August 11, 2014

Ways of the Force: A Deep Breath Before the Plunge

It's the 11th, one day before I get another year older, (and maybe a bit wiser than I was a year before (though I kinda doubt it).  It's also only a few more days until GenCon kicks off, and the anticipation levels are starting to climb rapidly.

One of the big things that I hoping for this year's GenCon is that we will indeed be getting the Force and Destiny Beta for FFG's excellent Star Wars RPG.  There's been a lot of anticipation for this book every since it was announced that they were doing three separate core rulebooks for their system, with a focus on the galactic fringe (EotE), the Galactic Civil War (AoR), and finally the force (FaD).  There's also been a lot of discussion (some polite, some heated, and some absolutely worthless) about how things are going to shake out.  While there are those that are terrified of the idea of Jedi finally being available as PCs, I'm willing to give the FFG design team the benefit of the doubt.  They've done a bang-up job so far on this system, and the ground rules for Force usage have thus far proven to be effective as well as not subject to being too easily twisted to make an uber-powerful Force user.

Which brings this particularly post back around to my Ways of the Force fan supplement.  When I first released this document back in May 2013, I knew from start that this was going to eventually become obsolete in a year or so.  That it was, at best, a stop-gap measure to provide players and GMs alike some additional options regarding Force users, including an option for Jedi for those folks that wanted to include one of the most iconic character types of the setting.  I've gotten a fair amount of feedback, most of it positive, some of it caustically negative, and some of it pointing things I'd overlooked.

Over the past couple months, I'd taken a look back over my development notes from back in 2012 up to version 1.3, and it was interesting to see how the talent trees for my three Force-sensitive specializations had grown, changed, and evolved.  Of how many different iterations and implementations of Deflect Blasters that I had conceived of, many of which were not implemented at all due to either being totally unworkable or far too random for something that's an iconic ability of the Jedi.

But, as a self-professed "tinker monkey" I couldn't leave things alone, particularly at those points when I was struck with the "Hey, that's an idea!" bursts of insight, such as a means to quite possibly have the Deflect Blasters talent be both simple to implement and roughly balanced.  So while I'd released version 1.3 with the idea of it being "that's it, last update, I'm done," that has turned out to not be the case.

So without further rambling on my part, I pull the curtain back on Version 1.4 of Ways of the Force, the unofficial fan supplement for Force users for FFG's Star Wars Roleplaying Game:

Ways of the Force, Version 1.4

As I'm sure some folks will note, the Jedi Initiate got a pretty substantial overhaul, with a large part of that being due to Deflect Blasters once again being consolidated into a single talent, itself having gotten a substantial revision.  As the Age of Rebellion book is now on shelves, I've updated page references for the talents taken from that book.  Message and Rebuke have gotten a substantial reworking, as did Injure to a lesser extent.

Earlier versions of Ways of the Force had what I'd taken to calling "minor Force powers" in that these were one-use effects that (at the time) I didn't think warranted being made into full-blown Force power trees.  Well, that changed for most of my initial lot of "minor Force powers," either due to FFG beating me to the punch on some of these in Age of Rebellion or because I finally could justify them as being full-blown Force powers.

Well, there's still a number of minor Force abilities that don't have a corresponding effect in the game, and having taken a look through some of my RCR books not too long ago, I decided to revive the concept of "Force techniques."  In short, these are specialized Control Upgrades that add another basic usage of an existing Force power, such as being able to hold one's breath for several minutes (Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan in Episode I) or enter a hibernation trance.  The mechanics behind these are fairly simple, and with one noted exception play with any of the Upgrades that a given power might have.  To be fair, I didn't get the chance to really play test these, but the effects are generally so minor or so specific that I don't see them as causing any serious problems in anyone's game.

I'm not going to say one way or the other if there will be any further updates to Ways of the Force, as a lot of that is going to depend on how things shake out with Force and Destiny.  Always in motion is the future.  But until then, I hope those of you that have enjoyed using some or all of the material in Ways of the Force in the past continue to enjoy the material, and thanks for the support and feedback.  May the Force (and Destiny Beta) be with us...

Edit: Okay, so I made an assumption with part of the FFG rules regarding talents that make use of the Force die.  While there will be a v1.41 to clear those up, in the meantime any instance where a talent says "character rolls " the intent is that the character rolls Force dice equal to their Force Rating, not just a single Force die.


  1. Replies
    1. For some reason an extra character was added to the end of the link when I copied it from Dropbox. Link's been fixed, so it should be all set now.