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scions and their relationship to cults and vise versa - with bonus examples!

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  • scions and their relationship to cults and vise versa - with bonus examples!

    So, i've been thinking about how to make a guide to cult relations in Scion, obviously this will vary some scion to scion depending on A; who the divine parent is and B; who the child is. However in the standard setting provided the divine is just beneath the surface so I think it makes sense that established cults would have a...SOP? for how to interact with scions. History gives us some good precedent here.

    Some pantheons the Kami, the Netjer, Devas and Teotl have some pretty codified relationship with descendants and incarnations being almost ever present in the histories (the admittedly incomplete histories in some cases, sadly). Many of these scions are slotted into leadership positions, so does it make sense that many modern cults would try and slot some of these scions into leadership positions? of course this gets less clean when you introduce scions of other gods who are less then shiny. A scion of Amatarsu gets the red carpet rolled out for them, but a scion of Susano or Sarutahiko don't really have the gold standard on good decisions.

    Others like the Shen, the Orisha the Deva (and others selectively) raise people who were exceptional in life to the status of deities after the die, but don't claim divine heritage. So the idea of a Scion being chosen or 'made' not just by the pantheon but by a community. Does a gifted Chinese agricultural innovator who is recognized by the community at large become the chosen of Yandi, or did Yandi always have a hand in this mortal life? if the former how uncommon is it for the exceptional to get raised up as Shen while still alive?

    For the Theoi and the Tuatha greatness seems to be the only commonality, however many make shit leaders. Leaders can be found in their number of course, Odysseus being a famed tactician and one of the most classic examples of a chosen scion there is. However wrangling a Cu Cuchulain or a Hercules seems like a cults full time job.

    The Asier and the Manitou have very little separations from the divine and the mortal while still not really getting into the messy details of what happens when the divine and mortal boink, Nana 'b' oozoo is mostly held up as an example of what not to do in an given situation and Thor while hailed as a champion is still mostly shown to be brash and not think things through most of the time. In both of these stories its quite common for the gods themselves to show up at someones home and effectively kidnap them for whatever scheme they have planned at a given time. Thjalfi gets drafted by Thor because he's faster then he is, do the cults of these gods have a similar view of being closer to the divine, or would Thjalfi be consider a chosen scion in his own right, albeit unwillingly.

    TLDR: how do cults relate to scions where there isn't a neat bit or mythological or historical present for me (the ST) to rely on? I'll post some examples i think are neat and i invite you all to please do the same.

    Examples:
    A born scion of one of Kali's more vicious incarnations shows up at the local hindu temple in Philadelphia. Following precedent (despite the scions protest, they're a lawyer specializing in estate law not a soldier), they are directed to the secretive thugee cult (thieves and warriors dedicated to Kali), however while the leadership of the cult would never presume to order the child of their patron around...the scion also has no idea what to do with a bunch of trained holy assassins.

    A scion of Amatarsu holds a leadership position in the local shinto temple, things are going fine until their band mate (a scion of Susano) realizes that he's being managed and throws a shitfit until he is granted a position of equal rank, the cult is now divided as to who to follow with some members learning to like this more impulsive direct form of leadership, while many of them are terrified to act directly against their new divine 'leader'.

    A incarnation of Huitzilopochtli has manifested in Montreal Canada of all places. There isn't a strong Latinex population/culture in Montreal but more and more are draw to this strange new comers banner, especially after some bodies are found torn to shreds by what looks to be bone claws. The french Canadian population is more then alittle squeamish at the idea of human sacrifice, but some are starting to accept that it may be needed if things keep going south.

    THANKS FOR READING AND I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR THOUGHTS!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Common_Monster View Post

    Some pantheons the Kami, the Netjer, Devas and Teotl have some pretty codified relationship with descendants and incarnations being almost ever present in the histories (the admittedly incomplete histories in some cases, sadly). Many of these scions are slotted into leadership positions, so does it make sense that many modern cults would try and slot some of these scions into leadership positions?

    Ehhhh, kind of hard to say. Second Edition makes it explicitly clear that there remains a separation of church and state. The Gods do not get involved in the affairs of mortal governments, and the mortals likewise agree to stay out of the affairs of the Gods.

    Although it is true that this has not always been the case throughout history. For example, the Pharaohs of Egypt were believed to be the actual children of Osiris (yes, I'm using the Greek names, because they're easier to remember!) and it was customary to erase the records of the previous Pharaoh and attribute their deeds with the new one.

    Scions might hold great influence within the affairs of religious institutions. They have the patronage of the very gods the people worship, so that only makes sense. But you probably won't find one trying to run for president of the united states, or anything of that nature. At least not without attracting the attention of the Gods, or a metric shit load of Fatebindings.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post

      Scions might hold great influence within the affairs of religious institutions. They have the patronage of the very gods the people worship, so that only makes sense. But you probably won't find one trying to run for president of the united states, or anything of that nature. At least not without attracting the attention of the Gods, or a metric shit load of Fatebindings.
      Specifically referring to cults (so religious institutions) and Scions, avoiding fate binding is keen (both IG and OOG) but I am interested to see how people have run cult/scion relations or how they plan to.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Common_Monster View Post
        Specifically referring to cults (so religious institutions) and Scions, avoiding fate binding is keen (both IG and OOG) but I am interested to see how people have run cult/scion relations or how they plan to.


        In that case, it might depend on the specific pantheon in question. The write up for the Kami states their biggest weakness is their superiority complex, and how they know deep down inside that they are inherently better than everyone else. So when dealing with their cults, I imagine their Scions may be held up as a standard for what their cultists should aspire to be like. Those seeking perfection may strive to emulate the Scions as best they can.

        While in the case of the Theoi, the people might treat their Scions with reverent fear. I don't remember where I read this, but Greek Heroes were basically real life "murder hobos." The pantheon has an infamous tendency to severely overreact to being humiliated, so their cultists might try to keep them as happy and placated as possible.

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        • #5
          Honestly part of the thing is how a Cult interacts with a Scion depends on... Basically, ANY number of things.

          As Nyrufa mentioned, Pantheon plays a role. There will be a lot of cultural expectations based on the Pantheon.

          Are they a cult to a specific God? Is that God the Patron of that particular Scion? That may color expectations.

          Is this a cult to the Hero? Because those happen too, and that ESPECIALLY will color how things go.

          It's not something you can make a small guide around, because as a gaming aid and storytelling aid you'd probably want to personalize the cult to interact with the PC.

          But I'll again refer to this quote from the Hero book...

          Beneath silent respect, fawning worship, and fear, mortals hold Heroes to an implied duty: Protect us, and act as our representative among divine and legendary powers. Heroes bind, tame, or slay monsters. They plead the people’s case before angry Gods, or tell mortals what the Gods want. They explain why children vanish on the full moon by the ancient mounds, and if they can’t convince the beings inside to give the kids back, they can at least tell mortals how to prevent it from happening again. Sometimes holy covenants spell these expectations out, but most of the time people expect Heroes to do it because of who they are.

          When Heroes skip town when monsters come around or shrug when cultists ask them why Zeus is getting generous with his thunderbolts, mortals take note. Leaving aside the consequences to a Hero’s Legend, shirking these ancient duties damages their reputation in mortal society. The cult doesn’t invite them to rituals. People in the mythic underground snicker or shake their heads in conversations just out of the Hero’s presumed earshot. The Gods have a way of finding out, too, and might explicitly discipline a reluctant Hero, but fear usually limits mortal reactions to quiet contempt and shunning, save for acidic comments in social media, where mortals exhibit more bravery.

          Storyguides should warn socially adept Heroes about the consequences of avoiding mythic dangers, and leave it to them to respond. If they still don’t want to bother with monsters and strange gates, well, mortal disdain shouldn’t be a punishment, but an impetus for a new story.
          So I keep this in mind. What kinds of Deeds and Expectations are put on the Scion does depend on any number of things. I'd personalize it for each Scion, put faces on the community needs for the PC.


          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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          • #6
            Kyman201 Yes, revealing yourself as a Scion to the public, is like revealing yourself as the Pope, or some form of messiah. You aren't just a follower of the pantheons, you are a representative, as well as a potential member. Your every deed, no matter how minor you might perceive it to be, is going to have long term repercussions in mortal society, as well as the religion itself.

            Nothing says "it's okay to commit genocide" like the sight of a War Scion waging a military campaign on foreign soil!

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            • #7
              Scions are on very big part the intersection between mortal and divine, mundane and mythic. They very much have a foot in both world.
              In this aspect cults are naturally gonna form around a scion (or even around a scions deed) for a myriad of reasons.
              I like to use the Legend stat as a way to make the players notice that groups and subcultures sre forming around their scions.
              But i also like that cults are viewed in a much broader (and positive light) in The World compared to our own.

              One of the cults i made is formed by history, anthropology, myth and religion students and professors for the purpose of following and cataloguing relics. Who they belong to, where they are from, are they parts or remake of older relics, etc.
              The society/cult even has a trimestre magazine about research and finding that people can subscribe to.
              In relation to scions they can serve as contacts, consultant followers and maybe even guides for a few more influential members of the group.
              Also deep within this cult there actually two moderatly secret factions.
              One is the custodians who feel that they know whats best for the relics and try to acquire unclaimed relics (those belonging to no scions) and holding on tk them until a "worthy" scion arrives.
              The other group are the reclaimers who strive to bring unclaimed relocs back to the culture where they are from and let the people who lived their history decide themselves what to do.

              Again both or either of these groups can serve as allies or antagonist to a scion.

              Still can't think of a nice name for the big public society/cult tho.
              Inspiration keeps refusing to strike me on this manner XD.


              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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              • #8
                Also worth considering is that like, not every Cult will be structured the same. It's like asking "What's a church like?", the answer is "Well what denomination?" and from there it spins into twenty more questions on things like how many people attend, what's the main priest like, to say nothing of the many follow-up questions about denomination.

                Some Scions will get invited to small-group temples that sprang up because the town has a high population of followers of that religion. Some will be sent there by their Patrons, going "These are my loyal followers. They will help you."

                Sometimes you'll come across Cults who are doing stuff that the Gods they claim to worship don't like. In this case your relationship to them can be "Kick down the temple door and tell them to cut that shit out, because you KNOW Kali and Kali would never sign off on this. Source: ME!"


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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Id love to have a scion deal with two cults that hate each other and that both claim to follow and praise the scion. Maybe even have the scion ppay matchmaker between a member of either cult to bring them together.


                  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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                  • #10
                    hey all thanks for the perspective! it really helps to take a step back and look at the thing in a more broad way!

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                    • #11
                      Oh another thing concerning cults in scion.
                      This is a personnal headcannon about The World but i think its an interesting take on things.
                      See i think that with the advent of globalisation and the internet we would see the majority of cults forming to hold syncretic beliefs.
                      Instead of being devoted to a single deity or a single pantheon modern cults would be in the habit of "choosing" multiple deities from different pantheons to devote themselves to.
                      Which could make for an interesting development in seeimg how the Virtues of different pantheon interact with each other.

                      Also that way you can simply have the pc scions go and help a cult that is devoted to all of their patron/parent or to a concept that touches on all of them.


                      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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                      • #12
                        Ooh. Like it. Also opens the idea for a cult that worships your Band, which can mean you've got NPCs ready to go for your new religion if your Band decides to apotheosize themselves into a brand new Pantheon. Yes, we've heard that you'll create your own creation myth and retcon yourselves into always being there, but that doesn't mean that having a list of names already there won't help the SG out.

                        Also makes sense for families with different backgrounds. Pop raised you in a Christian home that happened to have elements of Laukr, but Nana, your mother's mom, made sure you knew the rites for Athena.

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