Absolutely no one was surprised at Fantasy Flight’s surprise release at GenCon 2014 of the beta rulebook for the third Star Wars RPG core book, Force and Destiny. And anyone who pays attention to Strange Assembly will also be thoroughly unsurprised that I’m writing a review of it. Unlike my prior Star Wars core book reviews, this one is will eschew the super-detailed style of the past entries because, let’s face it, at this point you already know how the core system works (and if you don’t, here are links to our reviews of the final Edge of the Empire and Age of Rebellion core books). Instead, I’m going to assume you know all that, and just talk about what’s different in Force and Destiny.
So, it’s finally time for some high-powered lightsaber-swinging action, right? Well … not exactly. Every career has a Force rating. The lightsaber skill finally exists. There are rules for different kinds of lightsaber crystals and different kinds of lightsaber handles. There are eleven different Force powers (instead of 3). But juicing up those Force powers will still require sinking your xp. And while you can start with a training lightsaber using your starting credits, you will not be starting with a real one. With that said, there is a “Jedi Knight” option where everyone starts with a lightsaber and an extra 150XP, if you just want to go straight to being a bit more awesome.
Edge of the Empire had Obligation, Age of Rebellion had Duty, and Force and Destiny has Morality. Morality is measure from 0 to 100 – go above 70 and you’re a paragon of the Light, drop below 30 and you’ve fallen to the dark side. You can get redeemed, but this will probably be a difficult task, as it means refraining from using dark side points to fuel your Force powers, and as a Dark Jedi those are the ones you’d typically be using. Assuming you want to be dark side (and your GM is OK with this), you on average generate more Force points (because of the design of the Force die) and some powers have dark side bonuses, but you have reduced strain threshold. Paragons of the light, on the other hand, get bonuses to their strain threshold.
As far as I can tell, there is a contradiction in the beta RAW with regards to starting morality. Like Duty and Obligation, you have options of having more/less of the value, or getting more credits/xp. And if you want more morality, that clearly means less/no extra credits/xp. But what about starting with less morality, on the cusp of falling to the dark side? The character creation rules say you can forego the extra xp/credits in order to shift your morality up or down. But the GM section of the book talks about a character starting on the brink falling to the dark side in exchange for having more credits and xp, which is the opposite. I’m inclined to go with the mechanics section, but I’m not sure.
During the course of play, characters will receive conflict points for doing evil things, calling on the dark side, or failing fear rolls. At the end of each session, the GM rolls a d10. If it’s more than your conflict from that session, your morality goes up. If it’s less than your conflict from that session, your morality goes down.
As noted above, all of the careers start with a force rating of 1. Of the three specializations for each career, one is a disciple of a particular lightsaber combat style, and that specialization (and only that specialization) gets lightsaber as a career skill. Also of note is that by choosing the right specialization (and talent), you can have your lightsaber rolls be based off of whichever characteristic you choose (the default is Brawn). Many, but certainly not all, of the specializations have a talent that raises your Force rating. Many of the talents are represent the character drawing on the Force (for example, the Reflect talent), distinct from the Force power system. The career/specialization options are Consular (Healer, Niman Disciple, Sage), Guardian (Peacekeeper, Protector, Soresu Defender), Mystic (Advisor, Makashi Duelist, Seer), Seeker (Ataru Striker, Hunter, Pathfinder), Sentinel (Artisan, Shadow, Shien Expert), Warrior (Aggressor, Shii-Cho Knight, Starfighter Ace).
Species – The species options are Cerean, Human, Kel Dor, Mirialan, Nautolan, Togruta, Twi’lek, and Zabrak.
Group Resource – Taking the place of your Millennium Falcon clone or your squadron of Y-Wings (or a base), in Force and Destiny, you can have a light freighter, a Jedi Holocron, or a mentor.
Starships – Notable inclusions are the Delta series of Starfighters (the Delta-7 is better known as the Jedi Starfighter from the prequel trilogy) and the HWK-290 (Kyle Katarn’s Moldy Crow).
Force Powers – The included powers are Battle Meditation, Bind, Enhance, Foresee, Heal/Harm, Influence, Misdirect, Move, Protect/Unleash, Seek and Sense.
Inquisitors – There is a specific subsection on creating NPC versions of these dark side adepts and imperial agents. The most notable member (at least to me) was Jerec from the Dark Forces games.
Adventure – There is, of course, a sample adventure, which features the characters searching for lost Force-related secrets.