4
\$\begingroup\$

We're gonna start a Force and Destiny Star Wars campaign soon, and as the Star Wars expert and hard sci-fi fan I'm (happily) the GM. The issue is that one player is into high fantasy so as a Force user I want him to start with a similar experience. More analytically:

Problem to solve: one player is into high fantasy only, so I need to give him a role he'll like.

This guy is only into high fantasy, not even modern military games or anything similar. I'm tossing him into the Force-sensitive path, Force powers instead of magic, lightsabers, vibroblades and electrostaffs for melee weapons, close quarters combat with extravagant moves and impressive bursts of Force powers.

Problem expands: high fantasy is mostly about melee fights and magic. I can give him both (the Force instead of magic), but it's usually a more solo affair in Star Wars.

The problem arises when taking into account the rest of the team. A questionable droid, a technician so into cyborg stuff he'll probably turn into Vader if not Grievous, a spy/infiltrator (no sci-fi background but at least he loves spy stuff and gadgets), and a military specialist.

Essential question: How do I get the high fantasy player's character a role in the team?

The team seems like it will be focusing on high-tech warfare and spec ops, and I'm trying to figure a role for the Force user, as I want to throw him into melee battles and impressive manifestations of the Force.

Some first thoughts:

  • After a first assignment to try and steal something, they try to find other odd jobs to lay low and make a living, so I just let them lead the way and make sure things are spiced up regularly, leading to the next big story step.

  • Put them on a job that requires all parts of the team, possibly each one hired separately, but this will require more elaborate level design on my part, and I'm not a seasoned DM so it makes me a bit uneasy

  • Have the Force user in a situation that requires technical skills, so he asks for the others' help, this might work given that he's likely to be late, so I can bond the others while waiting for him. Perhaps an organization is hacking into cameras and tracking him down and he's afraid to go into open spaces for fear of snipers and other tactical elements?

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ So there are characters but no campaign yet? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 20 '16 at 18:46
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm unsure of what your problem is. That sounds like a well-rounded and well balanced party to me. Is it your first time running this system? \$\endgroup\$ – GreedyRadish Sep 20 '16 at 18:54
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't understand the problem. Pretty much every main Jedi character from the six Star Wars movies released pre-2015 are Spec Ops/infiltrator/bodyguard types. Obi-Wan, the first Jedi we ever saw, stealthily infiltrated the Death Star and shut down the tractor beam before facing off against Vader. How does that not fit into your high-tech fantasy campaign? \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Sep 20 '16 at 18:55
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @user3079666 That's certainly what it sounds like. My suggestion would be to run the game and see if there is a problem rather than anticipate and assume that there will be problems. I'm pretty sure most Star Wars games are balanced around the Force existing and being used by (at least some of) your party. \$\endgroup\$ – GreedyRadish Sep 20 '16 at 19:01
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @user3079666 I don't understand how that problem is any different from the standard party dynamic: an up-close fighter, a ranged attacker, a ranged support class (healing, buffs -- think wizard/cleric), and so on. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Sep 20 '16 at 19:02
5
\$\begingroup\$

Others in the comments have suggested that you're overestimating the problem, and I agree. However, since that by itself isn't necessarily reassuring, let me expound a bit.

Fictional background reading

First, Jedi are practically made for spec ops. For inspiration:

  • The novel I, Jedi: Corran Horn, former CorSec officer, does a ton of sneaking around and infiltrating and blowing stuff up - mostly alone in that book, or with others in the earlier X-wing novels.
  • Luke Skywalker, specifically in the first part of Return of the Jedi where he rescues Han from Jabba's Sail Barge. Covert ops all the way, requiring significant help from his teammates.
  • Mara Jade: spy, assassin, smuggler, commando... In the Thrawn Trilogy, starting with Heir to the Empire, she really demonstrates the versatility of a Jedi.

Specific Abilities

While Jedi can be melee combatants and not much else if you build them that way, there's no reason not to take advantage of other skills and abilities. You can build a force sensitive member of just about any profession, by picking their talents carefully. For one homebrew GURPS adventure, I built a "lucky" pilot and sharpshooter, a precognitive healer and scientist, a catburglar who uses Force Jump and other forms of telekinesis, and a "face" character who thinks they're just very good at Fast-Talk, but is actually subconsciously using Force persuasion.

If you're certain this player isn't interested in anything like that and just wants to carve people up with lightsabers, while your other players want a stealth and infiltration game, then what you have isn't a Jedi problem at all - it's a player who doesn't want to play the same game as everyone else. They can either get exactly what they want and spoil others' fun (not recommended), settle for getting the spotlight occasionally while being pretty useless the rest of the time (common and workable with careful adventure design, but not ideal), or try something new and create a character with broader abilities that are compatible with what everyone else is doing, and see if they can learn to enjoy it. (The other possibility I should mention is that not everyone in your group is destined to play this specific game, which I promise isn't the end of the world, and you shouldn't force it if people aren't having fun together.)

Combat Tactics

Assuming you find some resolution to the above... besides what others have mentioned, about how having a melee fighter in a mixed group usually works out just fine (or indeed, better than the alternative) in RPGs, it's worth keeping in mind that Jedi Knights are by no means limited to melee weapons! While it's unusual for them to use blasters if lightsabers are available, videogames especially have emphasized the following possibilities:

  • Reflecting blaster bolts: if you're good, you can block them; if you're really good, you can deflect them perfectly back to your opponents.
  • Saber Throw: An advanced skill that involves disarming yourself, and for that reason is generally only done briefly at short range... but boy, is it dramatic! Fantastic, you might even say.
  • Force Push (Light)/Force Lightning (Dark): These are essentially straightforward magical abilities that work at (usually) medium range.
  • Force Choke (Dark): Generally portrayed as requiring too much concentration and fine control to use in a pitched battle, but if you're willing to take a walk on the wild side, your PC's might use this, or have it used against them, in e.g. an interrogation situation for dramatic effect.
  • Telekinetic Throw: What fun is a boss battle without having to constantly dodge random bits of scenery - and why should your enemies be denied the same opportunity? (This is usually portrayed as a long-range tactic.)

Balance

Whatever game system you use should have rules that allow characters to have cool abilities while still (ostensibly) not being objectively better than the other members of the party. You should feel free to intervene and tweak the system as necessary to enforce this. It's tempting to balance by specialization - sure, you can kill anyone instantly, but you can't login to a computer, much less hack in. That's one way, and can allow you to do more obvious round-robin adventure design (more on that in a moment), but you may quickly find yourself in the same pickle as superhero writers, where it's difficult to create a situation that's challenging for one character without being completely overwhelming to others. So I suggest you stick with not letting anyone be orders of magnitude more powerful than the rest of the PC's even in their specialty - in real life, people have specific expertise, but teams usually can and must work together to solve problems.

Speaking of which, you should strive for narrative balance as well. Try not to spend too much time on any one character, especially if they're alone (or effectively alone due to unique capabilities). In your situation, that again means making sure everyone has both combat and non-combat skills to an extent, so everyone can have a sense of contribution even if they don't get a "spotlight moment" per se. If your players resist and want to super-specialize, that's okay too, as long as they're polite when it's someone else's turn to shine.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I had a Saga Edition character that focused on TK. She used her lightsaber as a weapon when pressed, but more often it was a shield (Deflect) and a tool. All her big attacks were at range via TK. \$\endgroup\$ – T.J.L. Sep 20 '16 at 20:52
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well, I sure hope he picks up another career/specialization as well, that would definitely make him more easy to handle! I hadn't given much thought about the TK part, in the SW:minis strategy game we used the Force rarely, given how most characters had limited force points. Naratively he's not going to get much focus, in fact I intend to have them as a band of unimportant guys who are just small fry in the galaxy, and let them rise to become whatever they manage to become. I'll try to push him into other classes then, or at least to obtaining some ranged abilities or weaponry. \$\endgroup\$ – user3079666 Sep 20 '16 at 21:45

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.