Untangling the Knot

Session One - Cluster and Characters

Session One, Cluster and Character Creation

Systems:

A: 1/1/-2 Ford
B: -1/1/2 Shodan
C: 0/-2/1 Cin
D: 3/1/1 Tannhauser
E: 0/-3/1 Eyesore
F: -3/-1/-2 Mir

After much discussion, the following picture emerged:

Tannhauser, as the only T2+ system, holds a virtual monopoly on power in the cluster. With plenty of R1+ systems to exploit, the ’housers are a military, economic and cultural juggernaut. They are also nearing a potential t4 advance, a move that has supporters and detractors within ’houser society. That conflict, and the internal angst over what may or may not have been a Tannhauser act of genocide against Mir, have sparked a cultural and political crisis that has rendered Tannhauser unable to unilaterally exercise its might, at least for the moment.

The current miserable situation on Mir is a direct result of Tannhauser’s intolerance for anyone who might rival them. When Mir managed to bring their own local tech up to slipstream usage, elements in the Tannhauser government manipulated events to provide what looked like clear cause for military action, and essentially drove Mir back to the stone age. Or so the story goes on Mir; the official Tannhauser story is that Mir provoked the war through their own expansionist aims, and the radioactive wasteland that is the surface of Mir itself is a result of their own use of nuclear weapons in a last-ditch defense.

Eyesore is almost entirely a Tannhauser corporate client, a vast mining colony worked by what is essentially an underclass of laborers perpetually indebted to the company store. Such an environment foments considerable resentment and is ripe for collective action and/or outright rebellion, if only someone could provide the miners with the means.

The inhabitants of Cin have recently taken the first steps into their local system, only to discover they lived on the edge of the local cluster, and that space beyond their immediate biosphere is already occupied. Not long after, the existence of the t4 graveyard that is Shodan was uncovered. Cin found itself the crossroads of a suddenly larger cluster, though one still dominated by its neighbor Tannhauser. Today Cin is a black marketeer’s paradise, a system connected to the most interesting other systems in the cluster, and a stopping place for anyone who can buy, rent or steal transport.

Shodan, in contrast, has recently suffered a t4 collapse. The Shodani had their own reasons for being isolationists, and it was not until after the collapse that any system aside from Ford was even aware of them. Left behind were a well-skilled technological labor class, which has managed to maintain a precarious hold on the stations and colonies they maintained for their previous masters. Without an advanced local manufacturing ability, however, the future of the ‘New Shodani’ looks grim.

Ford is the closest thing to a rival Tannhauser has in the cluster, primarily thanks to their existing base of t3 ships and other gear inherited from their days as a Shodan client. Ford’s native technological base, however, is not able to produce even a basic slipship, and Tannhauser has recently realized that what they once viewed as a society to rival their own is actually a paper tiger. Ford security and intelligence services are well funded and well trained, if somewhat outclassed technologically, and so far that in combination with diplomacy has prevented direct conflict with Tannhauser.

Comments

So, from a “design blog” perspective, I’d say this:

Cluster creation ended up taking a lot longer than expected. We tended to get off task a lot, spending more time than was strictly needed hashing out minute details, when we could have been making considerably more progress towards building a setting to play Diaspora in.

That said, it was a lot of fun, and it’s no mean task to reign in a bunch of gamer geeks once the creative juices are really flowing, and I am not sure I’d want to even if I could.

martiniconqueso martiniconqueso

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