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  • Scion Media

    In light of the Teotl preview I've been rereading the Obsidian and Blood book series. Which, if you don't know it offhand, is a trio of novels set in a mythic version of Tenochtitlan where a lot of things you'd recognize from Scion are present. The world as it was historically, but just underneath are actual monsters and foolish people playing with magic, and the gods as a real an actual force in the world including investing 'agents' with their own power to serve as earthly actors, not unlike some varieties of Scion.

    Now needless to say it is also pretty strongly its own thing which I'm just drawing parallels with. This world is a bit darker than the world of Scion as we know it, with the gods being far more capricious and frankly hostile than we'd associate with non-titans, historical accuracy is deliberately altered at some points to serve the needs of a story, but still I find it is a pretty good mood setting read.

    So I'm going to float the question out for the forum, what other books or movies or comics or TV do you like to go to when in a mood for something occupying this same niche of myth meshing with reality as we know it? What is your favorite 'Oh man, this would be so great as a game' series? A lot of the influences on both 1e and 2e are pretty known (American Gods, The Wicked + Divine, a bit of Journey Into Mystery, etc) but what do you find clicks best for you? And of course, people feel free to argue or ask questions about anything in here, since in the end this kind of amounts to a media recommendation topic as well.

  • #2
    Rick Riordan's entire works deserve honorable mention.

    ​His books pretty much ARE Scion adventures in every way that matters. Heck, the Red Pyramid series may even have good inspiration for a story featuring mortal sorcerers, depending on how they actually look by the time Scion is complete. He does a great job blending the ancient and the modern into a modern myth setting. He's not afraid to be kind of irreverent, either, and the humor in the books is fantastic.


    "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
    Captain Malcolm Reynolds

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    • #3
      Originally posted by unnatural1 View Post
      Rick Riordan's entire works deserve honorable mention.

      ​His books pretty much ARE Scion adventures in every way that matters. Heck, the Red Pyramid series may even have good inspiration for a story featuring mortal sorcerers, depending on how they actually look by the time Scion is complete. He does a great job blending the ancient and the modern into a modern myth setting. He's not afraid to be kind of irreverent, either, and the humor in the books is fantastic.
      This. I've been describing those books as "Scion for Young Readers" for years.

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      • #4
        Oh, this is a good question. I don't know if I have any that are strictly similar to Scion, but I have a few that have been exceptionally influential in my depiction of things in Scion.

        The first is Terry Pratchett's Small Gods, which is essentially actually a treatise on the nature of belief, the effect of organized religious systems, and why the world of Scion works. One of the big issues with Scion from a logic perspective is the Gods have withdrawn (to some degree) from the world. The idea that the world continued to function without the Gods, and their cult worship has confused some people, and I always point to Small Gods to address it.

        Small Gods has an analogy of Gods being like a sort of shelled animal. At the core, there is the God. And then that God begins to surround themselves with oracles, prophets, rituals, ceremonies, temples. They go from being a small flicker of a thing to absorbing other Gods, growing huge, the layers the God builds around them grow, and grow. Ritualized behavior continues, practices cement, and everything becomes orderly. And... if the God was to vanish, no one would notice. The shell would remain, even if the little creature at the core died. In this way, entire systems of belief continue without even noticing their God has gone missing (unless you're the Hittites), or even if they have died. People begin to believe in the shell, believe in the behavior, the laws, the practices, the church, the system, and not the God any more.

        Then, the second collection of books that I find immensely helpful for Scion are any of Pratchett's books that deal with the Elves. (Lords and Ladies, The Wee Free Men, and I Shall Wear Midnight) I love the Tuatha, and we don't have a bunch of backing for the Sidhe asides from a few scant snippits of folklore that tend not to be super helpful in actually establishing character. Pratchett's Elves are my remedy to this, horrible, beautiful creatures, that rely on convincing you that they are so much better than you. They would smash the world if they thought it would make a pretty noise, and are creatures of mad, arcane politics, described like cats in their grace, cruelty, and ability to make us forget the cruelty. I think the best quote to sum it up is, "We only remembered that elves sang. But we forgot what they sang about."

        I Shall Wear Midnight also has an extended visit with The King of the Elves who is Cernunnos for all intensive purposes. There is a single scene with him that perfectly encapsulates how horrifically overwhelming it would be to be in the presence of a Fertility God. I haven't had a chance to weave it into my games since Cernunnos is normally grossly under the weather whenever a game starts due to the Theoi breaking everything, but I might pull it up if Freyr ever comes up.

        There are also The Rook Files by Daniel O'Malley which I describe in my head as "nWoD Hunter if WoD's world wasn't so corrupt and inept it shouldn't function." It's a great way to see the world of Scion from a mortal, or semi-mortal's perspective. There is the implication that Gods and Goddesses may be kicking about as a Titan's daughter is encountered and treated with the care and attention you would expect a State would treat someone of that power. The story focuses more on small scale things, Hero tier essentially, but it's what I imagine a 2e Government would have, a special branch that exists to prevent things from getting out of hand and getting too public, as well as the group responcible for fufilling all of the myriad of ancient pacts a State ends up hauling around with itself. When you made a pact 900 years ago to always put one hundred cattle on that hill for midnight on this specific night, and you can't exactly remember why, you still want to be doing it just in case it was important.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by unnatural1 View Post
          Rick Riordan's entire works deserve honorable mention.
          I'm going to confess, my only experience with Percy Jackson has been the first movie. I don't mind reading YA books (I honestly read a bunch, a family member is a media specialist at a K-5 school and I tend to get called on to check books for suitability for the 5th graders) but somehow never have actually read the Percy Jackson books. Besides a Totally Not Scion Summer Camp and monsters, what's so great in it?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Alpharius View Post
            I'm going to confess, my only experience with Percy Jackson has been the first movie. I don't mind reading YA books (I honestly read a bunch, a family member is a media specialist at a K-5 school and I tend to get called on to check books for suitability for the 5th graders) but somehow never have actually read the Percy Jackson books. Besides a Totally Not Scion Summer Camp and monsters, what's so great in it?
            The books are actually inspired by Scion if I remember correctly. He used to run games of Scion for his children which is where he got his ideas.

            But, beyond that link, it is very much a Scion story. There are Relics, Visitations, politics based off your Divine Parent, a Fateful Aura, that sort of thing. It does have a Masqurade however, which Scion doesn't actually have. I never read the second series of it however, so there may be even more interesting bits.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Watcher View Post

              The books are actually inspired by Scion if I remember correctly. He used to run games of Scion for his children which is where he got his ideas.

              But, beyond that link, it is very much a Scion story. There are Relics, Visitations, politics based off your Divine Parent, a Fateful Aura, that sort of thing. It does have a Masqurade however, which Scion doesn't actually have. I never read the second series of it however, so there may be even more interesting bits.
              The second series -- the "Heroes of Olympus" books -- actually gets into the differences between the gods' Greek and Roman mantles (and the accompanying personality differences), and the way this affects both their interactions with the world and the kinds of training/support their respective sets of "Scions" receive. There's a lot in there that seems like it'll be relevant, or at least interesting, when 2e is published.

              As for other inspirational media, I find the Dresden Files both a hugely enjoyable read and intriguing for the complex supernatural society that exists separate-but-intertwined with mortal civilization. Like the Percy Jackson books, there is a Masquerade in place, but it seems to be far more permeable. The protagonist could easily be either a mortal magician or a Scion (from what I see, Harry seems to demonstrate the Guardian, Sage, and Warrior Callings).
              Last edited by yukikaze; 12-11-2016, 03:34 AM.

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              • #8
                Like Yukikaze mentioned, the Dresden Files is pretty awesome and I like reading it even if I'm not in a 'Scion mood' - I like reading it all the time, really.

                Something else that I like reading whenever I want some 'Scion in my life' is Everworld, which has all the gods [though only some of them appear] having left our world and entered a new one [the titular Everworld] along with some of their worshippers and a few other mythical figures. Then some outsiders show up and start screwing up everything. It's written almost exactly like the Animorphs series [which make sense, considering they have the same author] so not everyone will like it. Hell, there are parts of it that I don't like - a lot of parts - but for the most part it's pretty good.

                While Marvel is really, really innaccurate they do occasionally give some interesting spins to mythology when it come up. Marvel fanfiction is way more interesting, though. This is my favourite by far.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Alpharius View Post

                  I'm going to confess, my only experience with Percy Jackson has been the first movie. I don't mind reading YA books (I honestly read a bunch, a family member is a media specialist at a K-5 school and I tend to get called on to check books for suitability for the 5th graders) but somehow never have actually read the Percy Jackson books. Besides a Totally Not Scion Summer Camp and monsters, what's so great in it?
                  ​Yeah, the movies were crap compared to the books. The second movie tried to combine, like, three books of the first series into one, and it was terrible.

                  ​Others have already said some of the stuff that makes the Percy Jackson series great. It's Scion to the bone. Percy and his friends save the world, fight monsters, and interact with their fellow Scions and the gods in fun and interesting ways.

                  ​And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Riordan has done other series based on other mythologies. There's the Red Pyramid series, which is based on Egyptian mythology. As I said, it could be a mortal sorcerers book because according to Riordan, the Egyptian gods don't do the whole "Scion" thing. They don't have children with mortals. Instead, the gods merge with mortals who are descended from the blood of the Pharaohs. There is also an order of Egyptian Magicians called "The House of Life" (which was a real thing in history.) They're mortals with magic strong enough to affect the gods and they act almost as a "supernatural police force," trying to curtail the god's meddling in the world.

                  ​Then there's "Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard," dealing with Norse mythology. Magnus is a Scion of Freyr who dies and goes to Valhalla. He and his friends go on wacky adventures to try to prevent Ragnarok. Hilarity ensues.

                  ​Best of all? Recently, Riordan has started to cross his books over with each other. Percy and his girlfriend Annabeth just met the Kane kids: the main characters of the Red Pyramid series. There was this great story where they had to work together, figuring out ways to combine Greek and Egyptian magic in order to defeat a mutual foe. Magnus, it turns out, is actually Annabeth's cousin and she has appeared in both Magnus Chase books. At the end of the second book (the most recent to come out) Annabeth tells Magnus that he'll need Percy's help with one of his missions.

                  ​So yeah. Rick Riordan's books are pure Scion in almost every way. He's got all kinds of great ideas that can be good inspiration for a Scion game (or ten.) For me, the biggest draw is his characters. He has a TON of characters in these books, and yet he manages to give them all their own distinct personality types. Percy is nothing like Carter Kane. Magnus Chase is nothing like Percy or Carter. They're all likeable characters with interesting backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses.


                  "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
                  Captain Malcolm Reynolds

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                  • #10
                    I should note that Riordan does his research. I've immersed myself in Egyptian magic for various projects (especially the REvised Clanbook: Setite and Blood Sacrifice: Secrets of Thaumaturgy). When I read the Kane Chronicles, I kept chortling, "I know about that!" whenever people did magic. But none of it feels forced or "scholarly."

                    Dean Shomshak

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                    • #11
                      Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed. Set during the Jazz Age, it follows two Voodoo priests as they stumble upon a vast conspiracy called The Wallflower Order, an organization of monotheists descended from the Knight Templars who plan on subverting African-American culture by getting rid of dancing and jazz. I'm not kidding.

                      Like Scion's 2nd edition, it imagines a secret, syncretic history of the world where gods and supernatural beings influenced history from the sidelines in a mish mash of real and imagined history. It's a great template for a pre-Visitation game focused less on divine grand feats and more on cultural and mythological exploration.

                      Oh and yeah Wicked+The Divine is required reading of course.
                      Last edited by Corax; 12-12-2016, 09:46 PM.

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                      • #12
                        This is the first I've heard of Mumbo Jumbo, that sounds amazing. Also I'm glad I am reading Rick Riordan's stuff now but not before the first time I ran Scion if that makes any sense? I feel like my style as a GM might have been ludicrously different.

                        Thank you, thread.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alpharius View Post
                          This is the first I've heard of Mumbo Jumbo, that sounds amazing. Also I'm glad I am reading Rick Riordan's stuff now but not before the first time I ran Scion if that makes any sense? I feel like my style as a GM might have been ludicrously different.

                          Thank you, thread.

                          Yeah I know what you mean about Rick Riordan. His books sound great but I'm afraid reading them will influence me too much, especially since I'm GMing and most of my players knee jerk response to being told about Scion was "so it's like Percy Jackson" and I want to show how versatile the game and setting can be.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by unnatural1 View Post
                            ​Best of all?
                            Best of all is Alex Fierro!


                            Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

                              Best of all is Alex Fierro!
                              Yeah, she's pretty much my fave in the Magnus Chase series. Such a badass!

                              And Alex is a perfect segue into talking about how inclusive Riordan is as a writer. The guy has managed to represent just about every ethnicity on the planet, and I don't think he's had to resort to stereotypes even once to make them work.

                              Not just ethnic diversity either. Different sexualities and gender identities as well. The aforementioned Alex "Pure Awesome" Fiero is one of the first gender fluid characters I've ever seen in fiction, and she's easily the best character in the series.


                              "We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty."
                              Captain Malcolm Reynolds

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