The Powers of the Force

Using the Force in Star Wars®: Force and Destiny™

"The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force."
   –Darth Vader

Although the Force fills the cosmos and binds it together, few individuals have the ability to sense the Force and even fewer can actively use it to affect their surroundings. Yet those few have access to incredible powers that can create and destroy, repair and maim, cause tremendous good or terrible evil. 

In the Star Wars®: Force and Destiny™ roleplaying game you have the opportunity to wield the Force. In character creation you can invest in Force powers, which can be enhanced as your character gains experience, ultimately giving you access to truly incredible abilities. Some Force powers appeared in Edge of the Empire™ and Age of Rebellion™, but several are new and offer Force sensitive characters abilities beyond any they have had access to before. 

Today’s preview features developer Max Brooke on the new Force powers of Force and Destiny. You’ll learn how to use the Force to heal and harm, sense what’s around or manipulate others’ perceptions, and how using the Force for good or evil can change your character.

In game play, using the Force is actually quite simple. Your character’s Force rating indicates how many Force dice you roll to generate Force points. If you roll Light Side Force results ( ) and have a Morality above thirty, you can use them to generate Force points ( ) and activate the effect you desire. The more points you spend, the stronger the effect. You may also spend Dark Side Force results ( ) if you’re a light side Force user, but it requires flipping a Destiny Point from light to dark and taking a strain. It may also create internal conflict for your character and ultimately, pull you towards the dark side. If your Morality has plummeted below thirty, you have become a true dark side Force user, and must take strain and flip a Destiny Point if you wish to access the light. 

Max Brooke reveals more about the connection between Force powers and Morality: 

The Duality of the Force

When the development team sat down to design the Force powers that would appear in Force and Destiny, we agreed that it was important that some incorporate Morality. The way that characters use the Force says a lot about their moral standing. Upstanding protectors of justice don’t generally go around shooting Force lightning at their enemies, after all. Similarly, powers of preservation and growth are anathema to those under the sway of the dark side. For many Force abilities, we felt that the context of use alone was enough to determine the power’s moral implications. But for others, we wanted the abilities to interface directly with Morality in some way.

We also felt strongly that a character’s investments in Force powers should never be invalidated by changes to Morality. We wanted Morality to develop based on characters’ narrative decisions rather than be cultivated purely for mechanical incentives. After all, if falling to the dark side (or walking the hard road to redemption) meant that your character would lose a cool power that cost experience points to buy, most players would avoid it at all costs and Morality would be static. But shifts in Morality are an important part of the story of Star Wars. Time and time again, we see characters tempted, fallen, and redeemed. For the same reason that we didn’t want succumbing to the dark side to mean that players lost control of their characters, we didn’t want it to mean that a character’s hard-earned knowledge and training became mechanically useless.

At face value, these two design goals appear to be pulling in opposite directions. If some Force powers are locked based on Morality, then a character runs the risk of losing such powers based on a change in Morality. If there are no barriers to using Force powers, then nominally good characters can hurl bolts of pure hatred all day long without consequence. Neither of these options felt very appropriate. 

Fortunately, we found a way to satisfy both of conditions. Instead of designating any given power as purely good or evil, we paired any power linked to an extreme end of the Force with its opposite, creating dual powers: Heal/Harm and Protect/Unleash. A character can use these powers—and their upgrades— in two ways that function completely differently.

A character heavily invested in the Heal power would be extremely skilled at manipulating the physiology of others using the Force. Yet he could also easily use this ability to inflict harm, opening wounds instead of closing them, taking life instead of preserving it. Every investment a character makes in Heal is also an investment in Harm. Of course, nothing requires a character to use Harm—a dedicated healer might find the thought of twisting the power of the Force in that way abhorrent, and might never use it. But the option is always there, so the temptation always exists.

If that healer does give in to hate and eventually fall to the dark side of the Force, then Heal becomes unavailable, but Harm grows in strength. If he buys the right upgrades, he can still mend allies using Harm, but it comes at a cost. To restore life, the a dark side Force wielder must take life—an act that the former healer becomes terrifyingly adept at thanks to his investment in Heal/Harm. Should this character undertake the arduous journey back to the light, Heal once again becomes available, and Harm wanes in strength. The power never goes away, its nature merely evolves alongside the Morality of the character.

Neither the past nor the future completely defines a character in Star Wars. And while destiny plays an important role in the life of a Force sensitive, each choice also shapes that destiny. 

Thank you, Max! 

Powers of Manipulation and the Mind

Heal/Harm and Protect/Unleash affect creatures physically in dramatic ways, but the mind is just as important as the body. A Force user’s ability to Sense his surroundings gives him vital information about where other creatures are and even what they are feeling, allowing him to anticipate attacks, detect eavesdroppers or ambushes, or discover liars. At its basic level, the Sense Force power allows you to feel the presence or feelings of other creatures, but it also boosts your defenses, making it harder for enemies to successfully wound you with blaster fire, fists, or even a lightsaber. 

You might also use the Force to manipulate the emotions and thoughts of others. At its base, the Influence Force power simply causes your target to take strain as you stress and exhaust their intellect. But at higher levels, Influence can be used to alter another creature’s emotions or thoughts and even believe something that ought to be patently untrue. Of course, “Jedi mind tricks” like that are an easy gateway to the dark side, and negative emotions can only be produced through using dark side Force points. Like any powerful tool, Influence is only as good as the person wielding it. 

Influence directly assails the target’s mind, whereas Misdirect creates illusions to deceive the target’s senses. Even at its lowest levels, it can be used to conceal objects and creatures, allowing you, a companion, or a weapon you’re carrying to escape an adversary’s notice. If you advance in it, you can use Misdirect to create illusions perceptible to everyone around you, whether those illusions are concealing foliage, locked doors, guards standing at attention, or horrifying phantasms.

Use the Force

The Force and Destiny roleplaying game offers you the chance to experience what few in the galaxy can ever dream of: the full power of the Force. But its up to you whether you heal others or harm them, defend or attack, open your mind or deceive your adversaries, fight selflessly for good or selfishly practice evil. How will you use the Force?

Pre-order the Force and Destiny Core Rulebook and Game Master's Kit from your local retailer today!

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