House Rules

Here you will find a compendium of all of the major house rules that differentiate this campaign from the standard Diaspora rules.


The basic rules for Biotics are as follows:
  • Biotics is a skill
  • Taking Biotics as a skill higher than 2 requires you to take the stunt “Have a Thing: Biotic Amp”
  • Humans must have an Amp in order to use Biotics at any skill level
  • Biotics may not be used untrained.
  • Military-Grade Biotics: Taking this stunt allows a character to roll Biotics as a direct attack roll in combat (perhaps representing an attack such as “Rend”). It also allows a player to perform the special action, “Biotic Charge” (described below).
The following are a few examples of various actions one might take with Biotics. They are written assuming the character is taking the action during combat—non-combat applications of Biotics may be resolved with more simple mechanics, at the GM’s discretion. Bear in mind that these are only examples, and suggestions at that—players are encouraged to come up with their own creative uses for Biotics.
  • Push and Pull : Biotics is rolled against a fixed difficulty (determined by the weight of the object) or a target’s defensive roll. Generally, when rolling to push or pull an object, anything that the character could reasonably lift by themselves without too much effort will have Difficulty 0. The target can be moved one zone for every two (2) shifts achieved beyond what is required to overcome its defense (or difficulty score). These shifts must also be spent to overcome movement barriers, just like in a regular movement roll. Pushing or pulling an object
  • Throw Object : A character with Biotics can use their abilities to telekinetically lift and throw objects. In the case of throwing an object at a target as an attack, the character’s Biotics roll is opposed not only by the object’s weight and the distance moved, but also by the target’s defensive roll.
  • Singularity : Biotics is rolled as a maneuver against a zone or a zone barrier. This places an aspect (“Singularity,” or something similar) on the target zone or an obstacle on a zone barrier. The aspect can be tagged to impede movement, amplify Biotic damage, and more.
  • Rend (Requires Military Grade Biotics): Biotics is rolled as a direct attack against a target’s defensive roll or against a fixed difficulty. It is treated as a weapon attack with Harm 0, Penetration 0, and Range 0-2.
  • Biotic Charge (Requires Military Grade Biotics) : Biotics is rolled as an attack in combat. The user can travel one (1) zone per every two (2) in their roll, with additional points spent on overcoming any obstacles on zone barriers crossed. Whatever is left over is applied as a direct attack against the target’s defensive roll. At this point, the attack is treated just like Rend (see above).

Weapons and Armor

The weapons of the Mass Effect universe differ significantly from the weapons presented in the standard Diaspora rules. In Mass Effect, the line between “Slug Throwers” and “Energy Weapons” is somewhat blurry, and most weapons in the game use a sort of combination of the two, firing small projectiles that are accelerated with a Mass Effect field. (?) Because of this, in this game, the skills “Slug Throwers” and “Energy weapons” are replaced with:
  • Light Weapons: Pistols, hand cannons, assault rifles, small sniper rifles, and similar weapons all fall into this category.
  • Heavy Weapons: Grenade launchers, RPGs, large-caliber sniper rifles, and other large-caliber, bulky weapons all fall into this category.

The “Brawling” and “Close Combat” skills remain more or less the same in scope and function.

The following is an series of weapons and armor from the Mass Effect universe, adapted to fit the Diaspora rules, with all of their attendant stats, stunts, and aspects. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and players who wish to deviate from it are encouraged to examine the standard weapons table in the Diaspora rulebook and consult with the GM.


Name Harm Range Armor Pen. Shield Pen. Stunts/Aspects/Notes
Fists 0 0 0 0 Composure damage only if untrained
Omni-blade 1 0 1 0 Holo-tech

Close Combat

Name Harm Range Armor Pen. Shield Pen. Stunts/Aspects/Notes
Plasma Grenade 2 1-2 2 2 thrown, explosive, out of ammo
Sticky Grenade 2 1-2 1 0 thrown, explosive, delayed detonation, out of ammo, sticky

Light Weapons

Name Harm Range Armor Pen. Shield Pen. Stunts/Aspects/Notes
Pistol 1 0-2 0 0 civilian, concealed, overheated
Submachine gun 1 0-3 1 0 full auto, concealed, overheated
Hand-cannon 2 0-2 1 0 concealed, overheated
Shotgun 2 1-3 2 0 high capacity, civilian, overheated
Assault Rifle 2 2-4 1 1 full auto, high capacity, overheated
Sniper Rifle 2 2-6 3 1 overheated

Heavy Weapons

Name Harm Range Armor Pen. Shield Pen. Stunts/Aspects/Notes
Heavy Sniper Rifle 4 2-6 4 2 high recoil, awkward reload, overheated
RPG 3 3-4 3 0 explosive, awkward reload, low recoil, civilian, out of ammo
Grenade Launcher 2 2-4 3 0 explosive, awkward reload, delayed detonation, out of ammo
Flame-thrower 1 0-2 0 3 dispersed fire, incendiary, low recoil, out of ammo, pressurized tank


Name Def. Sta. Agi. Stunts/Aspects/Notes

Special Ammunition

Special ammunition is only available for military-grade weapons. It may not be used by a character who lacks proficiency in the appropriate weapons category, even if that character is attempting to use an unfamiliar weapon with the requisite penalty (-2)*.

Applying special ammunition to a weapon is a free maneuver—the character uses their action for one turn in order to activate the ammunition setting on their weapon as an aspect. This aspect is free-taggable one time: the first time you fire the weapon after activating the aspect, you can tag it for free to apply its effect. You can apply the effect on subsequent shots by paying a fate point for each shot (one for each target in the case of AOE attacks), or gain an additional free-taggable shot by taking another turn to perform the maneuver.

Some examples of special ammunition and their effects are as follows:

  • Incendiary rounds: Applies the aspect “On Fire” (or similar) to the target. This aspect is permanently free-taggable as long as it remains in effect. The aspect “On Fire” can be removed with a successful agility (or other applicable skill) check, rolled against Difficulty 0.
  • Disruptor rounds: Adds +2 Penetration against energy shields
  • Cryo rounds: Applies the aspect “Chilled” (or similar) to the target. This aspect can be free-tagged once in order to restrict movement, with subsequent tags costing a fate point. The aspect “Chilled” can be removed with a successful agility (or other applicable skill) check, rolled against Difficulty 0. ??

Alien Races

As the standard Diaspora rules do not include any specific rules for the creation of alien characters, the following are suggestions on how to represent the various alien races of the Mass Effect universe within the Diaspora rules. Each template consists of a pair of requirements—some are required stunts that the character must take, others are required aspects, etc.—and any attendant notes. Whenever a template lists a required skill, the skill must be taken at level 3 or above—it is up to the player to decide the character’s exact proficiency in that skill.

It should be noted that the requirements and notes listed here are only those that we felt are immediately relevant to the crunchy, gameplay-mechanics side of things. There are a number of other facts about the various species that inhabit the Mass Effect universe that could inform character building and actions, and players are encouraged to familiarize themselves with these details, either by reading the in-game Codex, or by visiting the Mass Effect Wiki.


  • Required Skill: Biotics
    • Asari do not require an Amp to use Biotics
  • Required Stunt: Mindfuck
    • Asari have the ability to share memories and information telepathically with a touch. This stunt also represents their unique method of sex and reproduction.
  • Players are encouraged to write and build Asari characters that reflect the nature of their alien parentage (Krogan father, Batarian father, Pureblood Asari, etc.)


  • Default build rules


  • Required Stunt: Have a thing/Integral Equipment—Toxic skin secretions
    • Drell toxins are halucinogenic and non-fatal to some species, or when diluted
  • Required Aspect: “Total Recall” or similar
    • Reflects Drells’ perfect, photographic memories. While certainly advantageous, these memories can also sometimes jump to the surface unbidden, and not always at a convenient moment.
    • Must be taken as part of the “Growing Up” story phase.


  • Required Aspect: “Slow and Steady” or similar
    • Reflects Elcors’ solidity and strength, as well as their slow, deliberate movements.
    • Must be taken as part of the “Growing Up” story phase.
  • Required Skill: Stamina
  • Elcor are capable of communicating with members of their own kind using various non-verbal cues, conveying extremely subtle shades of meaning and expression that most often go unnoticed by other species.


  • Required Skill: Computers or Communications
  • Required Stunt: Collective Intelligence
    • The intelligence and processing capabilities of Geth increase and decrease depending upon the number of Geth in a given area and their proximity to one another.


  • Required Aspect: “Under the Sea,” “Clumsy on Land,” or similar
    • Reflects the aquatic nature of Hanar—they are far less agile on land than in their native aquatic environment.
    • Must be taken as part of the “Growing Up” story phase.
  • Required Stunt: Have a Thing/Integral Equipment: Natural Toxins
  • Hanar have strong grips and grappling capabilities, particularly underwater.


  • Required Stunt: Extra Physical Stress Box OR “Resilient”
  • Required Skill: Intimidate

House Rules

Mass Effect: Dissension CottonWalrus