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Awkward and Potentially Volatile Question

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  • Awkward and Potentially Volatile Question

    Because this is bound to come up, how does one play a character from an "advantaged" culture who is a scion of a pantheon "disadvantaged" culture? Or for that matter, how do you play a character from a western culture who is the scion of a non-western culture? What if that character is a chosen scion? how do you handle these questions without being a total fucking asshole?

    Like. The ways that i initially think to fix these problems will either be insensitive or lead to unfortunate implications all their own (and most are also huge pigeonholes), so how do I deal with this?

  • #2
    There's an FAQ in the Hero book that may as well be titled "But I Don't Want to be a Jackass".

    But basically? Research is your friend. If you want to know about another culture, taking some time to look them up or ask people who are part of that culture is huge.

    If you're playing a character who's not part of the culture that their patron is from? That can happen. There's a couple ways to play it. It may be safest to have the character be as unsure as you, discovering these new worlds and ideas that they never knew.

    Some more general advice, most of it from the FAQ (I'd give a page number but I'm away from my computer right now). If your character is of a certain ethnicity, use plain descriptors. Avoid using food as a descriptor for their anything.

    Also unless you are or can get a voice coach... Ah, probably for the best to avoid doing accents in character at the table. Bunch of land mines there.

    Also, it's good that you want to ask this and make sure you don't come across as insensitive.

    Edit: If you have Hero, starting on page 353 of the Manuscript it talks about "Storyguiding and Playing the Pantheon", which has some good advice.
    Last edited by Kyman201; 03-20-2018, 02:47 AM.

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


    • #3
      Mostly I'd just suggest you know your audience. If you've been gaming with people for a while, you'll probably know where the line is. If you don't know a significant portion of your table very well, you might be better off sticking to more conventional concepts.


      • #4
        Step 1) Stop thinking of them as "disadvantaged" and start thinking of them as a rich culture equal to your own. Find a decent book on the subject and start reading about how they lived, and what they thought was important in life.

        Step 2) After Step 1, we can acknowledge that many gods are absolute jerks and don't care much about their humans, so you can absolutely advocate for an improvement in their quality of life. Or their quality of afterlife. How much your character wants to respect the wishes of the gods themselves, or try to move them towards a new perspective, is a personal choice every character has to make.
        Last edited by Incendax; 03-20-2018, 10:15 AM.


        • #5
          This has come up in my group every so often. The best way we've found out is to, firstly, draw a hard line under Step 1 as mentioned by Incendax. It's a good rule and always worth keeping in mind. Especially when you consider the age of these cultures, and remember that the state of those peoples now is a modern thing that often has little to do with the culture.

          The second thing we found was to, yes, do research but only a little bit at a time. Have the character learn as you do. That way you don't become overwhelmed by learning everything all at once and you can play your character's reaction as they learn about this new, wonderful culture they've come into and how it impacts on their life day to day on the way to becoming a true representative of the culture. Even if that representation is 'Outsider who's learned our ways'. Accept (and the character must accept) that a Westerner being born or chosen into a non-western culture is likely to always be a bit of an outsider and seek out the RP opportunities of that.

          Edit: Also, if handled respectfully, this a fantastic way to learn about another culture that interests you or the player. Rather than being an inflammatory subject, it actually has the potential to open the player's and the group's minds.

          Edit 2: Kyman has already covered my second point. Dammit. Ky's wisdom once again exceeds mine :P
          Last edited by Squee; 03-20-2018, 08:07 PM.


          • #6
            I was about to start a conversation on this same topic. I'm glad I decided to scroll through before starting a new thread.

            Personally, I think it's a good idea to have a general conversation about these topics before embarking on a game of Scion. What are the group's feelings about players playing characters from a different (marginalized) ethnicity or culture? What are the group's feelings about Scions with patrons from a different culture? Some people will be totally fine with it, others would flip the table at the very concept of a settler Scion with a Manitou parent, or a White Scion with an Orisha parent. Yes, do educate yourself and proceed with utmost respect and an open mind, but be aware that for some people issues of colonialism and cultural appropriation are painful enough that no amount of respectful play will redeem a flawed concept.