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  • The Tone of Scion

    What do you think the general tone of Scion should be? I've heard a lot of different answers for this so i wanted them all in the same place.

    As for my opinion, part of the reason i loved scion in the first place was that it wasnt like WoD or CofD in that it wasn't that gritty or as dark, which in my humble opinion it shouldn't be. I always thought Scion should be "our world" (tone wise that is) with gods, instead of another World of Darkness, or a Trinity-esque World of Brightness, or even the weird mix that is Exalted.

  • #2
    I have spent a lot of time sitting here and trying to think of what the tone of Scion is, and, I don't think it quite has one. Scion facilitates a ton of different stories with wildly different tones, very much up to the Storyteller. What I think unifies these divergent games is a theme however, the theme of Power. You are a Scion, and you shake the world as you walk. If you want, you can bend Nations to the breaking point, shatter physical laws, change the world. And yet, you are dwarfed by your parents, changing the world means nothing to beings such as Atum-Ra who can end all of reality by simply blinking.

    The most common tone I have seen used for Scion, and the one I like the most is relatively dark, with an incredible sense of hope lingering just over the horizon. The world of Scion is pretty dark, it is our world, but All Myths are True. Mortals by and large likely don't realize how dark the world is, but Scions will know. Reality is ordered by, by and large, colossally powerful, and uncaring entities. Very, very few Deities give a damn about Mortals. Sure, they might have a favorite mortal, and they will likely love their Scions in a culturally appropriate way, but mortals are gnats. To the Tuatha, the Sons of Mil are uppity, Deicidal invaders who colonized their island. To the Theoi, the mortals are creatures whose lives pass in a blink, and mean little to Olympus short of occasionally being play things. To the Anunna, mortals are a slave race, destined for a horrific afterlife from which there is no escape. To the Thousand Gods of Hatti, mortals are annoying little creatures who need to grovel more, least they be brought to extinction, all while serving their will.

    Now, your everyday mortal probably doesn't quite grasp this, but for a Scion, they get to see the world is big, and scary. In life, some Scions get to be aware how close reality is to collapsing on frequent occasions. The Netjer have a nightly battle to preserve reality, the Teotl have one to preserve the world. To the Bogovi, you get to know that you, personally, are a flaw in the system, an aberration that should not be. A Scion of the Shen gets to know that Tian will shift in opinion, and The Mandate of Heaven will be given to a new authority, and there will be chaos in time. The Aesir just get to be gloomy because they know an End is on it's way. Theoi Scions get to know that The Son will be here some day, and will have to start planning on tossing their parents in a giant prison, or getting tossed in there themselves too. Mortals don't really know, grasp, or have to deal with these issues, but they are forefront in the realities of Scions.

    In death, an alarming number of mortals are doomed to a depressing existence for all eternity as well. To use myself as an example, I will run through the big Pantheons and what my personal fate would be in Scion's world in relation to death.
    • Aesir: I am sure as hell not meeting the 'Die in Battle' clause, so I'm off to Hel's hall, and that's... not fun. I think I will also get press-ganged into fighting at Ragnarok for Loki.
    • Anunna: I am off to Irkalla, so, that means I am going to forget who I was, and be eternally stuck in a state of starving and dying of thirst since I doubt anyone is going to think of giving me sacrifices.
    • Bogovi: Not that bad actually, they have a nice underworld under Veles. Gets a bit spooky for a bit in Winter, and I'll have to get used to being used to help with Veles' cattle for all eternity. Or, well, until Svarog wakes up and ends reality to give it another go.
    • Deva: I don't know enough to be sure of how this would work, Samudra might be able to pop in and toss his thoughts in. Reincarnation, but I don't know how hot my next life would be. I am destined to eventually climb the ladder though, so that's nice.
    • Kami: Got a few choices. Yomi is perpetually dark and doesn't seem to be too fun with Izanami hanging around. Based on the very little we know, I don't think I'd be happy with perpetually decaying. Ne-no-Kuni would not be awesome since I don't deal well with bogs, snakes, wasps, or centipedes. Jigoku would mean reincarnation at some point, but man some of those tortures are horrific.
    • Netjer: I... don't know how my heart would be weighed. The fact I am going to probably not be entombed with a Book of Going Forth by Day means I'll have to be basing my travels through Duat off what I can remember, and due to that, and generally not living up to ancient Egyptian moral standards, I don't know how many gates I would be able to get through. I don't think I would reach Osiris paradise at the end of the desert.
    • Orisha: We don't really know much if anything about their Underworld situation, so, might be nice! Might be bad.
    • Shen: Similar sort of situation to Jigoku with the Kami. Reincarnation yes, horrific tortures, spooky.
    • Teotl: Since I'm probably not going to be sacrificed to one of the Teotl, or die a warrior's death serving the Empire, I'm off to Mictlan which is just not fun ever.
    • Theoi: I'm not interesting enough to get thrown into Tartaros or the Elysian Fields, so I'm off to Asphodel which is very much a perpetual boredom afterlife. Also I will forget who I was and everything I knew due to the Lethe, not great. If I was inducted into a Mystery Cult, might have a better time, but they're not really advertising.
    • Tuatha: We don't really know what was going on here, but I might sneak into Inis Locha as a possible descendant of Mil. So, I'll be living like it's Iron Age Ireland for eternity. It's okay, a lot like the Bogovi situation. Would get to talk to all the dead Gods about the place, so that would be neat.
    So, I don't have an awesome chance of getting a decent Afterlife, which is in most cases the rest of every mortal for all eternity. Doesn't sound fun, and that's pretty grim. While mortals may not really grasp this, or know this, Scions do. Great motivation for many Pantheon's Scions is desperately making a break for Apotheosis to escape the horrible afterlife waiting for them. In addition to this, Scions frequently make bad decisions, level cities, get in fights with abstract personifications of reality, they tend not to have fun lives. Eventful lives, yes, fun, not necessarily. Probably lots of really high highs, and really low lows.

    However, this grim darkness is not what sells Scion for me. It is the overwhelming brightness that can be, just waiting in the wings. You are the Son of Marduk, and you are kind, and gentle. You look out at Irkalla and go, "I can change this." You can bring relief, and mercy to all those eons of dead mortals. You can take your father aside, and try to teach him mercy, and kindness, to respect mortals and understand them. Or maybe just convince the mortals to make their own slave race of robots and continue the Mesopotamian divine pyramid scheme.

    Scion is, at least in my games, and the games I have played in, a fairly dark game. But you can change that, you can make the world so much better. You can rewrite reality, and you could change that darkness into light.

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    • #3
      I generally see Scion as a game that is as dark as human reality or the various worlds humans (at the very least) think they happen to live in. So you know, pretty dark but generally not in a Grimdark Warhammer 40K kinda way. There is room for hope and improvement, but also suffering and disaster. I do reject the notion of Scion embodying a Noblebright PG rated setting however. This is a setting in which people practice blood sacrifice to placate and empower very real deities.


      Watcher: While it doesn't really change your point, the idea that its either Valhalla or Hel is a misunderstanding (mostly...). There are many other potential afterlives in Alfheim or the various halls of other gods. Granted it kinda resembles the Egyptian example of "Not likely to live up to Nordic Standards", but its a possibility. Also Reincarnation is a thing along family lines, but only for some aspects of the soul, so its not really a complete "You". Which now that i think about it....might be another layer of fridge horror for modern people....

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Úlfhéðnar View Post
        Watcher: While it doesn't really change your point, the idea that its either Valhalla or Hel is a misunderstanding (mostly...). There are many other potential afterlives in Alfheim or the various halls of other gods. Granted it kinda resembles the Egyptian example of "Not likely to live up to Nordic Standards", but its a possibility. Also Reincarnation is a thing along family lines, but only for some aspects of the soul, so its not really a complete "You". Which now that i think about it....might be another layer of fridge horror for modern people....
        That sounds very interesting, I have never heard of Alfheim functioning as an afterlife, or any Hall asides from Fólkvangr having an afterlife component! Where does that come up? That sounds very interesting in the least, and I would love to read the appropriate section of the Eddas. I am always striving to get a more solid grasp on the Aesir, though they are not my particular cup of tea, they are one of the Pantheons the general public has the most connection to outside of the Theoi or their own cultural background.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SdeSpencer View Post
          What do you think the general tone of Scion should be? I've heard a lot of different answers for this so i wanted them all in the same place.

          As for my opinion, part of the reason i loved scion in the first place was that it wasnt like WoD or CofD in that it wasn't that gritty or as dark, which in my humble opinion it shouldn't be. I always thought Scion should be "our world" (tone wise that is) with gods, instead of another World of Darkness, or a Trinity-esque World of Brightness, or even the weird mix that is Exalted.


          Actually, there is quite a lot of opportunity for Scion to be dark and gritty if you know where to look. Greek mythology is notorious for its love of tragedies, often with Heroes and villains being the cause of their own downfall. And one could argue that any member of the Norse pantheon is at risk of being seized by nihilism once the reality of their Fate finally sinks in. Plus, there are TONS of stories throughout nearly every mythos that involve elements of genocide, rape, slavery, torture, maiming, war, betrayal and so on. Just because it's more set on a modern fantasy environment doesn't mean it's any less gruesome than Chronicles of Darkness.




          -----------------------------


          But personally, I like the idea of Scion being similar to an "Old vs New" mentality. In which the various mythical beings throughout history prefer the old ways (xenophobia, classism, gender roles, est) and expect their descendants to adhere to them, while those who have grown up in a modern environment find such ideologies to be outdated and backwards. As a result, the Scions have two options available: They can rebel against the status quo and bring about much needed change to the system, or they can go with the flow in order to avoid drawing the ire of entities far more powerful than them.

          Of course, there was already a thread on here that got into a great big argument over whether or not the pantheons would change their views simply because mortals told them it was wrong. I take one glance at both modern and ancient religion and conclude that is an extremely long shot to say the least.


          But what if the next generation decided to do things differently? Zeus was raised by a Titan (Gaia) and he didn't just stop at getting revenge against Chronus, he turned his vengeance upon all the Titans, including Gaia. What if somebody were to supplant Zeus and attempt diplomatic negotiations, instead of furthering a millennia old grudge? What if somebody gave Gaia what she wanted and accepted her children onto Olympus as equals, rather than slaves?

          I think the reason why the Titan War is as bad as it is, is because the ancient grand parents are too stuck in their ways to admit they were in the wrong. It's up to the new generation to bury the hatchet and set things right.
          Last edited by Nyrufa; 03-29-2017, 10:26 PM.

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          • #6
            The fact that 2e is shipping with three Modes in the corebook and several coming later on indicates that there is no central tone of Scion. If you want superheroes with a mythological theme, it's right there for you, but you can just as easily do melodramatic clashes between tradition and the modern world, intimate personal journeys about building an identity for yourself instead of being defined by expectations set by others, you could do crime noir if you really wanted.

            I know that at my table, it's going to be upbeat queer urban fantasy. There is faith and hope and power, where the divine is real and there to empower the willful to do great deeds.


            Just call me Lex.

            Female pronouns for me, please.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Watcher View Post
              Bunch of shitty afterlife stuff

              As a Scion, you also have the option of carving out your own version of the afterlife that can be as appalling or as pleasant as you want. Heck, you could do away with the concept of punishment all together. Heaven's a party and everyone's invited!


              Of course, I'm certainly no better than you when it comes to those possibilities, though if I had to pick one, I'd probably go with the Netjer. Failing the feather test doesn't sound so bad if the punishment is that I simply cease to exist.

              No consciousness means no torment; so I'd be at peace either way.
              Last edited by Nyrufa; 03-29-2017, 10:33 PM.

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              • #8
                The tone can shift wildly in Scion without any of it being wrong, sometimes within a single campaign or even session. A karaoke contest with Bragi gets interrupted by a hydra crashing through the wall and after the climactic fight you realize a scion of Artemis kidnapped your love interest in the confusion and will give them back if you pull a mission impossible style heist against a company owned by a scion of Quetzcoatl. Then they go back on their word, kill them anyway, and it becomes a tragic revenge arc.

                In there sheer vastness of human religion and mythology there are stories that are heartwarming, ones that are horrifying. I'd say only real constant in Scion is the idea of potential abuse of power, unasked for burdens and dealing with sometimes troublesome on an apocalyptic scale family.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Watcher View Post

                  That sounds very interesting, I have never heard of Alfheim functioning as an afterlife, or any Hall asides from Fólkvangr having an afterlife component! Where does that come up? That sounds very interesting in the least, and I would love to read the appropriate section of the Eddas. I am always striving to get a more solid grasp on the Aesir, though they are not my particular cup of tea, they are one of the Pantheons the general public has the most connection to outside of the Theoi or their own cultural background.
                  Most of it just isn't in the Poetic and Prose Edda, which is probably why the vast majority of people get those kinds of impressions. For the Alfar we are talking about hard scholarship, literary review and linguistics. Basically in a nutshell, there is rather significant evidence that many of the Alfar are literally the souls of dead ancestors who achieved some sort of greatness in life and that the religious rituals surrounding them constitute a very private ancestral cult. Olaf Geirstad-Alf is a good example of someone explicitly identified as having become an Alfar after death.

                  As for the others, I always recommend Wilhelm Gronbech's "Culture of the Teutons" for some serious looks into the fundamentals of the worldview, culture and faith. http://northvegr.org/secondary%20sou...ons/index.html (Though i would warn you, we are back at the serious scholarship level and alot of the information is across multiple chapters.)

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Watcher View Post
                    [*]Orisha: We don't really know much if anything about their Underworld situation, so, might be nice! Might be bad.
                    We do know that they don't have an underworld, in fact. All the dead go to dwell in the heavenly city/village Orun Rere, where Olodumare and the Orisha also live (imagine a division between the normal city and the palace circuit here). The most exalted of the dead are the ancestors, those who led a exemplary life, died of ripe old age, and continue to be venerated by their descendants; those can send part of their life force to "partially reincarnate" as a new person in their blood line. The other dead get assigned plots of land and other privileges in the city according to their virtue and their life span (thus suicides, who cut their life span short, get significantly shitty plots of land). The very worst are thrown onto the midden heap of the city, the "Heaven of Potsherds" Orun Apadi, although it has been suggested that this "hell" is a later interpolation in Yoruba lore caused by Abrahamic influence. There's a lot more detail to be mentioned about Orun, but I think that gives a good idea of what tone the Yoruba afterlife has.


                    Originally posted by Watcher View Post

                    That sounds very interesting, I have never heard of Alfheim functioning as an afterlife, or any Hall asides from Fólkvangr having an afterlife component! Where does that come up? That sounds very interesting in the least, and I would love to read the appropriate section of the Eddas. I am always striving to get a more solid grasp on the Aesir, though they are not my particular cup of tea, they are one of the Pantheons the general public has the most connection to outside of the Theoi or their own cultural background.
                    Alfheim I've never heard of as well, but I'm always open to be corrected. One alternative I still have in mind is the palace of Aegir and Ran at the bottom of the sea; Ran is said to catch men at sea with her net and drag them down, and whether that is just a metaphor for drowning (Ran is a very metaphorical being in general) or means that her home is an underworld for the drowned is pretty up to interpretation.

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                    • #11
                      My idea is:

                      Scion can really be everything

                      I played it in very different style.

                      - In MidleAge ( epic fantasy style, the real hero of the legends or vykings)
                      - 1930 in america ( with a very deep noir tone, blackjack, alcohol and sigaretts, bossess issues etcetc)
                      - Our days with all the light and dark of our community

                      But what i prefer is... THE PULP ONE. Fuck i love pulp scion. Is like tarantino making a superhero movie, i just love it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ElanConnor View Post
                        My idea is:

                        Scion can really be everything

                        I played it in very different style.

                        - In MidleAge ( epic fantasy style, the real hero of the legends or vykings)
                        - 1930 in america ( with a very deep noir tone, blackjack, alcohol and sigaretts, bossess issues etcetc)
                        - Our days with all the light and dark of our community

                        But what i prefer is... THE PULP ONE. Fuck i love pulp scion. Is like tarantino making a superhero movie, i just love it.


                        If you do one focused around the Asian pantheons, you can even make a Wire Fu setting with people jumping around through the air, clashing blades and magic as they pass!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Úlfhéðnar View Post
                          Most of it just isn't in the Poetic and Prose Edda, which is probably why the vast majority of people get those kinds of impressions. For the Alfar we are talking about hard scholarship, literary review and linguistics. Basically in a nutshell, there is rather significant evidence that many of the Alfar are literally the souls of dead ancestors who achieved some sort of greatness in life and that the religious rituals surrounding them constitute a very private ancestral cult. Olaf Geirstad-Alf is a good example of someone explicitly identified as having become an Alfar after death.

                          As for the others, I always recommend Wilhelm Gronbech's "Culture of the Teutons" for some serious looks into the fundamentals of the worldview, culture and faith. http://northvegr.org/secondary%20sou...ons/index.html (Though i would warn you, we are back at the serious scholarship level and alot of the information is across multiple chapters.)
                          Huh, okay, that's actually quite interesting. And no worries about the scholarship thing, I am doing my Masters in Irish Mythology, so scholarly work doesn't bug me. I have got a folder filled with articles discussing Ashanti religious systems secreted away for the next few weeks of reading for myself. With Irish mythology, that late 19th century, early 20th century period is normally a huge red flag for dodgy scholarship, but I will dig into Gronbech and the consensus about him. Thanks very much!

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                          • #14
                            I always saw it as "slightly darkish, but very heroic, and sometimes rather surreal". If that makes any sense.


                            What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly. That is the first law of nature.
                            Voltaire, "Tolerance" (1764)

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                            • #15
                              Gronbech is hardly someone to be concerned about in the same way you would want to treat Crowley or Guido Von List. He is perhaps the best respected Cultural and Theological Historian of the period and certainly the most influential in his native Denmark for even decades afterwards. To quote: He was unusually capable of immersing himself in the system of thought he wished to depict,such that in the words of his English-language biographer he could "write about [it] as if he accepted its theses and principles", and "it is not possible to circumscribe accurately what his own religious—not to mention political—convictions must have been."

                              He writes in that long winded, academic, turn of the century style that tends to put people off, but if your familiar with the style of scholarship then i would highly recommend him.

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