Examining D6 Force Powers within the Star Wars Canon



I recently saw on Blue Max Studios a reference to The Force Accounted, an analysis of all the times the Force is actually used in the prequel and classic Star Wars trilogies. The authors determine there are ten Force powers used in these six films. They are:

  1. Force Leap - A supernaturally high or long jump. Used very frequently in the prequels and occasionally by Luke.
  2. Sense - Amplified physical and metaphysical senses - sensing danger, disturbances in the Force, impressions of the feelings of others, visions of the future and events far away. This is probably how Luke blew up the Death Star, using his Sense instead of his computer as well as fighting blind in his training.
  3. Telekinesis
  4. Force Push - Arguably part of Telekinesis
  5. Force Lightning - Only used by Palpatine and Dooku
  6. Jedi Mind Trick - Interestingly, only used by light siders. Probably includes Obi-Wan sneaking around the Death Star and distracting stormtroopers with false sounds.
  7. Force Spirit - Communication with the dead. 
  8. Telepathy - Sending and receiving messages. Not done incredibly often in the films - Luke and Leia in Empire Strikes Back, Vader and Luke in Empire Strikes Back,  Palpatine and Anakin in Revenge of the Sith are the only two instances I can think of (the authors include actual mind reading under Sense).
  9. Force Choke - Usually used by those on the Dark Side, but used by Luke in Return of the Jedi.
  10. Burst of Speed - A quick sprint, as used by Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon in the Phantom Menace
It's a pretty comprehensive list, though I think there might be a few missing. I'm not certain how they'd classify Vader blocking Han's blaster fire and Yoda absorbing Force Lightning - it seems that the D6 game's Absorb/Dissipate Energy is still applicable. I'm also a little unclear how "Jedi reflexes" fit into this - Anakin and Luke's exceptional piloting abilities. It's possible that might fit under Sense as they are able to react to things before they happen. Burst of Speed seems an odd power in there too - only performed once and then never used again. If I were to divide these into the traditional D6 Control/Sense/Alter, I believe it would be:
  • Control - Force Leap, Burst of Speed, Absorb/Dissipate Energy (added by me)
  • Sense - Sense, Telepathy
  • Alter - Telekinesis, Force Push, Force Lightning, Jedi Mind Trick, Force Choke
I'd probably make Force Spirit more of a special effect/plot point - it seems unlikely a Force user would have cause to use it in a game.

Let's take a look at the Force powers as expressed in Star Wars RPG. I'm using the 1st Edition list (though sorted alphabetically).


Skill(s)
Power
Notes
Control
Absorb/Dissipate Energy
Seen in films (though not in The Force Accounted)
Accelerate Healing
Doesn’t appear to be direct evidence for this
Contort/Escape
Control Disease
Control Pain
Detoxify Poison
Hibernation Trance
Remain Conscious
Resist Stun
Sense
Instinctive Astrogation
Possibly appropriate though I’m not convinced Luke’s trip to Dagobah is representative of this
Life Sense
Used to track a specific individual; seems appropriate given Darth Vader sensing Obi-Wan
Magnify Senses
Doesn’t appear to be evidence for this
Receptive Telepathy
Seen in films
Sense Force
Seen in films
Alter
Injure/Kill
Doesn’t appear to be evidence for this
Telekinesis
Seen in films
Control + Sense
Farseeing
Seen in films; possibly make part of Sense
Projective Telepathy
Seen in films; possibly make part of Sense
Control + Alter
xxx Another xxx
As with Control equivalent
Inflict Pain
Doesn’t appear to be evidence for this
Transfer Force
Doesn’t appear to be evidence for this
Control + Sense + Alter
Affect Mind
Jedi Mind Trick; possibly make part of Alter
Telekinetic Kill
Force Choke power; would probably make just part of Alter

Looking at this, we see that the D6 game has a number of powers dedicated to mastery of the body - remaining conscious, resisting poison, etc. While I state there doesn't appear to be evidence for those feats in the films, none of them seem massively out of scope with what one might reasonably expect from a Jedi. There is some reason to believe some sort of injury treatment is applicable given Obi-Wan doing something to both Padme and to Luke in Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The healing powers of Jedi are probably limited to enhancing the body's natural abilities - massive healing abilities is actually suggested at being something that is part of the Dark Side in Revenge of the Sith.

The D6 game probably could use a bit of help with some of the more athletic feats performed by Jedi. The 2nd edition has the Enhance Attribute but I tend to think that's a bit overpowered. It probably wouldn't be massively out of balance to allow Control to be used in place of various athletic skills such as running and jumping, especially given my potential house rule as to always doubling the cost of improving a Force skill.

Force Push probably doesn't need to be a separate power from Telekinesis - perhaps it can be treated as a brawling attack using the Force. Light sided Jedi use this pretty frequently in the prequels, indicating it's probably not an automatic Dark Side Point. Force Lightning is not on this list at all, though other Star Wars RPG books have it should it be needed.

The D6 also doesn't quite explain the "Jedi reflexes" mentioned above. Here I'm inclined to possibly chalk this up to mere Force sensitivity and the possession of Force points, as well as a high rating/natural aptitude explained through the Force.

It does seem the 1st edition actually does an awfully good job representing the Force powers of the classic trilogy. 

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