Diaspora (WIP) - Updated 10.12.18

nonbinary-inclusive
low-fantasy
gender-choice

#1

A friend and I are working on a game in ChoiceScript. The working title is Diaspora, and it’s about a clan of people forced to flee their homeland and establish themselves elsewhere in the world. The Cine, of which the PC is a part, are traditionally a raiding culture, accustomed to theft and piracy as a way of life, meaning that few will welcome them as neighbors. Throughout the story, the PC will have opportunities to shape the perception of their clan, as well as the direction their people will take with their new settlement. Will you stick to traditional values at the steep diplomatic cost that may entail? Or, against the advice of your clan’s leadership and some of your close friends, will you try to change the very fate of the Cine, their role in the world around them?

If that sounds interesting to you, feel free to give our game a try! Feedback would be much appreciated. We’re definitely ChoiceScript novices, but interested in making something that people can enjoy.

Our demo.

04.23.18: We have a tumblr! If you’re interested, feel free to drop in! (There’s art, and asks, and previews and stuff.)

12.08.18: We also have a Patreon now, for those interested in supporting us that way. Patrons will be getting new updates ahead of everyone else, but the game as a whole will remain free until the end of development.


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#2

I: Story

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.


#3

Loot and pillage! I’m off to play the demo. Seems interesting
Very well written, I’m just on my phone so I can’t do a dedicated typo hunt, but rest assured it will be done. If not by me then someone else.
I love the story, it’s nice to have the uncertainty of who the Castulian empire actually is. The characters from the brief introductions I’ve seen of them are varied and fun. Having your mother (I was a male MC not sure if it’s different for non-binary or female.) as the chief is interesting and I like how it’s easy to tell your tribe is more or less a weak one.
The way you did the picking of the stats was very good, it was clear and concise.


#4

Awesome, thanks for the feedback!

Roise is your mother and the chief regardless of PC’s gender; glad you liked having her in the role. It’s definitely true that your clan isn’t a world superpower, heh. Constrained in terms of numbers and resources, for sure.


#5

Well, the title itself brought me here, and I’ll give the demo a read. But, so far, it’s shaping up to become an interesting story.


#6

Are there any other threats to the empire in the region besides the Clan? On anthoer note, I am excited to see how the Clan can deal with the populace seeing as they were not slaughtered.


#7

Well, the Castulians are basically always fighting wars on their eastern borders, for one. It would definitely be difficult for them to split their attention too many ways, which is part of the reason they go for diplomacy first.


#8

I’m curious to see how many cultures we run into here


#9

I didn’t run into any errors and the grammar seems perfect. Really good job with the pace and the story. Interesting to say the least.


#10

This was a really interesting WIP. It seems very polished, and drew me in a way not many other WIPs here on the site have managed. I really think this game has a lot of potential and am excited to see where it goes. Can’t wait to find out more about the Castulian Empire, and even the Cine’s own traditions.


#11

I like it! Although, I’m having a little bit of trouble with this sentence.

“It’s warmer than you’re used to; though the storm becomes a downpour, it doesn’t threaten to chill you right down to your bones.”

It’s warm, of course the rain won’t threaten to chill you to the bones.


#12

It means that at the home land of the Cine the rain would be ice cold


#13

I am very pleased with the length of the demo and the writing style. Good work though I found a few typos. Also I got a 404 error at the transition between chapter 1 and 2. Otherwise, keep up the good work!! Looking forward to see this develop!:+1:


#14

I kind of figured that that was what you meant, but I wasn’t sure.

Maybe it’s just me (which is entirely possible) but that wasn’t clear to me.


#15

Got a 404, but this is an excellent start!


#16

The demo is very well made, the story is from the perspective of those that usually thought as the antagonist (and done really well, which is extra excellent in my opinion), it’s well paced (currently, can’t comment on later chapter as it have not been released yet), the things you said correspond with your stats.

You’re off to a great start in my opinion.


#17

The writing quality is very good and the plot itself just drew me in. It’s been great so far and hopefully we will see more of it.
And though the right now a diplomatic stance with the empire seems like the most reasonable decision but will it be possible to maintain a lengthy campaign against the empire ?
On another note I found a 404 error somewhere in the second chapter, don’t know if it’s a bug or the end of the story.


#18

I think the 404s are just you guys hitting the end. Should be right after the conversation with Izzy wraps up.

But if anyone’s finding them elsewhere, please do say so.


#19

Hey! I think the writing and concept is great, and I really enjoyed the playthrough (till the 404 that is haha)


#20

Well, my interest has been peaked so far; can’t wait to see where this story will potentially go. I like that we are in a position as not only a foreigner to where the story takes place, but also as the child of the current leader who is put in charge of. It has the potential to give some players , whether they want to stick with tradition, move away from it, or try to find some type of middle ground between making a new life and staying somewhat connected to the old ways.

I can already see my PC Noland and Daghan coming into a good deal of disagreements as the story progresses. While Noland is more than willing to fight to protect their people, they take more to Chief Rosie’s ideals of finding new ways to live. They would first prefer being diplomatic to avoid needless bloodshed whenever possible and find a way to make this new place their home without resorting to antagonizing their neighbors without cause.

I’ll wait to see what I think of the two friends, but they both seem pretty likable for the moment (though I imagine that a few more conflicts will come into place due to their different approach to handling things). I’ve taken a liking to Aisling a little more so far and I love her snark when Noland tries to flirt with her (particularly when they tried to do that early in the morning and her response was to get deadpan and proceed to poke them with her staff). Out of curiosity, what is the Clan’s views about developing intimate relationships with outsiders, developing a relationship with one’s mage ward, and the matters of gender identities or sexuality (I imagine the latter could be a bit of an issue for the PC if the Clan is adamant about heirs and lineage and they have more of a preferance to those of their own gender).

I’m genuinely curious about Izzy’s history. I like the way that she stood out; while the governor was not remotely willing to speak with Noland diplomatically and the other slaves cowered away from them, she stood strong before them despite her nervousness and was willing to take the chance of a even exchange. I hope that she will be willing to become a new friend of my PC.

Though I have to wonder how fearsome the PC looks to others, since the governor wasn’t even remotely willing to try a strike up a compromise when approached by someone who had a more diplomatic demeanor and wasn’t looking to do any. I’ll admit that I went the middle road (because while we were in need of supplies, I also wanted to make it clear that my clan was not to be trifled with), so I guess his wariness was understandable in the end. But it felt like there was also this hint of arrogance to his decision to be uncooperative with Noland, like all he saw was a barbarian who was too beneath him to even attempt negotiations with (and who would be wiped out by his potential allies in the end anyway). Though I will admit, part of me is enjoying the fact that the PC looks intimidating and if people don’t really notice the potential intelligence the PC can possess, it will be easy to play dumb and work my cunning into matter more effectively when it involves people who may have unsavory intentions for interacting with the Clan.