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Diaspora» Forums » Rules

Subject: Advancement in Diaspora rss

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Byron Kerr
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Diaspora’s roots twist between Traveller and Spirit of the Century, character advancement is not integral to those systems, therefore when designing Diaspora our character generation remained true to the previous systems and caused players to create skilled, capable and powerful characters. Characters in Diaspora start fully developed and the changes are subtle and nuanced. An Aspect may be swapped out for a more relevant one after a particularly engrossing or life-changing adventure, Skills shift slowly one level at a time. It is a long process to reinvent a character.

Not everyone prefers this style of gaming, one of Dungeons and Dragons major selling points is leveling up of character and watching them improve over time, as Diaspora is intended to be a tool kit for forming Clusters, even Universes, below is detailed an alternative way of creating characters while leaving room for advancement and progression for the players and their characters.

Create characters as described in Chapter 3: Characters in Diaspora. Complete the five phases of life and select ten Aspects.

Instead of using the default 5 level skill pyramid (and 15 subsequent skills,) cap the character with a pinnacle skill of 3.

X
X X
X X X

These characters will therefore have 9 skills (one at level 3 – their pinnacle skill, two at level 2 and three at level 1.) Characters like this represent young characters, ones fresh from the academy or older characters who have never left their planet before their moment of crisis. Newly exposed to the width and breadth of the cluster, these characters have the possibility of improving themselves, their abilities and gaining renown throughout the cluster.

Upon completion of each session, the characters shall improve a skill. This starts at level 1, each subsequent skill increase builds up the pyramid; level 2, then level 3, then level 4. After four successful adventures characters will have a new pinnacle skill level of 4. The empty skill slot could be filled during game play when a desired, but currently unselected, skill was needed for a situation during the session’s play.

4
X 3
X X 2
X X X 1

(Numbers represent the order that skills are added, at the conclusion of each session.)

This means they have survived and might even be starting to thrive in the cluster. Their pinnacle skill may be their original level 3 skill shifted one spot higher or any other skill they so wish. It may be something brand new that they’ve just discovered about themselves while exploring the cluster.

Upon successful completion of this level 4 pyramid, characters begin at level 1 again and as they improve can, after another five successful advancements have a 5 level pyramid. Should the players and the GM so desire, there is nothing to stop them from continuing their quest for improvement as after another six promotions the characters will have a Skill pyramid with 6 levels (by this point the characters renown should pretty much span a cluster of 6 to 10 systems.)

(15)
9 (14)
4 8 (13)
X 3 7 (12)
X X 2 6 (11)
X X X 1 5 (10)

(So after nine sessions the 5-cap pyramid is complete. Numbers in brackets indicate the sequence of the expansion slots if the ref wants a 6-cap.)

It is important to remember that Aspects may be changed over the course of the game, swapping one unused or no longer relevant Aspect for something new that has happened during the game is encouraged. Remember to make the shifts gradual and that characters may only have 10 Aspects at any time.

In addition to the new skills the characters add, they may shift an existing skill up or down one level at a table agreed upon time or adding a brand new skill at level 1 at the expense of an existing level 1 skill.

It is not advised to continuing advancing character since a level 7 pyramid means character would enjoy 28 skills, as the default starting skill list contains 35 skills this would mean having a 7 level pyramid would only be missing 7 of the skills.

Below is listed a bare bones chart of how to take a character starting with a Skill cap of 3 up to a character with a Skill cap of 4. Following the numbered charts beyond that to evolve into a Skill cap 5 character is numerically represented, taking that a step further to make a very powerful Skill cap 6 character should be straightforward.

Go! Enjoy! Explore! Advance!

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Hemmo Puu
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(Hopefully this is not considered thread necromancy)

I've got another suggestion for advancement of skills in Diaspora. I haven't really thought this through so if there seems to be a huge gaping hole in the system, there probably is.

You create the character normally, the skill pyramid rules must be obeyed, BUT your apex skill is a sink skill, maybe called "Novice", "Green", "Wet behind the ears" or something along those lines. You can't do anything with the skill, it's just there to take up the slot. After each session you can upgrade another skill to take its place as per the normal advancement rules (so on session two your "Green" skill would be at 4, on session three at 3 etc). When it's at 1, after that session you can remove it entirely and add a new skill in its place.

If you'd want to, you could go even further and add another sink skill as well, say at level 4. Then your highest real skill would be at 4 and you'd possibly have to make a difficult choice after session 1 whether to get one skill at 5 and none at 4 or two skills at 4 and none at 5.

Any thoughts? I have no problem with the way the system works as written. I think the "advancement" system is great but I can imagine quite a few games where lack of real advancement could kill the game (especially if the FATE 3/Diaspora -system is ported into another genre altogether, which I'll probably be doing at some point)
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Brad Murray
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Hemmo, that's similar to Byron's proposal there (he's basically saying that you have a full pyramid but the right hand diagonal is all Green) and I think that would work well. In fact I think practically anything well codified so that everyone understands it and with consideration paid to capping it so things don't get out of hand is going to work.

Keep us informed about your "other genre" projects!
 
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Andy Leighton
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I quite like modsr's suggestion. Having a placeholder skill which will get moved down the pyramid and replaced out using the normal Diaspora skill-swapping seems pretty good and easy to use and explain to players. In fact as I am planning to run some Diaspora in the new year I might use it (not that it is likely to be a long campaign just a four week game) as I prefer my PCs to be a little less powerful (at least at the beginning).
 
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Brad Murray
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Let us know how it goes Andy!
 
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Andy Leighton
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Will do - just booked it in for February (the RPG club I belong to plans a few months in advance). I'm hoping for four players and I think I will start them in a pre-generated system (mainly to save time, but partly because some prospective players didn't seem keen on that bit). Hopefully I will be able to give all the players a couple of scenes in the limelight over the 4 weeks. Session reports will be posted whether the players like the game or not.
 
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Byron Kerr
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I think what Hemmo is suggesting is essentially a different coat of paint from what I posted. The only thing I dislike about it is having sink stats or unavailable stats. If someone wants to start with an apex skill then they should. It can move up slots as they become available.

Deciding a character is best at... Piloting or Demolitions or Archaeology... can be character defining. Not getting access to that skill until the third session or so would be frustrating I think.

Keep the Green or Sink stats there, but let them have whatever skill they want at the top of their pyramid and it can continue to move up as higher levels are earned.
 
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