Reference Book: Star Wars Saga Edition Jedi Academy Training Manual
Of all the elements present in the Star Wars saga, the one that brings everything together is The Force. Without it, Palpatine would have no power to put his plans into motion as effectively as he did. Without it, the Sith-controlled Empire could not replace the Republic as the central government of the galaxy. Without it, neither The Sith nor The Jedi would have any extraordinary abilities to help them accomplish their goals. Without The Force, we would not have Anakin Skywalker, destined to fulfill an age-old prophecy.
Throughout the Star Wars saga, we have heard The Force referred to as an energy field created by all living things, the source of power for all Jedi, and that which unites all life in the galaxy. Although The Force is all that and more, we do not have very specific information about it. This chapter delves into the beliefs held by The Jedi, The Sith, and other Force Traditions in an attempt to answer pertinent questions about The Force.
What is The Force? Edit
The Force, by its nature, is one of the most enigmatic concepts of the Star Wars galaxy. It can both heal and harm. It can be a boon or a detriment. Depending on which philosophy of The Force one follows, the interpretation of what The Force is and what it can do varies widely.
Of all the Force Traditions in the galaxy, The Jedi Order probably has the best understanding of The Force. Even within the ranks of The Jedi, The Force takes on different roles and works in different ways. While they might seem similar in scope, the beliefs behind these interpretations can be vastly dissimilar.
The Living Force Edit
The Living Force, as accepted by Jedi throughout the ages, is believed to exist in most living creatures. Jedi who believe in the tenets of The Living Force rely on their instincts and become attuned to the living things around them. They are mindful of the future and what might result from their current actions, but they remain focused on the present. The Living Force has both a Light Side and a Dark Side, and Force-users must be mindful of their emotions lest they succumb to the temptation of The Dark Side. Those who adhere to the doctrines of The Living Force believe that life creates The Force and that The Force is an omnipresent field of energy that surrounds and permeates living things, and that living things are connected by it. Through The Living Force, certain Jedi are able to retain their identities after death, manifesting as Force Spirits while still becoming one with The Force.
Jedi who adhere to The Living Force view recognize the existence of midichlorians in all living beings. The higher the concentration of midichlorians in a life form, the stronger that life form's connection is to The Force, and the greater its potential to use it- for good or evil.
The Unifying Force Edit
The Unifying Force, garnering less support among The Jedi than The Living Force, teaches that The Force is a singular power and has neither a Light Side nor a Dark Side. The Unifying Force has no sides and does not take sides, treating all living creatures equally. This view has been supported by the likes of Vergere and Emperor Palpatine. (The only significant difference between the Jedi view and Palpatine's view is that The Sith see The Force as a means to an end, while The Jedi see it as an end in itself.) Those who follow The Unifying Force tend to keep their eyes on the future and possibilities, leading them to act in ways to fulfill a Destiny instead of focusing on the here and now, like those who following The Living Force.
One particular view of The Force that is often confused with The Unifying Force is known as The Potentium. While both philosophies believe that there is only one Force, The Potentium's take on the matter differs by stating that The Force is inherently good and what is perceived as The Dark Side is actually a twisted perversion of The Force. By that standard, anyone following The Potentium way of thinking could perform any action and use The Force in any way they see fit, as long as the intention behind it is good. The Jedi Order does not support this belief at all, acknowledging its existence as nothing more than a means of misguiding people to The Dark Side and subverting Jedi teachings.
Other Interpretations Edit
The Aing-Tii Monks, based out of the Kathol Rift, view The Force in much the same way as The Jedi. However, they see it as as not having a Light Side or a Dark Side. They believe that The Force has varying levels, much like a rainbow, and can manifest itself in many different ways. People who use The Force are not strictly good or purely evil when they use it. What they choose to do with it helps determine the color of The Force's spectrum in which they engross themselves.
The Fallanassi believe in a power that works very similarly to The Force, but they call it The White Current. The White Current flows like a river through the galaxy and all living beings. As such, a single person attempting to tap into it is like trying to divert a raging river with one's hand; it cannot be done. Instead, The Fallanassi immerse themselves in the Current and let it flow through them like a conduit. They do not impose their will on it, but they merely shape the flow of the Current into whichever form is needed for the task at hand.
The Sorcerers of Tund use The Force in much the same manner as The Sith, but they portray the source of their power as magic. They have crafted a litany of arcane symbols and languages that permit them wield their Force Powers as spells. They use these spells to create illusions and alter their forms. Their belief in The Force as a magical power is so strong that even the most influential Jedi cannot hope to convince them otherwise.
Many beings beyond the Kathol Rift tap into a Force-like power called The Ta-Ree. The Ta-Ree is actually a twisted manipulation of The Force in that region of space. It was created when a group of ancient Kathol entered an immense crystalline structure to protect themselves from death; unfortunately for them, the structure's guardian decided to trap them inside. After a time, the survivors were absorbed by their crystal prison and twisted The Force and the fabric of space around it.
Aspects of The Force Edit
It's safe to say that throughout the galaxy, different Force Traditions interpret and view The Force differently. This section focuses on the philosophies accepted by The Jedi Order, since The Jedi offer the most widely accepted and practiced viewpoints.
Throughout The Jedi Order's history, the endless struggle against The Sith has revealed that The Force breaks down into two commonly opposed aspects: The Light Side and The Dark Side.While the majority of Jedi believe that The Light Side must prevail for order to be maintained, other acknowledge that The Dark Side's influence cannot be erased and will always be around, affecting those who call upon it.
The Light Side Edit
The part of The Force known as The Light Side deals mainly with the ideals pertaining to the preservation and advancement of life: good, benevolence, and healing. Those who hold themselves to the tenets of The Light Side strive to establish harmony with their surroundings and the creatures that dwell in it. They act out of wisdom and logic, making decisions based on knowledge and peace instead of emotion and haste.
The Jedi, as champions of The Light Side of The Force, take this view very seriously and have incorporated a variety of values and techniques to help promote this way of thinking and nurture the emotions that promote The Light Side. These values have accumulated into what is known as The Jedi Code, the modern version of which was documented and commented upon by Master Odan-Urr.
The Jedi Code Edit
Main Article: The Jedi Code
While The Jedi Code dictates a number of issues relating to understanding and mastering The Force, it is not entirely about that. A Jedi must feel The Force to know it, and ancient texts and rules cannot substitute for that experience. At the same time, a Jedi's social behavior cannot be learned by applying The Force to it. The Jedi Code also gives a set of expectations and guidelines by which a Jedi must conduct themselves. By following the Code, anyone can open up and allow The Light Side of The Force to flow freely through them and gain a better understanding of the universe and everything around them.
A closer examination of The Jedi Code helps to provide some insight not only into the way Jedi behave but also into the way following such strictures helps to foster a way of life conductive to averting the temptations of The Dark Side. The Code is categorized into three subjects: self-discipline, responsibility, and public service.
The Dark Side Edit
Always seductive is The Dark Side of The Force. It tempts even the most pure souls to take the quick and easy path. It gives the impression that it is more powerful than The Light Side, creeping into the minds of those seeking shortcuts to gaining more power. However, The Dark Side is only easier, not more powerful. Instead of gaining strength from life like The Light Side, The Dark Side thrives on destruction and negative emotions such as fear, anger, and hate. Succumbing to these emotions leads one down The Dark Path to ruin.
The Dark Side promises a rapid rise in power. But as time goes on and one's reliance on The Dark Side increases, it in turn demands more from he or she who uses its power. Its corruption slowly overtakes the individual trapped within its grasp and wears away at his or her life force until they cannot possibly escape its grasp without some form of outside intervention.
The Order of The Sith is the one Force Tradition most recognized as having embraced The Dark Side of The Force. The Sith hate the fact that The Jedi Order has corrupted the galaxy with its false teachings, and its members struggle to destroy The Jedi and rule the galaxy forever. Although they do succeed for a time under Darth Sidious and his apprentice, Darth Vader, their rule of hatred and fear lasts only until Luke Skywalker redeems his father and helps him eradicate the last of The Sith to finally bring balance to The Force.
The Dark Path Edit
Main Article: The Dark Path
Those who walk the path toward The Dark Side of The Force go through four different stages: Temptation, Imperilment, Submission, and Atonement or Redemption. Most users of The Force, even the purest of The Jedi, can go through at least one of these stages as they walk through life. Those who are ambitious, power-hungry, filled with hatred, overly passionate, or just outright evil will experience two or more of these stages during their descent into darkness. Anakin Skywalker went through all four stages during his life: Temptation as a Jedi Padawan, Imperilment while he served as a Jedi Knight during the Clone Wars, Submission when he served Darth Sidious as his apprentice Darth Vader, and Redemption when he hurled Sidious to his death and restored freedom and order to the galaxy.
Force-users can face these stages in a variety of different ways. Pupils and apprentices can grope with these stages as they learn about The Force, their sense of morality, or their affinity with The Jedi Code.
Variations of The Dark Side Edit
The Dark Side of The Force is usually presented as the driving force behind The Sith, the darkest evil in the galaxy. However, other Force Traditions have been known to walk The Dark Path or wield The Dark Side from time to time and still avoid falling under its influence. Groups such as The Jensaarai have members that occasionally tap into The Dark Side and walk away seemingly untouched. According to The Jedi, these individuals become tainted and carry The Dark Side's influence with them, whether they realize it or not. Some people claim to have witnessed a slow metamorphosis of these persons' personalities over time as a result of their flirting with The Dark Side.
Force-using Jedi who meddle with The Dark Side without totally surrendering to it are sometimes referred to as Gray Jedi. A Gray Jedi taps into The Light Side and The Dark Side equally. Members of The Jensaarai outwardly deny such claims that they are Gray, but The Jedi and The Sith do not hesitate to say that The Jensaarai refuse to admit the truth to themselves. There are those in the galaxy who are not affiliated with any Force Tradition that delve into both The Light Side and The Dark Side that are true Gray Jedi. These people cause concern for The Jedi, since these Gray Jedi often portray themselves as holding full knowledge of The Force, sometimes claiming to know more than The Jedi, and often actively recruit other Force-sensitive people to join their cause.
Whispers of the Sith Spirit: Shades of Darkness Edit
The temptation to tap into The Dark Side of The Force is felt most strongly by those who have never sensed its allure. When a situation seems dire or when a character desperately wants to succeed at a given task, he or she can look to The Dark Side to give them a boost.
If a character's Dark Side Score is less than or equal to half of his or her Wisdom score, he or she can choose to call upon The Dark Side to roll 1d6 and add the result to any roll adjusted by the expenditure of a Force Point. Doing so increases the character's Dark Side Score by 1. If the character commits an evil act with the bonus they receive from calling upon The Dark Side, their Dark Side Score increases by an additional point.
Optional Rule: Resisting The Dark Side's Call Edit
The lure of The Dark Side is strong. It will tempt you in ways you never thought possible. Only the strongest of wills is able to resist succumbing to The Dark Side after being tainted by its power for so long.
If a character's Dark Side Score is equal to more than half of his or her Wisdom score, he or she can attempt to resist taking a Dark Side Point. If they make a successful Wisdom check (DC = 5 + their Dark Side Score), they avoid increasing their Dark Side Score in a situation where they normally would.
Optional Rule: A Helping Hand Edit
Even though a Dark Sider might not seek redemption on their own, some people connected to him or her might feel differently. These people might include friends, family, or some loved one who seeks to pull him or her back before they meet a terrible fate.
Any character with a strong connection to the Dark Sider can urge him or her to turn away from The Dark Side. This requires a Persuasion check which can be made once per level for the Dark Sider. If the skill check equals or exceeds the Dark Sider's Will Defense plus their Dark Side Score, and they are actively listening to the plea, the Dark Sider's Dark Side Score is reduced by 1. Others can attempt to assist the character making the skill check with the Aid Another Action.
Padawans and Apprentices Edit
Upon reaching knighthood, some Jedi seek to take on Apprentices, passing on their knowledge to future generations. Some Jedi have Apprentices thrust upon them, as Ahsoka Tano was thrust upon Anakin Skywalker, and some Jedi choose to train Apprentices out of a sense of obligation, as Obi-Wan Kenobi trained Anakin Skywalker and, later, Luke Skywalker.
Jedi heroes in the Star Wars Roleplaying Game can also take on Apprentices, training them in the ways of The Force. There are two methods that can be used to adjudicate such an Apprenticeship. The first is to simply have the Gamemaster introduce the Padawan as an NPC, attached to a particular hero who is serving as the Padawan's Master. In this case, the Gamemaster simply crafts the statistics for the low-level Padawan and has the Padawan join the party, going on adventures as normal. The Padawan remains under the control of the Gamemaster, and no new game mechanics are needed.
The other method is to treat the training of an Apprentice as an important step for a Jedi Knight, both in terms of character development and also mechanically. This situation uses the new rules presented below to make an Apprentice more than just an NPC that tags along on adventures, and helps to circumvent the difficulties presented by adding NPCs to the party of higher-level character. Under these rules, the Padawan joins the Jedi on his or her adventures, all while helping his or her Master learn more about the nature of a Jedi Knight's responsibilities.
For the purposes of these rules, the phrases "Padawan" and "Jedi Knight" are interchangeable with the equivalent ranks in other Force Traditions, such as Sith Apprentices and Sith Lords, Jensaarai Apprentices and Jensaarai Defenders, and so forth.
Obtaining a Padawan Edit
You must be at least 8th level to obtain a Padawan. Provided an Apprentice is available (The Gamemaster is free to determine whether or not training a Padawan is appropriate for the campaign), the player need only declare that he or she wishes to take on a Padawan. At this point, the Gamemaster should craft an appropriate Padawan for the hero to train, using the following guidelines.
A Padawan obtained in this manner is a Nonheroic character. The Padawan begins at 1st level, with the following starting Feats: Force Sensitivity, Skill Training (Use the Force), Weapon Proficiency (Lightsabers), and Weapon Proficiency (Simple Weapons).
Padawans are likewise limited in their Feat selection. Padawans cannot take the Skill Focus Feat (Representing the fact that the Apprentice has yet to master any particular Skill), except for those that are granted as Conditional Bonus Feats by the Padawan's Species.
The Gamemaster chooses the Padawan's Species, other Trained Skills, and Feats. Padawans are also given a Lightsaber and cannot build their own until 7th level. Human Padawans should probably take Force Training as their Species Bonus Feat, and all Padawans should take Force Training as their 3rd and 6th level Feats as well. The Gamemaster chooses Force Powers for the Padawan that are also known by the Padawan's Master.
Padawans in Adventures Edit
Since a Padawan is a Nonheroic character that is likely significantly lower in level than the rest of the party, certain special benefits are conferred upon the Padawan while they undergo training. Whenever the Padawan is within 12 squares of their Master, they add their Master's Heroic Level to all of the Padawan's Defenses. Additionally, when the Padawan takes damage that would reduce them to 0 Hit Points and that exceeds their Damage Threshold (That is, damage that would kill them), they do not die but instead fall unconscious. While unconcious, the Padawan can still be killed by all of the normal means, including the Coup de Grace Action. Lastly, if the Padawan is adjacent to their Master, they can redirect any attack made against them to their Master as a Reaction, providing the Master is willing.
A Padawan is not directly under the control of the hero that trains them, though Gamemasters should have the Padawan obey their Master's commands. In combat, a Padawan can be used to set up Flanks or to Aid Another on attack rolls, or use Force Powers when appropriate to help out in battle. Outside of combat, the Padawan typically uses the Aid Another Action to help their Master on skill checks, or occasionally provide skill checks for Skills in which no one else in the party is Trained.
Padawans do not take their own cut of the XP earned by a party; instead, a Padawan simply gains as much XP as their Master whenever XP is awarded. In this manner, Padawans gain levels much faster than their Masters, though this does allow a Jedi to train multiple Apprentices over the course of a single campaign.
Benefits of Training a Padawan Edit
Each time a Padawan gains a level, their Master gains the 24-hour bonus from the Education Destiny, regardless of whether the Master has that Destiny or not. In addition to the traditional help that a Padawan can provide over the course of an adventure (Such as aiding in combat, assisting on skill checks, and so forth), a Padawan can act as a method for delivering Gamemaster advice and suggestions to the Master that is training the Padawan.
Achieving Knighthood Edit
When a Padawan achieves 7th level, they continue to gain XP but cannot reach 8th level until certain circumstances are fulfilled. The Padawan must undergo their Jedi Trials- which typically involve undertaking some dangerous mission during which all of the lessons they have learned as a Jedi come into play- and then be granted the rank of Jedi Knight by their Master and the Jedi Council. Once this happens, the Apprentice is no longer considered to be a Padawan and ceases to be under the tutelage of the the hero. All of their Nonheroic levels are traded for Heroic Levels, and the Gamemaster should rebuild the Padawan as a full-fledged Jedi Knight (With one level in the Jedi Knight Prestige Class). Upon achieving knighthood, the character is no longer a member of the party, but the Gamemaster should feel free to include that character as a recurring NPC.
Once a Padawan reaches knighthood, the hero who trained that Padawan becomes eligible to take the Mentor Force Secret.
Applications of the Force Edit
Having knowledge of The Force provides a good foundation to being an outstanding Jedi. But, having that knowledge is only half of what is required to fulfilling your purpose. Being able to take that knowledge and apply it in everyday life completes the expectations of a Jedi.
Everything a Jedi can do with The Force can be broken down into three broad categories: Alter, Control, and Sense. Some abilities work in such a way that they span two or even all three categories. These abilities are not widely known, especially the ones that fall under all three groups, and the secrets to learning these powers have been locked away, to be revealed only to those who truly need them.
Alter abilities are undeniably the most easily observable but least understood applications of The Force known by The Jedi Order. That is not to say that The Jedi know very little about this area, but a more appropriate phrase would be that the true nature of this use is still highly speculated. Using The Force to affect anything outside the body or the senses is considered an Alter ability, since it is used to "Alter" someone or something. Control abilities cannot be considered in the Alter category because they affect only the Force-user's body and nothing beyond that. Sense abilities do not make any effort to manipulate anything within the Force-user's environment, only detect it.
Alter abilities (Be they Force Powers, Alter Talents, or otherwise) have a variety of applications, from moving objects without physically touching them to creating a sound on the other side of a room to forming an illusion of something that is not really there. Several Force Traditions, including The Sith Order and The Zeison Sha, rely heavily on Alter applications of The Force to accomplish much of what they do.
How do Alter Abilities Work? Edit
The theories behind how Alter abilities work as as numerous as the theories of The Force. Science cannot explain them.
Moving objects through The Force involves stretching out one's feelings through The Force to mentally seize the object in question and exerting one's will on it so that it performs as they wish. Opponents of The Living Force question how this is possible on nonliving things, such as weapons and Starships. But, the official answer from The Jedi states that The Force is created by all living things and permeates the galaxy, even around nonliving things. An individual lifts a Starship off the ground by mastering the space around it and not thinking of it as a lifeless object but as part of the greater universe.
At the same time, using powers where The Force is used as a telekinetic attack, such as when a Jedi pushes an opponent away through The Force, calls upon the same basic technique of stretching out their feelings. But instead of seizing the opponent, they shove against the enemy and propel them backwards.
Another common application is known as the Mind Trick, where a Jedi changes a person's perceptions or plants a suggestion into another's mind. Pushing the suggestion or desired effect through The Force, the Force-user superimposes their will onto the target's mind. Accomplishing this task might be more difficult with some Species, such as the Hutts or the Toydarians. Many Jedi scholars believe that this is due to the races' physiologies being drastically different than most other races in the galaxy. Others believe that this could be because members of those Species have a lower midichlorian count then what other Species typically have.
Healing other living creatures is one of the least common but most valued applications of The Force. Documented cases reveal that The Force can be used to close wounds, cure diseases, detoxify poisons, and heal other ailments. Despite the fact that Species' anatomies differ widely, The Force helps tend to the sick and wounded, leading many Jedi to support the notion that The Force values life above all else. This also explains why healing works on different Species when the Mind Trick does not, since the Mind Trick does not perform any actions to help support life.
A rare but known technique is the ability to create illusions through The Force. Though many people speculate on different methods to accomplish this task, including implanting the illusion into the minds of those the Force-user wants to see it, a number of Force-users that have mastered this practice state that they envision the image they want to create in their mind and push it out through The Force to manifest at the desired location. Both theories are sound with the caveat that neither is grounded in science.
The abilities that fall under the Control category are those that involve tapping into abilities hidden within one's body and spirit to expand and enhance what can be already done or open new doors to talents that the Force-user did not originally have. Force Powers and Force Talents that improve a Force-user's speed, strength, or combat prowess fall under this category as well as healing one's own wounds.
How do Control Abilities Work? Edit
Allowing The Force to manipulate the body and its systems is probably one of the most easily understood applications of The Force and one of the easiest to master. In fact, most other Force Traditions beside The Jedi, such as The Matukai, have mastered Control abilities to a better extent than The Jedi and are able to do far more with their bodies than some of the greatest Jedi Masters.
Using The Force in this capability requires more than just channeling it through the body. Knowing how the body works and its limitations is key to mastering Control abilities. Countless incidents have been documented where anxious Jedi younglings have tried to do too much at one time and injured themselves with broken limbs and strained muscles in the process. Like with any other lessons, starting small is the best approach. Also, knowing where to apply The Force is important to achieve the maximum result. A Jedi wishing to leap to a ledge several stories higher should know to focus The Force on certain muscles to reach the desired height.
While some would argue that Sense abilities actually apply to improving the body and are more appropriately placed with Control, the truth is that Sense powers expand one's awareness and ability to perceive one's surroundings in more ways than just by sight and sound. Since Sense abilities deal entirely with perception and awareness, they deserve to be classified in their own category.
How do Sense Abilities Work? Edit
Depending on your outlook on The Force, how Sense abilities work can be approached from two different angels: internally or externally. The internal theory states that the abilities exhibited by a Force-user are a result of applying The Force to your own sensory organs to enhance the way they work. The external theory asserts that those same abilities result from the Force-sensitive individual picking up signals from other life forms through The Force.
Looking at the internal theory, Sense abilities increase the efficacy of one's sensory organs, passing new information on to the brain for interpretation. Sometimes, it involves opening the eyes to locate an object outside a person's normal sight range or to examine details too small for the naked eye to perceive. Other times, it allows the ear to detect sounds whose frequencies are too high or too low for normal hearing or hear sounds so soft that even electronic equipment can barely detect them. And at other times, The Force opens the mind to perceive signals in other spectrums not normally allowed by the mind, such as picking up other people's thoughts, transmitting one's own thoughts through The Force to another person halfway across the galaxy, or perceiving Disturbances in the Force caused by the sudden extermination of life on a massive scale. In these situations, applying The Force to the specific sensory organ is all that is needed. Just a small application is enough to achieve the desired effect. While no documented cases exist of Force-induced blindness or deafness, pushing too much of The Force on one single area is highly discouraged.
Taking a closer look at the external theory, Sense abilities do not truly enhance the individual's senses. However, the person stretches outward through The Force to look for indications of other life forms around them and what they are doing. No power is applied to the Jedi's eyes, ears, or any of their other senses. Instead, the signals broadcasted by other living beings are delivered through The Force to their brain to be interpreted as the mind would normally process sights and sounds received through normal means. As with the internal theory, not much of The Force is required to use these abilities, but one should not overdo it.
Influence of the Dark Side Edit
Those allied with The Dark Side of The Force find ways to use every aspect of The Force to their advantage. Dark Siders twist The Force to apply it in ways that are unnatural and self-serving. Even though The Jedi struggle to end these practices, some manage to avoid being caught and pass their knowledge along to students willing to learn their dark secrets and expand on what they have been taught.
The methods used by Dark Siders fall under the same three categories established by other Force-users in the galaxy: Alter, Control, and Sense. While The Jedi have not examined how these dark abilities manifest, the following theories and speculations about how they work are the most popular explanations within The Jedi Order.
Many of the abilities that are grouped under Control and Sense work much the same as those used by The Jedi and other organizations; the ability to improve what the body already does and perceives cannot vary too much. However, certain powers categorized under the Alter classification seem to be more easily recognized as originating from The Dark Side.
By focusing their anger and hatred, many Dark Siders are able to fly into a berserker rage, increasing their battle prowess as they give themselves over to The Dark Side. Using The Force in this way can sometimes push the body's capabilities beyond what it can normally handle, often leading to physical deformities or alterations (Not unlike those witnessed in Darth Sidious). Observations indicate that these extreme boosts last for only a short time.