Without giving away too much, Diaspora is a game about culture clash, and finding one’s way in unfamiliar territory. The player assumes the role of the heir of Clan Maghnus, a particular clan of the Cine, a raiding culture from the harsh northern climates of the world. They’re very loosely based on Celtic and Norse cultures, but definitely expect the differences to be far more prominent than the similarities. The PC’s mother is the current clan Chief, but in the interests of the future, the story sees her handing more and more important responsibilities down to them, allowing them to effectively shape the destiny of their Clan.
When the clan makes a much-needed supply raid on the small island of Divio, they discover that the territory they’ve sailed into belongs to the mighty, far-ranging Castulian Empire, and that Divio was officially under the control of the local regional capital, Tarracina. In the days and weeks following that first fateful raid, the PC will learn a great deal about the culture that now plays unwitting host to their own, and have to decide how best to handle that. Castulia is not the kind of enemy that can be overrun with a few brave warriors, after all.
The general feel is, if we’ve hit where we aimed, relatively low-fantasy. Magic is rare and not typically of cataclysmic power, and much of the story will focus on less-grand themes than the typical sword-and-sorcery adventure. (Not, of course, that anything’s wrong with sword-and-sorcery adventures!) We hope the dynamics between cultures, and the PC’s individual companions, will feel nuanced, balanced, and leave few if any obvious “right” answers.
II: The Characters
The PC: Child of Chief Roise of Clan Maghnus, the PC can be played as male, female, or nonbinary (with singular-they pronouns). Able to speak the language of the south, they are automatically in the forefront of any and all contact between the Cine and the Castulians.
Chief Roise: The PC’s mother and leader of Clan Maghnus, Roise made the difficult decision to flee a generations-long war in the north, in hopes of finding something better elsewhere in the world. It’s a decision that hasn’t been met with universal approval, with some viewing it as smart and others thinking of it as cowardice.
Daghan: Chief Roise’s right-hand man, Daghan also serves as her primary advisor. The veteran warrior is deeply entrenched in the traditional values of the Cine, and tends to disapprove of changes to what he sees as an effective, time-tested way of life.
Cormac: The PC’s oldest friend, adopted into Clan Maghnus as a very young child. Cormac exemplifies just about everything a Cine warrior should be: strong, fast, loyal and brave. He struggles with his sense of belonging due to his background.
Aisling: The PC’s bharda, or ward, Clan Maghnus’s only mage and therefore watched very carefully. She’s something of a direct aide to the PC in social function, and considerably more circumspect and diplomatic in demeanor than the average member of the clan.
Isidora Cimber: A slave, once kept by the governor of Divio, Izzy has less love for empire than most, for the obvious reasons. She proves herself knowledgeable and helpful during the PC’s interrogation of the governor, and chooses to stay with the Cine over returning to Tarracina and her former life.
Panegyris Vetranio: A member of the Castulian priesthood, Pan is part of the initial envoy sent to negotiate with the Cine over the prisoners taken in the initial raid of Divio. Pan is subtle, very intelligent, and particularly suited for their job as a diplomat of sorts.
Sangarinus Nabor: A member of Castulia’s infamous infantry, Sangarinus is a wary man who does not trust easily, but also one with a deep and abiding personal sense of honor.
Adriana Tullas: A famous, battle-tested general in the Castulian army, Adriana shoulders much of the administrative burden of ruling Tarracina and the Castulian province surrounding it. She is rumored to be just as ambitious as she is clever, and would make either a strong ally or a formidable foe.