The Force is an odd entity in the Star Wars RPG. It is both overpowered and underpowered in how it is implemented. A player who devotes everything to improving their Force capabilities will have to wait a little while until it really pays off as increasing your Force rating is an expensive endeavor. Almost all the Force specializations contain a single Force rating talent and they are often found at the end of the tree, meaning a large amount of experience is needed to increase the Force rating to a more useful amount. The Force is a reliable power at around 4 Force rating. Less than that and often you can only activate the basic ability and perhaps one or two upgrades. At 4 Force rating a player can almost guarantee success with using the Force power and can often upgrade it in a few ways. The other experience sink is the Force powers themselves as each rank costs 5 or 10 experience and some powers can only be bought with a higher Force rating. Problems for GMs often arrive once a player can use the Force more consistently as once it can be used it can quickly break things.
A player of mine is still at low level but has the influence Force power. The problem arises with how he wants to use it for almost every single interaction with any character. He even uses it to steal food from a fast food location. With influence having the upgrade to make people believe lies as one of the first upgrades available he has managed to get it quickly and then spam it. It highlights an issue in the game with there not being proper clarification on how much or how often someone can use a Force power. So to combat this I use a different system from the conflict one in the book. Whenever my players use the Force for dark intentions or merely abuse it for reasons such as “It’s easier.” I award them 5 experience and a dark side point. This creates the infamous pull of the dark side. It offers quick and easy power but at a cost. I also let my players know that if they drop below 30 morality, the official level for turning to the dark side, then they will have to start rolling discipline checks to resist using the force for darker purposes. However, doing something good will only gain them more light side points but no other benefit. The light is something you do because it is the right thing to do, not for the power it offers. But following the dark side, while it will give you more experience, will also lead to losing control of your character. My player with the influence power is at 32 morality and is now trying to find ways to improve his score so he doesn’t lose control. It creates a proper tension between wants and seems to make things more interesting for all involved.
Once a player becomes powerful in the Force and can throw freighters around with their mind it becomes harder to balance against them. The first answer is send an Inquisitor to fight them to even the odds but an Inquisitor versus a party with only 1 Force user can be unbalanced and lead to dead party members quickly, depending on the Inquisitor build. Another way to balance things is to possibly entrap the players in a room with ysalamiri which can cause Force powers to not work in their presence. If a player likes using influence maybe make them deal with a toydarian as they are immune to that ability. Try to find things that will target the Force user if the rest of the party is not up to par. If they are then an Inquisitor encounter can be quite fun, or even a magnaguard encounter to deny them their mental abilities, while leaving their combat ones. Another idea to take advantage of is another character that they fight or argue with that has the suppress power and its control upgrade with a Force rating of 3. They can reduce the character’s power or sabotage certain uses of it without nullifying it entirely.
I hope this helps with dealing with Force users and if you have any comments or suggestions please let me know down below. Thank you all for reading and look forward to more releases as Star Wars Month continues.