2/4/2011 Those Pesky Force Points

Last Saturday during our Star Wars gaming session, I asked my older brother if his hero wanted to use a Force Point.  His response was “do you mean those pesky points or the good ones?”  Which made all of us laugh (naturally, my response was “either” but then I sort-of talked about what they were each called.)  I still got a chuckle out of the comment when I was reviewing the game session; however, it brings up a valid point about the whole issues of Force Points and Destiny Points.  Really, how useful is the Force Point resource?  How does Destiny Point resource devalue Force Points?  (for those who do not play Star Wars Saga Edition, a Force Point can do three things when you spend one of them; 1-add a random bonus to a die roll, 2-a “fuel” resource to use or enhance a hero’s special ability, or 3-Saves you from death.  Destiny Points gives a hero automatic successes and strong bonuses when you spend them.) For my players this is how it breaks down:

My older brother: He finds no value in Force Points, he is not a Force User so he does not need to use them to “fuel” his abilities and he does not like the random bonus that they provide.  Simply put, he wants to know what he is getting when he spends them.  He is willing to spend a Destiny Point to do something automatically even if it is just role-playing flavor; for example, he spent a Destiny Point to deliberately hit a Freeorin in the gut as an old friend greeting.  He said “I don’t want to mess with die-rolling, I specifically want to say hi old friend I am still an equal.”  

My younger brother: He is a Jedi, so he just keeps Force Points around basically to “fuel” his abilities.  Every once in a while, he will ask “is there anything I can do to make this more possible?”  He has use Destiny Points, but has a voice like Scrooge when spending or even considering spending them.  Additionally, he has use Force Points as bonuses to rolls but has an exasperated “sure, but why bother” aspect to them.

My son: He is the most willing to use Force Points; but gets really disappointed with rolling low numbers for the bonus modifiers.  He too is getting a “why bother” attitude when spending Force Points; he is spending them less often.  He has learned that finding solutions to problems through role-playing give better results than spending points to enhance dice rolls.  Role-play is more beneficial and less risky.  

Obviously, my players do not use Force Point resource to the fullest.  They usually have at least half of them, when they level up. (Force Points do not compound or are “saved” from level to level; instead they reset when advancing.  If you did not use them before you leveled, then they are gone.) Furthermore, my players feel justified in their waste.  To them it is not worth the hassle, the reward of using them do not exceed the work in keeping track of them; but more importantly, the risk of gaining a minimum bonus is too great when you can role-play or problem solve better results. 

There is the problem, Force Points are one of the major aspects to make the D20 system feels like Star Wars; but if the players find them valueless and ignoring them, then are they getting the feel of Star Wars?

Great, all have done is create more questions.

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