Quick Hits–Obligation, Duty, and Morality for Episodic Games
I really think that Obligation, Duty, and Morality are great mechanics of the Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPGs. I think each one is very well suited to reinforcing they style of game that the subsystem is designed to underscore. That said, I have seen a few people discuss how to deal with these mechanics in games where characters might drift in and out of a campaign, or where the overall campaign might be more episodic rather than serial.
I would hate to cut the flavor from the game by getting rid of these mechanics, so I thought of something that could be utilized to keep them relevant to the game in a more episodic manner.
If the adventure starts “fresh,” not as a continuation of a previous adventure, roll to see if anyone’s Obligation, Duty, or Morality would trigger. If so, then utilized a modified version of the One-Check Combat Resolution roll on page 323 of Edge of the Empire.
Quick Episodic Obligation, Duty, and Morality Checks
- Determine what exactly happens, based on what actually triggers. For example, a character with a bounty on his head might run into a bounty hunter, a character with space superiority as their area of interest in the Rebellion may be on a fighter mission, and a character whose Mercy/Apathy triggers might need to decide whether or not to help someone being harassed by Imperials.
- Lean towards making the scene action oriented. Since the game is episodic, you need to be able to resolve this quickly, and injury is often a good “side effect” for failure.
- Action doesn’t mean combat. A thief might steal a cargo skiff and fly like crazy through a canyon to get back to his ship, which could still lead to injury and is action oriented, without being a fight.
- Shoot for at least a Hard check, and ask the player how they want to resolve the situation and what skill they wish to use to resolve the situation.
- Failure in action oriented scenes can cause wounds, strain, or even criticals (if you chose to upgrade the check). In addition, a character that fails an Obligation related check might gain 5 Obligation (or reduce their total by 5 if successful), a character that fails a Duty check fails to get any Duty, and if they succeed, they gain 5 Duty, and a character that fails a Morality related skill check gains a point of Conflict.