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The Doctrine of Reincarnation

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  • The Doctrine of Reincarnation

    We know that reincarnation, as a notion, will be in Scion 2e but how do you think it will play out?

    Since we know that The World is a reflection of our own, we might extrapolate something perhaps, at least for our own games.

    Generally speaking, reincarnation is a concept of the ancient world with most mythologies and philosophies of the idea coming from that time. For example, Plato and his ideas on Mathesis of the soul. Or the various Egyptian and Vedic scholars and priests who write at length about it in their various traditions. Its not really until the Nicene Creed is formed that reincarnation is flatly rejected in favor of the original sin doctrine which proposes time as a linear concept where you might spend eternity in heaven or hell. Islam would also reject cyclic time in favor of the final judgement and eternal heaven.

    Given that virtually all (perhaps not the Norse) of the Pantheons in the core rulebooks support and include reincarnation within their legends and myths, especially the Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, Celtic, and African pantheons, how might this impact The World as a whole?

    I imagine that the developers and writers will need to tread carefully as they do with using Christianity, mostly because reincarnation does not have a good relationship with it.

    So thoughts? How might you attempt to explain it in your World, or more importantly, how would the people in your World, explain it.


    How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?
    -Zhuangzi

  • #2
    I doubt all the Pantheons deal with these things similarly...Erishkigal will keep her subjects eternally in Irkalla and Yama (all of them) will keep on recycling souls. After all, even in mythologies that support reincarnation, it's usually not a thing that just spontaneously happens...there are entire bureaucracies in place to guide to soul to it's new life. Different Pantheons, different Paths.

    As for the World and People at large...well, speaking as an Indian living in a country where the majority at least acknowledges reincarnation as a thing, the impact is...honestly, not much. Like Neall stated in the Mythic Reality Thread, knowing something mythic exists and acknowledging it in day to day life are very different things. People don't go around everyday trying to figure out who they used to be in a past life...it barely ever comes up. At most one might joke that a particularly tall person might have been a giraffe in a past life, or things of that nature...it is a part of the vocabulary, and was once a popular trope in Bollywood movies, but it's not something that impacts day to day life, and likely won't in the World, unless you as ST want it to.

    As an aside, Reincarnation can get very weird in a mythology that believes that linear Time is a suggestion at best. The Deva have a story of a thirty-something queen being told by Sarasvati that her past life only died last week. So your past life could be from the linear future, hell, your next life could be sitting right next to you in the bus...how crazy you want to allow reincarnation to get is something each ST needs to decide.

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    • #3
      Yeah, echoing Samudra that it probably wouldn't change much for mortals, the world would be pretty much just as it is with its believers, doubters, and theologians who try to work out the details. Most of the Pantheons have really specific clauses and rules about the system too, so, I don't think it would really be a widespread thing that people would notice.

      Irish reincarnation never happens to mortals cannonically, only happens when it is narratively convenient, and there does not seem to be any memory continuation except a very vague hint there may be a bit of carry through with the swinehearders. The Greeks have a very specific Mystery Cult that had reincarnation, and since its fall I don't think the Grecian Dead would be returning to the land of the living. I don't know a ton about the Egyptian idea of reincarnation, but from what I do know I expect it to be exceptionally rare compared to normal death situations. For the Aztecs, access to a 'reincarnation-like' system is pretty heavily locked away for the warrior class, with the majority of the population not having access to it at all. So, modernly that system is probably defunct. For the Kami, mortal reincarnation is a Buddhist thing that they possibly have issues with due to the Kami outlook on death, and Amaterasu's grave dislike of Buddhism.

      So, yeah. I can't see it changing much, if at all. The bigger question I'd ask myself is, "How many Pantheon's reincarnation systems are no longer functioning?" which I think is a good route to look at for stories of the return of the Divine. Most of the Pantheons are really specific about how it works, except for the Irish, so it isn't too tricky to work out.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Samudra View Post
        I doubt all the Pantheons deal with these things similarly...Erishkigal will keep her subjects eternally in Irkalla and Yama (all of them) will keep on recycling souls. After all, even in mythologies that support reincarnation, it's usually not a thing that just spontaneously happens...there are entire bureaucracies in place to guide to soul to it's new life. Different Pantheons, different Paths.

        As for the World and People at large...well, speaking as an Indian living in a country where the majority at least acknowledges reincarnation as a thing, the impact is...honestly, not much. Like Neall stated in the Mythic Reality Thread, knowing something mythic exists and acknowledging it in day to day life are very different things. People don't go around everyday trying to figure out who they used to be in a past life...it barely ever comes up. At most one might joke that a particularly tall person might have been a giraffe in a past life, or things of that nature...it is a part of the vocabulary, and was once a popular trope in Bollywood movies, but it's not something that impacts day to day life, and likely won't in the World, unless you as ST want it to.

        As an aside, Reincarnation can get very weird in a mythology that believes that linear Time is a suggestion at best. The Deva have a story of a thirty-something queen being told by Sarasvati that her past life only died last week. So your past life could be from the linear future, hell, your next life could be sitting right next to you in the bus...how crazy you want to allow reincarnation to get is something each ST needs to decide.

        I agree that the Director will have to make some decisions in his or her game with regards to this. I however, disagree that it has little impact on day to day living. Primarily because other concepts hang onto the concept of Reincarnation, especially in the subject areas of morality and choice. And another problem in making it rare (or mythical as it states in the other thread) is that it is so widely believed, even today, across multiple cultures and belief systems. If Scion is a game in which all myths are true, then reincarnated is one of the most, if not the most, widely believed myths of our world.


        How can I know if what I claim I know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I might not know? How can I know if what I claim I don't know to be true is rejecting the idea that there is something I do know?
        -Zhuangzi

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ostarion View Post


          I agree that the Director will have to make some decisions in his or her game with regards to this. I however, disagree that it has little impact on day to day living. Primarily because other concepts hang onto the concept of Reincarnation, especially in the subject areas of morality and choice. And another problem in making it rare (or mythical as it states in the other thread) is that it is so widely believed, even today, across multiple cultures and belief systems. If Scion is a game in which all myths are true, then reincarnated is one of the most, if not the most, widely believed myths of our world.

          I think we're disagreeing less on the impact of Reincarnation and more on the acknowledgement of that impact. If Reincarnation is a thing in the World (which it totally should be, for the many mythologies that believe in it) then yes, it would definitely have an impact on the lives of the people from these cultures. It would also bring up many questions of varying degrees of comfort that the Director and Players will need to figure out (Should I help this homeless person if he's only that way because he was a serial killer in his last life? What does it mean for the structure of society if being born as a Brahmin is considered a better reward than being born a Shudra, even if in a lot of cities of the world the actual quality of life these two people would have is the same? Does being born a Brahmin actually count as a blessing if most Brahmins nowadays do things associated with other castes? And those are just questions brought up by one Pantheon. And that's fine, dealing with these questions can be an interesting part of the game for a lot of people.

          But for the actual on the ground people who all this is impacting...I don't think they'd really acknowledge that impact. It's like...if I slip on some spilled water, I may blame the water or the guy who put it there...I am unlikely to blame Friction, even though behind the scenes that is what contributed to the fall. Similarly even in a World where Reincarnation exists your average believer isn't going to run around to a Yogi trying to determine if the guy he's going on a date with is the Reincarnation of his dead uncle, or if his hangnail is somehow the result of his past life's tendency towards arson or whatever. If I'm about to swipe someone's car, my first thought will be of mortal police and consequences, not whether this means I'll be born a platypus next life or whatever. Of course, there will always be some people who obsess over past lives and try to determine how they factor into their current one...but most people just won't think about it.

          So yes, lots of actual impact, little acknowledgement of impact.

          Also, when I call Reincarnation mythic, I'm not suggesting making it rare, but simply that it is a part of Mythology,,,and Mythology is explicitly real in the World, and therefore Reincarnation should be too, and be as widespread as the myths of Reincarnation are.
          Last edited by Samudra; 01-28-2017, 02:07 AM.

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