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  • #16
    The appeal, at-least for me, is the same as that of American Gods, Anansi Boys, or Percy Jackson... or really any other of the numerous works hidden-world urban arcana (Dresden Files, Buffy, WoD, Harry Potter etc...) A good Urban Arcana Hidden World tricks your inner child into suspending its disbelief and, for however brief a moment, making you believe (or even just imagine) that maybe our real world is just a little more magical than it really is.

    As for the lack of interest in the alternate-history setting: I don't like the genre-inconsistency of a world in which the gods are objective fact looking like ours... granted that's not an issue with internal consistency: none of the works of fiction that I've mentioned are internally consistent either, and that doesn't matter. I'm looking at it from a genre/tropes perspective (or dare I say a fatebound perspective.) In the genre of Hidden World Urban Arcana, one of the central tropes/conceits is that the world looks largely like our own... that's literally one of the main points of the genre. However, alternate history is the exact opposite: the point is to explore the possible branching differences that come from introducing a given novum to a world. I similarly wouldn't be interested in a version of Guns of The South, Let Darkness Fall, or Man In The High Castle, in which author waived their hands and said "but don't worry about all that, because the world basically looks like ours despite the changes" because that would be a huge missed opportunity, and an internal inconsistency that isn't counterbalanced by long-accepted genre-expectations. If I were to run an alternate history with objectively present gods, I'd want to run an ALTERNATE HISTORY, not a mixture of Hidden World Urban Arcana and Alternate History that doesn't include what I love about either genre.

    ... which isn't to say I spite anyone who does like the new setting, any more than I spite someone who likes olives on their pizza, I just have absolutely zero interest in it. Fortunately, however, the rules are fantastic, and other than Nextlahualli needing a SLIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT boost in power out of the alternate-history world, there's literally nothing about the new setting baked into the mechanics [please keep it that way guys PLEEEASE,] so there's no issue. For about a decade, I've absolutely LOVED everything about the setting of the original scion, inconsistencies and all, and have been long hoping for a less garbage set of rules with which to run it (tried everything from Gotham By Night, to John's Scion Resources, to trying to build a unique set of elements based on the stages of the hero's journey for a Legends of The Wulin re-skin.) That's what's been provided, and having a bunch of extra fluff that I won't use, but could use if the mood ever struck me, doesn't detract from that at all. I just hope the writers don't start baking the new setting into the mechanics: versatility is a good thing.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
      I wonder what the desire for the hidden world setting is honestly. I mean, why would the mythic try so hard to hide itself? The monstrous and divine aren’t actively hidden in myth (though it’s often numinous and beyond the reach of people who don’t lead mythic lives) which is the primary source material here.

      That they went and did something different with Scion rather than give us WoD redux is way more interesting to me.
      For me, the biggest thing is that "hidden world" settings are a lot less work for both the ST and the players. The more different a contemporary reality-adjacent setting is from our own world, the more work we have to put into understanding and predicting ways that it's different and explaining how anything that happens to be the same could be the same.

      I don't think the explicit changes to fluff in 2e are a bad thing--there was a lot of ambiguity and contradiction in the original Scion's setting and fluff-- but I'm still working out what kinds of stories I'll be able to tell in the new setting.

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      • #18
        I don't understand how Legend, as a power stat and concept, could even work in a hidden world.

        Or, for that matter, how you'd get Zeus, Thor, the Dagda or Sun Wukong not to be loud for thousands of years.

        e: to say nothing of literal centaurs, dragons and ogres just living out there
        Last edited by MorsRattus; 04-18-2018, 10:55 AM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by MorsRattus View Post
          I don't understand how Legend, as a power stat and concept, could even work in a hidden world.

          Or, for that matter, how you'd get Zeus, Thor, the Dagda or Sun Wukong not to be loud for thousands of years.

          e: to say nothing of literal centaurs, dragons and ogres just living out there
          The way Legend works was one of the setting contradictions and ambiguities that I was talking about. Legend was ostensibly about the renown you achieved for your deeds, but you could accrue Legend even when you were acting in secret. When I ran the game, I rationalized it by saying that it wasn't about mortal fame so much as fulfilling your role per the demands of Fate. One could take it even a step more narrative and say that it's not about recognition by characters within the setting, but about the hypothetical audience-- after all, it wasn't Achilles' fellow soldiers that grew his legend, it was Homer's enraptured audience-- but that's just a shade too meta for me.

          They explained the existence of centaurs, dragons, and so on in kind of the same terms used in the new edition's Hidden Places section: they're there, but they're tucked away in special places most people don't know about... and those that do find them somehow forget about the experience, or find their photos don't turn out, etc. etc. It's a little lampshadey, but it can potentially save a lot of work. And isn't that what lampshades are for?

          I'm not saying that the hidden world is right and the open world is wrong (or the other way around, for that matter), but they provide different things. Some people really enjoy extrapolating a novel setting from premises. Others want a pick-up-and-play setting which deviates from the real world in just a few select ways. Either way is a fair and defensible way to approach a game like Scion.
          Last edited by gscrap; 04-18-2018, 11:43 AM.

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          • #20
            For me, as I've stated before, it was never about internal consistency. The masquerade doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The secret world of wizards doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Mortals' ignorance of the hellmouth in Buffy doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Urban Arcana is not a genre that stands up to scrutiny. However, the official world of Scion 2 looking just like ours, despite the massive differences that stem from having gods walking around without hiding themselves, doesn't stand up to scrutiny any more or any less. My issue is that it doesn't stand up to scrutiny in a way that is inconsistent with the tropes of its chosen genre (alternate history.)

            However, despite not being ESPECIALLY concerned with the internal consistency of a setting that explicitly runs on narrativium, some of my players are, so over the past decade, I've developed some headcanon 1e fluff that I've used for my games that deal with the issue a little bit. As for the legend issue, in my games I make it rather more explicit that your legend rating is NOT a measure of how well known you are to mortals, but how well you are known to FATE: think less like legend points in Earthdawn, and more like narrativium in Diskworld.

            In my version, when the titans were imprisoned, the ability of mortals to collectively write the book of Fate meant that the ritual to release the titans could only be performed by a mortal, rather than a legendary entity (all of whom, to varying degrees, lack free will.) This meant that mortals being aware of the legendary world had become a direct threat to the existence of the gods, and the world as a whole. The gods had to decide between hiding their existence to prevent anyone from ever discovering the ritual, or directly ruling over mortals in a direct enough way to prevent anyone from performing the ritual.

            They fought amongst themselves about which path to follow, and this war caused almost as much destruction as the war to imprison the titans, until the trickster gods of over a dozen pantheons got together and performed what has become known as "the great deception," and through collective effort deceived the world itself. They convinced the universe of a single fact: only unreliable crazies believe in the legendary world. As it has always done, Fate subtly pushed the world to adhere to the truth of its own narrative, which it continued to do with this new narrative. The Great Deception happened roughly around what the west refers to as The Enlightenment.

            Rather than ALL the titans getting out, a small number of them were released by mortals during various tragic events that beg the question of "why didn't the gods prevent this," and the tragic events are how Fate has had mortals remember such events (Such as the release Mammi Watta's Petro aspect leading to, and being remembered as, the pan-pacific slave trade, and a number of destructive Titans escape leading to and being remembered as the discovery and use of the Atom Bomb.) Re-imprisoning the titans is a high priority, but more are still in captivity than are free, and so maintaining The Great Deception is still of a higher priority. In-fact, one of the main jobs of many scions, especially the scions of the tricksters directly involved in The Great Deception (though literally ALL of them claim to have been involved, and there's no way to tell which of them is lying) is to help Fate along in the maintenance of The Great Deception, by making sure those undeniably exposed to the reality of the legendary world either become fatebound allies of the scions or get discredited as lunatic tabloid conspiracy-theory types. This also provides me with an easy starting point for a saga, as the players get to play deific Men In Black, protecting the common man from the dark secrets of what goes bump in the night.

            Finally, when you say that some people like exploring the differences of a world with novum introduced, I would actually agree, and mark myself among them. Personally, I like the idea in principle, as I'm a fan of alternate history literature, but I feel like "Loki has a twitter account he uses to troll people" doesn't go far enough to feel like a satisfying alternate history. If I'm going to run an alternate history (and I might,) I'm going to go all in and run a full-fledged alternate history.
            Last edited by mjorkk; 04-18-2018, 05:02 PM.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by mjorkk View Post
              For me, as I've stated before, it was never about internal consistency. The masquerade doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The secret world of wizards doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Mortals' ignorance of the hellmouth in Buffy doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Urban Arcana is not a genre that stands up to scrutiny. However, the official world of Scion 2 looking just like ours, despite the massive differences that stem from having gods walking around without hiding themselves, doesn't stand up to scrutiny any more or any less. My issue is that it doesn't stand up to scrutiny in a way that is inconsistent with the tropes of its chosen genre (alternate history.)

              However, despite not being ESPECIALLY concerned with the internal consistency of a setting that explicitly runs on narrativium, some of my players are, so over the past decade, I've developed some headcanon 1e fluff that I've used for my games that deal with the issue a little bit. As for the legend issue, in my games I make it rather more explicit that your legend rating is NOT a measure of how well known you are to mortals, but how well you are known to FATE: think less like legend points in Earthdawn, and more like narrativium in Diskworld.

              In my version, when the titans were imprisoned, the ability of mortals to collectively write the book of Fate meant that the ritual to release the titans could only be performed by a mortal, rather than a legendary entity (all of whom, to varying degrees, lack free will.) This meant that mortals being aware of the legendary world had become a direct threat to the existence of the gods, and the world as a whole. The gods had to decide between hiding their existence to prevent anyone from ever discovering the ritual, or directly ruling over mortals in a direct enough way to prevent anyone from performing the ritual.

              They fought amongst themselves about which path to follow, and this war caused almost as much destruction as the war to imprison the titans, until the trickster gods of over a dozen pantheons got together and performed what has become known as "the great deception," and through collective effort deceived the world itself. They convinced the universe of a single fact: only unreliable crazies believe in the legendary world. As it has always done, Fate subtly pushed the world to adhere to the truth of its own narrative, which it continued to do with this new narrative. The Great Deception happened roughly around what the west refers to as The Enlightenment.

              Rather than ALL the titans getting out, a small number of them were released by mortals during various tragic events that beg the question of "why didn't the gods prevent this," and the tragic events are how Fate has had mortals remember such events (Such as the release Mammi Watta's Petro aspect leading to, and being remembered as, the pan-pacific slave trade, and a number of destructive Titans escape leading to and being remembered as the discovery and use of the Atom Bomb.) Re-imprisoning the titans is a high priority, but more are still in captivity than are free, and so maintaining The Great Deception is still of a higher priority. In-fact, one of the main jobs of many scions, especially the scions of the tricksters directly involved in The Great Deception (though literally ALL of them claim to have been involved, and there's no way to tell which of them is lying) is to help Fate along in the maintenance of The Great Deception, by making sure those undeniably exposed to the reality of the legendary world either become fatebound allies of the scions or get discredited as lunatic tabloid conspiracy-theory types. This also provides me with an easy starting point for a saga, as the players get to play deific Men In Black, protecting the common man from the dark secrets of what goes bump in the night.

              Finally, when you say that some people like exploring the differences of a world with novum introduced, I would actually agree, and mark myself among them. Personally, I like the idea in principle, as I'm a fan of alternate history literature, but I feel like "Loki has a twitter account he uses to troll people" doesn't go far enough to feel like a satisfying alternate history. If I'm going to run an alternate history (and I might,) I'm going to go all in and run a full-fledged alternate history.
              So Urban Fantasy doesn't hold up if you think about it but that's okay because it's a genre convention... But if 2e's setting doesn't hold up if you think too hard about it despite the book saying that the big difference is "The gods are real and their religions never went away, and the World is as similar or as different as it needs to be at your table" it doesn't hold up, and it's not something you can ignore at your table because... Um...

              Remember, the book outright encourages you to add or embellish as you think fits at your table and on tone. The default for Origin games is that nobody truly doubts the divine and legendary exist, but 99% of humanity won't encounter it. Mostly because they are fine living their own lives. At Hero tier, the divine becomes more obvious to the players, because they themselves are divine.

              Look, if you want to use your own setting because you came up with ways to make the Masquerade work at your table, more power to you. Canon Ninjas were never in OPP's budget.

              But I think it's a mistake to say that 1e's setting was better, as 1e didn't have a setting as much as it had a bunch of assumptions that it expected you to take as a given, without even a handwave like Harry Potter's Ministry using Memory Charms on Muggles who see too much, or MIB's Neuralizer, or even the Mist from Percy Jackson which hides supernatural and magical beings from humans.

              The setting the hypothetical you came up with for your 1e days may fit your games well. But don't attribute the work you did to anything vanilla 1e did to help you.


              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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              • #22
                There isn't really much more to masquerades or hidden gods than there is to superheroes and their secret identities. Really, Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent don't stand up to scrutiny, either. But whatever "official" world exists, there will be people who want to change it to suit their needs, and I suspect that this is OP's reason for "our world, but not" as official canon. However, I'm betting there will be some cool alternate worlds in the open licensed fan stuff that will come out after the game is released.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
                  There isn't really much more to masquerades or hidden gods than there is to superheroes and their secret identities. Really, Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent don't stand up to scrutiny, either
                  I dunno, I've been a lot more lenient on Clark Kent. The guy playing Superman in the recent DC movies apparently once spent hours standing in from of a Dawn of Justice poster, wearing a Superman shirt, and nobody realized he was the current Superman.

                  This anecdote could in fact fit in not edition settings as a metaphor. Both for how people don't clue in for things trying to keep hidden, and for how people often don't realize what's up with the Denizens who only barely hide their nature.

                  "Wow, that man was tall." [About a giant]
                  "Did you see what that woman was wearing? She was practically naked! What is this world coming to?" [About a nymph]
                  "That woman has one of those fake fix tails. Must be Con season." [About a passing kitsune]


                  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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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    So Urban Fantasy doesn't hold up if you think about it but that's okay because it's a genre convention... But if 2e's setting doesn't hold up if you think too hard about it despite the book saying that the big difference is "The gods are real and their religions never went away, and the World is as similar or as different as it needs to be at your table" it doesn't hold up, and it's not something you can ignore at your table because... Um...
                    I didn't expect this to be much of an issue, but to simplify: 1e's world being the same (and other hidden-world literature) doesn't hold up, but it's okay because one of the core tropes of hidden-world urban-arcana is that the world is the same as ours on the surface. 2e's world being the same doesn't hold up either, and it bugs me because one of the core tropes of alternate history is the world being vastly different. I care a lot more about genre emulation than internal consistency... that's one of the things that attracted me to scion in the first place.

                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    Remember, the book outright encourages you to add or embellish as you think fits at your table and on tone.
                    I've begun to largely skip the fluff paragraphs, but from what I did read before, there's a lot of space devoted to why the world isn't any different from ours. Saying "if you want it more different do it yourself" doesn't make 2e any better than my 1e headcanon makes 1e any more consistent (though I am quite proud of my headcanon, which is why I thought I'd share.)

                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    The default for Origin games is that nobody truly doubts the divine and legendary exist, but 99% of humanity won't encounter it. Mostly because they are fine living their own lives. At Hero tier, the divine becomes more obvious to the players, because they themselves are divine.
                    Its that first bit that kills the magic for me and my friends. Your inner gullible child believing that your proverbial letter to Hogwarts has simply yet to arrive adds an intangible spice to the game that the whole thing falls flat without.

                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    Look, if you want to use your own setting because you came up with ways to make the Masquerade work at your table, more power to you. Canon Ninjas were never in OPP's budget.
                    I generally agree with yours sentiment, albeit for different reasons: re-writing a setting that already existed in full, and was already perfectly acceptable the way it was would be a waste of space anyway. As long as OPP doesn't start baking their new setting irrevocably into the rules, I'm happy.

                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    But I think it's a mistake to say that 1e's setting was better,
                    That's entirely a matter of subjective taste, but as far as I'm concerned, or anyone at my table, yes, 1e's setting was most definitely better. So far, OP hasn't baked any of the setting into the mechanics, so it's mostly a question to discuss with your table before running a game. I would, however never spite a table for coming to the opposite conclusion as mine.

                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    as didn't have a setting as much as it had a bunch of assumptions that it expected you to take as a given, without even a handwave like Harry Potter's Ministry using Memory Charms on Muggles who see too much, or MIB's Neuralizer, or even the Mist from Percy Jackson which hides supernatural and magical beings from humans.
                    Except it did: Fate. Something even the gods themselves are afraid of. Fate doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but neither does "lol memory charms" "lol neutralizer" or "lol mist."

                    Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
                    The setting the hypothetical you came up with for your 1e days may fit your games well. But don't attribute the work you did to anything vanilla 1e did to help you.
                    I never attributed my work to 1e. I attributed 1e's fluff to having a beautifully flavor-filled setting full of narratively appropriate tropes that I fell sufficiently in love with a decade ago to bother going to the effort of that work.... a flavor and passion that I feel is sorely lacking in 2e. The rules are great though. The setting isn't any more boring to me than Forgotten Realms, and I own a bunch of Forgotten Realms books for the mechanics... I just ctrl+F past the fluff and use the mechanics.


                    At the end of the day, what I really wanted to get across is that there are a lot of fans out there who were just looking for good mechanics with which to run 1e, and that's why we backed 2e. Yes, we're generally less vocal on the forums, and the ones who are vocal are general unpleasant, but that's largely because much of the forum is (rightly) dedicated to discussing the new setting, and because grognards gonna grog. However, we're definitely here, and most of us are quite satisfied with the product, because it does exactly what we asked for. As long as the new fluff remains fluff, rather than baked in mechanical implications that takes work to un-do, the overwhelming majority are probably gonna get the books, despite the grogging of the grogs. It's totally a matter of taste, and my taste isn't objectively true, but as long as the system remains versatile, we can satisfy all tastes.

                    Also I wanted to share my headcanon that I wrote for 1e, because I like it, and thought others might too.

                    I have genuinely no spite for anyone who likes 2e's settings, nor for those who wrote it. So far, everything has gone swimmingly, and all I can really say is that despite some grognarding about the setting, the new mechanics are brilliant.
                    Last edited by mjorkk; 04-18-2018, 07:41 PM.

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                    • #25
                      My point was pretty much that - fiction where people don't see the obvious is commonplace, so people not acknowledging the supernatural is pretty much par for the course. Just assume that the people who gather to discuss aliens or faeries are still just as much seen as a fringe group, except for the fact that they are absolutely right about the truth of the world.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Ivoryknight22 View Post
                        It's a good question, since one of the stories with the Pureviews of Metamorphisis has a woman change some random rich white jackass into a peacock. In the middle of a crowded cafe, and some people just clap, or laugh. Not like..... scream, freak out, call the cops.... something you'd think people that weren't used to things like that would do. I mean, unless they are all followers of her or something, they would be questioning everything, from the creamer in their coffee, to who the hell that woman was, and what's gonna happen to the pissed off peacock that is crapping and pecking people now?

                        Edit: Didn't see that my statement was already mentioned. Gotta love midnight posting. lol


                        The last time I checked, I believe 2nd edition of Scion is a setting in which the pantheons never retreated from the World, like they did in 1st.

                        So if the Gods chose to stick around for the last several thousand years, then it stands to reason that knowledge of their existence would be far more common place. I mean, can you imagine ZEUS suddenly deciding to keep a low profile? The "do as I say, not as I do" kind of guy who proclaimed himself more powerful than the entire pantheon combined?


                        Besides, Greek mythology is chalk full of stories about arrogant mortals being transformed into animals (or worse) after offending a powerful entity.
                        Last edited by Nyrufa; 04-18-2018, 10:26 PM.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by mjorkk View Post

                          I never attributed my work to 1e. I attributed 1e's fluff to having a beautifully flavor-filled setting full of narratively appropriate tropes that I fell sufficiently in love with a decade ago to bother going to the effort of that work.... a flavor and passion that I feel is sorely lacking in 2e. The rules are great though. The setting isn't any more boring to me than Forgotten Realms, and I own a bunch of Forgotten Realms books for the mechanics... I just ctrl+F past the fluff and use the mechanics.
                          I cannot comment on the setting for 1e, since I'm not entirely sure it had one, and by extension I can't really compare it to 2e's setting. What flavor you find in either is of course, entirely up to you and your tastes, but I do think that saying that 2e's setting lacks passion is a little insulting to the developers who have very passionately worked to create it and give us so many wonderful pieces of fiction throughout the book illustrating it (to say nothing of the Settings Chapter itself).

                          That being said, I'm sure that wasn't your intention... I'm just pointing out a potentially problematic part of your sentence.
                          Last edited by Samudra; 04-19-2018, 01:16 AM.

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                          • #28
                            Fair enough; I could see how my sentence structure could be a bit confusing, but contextually it should be pretty clear that I don't mean the writers didn't have passion for the project (which I couldn't possibly know) but that it doesn't inspire passion in me the way 1e's setting did (which as both of us have said, is a matter of taste.)

                            As for 1e having a setting: not only did it have one, but it won awards (unless it won those awards for its system, which imho would be laughable.... but you never know... there's probably SOMEONE out there who loved the system but not the setting.)
                            Last edited by mjorkk; 04-19-2018, 06:31 AM.

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