trying while taking the safety off.  Then, her first shot went way wide, while the second hit dead on target.  This is fine as far as it goes, but I swear it looked more like the blaster was moving her arm than Rey was aiming the blaster.  And then there was the way she looked at the blaster after shooting the Stormtrooper, like it had a life of its own.  Its the exact look we see Han give his trusty DL-44 after shooting a Stormtrooper behind him without looking.  His arm jerked around seemingly without volition before the shot, and Han looks at the gun like it was alive afterward  What do you think?  Does the Force, like Luke asked in A New Hope, control your actions as well as obey your commands?  If so, how would we make a mechanic for that?  As always, leave your comments below or on G+.  

     Until next time, RocketFans, May the Force be with you!  


1 comment:

  1. Oh, I'd definitely say the force controls your actions, but most of the time it's far, far subtler - at least if you don't directly call upon / give in to the force. Something is going on to make the force intervene more directly than it normally would.
    How do I mean by subtle?
    Personality and compulsions. Force sensitives are very subject to it. Is using the dark side for a good purpose truly evil? No. But it doesn't matter, because the dark side changes you. It makes you see things a certain way, it brings out certain emotions and causes you to live through them.
    I'd argue the light side does the same thing, but it's a even more subtle. Passivity, detachment, stagnation, and yes, empathy. More desirable traits, but traits brought on by the influence of the force none the less.


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