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My Thoughts on Scion

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  • My Thoughts on Scion

    So I have to get something off my chest that is bothering me. It may not sit well with anyone else, and that’s fine; it’s about me, and I don’t claim to represent the Scion community.

    Scion 2nd Edition was solicited for Kickstarter in September of 2016 -- it funded in October of that year. The Kickstarter covered the Origin and Hero books, containing something of the background of the Scion world; the rules that enabled us to create our characters; basic combat, skills, and equipment; and the initial Pantheons. At the time, we were also told that Demigod and God would expand the world of Scion, though details were few, since the entire system was still under development.

    The Scion system had a major overhaul during that development, and this delayed release of the initial two books considerably. Coupled with a software issue that led to a major editing problem, this meant that we didn’t get the actual rules until three years after the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign. Since they came out, I have seen quite a few threads in the forums here that seem to indicate that there are comprehension issues with the rules [Scale, progress from mortal to Hero, and choosing Paths seem to cause the most issues], which implies that the presentation perhaps isn’t the best, and maybe more examples should have been included? Or perhaps the issues aren’t widespread, and only seem so because only those with difficulties choose to post in the forums - I don’t know for certain. But I think it’s worth noting.

    The major thing that bothers me the most is this; though Onyx Path doesn’t give release dates [with good reason], we can safely judge that Scion: Demigod is probably not going to be out until middle or late 2020 at this point; similarly, Scion: God is probably not expected until 2021, if we continue on this pace of releases. And that’s without any rules changes, playtest issues, writer problems, software crashes, or other unforeseeable hiccups in production. This means that we will not be able to play a complete chronicle of Scion until [at least] five years after the system was first Kickstarted. Does anyone else think that this is a bit unreasonable? For my part, it means that I have shelved the idea of running a Scion game completely, since I am artificially held back in progression because I don’t have the complete rule set. I doubt I’m the only one, though I’m curious to see what the community has to say.

    If Paizo or WotC had released Pathfinder 2nd Edition or D&D 5th Edition, and said “Here’s the first two books; they tell you how to create your characters, and give everything you need for up to 6th level. The book for 7th-12th level will be out a year or two from now; and the rules for levels 13-20 will be out a year or two after that! (if nothing goes wrong…)”, would that have gone over well with the RPGing community that supports them? Yet that is, in essence, what we have been told here with Scion 2nd Edition - you can’t play beyond Hero level until the next book comes out, and you can’t get to God level until the book beyond that, so it’s impossible to play a complete campaign for at least another two years.

  • #2
    In addition, since solicitation of the system, the cost of shipping has gone up so much that shipping costs as much as the book if you live outside of the U.S. How much will it go up by the time the next book(s) are ready? I realize this is entirely beyond the control of OP, but it still has to factor in to the plans of anyone who will support it on Kickstarter, or buy it in stores. And yet, if I don’t buy the next two books, I have wasted money on the first two, since I can’t go beyond Hero without them. So I feel that I am in a corner where my support is concerned - to continue, or to give up and have two essentially useless books on my shelf?

    I recognize that some of what happened was beyond the control of anyone involved in the making of the game. I also know full well that a smaller company like OP has certain limitations on what they can put out at one time, since there are only so many hours in a day. This isn’t so much about pointing fingers as about expressing my frustration with the pace of release of the basic rules to play the game. I could wait for supplements - every system has them, and they come out during the lifecycle of whatever edition they are for. But I feel that the essential rules for playing a game from beginning to end should have been ready to go from the first release, so that the customers could at least play a complete mortal-to-God campaign, and then add in supplementary material [extra Pantheons, foes, equipment, Dragons, and so on] as it becomes available. Again, maybe I am alone in this - and I’m not sure if anything can be done about it now, short of finishing and releasing Demigod and God together, something that isn’t going to happen, since God isn’t even on the list of things being worked on.

    Anyway, that’s my rant. I don’t really expect answers, but I felt I needed to get it out there, to express my frustration with a system I had planned to play, but which now finds itself in the limbo of “maybe later” games on my shelves. Thanks for listening.

    Comment


    • #3
      i really don’t understand the point of threads like this for any game for any company. It’s not like there’s something OPP could do that they’re not, so what are you trying to accomplish? I clicked onto it because I thought there would be actual critiques of the game that could inform lead to helpful discussion of adjustments to make, but instead it’s “this tiny indy company isn’t writing fast enough for me.” Like... what do you want anyone to say to that? I mean, you’re not wrong that it’s taking a while, and I certainly wouldn’t fault you for “I’m moving on to other games because this is too frustrating” but what does staying and complaining about an unchangeable reality accomplish?

      i could break down for you how WoTC and Paizo are ridiculous comparisons to a company the size of OPP, or how Scion: Hero chronicles are fully playable, and as ascent to Godhood is hardly the universal default for mythic heroes in the source material, so while the forthcoming chronicle options will be awesome, the game is 100% playable now; or how OPP does full draft text with kickstarters now, so we’ll have workable (if still needing some tweaks) Demigod as soon as the Kickstarter happens, and that also means the book will be ready much sooner as the draft will be done; or how a core system rewrite isn’t a problem that can be repeated with supplement books; etc etc -

      - but none of that is going to relieve your basic expressed frustration, so what’s the point here?


      Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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      • #4
        The point is to express my frustration, and see if anyone shares it, or if I'm the only one who feels this way. Nothing more or less.

        I fully understand that Paizo and WotC are much larger companies - my analogy was to simply express that putting out a set of basic rules in separate books, spread over years of release time, is a far less-than-ideal way to get a game out to the masses. I would argue that hero chronicles are not "fully playable", unless your intent is only to play to Hero level. Which you can certainly do, yes, but it just seems that the intent of Scion is to progress from mortal to God, which you can't do as it stands. You can't even properly play Demigod or God antagonists, because there aren't any, nor are there even framework rules to make them. In my opinion, this isn't a complete game, and "we get to read text in advance" doesn't change the fact that said text is still months away at the least, and only for Demigod. Meanwhile, Dragon and Mythos, which are completely optional and unessential to the basic thread of the game, are going to be ready well before God [and possibly before Demigod, I suppose]. It isn't a case of "they aren't writing fast enough for me" - it's a case of "they released an game line that can't be played completely because the basic rules for 2/3 of the concept are still unwritten."

        I feel [fairly or not] that perhaps OP should have assembled the entire rule-set for Origin/Hero/Demigod/God, or at least the majority of it, before releasing the first books; that stretching it out over years [literally] is probably necessary for their resources, but extremely frustrating for at least some of the would-be GMs and players; and that ultimately, I will probably not choose to continue with this game line, because, while I could happily see waiting for new Pantheons, Dragons, or other optional material, feeling that I can't go beyond the boundaries of the published material because the basic rules are still nowhere near finished [and if you can't play Demigods or Gods, they aren't finished], is simply not something that I can comfortably work with. Obviously, YMMV.

        Comment


        • #5
          2e has toned done the idea that the default mode of play is to charge through Origin and Hero ASAP to Demigod, and the developers have made it clear that they want Origin/Hero play to be as valid as apotheosis play.

          And really, if you don't find a character with high Legend and higher Tier scary with just the Hero rules as they stand, I'm not sure what Demigod actually needs to add as far as crafting antagonists. Those books are going to be a lot more about the process of joining/starting Pantheons than the crunchy stuff (though we'll see those too).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
            Obviously, YMMV.
            That's putting it mildly. If your idea of Scion is "Fast-Track from Origin to God" then you're basically doing that thing in RPGs where you rush through the story content by skipping all the cutscenes and dialogue and all the sidequests, then complaining about how there's no sequel after you burn through the game in a day by skipping through most of it.

            Scion Hero is a perfectly good game. You don't NEED Demigod right now. Unless you make your games so that your Legend goes up once a session, you can stretch it out for a while before it even gets to Demigod tier.

            Even if your Legend level caps at 4, you can still improve through Birthright acquisition and maybe occasionally shuffling your Boons around to suit your playstyle.

            And as Heavy Arms notes, if you absolutely must have Bigger Numbers Now, you can give your players access to bigger Legend Pools and bigger Feats of Scale. And up your Antagonists with bigger numbers, or higher Scale.

            Having Hero, Demigod, and God release within the same year was something that Scion 1e did. You know what that led to?

            They sucked. The division felt basically arbitrary. Playing a Demigod felt the same as playing a Hero, save that your numbers started getting more bloated. And playing a God felt the same as playing a Hero only you added +A Bajillion to your rolls. There was no real sense of JUMP between the tiers. God gave access to things like the Ultimate Attributes and the Purview Avatars, but given how lackluster the Boons generally felt most of them felt like needless padding just to buy up to something major.

            1e basically *was* one same-y progression line split into three. 2e, by design, is intended for each tier to FEEL different. Enough to justify why each one is a different book.

            I am sorry you're frustrated, but TBH it feels to me like you're basically claiming that the Exalted corebooks are incomplete games because they only have rules for Solars. It's a statement that comes from a subjective claim ("Scion needs a full Origin-God run to be fully playable") that isn't matched by most players, or most of the developers.


            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


            • #7
              I agree that first edition was a lousy game, and I'm not suggesting that anyone should have "rushed" anything. But regardless of how many options you suggest for padding characters and opponents at the higher end of the power scale, the fact is, rules beyond Hero aren't available, and won't be for many months at least, and God is nowhere on the horizon. I don't charge through games (I play point-based systems mostly, with no "levels" to speak of), but at the same time, I don't think it's unreasonable to want the ruleset for the assorted powers, combat rules, ascension between levels of power, and so on, ready in case I need them. If you don't share my frustration, that's fine - I said from the start this was my way of seeing if I'm the only one frustrated by the pace of thus system's release, and perhaps I am.

              Comment


              • #8
                But each book tier of play is self-contained. You don't need Demigod-level antagonists for Heroes. You don't need God-level powers or combat rules for Demigods. There will be rules for ascending between them, but unless you actively decide to have the PCs ascend, you're not going to need those rules.

                Comment


                • #9
                  And when I actively decide to have the heroes ascend - they can't. And if I want to run a game where the PCs are Demigods? I can't do that either. And I won't be able to for many months to come, because the rules don't exist yet. All of the arguments for how fulfilling play at Hero is don't do anything to address the complete lack of other options; you have to be satisfied with Hero level play, because you can't go any further as it stands. For me, this is only 1/3 of a game system.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Purple Snit View Post
                    The Scion system had a major overhaul during that development, and this delayed release of the initial two books considerably. Coupled with a software issue that led to a major editing problem, this meant that we didn’t get the actual rules until three years after the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign. Since they came out, I have seen quite a few threads in the forums here that seem to indicate that there are comprehension issues with the rules [Scale, progress from mortal to Hero, and choosing Paths seem to cause the most issues], which implies that the presentation perhaps isn’t the best, and maybe more examples should have been included? Or perhaps the issues aren’t widespread, and only seem so because only those with difficulties choose to post in the forums - I don’t know for certain. But I think it’s worth noting.
                    There will be further clarifications and examples given in Demigod for the biggest issues, especially since Scale is much easier to access and more prevalent within the system.

                    The major thing that bothers me the most is this; though Onyx Path doesn’t give release dates [with good reason], we can safely judge that Scion: Demigod is probably not going to be out until middle or late 2020 at this point; similarly, Scion: God is probably not expected until 2021, if we continue on this pace of releases. And that’s without any rules changes, playtest issues, writer problems, software crashes, or other unforeseeable hiccups in production. This means that we will not be able to play a complete chronicle of Scion until [at least] five years after the system was first Kickstarted. Does anyone else think that this is a bit unreasonable? For my part, it means that I have shelved the idea of running a Scion game completely, since I am artificially held back in progression because I don’t have the complete rule set. I doubt I’m the only one, though I’m curious to see what the community has to say.
                    Obviously, we don't give release dates, but I expect God to follow along much more quickly than Demigod for a variety of reasons.

                    I understand your issue and sympathize with your griping - I'd also like all of Scion to be out. Part of the reason I designed Scion the way I did was so that you could plateau on a tier by choice or by necessity.


                    Neall Raemonn Price
                    Beleaguered Scion Developer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'd just like to say that I designed a Scion pick-up campaign that is entirely Hero because it works best like that, and not because Demigod isn't out yet. To me Hero is an entirely-playable game in and of itself, and not 1/2 of a game.

                      I'd also like to say a few more things about your attitude, but then I'd be engaging in needless personal attacks.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Gone are the days we get three core books for a line put out in the span of 9 months. OPP is much smaller than WW was 15 years ago. It has fewer resources. It's going to produce books at the pace it can. There's not a lot you or I can do about it unless we decide to throw a million dollars at them and tell them to use it to write the next two Scion core books as fast as possible.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Even throwing a lot of money at Onyx Path like that wouldn't speed up the games. We would need to be doing that every year, so people had the job security to quit their day jobs and work full time on RPGs.

                          It's not just the size of the company. It's how many people the company can pay to do this work full-time as a long term job. Most of the people working on these books do it as a side job, not as their primary career. They can't just say to their main employer, "hey, I want to take a sabbatical to write RPGs for few months full time," and then come back to a job waiting for them, because most jobs just don't work that way.

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                          • #14
                            Not to mention that from what I've heard, the writing isn't the chokepoint of RPG book development. It's the stuff you do after writing.

                            Redlines, editing, have it get looked over by the one in charge to go "Yeah looks good". So streamlining all this would require that Neall basically go "Yeah sure looks good" without even checking for anything beyond "There are words on the pages"

                            They probably could have waited until all the corebooks were made but then that would be time we couldn't play it now, and frankly I'm okay with the tiers being released separately so that I can play around with the different levels.

                            I won't be begrudge people for going "Okay let's close this book on the Hero adventures, and play something else until Scion Demigod comes out". It's what I'm gonna do when I finish up my Hero campaign.


                            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


                            • #15
                              To Neall; Thank you for responding - I didn't expect it, and I appreciate you taking the time to do so. Hopefully, I managed to convey my point - not that I expect you to rush, or put out an inferior product (I expressly defended the delays on the kickstarter page precisely because I understand unforseen circumstances), but that I am frustrated by having a system that isn't complete yet. Perhaps I can only play up to Hero and then muck about for a while. But what if I don't want to stop there? Or suppose I want to run a Demigod game? As it stands, I can't. It isn't about rushing, it's about completeness of the core concept of the system, which is to play characters who can progress from mortal to God through the course of a campaign. Obviously, many folks feel okay with it as is; that's great. Like I said, I don't speak for anyone but me.

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