Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Alternate Metaphysics Rules for Open D6 II: The How

   Back to gutting the Force System out of D6, RocketFans!  I've gotten a lot of feedback about Part I of this series, some positive, some negative, but all curious.  Some of you have even guessed what I had in mind from my final statement on what I would replace force Skills and Powers with.


     And nothing is exactly what I meant.  Get rid of theMetaphysics Attribute, ditch the associated skills from Open D6 and Star Wars, and forget about all of those Powers. Let Jedi characters be as easy and simple to play as all the other templates.

      In this alternate (lack of) Metaphysics/Force system, the only difference between Force sensitive and non-Force sensitive Characters is the five-point limit "normal" Characters have on accumulating Fate/Force Points.  All "powers" used by Fate/Force Users are combinations of regular Attribute/Skill Dice Pools with the addition of a Fate/Force Point to boost the Pool up into impossible levels of Difficulty.  Using these "powers" does not require training - Jedi and other Force training is what allows Force Sensitives to gain more Force Points.  Used Fate/Force Points would be automatically returned at the end of the game day for Force Users, possibly not until the end of a session or adventure for non-Force Users.  I personally am in favor of non-users getting their points back as fast as Force Users, but that would allow a lot of doubled dice pools and some GMs may not like how that changes the game.  I had a gambler Character win a celebrity sabacc tournament against, Solo, Calrissian, and Karrde by using a Force Point on the last hand.  Do you know what a PC party can do to your campaign with the sudden infusion of a hundred thousand credits in the first game?

     So, how exactly can we recreate Force Powers using the regular old Skill list?  It's pretty easy, actually.  Lightsaber Combat is simple, for example - DEX + lightsaber  + Force Point.  Those awesome flips? DEX + Acrobatics Force Point.  Mind Trick?  PER + Persuasion + Force Point.  Telekinesis?  Ah...
Explain this can you?  Hmmmmm?

     Out-and-out "magical powers", of which Telekinesis is the most obvious, seem to require a magical system to govern them.  This is the traditional way of dealing with the supernatural, paranormal, and super powered, because these type of powers exist outside the realm of the possible.  But it is not required that we treat magical powers as magical in the Star Wars universe.  We're already going on the assumption that the Force is everywhere and that all living beings can touch it to a certain extent.  In the Star Wars Legends Knights of the Old Republic Media blitzkrieg, we are told that the hyperdrive was used in the modern galaxy was originally created though and powered by the Force.  So, in Star Wars, the Force is a part of the fabric of reality and is perfectly natural.  STR + Lifting + Force Point for Telekinesis.

     That is not to say it should be easy to move stuff with the Force.  The virtue of having Force Points, and their double Dice Pools, in charge of Force Powers is that you can rule some truly insane difficulties on a given roll.  This preserves the feeling of the impossibility of the task, while still giving the Force User a chance to succeed.  A new level, possibly several levels of Difficulty above Heroic/Legendary will have to be added for use with Force powered tasks.  

     When considering this radical Powers-ectomy as a viable option to treat the illness of complexity bloat, I tried to think of some objections that could be leveled in opposition.  Below I've tried to address some concerns I and a few others have already come up with.  These are not meant to be staw man arguments - if you can think of a problem I haven't, please leave a comment below.

     Some problems I see include:

  • Without Force Powers, Force User Characters don't seen that much different from any other template: This is true, but I don't see it as a problem.  Having all  Characters start play with the same number of Dice to allocate implies that they are meant to be balanced with one another. One of the things that makes Force Users hard to play at lower levels is that they must split the same number of Dice up among even more Skills than regular characters.
  • Jedi Characters won't be nearly as powerful under this system: Agreed.  Again, I don't see this as a problem.  Uber-powerful Jedi that skew game balance away from other characters is one of the most prevalent complaints about the D6 System.  This alternate system is trying to solve it.
  • What's to stop non-Force Users from blowing a Force Point and doing Jedi stuff:  This is a more difficult question.  Personally, I don't mind the idea of non-Force Users using the Force every once and awhile.  Look at Han Solo in The Force Awakens.  He jumped to lightspeed from inside another ship, shot a stormtrooper with a pistol at medium range while looking in the opposite direction (He looked almost surprised too, like the gun had a mind of it's own), and, most extreme, made a landing approach on a planet, through shields, at lightspeed.  Han has had fan theories concerning his Force sensitivity around him for years, and Episode VII only provides more evidence.  This alternate system, however, allows Han to simply be an experienced character with five Force Points that uses them on his blaster and astrogation rolls.     That being said, there is nothing in my alternate rules to stop a regular character from using Telekinesis.  If you don't like that, as a GM you'll have to rule that it is not allowed.  
    Admit it, you can't wait to do this in-game.
  • You can't replicate every Force Power with regular skills:  That all depends on your definition of "every" if you go through comic books, novels, and obviously RPG supplements, you'll find a dizzying array of Force Powers available.  But if you look just at the movies, you may be surprised at how little the Force is used. According to The Force Accounted, There are only about ten different distinct uses of the Force shown in the entire Star Wars saga, including Force Spirit.  Most often used is sense, with various tricks such as Force Leap, Choke, Push and Telekinesis filling the bulk of the movies Powers list. Sense, as an active power, I'd roll as PER + Search + Force Point, and passive uses of sense would be given out by the GM to add drama or information to the game.  Force Lightening is more complicated.  On the fly, I'd use KNO + willpower + Dark Side Point.  But if you don't have allow Darksiders in your campaign, you don't have to worry about it as much. New Powers from The Force Awakens fit in to this reasonably well, if you assume that stopping a blaster bolt is a form of telekinesis, and putting Rey to sleep in the woods outside Maz's castle is a form of effect mind.  Kylo Ren's interrogation technique looks like if could be covered with KNO + Intimidation Darkside Point
  • What about Force Spirits: Urrrg....Should've kept my mouth shut.  My current thoughts are that Force Spirits as Player Characters that recently died may interact with the world at the cost of a Force Point until their Force Point Pool is exhausted, then they join the Force.  As an NPC they can last as long and do as much as the GM likes, with the movies and whatever other sources you want as a guide. 
  • If Characters have to use a Force Point every time they use a Jedi Power, they'll run out of Points pretty quickly: That depends on how often Players use Force Points.  If you try to use the Force on every roll, then yes, you'll run out quickly.  But Jedi don't resort to the Force for every problem.  Again, in The Force Accounted, we see that in all 805 minutes of the Star Wars saga, the Force is only used for 34 minutes, or about 4% of the time.  Having Force Powers depend on Force Points also introduces the idea of resource management to the use of the Force, and does so in a way that doesn't add complexity.  For GMs who are frustrated at Players with Force Users running rough shod over their campaigns, the limiting factor of Force Points is a way to regulate Force Powers without being heavy-handed.
     While this is indeed the core of my alternate metaphysics/force system, there is still a lot of work to be done.  Next time, RocketFans, we'll discuss Codes vs the Light/Dark dichotomy, getting and keeping Force Points, and any ideas or consigns you or I come up with.  See you then!


  1. In your examples above you mention spending a dark side point to use Force Lightning or the Force Interrogation technique. Unless I missed an earlier house rule of yours, Dark Side Points cannot be spent in D6 right?

  2. It's an interesting idea. I'm not sure it's one I'd follow, primarily due to the Force Point expenditure - that the point is gone unless it is done for something heroic. Was Obi-Wan using the Force on the stormtroopers at Mos Eisley heroic? I suppose you could make the argument, but it is a stretch. As is the problem with training - Luke in the Falcon was clearly using the Force in A New Hope against the remote.

    They aren't insurmountable problems. For example, one could house rule that FP spent in training refresh at the end of a scene. And one could be pretty liberal as to what constitutes a heroic use of the Force. The most appealing aspect is there is probably a quick and easy way to get a FP when you need one - the Dark Side (tm)

    1. In the third paragraph (or fourth, if you count the 'nothing') I wrote, "Used Fate/Force Points would be automatically returned at the end of the game day for Force Users, possibly not until the end of a session or adventure for non-Force Users."

  3. The issue I see is with light saber combat. If the Force point only lasts an action, and given how powerful it is, whoever gets initiative and spends a force point on a light saber attack will destroy his opponent unless his opponent spends one on defense. Then it is just a matter of who really no out of points first, and battles will be very short.

    1. That's a good point. Granted, it's more realistic, but far less cinematic. And with Star Wars, we want some cinematic.

  4. I'm presently working on a Barsoom D6 variation for a house game. This idea seriously intrigues me as a simple and elegant mechanic for Psi users. It's a plus for me that I don't have to worry about simulating lightsaber combat or reflecting canon precedent. I'm going to give some serious thought to using this or a variation of it. Cheers.


Questions, comments, criticisms? All non-Trolls welcome!