Thursday, August 8, 2013

Edge of the Empire Dark Side Slide Mechanics

In last night's Star Wars game, the PCs woke up and ancient Sith Lord who handed them their asses and walked over their bloody, crumpled  bodies as if they didn't exist.  (This wasn't the kids game - it's the, um, BIG kids game.)  Anyway, three of the PC's decided that they needed some force powers of their own and that reviving an ancient Sith Lord and having him suck the life out of you and then chop off your limbs and gouge out your eyes was the perfect 'trigger' for your latent force abilities to show up.

So they all bought themselves some force abilities.  Now the force abilities in Edge of the Empire are very pedestrian - convincing some strormtroopers that those are not the droids they are looking, tossing someone across the room, and reading someone's surface thought.  No 50 meter leaps or force lightning.  This is a Han/Boba style game.  The Force book won't be out for a long, long while.

But still - the game has a mechanic for dark and light sides, and using them.  Basically, you roll and could get some dark or light points to use, or some of both, for whatever power you are activating.  You can spend light and dark with little issue.  But Edge of the Empire is vague about the whole good/bad thing - except to day that maybe the GM should do something about it if he or she feels like it.

I felt like doing something about it.  In my opinion, the dark side is nothing to treat lightly - even if you are a murder hobo.  So I drew up a rough draft:
Characters may convert a number of dark side results into force points each session with no harm.  This number is equal to their Willpower + Discipline (between 1 and 12 with an average of 2.)  Past that, the character runs the risk of loosing control for a period of time, if not permanently.  This loss of control is up to the GM, but will involve the dark side emotions of fear, anger and hate.

When converting force points above their limit, characters must pass a Discipline check to stay in control of themselves.  If they fail, they loose control to the Dark Side (and GM) for 1 round plus another round for each Threat in the dice pool.  Times outside of combat would be minutes, not rounds.

A despair results hands over control to the DM for the rest of the combat (or encounter.)

Each failure PERMANENTLY increases the difficulty of the roll, from Simple, Easy, Average, etc. - thus adding another difficulty die to the Discipline check.  Past Formidable (five dice) there is the Impossible Task level, which also has five dice, but requires spending a Destiny point to attempt.  Failure of this Impossible Level Task makes the character an NPC for the GM to control permanently.

This mechanic is designed to allow the players to flirt with the dark side a bit. They can even train themselves to be able to dip into it more. But if the character goes beyond 'recreational use' and becomes a dark side addict, then some horrible things will happen. Not just to the character, but everyone around them.

Jedi Temple Younglings anyone?

- Ark


  1. See, this is why the game irks me.

    Here you are, a fan of the game running a 'Star Wars Street Level' campaign as the designers intended and already the Force is involved.

    Of Course It Is! It's frikkin' STAR WARS! But I have to wait two whole games before the Jedi and the Force become a major factor in the system?

    Yeah, no.

    I can't wait for the next Star Trek system that has character creation, starship combat, rules for space anomalies and two years later a book that lets you beam down to a planet.

    1. BA - Yup, if you want full fledged Jedi and Sith characters, it's a long wait. This is not the book you are looking for.

      - Ark

    2. In the time that Edge of the Empire takes place there are very few people who know of the force and even fewer who use it.

      I personally like this game for what it is, a game about the fringes, the outsiders, the seedy places of the galaxy. The western side of Star Wars if you will.

      A break from lightsabers and Jedi is actually a relief for me.

  2. I have my Force sensitive players put darkside in their custom skills slot and anytime they use the dark side to fuel their powers they have to fill in one of the slots. when they reach all five then they become darkside characters and a couple of things can happen. if the party is primarily "good" then after a prescribed amount of sessions they completely succumb to the darkside's influence and become NPC characters. if the party is primarily Darkside then I let them play their characters that way.