Thursday, October 14, 2010

Question about Telekinesis...

Okay. So in the movies, we see Force users utilize telekinesis on many occasions. In the original trilogy, Vader seemed to be the one exhibiting it the most (via his chokings of various people). I was especially impressed during The Empire Strikes Back when he did so via the video-screen- choking Admiral Ozzel when he wasn't even in the same room. To me, this suggested that Telekinesis was not a 'physical' link between a Force user and an object. There was no 'invisible telekinetic 'chord'' through which the user was manipulating whatever it was he was lifting or affecting.

The rules in the RPG seemed to support what we saw in the movies. There was a proximity modifier to one of the difficulties in using this power. And proximity went anywhere from a few meters away to 'the other side of the galaxy'. So obviously you didn't have to be in the same room. This seemed a bit problematic to me, though, as what was to prevent the Emperor or Vader from simply using their power to crush the life out of their enemies from across the galaxy. They had the stats where they could do so. The thing was, you evidently had to be able to SEE your target. So just trick Mon Mothma into picking up your video-phone call and CRUSH- dead rebel leader. This didn't sound right to me. For obvious reasons.

In my own campaign, I had to define the ground rules for Telekinesis- pretty much saying that you would have to use 'life sense' to make a connection of some sort with a target before you could affect them with Telekinesis (or more specifically, the Telekinetic Kill power). But in the same manner, could you 'make a connection' with an inanimate object? Could, for instance, Darth Vader have used his telekinesis to push buttons on the control panel behind Admiral Ozzel. I mean, he could SEE them through the video comm. Likewise if, while dogfighting the Rebels, Vader saw into the cockpit of an enemy fighter- couldn't he just flip some switches? Stop their engines? Pull their eject strap? Well, that seemed terribly unbalancing, too. So in my own mind, I came up with the idea that maybe this 'remote' use of TK worked only with organics. It sounded plausible enough. But still doesn't quite sit right with me.

And yet this 'theory' seemed to be proven in the prequels. When Obi Wan's fighter is attacked by Buzz droids in Revenge of the Sith, my first thought was "Why doesn't he just use TK to push them off, or crush them?" As I saw it, there could only be two answers. One: TK doesnt' work through solid obstructions. But...for Vader it did, so.. Two: It can only work 'remotely' vs. organics or something you can create a link to via the force.

Bleh. I still don't like that explanation, though. Namely because Yoda himself said that the force was a connection to ALL things, rocks, trees, etc. Rocks are not living. It is a quandry for me. And if anyone has any idea how to explain it, I'd love to hear it.


  1. Probable explanation: George Lucas wrote in the "remote choke" think for a moment of drama without thinking ahead to what the gaming implications would be 30+ years in the future. Did the man learn nothing from Star Trek?

    My feeling in watching the movies was that the ability to choke Admiral Whatshisname from afar was that his personal knowledge of the admiral gave him easier access. Of course this sounds like voodoo, witchcraft and D&D magic, but it's just the impression I had.

    If that doesn't work for you, how about this: Vader was able to stimulate the midichlorians in the admiral's own body to gather in his throat and choke him to death? God knows I choked when I first heard about midichlorians.

  2. Well, the 'personal knowledge' thing really does play a part. Since there is also a 'relationship' modifier for certain Force powers- and the more you know about a person, the easier it is to affect them with Force powers. I just can't remember if TK or Telekinetic kill are affected by relationship. I don't think so. But I know for a fact that Life Sense is. So maybe the answer is that you can only remotely affect living things.