Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Force and Destiny Core rulebook review

As a Stand Alone game
    Force and Destiny is decent, but not as comprehensive as its predecessors.
The racial selection makes sense and seems pretty enjoyable. There is no option to play a Droid though which seems odd, but this game is focused on the Force and droids can't use the Force so I suppose it makes sense.  While it is understandably focused on exploring the Force, for a stand alone game it ignores far too much of the Star Wars universe outside of the Force. Each of the available Careers is focused in some way on the Force or using the Force, which is good for the theme of the setting, but bad when it's the only thing your stand alone game has. Since each Career gives you a Force rating, there are literally zero options in this book for a player looking to play a non-force-sensitive character (I think that's a big oversight in a stand alone star wars game).
    The rest of the book is pretty basic, standard exploring gear, average space ships. The best part of this book is in its Morality system. The system is elegant in it's simplicity and (for the most part) implemented very well. The Force Powers available to the players cover most of basics that people are familiar with from the movies such as moving things and influencing the weak willed with your mind.
    While many people were worried that this book would be a 'big book of the jedi' it most certainly is not. The careers, talents and force powers do not add up to Jedi. The book focuses on using the Force, but never on being a Jedi. I would even argue that it does such a good job of diffusing the Force powers in among other stuff, that it actually makes the thought of playing a Force sensitive character rather un-compelling. I suppose that at least this approach leaves them room to get more epic later, so good for them.
As a stand alone game, this is probably the weakest of fantasy flights (now 3 total) Star Wars role play games.
    Stand Alone Score 6/10

As a companion game to Fantasy Flights other Star Wars role playing games.
   Force and Destiny adds a few new races, a lot of new Force related talents and powers and a new Morality mechanic. Thematically, Force and Destiny fits in very well with the post Imperial universe most of us imagine. The Jedi Order as it was does not exist, so this book does not train you to be a Jedi of old. On the other hand, the iron grip of the Empire has loosened so those with force powers are starting to explore them more openly. On the whole, Force and Destiny is a decent kick off introduction to Force users in the FFG Star Wars roleplay universe. That said, i'd still like to break down some of its additions and give good and bad points about each of them with a bit more detail.

New Races.
    Good: The new races all  make perfect sense and fit with the Force sensitive focus of this supplement.
    Bad: None of the new races have any particularly unique or engaging abilities, features or qualities with the possible exception of the Kel Dor.

New Careers/Specialization trees
    Good: They support in a variety of ways, the Force focus of this supplement. For already existing characters the new Specializations are varied enough to give most players a new option to continue their current focus while gaining some Force and Lightsaber abilities.
     Bad: Some of these trees definitely step on the toes of existing careers and trees. The varied nature of the new Careers and their Specialization trees means that Existing characters may have already spent significantly more XP to accomplish what they can now get from one or two of these new trees. Also, may make it too easy to get extra force rating?

New Skill
    Good: There is only one new skill (Lightsaber). Using a Lightsaber, you can do cool stuff later.
    Bad: Lightsaber skill is based off of Brawn (which makes very little sense for a weapon that weighs, at worst a few pounds and is primarily about agility and speed), where it should have been based off of Agility (i do understand that they did this for balance reasons as Agility is already the most important combat stat by far). It's an especially weird decision since there are talents that allow you to use almost any attribute to wield your lightsaber, and the coolest lightsaber tricks will require some other specified attribute.

New Talents
    Good: most of the new talents are pretty well worded and do neat things. There are talents that allow you to use other Ability scores instead of Brawn when wielding a lightsaber (that's neat). Lots of cool talents that use Force dice to help do cool stuff.
    Bad: a lot of the coolest talents require you to use Force dice to help do the cool stuff (not so awesome if you have a low force rating, or worse don't even WANT a force rating but want the cool abilities). The coolest lightsaber tricks are restricted to a specific Ability type such as Lightsaber (Intelligence), which means that you will never be good at all the lightsaber tricks, instead you might at best be good at one trick and mediocre at one or two others.
    I already recommended to my group that all talents that require a Lightsaber (Specific Ability) check instead just require a Lightsaber check which still allows you to use other Ability scores if you have training in those techniques.

New Gear
    Good: the new gear is pretty basic for the most part but at least it's there. The new lightsaber and the Holocrons and other Ancient Talismans category is where it really shines.
    Bad: not a whole lot of new gear. I am also concerned that the Talismans and Holocrons have the potential to be far too powerful if they experience any power creep at all in future content.

New Ships
    Good: The new ships add options to the game?
    Bad: There is nothing interesting or unique about the new ships. also, there aren't very many ships that are actually NEW if you include the other FFG star wars games.

New Force Powers
    Good: There are 6 new Force powers not seen in other FFG Star Wars games so far. Lots of versatility built in to all the Force powers makes them good for multiple situations.
    Bad: the powers Heal/Harm and Protect/Unleash sort of seem a little redundant even though they are technically different. Misdirect reminds me more of a fantasy word wizards illusion spell than of a force power. Battle Meditation steps pretty heavily on the toes of anyone who might be a non-Force user leader type.

New Mechanic
    Good: The morality scale is fairly simple, makes pretty good sense, and is pretty easy to manage in game. They take a complicated concept like morality and do a pretty reasonable job of applying numbers and rules to it.
    Bad: Considering how many ways there are to earn conflict and the ways in which it is earned, it is VERY easy to fall prey to the Dark Side. I know that the dark side is suppose to be the seductively easy path, but in a game it starts to be less fun when you want your character to be good, but being morally 'good' means shooting yourself in the foot on a regular basis by not taking advantage of dark side mechanics. I can easily envision players spending XP on powers that their character is rarely able to utilize, lest they 'give themselves over to the dark side'.... and if that's the case, then the player has very little motivation to spend that XP on those powers in the first place.

New Adventure
    Good: well put together, rather interesting and very easy to work in to other story lines.
    Bad: not particularly great if your group doesn't give a flip about the Force or Lightsabers, but then, if you didn't you wouldn't have the book so...

Over all, this book is about what I have come to expect; A great deal of material duplication, a reasonable bit of "new content", an almost willful ignorance of how it effects the other games, and just enough interesting new stuff to get people to pay. Surprisingly though, I think its actually a better book that Age of Rebellion when put in the context of the other FFG Star Wars role play games.

Companion Book score 7/10


  1. Thanks for the thorough review. Looks like I'll be passing on this one though. My group doesn't give a flip :D

  2. Thanks for your review. What is it about the Kel Dor you liked? My group is about to start playing.

  3. Hey, just found your blog and its great! I'd been debating all three core rule-books, and went with F&D because its the direction my players are most interested in my. I have a question -- are there any supplements (or fan-made online materials) to help include the careers and races from AoR or EoE? I love the gaming system, but it seems ludicrous to have to buy two other massive, $50 tomes that largely repeat rules just to get that material. I would have liked one, perhaps smaller core book and then supplements adding details for various specializations.