SW PC Obligation

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Trait: Obligation

Obligation measures the outside influences that arise to make life difficult for characters who live at the edges of the galaxy. An Obligation consists of:

  • A title, which summarizes the Obligation in question.
  • A description, which helps to sum up the Obligation and give guidance to the player for defining exactly what that means for their character.
  • A rating, which is a measurement of how impactful the Obligation is and how often it comes up.

Obligation Triggered

  • During any given chapter, there is a possibility of one of the player character Obligations coming into play in some significant way. This is referred to as a "Triggered Obligation."
    • In many instances, this is treated as a subplot suddenly appearing and complicating the rest of the plot. A character taking part in a heist when their old nemesis suddenly shows up for revenge is an example of this.
    • Other times, it may simply cause difficulties to the story in question. The GM may simply allocate a certain number of Setback-die.png to tasks to represent the distraction of that Obligation. An addict in withdrawl or someone having to navigate a social scene with someone who knows their dirty secret are both examples of these.
  • The ratings of the various character Obligations in the campaign are added together to generate a d100 table rolled on at the beginning of game sessions. If there is not enough Obligation to equal 100 points exactly, it is possible the rolls in excess of the total Obligation simply result in no triggered Obligations at all.
  • Effects of Triggered Obligation: If an Obligation is triggered at the beginning of the game session:
    • All player characters reduce their strain threshold by 1 for the remainder of the game session.
    • The player whose character Obligation is specifically triggered reduces their character's strain threshold by 2 instead.

Obligation as Threshold

  • A group's total Obligation can give some insight as to how the group as a whole is perceived.
  • Some NPCs may require an Obligation of less than a certain rating in order to consider them dependable or trustworthy enough to work with or do favors for...or even to meet with them at all, in the case of some important figures.
  • Obligation 100+: A group who is so harried by their various Obligations has little time or attention to focus on anything else. Until that Obligation total drops below 100, no one in the group can spend experience points to improve abilities, train skills, or acquire talents.

Obligation as Resource

It is possible for Obligation to increase or decrease in game.

  • Increases: Obligation can increase as a result of increasing debt or focus on that Obligation. There is almost always a reward associated with doing so – getting a new ship from a crime lord might increase one's Debt to them, for example. Or the increased Obligation can reflect the (often negative) outcome of failure or bad situations in game.
  • Decreases: Obligation can also decrease, usually as a form of story reward. Accomplishing tasks on behalf of the holder of one's Obligation can often decrease that rating, for example. This even applies to more positive connection-type Obligations: moving one's family to a safer part of the sector, into a better home might reduce the time and attention the character has to spend worrying for them (thus reducing his Obligation to his Family).

Types of Obligation

Obligation Type
Addiction: You have a strong addiction you must keep feeding. Whether its a physical addiction to stims, dust, or alcohol, or a mental addiction such as gambling, law-breaking, or priceless antiques, you devote time, energy, and resources to pursuing or obtaining the object of your addiction. By and large, you tend to make your addiction a secret, out of shame or practicality. Triggered Addiction means you are having a hard time getting ahold of your focus, or its negative side-effects are manifesting strongly during the chapter. You may also find yourself tempted by your preferred fix, in such a way that it causes trouble.
Adrenaline Junkie: You crave action, the more dangerous the better! Though similar to Addiction, you may or may not hide the tendency. Triggered Adrenaline Junkie means you are particularly hungry for that rush this chapter, accruing Setback dice until you get some proper excitement.
Betrayal: You were betrayed by someone, from something as simple as a broken promise or betrayed confidence all the way to treason or mutiny that struck out against you in particular. Triggered Betrayal means that either situations come up that evoke that experience (and likely to cause you to respond accordingly), or the people who themselves betrayed you show back up during the chapter.
Blackmail: Someone has discovered one of your dirty secrets and is using that knowledge for some sort of gain. They possess evidence that could very well get out if something happens to them, so in order to keep your secret safe, you do what you're told. Triggered Blackmail means your blackmailer wants something or has a demand of you this chapter.
Bounty: You have a price on your head. This might be a legal warrant, a contract by criminals, or other people of means and influence who have it out for you and send their people to bring you in. You should determine who it is that wants your head and what you did to incur their wrath. Triggered Bounty means that either the news of the reward causes trouble in your dealings (casting doubt on someone's opinion of you, or causing you to be recognized at unfortunate moments) or hunters show up, gunning for you during this chapter.
Contract: You are under a contract of service to someone for something. You are expected to perform some service or task, and it's not a good idea to screw over the one who holds that contract. Single tasks almost never qualify for this Obligation – these are almost always long-term expectations and tasks. Triggered Contract means that the terms of your contract rear their head and make life difficult for you in some way, often in the form of obligations when you need to do something else, or else inflicting tough obligations that need doing on their own. It may also simply be someone who is aware of your contract that uses it against you, including possibly ratting you out to your contract-holder.
Criminal: You are a crook, and the law knows it. You are wrapped up in the legal system somehow (even if you're actually innocent) and your reputation has suffered for it. Triggered Criminal means that you face down additional scrutiny at the worst time, or you suddenly face the prospect of legal fees or bribes in order to get out from under legal entanglements sometime during this chapter.
Debt: You owe someone a great deal, whether of money or something else. It might be a huge gambling debt, owing someone for your starship, owe a wealthy family for its patronage, or some other financial obligation. Triggered Debts mean that word of that debt calls into question your character or dependability in some way, or your debt-holding starts making demands that you need to fulfill...or else.
Disgraced: You carry around a shameful past, and the whispers that come with it. You did something that while not strictly illegal, definitely earned you the opprobrium of those around you. You're a favorite topic of conversation in the local rumor-mill, and everyone has an opinion on the topic of you. Triggered Disgraced by and large tends to manifest as someone taking the opportunity to let you know how they feel by making your life difficult. Occasionally, you may find someone who wants to make you pay for what you did, either the individuals you wronged directly, or some nosy do-gooder who things you've got some karma coming.
Duty: You have a connection to an organization or faction of some sort, and they depend on you to fulfill your obligations to them. This might be military service, membership in a political faction, guild, or fellowship, or even simply what you have to do for your day job. There is an implict outside faction connected to this Obligation, and a positive one for you. Triggered Duty means that your affiliation becomes a problem for you in some way, or those to whom you owe this duty have demands of you.
Exiled: You've been cast out of some society or organization. Figure out who they are, what you did, and where you are simply not allowed to return. Triggered Exile means the chapter will include the need to return to that place, or deal with the people who don't care to ever see you again, or to simply navigate the reputation of one who has been cast out so publicly.
Fame/Notoriety: You are known, for good or for bad. It might be because everyone has a story about you, or knows about the time you did that one thing. Or, they might adore you for some reason, from your entertainment to your criminal antics. Either way, they point you out to one another on the streets, and love to gossip about you. Triggered Fame/Notoriety means someone recognizes you at the worst possible time, and responds in a way that makes your life difficult.
Family: You have deep ties with your family that requires a great deal of time and attention. This might mean caring for siblings or parents that are elderly or infirm, or managing some aspect of a familial estate or inheritance. Triggered Family means that you family needs you for something in some way, or they find themselves imperiled during that chapter.
Favor: You owe a big favor. Part of this is figuring out who it is that you owe, and what it is they did for you. The exertion of influence in this is on a large scale, meaning they are likely wealthy or powerful. Triggered Favor simply means either they want something from you, or some difficulty crops up because of the favor they did you.
Iconoclast: You not only don't like doing what is expected of you, but you get a great deal of joy out of your rebellion. You might defy the rules (and likely laws) of society, or it might be a bit narrower: the guild to which you belong, the family that raised you, or any other group to which you are beholden. Triggered Iconoclast means you are distracted at some point in the chapter by the opportunity to prove your defiance, or that some past defiance earns you censure in the present.
Oath: You have sworn an oath, and you will uphold it. This might be a singular oath to accomplish something (or never do something), or it could be more complicated, such as a code of honor or other ethical system. It might also simply be an oath of vassalage or service to someone. Triggered Oath means a chapter in which you find yourself running afoul of the details of your oath, tempted or even threatened into violating it, or finding yourself in a difficult situation in order to keep it.
Obsession: You are utterly obsessed with something: a person or group, area, media property, religious or cultural subculture, or anything else. Though this is similar to Addiction, where most addicts do their best to hide their addiction, you talk about it plenty and show your interest in any number of ways. Triggered Obsession means you will either find yourself distracted by the thing with which you are fascinated this chapter, or your fannishness will set someone in bad stead with you.
Philanderer: You are popular among lovers of the species and gender that you're into...until you're not. You have a tendency to wind up in bad situations with those you fall in love (or just bed) with, and they do not forget your culpability about it. Triggered Philanderer usually means that this reputation rears its ugly head, either because one of your old paramours (or a friend of theirs) recognizes you and makes your life hell, or you see a new would-be conquest and just can't seem to help yourself.
Project: You have a task that occupies you, and you won't rest until you have finished it. The exact nature of this project probably depends on you and your skills, but it should be expansive, expensive, and time-consuming. Triggered Project means you suddenly find yourself with an opportunity to jump ahead in your project, or find yourself with a distinct setback that makes things harder in the long term.
Responsibility: More loosely-defined than Dutybound or Oath, and similar in nature to Family, you feel responsible for a person or group of people. They might be people you know (a mentor, a gang or an orphanage), or more of a broad category of people (Force-users, Togruta, refugees), but for some reason you feel obligated to help and protect them. Triggered Responsibility means that you will either find your responsibility demanding some of you attention this chapter, or your reputation as their protector or nurturer impacting you somehow.
Revenge: You are gunning for some payback, or someone is targeting you for something you did. Either way, that confrontation is inevitable, and each side works to make sure it happens on their terms. Triggered Revenge means you get the opportunity to strike back at the one who wronged you, or the one you wronged shows up to make your life difficult. Alternately, it may simply be that someone knows about your role in this whole sordid affair, and it negatively colors their reaction.
Servitude: You belong to someone else. This might be in actuality, as a legal slave, or it might be in another form or fashion, but the fact remains: someone else has all the say in your life. You clearly have a lot of leeway – why is that? It might be because you make your owner money, or because it amuses them to see what you get up to. Triggered Servitude is usually an indication that your owner's wishes get in the way of what you otherwise want or need to do, or the fact of your ownership comes up and undermines the chapter's efforts.
Treachery: You betrayed someone, and regardless of how serious it was, they have not forgotten it. They are out for payback (or justice, depending on who they are). Triggered Treachery means that either words of your deeds rise to the surface and make something harder than it needs to be during the chapter, or those you betrayed have found you and come hunting!