Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Diaspora In Play

Diaspora went well, if not quite as well as I'd hoped. While I've been familiar with Fate for what seems like ages now, I had yet to actually play a game using it, so it was a little rough getting up to speed with the mechanics.

Also, we quickly stumbled across some glaring holes in some of our character designs. Namely that having at least one social skill is a good idea, as well as having either a defense skill or good armor. I should have probably suggested that we stop and tweak characters mid-session once we realized the problems, but it didn't even occur to me to do so until after the game was over. If we come back to these characters in the future I will definitely allow rebuilds of the skill pyramids at the very least.

The adventure itself went fairly well. I tried to structure it around the abilities of the player characters and I was at least partly successful in getting everyone involved.

We started with a social conflict involving the crew trying to get their cargo out of impound while others tried to have it confiscated. We stumbled a bit with this, but I knew that was going to happen. I wanted to start out with the mechanics so that we could hopefully get the hang of them with a situation that wasn't crucial to the main scenario. The group ended up handling the situation fairly easily, despite all the questions with the rules, and we then moved on to the main part of the adventure.

Basically, the crew found themselves stuck in a quarantine as a pandemic broke out in the world they were on. Liz' character was able to identify the disease and propose a cure, and determined that the cure would be greatly accelerated with the proper technology. Unfortunately, the use of that technology was prohibited by the theocratic government of the planet. This eventually led to a second social conflict in which the players managed to convince the relevant government officials to approve the temporary use of the technology.

This kept Liz and Jonathan's characters fairly involved due to their skill sets, and kept Josh fairly involved due to his character's background and beliefs, not helping the others, but instead arguing that they didn't have the right to interfere with the religion of the people of the planet. This led to some interesting in-character discussions as to the proper course of action.

Unfortunately, I don't think I did as good a job at keeping Seth's character involved. I had planned to give him some opportunities to bring his mechanical skills into play once approval had been made, as he worked to alter some of the necessary equipment. We touched on that in passing, but I failed to make as big a deal out of it as I had originally intended.

We ended with a quick combat as some fundamentalists attempted to remove the "foreign infidels" that were daring to interfere. The players managed to pull things off, although Jonathan's character was seriously wounded in the process. From a game perspective I missed a real opportunity to make things interesting as Seth came up with a really cool course of action for his character to take, but I failed to make sure that it actually influenced the course of the battle. Part of that was simply my own unfamiliarity with the rules, and part simply because it was getting late.

There was still lots of praise for the character design. People seem to really want to play these characters again and I think that says a lot about the strength of the underlying game. I expect this one will come around again. Next up for Magpie Gaming Night is Liz' New World of Darkness game, so I get to take a break from GMing for at least a couple of sessions and just play!

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