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  • Scion High Campaign Chronicle Repost

    THE PLAN

    First I'll post the campaign premise quick sheet I handed out to players. It laid out the basic ideas of the campaign and of Scion. (All the players had played WW games before -- Vtm or Exalted -- but Scion was new to them.)

    Next I'll post the Character Creation and House Rules handouts. Since the characters were all teenagers, I thought it was appropriate to adjust character creation for people who had not developed the range and depth of skill of adults. Other house rules dealt with areas I thought Scion was weak or unclear. I also added a few new Knacks and Boons. If this doesn't interest you, go ahead and skip to the actual Chronicle of play sessions.

    Dean Shomshak

  • #2
    SCION HIGH: STUDENT ORIENTATION

    Part One


    WHAT IS A SCION?

    From time immemorial, Gods have mated with mortals. The children of such unions are Scions. Although Scions are mortal, they inherit a trickle of divine power. This enables Scions to perform amazing, superhuman or outright magical feats. With practice, a Scion gains power and gains a greater proportion of divinity. In time, a Scion can become entirely divine and leave the mortal World for the realms beyond.

    You are a child of the Gods, raised among mortals. Your divine parent — long absent — recently came back into your life and decided that you should know your heritage, develop your power and fulfill your destiny as a new generation of heroes to perform deeds worthy of legend.

    But first, you have to finish high school.

    WHY ARE YOU HERE?

    Long ago, the gods defeated their malevolent progenitors, the Titans, and bound them in the prison of Tartarus. The prison has crumbled, though, and the Titans are free. Their minions and spawn already commit badness in the mortal World. The Gods need Scions to do things in the World that they, for various reasons, cannot.

    Oh. You mean, why are you here at this school, all together? Well, Scions need training at using their powers, but they also need practice at being people within the modern World. Your divine parents gathered their Scions in one place where it’ll be easier to keep an eye on them. They also hope for new, cross-pantheon alliances between Scions. The old Gods have difficulty transcending the myths about them long enough to work together. Scions have no such trouble.

    Thing is, Legend — the power underlying everything supernatural — attracts more of itself. Because you, a group of Scions, are here, other creatures of Legend come too: other Scions, minions of the Titans, creatures allied to neither side, you name it. Some of them came to the area long before you did, for Legend acts across time. If there’s a dragon sleeping under the school gym, it’s here because you’re here. Or, you’re here because it’s here. It’s confusing. Just expect all sorts of weird stuff to come out of the woodwork.

    Your divine parents believe this isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. You can practice your powers and learn about the secret world of Legend while it tries to kill you, recruit you, destroy the World, or at least make you fail algebra.

    HIGH SCHOOL HEROES

    The ancient mythological epics describe heroes whose lives are an unending melodrama of passion and conflict. Nowadays, we call their emotional condition “adolescence.” Modern teens easily feel the wrath of Achilles, the love of Sigurd and Brunhilde, the friendship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, or the betrayal of Arthur and Lancelot. Only, the grown-ups around them don’t take them seriously. Adults know that the fate of the World doesn’t really depend on who asks whom to the prom.

    What if those sensible grown-ups were wrong?

    Scion High takes the Scion game and filters it through modern high school. The style is that of TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Smallville: basically action-adventure, but with heaping helpings of teen angst and soap opera. Characters face titanspawn monsters and evil cultists, but they also face the challenges of sports, dating, afterschool jobs, parents and teachers. The big game may decide the fate of a soul; school cliques can represent supernatural factions; the mall is a goblin market of wonder and horror; a jealous classmate or a mean teacher can be a monstrous servant of the Titans.

    Welcome back to school!

    (It looks like the forum doesn't accept very long documents, so I'll have to break posts into chunks. Part Two comes next.)

    Dean Shomshak

    Comment


    • #3
      SCION HIGH: STUDENT ORIENTATION

      Part Two

      The Scion Condition

      Once upon a time, Gods and the monstrous spawn of the Titans acted openly in the World. The Gods fought the Titans, and both sides fought amongst themselves. The Gods began as offspring of the Titans, but contact with humanity changed them. Titans have will and sentience, but they are not people, strictly speaking, and they have no use for people. Contact with humans taught the nascent Gods how to be people, and they liked it. The Gods wanted to continue being people, and their Titan progenitors objected. The Titans tried to destroy the Gods, and the Gods objected. Hence, the war between them.

      Gods are immensely more powerful than mortals, and Titans are more powerful than Gods. The power of Fate, however, constrains mortals, Gods and Titans alike — and Fate gives mortals a terrible power over Gods. When Gods use their supernatural powers in front of mortals, Fate may bind those mortals to them and the Gods to the mortals. The humans become part of the God’s story in fixed roles, whether as friends or foes. All the mortals “Fatebound” to a God try to push that God into playing certain roles in return. The Gods figured out that if they did not hide their power from mortals, they would lose their free will and become trapped in the stories that mortals tell about them. For at least 2,000 years, Gods acting in the World have disguised themselves as mortals and avoided using their full power, to avoid Fatebinding. At any given time, dozens of Gods live on Earth in mortal guises.

      One consequence is that Gods no longer appear to their mortal lovers as showers of gold or otherwise reveal their divinity. (Usually.) Sometimes they sire or bear children in their mortal guises. Before long, though, Gods must leave their mortal partners to resume their duties in the Overworld. Other times, Gods take the place of particular mortals for the express purpose of producing Scions and placing them in a particular family. The upshot is that by and large, Scions are raised by mortals and think they are mortal until someone tells them differently.

      When a divine parent reveals the truth to a Scion, it’s called the Visitation. Gods usually tell their child directly, but they can do this through a messenger. For instance, the Norse Gods often delegate the Visitation to Odin’s ravens, Hugin and Munin. Hey, Gods are busy.

      Even before the Visitation, though, blood tells. Scions tend to show interests and aptitudes related to their divine parents. A Scion of Ares gets into fights; a Scion of Isis has a taste for esoteric knowledge. A Scion’s name often hints at the divine parent’s identity, if only because Gods themselves seem compelled to adopt revealing pseudonyms.

      Six pantheons produce most of the extant Scions: the Aesir of Norse mythology; the Japanese Amatsukami; the Atzlánti of Central America, most notably the Aztecs; the Greco-Roman Dodekatheon; the Loa of Voodoo; and the Pesedjet of ancient Egypt. Gods of other pantheons also produce Scions, though, and any of them might become students at Scion High.

      THE NITTY GRITTY

      Your Scion character has Attributes and Abilities that represent his mortal skills and aptitudes. He also has Epic Attributes that go beyond human limits. A Scion with Epic Strength can lift more than the greatest Olympic weightlifter; a Scion with Epic Manipulation can talk damn near anyone into damn near anything; and so on. Boons represent explicitly magical powers such as flying or turning invisible. Boons are grouped in Purviews such as Animal, Fertility, Justice or War.

      As part of the Visitation, a God typically gives the new Scion some presents, collectively referred to as Birthrights. A Creature is a pet that can range from a kitty to Pegasus. Followers can be summoned to fight on the Scion’s behalf; for instance, einherjar called from Valhalla. A Guide is an advisor that can range from a knowledgeable mortal to a talking scarab to some sort of spirit. A Relic is a magical object. A Relic might have enhancements that make it more useful than a mundane object, such as a sword that inflicts extra damage. Other Relics summon Creatures or Followers, which prevents awkward questions about your pet unicorn. Most importantly, Relics enable Scions to channel the power of their Boons: No Relic, no Boon.

      Scions call on the power of Legend. In stories, heroes can do superhuman deeds. As a Scion, you are part mortal and part story. Your overall Legend rating limits the power of your Epic Attributes and Boons. With experience, however, characters can raise their Legend rating and so acquire Boons of greater power and higher ratings in their Epic Attributes. Many Boons or Knacks require spending Legend points. A starting character does not have many Legend points, so they are the primary resource to manage. Like your divine parents, however, each time you exploit Legend you risk mortals becoming bound to you, and you to them. Your parents request that you try not to let mortals know about the genuine supernatural world around them.

      Dean Shomshak

      Comment


      • #4
        This part was formatted like a manuscript submission, with headers indicated with codes such as <1> or <sb1>. The forum seems to have turned some of them into real headers; in others, the code indicators remain. Huh, weird, but probably not important..

        I should note that not one player could make head or tail of the rules for buying Boons, especially the different rules for regular Boons and PSP Boons. I am not sure whether this is because I was lousy at explaining them or the rules were intrinsically confusing.

        1>CHARACTER CREATION
        Scion High characters are heroes — Scions whose Legend ranges from 2 to 4. All traits work as described in Scion: Hero. There are, however, a few changes to character creation:
        • Characters start with 25 dots for Abilities instead of 30. Scion High characters are incredibly skilled for teenagers, but they are nonetheless younger and less experienced than the standard game assumes.
        • Dots of Legend cost more bonus points: Legend is the measure of a character’s power, so a player who wants a character to start with higher Legend must give up a lot of potential other traits. It’s probably best for play if characters all start at the same Legend.
        • To compensate, starting characters can have Epic Attributes and Boons rated up to their Legend, instead of being limited to (Legend – 1). This continues up to Legend 3. At Legend 4 and higher, characters revert to the (Legend – 1) rule.
        For the convenience of players, the complete but altered rules for character creation are given here:

        <sb1>Character Creation Summary
        <sb2>Step One: Character Concept
        • Choose character concept, pantheon, parental God and Nature.

        Step Two: Attributes
        • Note that all attributes start with one dot before you add any more.
        • Decide which categories — Physical, Social and Mental — will be primary (8 dots), secondary 6 dots) or tertiary (4 dots).
        • Choose Physical Traits: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina. Divide dots among these three Traits.
        • Choose Social Traits: Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance.
        • Choose Mental Traits: Perception, Intelligence, Wits.
        • No Attribute can go above 5.

        Step Three: Abilities
        • Note the 6 Favored Abilities inherited from the Scion’s divine parent.
        • Assign 6 dots among those Favored Abilities, however you like.
        • Assign 19 more dots among whatever Abilities you want.
        • No Ability ratings can go above 3 without using bonus points. Step Four: Advantages

        • Record Legend (2, can raise with bonus points) and Legend Points (Legend value, squared).
        • Choose 5 dots of Birthrights: Creature, Followers, Guide or Relic. None can be rated over 3 without spending bonus points.
        • Choose 10 dots of Epic Attributes and Boons.
        — No rating for an Epic Attribute or Boon can exceed the character’s Legend.
        — Epic Attributes cannot exceed their base Attribute.
        — Each General Purpose Boon has a separate dot cost. For instance, buying Storm Augmentation (Sky •••) does NOT mean a character also gets Wind’s Freedom (Sky ••) and Sky’s Grace (Sky •). They are separate purchases.
        — Special Purviews or Pantheon-Specific Purviews, however, are bought like Epic Attributes: Just pick the number of dots you want in them, and you gain all subsidiary Boons (or one spell for each dot of Magic).
        • Select one Knack for each dot in an Epic Attribute.
        • Record the pantheon’s Virtues and assign 5 dots among them. Every Virtue starts with one free dot. No Virtue can exceed 4 without spending bonus points, or exceed 5 in any case.
        • Record Willpower (sum of two highest Virtues).

        Step Five: Bonus Points
        • 15 bonus points may be spent at any stage of character creation, for any Traits:

        [BEGIN TABLE] Trait Bonus Point Cost Per Dot

        Attribute 4
        Ability 2 (1 for Favored Ability of divine parent)
        Birthright 1 (2 if the Birthright is being raised above 3)
        Virtue 3
        Willpower 2
        Legend 12
        Epic Attribute 5 (4 if Epic Attribute is associated with divine parent)
        Additional Knack 3
        <sb3>Additional Boons or Spells 5 (4 if source Purview associated with divine parent)
        [END TABLE]
        Last edited by DShomshak; 11-30-2016, 07:32 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          <1>HOUSE RULES, Part One
          Scion High does not follow the published Scion rules exactly. Some rules are tweaked for better play with younger characters who will not advance as far or as quickly as in a normal Scion game. Others are altered because they are unclear or do not seem conducive to the style of play I want.

          <2>Character Creation
          Scion High characters are Heroes — Scions whose Legend ranges from 2 to 4. All traits work as described in Scion: Hero. There are, however, a few changes to character creation:
          • Characters start with 25 dots for Abilities instead of 30. Scion High characters are incredibly skilled for teenagers, but they are nonetheless younger and less experienced than the standard game assumes.
          • Legend will stay low, and cannot be bought up with bonus points or experience points. Everyone starts at Legend 2. To preserve play balance, the whole Band or characters will raise their Legend at once, when the Storyteller judges their deeds have been sufficiently epic.
          • To compensate, starting characters can have Epic Attributes and Boons rated up to their Legend, instead of being limited to (Legend – 1). This continues up to Legend 3. At Legend 4 and higher, characters revert to the (Legend – 1) rule.

          <2>Amended Combat
          The following adjustments are made to the combat rules, to prevent some tactics from being either overwhelming, or bloody useless.

          <3>Amended Grappling
          Clinch Attack Roll is ([Strength or Dexterity] + Brawl). It has no Accuracy bonus, and a character cannot use Parry DV while attempting a clinch.
          Special DV vs. Clinch: Very strong creatures and characters can shrug off attempts to clinch them — they are too strong to hold. A character’s Clinch DV is a static value equal to (Strength + [higher of Brawl or Athletics]) ÷ 2. Epic Strength bonus successes add to it. Like other DVs, this is reduced by making attacks, and possibly other factors (you’re off balance, can’t use your strength most effectively, etc.) However, unexpected attacks do not render it inapplicable. Spending Legend for a “defensive do-over” offers its normal bonus.
          Held Character immediately has Dodge DV and Parry DV drop to 0, but is not completely Inactive. He can still communicate, use Social or Mental Knacks, Boons that do not require physical actions, and so on.
          Grappler’s Options, once he succeeds in a clinch attack:
          — Release the clinched target, who immediately regains his DV;
          — Just hold the clinched target, preventing him from taking physical actions;
          — Squeeze the clinched target, delivering Strength-based damage;
          — Throw the target straight down, inflicting Strength-basd damage and leaving the target prone;
          — Throw the target (Strength) yards away, forcing the target’s player to roll vs. Knockdown.
          Held Character’s Next Action takes place at its normal time, regardless of being grappled.
          A Resisted Roll to control the clinch can take place any time either character, grappler or grappled, has an action. Both players roll ([Strength or Dexterity] + Brawl).
          — Starting such a contest is a 6-tick action, just like attempting a clinch.
          — The other character’s resistance is reflexive.
          — Whichever character rolls the most successes takes control of the grapple and can decide what to do with the other character: release, hold, crush or throw. But, choosing to hold, crush or throw means starting a new Clinch action… committing yourself for the next 6 ticks.
          — Ties leave the current status of the grapple unchanged.
          — A character who breaks free from a grapple regains his DVs, but suffers the usual –1 DV penalty for taking a combat action.

          <3>Piercing Relics
          Relic Weapons that carry the “Piercing” quality cut all a target’s relevant soak in half, not just the portion that comes from armor.
          Any Armor with the “Bulletproof” tag cancels this effect, protecting all of the target’s soak.

          <2>Social Knacks and Unnatural Mental Influence
          The Scion rules are not entirely clear on how and when characters can resist the effects of Social Knacks and similar effects such as medusa paralysis. Many Knacks come with rules in the text about who they can affect. There is also the rule about spending Willpower to resist a Knack, but no explicit statement about whether such an action is immediate and reflexive. If the latter, then Social Knacks are useless against Scions and other supernaturals: All you’ve done by using a Knack is force the Scion to spend a Willpower point. Characters are unlikely to run out of Willpower points before other circumstances, e.g. killing the social attacker, renders the Knack’s use moot. Scion High therefore adopts the following house rules:
          Legend Classes: Social Knacks do not affect targets whose Legend is not just of a higher egend, but of a higher class of Legend. Thus, Heroes cannot Demigods and Gods. The same goes for creatures of comparable Legend ratings, so a Legend 4 lesser immortal cannot use Social Knacks on a Legend 6 lesser immortal. On the other hand, entities of lower Legend classes can still resist Social Knacks used by creatures of higher Legend classes. (Mortals remain the great exception. Ordinary mortals cannot resist Social Knacks at all.)
          Defined Resistance: If a Knack’s description says it only affects targets of lower Legend, supplies a contested role, or otherwise supplies a defined restriction on who it affects or how it may be resisted, these limitations still apply.
          Mental Defense Value Exception: To save on dice rolling, any roll contested by a target’s (Willpower + Integrity + Essence) roll must instead roll more successes than half of that total dice pool. As with Dodge and Parry DVs, it is assumed that the source dice pool always rolls an exactly average result. However, an MDV can be boosted through stunts, defensive do-over, etc., just as with normal DVs.
          One Action Minimum: In the absence of some specially defined immunity or resistance, a character must act as a social Knack directs for at least one action. Usually, this is a 5-tick miscellaneous action, but if the Knack compels the character to some other action, use that instead. (Examples: Using Overt Order to command one person to clinch another results in a normal 6-tick clinch attack. Using Dreadful Mien to make someone run away forces them to take a 3-tick Dash action.)
          Resistance Action: Spending Willpower is usually reflexive, but throwing off the effect of Social Knacks and other forms of supernaturally-enhanced mental influence takes a conscious effort of will. This involves a Speed 5, –1 DV miscellaneous action. If the Knack’s effect lasts only one action anyway (such as Overt Order), tough luck. You acted on it.
          Multiple Actions…: A character can do other things while taking a Resistance Action; he simply suffers a multiple action penalty (see Scion: Hero, p. 179). Throwing off a Knack’s effect is a diceless action, so any rolled action done at the same time suffers a –2 dice penalty.
          …Or Not: Many Social Knacks would be meaningless if characters could take other actions while under their effect. (For instance, Serpent’s Gaze necessarily implies that the target can’t attack, run away, call for help, etc.) Therefore, for that initial action of effect, characters cannot engage in any other, simultaneous actions, unless they are compelled to attempt multiple actions.
          Full Of Yourself: This Charisma Knack offers advantages in resisting other social Knacks, but does not render them completely ineffective. See the Knack’s description.

          Dean Shomshak


          Comment


          • #6
            <1>HOUSE RULES, Part Two
            <2>Modified Knacks

            <3>Knack Selection
            Some Knacks are reserved for Demigod-and-beyond characters, because they just don’t feel Hero-level to me. This includes all Knacks with prerequisites.

            <3>Altered Knacks:
            Appearance:My Eyes Are Up Here: This Knack now has no cost and is active whenever the Scion wants. While he’s using this Knack, though, he cannot use any other Epic Appearance Knacks. Nor can his player reroll Social rolls until the character reveals his Epic Appearance to the world.
            Dexterity:Untouchable Opponent: Duration of effect reduced from one scene to one action.
            Intelligence:Blockade of Reason: Rewritten to function identically to Full Of Yourself (see New Knacks).
            Intelligence:Fight With Your Head: Duration reduced from one scene to one action.

            <2>Fatebinding
            The power of Fate to force mortals to enact mythic roles in relation to Scions — and to pressure Scions into acting the ways those mortals expect — is one of the Scion game’s most distinctive and thematic elements. Unfortunately, Fatebinding hardly ever occurs until characters become Demigods, or unless they cast spells. To bring Fatebinding into Scion High, therefore, Fatebinding rolls become cumulative.
            As characters expend Legend, have each player keep a running tally of the Fatebinding successes rolled for their character. When the tally exceeds five successes, note that one Fatebinding has occurred. Then the player starts the tally over again. (For simplicity, keep the Fatebinding difficulty at 5, whether or not characters spend Legend to alter the outcome of events, or whether it is to power Boons or Knacks. Different thresholds for different exercises of Legend is a needless complication.)
            At the end of the scene, work out the strength of a character’s Fatebinding based on how many times the character caused Fatebinding to occur, as in the standard rules. Then select a target for the Fatebinding. As Scion: Hero says, this can be a person, but also an object, place or other target. For a novel option…

            <3>Math Is My Kryptonite
            While teachers are natural targets for Fatebinding, Storytellers might consider assigning Fatebound roles to particular subjects in school. Many Fated roles obviously do not apply very well to abstractions such as math, English or P. E., but negative roles such as Catastrophe, Jinx, Nemesis or Traitor should be easy to manage — the pop quiz on the subject you didn’t study or the weird accidents that keep happening in Chem class.

            Dean Shomshak

            Comment


            • #7
              <1>NEW KNACKS
              I don’t invent many new Knacks, but these came up in the course of Scion High.

              <3>Strength: We Shall Not Be Moved
              Cost: 1 Legend vs. surprise attacks; Reflexive

              Tremendously strong impacts can knock children of the Gods ass over teakettle… unless they know this Knack. The Scion reflexively uses her Epic Strength to brace against attacks. Her player subtracts the character’s Epic Strength rating from the number of yards of knockback the character suffers: If this brings the number to 0, the character suffers neither knockback nor knockdown. The Knack costs one Legend if the attack took the character by surprise. If she saw the attack coming, We Shall Not Be Moved acts automatically, at no cost.

              <3>Dexterity: Perfect Punch, Throwing Master
              These Dexterity Knacks function identically to Trick Shooter, but they involve (respectively) Brawl and Thrown. There is no analog for Melee, the Ability whose attacks gain the greatest possible bonuses from weapon traits and Epic Attributes.

              <3>Charisma: Full of Yourself
              Cost: None; Instant; Reflexive or Miscellaneous Action

              Your boundless self-confidence (or obnoxious egotism) helps you resistant other social Knacks. When affected by social Knacks or other forms of unnatural mental influence, you spend Willpower to resist as a reflexive action — but after the Knack has its normal guaranteed one action of effect upon you. (After which, resistance may be too late.)

              Alternatively, you may spend Willpower immediately, to resist taking any action that is the result of unnatural mental influence — but this means you take your (Speed 5, -1 DV) resistance action instead of whatever action was compelled. Just as you cannot take other actions in the initial moments of social compulsion, in this case you cannot take other actions besides the struggle to assert your will against that compulsion.

              You still lose 5 ticks of free action either way. But, at least you don’t do anything actively harmful to yourself or your allies.

              Example: Suttung Vetterson uses Overt Order to command Gus Sobeck to grab Holly Frost and rip her apart. Overt Order compels one action of obedience, and Gus’ player decides he doesn’t want Gus to obey the evil giant’s command. So, Gus spends a Willpower point and says, through gritted teeth, “Screw — You!” His next attack on Suttung is delayed by 5 ticks, but at least he did not spend those ticks attacking a teammate.

              <3>Manipulation: Forgettable
              Cost: 1 Legend, sometimes; Reflexive

              Instead of making an impression on people, you manipulate people into ignoring you and forgetting what you said and did. If you talk to people, they remember conversing with… umm… somebody, about… it couldn’t have been important. Even in a fight, your opponents remember only that they fought “some guy,” and can’t give anything but the haziest description. The Knack doesn’t change your looks in any way: You simply give cues that convince people you are not worth their attention.

              As long as you stay quiet and don’t call attention to yourself, you can use this Knack any time. People’s eyes just slide off you. If you want to interact with others but blur their memory of that scene, it costs a Legend point, paid before the interaction begins. (Sorry, you can’t blur memories after the fact.)

              Scions and other creatures of Legend can resist Forgettable as normal, if they think of it at the time. After the fact, a character’s player must succeed at a (Willpower + Integrity + Legend) roll, at a difficulty of the Scion’s Epic Manipulation, for the character to spend the willpower and force herself to rmember the person she ignored at the time.

              Epic Appearance prevents a character from using Forgettable, unless the Scion also has (and uses) My Eyes Are Up Here.

              <3>Manipulation: Power Groveling
              Cost: 1 Legend; Miscellaneous Action

              By abasing yourself, whining and pleading (and spending a Legend), you convince a threatening person that you cannot possibly be a danger and might make a decent lickspittle lackey. The Knack works equally well on sapient titanspawn (who often really dig having lickspittle lackeys), schoolyard bullies and truant officers, making it a good way to avoid all manner of trouble.

              Strictly speaking, the Knack’s effects last only one scene. After that, your target simply tends to think of you as a harmless wretch. It’s up to you to persuade him of your continued usefulness, instead of eating you, beating you up or otherwise harming you — assuming you didn’t have the sense to get away while you had the chance.

              Comment


              • #8
                NEW BOONS

                I didn't care much to create new Boons, either, but a few became unavoidable, or at least desirable to fill gaps in characters' capabilities. One simply seemed appropriate for the soap-oera-ish high school setting.

                <3>Saltpeter in the Coffee/Viagra in the Water (Health •)
                Dice Pool: Willpower + Legend Activation: Action
                Cost: 1 Legend Duration: Days

                With the slightest touch and expenditure of a point of Legend, the Scion can grant or withhold a very specific and highly valued form of health. One application of this Boon inflicts sexual impotence or frigidity. The other application grants increased (though not superhuman) sexual stamina and desire. (If you need a game mechanic, it adds +1 to the target’s Stamina, only for purposes of this particular fatiguing activity — see Scion: Hero, p. 182.) Whether either application is a curse or blessing depends on circumstances and point of view.

                The roll to inflict this Boon has a difficulty of the target’s Legend. The effects last one day, plus one day per threshold success. Use of either effect can cancel out the opposite application, leaving the target at her normal sexual capacity and interest.

                <3>My Knife is a Sword (War •)
                Dice Pool: None Activation: Action
                Cost: One Legend Duration: Scene

                Weapons are not of equal worth in battle, but a Scion’s force of divinity can make her a legendary warrior with any weapon she wants. Slaying enemies with a mace or a machine gun is ordinary. Slaying enemies with a pool cue, sickle or iron models of ducks… now, that’s legendary!

                When a character acquires this Boon, she selects a signature weapon. This can be an ordinary type of weapon from the lists on pp. 202 and 203 of Scion: Hero or some novel weapon that can be represented using those standard weapon templates. (For instance, a pool cue is a macana; a sickle can be a kama; and darts stand in for those iron mandarin ducks.) The Scion spends a Legend point; this can be part of the same action spent readying the weapon. For the rest of the scene, the weapon’s base Damage trait goes to +5 dice. The type of damage, bashing or lethal, does not change. Strength, Epic Strength, threshold successes and other factors then add to this base Damage as usual for weapons. Weapon Speed, Accuracy and other traits do not change.

                My Knife is a Sword works for relic versions of the character’s signature weapon. In this case, the Boon changes the Damage rating of the weapon template; additional Damage bought through the relic’s points add to this Damage of +5 dice.

                Obviously, this Boon is most useful when applied to weapons with low Damage ratings. It exists so Scions are not penalized for choosing signature weapons based on mythic appropriateness or sheer stylishness, instead of what kills enemies the most effectively.

                A character who buys My Knife is a Sword twice can apply its benefits to any weapon. Each new weapon so empowered, however, calls for a separate use of the Boon and a separate expenditure of Legend.

                NEW AND ALTERED PANTHEON-SPECIFIC PURVIEWS

                I won’t give full texts of these because some of the Boons draw on other people’s work. Ren Harvest is unchanged from the published version; Mana draws on the published version of Enech (the Irish Pantheon PSP) and the PSP in the Atua netbook. Runesinging is my own invention, but so simple that this capsule description is probably all anyone needs to nderstand the Chronicle.

                HEKU (Pesedjet): Power through names and the aspects of the soul.
                Ren Harvest: Gain Legend points when people speak or write of your deeds.
                •• Bind the Heart: Temporarily change another person’s Nature.
                ••• Shabti: Transform images into temporay Creatures or Followers.

                MANA (Atua): Wield and exploit supernatural prohibitions.
                Know Tapu: Sense supernatural entities and prohibitions.
                •• Warrior’s Mana: Assert your divine rank to enhance your weapons and armor.
                ••• Declare Minor Tapu: Forbidden object brings bad luck to those who touch it.

                RUNESINGING (Kaleva): Wield supernatural power through song instead of Relics.
                • Use one-dot Boons from one Purview without the need for a relic; sing instead.
                •• Use two-dot Boons from two Purviews without the need for a relic; sing instead.
                ••• Use three-dot Boons from three Purviews without the need for a relic; sing instead.

                Dean Shomshak

                Comment


                • #9
                  Now, moving on to stuff that's more fun: the protagonists of the campaign! I thought everyone made excellent characters. I am grateful to have such good players.
                  THE PLAYERS’ CHARACTERS

                  Naturally, three of the five players wanted to play characters who didn’t come from the official pantheons. So, I grabbed a quick’n’dirty Native American pantheon off the Scion Wiki, cribbed a few ideas from a fan-made Polynesian Pantheon (notably, I adapted the Irish PSP from the Scion Companion for a Polynesian PSP about taboos) and dashed off a simple Finnish pantheon and PSP. I hope you can figure out how the PSPs operate from context in the Chronicle.

                  GENE BLACKFOREST, Scion of Coyote
                  Gene’s mother was an aspiring actress who caught Coyote’s eye. He took a false identity for a one-night stand; neither parent had parenthood in mind at the time. Gene’s mother never found stardom, but she did eventually land a job as a local TV announcer. She gave Gene an interest in theater, and Coyote gave him a gift of gab and talent for deceit. Fortunately, Gene did not inherit his father’s amorality.

                  The other Manitou forced Coyote to acknowledge and Visit his son, but they didn’t have to force very hard. Coyote gave his son a belt that enabled Gene to channel Animal and Illusion Boons, and could also turn into a lasso. Gene also received a talking raven that could grow to great size.
                  Like his father, Gene tends to take impulsive, foolish risks and talk himself into trouble. With the help of friends, though, Gene is a little better than his father at talking himself out of trouble again.


                  GUS SOBECK, Scion of Sobek

                  Gus’ great-grandfather Gotthelf Sobeck was a member of the Afrika Korps in World War Two. Circumstances lead to him dumped in the Nile, with crocodiles closing in on him. Only, the largest and fastest crocodile talked to him instead of eating him. You bear my name, the crocodile said. For that, I will give you a chance to buy your life. Decades later, Sobek collected on that debt by taking the place of Gotthelf’s grandson for one night.

                  Gus is tall and strong, blonde-haired and blue-eyed — a young Dolph Lundgren. Even before his Visitation, he became a star athlete (football and wrestling), as well as a junior-league parkeur champion. In his spare time Gus participates in the neighborhood watch and teaches junior self-defense classes at the Y. His family has money (his father runs the local dealerships for BMW and a few other high-end European cars). Gus’ feeling of entitlement is tempered by a strictly meritocratic code: People with the drive to develop skill at something deserve respect for it; slackers do not.

                  His Visitation pretty much confirmed Gus’ attitudes about himself and the World. He became the most physically capable of the Scions, focusing on Epic Attributes, with Ren Harvest his only Boon. Shortly before he died, Gotthelf gave him a crocodile-tooth pendant; it is a Relic for channeling the Animal Purview, and allows Gus to summon a supernatural crocodile.

                  HOLLY FROST, Scion of Louhi
                  The Crone of Pohjola took the place of Holly’s mother to place a daughter with a suitably aristocratic American family: The Frost family fortune goes back before the Revolution. Her father runs a commercial bank (and he didn’t fall for the crazy schemes that crashed the financial system, thank you very much, the Frosts stick to the tried and true). Her mother is active in several charities. The Frosts are very nice people, and they taught Holly to be nice, too. Which she is. Which she works at… because when people make Holly truly angry, she destroys them with an icy fury and insidious, calculating genius.

                  Her Visitation revealed to Holly the source for those nastier aspects of her personality and amplified her agility and intellect to superhuman levels. Holly was a bit disappointed when her mother decreed that she should attend a public school on the other side of the country instead of a super-elite private school in the Hamptons, but no one argues with Louhi. Holly immediately decided that she would make Avalon High her oyster. She lives in one of the foreclosed McMansions, with two servants who don’t know what’s going on.

                  Holly has straight, pale blonde hair and a slim, enchanting figure. Boys pay court to the ice princess, knowing she will never melt but hoping nonetheless. She is very much her mother’s daughter: a witch, proficient in Magic, Mystery and getting her own way. Her chief tool of power is the Mirror of True Seeing, which channels Magic, Mystery and Moon, and lets her communicate with her Guide. To Holly’s frustration, neither her own intellect, persuasion or Mystery enable her to divine the identity behind the voice that advises her on supernatural lore and urges her to temper her vengeful, manipulative streak.

                  JACK THOMPSON, Scion of Lono
                  Jack Thompson always knew he was the son of a God… sort of. When she was younger, his somewhat hippyish marine biologist mother met gonzo journalist and counterculture icon Hunter S. Thompson on a beach in Hawaii, and the result was Jack. Hunter S. Thompson was fond of claiming that he was the mortal incarnation of Lono, the Polynesian God of a whole lot of stuff. Lono thought it was funny (and only fair) to take Hunter S. Thompson’s form, that night on a Hawaiian beach. Later, Jack’s mother moved to Washington and became an oceanography and marine biology teacher at a community college.

                  As the son of a Polynesian War God, Jack grew up tall, strong and not looking a bit like either his mother or Hunter S. Thompson. Jack is an ace football player (people call him the Throwin’ Samoan, really smart, highly sociable… and both lazy and self-sabotaging. He very much channels the trickster aspects of his father. He can take things seriously, but can’t stand to be seen taking things seriously, or to have other people take him seriously.

                  Jack’s Visitation strengthened all these aspects of his identity. He became even stronger, much quicker, and smarter. His father gave him the little tiki figure from an episode of The Brady Bunch, to use in channeling Chaos and Sky Boons (so far, Jack only shows interest in Chaos), and a hula dancer figurine that summons the ghost of a Polynesian warrior, as Jack’s trainer. Jack’s five buddies on the Avalon Knights offensive line spontaneously became his Followers.

                  JAEDA MAGDALENA, Scion of Tlazoltéotl
                  Mexican cabana boy Mateo Magdalena had no ambition higher than being a freelance gigolo to wealthy Anglo touristas, when he caught the eye of the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Tlazoltéotl was posing as an actress in the, ahem, adult cinema industry at the time she visited the resort. She could have had any of the eager, good-looking young cabana boys; she chose Mateo. Nine months later, she reappeared just long enough to hand over the infant Jaeda and tell Mateo to raise their child well. Mateo did not. He ended up hopping the border to land in East Los Angeles, where Jaeda grew up in a world of poverty, gangs and drugs. When Tlazoltéotl next looked in on her daughter, she found Mateo drinking the stipend she’d arranged to support Jaeda, and her daughter the heroin-addicted doxy of a gangbanger. Tlazoltéotl got her daughter cleaned up, told her about the Atzlánti, and sent her to Avalon and the terrifying new challenge of high school.

                  Jaeda now lives with her father in a Hooverdale trailer park. Her greatest love is the 1970 Roadrunner she restored herself. She is the most beautiful girl in school, as well as a swift and deadly knife fighter. Unfortunately, she still suffers severe self-esteem issues that make her cling to people around her, even while pretending to be a rebel who goes her own way.
                  Tlazoltéotl gave her daughter a pair of Tezcatlipoca’s Smokin’ Mirrorshades(TM) that enable her to channel Darkness Boons. (Nothing unusual in that; the Lord of Night hands them out to any Atzlánti who ask.) She also gave Jaeda a Tepetlacalli — a ceremonial stone box used with bloodletting ceremonies; its only power is that using it in the Maguey Sting rite means the rite gives two Legend points instead of one.

                  Tlazoltéotl was as surprised as anyone when Jaeda opened the box and found the First Flower inside. The First Flower is the obsidian dagger that Quetzalcoátl used when he sacrificed the other Atzlánti to initiate the Age of the Fifth Sun. It is one of the pantheon’s most potent Relics. Quetzalcoátl says the First Flower goes where Fate directs, and no one dares call him a liar. The dagger has –1 Speed and +1 Damage compared to a normal hadseax, its damage is Piercing, and channels Health and Illusion Boons — specifically, The Subtle Knife, so Jaeda can take it places where people would frown on such weapons. It has channeled other Purviews for other owners, but no owner receives access to more than two Purviews.

                  Dean Shomshak

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                  • #10
                    Oh, hey, and you might like to know a little about where the campaign was set. Most of the setting was designed on the fly, but here's what the players knew at the beginning.

                    AVALON, ETNA, HOOVERDALE

                    The Scions live in and around the small town of Avalon. It is part of the exurban fringe that arcs around the east side of Seattle, from Monroe to Tukwila. Avalon’s exact location is left undefined. Its nearest neighbor is another small town, Etna. The strip of unincorporated King County between Avalon and Etna supposedly holds the community of Hooverdale.

                    Avalon is a nice, moderately affluent town very much like Monroe. Its “downtown” consists of several blocks of trendy boutiques, restaurants and other small businesses, along with the town hall and public library. Around this spreads a halo of grocery stores and big-box stores, offices for dentists, realtors and other professional people, and a residential mix of condo blocks with older ranch-style homes, bungalows and the inevitable brand-new McMansions. Avalon High is part of this fringe. So is the very upscale gated community of Rowanfield, which has its own golf course.

                    Etna is rougher, with fewer professional offices and more self-storage lots and car dealerships. The fanciest restaurant is a Red Robin’s. What passes for a downtown consists of two intersecting main streets lined with fast food joints, auto parts stores, mini-mart gas stations and a Safeway. Both streets are always choked with people going through Etna on their way to and from somewhere else. The homes tend to be older, with more bungalows and apartments than condos or McMansions.

                    A freeway runs through the unincorporated strip between Avalon and Etna. Offramps lead to both towns. This is allegedly Hooverdale, but Hooverdale does not actually exist. During the S&L real estate bubble of the 1980s, developers laid out streets for extensive housing developments with names like “Quail Run” and “Cedar Vista.” A mall was also built. Then the bubble burst, leaving an offramp to a mall and a whole lot of vacant lots. Instead of elegant upscale communities, Hooverdale got trailer parks. The recent real estate boom led to a crop of McMansions in Hooverdale (land was cheap), but most of those are now in foreclosure and the former residents live in the trailer parks. Hooverdale Mall was refurbished and expanded, though, and now survives on the business from Avalon, Etna and further afield.

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                    • #11
                      Here we go with the adventures! Since the accounts are a bit long, I'll break them up into smaller chunks.

                      Episode One: Back to School

                      The series begins with the first day of class in the new school year. The characters all received their Visitations over the summer. Their divine parents told them all they would go to school with other Scions: Some characters already lived in the town of Avalon, while others moved to the area during the summer. Only Gus and Jack, however, know about each other before school starts, because they are both on the football team and so find out during August practice. The Gods plan to introduce their Scions during a special lunchtime meeting.

                      Act One: Introductory Scenes
                      As Gus, Jack, Gene, Holly and Jaeda arrive at Avalon High, they see the little dramas of the other students as kids renew acquaintances or meet the Scions for the first time. In no particular order…

                      HOLLY: The beautiful, obviously moneyed new girl attracts immediate notice by the Fashionistas, the school’s self-appointed queen bee clique. Notable among them are golden-haired blonde cheerleader Delia Bright and red-headed Empress Bee, Sheena Delisle. They grill Holly about her knowledge of fashion, makeup, what’s “in,” and other important subjects. Holly, of course, outdoes all the Fashionistas: Her father has more money; she not only has a Prada handbag, she bought it in New York on the same trip when she saw a Broadway show; etc.

                      Sheena has other things on her mind, though. She sees s00per-hawt swim team star Derek Huckovich, whom she seems to regard as hers. She calls to him in a familiar manner, calling him over to the group. On the way, though, Derek bumps into another beautiful girl, not a Fashionista: Laine Farber. They seem to know each other, as Derek says Laine looks great without her braces. Indeed, they can’t seem to take their eyes off each other.

                      Holly tries to assess the social dynamics and gets it disastrously wrong. (The player botched the first roll of the game, woohoo!) Holly tells Sheena how good Derek and Laine look together, clearly they’ve been a couple a long time. Sheena snarls, stalks over and yanks Derek away. Derek doesn’t stick around, and his parting words are for Laine. Sheena rounds on Laine and hisses that nobody dates the star athletes except Fashionistas or girls who have their permission, and Laine is not to touch Derek, ever. Laine flinches and hurries away.

                      GUS: As Gus walks down the hall toward his locker he sees Burt Broder, one of the school’s more notorious bullies, shove and mock Landon Smith, one of the school’s more victimized nerds. This time, however, Landon doesn’t flinch, plead or try to get away. When Burt tries to shove Landon again, Landon neatly judo-flips him to the floor. Burt’s sub-bully minions move in… but Vice-Principal Stone intervenes before a fight can start. Landon quickly says that Burt tripped, and Burt’s buds reluctantly obey the No Squealing Code and back him up. VP Stone seems dubious — he knows this game — and tells Burt and Landon that he’ll be watching them. Gus thinks Stone aims the warning at Landon more than Burt — but Stone is well known for partiality toward jocks (Burt is a wrestler, though not a very good one) and against nerds, geeks and other “weakling” types. Gus wonders: Is Landon one of us?

                      JACK: Coach Reagan has gathered a number of the varsity players and is giving them a motivational speech before classes. He says this is the best team Avalon High has ever had, and this year he wants to finally beat their arch-rivals, the Etna Titans. Everyone will have to give 120% this season — 110% just isn’t good enough anymore! And that goes double for Jack. Talent isn’t enough, he says gruffly. This year, Jack needs to buckle down and work to win. Team captain (and senior) Warren Mansfield says they will all do their best. Coach also warns the players to avoid distractions such as girls, afterschool jobs or grades. For the next three months, they need to keep their minds on what matters: football!

                      GENE: While he mingles and shmoozes with the students he knows, Gene encounters another member of the drama club: Ashley Grace Kowalski, who prefers to use her middle name. Grace is a Perkygoth. She wears black, reads poetry and 19th century romances, baby-sits because it’s the closes she can come to being a governess, and has spiked fuchsia hair that is certainly not suitable for an early 19th-century English country estate.

                      Grace and her friends all carry various books in the “Twilight” series. Her friends chivvy Grace into admitting that Edward is hot, though Grace insists he still comes behind Heathcliffe and Mr. Rochester. Grace and Gene banter and flirt a bit before he moves on, working the crowd.

                      JAEDA: The emigré from East L.A. immediately attracts a flock of admiring boys. After all, she’s the hottest girl they’ve ever seen, and her clothes say “Bad Girl Who Says Yes.” The boys want to know who she is, where she’s from, what she likes to do, her phone number, etc. Middle-aged janitor Mitch Osada shoos them away and gives Jaeda bit of faintly sinister advice. In many ways, he says, Avalon is a lot safer than East Los Angeles. No gangs, not much drugs or crime. On the other hand, it has dangers of its own that Jaeda might not expect. She should be careful — especially in how she chooses her friends. Enigmatic warning complete, he sends Jaeda off to the start-of-year school assembly.

                      There is a brief assembly in the school auditorium before everyone goes to their classes. The assembly features a pep talk from Principal Flecker. It’s exactly the same speech he gives every year and leaves everyone thoroughly depressed.

                      Act Two: Meet and Greet
                      At lunchtime, the Scions’ divine parents meet them at the classroom door and escort them to a conference room. (Except for Holly, who merely received instructions from Louhi.) Matters become tense as the Gods argue who will chair the meeting, but Lono (resuming his guise as Hunter S. Thompson) and Coyote manage to soothe divine egos.

                      Lono takes the podium. He reminds everyone of the war between Gods and Titans and the intent to have Scions get to know each other, learn to work together and form cross-pantheon alliances that the older Gods are too bound by Fate to manage easily. Each God then introduces his or her offspring, gives his or her own statement of what they want from their children, and has the Scion make a brief statement of his own.

                      The Gods’ introductions tell more about their characters than supply useful advice. Apollo tells the Scions to be beautiful and amazing. Huitzilopochtli tells them to fight and die bravely; their sacrifices will save the World. Tlazolteótl tells Apollo to stop flirting, she’s not interested. Oh, and the Scions should try not to get caught doing anything that would get them expelled. Sobek advised against leaving witnesses. Shango (well, he says he’s Shango; he looks and sounds like James Earl Jones) tells the Scions to remember that they are to guide and protect mortals as well as fight threats to the World. Coyote spikes the punchbowl. Lono tells the Scions to remember to have fun and make friends. He notices Holly and has her introduce herself.

                      The most dramatic incident, though, comes when Nergal introduces himself and his son, Leo. Nergal, Lord of Lions, God of night, death, plague and hunting, says he hopes the other Scions can make a man of his maggot of a son whom he never wanted anyway. When told to speak, Leo pulls out a cross and tries to rebuke and exorcise Nergal and the other “pagan devils” in the name of Christ. Nergal flips out. He throws Leo across the refreshment table, rips Leo’s shirt off, carves a sketch of a lion on his back and summons a lion-demon. He tells the spirit that Leo is its assignment. The spirit fades and becomes a tattoo of a rearing lion across Leo’s now-unwounded back. The other Gods do not interfere because they are in low-Legend Avatars and Nergal is not and could destroy the whole school in a moment of rage.

                      The Gods then leave so the Scions can get to know each other on their own. In addition to the PCs, there are:

                      DELIA BRIGHT, Scion of Apollo: Beautiful, vain, status-obsessed. Flirts with Gus because she’s a Fashionista, he’s a handsome star jock and it’s the natural order for them to be together. She snubs Holly and Jaeda.

                      MARSHALL BYRD, Scion of Huitzilopochtli: Brawny army brat, proud, patriotic and a real dick. He announces that as the Scion with the most combat training, he will be the group’s trainer and war-leader. He also tells Jaeda, rather patronizingly, that if she sticks with him he’ll take care of her. He mocks Leo and calls Gus “Dolph”; Gus responds by dubbing him “Niedermeyer.” Marshall doesn’t make any friends here.

                      BARBARA CROWNE, Scion of Shango: Politically ambitious. She has her eye on the
                      White House and sees student government as a necessary small first step. Barbara pumps the other Scions for information but gives away little about herself. Holly recognizes Barbara as her chief rival. They are carefully nice to each other.

                      LEO LEFEBVRE, Scion of Nergal: Stays miserably to himself, rebuffs attempt to be nice to him. Even Gene can’t get through to him. Gus, Jack, Gene, Jaeda and Holly agree that Leo will be a problem.


                      Dean Shomshak

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                      • #12
                        Episode One: Back to School (Continued)

                        Act Three: Malled!
                        Barbara arranged a mass expedition to Hooverdale Mall to shop for school supplies and new outfits. Once at the mall, though, the Scions split up into individuals, pairs and trios. At the food court, the PCs find no groups of seats; Marshall sits with a group of fellow military brats, while Delia sits with fellow Fashionistas. The PCs decide to eat together on a set of benches in the main concourse.

                        Near the benches, workmen have ripped up a section of mall floor to inspect an area of subsidence beneath the mall’s foundations. They can’t see a cause for the earth disturbance. A workman then falls into the ground with a scream, which is immediately cut off. Then a huge, pink, serpentine horror erupts from the ground — a lindwurm!

                        Battle is joined. Everyone stunted like mad (too many to remember and list). Gus leads off with an attempt to slug the giant worm with his best haymaker. His fist bounces. Jaeda strikes with her Relic knife, and it bounces too. Jack, however, improvises a discus from the lid of a garbage can and charges it with Warrior’s Mana. It slices into the lindwurm but is destroyed in the process. Holly uses Lightning Sprinter to pull the remaining workmen and other nearby people to safety in the nearby bridal shop. Gene produces his Relic lasso.

                        Gene helps Jaeda strike a better blow by lassoing the lindworm. He knows he can’t possibly hinder the massive (and massively-strong) monster, but his attack lets him employ Perfect Partner and coordinate with Jaeda, reducing the lindwurm’s DV against Jaeda’s next attack. Still, Jaeda doesn’t hurt it much.

                        Holly can do nothing to harm the lindwurm physically, so she pulls out her Relic mirror, catches the monster’s reflection and glares fiercely while delivering the fiercest malediction a daughter of the Hamptons can inflict: “Pink? Pink!?” Her Evil Eye lops five dice off the lindwurm’s subsequent actions. The lindwurm strikes at Jaeda but misses badly.

                        Gus realizes that hitting the lindwurm is futile. Instead, he wrestles it. Flexing and gathering his energies for a Crushing Grip, his shirt bursts off. (Just a bit of stunting.) He grabs the worm and starts ripping it apart. Jaeda keeps stabbing at the immobilized lindwurm while Jack takes a stab with a dropped pickax. Jaeda finally strikes the killing blow by stabbing at an existing wound, managing to sever an internal organ.

                        All this took about 15 seconds. Just as the lindwurm falls, Marshall and Delia run up. Marshall is angry because he missed the battle. He says they shouldn’t have fought the monster without him; the PCs’ opinion of him drops further. (Particularly since he’d bragged about his gun skills and seems conspicuously lacking in ordnance.) Delia just wants to help Gus clean off the lindwurm icky-stuff, preferably someplace private.

                        The Gods told the Scions to hide evidence of the supernatural, so the Scions “borrow” a panel truck while Gene and Holly steal the security tape footage. They burn the body in the basement of one of Hooverdale’s unfinished houses. Not knowing exactly what its Trophy is, they chop up the lindwurm before Holly checks her mirror (Mystery Purview) and learns they were supposed to collect its skin. Nevertheless, the Scions feel pretty good about defeating their first monster. They burn the body to prevent Titanic energies from turning any other creatures into monsters.

                        Delia, meanwhile, makes herself useful by handling the media. When cops and reporters arrive at the mall, they find the tearful-but-trying-to-be-brave Scion of Apollo spinning a yarn about Mexican Mafia gangsters using a Fiendish Thingie to kill a workman and scare everyone away from their drug deal. It’s more comforting to believe in gangster killings than giant worms, so the media buy this and nobody asks too many questions. (Later, the Scions investigate the lindwurm’s hole and find that it collapsed just a few yards back, so they can’t follow the tunnel to the lindwurm’s source.)

                        Act Four: Friday Night Fights
                        That Friday, the Avalon Knights have their first home game against their arch-rivals, the Etna Titans. Coach Reagan is almost frantic with desire to finally beat the Titans.

                        Gus and Jack are, of course, on the field. From what they’ve been told about the Fateful Aura of Scions, Holly, Jaeda and Gene decide they’d better attend a game against the Titans. In the parking lot, Jaeda’s eye is drawn to a beautifully restored golden Ford Mercury convertible. Men would kill or die to have Jaeda look at and touch them the way she handles the car.

                        The three easily wangle a place on the sidelines instead of up in the stands. (IIRC, Gene instantly got himself a place as the only boy on the cheer squad, not counting the boy who dons cardboard-and-tinfoil armor and waves a tinfoil sword as the team mascot, Sir Dance-A-Lot.) Delia is there too, as head cheerleader. (She gives Jaeda and Holly the stink eye.) If any other NPC Scions are there, the PCs don’t see them.

                        The Scions do, however, see a middle-aged, Nordic-looking couple in the stands. Who are about 10’ tall — frost giants! There are also two rocky-looking, 8’ high giants in Etna High letter jackets. The Titans themselves, however, just look like high school steroid junkie barbell boys.

                        The Titans quickly establish themselves as a powerful team. Their defensive line is exceptionally tough, strong and fierce. Most of the team’s strategies, however, revolve around getting the ball to #34, Gary Vetterson, who simply plows through all attempts to stop him and takes down any Knight he tackles.

                        Gus and Jack know about Gary Vetterson. A recruiter from Alabama came to watch him play last year, when he was only a junior. He seems to have gotten even better. But can he stand up to Scions?

                        Yes, he can. Gus first clashes directly with Gary when the Titan jinks from out of a screen of other players and lunges at Gus in an attempt to tackle. It was a good play, but wouldn’t have worked against Gus’ Epic Strength… except Gary clearly has Epic Strength as well. It’s a near thing, but Gus goes down. Gus complements Gary on the play. Gary says to get used to it. The Titans take a narrow lead and hold it through that quarter.

                        In the second quarter, Coach Reagan calls team captain Warren Mansfield over. Warren comes back with a new play. Gus and Jack are both to use a feint and try tackling Gary Vetterson. They have to stop him. Gus and Jack make their attempts — and as Gary reels, Warren dives at him low. This isn’t just an attempt to knock him off his feet: The two Scions can tell that this is an attack meant to dislocate a knee and take Gary out of the game. And then the rest of the Knights’ offensive line lands on Gary, concealing the dirty play from the referee.

                        Gary is on his knees when he roars with rage. Suddenly, he is 8’ tall with ice-white skin and rime on his pads and jersey. He lifts the entire mass of Knights piled on him and throws them like a handful of puppies. The crowd cheers at this amazing play, but only the Scions seem to see the giant who has suddenly manifested on the field. Seconds later, Gary is again merely a very large, strong teenage boy.

                        The dirty play sets Gus seething with rage. He collars Warren and stalks over to Coach Reagan. Warren admits the coach ordered the assault. Coach Reagan starts trying to bluster his rationalizations and get Gus back out on the field, but Gus hits him with Game Face. Coach Reagan blanches and runs away. Gus snarls at Warren that win or lose, the Knights are playing the rest of the game clean.

                        Well, sort of. Jack has other ideas.

                        Gus and Jack no longer even pretend to follow Warren’s leadership on the field. Jack commandeers his Followers on the offensive line to ordain a new strategy: Run around like maniacs, getting in the Titans’ way, to cause as much chaos on the field as possible. Jack then takes the ball and runs down the field, using Eye of the Storm so the chaos of milling, confused boys doesn’t affect him. By using Legend in this manner, Jack scores several touchdowns and pushes the Knights far into the lead. The Titans rally in subsequent quarters, with superb play by Gary and the defensive line (which always looks at him for approval before carrying out a play) — but they cannot overcome the substantial lead. The game ends with a solid victory by the Knights.

                        (Gene, Holly and Jaeda don’t find much to do on the sidelines, but they keep an eye on the giants. Gene also notices a remarkably hot Nordic glamazon in the Etna section of the stands.)

                        Dean Shomshak

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                        • #13
                          Episode One: Back to School

                          Act Five: Aftermath
                          Jaeda and Holly are first out after the game, followed closely by Gene, who wants to meet the leggy, golden-haired beauty he saw in the stands. Turns out, she had noticed him in the cheer section. She seems pleased to make his acquaintance, though she also wants to know about Jack and Gus, whom she calls the best players she’s ever seen… besides her brother. She introduces herself as Reese Vetterson — Gary’s sister. The Scions see the middle-aged frost giants drive off in a maximum-size SUV that should still be too small for them.

                          Coming out of the locker rooms, Gus and Jack rendezvous with the other PCs. Gary has already met the other Scions at the Ford Mercury, which is, of course, his car that he restored himself. Jaeda impresses Gary by showing she can Talk Car. The two young rock giants also arrive at about the same time.

                          Although Gary had seemed to respect Gus somewhat for Gus’ strength and his sportsmanship (he’d made sure to apologize to Gary for the dirty play), the young giant now scowls at Jack and Gus. “Scions,” he snarls. Gary clearly wants to hit someone as he tells Gus and Jack how his parents told him what the two Scions were, and there can be nothing but war between giants and lousy, stinking God-brats. At the same time, he’s arguing with Reese that she shouldn’t get friendly with boys who “aren’t our kind.” Reese retorts that that limits her to Don and Dave — evidently, the two rock giants. She’s had them both. In fact, she’s had them both at once, and wasn’t impressed. So, she’ll look for her fun elsewhere. This does not improve Gary’s temper any, and the two young rock giants look pretty pissed as well.

                          Seeing that a completely pointless fight is about to erupt, Gene leaps up onto the hood of a car to get everyone’s attention. (Not Gary’s Mercury. Not being an idiot, he senses that would be bad.) Gene begins declaiming a paean about the game, giving full credit to all the great plays by the Titans as well as the Knights. Powered by Epic Manipulation and Center of Attention, he keeps everyone’s attention long enough for tempers to cool. Holly records it all on her phone to show at the next school assembly. By the time Gene winds down, everyone feels pretty good about themselves and the game. Gary scowls that he’s still no friend of Scions, but is no longer about to explode. He even asks Jaeda if she wants to Talk Car some more. Jaeda says, “I’m a Scion too,” turns on her heel and stalks away.

                          The Scions proceed to the post-game party. Jack is the hero of the hour, though there’s enough talk about Gus for the Pesedjet Scion to recover his spent Legend through Ren Harvest. Naturally, Jack sabotages himself by getting stinking drunk and waking up the next morning with his pants worn in a non-standard fashion.

                          Delia is at the party too, and she makes it clear she still has the hots for Gus. Gus would like to get hot and heavy with Delia, but his code of honor demands one thing from the Scion of Apollo: He tells Delia that she has to show Jaeda the respect due to a fellow Scion who’s shown courage and skill in facing titanspawn. Delia blows up, calls Jaeda the “trailer trash daughter of a trailer trash god,” and storms off. She clearly is angry at Gus now, as well.

                          Plans for the Future:
                          Gene has no special plans except for looking up Reese Vetterson’s phone number.

                          Gus gives Warren a kindly-but-stern talk about fair play and winning clean.

                          Holly sets out to befriend Laine and acquire a string of nerd followers as she joins the chess club, Knowledge Bowl and every other extracurricular activity where she can shine. Plus, she wants to start a rock band. Anything to raise her prestige.

                          Jack, inspired by the lindwurm incident, starts looking for reports of other weird events.

                          Jaeda pines for Gary’s car, while getting lust-crazed boys to do her homework.

                          -----------------
                          And so the saga begins!

                          Dean Shomshak

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                          • #14
                            I like to imagine Norse Scions are the kids who somehow get access to alcohol, while being underage. :P

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                            • #15
                              I'd thank you for the drinking song, but the library's computer didn't give me sound. Mute/Unmute button made no difference. Odd. I'll try again when I visit a friend and use his computer. Moving on...

                              EPISODE TWO: AN EYE FOR BEAUTY

                              Act One: Fast Times at Avalon High
                              In the week after the game against the Etna Titans, the Scions all find ways to keep busy.

                              HOLLY gets to know Laine Farber, the girl who outraged arch-Fashionista Sheena Delisle by catching the dreamy star of the swim team, Derek Huckovich. Laine is at once bedazzled and terrified at dating Derek, but things seem to be going well between them. Holly believes she can recruit them for a counter-clique against the Fashionistas.

                              GUS AND JACK face Coach Reagan’s ire: Gus for calling Coach Reagan on his dirty play and sending him fleeing in supernatural terror, Jack for winning the game in a way that offends Reagan’s sensibilities. He rides them both through the week’s football practice. Warren Mansfield also tries to avoid talking to them or meeting their eyes. Jack finds that not everyone on the team is happy with him blatantly winning the game on his own, either.

                              Gus also has a chat with the enigmatic Barbara Crowne. He learns less than he hoped. Barbara makes it clear, though, that she sees her talents as chiefly social, and she doesn’t expect to join any monster fights.

                              At the same time, Jack looks for recent news stories of weird events in the area. He finds an odd coincidence, a UFO sighting, attacks on livestock, a murder victim’s body in strange condition, and a sighting of a big pink snake — aha, a lindwurm! But was it the same lindwurm they slew, or another one? He puts pins in a map, hoping that a pattern will emerge that leads to, well, something.

                              GENE looks up the Vetterson family’s phone number. Lucky for him, Reese answers the phone. She remembers him from the game and post-game events, and she wouldn’t mind seeing more of him. Reese suggests Gene join her and some of her friends on a picnic that weekend. Oh, and to bring a few more cute boys to keep her friends company. He can get her text and email contacts through her MySpace page. Gene looks. Along with the usual list of interests and activities, he finds a stunning picture of Reese in a bikini, and that her name is actually Rieste.

                              JAEDA seems to be on the verge of making some mortal friends: Bob and Alice, a couple she meets in the lunchroom. Bob asks her to join them at a party Saturday night.

                              Act Two: Skeleton and Stone
                              Jack asks Gene for help in learning more about the murder victim found in a patch of Hooverdale woods. The news reports are sketchy. The body is that of a teenage girl from Etna High called Crystal Gould who disappeared about three weeks ago. The condition of the body, however, suggests she died long before that, so the cops have not officially identified her yet.

                              Gene’s mom is a local newscaster, so he asks her what the cops aren’t allowing on the air. The cops genuinely don’t know much, as the body was just a mass of bones in the earth. The boys decide this is weird enough to bring in Holly. Gene and Holly pose as school newspaper reporters, talk their way into the police station that’s investigating the crime, and snaffle out a copy of the medical examiner’s report; Holly also sees the body’s location on a map.

                              The ME found two blows to the head, neither fatal, and evidence of a slow and inexpert knife to the heart. Something also stripped the flesh from the bones, but he can’t identify what. The bones were also jumbled in an area of churned, loose earth. Jack and Holly decide to inspect the murder scene.

                              The body was found in a patch of forest left untouched by development, among a mass of Indian plum and near a large granite boulder. In the evening, the site becomes distinctly cold, shadowy and creepy. Jack decides to use his Atuan ability to sense the supernatural and finds that yup, there’s dark evil chthonic supernatural power here, radiating from the boulder. When he looks at the boulder, it’s like a “Magic Eye” picture: In the streaks and speckles of different minerals in the granite, he sees a grotesque, madly snarling face. He also steps on a banana slug that’s way too big. Maybe he shouldn’t have been barefoot.

                              The characters decide to bring in the whole group of Scions. They even talk to Leo, who has done his best to stay alone; to their surprise, he joins the examination of the magic boulder. The Scions debate whether the murder victim was a sacrifice, whether the boulder generated the lindwurm, and what they should do about it. Leo decides not to debate. He tries to exorcise the rock with his cross but shows no surprise that it has no effect. Attempting a physical approach, he also whacks the boulder with his mace to no greater effect. “I’m useless,” he announces, and leaves.

                              Jaeda then decides to exorcise the rock using Atzlánti techniques — which she does not actually know. She guesses that since blood is sacred, she’ll gash her hand, press it to the rock, and command the evil power to depart. Instead, she loses all her Legend points, most of her Willpower, and is stunned for a few minutes… while earthworms in the soil nearby wriggle out of the ground, visibly growing into lindwurms! Everyone spends the next hour or so chasing and killing nascent lindwurms.

                              Marshall then surprises the group by saying he might have a solution. He knows a guy who might be able to get some C4 — not tonight, but soon. The next day, he calls everyone’s cell phone to say that yes, he can get C4! Gus winces, and suggests this is not the sort of thing to say over a cell phone. “Oops.” Later, Marshall and the others get together to schedule a demolition. Friday night is out; Gus and Jack have another football game. Saturday afternoon is out; Gene has his date with Reese. Saturday night is out; Jaeda has her party with Bob and Alice. Eventually, they settle on Sunday morning.

                              That Friday, the Knights play an away game against the traditionally weak team from Redmond High (those Microsoft babies spend too much time playing video games). Coach benches Gus so one of the second-stringers can play. Gus does not like this one bit, but he grudgingly accepts it. The Knights win anyway, and Coach seems satisfied that he has asserted his authority. Despite this, Gus hosts the post-game party at his house. Gus sees that Delia has picked Warren as her boyfriend. Delia smiles mock-sweetly, claps Gus on the shoulder, and tells him not to feel bad that the team managed without him. Sheena, though, takes the opportunity to come on to Gus and make it clear she’ll go as far as he does. Gus eagerly accepts the invitation and finds… he can’t perform. Thinking quickly, he makes sure Sheena doesn’t notice. But he ends the evening in a foul mood and determined that someone’s gonna suffer for this. Sheena, though, seems happy. She is already running for Homecoming Queen, with Delia as her only rival. She suggests Gus join her by running for Homecoming King, in competition with Warren.

                              Saturday, Gene and some theater class buddies join Reese and her similarly sporty friends. They hold their picnic near a TV/radio transmission tower. Conversation turns to the urban legend that the radio transmissions from the dishes are so intense that they’d cook or electrocute you. Reese announces that she’ll test the story by climbing the tower, and she challenges Gene to join her. He calls and raises by making it a race to the top of the tower: If Reese loses, she has to be his date for Avalon High’s Homecoming dance. Reese finds this acceptable. In return, though, if she wins, Gene must be her date at the Etna High dance. Gene agrees. They both climb with amazing speed (Epic Dexterity will do that), but Reese wins handily. It’s as if she had a much longer reach than Gene does… which of course she does. Giant, Gene remembers.

                              Saturday night, Jaeda goes to the party and dances with several boys. Bob is there. Alice is not: Bob says she couldn’t make it. Then he draws her into a side room and explains that Alice couldn’t make it to the party because he didn’t tell her about it. If he can make out with Jaeda, Bob goes on, he’ll do her math homework. Jaeda’s tempted — she has trouble even with remedial math — but decides this would be a scummy betrayal of Alice, who has never been anything but nice to her. She turns Bob down. Fifteen minutes later, a tearful and angry Alice arrives at the party to accuse Jaeda of trying to steal her boyfriend: someone sent her a picture of them dancing together. Jaeda points out that she danced with a lot of boys, and this is between Alice and Bob. Bob starts groveling as Alice drags him away from the party, and Jaeda puts him out of her mind.

                              Sunday morning, the Scions convene at the boulder. Marshall brought his guy with C4, a grizzled vet with a right-wing paranoid streak a mile wide. Gus pulls Marshall aside for a sotto-voce argument, reminding him that they aren’t supposed to let mortals in on their activities. Marshall retorts that his guy doesn’t know anything about Gods and Scions; all he knows is that he’s demonstrating C4 demolition to a group of kids.

                              The vet, Sgt. Curtis LeMay Maxon, drills holes in the rock, packs in wads of C4, and sets wires and detonators. Everybody moves back. Maxon sets off the charges. There’s a great big boom — and when the smoke clears and gravel stops raining down, the boulder is a heap of rubble! Better still, Jack checks for mana and finds the rock’s supernatural power rapidly fading. Whaddaya know, you can stop some supernatural threats with high explosives. The Scions depart before the authorities come to investigate an explosion at a crime scene. Everyone feels satisfied at a job well done. Gus even admits to Marshall that blowing up the rock was pretty damn cool. Jack merely pockets a fragment of granite for a souvenir.

                              Monday morning, the school is abuzz, but not over the demolition of a boulder. Laine and Derek are in a local hospital. They were attacked; no one knows how, but Derek is maimed.

                              Dean Shomshak

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