Or perhaps Star Fate

I’ve realized that Fate is about as crunchy a system as I want to play right now; I’m not really interested in more complex game systems. And as seen previously, I really like the slant that the Jadepunk rules have taken.

One of the ideas I’ve toyed with off and on is running a game in the Star Wars Universe. The thing is, a lot of what a licensed Star Wars RPG brings to the table I don’t actually want. If I’m going to run a Star Wars game, then the setting is Star Wars. No Expanded Universe, no sequels of any kind, just Star Wars. Anything in Star Wars is cannon, anything afterwards might get included, but most of it wouldn’t be.

No Midichlorians. No Ewoks. Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker. Leia is the daughter of Bail Organa of Alderan.

What follows is a rough set of guidelines for how I’d treat the Force in play (rough in that I’m deliberately leaving it vague to handle any Fate variant you wanted to use).

So, the Force. It is generated by all living beings, and flows through and around them. Some people can manipulate it. It has a Dark Side and a Light Side, but these are neither personifications nor ethical stances, just descriptions of side effects. Actions have reactions, and with the Force and its ties to life, that is even more so.

Those people who control the force calmly and dispassionately reinforce those parts of their brain. This is the harder path, because it is precisely that calm and dispassion that is disrupted by the rest of the autonomic nervous system during times of stress. It is fight or flight, overriding that to fight, flight, or the Force is hard. Those who instinctively reach out with adrenaline (or the equivalent for their biochemistry), with fear, with anger, with emotion, can also control the Force. This is easier because those are easier (especially in times of great stress or danger) to attain. But as with calm, reaching out for the Force out of anger, or fear, or hate, strengthens those parts of the brain. Tempers become shorter, compassion is quelled. It is not inherently an issue of right and wrong, it just is. But greater control is a harder path.

Mechanically, we’re going to add a new special case Aspect (really more of a three stage toggle) called Serenity. Any character can be outside of Serenity, in Serenity, or in Serenity x2 (this really just means it is harder to lose). Note, any character being portrayed as angry, frightened, or exhibiting panic or any of the “Dark side” emotions is automatically dropped out of Serenity.

Gaining Serenity is a Create Aspect test (using whatever Skill/Approach/Technique is appropriate for the Fate variant being used), with the difficulty set by the degree of danger/fear/stress that the character is facing. Success puts the character into Serenity, Success with Style gives Serenity x2. Normally, this would take an action.

A character can also gain Serenity by spending a Fate point to invoke a Force power (more on that below). If that test succeeds, the character also gains Serenity (or Serenity x2) if it succeeds with Style.

By default, any failure of a Force power (that is to say, the roll failed) will drop the character by a level of Serenity, as will taking physical or mental stress, or being confronted by damage to someone or something the character cares about quite deeply. This fairly obviously lends itself to stunts or techniques as the character grows in the Force.

And again, giving in to the “Dark side” emotions (for example, deliberately causing more pain than necessary) will drop the character out of Serenity entirely.

A character may use a Force power when any of three conditions are met. One, the character is in a state of Serenity. Two, the character spends a Fate Point. Three, the character gains or has gained a Dark Side point in this scene. Note that the last is a choice as well, simply reaching for the Force through the easier path makes the Force available for the rest of the scene.

When a character’s Dark Side points equal or exceed their Refresh, they can no longer enter Serenity through a skill check. When a character’s Dark Side points equal or exceed twice their Refresh, they can no longer spend Fate Points to invoke Force powers.

Removing Dark Side points can only be done during a Major┬ámilestone. It takes the place of all benefits of the Major milestone (as apart from other milestones) except the changing of the High Concept. The character’s Dark Side points are reduced by their Refresh.