You can now buy Diaspora in hardcover.
Humanity as a star-faring race is tens of thousands of years old but societies have risen and fallen so many times that no one remembers where we come from.
Worlds are grouped into small clusters of no more than a dozen or so systems, connected by slipstreams — artifacts of the universe or a forgotten technology — that connect systems. Slipstreams are unrelated to distance: a given cluster might be spread over galaxies or be within a single cubic light year. Slipstreams take a fixed time to traverse based on technology and regardless of distance.
Occasionally rogue slipstreams appear that connect clusters. They are temporary and rare.
Some humans, hardly recognizable as such, ply natural space at sub-light speeds, surviving by hibernation and the effects of time dilation at their extraordinary velocity. Their appearance is relatively rare — perhaps once in a generation — but presents awesome new opportunities if the world has the technology to trade with them.
Technology can never proceed past a certain point without a society failing. Interstellar empires don’t work. Artificial Intelligence is a pipe dream. FTL is impossible outside of the slipstreams. Some problems just can’t be solved. Technologies that get close to the limit fail or transcend. Consequently weapon technology clusters around modern KE weapons and lasers, advancing as high as high energy plasma weapons and falling as low as sticks and stones. Anti-gravity never worked out and inertialess drives are infeasible. Spacecraft putter around with reaction drives, dumping heat as best they can, and orbital facilities are critical to managing the interface between space and planet.
Regular updates will be posted on the Diaspora mailing list.
Errata since the latest published version of the book can be found in the Diaspora outstanding errata page.
Related ramblingWhy Optima? - a brief essay on the choice of typeface in Diaspora.
The GameDiaspora campaigns begin with the creation of a Cluster of worlds connected by faster than light wormholes, or slipstreams. Once the worlds are created, they are connected, and then characters whose stories we want to tell are created. These characters will be linked to each other through the process as well as to worlds in the Cluster.
In this fashion we hope to not only create compelling characters and compelling worlds for their adventures, but also create connection and investment between players and these creations. It is hoped that by manufacturing this investment we will also see greater (and more effective) use of narrative authority when invested in the players and a willingness to release some of that authority on the part of the GM (through his recognition of their investment during this process).
Playtest Draft PDF, December 12, 2008 (removed — not because it's evil or illegal but because it's a bad representation of the final game)
Draft character sheet, January 8, 2009
Actual Play - notes from games played after the hardcover release, in which new rules constitute DRIFT rather than DEVELOPMENT
Future Work and Deprecated Design
Diaspora 1st edition hardcover errata
Scattershot — preliminary ideas for a Diaspora Supplement
Diaspora: Chronic — preliminary ideas for a new game built from the Diaspora SRD.
sublight — sublight trading a la Vinge's Qeng Ho
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