Diaspora (WIP) - Updated 12.22.18



Ah, okay. I think I know what the problem is. IIRC there was a point where the forced choice of RO at the end of the third interlude did not reliably trigger, and so if you played before that bugfix, you might still have both romances active in the code, which should not be possible anymore. This is probably why things are going wrong: all our new code is written under the assumption that you only have one.

It’s probably a huge pain to play back through the whole thing, but I’m 99% sure that’s the fix here. Unless you had the forced choice scene, in which case any info about what you did there would be helpful, since clearly it’s not registering as it should if so.


I’ve gotten it. It’s cute. :slight_smile:


Incidentally, -will- there be an opportunity to kill any of the companions? Aisling’s constant psuedopacifism is starting to get on my nerves, and I don’t see how Pan/Sangarinus will survive what I’m planning.

Step 1: Spy on the Iskendi for the Castulians

Step 2: Spy on the Castulians for the Iskendi

Step 3: Pull a Snape and help the Iskendi kill the Castulians

Step 4: Let the Iskendi get themselves killed as far as possible

Step 5: Absorb the remnants of the Iskendi into my nascent ocean-faring kingdom

Step 6: Kill everyone who complains.

@BrownBetty, w/r/t your romantic troubles with Sangarinus, I recommend killing his aunt. Problem solved.


Ah… we encourage our players to remember that Tarracina is one Castulian settlement, not the whole of Castulia. Those seeking a story where at the end your band of 300 elite soldiers and about that many Iskendi meatshields conquer an entire empire are advised to look elsewhere. That said, though, yes. On certain paths through the game, there will be situations where things will come to violence with some of the companions, which might end with one of the parties dying. This could be them, or it could be you, depending. Any such events are likely to occur near the end, as trying to write someone being present vs. dead/absent is a lot of extra writing/coding.

Don’t be surprised if other people react accordingly, though. Unnecessary violence against clan members especially is a banishing offense. Not to say one couldn’t get around that in some circumstances, but some especially egregious decisions may result in an early end to the story. “Kill everyone who complains” only works if the complainers are few enough, after all.


True. I was actually envisioning winkling Castulia out of that particular part of their empire, then making their lives difficult for the next few generations (i.e. Rome/Carthage). I might be a complete megalomaniac, but I’m not stupid.

“C’mon, guys, is one little dead mage worth all this fuss? She was a danger, I swear!”


Yeah, the harassment of the empire thing, as well as sacking Tarracina, is one of the end-states we’re writing towards at this stage.

Also, that’d be about how the justification attempt went, and it’d definitely work on some people. So I think the basic answer to the underlying “can I do this” here is yeah, you can. It might not work out well depending on checks and what you consider success, but you can do it.


Deaman: [excited squealing]

Incidentally, I do appreciate your willingness to write in that sort of route. It can’t be easy for you to contemplate my excitement over the deaths of your characters.


@anon49824592 Yeah, I super duper do not think that offing his aunt/commanding officer is going to help me with my goal of cheering Sangarinus up. Also, I’m pretty sure she could take not only my PC in a fight but my PC, all the companions and a decent chunk of the Cine.

For the moment I’ve decided on a strategy of open trade with both the Iskendi and the Castulians with the hope of positioning the Cine as traders, boat-builders and possibly some level of integration with the Castulian navy at some point. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the Eye. I really don’t. I don’t want the Castulians to have it, I really don’t want the Iskendi to have it and I think it would turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth to the Cine. Ideally there’d be an option to destroy it in a way that looks like not my fault and then we all go home and open discussions into trade deals. I don’t want to fight with anyone! I just want to get into the spice trade and maybe the boat-building business depending on the island’s lumber supply.

Pan worries me. Between a post way up thread saying that Pan was the most angsty romance option regardless of whether you agree with them or not, the Very Suspicious Letter and just general characterization so far I’m concerned they’re going to put my character in a situation where they have to screw over the Cine for the Casulian’s benefit. Or to hurt Baltasar, which I think would actually be more attractive to them. And then I’d have to refuse, which would make me unhappy because, one, I like Pan. Two, it might upset Sangarinus. And three, YOU ARE POTENTIALLY $*&#ING UP MY POTENTIAL TRADE DEALS PANEGYRIS. THE POTENTIAL SPICE MUST FLOW.

As a side note, it’s interesting to me that Sangarinus has the same position smack in the middle of both lists of sorted ROs. My guess at the moment is that the source of angst in his storyline is mostly centered in his backstory (in one branch someone calls him “the hero of Somethingorother Pass” and I suspect that of being a Clue) and therefore less affected by my character’s present day choices. Or it’s a coincidence. One of those.

Once the game’s done I’m looking forward to playing through with a character that’s romancing Cormac, is 100% aggressive, and is clinging to The Good Old Ways. That seems like it would be a very simple play through. Gory, but simple.


Hello! I’d like to offer my compliments on the game, loving the story so far! The fact that characters are aware of your relationship with other characters gives the game a whole new dimension.

Since we are playing a leader (to be) of the clan, can the other clan members try to overthrow us, if they aren’t content with our leadership?


Thank you, glad you’re enjoying it!

As for your question, I’ll just say that your MC will end up making enemies on every possible path, to go along with allies. Those enemies can potentially come from within the clan, if they disagree with your choices strongly enough.


This has me slightly perplexed because I am sure that during some additional backstory on the conquest of the Iskendi there was talk of the two being on a more equal footing than what you mention. I would have thought that while having small numbers now, the recapture of the city might convince the large numbers of inhabitants to support the ‘liberation’ of their people.

That’s what I was gunning for in one of my runs really, that while we were small numbers now and I could easily be killed. I could use the boosted numbers to find some way of forcing a favourable peace through the use of a much larger force now with me. What I was thinking was the release of slaves to the clan so that we could boost our own numbers ( A sort of join us or stay with the Empire and potentially be a slave again situation)

That brings many of it’s own problems but the cine has already taken in slaves who haven’t been so much of an issue yet, larger numbers will of course do that but who says we can’t just keep absorbing populace’s lol

Perhaps I read it wrong, I had just thought that would be possible.


Very late with feedback sorry but dang do I love this game.

First I just wanted to say Izzy’s quest was really satisfying (even if it wasn’t for her, poor thing) and WOW her mom is so interesting and complicated! Is there any possibility of seeing her again/her meeting the Chief?

I also really loved the scene with Chief Mom. I’m becoming very attached to her, I hope she doesn’t die like so many Parents of the Young Protagonist. Feeling the itch to draw her again (I’m barksharks/owtide on tumblr fyi. The one wanting to draw everything and never getting around to it but spending a ton of time collecting references and writing down ideas.)

Old stuff I noticed on this playthrough
  • If you do the blood ritual and also get Baltasar to give you your father’s chest, you don’t get the opportunity to look thru his things like you do if you only get the chest but turn down the ritual. Going thru the chest felt really important to my MC, especially finding the dagger (or a necklace? it’s all blurring together. i think that’s what it was, can’t quite remember) especially when you talk to Chief Mom afterwards about it. Hopefully we can get that in both versions?

  • In Aisling’s diary entry if you are romancing her, the italics stop too soon.

Tiny stuff w/ screenshots

Hopefully you can make out the light blue highlight there

Noticed a couple times where Pan is referred to as “themselves” instead of “themself”. I think there might have been more than just these two.


This last one just kind of reads a bit odd with the same word so often.

New stuff
  • When looking for something to steal, once you pick each thing to learn more about it, it doesn’t let you go back to actually choose one of them and defaults to stealing nothing.

  • Also re: stealing an item, it’s not made clear that this is only for a present for Izzy and not something we keep ourselves. It is suggested, but I read that as maybe we will have the option, but if we want to keep it we can do that too. This also changed what I wanted to take because I thought I’d have it for myself (it is said the sword wouldn’t work for us, so for that it’s clear we would give it to her, but the jewelry and the money I wanted to keep or possibly give to someone else.). It also made the lyre much less interesting compared to the other choices and, tbh, it didn’t click with me at all that the lyre was valuable to her. My thoughts were more like, well if she wants an instrument, lets buy her a nice new one instead of a beat up one that her mom’s slaver owned. Perhaps if it’s mentioned that she had to leave her instrument behind earlier so we’re sort of on the look out for it? But even then why would Esdras have it? Don’t people lose all their possessions when forced into slavery?

  • The choice for mentioning no heirs with the convo with Roise felt a little clunky (though I love that it was included!). I think perhaps it needs a tiny bit of variation for the comment to make sense. Maybe a slightly altered one for if the mc and ro are the same gender and one where the option for no children is said more like it was the mc’s choice if not? Does that make sense? Also the comment about Aisling’s child being a mage is an interesting addition and might be cool if Chief Mom commented on that too?

  • You guys referred to Pan’s letter as part of a personal quest, does this mean each companion has a personal quest?! I AM DIE IF SO

So some people were talking about their ideal endings, and I was curious if the ending I’ve been sort of playing towards is even possible. My main mc is an aggressive isolationist who’s somewhere between not wanting to go back to the north anymore (started out angry about that but has realized there’s potential here) but still wanting to raid and keep the lifestyle as intact as possible. Her first instinct was to stay in sort of a neutral truce with everyone, but if this falls thru she’d want to make some sort of deal with the empire (she’s too scared of the Iskendi’s magic) where they can still raid maybe agreed upon targets or at least keep the fighting culture they have as an ally to the Castulian navy but still separate and independent and their own symbols and flags and all that and in turn the empire lets them be unless they need reinforcements holding their border or something.

Anyway, irrelevant question but have you guys heard of that show that just got put up on netflix called Norsemen? I love a comedic take on vikings and I’ve been thinking about Diaspora’s characters a lot because of it.


That bit about Izzy’s gift; I remember being a little confused about it too at first, right until I read the part you mention with the sword, then I assumed all those were gifts for Izzy. That and the fact that in a previous chapter she says: “My mother taught me to play the lyre when I was little. I’ve always loved it. Even as a slave I’d still play. The governor’s wife would have me play songs for her while she worked, said it helped her focus.” By the way she says it, you can tell that Izzy didn’t think of that as a chore. That lyre in particular held sentimental value.


Yeah I think what threw me was that we find it in her mother’s slaver’s home in his office. If this was their old home or maybe if we found it with her mother’s things maybe that would have connected, but as it is, it connects the lyre to Esdras not to Izzy (at least for me).


@sharknap I agree, it was somewhat unclear to me on my first trip through the room what I was supposed to be aiming for, and having it be the very same lyre was a surprise. I’m glad you can look at everything before choosing one now. That just makes sense. I mean, you’re still in the room. The object is not beyond your reach! Should you look at everything and decide you’d like it after all.

I really hope every companion has their own side quest and I think they’ve said they will, so I’m very excited about that. A year ago (!) they said that the outline had 13 chapters and 6 interludes with the possibility of more based on the choices made. So potentially quite a bit left to happen. Based on the length/format of previous chapters I don’t think the actual recovery of the Eye will take up more than two or three chapters at the most, but I could very easily be wrong. I’m not sure what will happen after that. I’ve been thinking I’d like to see the characters actually go to Armorica, which seems possible if they do end up giving Castulia some super powerful magical artifact. Tarracina is… well, not a backwater, really, but I’d like to get a closer look at Castulian politics and culture as practiced in the heart of the empire, and presenting this big-deal magical doodad to some Senator or Sage or whatever would make a decent excuse to do so.

Random unrelated thoughts I have had recently:

Out of curiosity I did a run bringing Sangarinus along with Izzy’s mission, encouraged violence, then said he also kills people without trial so he has no high ground. I feel like a monster. So guilty. Definitely not taking that route again.

There have been several times when the PC spars/fights with someone while clan members look on. I wonder if those are being kept track of. Like you get to a certain point and the clan gets together and says “Okay, you’ve lost every single fight you’ve been in since we arrived and now we’re voting no-confidence for you as heir because this is just embarrassing.” It is said near the beginning that being the chief’s heir is only a very good indication that you’ll be chief yourself, not a guarantee.

I just put together that Lanceae training lasts until they’re 19 and Sangarinus had his first kiss at 19. I feel some kind of way about that. Between being deployed at 19, “certain events” after which Sangarinus is grateful the general still trusted him enough to make him her aide, and being her aide for about four/five years, he really hasn’t had a single moment to himself since he was seven, has he? No wonder he’s tired of fighting. Also, he refers to Astraia (life, healing, peace, craftsmanship) as “his” Lady, suggesting she is his deity of preference. Let the poor guy whittle things somewhere quiet by the shore, please?

When trying to decrypt the journal we get to choose one of three clans for Orlan to have come from, with different specialties. The possibility of him coming from a southern clan that adopts a lot of foreigners is fueling all kinds of conspiracy theories on my part about surprise blood relations among the Castulians and/or Iskendi. The way the options are presented makes me think they’re going to become relevant at some point. Maybe by running into his old clan, maybe by having the PC have a skill related to the clan’s specialty. Don’t know. But it seems like that detail might come back at some point.

Speaking of harebrained conspiracy theories, Roise and Orlan had water and flame themed pendants not because it’s the most basic duality imaginable, but because they have something to do with Astraia and Cymbeline.

About bringing Pan along on Izzy’s mission; Um. So I noticed that if you have Pan “take care of” the guard going up the stairs it’s written identically regardless of whether it’s supposed to be a bloodless job or not. I mean. Identically.


Can we talk about this? Did Pan slit a dude’s throat when it was explicitly supposed to be a non-throat-slitting occasion?


Pan gave that dude the sleeping hand. They’re against approaching things violently on that quest.


You might enjoy checking out the code, as it shows what’s tracked in each scene and other secret stuff. I love combing through it after I do an official play through. If you add /scenes/startup.txt to the end of the url after “mygame” you should be able to see it.


Oh gosh, there were so many replies and such and I’ve been neglecting the thread. This is what happens when I don’t leave the tab open constantly.

Uh, okay.

@Blindfire My previous response was to someone who planned to get a lot of the Iskendi killed fighting to take Tarracina, which makes the strategy you seem to have much more difficult to pull off. A more even alliance with the Iskendi opens up different possibilities, some of them kind of as you describe. It should be noted that we don’t have the endgame routes 100% down pat yet, so anything we say on what is and is not possible with respect to endgame is us taking our best guess based on where we’re aiming and how the asker describes their thought process.

@sharknap We could probably do a better job specifying what the looting is for, and/or letting players do something else with what they get. That probably won’t get changed until the edit phase, but it seems to be a frequent enough reaction that it really needs looking at, so thanks for your input there.

The themselves/themself thing was me not initially understanding the grammar of singular they. I’ll go back and change all those when we get to edits, for sure.

Like with the looting thing, I’ll go back and have a look at the no children thing and see if I can make it smoother. There are still issues with making any additional dialogue rely on people having the same gender, though, so I don’t think that will work as a solution. Something I’ll think about anyhow.

The ending you’re playing towards is definitely one we’ve had in mind for a while, so it’s very likely that you’ll be able to play towards some version of it.

@BrownBetty Heh, we’re not tracking sparring losses at the moment, though now I almost wonder if we should! There may come a point where the leadership thing comes into contention, though, because you’re right to point out that the PC is only the presumptive heir to the position of Chief, and not guaranteed anything.

The journal choice about Orlan as of now was meant largely to flavor backstory, not to have tremendous implications for things down the line. That choice in particular is there in part because there may be players who imagine their PCs as looking quite different from how a lot of the Cine are implied to look. Maybe their height is well below average or their complexion is different or whatever; in any case they can still be a fullblooded Cine and that option was a nod to this.

Pan used a needle with some very potent sedative on it to knock the dude out. You may still wish to talk about why they know how to do that. :slight_smile:

I think that covered most of it. Thanks for the feedback, guys!


Yeah that is fair, I see that the possibilities are literally endless for what could happen and there does need to be a limit on exactly what does go down when it comes to the end game. With that being said, I often struggle to gain a true grasp on the scale of the world. I feel like at some points the Cine have a great chance at fighting off the empire then at others I am just slightly confused because of how badly the Iskendi were beaten. Is there an approximate number (within a hundred or so) of the clan that you have because to my knowledge there is not actually any numbers it’s just in the few hundred. Personally, I prefer being able to know the numbers of what I have as I do feel like this makes an impact on the choices a person makes. Especially when it comes to sacrificing lives if it comes down to it.

As always I love re-reading the WIP but I would like to know if there is any plans for that Patreon coming up so I can start supporting you both with your development :slight_smile: Glad to know you both don’t want to rush this, it’s such a good read.


@Blindfire As far as numbers go, I can say a few things here. Firstly, there are about 500 Cine on Divio, all told. This includes a fair number of noncombatants, but assuming you mustered the retirees, the trainees, and anyone who knows enough to make themselves at least basically useful in a battle, the PC could field a navy of about 400.

The Iskendi, using the same parameters, could add probably 500 more, but that number would include nearly 50 mages.

As for the initial conquest, it should be noted that the Iskendi were always a small nation: they had a smaller version of Tarracina and the land surrounding it, and that was about it. They were beaten because the conquering force sent by Castulia was a lot of very well-trained soldiers. The Iskendi had been agitating on the border, for reasons mostly lost to history, though a resource shortage was known to be occurring in the territory at the time—a major drought that didn’t help matters when the city caught fire in the attack.

What is stationed in Tarracina now is not the same amount as that invading force, though the PC doesn’t know how many people it is. One could reasonably assume that the Cine + Iskendi could pretty well beat the Castulian navy, but the fight to take the city from the infantry would be harder to gauge. Tarracina’s total population is probably around 50k people, but the vast majority of them are just ordinary civilians. So if the PC and their Iskendi allies field a navy, they’re by definition splitting the battle: part of however many Castulian soldiers there are will be on boats, and part of them will be infantry. This does help bottleneck considerably, but it would be a very tough fight.

Not impossible, but long odds. Perhaps evened considerably with the use of a powerful magic artifact, but it’s also important to remember that Tarracina is not entirely isolated from the rest of the Empire. It’s meant to be a very complicated, risky calculation, for sure, but I hope that helps illuminate it a bit.

As for the Patreon bit… maybe give us a couple days and check back. :slight_smile: