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Thoughts on 'The World'

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  • Thoughts on 'The World'

    So I finally got around to reading the Origins pdf and I've only just read through the setting and the explanation of The World. I want to see how others feel about it because I'm not sure how I do. I'll also preface all this by saying I'm aware that you can just make up your own setting if you don't like the one in the book and what not. I also don't dislike what I've read so far. But maybe I need to re-read it or get other people's opinions on it.

    Reading through the description of the World kind of reminded me of a review of Bright that I watched when it came out. The reviewer was intrigued by one of the lines the Mexican sheriff has in response to something the orc says about orc prejudice. He says something like "yeah Mexicans still get shit for the Alamo". Which prompted the reviewer to ask, 'were there orcs at the Alamo?' Their point was that if all these fantasy races had existed up until that point in history, why would all major events happen exactly the same?

    And that kind of sums up how I feel about what I've read about The World. Again I'm not saying it's bad I just feel like it creates more questions than it answers. It's my understand the World is very very similar to our world but all myths are real and the populace are aware of this. But wouldn't all this massively change history? They don't seem to mention it but would most of the now major world religions even exist if the religions of the ancient world literally had gods that people knew for certain existed and had even met? I won't go into all the other questions it created in my mind about changes to major world events throughout history. I guess that's the interesting thing. The idea of Demi-gods in the world wars. Satyrs at the Somme. Treants at the Council of Trent. But it just felt to me like trying to write your cake and eat it too. All of this is different but also it's practically the same.

    So yeah, am I reading it wrong? Does any feel the same or differently? I do really like Scion and look forward to running it but I wanted to air my views on this bit and see how others felt.

  • #2
    I'd point you to an answer that I saw in another thread. Basically, it's not that orcs and trolls and such are an everyday event. I mean, hurricanes happen all the time, but I don't know their inner workings or how and when they'd form. But I know they exist. I also know that when they do show up, it's bad, and I hope one doesn't happen in my hometown. I think the point is that, more or less, the world is the same. Gods and satyrs don't go around interacting with people, they specifically avoid it. However, some learned scholars may teach college courses on them, and how to appease an ogre so it won't eat you, just like a widerness survival course. However, I also think that each "World" is going to be very different based on each storytellers style, so I don't think there's ever going to be a real answer to your question.

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    • #3
      Here's an incorrect assumption that seems to be made.

      People often in my experience ask "Why is there still Christianity if the other religions exist?"

      The response to that is why do you assume the Christianities and other Abrahamic-derived religions are wrong? A big thing in The World is that all myths are true.

      All.

      As for "Wait if these gods existed why did things turn out similarly, wouldn't wars have gone differently?" well riddle me this: Why assume that it wasn't a case of both sides invoking magic and curses? Hell, it's Canon that Roman attack on the Gaulish people still happened, and the Gauls called upon their Scions and Gods.

      The thing is, the Romans had the Theoi. And the Roman legions were led by one Iulius Caesar, Scion of Venus.

      It doesn't fit the parallel with Bright because Bright introduces new different things. These legends Scion touches on, the myths and religions of old, have and in many ways still do shape our culture today. In Ireland, they build roads around fairy rings. Disturbing one is something Not Done.

      And this is in out world, where stepping in a Fariy Ring won't actually whisk you away to their realm. In The World, it very well can.

      Saying "Things would have turned out completely different" is insincere in my mind, and neglects to consider how these legends and religions influenced people's actions throughout our own history. The biggest differences between our world and The World is one, the polytheistic religions endured more than they did here, though are not necessarily the dominant ones. And two, the creatures of legend and folklore are real.


      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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      • #4
        Originally posted by Solar Lantern View Post
        So I finally got around to reading the Origins pdf and I've only just read through the setting and the explanation of The World. I want to see how others feel about it because I'm not sure how I do. I'll also preface all this by saying I'm aware that you can just make up your own setting if you don't like the one in the book and what not. I also don't dislike what I've read so far. But maybe I need to re-read it or get other people's opinions on it.

        Reading through the description of the World kind of reminded me of a review of Bright that I watched when it came out. The reviewer was intrigued by one of the lines the Mexican sheriff has in response to something the orc says about orc prejudice. He says something like "yeah Mexicans still get shit for the Alamo". Which prompted the reviewer to ask, 'were there orcs at the Alamo?' Their point was that if all these fantasy races had existed up until that point in history, why would all major events happen exactly the same?

        And that kind of sums up how I feel about what I've read about The World. Again I'm not saying it's bad I just feel like it creates more questions than it answers. It's my understand the World is very very similar to our world but all myths are real and the populace are aware of this. But wouldn't all this massively change history? They don't seem to mention it but would most of the now major world religions even exist if the religions of the ancient world literally had gods that people knew for certain existed and had even met? I won't go into all the other questions it created in my mind about changes to major world events throughout history. I guess that's the interesting thing. The idea of Demi-gods in the world wars. Satyrs at the Somme. Treants at the Council of Trent. But it just felt to me like trying to write your cake and eat it too. All of this is different but also it's practically the same.

        So yeah, am I reading it wrong? Does any feel the same or differently? I do really like Scion and look forward to running it but I wanted to air my views on this bit and see how others felt.
        Why would gods change the outcome of any given mortal squabble that’s over in the blink of an eye from their perspective? And if they do care, wouldn’t they be fighting other divine beings who care about this super important war? And whose to say they didn’t shape it - look at Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’s version of the Napoleonic Wars. Magic plays a crucial role in British victory - the fact that this is a change from our world does not require a change in outcome.

        This is not a setting like Bright where Satyrs and Naga are minority groups in school or work alongside you. They exist on the periphery - most people never knowingly encounter them, but their existence isn’t a secret.

        The problem with Bright is trying to use “demihumans” as minority allegory while still keeping all the inter-human society aspects the same. That’s not the case here. Most people lived lives exactly like ones they live in our world with no higher presence of nonhumans and the supernatural beyond vague awareness that it’s “out there”.

        In other words the world works EXACTLY like described in mythology.

        That’s why it confuses me that this confuses people. In the primary source material for this game, Ancient peoples believed in the divine and numinous and its existence was a fact of life while most people never encountered it. The fact that there was no conspiracies to hide the numinous did not stop it from being out of sight of most people (hence most ancient Indians believeing in Naga and Rakshasa without meeting one). So why is it so hard for that type of setting to work if people also have cars?

        Also there are not other “major” religions - inserting the word “major” changes the setting from how it’s written significantly. There are SMALL religions that have continuously existed in the World, that’s only counterparts in our world are reconstructed, not continuous faiths.

        Monotheism doesn’t need to deny there are a bunch of powerful beings on Mt Olympus to say “there is only one True God deserving of worship.” Atheists don’t need to deny the existence of the Kami as a fact of the natural world to consider them an emergent part of the natural world set in motion by the Big Bang.
        Last edited by glamourweaver; 07-19-2018, 11:44 PM.


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        • #5
          All that said, I do have some note worthy differences in the Word vs reality, thanks to the heroism of past Scions at my own table. One significant example is that thanks to Manitou, Wakanpi, Orenda, Diyin Dine’e, Kachina, etc etc Scions - Native Americans held a much stronger footing against European/US imperialism, and as a result their populations are higher, religious traditions are stronger, and their sovereign lands are larger, controlling more resources, and are less subject to the Federal or State governments.


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          • #6
            So, by what I readed in here, Scion 2nd is more to "The Secret World/Secret World: Legends" (the computer MMO game) than to Bright. I mean, the magic/fantasy/myth is there. Maybe not in the spotlight, but there. But also not exactly secret. It's there. If you wanna see it.

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            • #7
              Glamour brings up a good point. Like, a lot of our history in this world today, people assumed that many of these beings WERE alive, just kept to themselves. They didn't doubt that naga and fairies existed. To the Greeks, they knew that the Gods lived on a mountain. Not a metaphor for a heavenly realm, but like, a literal mountain. Over thereabouts. *Waves vaguely at the horizon* They knew that if you got a shovel and started digging, eventually you'd breach into the Underworld and into the realm of Hades. Don't do that, dude does NOT take kindly to people just waltzing into his realm.

              Like... Scientific studies say that gods, kitsune, werewolves, that none of those are real.

              But for most of history, they were accepted as real. They were real to those people, even if they weren't there.

              It's just that in Scion's The World... People still accept these things as real. Because they are.


              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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              • #8
                I see both side to this, but the important difference between the "myths" in our world and the other active faiths of Scion, is that in our world, to give just one example, the Greeks stopped believing in "the Gods on the mountain" as a large part of their daily life, because other faiths [generally, monotheistic ones] overran the old ways. And they did so because, arguably, there weren't any "real" Gods to step in and remind the faithful that they were there. [I'm trying not to get into a theological discussion about our world and faith - I'm talking about the game world here]
                I personally feel that Zeus would have taken some steps to ensure that worship of his entire Pantheon wasn't relegated to "ancient mythology" by an upstart faith of any stripe, and that Odin, Horus, Amaterasu, and all of the others out there would have done the same. You don't have to actually manifest to prove the point if you can still send scions, monsters, minions, miracles, and the like to remind people "hey, guys, I'm watching you." It just seems a bit to pat to me that entire Pantheons of divine beings with a vested interest in keeping humanity alive and kicking would spawn a world that is functionally the same as ours, just with more temples and minor faiths. Egypt during the period when Horus and Hathor were predominant, is a very different place from the current country where Islam dominates everything. I understand that the writers are trying to avoid offending people, and that we can do what we want [and I have certainly done so in my own campaign], but I do think that the "default" world is a bit too "different but the same."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Hayashi View Post
                  So, by what I readed in here, Scion 2nd is more to "The Secret World/Secret World: Legends" (the computer MMO game) than to Bright. I mean, the magic/fantasy/myth is there. Maybe not in the spotlight, but there. But also not exactly secret. It's there. If you wanna see it.
                  I don’t know the thing you’re specifically referencing, but yes that sounds right.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
                    I personally feel that Zeus would have taken some steps to ensure that worship of his entire Pantheon wasn't relegated to "ancient mythology" by an upstart faith of any stripe, and that Odin, Horus, Amaterasu, and all of the others out there would have done the same.
                    Mistaken Assumption, and one that goes entirely against the game itself.

                    The religions of those gods in the World are emphatically not dead. Like, the worship is still there. There are temples to all those Pantheons, throughout the World.

                    Maybe not the majority stranglehold, but they're there, and accepted, to the point where if Religion comes up in the office it's not odd to hear someone say "Yeah made an offering to Hades so hopefully the next quarter looks better, am I right?"


                    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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                    • #11
                      There's also the point that while Scion is a setting where all faith is real, and one largely based off our own world, it's ALSO a world with it's own bits of unifying cosmology. One of those things being Fate, and Fatebinding, and the general decision that Gods mostly eventually turned away from intervening quite so much because they were tired of being carved into new shapes by human beliefs and had enough Mantles already thank you very much. Some Pantheons did this more heavily than others, of course, but it is one of those things that you're supposed to be able to rely upon,-- a pillar of the setting as it were,- to help suspend your suspension of disbelief.

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                      • #12
                        To Kyman201 - you misunderstand me. I'm saying that, because all of the faiths are real and active, not subsumed by the monotheistic faiths of our real world, the Gods would have had an influence on culture and government that was great enough to make the modern world of Scion a very different place from ours. I realize the Theoi are real and openly worshipped - that was my point.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
                          To Kyman201 - you misunderstand me. I'm saying that, because all of the faiths are real and active, not subsumed by the monotheistic faiths of our real world, the Gods would have had an influence on culture and government that was great enough to make the modern world of Scion a very different place from ours. I realize the Theoi are real and openly worshipped - that was my point.
                          I go back to the Jonathan Strange example. The result of the supernatural playing an active role in history and government does not need to be a different outcome. The Theoi and their worship playing an active role in US society results in Greco-Roman architecture dominating the capital, the embrace of a Seatorial political system by the Founding Father’s, etc etc.


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                          • #14
                            Honestly I'd just split the difference and call it a day. Ancient polytheistic religions are slightly more popular in the "World" than our world, Hinduism being the obvious exception, but Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are vastly more popular and most people consider the likes of Zeus and Odin to just be ancient myths like in our world.

                            My main problem with the "World" 2e is the idea that people know that ogres and giants exist. Sure, most people will never encounter them but rarity doesn't mean that people wouldn't rightfully be terrified of them eating their families and create entire government agencies and laws to deal with them. If want to keep the setting similar to our world I say make it so that the supernatural is a secret that's slowly being revealed to the world as the Titans become an issue. That way the PCs are signaling the dawn of something wonderous and horrifying coming to the "World" instead of something that has been normalized to a degree.

                            I mean, which is cooler. People screaming "That's impossible! Dragons don't exist," while one suddenly shows up to fight our heroes or "Hey, look guys its another dragon. It's neat to see one up close instead of on a Youtube clip."

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Weirdboyz View Post
                              Honestly I'd just split the difference and call it a day. Ancient polytheistic religions are slightly more popular in the "World" than our world, Hinduism being the obvious exception, but Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are vastly more popular and most people consider the likes of Zeus and Odin to just be ancient myths like in our world.

                              My main problem with the "World" 2e is the idea that people know that ogres and giants exist. Sure, most people will never encounter them but rarity doesn't mean that people wouldn't rightfully be terrified of them eating their families and create entire government agencies and laws to deal with them. If want to keep the setting similar to our world I say make it so that the supernatural is a secret that's slowly being revealed to the world as the Titans become an issue. That way the PCs are signaling the dawn of something wonderous and horrifying coming to the "World" instead of something that has been normalized to a degree.

                              I mean, which is cooler. People screaming "That's impossible! Dragons don't exist," while one suddenly shows up to fight our heroes or "Hey, look guys its another dragon. It's neat to see one up close instead of on a Youtube clip."
                              Between those two, the latter is definitely cooler. The former requires people be very stupid and somehow be deluded about things that objectively exist not existing. People (mostly) don’t believe in dragons in real life because they don’t exist. If they actually existed, belief in them would never have gone away in the first place.

                              That said, seeing a dragon should still be so awe inspiring that people shouldn’t be blasé about it - but the denialist cliche is a tired boring trope.


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