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How, exactly, do I write a Scion campaign?

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  • How, exactly, do I write a Scion campaign?

    Apologies for the rambling stream-of-consciousness below. I'm basically after a bit of a sounding board and ideas for running a first Scion game.

    As the previous campaign of my regular gaming group was wrapping up, we asked each other who wanted to run something, and me, being interested to see how the storypath system runs, and having recently received my kickstarter books offered to run Scion.
    I've read through Origin and Hero, and feel I have a reasonable grasp of the rules (as reasonable as can be expected before running, character creation in Scion is pretty involved), but I am having real trouble figuring out the best way to present a Scion campaign.

    I had initially decided I wanted something that involved some travel (I had run a city based vampire game for some time recently), and I was interested in some exploring/treasure hunting, in that Uncharted/Tomb Raider style.
    I settled on steering the game in and around the 'American Mediterranean' (The Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea).

    While consuming inspirational media (or simply wasting my time watching films set in exotic locations) I got really jealous of the yacht in the Matthew McConaughey/Kate Hudson film 'Fools Gold', so advised the players that their characters should have that sort of yacht as one method of transportation.

    Of course, it was only after I told the players about this that the quick start appeared on drivethru rpg.

    I want the mini-arc to last 4 to 8 weeks, and since I don't have full PC details yet, and it is intended to be a 'kick the tyres' game, I figured I'd be relatively railroad-y. In my head have the following basic plot in mind. -
    There is a titan imprisoned under the Gulf of Mexico, possibly under the Chicxulub crater off the Yucatan Peninsula. It is slowly freeing itself (possibly it's stirrings have caused oil rig disasters in the area over the last 40 years), and has unleashed minions that are now working to hasten it's release.
    Enter the PCs to stop this.
    I envisage three (maybe four) locations where mystical anchors hold the titan fast, and the campaign will have the PCs travelling to the locations to restore or protect the anchor.
    In terms of exotic locations for the anchors, I'm thinking about a hidden Mayan temple in the Yucatan (for full Uncharted vibes), something underwater (this could involve a shipwreck, or more likely one of the Bahamas' blue holes), and a climatic battle in New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

    What I'm having trouble with us opposition for the PCs band.
    I had thought about a large titanspawn animal, and on reading about Lusca, the Caribbean sea monster, thought about a Jason Statham chasing-sized Sharktopus, but that sort of creature is limited in its use.
    Human-sized enemies would be needed too, and I'm torn between the more-useful cultists who can blend in with the populace, and some cinematic Sahuagin/Trench looking minions. I'm not sure something like that fits into Scion though (I'm not really sure what does and doesn't fit really). Can I bust out weird fish-people monsters, or does that feel too fantasy and not really mythic?

    I'm also wondering if I'm writing a They Came From Beneath The Sea adventure and trying to shoehorn it into Scion.

    I guess I'm looking for some guidance on what the PCs should be facing, what I should be looking for, and avoiding as opponents, allies and set pieces, and possibly any suggestions on interesting locations or ideas for that area, any help or comments would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Its very unoriginal but the Illiad is the first thing i think when presented with the concept of scions on a boat.
    It might serve as an inspiration.

    Do you want the game to be Origin or Hero?
    At 8 session i highly advise keeping it at one of those tier. And as a new system i highly advise Origin.


    Completed campaign: Scion 2nd Edition. Les Légendes Currently playing: Being a dad for a 2year old daughter anf a 1 year old son.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post
      Its very unoriginal but the Illiad is the first thing i think when presented with the concept of scions on a boat.
      It might serve as an inspiration.
      Do you not mean the Odyssey or the Argonauts? Illiad is far more about heroes & demigods at war than sea travels...

      Also possibly of relevance.

      Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post
      Do you want the game to be Origin or Hero?
      At 8 session i highly advise keeping it at one of those tier. And as a new system i highly advise Origin.
      Pardon the ignorance - have no experience with Storypath's version of Scion, only the previous one - but what is each Tier/stage of the book about?

      Originally posted by MonkeyBloke View Post
      What I'm having trouble with us opposition for the PCs band.
      I had thought about a large titanspawn animal, and on reading about Lusca, the Caribbean sea monster, thought about a Jason Statham chasing-sized Sharktopus, but that sort of creature is limited in its use.
      Human-sized enemies would be needed too, and I'm torn between the more-useful cultists who can blend in with the populace, and some cinematic Sahuagin/Trench looking minions. I'm not sure something like that fits into Scion though (I'm not really sure what does and doesn't fit really). Can I bust out weird fish-people monsters, or does that feel too fantasy and not really mythic?
      If you can connect to some myth - or crazy hijinks of a scion abusing purviews like Chaos, Animal or whatever - it fits, that simple.

      How about classic sirens that can change between human and bird-legged women through shapechanging or illusion and can entrance people with song?

      Also this and this are good to remember. If ants and stones can become people (and for story needs, shift back), so can fish!

      In fact, watch the film adaptation of Sea of Monsters, it should have a good chunk of what you're looking for to mine and inspiration.

      Originally posted by MonkeyBloke View Post
      I'm also wondering if I'm writing a They Came From Beneath The Sea adventure and trying to shoehorn it into Scion.

      I guess I'm looking for some guidance on what the PCs should be facing, what I should be looking for, and avoiding as opponents, allies and set pieces, and possibly any suggestions on interesting locations or ideas for that area, any help or comments would be greatly appreciated.
      My first Scion game had Herakles and Ares duking it out as Pacific Rim-sized colossi in Guanabara Bay (Rio de Janeiro) while the PCs tried to fly over or climb them to get their attention and stop the fight to listen to them.

      The following arc had the players, allied to Kane Taoka's group (yes, the regular scion antagonists of the first edition) going to Antartica, to investigate the deaths of another Scion band - and loot the crap out of the ruins of Atlantis before the other pantheons or the Titans, because apparently the curses of the gods were gone. Lots of mutated fish people (descended from cursed surviving atlanteans) & giant monster-fighting and drama between young demigod-heroes ensued.

      Have no fear of over-the-top!!!
      Last edited by Baaldam; 09-17-2019, 11:10 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MonkeyBloke View Post
        I had initially decided I wanted something that involved some travel (I had run a city based vampire game for some time recently), and I was interested in some exploring/treasure hunting, in that Uncharted/Tomb Raider style.
        If you want more inspiration of Tomb Raider stories in Scion - we have topic to analyze exactly like those. And yes, I would advise more on Origin level here.


        My stuff for Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E & BtP
        LGBT+ through Ages
        LGBT+ in CoD games

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        • #5
          Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

          And yes, I would advise more on Origin level here.
          To my trouble, I figured that Hero is a more classic Scion experience, so the players have already started creating their characters at that point. I I got to the page flipping after being asked "What are Asset Skills?"

          Part of me wonders if I should shamelessly steal from Lovecraft, and have human cultists sporting the "innsmouth look", and their brethren who have fully accepted the titans gifts and look fully gillman.

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          • #6
            Honestly, the way I do it? You don't NEED a PhD in Comparative Religion and classic literature to run a Scion game (though it can help for inspiration), as there are countless ways you can do it.

            I personally go "Right, so mythic references HAPPEN in my games, but I'mma level with you, I'm more interested in the characters YOU make, rather than having you play Achilles 2.0. Unless you play a reincarnated Achilles, in which case sure we'll roll with that"

            So I'm not the type to say, copy a Legend 1:1. I'm more the type to have a multi-Pantheon Band be given a box from one of the Netjer (perhaps Set?) and be told "Here, drive this box overnight from [City A] to [City B]. Don't open it until you get there, you'll know when."

            And it's only about an hour into the drive that the PCs realize boy howdy that's a lot of snakes.

            But mostly, I see what sort of events the players want their characters to go through, and often times these are Deeds they want the CHARACTER to accomplish, and not "Well my dad is Thor so guess I fight giants". This isn't 1e, you're allowed to play a Scion of someone without becoming a carbon copy of that god. :P

            Your basic plot is workable (I personally dislike Lovecraft elements due to not finding seafood or cosmic horror scary but that's neither here nor there), so here's some general advice:
            1. This is both your first time running the game and their first time playing. Have them PICK Boons and whatever, but don't design the start of the adventure with the assumption that they'll need to use them.
            2. Similarly, just like... Low-ball the first couple sessions for them, because it's easier to start weak and ratchet up the difficulty than accidentally spring a too-powerful encounter on them that may lead to a TPK. If they're getting into a fight, have the first fight be against like, two Minions per PC in a bar. Let your PCs thrash them (and they will, these are Minions, they're Heroes) so that your players learn about fighting, defending, and the like.
            3. Really, the thing to keep in mind is that Scion advancement assumes very open communication between what the players want to do and the GM planning. If you have a lot of social stuff planned, but your players all have "Kick some ass" as their Short Term Deeds, maybe reconsider the negotiation scene and have them deal with a creature that got summoned.
            4. Momentum! This will be something new for your players, so remind them that this exists and that they should spend it casually and often. Seriously, the pool empties between sessions so there's no advantage to hoarding it between them.
            5. Really, this is big.. Don't front-load. Your players don't need to have the entire system memorized. Start with say, Investigation, and focus on that until they get the basics. Introduce Complex Actions and Milestones, work up to Conditions and the like.

            Originally posted by MonkeyBloke View Post
            Part of me wonders if I should shamelessly steal from Lovecraft, and have human cultists sporting the "innsmouth look", and their brethren who have fully accepted the titans gifts and look fully gillman.
            Eh, careful with that. There's a lot of overt Implications with Lovecraft's work that are unpleasant when you realize them. (Lovecraft wrote Shadow Over Innsmouth after he found out he had a smidge of Welsh Heritage so-) I've gone on record in the past as saying the best way to use Lovecraft references are in ways that would make Lovecraft himself die of a heart attack. So if you have Innsmouth types in your game, I recommend taking the absolute piss out of the story by having Innsmouth be a pleasant fishing town, and the fishfolk who live off-shore are perfectly nice and pleasant people who really only dislike tourists because tourists assume they're human-sacrificing monsters, when they're not. The REAL evil of Innsmouth is the Tourist Traps.
            Last edited by Kyman201; 09-18-2019, 05:45 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.

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the advice, especially to Kyman201 for the many specifics, that's a lot of useful advice to think on.

              As for...
              Originally posted by Kyman201 View Post
              Eh, careful with that. There's a lot of overt Implications with Lovecraft's work that are unpleasant when you realize them. (Lovecraft wrote Shadow Over Innsmouth after he found out he had a smidge of Welsh Heritage so-) I've gone on record in the past as saying the best way to use Lovecraft references are in ways that would make Lovecraft himself die of a heart attack. So if you have Innsmouth types in your game, I recommend taking the absolute piss out of the story by having Innsmouth be a pleasant fishing town, and the fishfolk who live off-shore are perfectly nice and pleasant people who really only dislike tourists because tourists assume they're human-sacrificing monsters, when they're not. The REAL evil of Innsmouth is the Tourist Traps.
              I have no intention of using Innsmouth, or Lovecraft's themes, I was toying with a sliding scale of mutation, from an odd look, to fully mutated fish-people. My instinct was that the farther one willing progressed into the cult of -as yet unnamed titan- (BTW - is there a master titan list, or should I look into lore of the region, or create something from whole cloth?), the more mutated you would become.

              On reflection, while I like a cult dedicated to freeing the titan, I'd rather save the (titanspawn?) fish-people for one specific moment.

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              • #8
                Duly noted, I just felt it apt to post a note for a potential minefield.

                And I should probably lay some context for my advise... I usually don't plan out more than like, 1-2 sessions in advance, because I tend to focus more on character-driven narratives. This works well with my group, as most of them have character traits I can dangle plot hooks in front of.

                "Okay, so they ran into an art smuggler, but he has to be working for someone... Who's a Heroic figure who would have an interest in old relics? REINCARNATED GILGAMESH! Okay so this session let's see if I can't have them run into Enkidu-"
                -Me, like fifteen minutes before the session starts


                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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