Monday, 14 May 2012

Diaspora: Character Generation

There's a running joke in our gaming group that all of my characters are fundamentally the same person: this is perhaps a not uncommon occurence in gaming groups. noisms provides a helpful summary of things that my characters have been involved in (and I follow with a rebuttal of some of them). Given the crazy worlds that my characters are in, their actions seem fairly sane and logical to me!

However, when setting up my character for Diaspora it occured to me that it might be good to steer things from the start so that the character has a different direction, a lifepath that might take things beyond what is typical for my characters. Adding details of this in yesterday's post would have made the post much too long.

I like the way that Diaspora sets up characters; noisms ran it really well, leading us through each part. Essentially, you detail five phases of the character's life up to the present, and from each phase you get two Aspects, defining features, details, locations, weapons or characteristics for the character. We didn't get to any proper play yesterday, but we were told that you essentially invoke these Aspects when relevant in play to help influence the outcome of situations.

So this is what I wrote for my character, Silence Arizona.

Growing Up
Silence was born in the Temperance system on an intra-system transport ship. Her parents were minor relative-members in the Aleph-Quarrel clan, merchants and arms dealers. Silence had a childhood of difficulty, struggling to overcome a genetic disorder that would have killed her by puberty without radical treatment: reformatting her chromosomal structure. Her life was saved, but the procedure left her gender neutral.

Starting Out
Silence was able to buy a small, fast transport ship and set out to buy her family's way up the Aleph-Quarrel clan. The ship, A Moment of Karma, is incredibly valuable to her. She found love and someone who could accept her androgyne status; the woman, Elissa Sky, was killed in an engine room accident on the A Moment of Karma. Silence hardened her heart at the thought of loving again.

Moment of Crisis
Novox Kassian was in a crippled shuttle that Silence was taking in tow; they were attacked by pirates, Skullface Raptors, who thought that Novox was transporting drugs. They repelled the attack, but A Moment of Karma was badly damaged. Silence had to take a loan from the Aleph-Quarrel clan in order to repair the ship. She owes the clan more than she would like.

In port for three days and looking for a job, Silence ran towards a decompression alert and rescued a Sternberger, Bjorn, who had been thrown out of an airlock. His attackers tracked her down two days later, but her skills with martial arts and a beam-blade allowed her to kill them. The station authorities tried to convict Silence of murder, but the evidence rightly showed that she killed them in self-defence. Some security authorities still have her name flagged on their systems as suspicious.

On Your Own
Silence is at the Polyepides Station, waiting for a trader to arrive with pine sap for distribution. She doesn't use it, but knows where to take it legally in order to get a fair and uncomplicated profit. A few more good jobs and she will have raised a stake big enough to get out from owing the clan lords. Nothing can get in the way of that: she needs to get honour for her family.

Note: in the third and fourth phases, you reference the player character to your right and left (at the table) respectively, helping to build up the web of relations.

After reading out each phase we would then generate our two Aspects, before moving on to write the next life phase. Silence Arizona's Aspects that came out are:

Growing Up
  • I want to raise my family's status in the Aleph-Quarrel clan.
  • I have an affinity for outsiders.
Starting Out
  • My ship is A Moment of Karma.
  • I believe that love leads to loss.
Moment of Crisis
  • I am beholden to my clan lords.
  • I hate thieves.
  • I am lethal in hand-to-hand combat.
  • My name is flagged as suspicious in some authorities' databases.
On Your Own
  • I don't want to be beholden to the clan.
  • I try to play it safe in business.
Where will all of this lead? I'll let you know when we start play.

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