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Honest Question - How does Scion 2e play?

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  • Honest Question - How does Scion 2e play?

    As someone who loved Scion 1e, but got extremely upset over time at the poor rules presentation... How does 2E work in play at the Origins or Hero level?

    How solid is the writing and the lore?
    How easy do the combats go in play?
    Any things that annoy you about the rules so far?

    Anything broken like 1e? Or, what are key identified holes in the rules?
    Last edited by Tytalus; 09-10-2021, 11:17 AM.

  • #2
    Comparing 1e and 2e, on Hero level, the game flows very similar.

    Of course the rules are different:
    - you have less Legend, but you have powers that don’t rely on it.
    - you have less booms and knacks, but you can do a lot of improvisation on the general theme of your character.
    - you roll less dice but get the same feel

    I feel a bit lost with some aspects of purviews and marvels to be honest, I would prefer a less flexible system that allow some flexibility in some conditions, but it flows better than the restrict way of 1e.

    There are more than a few things that are not clear about some rules, and you may need to discuss how to deal with it details, but in general the system is pretty solid and adaptable to your game play, if you like to roll more often or less the system don’t breaks, if you like to improvise the systems gives you some good references. It is pretty balanced between narrative and rules.

    Well, that’s my opinion.


    House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
    Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
    Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
      Comparing 1e and 2e, on Hero level, the game flows very similar.

      Of course the rules are different:
      - you have less Legend, but you have powers that don’t rely on it.
      - you have less boons and knacks, but you can do a lot of improvisation on the general theme of your character.
      - you roll less dice but get the same feel

      I feel a bit lost with some aspects of purviews and marvels to be honest, I would prefer a less flexible system that allow some flexibility in some conditions, but it flows better than the restrict way of 1e.

      There are more than a few things that are not clear about some rules, and you may need to discuss how to deal with it details, but in general the system is pretty solid and adaptable to your game play, if you like to roll more often or less the system don’t breaks, if you like to improvise the systems gives you some good references. It is pretty balanced between narrative and rules.

      Well, that’s my opinion.
      Thank you for the info! What parts of the rules are not clear? How do you like the setting?

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      • #4
        Lots of small details are a bit fuzzy, some parts are better written in Trinity, while others are better written in Scion, so it’s hard to make a list. The ones that come to mind are a few weapon tags, the differentiation of Bashing and Lethal damage, things like that. If you have any doubt, there is an Errata & FAQ that come with the pdf version that helps a lot (while the errata I think works only for the printed version, not for the PoD or the PDF, the FAQ are interesting). Also, there are a more than a few people in the forums willing to help with the official and their reads of the rules.

        I like the setting, it is pretty open in many ways. There is no standard setting in the books, it can be as close or as distant from our world as you want, different form 1e that had several presumptions that should be used if you want to follow the rules as written. The idea is all the myths are real, even if they are controversial or inconsistent, what may drop a few questions, but let you respect all the religions and myths equally.

        I personally think it’s a bit confusing in many ways, basically because the myths are confusing and inconsistent, a god may have multiple origins and still be a single person, or be multiple persons with a single origin, the sun is the sun and a boat, a chariot and a mirror and many gods and goddesses at same time. There is no official tentative of integrate the myths into a single structure, like in 1e, what respect the myths but may leave a GM Lost when dealing with Terrae Incognitae. The good part is, if you know one of the myths well enough you can use all you know about it with no risk of getting it wrong, as it is true as all the others.

        In general, I like the rules and the setting, they fit each other very well.


        House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
        Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
        Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Tytalus View Post
          As someone who loved Scion 1e, but got extremely upset over time at the poor rules presentation... How does 2E work in play at the Origins or Hero level? How solid is the writing and the lore? How easy do the combats go in play? Any things that annoy you about the rules so far?
          First Edition and Second Edition manage to be the same game while being different in all the ways that matter. As someone who has played Scion for over a decade now more or less every week for probably nine of those years, I think Scion Second Edition manages to hit it clear out of the park compared to First Edition. There are areas I am not personally a big fan of, but, the leap between First and Second Edition is massive.

          Origins level plays much like low Legend First Edition, it is like taking Legend 1 and carrying it over an entire game. You can very easily have an entire game set at Origin Tier and never leave it. The game at Origin is a pretty solid system for a more investigation and socializing at a city scale, with combat as a more dire event. In a way it is similar to WoD, but ultimately still a Heroic game. Hero Tier is a step above what we saw in First Edition. Heroes can do amazing things with a clever Player. I would suggest it models about Legend 2 - 5ish in terms of 1e power scale. At this point, the game is very much of adventure. Combat stops being as dangerous as there are increasingly ways to mitigate and manage things.

          The writing is leaps and bounds better than 1e in 99% of cases. Even at its worst points (first half of Origin, Netjer section of Hero), it is still just... so much better. The better aspects (the suggestions of how to run the game, the Yazata and Loa Chapters of Companion, the Purviews, the Antagonists section) are orders of magnitude better, and some are my favorite pieces of writing in TTRPGs.

          In terms of Lore, Scion 2e by and large avoids being racist and offensive. I have quibbles, I am personally not a big fan of the Túatha Dé Danann or Nemetondevos chapters, but I am also a doctoral student in Celtic Studies so I might see more errors than might bother an actual human being. The Netjer chapter is... not great. But by and large the presentation of the game's mythology is very solid and there is effort put in to hire a diverse writing team and include people. The first half of Origins is still totally weird and breaks a lot of the patterns we see in the latter half of it, Hero, and Companion, but I think this is a result of weirdness in the original development of the game rather than anything we will worry about.

          Combats are far easier than 1e. No Combat Wheel, no Ticks. The only semi-complex part is that the PCs can in theory swap their Initiative Slots around, but, I think that is probably not as much as a hassle to do in person than it is online. You can ignore it and not have any problems. Combat also isn't Rocket Tag, which every combat in 1e turned into once people got a vague sense of system mastery. From the ST side of things, holy shit Antagonists are so much more simple to design. Like, I ran a lot of 1e, and I can hammer out solid flavourful Antagonists in a few minutes of research and using the system in the books for 2e.

          Now, there are things I dislike. I think some of the Pantheon sections are not well written, and I think the Nemetondevos in Companion is the chief of this. Part of the Purview for that Pantheon doesn't actually mechanically work, and a Knack introduced in that chapter gives you an infinitely large army due to how it is written which is clearly unintended. The Expanded Relic Rules in Companion have some weird choices and a Relic presented a page after all the math is shown to you literally can't work. (If you want a fixed Nemetondevos written by someone who has access to frankly way to many academic sources for the Pantheon, check my signature!)

          I dislike the social system, I think it is a good Origin Tier system, but it doesn't model mythic systems very well, which is weird because every other part of the game does a great job at modeling a more mythic feel than simulatory. For some reason the social system felt it necessary to be super grounded which... is very out of tone with the rest of the game. However, 1e had no social system, so, I mean... eah.

          Followers and Creatures are kind of a pain to build as the rules for them are presented in a sort of weird way that has lead to a lot of confusion. However Followers and Creatures (and Guides, and Cults, and Covenants) are actually valid Birthright choices compared to 1e where they were 100% useless by the end of Hero, or how Guide didn't mechanically do anything. All Birthright options are great now, even if some of them require some squinting.

          From a more design standpoint, several parts of the game don't actually do what they tell you they do. The Liminal Calling, for instance, is for travelers, outsiders, others, people not accepted by society, and the only mechanical systems are for travelers and everyone else gets ignored. Healer is leaps and bounds better at healing than the Health Purview is, while also not supporting the character designs of purifier, exorcist, or emotional support person the game tells you it does (it is all about being a doctor). Creator is all about invention and not about being a Mother or Father figure, or a Culture Hero, which the game tells you it is for. Darkness doesn't actually have any Boons that interact with the darkness.

          But, despite my whinging, 2e is a better game by leaps and bounds. I literally rewrote huge swaths of 1e along with my friends, we had a website, a whole system revision, I rewrite all but 2 Purviews the game had and invented several new ones. And despite that I still prefer 2e. 2e is just better. It has its flaws, but, hell, I've fixed worse. I've already rewritten Wild, Fertility, Health, Healer, and Liminal to fit better.

          Personally, I love the more freeform flow of Purviews and Marvels. I find them incredibly simple and they help a huge amount dealing with a lot of the issues with modeling the entirety of world mythology with a game system. However, I can also understand if people don't find them easy. I have had Players go both ways on it.

          Now, the biggest thing I like: It is miles easier to homebrew for. If you look in my signature you will see all the big projects I have done. As someone who has a lot of experience working on Scion and making it work, god, 2e is so much easier to work with as a system. The handful of things I dislike about 2e don't worry me because I can just see how I would fix them, and know it wouldn't take that long to do it.
          Last edited by Watcher; 08-31-2020, 09:15 PM.


          Scion 2e Homebrew Projects:
          The Šiuneš, The Enduri, The Sgā’na Qeda’s, The Abosom, Lebor Óe In Dea, The Zemi, Nemetondevos: Revised, and Mysteries of the Otherworld.

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          • #6
            Scion 1e had a lot of problems, especially mechanical ones as characters increased in power and the exponential growth of Epics became impossible to overcome without matching Epic levels.

            I'd say that Scion 2e appears to have a more stable mechanical base, but there are certainly a lot of other problems that the old edition didn't have. In my opinion, the two biggest issues with 2e are heavy Storyteller load and weaker coherent world building vision than 1e.

            The game requires a lot of the heavy lifting to be done by the Storyteller. There are abilities that are options for players that don't have any concrete effects for what they mechanically do, and it's up to the Storyteller to just ad lib some rules on the spot or arrange beforehand with the player what the effect should be. In a given session, the Storyteller might need to make an arbitration on what the "blinded" condition means with no further context, assign various wound conditions, and figure out what the mechanical impact of complications on partially-failed rolls might need to be, none of which have many examples available (and some have no examples). Fatebinding, which is the main method of regaining spent legend in 2e, will also require the Storyteller to make up a lot of NPCs on the fly.

            There are also some inconsistency issues in the rules that are left up to the Storyteller to fix. There are numerous terms that appear to have changed at some point, and some instances of their earlier forms just got left as they were. Some rules appear to have been left out. Other rules contradict one another, often within the span of a few pages. Some of the examples given for specific rule sets like armor appear to be built illegally, not coming to the final point value that should be allowed. The example pregen characters are better after the errata, but still can't just be picked up and played without working out what their birthrights do and double checking dot numbers.

            In terms of lore, the two core books are fine, but try to avoid discussing specifics and focusing on the nebulous "all myths are real" thing. They basically state that the world is one in which all myths are true, and heroes and scions have always walked the earth, and gives carte blanche for the Storyteller to change the basic political structure of the world as they see fit as a result, but doesn't necessarily do a great job suggesting how that might look beyond a few suggestions. It also totally avoids discussing how militant monotheistic faiths would be changed by being forced into coexistence with other pantheons of belief in any but the most superficial of ways.

            When looking at the pantheons, most people seem to think that the current versions are better, though I'll note that one person I played with took active offense at how his own religion was portrayed.

            There are also some design decisions I don't like (characters generally feel capable of doing fewer cooler things at creation, and you can't buy certain types of abilities with experience), but these aren't so much flaws of the system as they are design decisions, so I wouldn't call them outright flaws - just things not to my own particular taste.

            All told, I'd only suggest this edition to Storytellers who are fine with making up their own rules to supplement or at least attempt to clarify the rules as written. You'll also basically need to make up your own setting, as the books aren't really going to do the job of redefining how the world may have evolved as a result of divine and mythic interventions.

            At this point, I'd rather play 1e at the Hero level - but that's the point where most of the mechanical issues of 1e are still relatively minor. I suspect that by the time the God level book comes out, I'll prefer playing 2e over 1e God.
            Last edited by HighPriest; 09-01-2020, 05:42 AM.

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            • #7
              I don't know more about 1E gameline beside it existed and general game idea, so everything I write is for 2E I bought and is interested in...

              Originally posted by HighPriest View Post
              I'd say that Scion 2e appears to have a more stable mechanical base, but there are certainly a lot of other problems that the old edition didn't have. In my opinion, the two biggest issues with 2e are heavy Storyteller load and weaker coherent world building vision than 1e.
              To be honest, less coherent world building should be resolved with supplements of Scion 2E gameline - like, in tomorrow we will have Titanomachy chronicle/antagonists book. In Thursday there is start of Demigod 2E Kickstarter, with full text manuscript for backers. More, Wild Hunt and No Gods, No Masters books are in production, specifically pointing to the Scion 2E setting ideas.
              Last edited by wyrdhamster; 09-01-2020, 07:27 AM.


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

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              • #8
                After the helpful replies from wyrdhamster , HighPriest, Watcher, and Mateus Luz , I thought I would bump this again for further thoughts. Any revised opinions from people who have posted before?

                Anyone new have other field reports to share?

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                • #9
                  As the returning question, I may answer now honestly, as I have been running Scion 2E for a year now - first on Origin tier, now for a few sessions at the beginning of Hero tier, Legend 1 of our Band. However, I would like to point out that I use Heroic Myth Level, i.e. gods are 'in hiding' and PCs are a bit more pulpier than mortals, but not superhero celebrities canon Scion 2E encourages. (See more on Myth Levels and how to tune your chronicle in Scion 2E Companion - Mysteries of the World.) I also use a bit changed Loyalists of Thule from Hunter: The Vigil and Dragons from Scion: Dragon KS preview as main antagonists of the game. I wait for your questions, Tytalus
                  Last edited by wyrdhamster; 08-30-2021, 04:12 AM.


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

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                  • #10
                    I feel like my players are still struggling with it a lot and that makes the system a lot less fun to engage with than I had hoped.

                    On the other hand I also feel like the players aren't taking the time to figure out how it works and are still trying to engage with it as though it were storyteller.

                    I've been running for maybe a year and we've had like a handful of marvels, two Fatebindings, and a few path invocations. And I feel like the theoretical strengths of Storypath shine with system mastery: when you can come up with stunts and marvels, play with those Fatebindings and invoke them for fun.

                    Without all that, it's not great.

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                    • #11
                      Yes, Storypath needs some system mastery to really shine.

                      The big things that are harder to make work are at first Momentum (my table always forgot about it), Stunts and Complications.

                      The problem is people play Storypath as a variation of old Storyteller, when it’s in fact a cross between Storyteller and Fate, with a lot of things coming from Fate (and similar games) that are not seen at first. Storypath, specially Scion Storypath is absolutely story driven not rule based, scale is mostly narrative, marvels are generic descriptions, even the purviews can be bend dramatically by RAW.

                      The idea is to get rid of the idea that it’s the same system or a variation of the same system and it gets much better. Basically the only thing that is really Storyteller like is the dicepool system (and dots instead of numbers).

                      I am not telling you how to play, just telling how I feel about the system.


                      House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
                      Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                      Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I played and GMed 2nd edition a few times, and 1st only once.

                        The 2nd core books are an awesome material, far superior than 1st edition in many ways. Are they a perfect work? Far from it. We had the problems in the revisions not implemented in printing, but that is almost healed by now. Some rules are not that clear, there can be some confusions, but nothing that would nuke the game.

                        The system is actually not that complex, but it looks hard at the beggining. It's like the first time you play any other RPG complex enough. There are new variants and mechanics players and SGs forget, but when they are fully functional by the group, everything goes smoothly. I still sense in most of my players a "fear to fail" or even to roll dice, even when Momentum is a thing. Maybe it's a thing of more modern times to worry less about mechanics, but by what I can tell, the 2nd edition's mechanics eat the ones from 1st alive for breakfast.

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                        • #13
                          In my Scion 2e game, some of the players have played Aberrant, some have played Scion 1e and some have played neither. There is a big difference in preconceptions. For example, we got the whole way through our 6 month Origin game before some of the players realised that the Gods and magic was not a hidden underworld, but a thing openly known about and seen by everyone in the world. Compared to 1e, 2e can feel underpowered without epic attributes and massive dice pools. The difference in regaining legend through fatebindings is also a completely different feel.

                          Origin is a easy to play game. The problem of moving from Origin to Hero was the number of confusing subsystems that get added on. In Origin, you've only got your calling, paths and momentum to remember. In Hero, you suddenly have virtues, legend, titles, fatebidings, purveiws and birthrights to keep track of - which is a lot, as each bithright type has again its own subsystem. We've been playing Hero for 8 months and still have to keep reminding each other of how the various subsystems work. I made a help sheet for my group, and found 18 different ways of enhancing your dice rolls.

                          BUT it is still a good game to play. The 'Marvel' system is great - a lovely freeform way to do spectacular things.

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                          • #14
                            Unfortunately, I'd have to give 2E a negative review at this point. It's been a while since I've played or run Scion, so my memory is a bit hazy on some of the details and the below is just what I can recall offhand.

                            Rule clarity was always a problem, and the number of issues that never got fixed left the books feeling like a late state draft rather than a polished product. There weren't enough examples of some mechanics like complications or conditions, and as far as I know, a number of mechanics are still either broken or very poorly defined.

                            The setting feels pretty weak - it can't seem to decide if mythic creatures are a common occurrence that normal people interact with or not, and whether major real world movements like the Abrahamic faiths were a part of the setting or not hadn't really been settled by the time I lost interest in the game, making it very hard to determine if a lot of established "real world" history exists in the setting. It gives the same feeling as the Netlix movie "Bright" does - magic and gods have always been real, but we're not really going to actually examine how the world might be different as a result, just use it as a thin allegory spread across real world issues sometimes.

                            One of the larger issues in actual play was that regaining Legend was a major time investment. Spending Legend led to a significant break in play to either detail out a scene for the legend to get regained later, or a similar if not longer break to detail up a new Fatebinding and do some interaction there. Both served to derail the main plot. After a full session where everyone was just trying to get back a point or two of Legend each and no actual movement was made on the main plot, no one wanted to actually use the cool stuff they had access through through purviews and just started leaning extra hard on the still mechanically useful but far less flamboyant calling stuff. This further compounded the issue that Scion 2E starter characters feel light compared to 1E characters.

                            People also had issues with the Virtue system and player choice - several people at the table weren't happy having to thread a needle on their pantheon's virtue track to retain player control, especially since doing so was often just as damaging to player agency as going into virtue overdrive (or whatever it's called in 2e, can't be bothered to find the book).

                            That's just what I recall offhand. I don't think I've touched the product in 2021, so I'm likely forgetting some of the stuff that turned us off to it eventually.

                            I ended my last post on this thread saying that I'd rather play 1E at hero level and 2E above that. Unfortunately, this time I'm just going to downgrade both and say I'd rather play something else entirely, possibly using some of the better ideas from 1E for setting material.
                            Last edited by HighPriest; 09-02-2021, 12:14 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by HighPriest View Post
                              The setting feels pretty weak - it can't seem to decide if mythic creatures are a common occurrence that normal people interact with or not, and whether major real world movements like the Abrahamic faiths were a part of the setting or not hadn't really been settled by the time I lost interest in the game, making it very hard to determine if a lot of established "real world" history exists in the setting. It gives the same feeling as the Netlix movie "Bright" does - magic and gods have always been real, but we're not really going to actually examine how the world might be different as a result, just use it as a thin allegory spread across real world issues sometimes.
                              This setting issue bothered me first when reading books in the end of 2018 - I started even great debate topic on forum Everyday life with Gods - showing all cons and pros of 'canon'/vanilla setting of Scion 2E. It's in midst of this discussion I came to conclusion I can run 2E only when assuming that 'Gods are in Hiding', leading to my setting hack. My hack became somehow alternative canon with Myth Levels in Companion to Sc 2E.

                              My main issue w Sc 2E setting is pointed by High Priest not showing repercussions on Earth's history by existence of literal gods and their interventions on states, people, anything really. In my mind, for canon/vanilla setting to work as it is, we need sperate book of 'Scion Timeline and geopolitics'. Otherwise, it's too much stretch on suspension of disbelief and real work for this game world to function by me and my players. Doing Iron/Heroic Myth games, with 'Gods in Hiding' setting was simple and elegant solution to this greatest problem with Sc 2E for us.


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

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