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How does the Abrahamic Faiths have power in the Scion World?

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  • #31
    I'm going to borrow some from one of my writers in this statement, but here goes: monotheism exists in Scion, and many, many people believe in one supreme omniscient, omnipotent God. Several schools of thought reconcile the mythic Gods with the God of Abraham, the Absolute, Mahavairocana, and the Supreme Being’s other names. The Gods blanch at these things and mutter embarrassing anecdotes, when they deign to acknowledge these things at all.

    Scion is ultimately a game of mythology, though, and the setting must reflect that. Monotheism, as a belief in the World, is extremely useful as a culture jammer for intrapantheon rivalries, for denying another pantheon worship and Legend, as long-term transformational tools. Some of the organized religions in the World are more henotheistic than they are in our world. I consider the game to be sufficiently modular that if you want to exclude monotheism from the game, you can do so. Fundamentally, I'm uninterested in portraying anyone of sincerely-held faith in Scion as a dupe or an idiot. I'm also fundamentally uninterested in portraying the Gods as anything less than fully divine embodiments of the World - in other words, I want readers to see them as gods, not "sufficiently powerful beings", even as player characters ultimately interact with them as mythic heroes do: people first, and not entities of worship. And yes, if we do the Elohim and Alihah Pantheons, there will be a King of the Gods, a son of his (the God of Samaria and Judah), and a certain powerful Sky God who all glower at each other.

    It's consumed an inordinate amount of bandwidth, but ultimately, no god worthy of the title proclaims themselves a god. It is self-evident. To quote Solas from Dragon Age, "No real god need prove himself. Anyone who tries is mad or lying." To quote Zelazny in Lord of Light, "Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."

    (I should reiterate at some point that in terms of belief I am actually Roman Catholic, from the specifically Irish-American transmission. I studied theology in college and seriously considered the priesthood at one point. My confirmation saint was St. Jude Thaddeus, and I pray a novena to ask his intercession every evening.)

    Despite the considerable thought people have put into all these positions, most mortals don’t bother with it. Millions of Christians in our world go to church on Sundays, and burn offerings at home, or in cult temples on other days, and don’t see any contradictions. Same with the Orisha and the Loa. Scion's World is even stranger. Never underestimate a person's capacity to quell cognitive dissonance. Cultural tradition sends you to one to get married and buried, and to the other for money, favors, or revenge. You have purists, intellectuals and eccentrics who do it differently, but in the World, most people simply sense an order of things, and act accordingly.

    I fully expect the Order of the Divine Glory and a Thronos Pantheon (under them arrayed the cherubim and the seraphim) to make an appearance once we get our community agreements up and running. I'm absolutely fine with that, and I really look forward to reading them. Scion and the World are big enough to support them all.
    Last edited by Neall; 01-01-2017, 10:59 PM.


    Neall Raemonn Price
    Beleaguered Scion Developer

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    • #32
      Thanks for all of that, Neall! I think that does a pretty good job of addressing most of the problems people have had with the issue of Monotheism in the game.

      ​It does make perfect sense to think that henotheism is more of a thing in a setting like Scion, so I like that a lot. I love that you're not going to portray every Jew, Christian and Muslim as a dupe, the way 1e did. Definitely loving he idea of portraying the gods as their actual belief systems depict them.

      ​And seriously? PLEASE make the Elohim and Aliha Pantheons at some point! Your description of what they'll be like sounds hilarious!


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

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Neall View Post

        Scion is ultimately a game of mythology, though, and the setting must reflect that. Monotheism, as a belief in the World, is extremely useful as a culture jammer for intrapantheon rivalries, for denying another pantheon worship and Legend, as long-term transformational tools. Some of the organized religions in the World are more henotheistic than they are in our world. I consider the game to be sufficiently modular that if you want to exclude monotheism from the game, you can do so. Fundamentally, I'm uninterested in portraying anyone of sincerely-held faith in Scion as a dupe or an idiot. I'm also fundamentally uninterested in portraying the Gods as anything less than fully divine embodiments of the World - in other words, I want readers to see them as gods, not "sufficiently powerful beings", even as player characters ultimately interact with them as mythic heroes do: people first, and not entities of worship. And yes, if we do the Elohim and Alihah Pantheons, there will be a King of the Gods, a son of his (the God of Samaria and Judah), and a certain powerful Sky God who all glower at each other.
        .
        There is nothing about this paragraph that does not make me happy.

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        • #34
          Possibly relevant here: According to Middle Eastern tradition, there are Jewish, Christian and Muslim jinn (as well as some who remain infidel). So there's precedent in mythology for supernatural creatures to follow the God of Abraham. It isn't just a mortal thing. (In fact, the Koran explicitly says the Prophet was sent to preach to both humans and jinn.)

          Personally, I always found the fretting over Scion and monotheism rather overblown.

          Dean Shomshak

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          • #35
            Yeah, I don't see how this is a major problem. Just because Zeus or Thor are blatantly running in the World and God isn't doesn't mean that a member of the Abrahamic religions would have to admit to the former being gods. Someone could easily consider them to not be on account of some moral, spiritual, or defintional consideration. It might not make sense, but faith doesn't necessary have to in the first place, so why make a big deal about it.

            Last edited by Weirdboyz; 01-03-2017, 01:23 AM.

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            • #36
              Yeah, I guess in this case the First Commandment is still pretty important, what with the "Thou shall not have any Gods before Me"


              Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                Yeah, I guess in this case the First Commandment is still pretty important, what with the "Thou shall not have any Gods before Me"
                ​Yep. It always seemed odd to me that it was phrased like that. That automatically shows that Judaism was henotheistic at the time. Monotheism would say "There ARE no other gods than me. Worship me exclusively."

                ​"Thou shalt not have any Gods before Me" pretty much says "There are other gods. It's even okay to show them some respect. But I'm the God you worship first and foremost."


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

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                • #38
                  Well the Commandments originate from the Book of Genesis, which IIRC had lines implying that there were proxy wars going on between the Egyptian gods and the Abrahamic one. Such as the two Egyptian court priests transforming their staves into snakes, but Moses's sticksnake ate them. So yeah, in that part it was "There are Gods, but I am YOUR God, worship me"


                  Disclaimer: I'll huff, grump, and defend my position, but if you're having fun I'll never say you're doing it wrong.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Neall View Post
                    The Gods blanch at these things and mutter embarrassing anecdotes, when they deign to acknowledge these things at all.
                    But there would be a different attitude among pantheons like the Loa and Orisha who are only intermediaries for the Supreme Being, right?

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                    • #40
                      My personal head canon is that the Titan Logos represents the Abrahamic God. The gods are wary over the Abrahamic faiths but nothing major appear to be made by the titan, both directly and indirectly, just the actions of fanatics both between each part of the faith and at those out of it. Aten then tries to usurp the worship of Logos by trying to look and act the part even making up angels loyal to him.

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                      • #41
                        I tend to not let the whole "Oh look, The Old Gods are real!" impact my world by making sure that the governments and the churches actively suppress it. The governments do it because, if the general public knew that there were deities and they had divine powers, then why go to work? Just go to church and hope that your deity feeds you. The churches do it since they are not wanting it to get out that they could be wrong. These others are just the devil in disguise.

                        That is not to mention Fatebinding issues that can occur.

                        Now, I may alter my Scion world in 2e depending on how much flavor I get from the writers and how much setting info there is.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by unnatural1 View Post

                          ​Yep. It always seemed odd to me that it was phrased like that. That automatically shows that Judaism was henotheistic at the time. Monotheism would say "There ARE no other gods than me. Worship me exclusively."

                          ​"Thou shalt not have any Gods before Me" pretty much says "There are other gods. It's even okay to show them some respect. But I'm the God you worship first and foremost."

                          EDIT: Forgot I already mentioned this.

                          Strangely enough, the Hebrews were originally polytheistic, but gradually changed to monotheism and claimed the members of their pantheon were different avatars for the same being. Which clarifies why YHVH's behavior seems to contradict itself at times. It may have actually been a different avatar he was operating under at the time the story took place.


                          On another note, that whole "thou shalt not have any Gods before Me" kind of brings up a question about Neall's assessment on what makes somebody a God. Since he quoted two characters who claim a true god doesn't refer to themselves as such.
                          Last edited by Nyrufa; 03-20-2017, 02:37 PM.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by thedonnie View Post
                            The governments do it because, if the general public knew that there were deities and they had divine powers, then why go to work? Just go to church and hope that your deity feeds you.
                            "God helps those who help themselves."

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post

                              "God helps those who help themselves."

                              "If you're helping yourself, what do you need God for?"



                              Contrary to popular belief, religion is not a relationship between mortal and divine. It is, at the heart of it, a business transaction. We offer the Gods our sacrifices and worship, and they in turn provide us with tangible blessings.

                              We wanted a good harvest, so we prayed for fertile lands and fair weather.

                              We wanted to punish our enemies, so we prayed for justice and vengeance.

                              We wanted to expand, so we prayed for strength and courage.

                              We wanted knowledge, so we prayed for wisdom and clarity.

                              And so on, and so on. If the Gods failed / refused to supply us with such things, then we would go off in search of one who was more pliable to our wishes. Nobody worships a God simply for being a God (unless they're brainwashed into it). They worship a God because they can make satisfying their needs and desires easier than they could under their own power.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

                                On another note, that whole "thou shalt not have any Gods before Me" kind of brings up a question about Neall's assessment on what makes somebody a God. Since he quoted two characters who claim a true god doesn't refer to themselves as such.
                                I think you're taking Neall's quotes too literally...Gods refer to themselves as Gods all the time. Those two quotes seem to be indicating (to me at least) that Gods in the Scion verse don't need to declare their Divinity...no one looks upon a God and doesn't know bone deep that this is something Divine...like, say, the episode in the Aenied where Apollo appears in the form of Butes to Ascanius and the other besieged Trojans...everyone knows that this is a God...similarly, in the Mahabharata, when Krishna reveals his Divine Self to the members of an unbelieving court, even the blind king can see his Divinity. They just...know.

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