Warning this installment of the Daily D4 may contain spoilers, feel free to keep browsing though, you’ll get another warning before we get to them.
Described by its creators as “hard science fiction role-playing with FATE” Diaspora allows players to create a region of space known as a cluster, populate it with interesting characters, and then play out their adventures among the stars. The system is based on FATE, which is also used in several other games including The Dresden Files RPG, FATE Core, FATE accelerated, and Spirit of the Century. However Disaspora brings several unique elements of gameplay to the table that aren’t shared with any of its cousins.
The book for Diaspora is a bit long so I won’t go into great detail, but I will mention may favorite part of the system which is without a doubt cluster creation. Each player is assigned a set number of planets, usually around three, which will become the key worlds of their cluster. The players then roll fudge dice to determine the statistics of their respective planets while working together to build the cluster. You roll to determine the environment, technology, and resources of your worlds. The dice rolls determine the mechanical stats, but the players have to come up with explanations to explain them. For example lets say you roll a +4 for environment, a +0 for technology, and a -2 for resources. The last thing players do is roll to determine how the individual links in the cluster are connected. In Diaspora faster than light travel is difficult, expensive, and relies largely on dangerous ancient technology so jump from one world to the next is no simple matter. This results in some portion of the cluster being isolated while others form hubs for the rest of their neighbors.
Diaspora seems like a great game, but I think you need to be a big fan of science fiction to get the most out of it. It also probably wouldn’t hurt if you picked up a copy of FATE Accelerated and gave that a try first it shares several similarities with some of the core gameplay concepts.
All New X-Men
Aside from checking out the occasional issue I don’t pick up too many X-Men books these days, with so many titles and characters tied to the team it’s just too much of a commitment to try and keep up with everything. I did however pick up the first two collected volumes of The All New X-Men and I’ve got to say I’ve loved both of them.
Remember the spoilers I mentioned before? Well here they come so if you haven’t read anything have to do with The All New X-Men cover your eyes quickly and scroll down like the wind!
In the wake of the Avengers vs. the X-Men crossover event that took place a few months ago Beast and the rest of the X-Men are faced with a dilemma. Scott Summers, one of the most recognizable mutants on the planet is now a wanted criminal calling for other mutants to rise up in open rebellion against mankind. The rest of the X-Men know that they can’t allow him to carry on or the newly growing population will end up in a war they cannot hope to win, but none of them are willing to track Cyclops down and put an end to him once and for all.
Undergoing a fourth mutation that he fears will result in his death Hank McCoy travels back in time and convinces the original five X-Men to return to the future with him in order to convince Cyclops that what he is doing is wrong. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman, and Angel are faced with a future unlike any they had ever imagined, and they are not pleased with the future that is waiting for them in the slightest.
Ultimately nearly all of the original X-Men are in favor of remaining in the future until they have made absolutely certain that they’ve made it into one worth fighting for.
You’re probably wondering what any of this has to do with roleplaying games right? Well I think this storyline would make for a fantastic campaign using the Marvel Heroic RPG. Making data files for the original X-Men would be an interesting challenge, and with some many team members to choose from the X-Men are perfect to use if your players are interested in swapping heroes between sessions.
Don’t Know Much About Mythology by Kenneth Davis
Jade got this book for me when the library was having a book sale quite a while ago and I’ve read through it a couple of times since then. Written by Kenneth Davis it is filled with information about the mythologies of cultures from all around the world. Each chapter includes a timeline of the culture it is about, a breakdown of some of the basic concepts of the stories from those cultures, and a detailed description of the gods that make up their pantheons. There are also some interesting facts in each chapter that you might not be aware, for example did you know that the goddess Athena burst out of her father Zeus’s head fully grown? It’s a very entertaining book and it’s filled with useful information if you’re planning to run a campaign that relies of deities or cultures you might not be familiar with first hand.
The Quidditch World Cup
I frequent the website Pottermore because there are some interesting excerpts about the series written by none other than J.K. Rowling herself scattered around the site. Recently a fresh batch of information on the history of the Quidditch World Cup appeared on Pottermore and after reading it over I started to think, could you make Quidditch into a card game? I mean there’s already a Harry Potter trading card game so why couldn’t you make something to represent the most popular sport in the wizarding world? It’s just an idea but I think it’s something that I’m going to have to toy with…
One of my favorite things about shopping at Barnes and Noble is checking the recommendations on the bottom of my receipt to see what other books they suggest I might like. So I’ve decided to adapt the idea to fit the Daily D4, and make a new addition. From now on I’ll be including links to episodes of the podcast people might enjoy listening to based on the content of the day. Some people might have already listened to them, but as there are always new people visiting the Out of Character blog I’m sure some newcomers might find something to enjoy.
Episode 1 Harry Potter and the Trading Card Game: http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/103481-episode-1-harry-potter-and-the-trading-card-game
Episode 11 Oh Gods: http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/116997-episode-11-oh-gods
Episode 12 A Little Bit of Magic: http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/118116-episode-12-a-little-bit-of-magic