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Scattershot

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Author: C.W. Marshall
Publishing/layout: B. Murray
Co-authors: confirm your participation with Toph to be listed.

A lot of folks were born in Anchorage, but not me. I signed on here as part of a re-patriation deal after the Holly Fiasco went south. We didn't call it that when we set out. So once I was a steeler, a non-specific member of a hired crew on a ship that was part of a hired fleet, whose mission was the theft of the only game in town — Anchorage. When it was over I was in space as deep as it gets — no real world for a billion klicks in every direction and me in a tiny kevlar sphere with an hour's atmosphere and a CO2 scrubber that was mostly bolted on because it's funny. When Anchorage Search and Rescue picked me up I was surprised and desperate to please. Their offer of six year's labour sounded pretty damned good.

Still does, actually. I'll re-up next month and start working for real pay. And I get paid to repo starships, which is what I'm good at. Beats swabbing the deck.


Introduction


Scattershot is is supplement for Diaspora, aimed at providing a non-linear campaign setting and to provide specific applications of the Diaspora rules that can be cut-and-pasted into one's own Diaspora campaign. It is not designed to present new rules, but to show some ways that the systems can be applied to a specific campaign.

CWM: so a new sf fate game has been announced (sample: <http://galileogames.com/pdf/kickstarter-preview.pdf>) and power to 'em I say. But it does provoke a series of thoughts, in no particular order:
  • production values. Our production values are way lower than some of these other products. Glossy paper, full colour, more art. I'm wondering how the costs of all this break down — are they expecting a much higher volume? I don't know how it could work.
  • we've clearly not made the case for wider applicability for Diaspora. I see people on rpg.net say "Sure Diaspora's great for hard sf, but I want to shoot spaceships...". Some of that will be ignorance — the kind of comment that is not coming from people who have played, and so that's fine. But it seems clear to me that we're perceived in a niche, which is limiting people playing us. Is there a solution? I dunno — the best online review of us was the Dark Tower game, in my opinion, which used the system to do great things we hadn't intended.
    • One possible solution would be for Scattershot/Diamondback to be less unified, and show the sort of flexibility the system has. That could take the form of a series of shortish adventures, one of which involves mecha, one which has all humanoid aliens, one which is an on-world cyber conspiracy without ships, — or we could even go further out to other genres — I think the rules are robust enough (again, cf. Dark Tower).
    • Another option might be retooling Diaspora to other genres: taking our SRD ourselves, and producing (say) two shorter games in other genres. One that's Conan-esque, say, and another in Vietnam. How much would need to be changed? Some, sure, but it would produce a shorter (150pg?) fate game, that would still be Diaspora. That might help pop the original game out of the hard-sf bucket that it seems to be in. Going with this, though, would mean trying to keep things the same as much as possible: changing the skill list some, removing starship battles. Would people buy Diaspora: Bronze Age or Diaspora: Saigon or Diaspora: Lost in TIme?
  • As it stands, we've got ideas for a supplement. What we have below includes mecha (a new application), a system (consistent with the existing rules to allow for an easier campaign), and the beginnings of a new system (fleet battles — something we've said might be able to be handled with the social game). It is possible that this route, though, is keeping Diaspora in its bucket, rather than looking to get a bigger bucket.
    • on fleets: I like the mechanisms/ideas that Brad's suggesting so far, but wonder if a completely new system is better thasn presenting mods to an existing system: how would it be different to adapt these ideas to the social system (codifying logistics and raiders, etc.)? Would it be a stronger sell, to get the game used as is?

Some of these thoughts have been perking for a while. But it might be that we could have a useful conversation about how best to follow up on Diaspora. Maybe a unified campaign supplement isn't the best. But at least we can recognize that there are options, and that whatever we do (if anything) it is a choice:
  • unified campaign supplement (the idea as it now stands, more or less)
  • nonunified supplement (like black tentacles reaching into other sf (and non-sf) pots
  • new rulesets using the srd (Diaspora: Bronze Age)

Does one of these seem more likely to increase market share? Is that a concern? Are energies better directed at Chimaera or Soft Horizon? These are my thoughts this morning.

BJM: re production values, these guys are using Kickstarter to basically pre-sell at retail price, giving a guarantee of minimum expenses paid and then some buffer. In a sense they are cutting their risk but also their profits and using the money to buy big print runs. About 1 in 3 seems to be succeeding (though anything with Evil Hat in it looks solid). As far as actual numbers, I don't think they are seeing the same volumes or the same profits over time that Diaspora does — @ $3000 Bulldogs! is covering a print run of maybe a thousand copies with 300 or so pre-sold. That's a nice start but it'll be a year before we see what the medium and long term look like for this.


Doing things with FATE

The System and the Cluster

Starting a Campaign

The Station

Privateers

Derelicts

Diamondback

Space fleet conflicts

Diaspora outstanding errata

sublight


BJM: Thinking about organization so that this feels more like one product than an anthology. The following hierarchy is for organizing my thoughts — the chapter structure can be more linear.

  • Doing things with FATE (basically, where the flex points are in the system that allow you to craft custom solutions to problems at the table)
    • stress tracks and what they can mean
      • Faction (esp. note how this frees the ref to let the players have strong influence: if the numbers say the faction is damaged, it is damaged)
      • Relationship
      • Power/Heat cycle per Diamondback
    • new subsystems (cover schedule inversion, where we call phases and everyone participates — maybe edit down my essay on that) and how to make them
    • re-using subsystems
    • more
  • New rules (which are really examples of the previous put into play)
    • Mecha as a subsystem (including build rules)
    • Mecha as a platoon
    • Campaign-scale politics I(faction rules)
    • Space fleet combat subsystem (including build rules) — HIGH GUARD
  • Anchorage as an example weaving these together
    • System
    • System politics
      • factions (factions with mecha needed to tie Diamondback in I think)
      • player interests as new factions
    • The World
    • The Station
    • Adding your worlds (the interface)
  • Adventure capsules (maybe in this book these are all derelicts? cool theme. derelict ships, derelict mecha, derelict factions, derelict worlds) that assume Anchorage but could be transplanted
    • Derelict one (remember that old coffee table book, space derelicts? Illustrated by a few sf artists, mostly Angus McKie?, some writer would take a painting of a fucked up space craft and write the story for it in a page or less — our Derelicts could be something like that; maybe worth getting external art)
    • Derelict two
    • more derelicts


Here's an alternate structure that I typed up before I read the above — I think we're very close, and we'll need to see the writing to know for sure anyways. But YES!

Diamondback
(a better name if we want a more unified product: “scattershot” was trying to suggest a less unified work, and it starts with dia-)

  • 1. Doing things with Fate (long introduction, showing how to introduce alternate/new rules).

  • 2. Anchorage.
    • a. System and cluster (employing some of the new rules)
    • b. The station (with deckplans?)
    • c. Faction mechanic
    • d. Some NPCs

  • 3. Social sessions. All of these –at least 6, maybe more — are short “Amber zone” type missions written up in maybe four (6?) pages: a pic, any maps, stats for NPCs, story hooks, etc. They are all able to be played in this system, but they are portable, and can be dropped elsewhere. They also can showcase specific uses of the social combat mechanic. But there should also be at least one geared towards personal combat, an done planetside using platoon combat (one on the garden world, and one on the hostile desert world?)
    • a. Adventure 1: Assassination
    • b. Adventure 2: …

  • 4. Space sessions. (“Derelicts”). Again, 6 or more drag-and-drop adventures that are playable in the scattershot system, but are also transportable to any cluster. It would be possible to tie these to various actual astronomical phemomena, to suggest some of the ways “hard sf” might be applicable. But I don’t see this as necessary.
    • a. Adventure 1:
    • b. Adventure 2:

  • 5. Mecha. One way to integrate these would be to suggest that the technology is part of the T3 “A” world of the cluster. – that a mech is found on the moon of one of the gas giants, and has to be investigated (that could be an adventure in ch 3), or that it’s technology the church is developing on the quarantined garden world (if T2). The former is probably better. If we’ve introduced the mech scale in ch 3, here we can have rules that apply it more broadly.


Play

Scattershot: December 2 2010 Characters and Systems
Scattershot: December 9 2010 Adventure pt 1: Rabbit in the Hatch
Scattershot: December 16 2010 Adventure pt 2: Incoming
Scattershot: December 23 2010 Adventure pt 3: Death of a Pope
Scattershot: January 13 2011 Adventure pt 4: Bernie's Scrapyard
Scattershot: January 20 2011 Adventure pt 5: The Gate
Scattershot: February 10 2011 Adventure pt 6: Marooned


Idea for a new game: Diaspora: Chronic


Created by: tophocles last modification: Tuesday 11 of October, 2011 [08:05:24 UTC] by tophocles


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