2009-11-18 Traveller or Diaspora

Tonight we’ll play in my Campaign:Kaylash Traveller campaign again. I’ve played Spirit of the Century twice in our regular experimental Monday one-shots and liked it. The game uses the Fate rules, which are based on Fudge. I’ve been a long time Fudge fan even though I never got to play it before. (I did prefer the “subjective” rules, however.)

I had heard about the new Traveller-like Fate-using Science-Fiction game Diaspora.

So when Haarald started comparing Traveller and Diaspora (in German), I was intrigued. Instead of getting eight pseudo-realistic stats and a multitude of trades codes from Traveller tables, you get three meta-stats, and some aspects. The question I’m asking myself is how much do the Traveller subsector generation rules afford the typical gameplay? Can you make good use of Diaspora without having played Traveller before?

I think you can. You’ll use Diaspora and it’ll end up being colored by whatever background you have: Mars, Earth, and Venus; or Corruscant, Tatooine, and Dagobah; or whatever they’re called in Mass Effect. I haven’t played in Traveller’s Imperium – is it an essential element of the game? I don’t think so. But perhaps the subsector generation rules and it’s implied setting generate a suitable campaign map.

I’d love to read more comparisons between the two.

Traveller Stats Traveller Trade Codes Diaspora Stats
Starport Agricultural Technology
Size Asteroid Environment
Atmosphere Barren Resources
Hydro Desert
Population Fluid Oceans
Government Garden
Law Level High Population
Tech Level High Technology
Low Population
Low Technology
Water World



You might want to check out Brad Murray’s blog blue collar space. In his article Diaspora and giant bugs he writes

“One design principle going into the Diaspora project was to leverage Fate (via SotC)’s intrinsic power to maintain balances by using as much paint as possible where paint will suffice.”

From my point of view, paint suffices when people have a good understanding of what is being painted. To stick with the art analogy: Diaspora’s painting IMHO is the “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” to Traveller’s pipe.

So, assuming that people surely can play a (hardish) sf game with Diaspora without ever having as much as walked by a Traveller rule book, my expectation is that people who played (and enjoyed) Traveller will paint their game with Diaspora in a very distinct way that will remind you of all the building blocks Traveller explicitly puts on a table.

Harald Wagener 2009-11-18 13:25 UTC

Yes, I subscribed to the blog this very morning! :)

All this talk makes me want to start a parallel Diaspora game and see whether it turns out much different. And if it does, whether I like it better!

AlexSchroeder 2009-11-18 14:12 UTC

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