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God Wars: Fargo (Seasonal Recap & Analysis)

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  • God Wars: Fargo (Seasonal Recap & Analysis)

    So, that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money? There's more to life than a little money, you know. Don'tcha know that? And here ya are, and it's a beautiful day. Well. I just don't understand it.

    While perusing the Scion book with one of my players, she asked a very important question.

    “What if a god has too many scions?”

    This question sprawled out into a full blown alternate setting for Scion called the God Wars. In this setting, Zeus has disappeared. His womanizing ways has resulted in a massive number of scions flooding the world. But this has also come with the added result of him becoming a husk. A shade who is but a facsimile of his former glory.

    Or so the rumors go.

    No one has actually seen Zeus in days. Months? Maybe it has been years at this point. All the people of the World know is that the gods have begun to war.

    It is a sprawling war across the entire globe. The prize is the mantle of an ancient god king and the death of a powerful rival. Pantheons gather their members and gods form factions together to take the ultimate prize.

    Meanwhile, the gods who peer into the future have seen the results of this war. Some hide themselves away while others rally their forces to protect the withered king. While they cannot find Zeus, his children dot the map, and every one who falls means the power returns to Zeus. So they search for Zeus’ children, but have come to realization that they are much stronger than normal scions.

    These are the two factions. One seeks glory and power, while the other seeks peace and a return to a world without war. But who’s to say which faction is the “good guy” in this war. Zeus is a tyrant and a womanizer who uses his status to push his weight around the entire world. However, he does serve a purpose in the World and messing with that order could cause untold catastrophe.

    Whichever side is correct, there can be only one winner.

    And that is the basic gist of the setting of the first season of our Scion game which just wrapped up.

    The God Wars is the basis of our setting, but I decided to set the actual game in the city of Fargo, North Dakota. I’m a huge fan of the Coen Brothers and the Fargo tv series. The down home feel of Minnesota, which belies a darker side of the American dream is a tantalizing world, and even more so if there are literal gods running about.

    This is also a very focused setting, especially in America. There is a strong Norwegian culture in the great plains, so it is one of the few places in America where the Theoi don’t hold dominance over the culture. This means I only had to focus on three pantheons, the Theoi, the Aesir, and the Manitou.

    Our main cast consists of me, the game master, and two players.

    Evangeline “Eva” Goodwin, an orphaned child of Hestia and former fire fighter. She now lives with her family in their bed and breakfast chain in Fargo, the Bread and Breakfast (the player made up this name, not me). The important bit is that she is a member of a secret order of Hestia scions who seek to find and hide Zeus’ children from murderous glory seeking scions.

    Ira Perez, chosen builder of Hephaestus seeking a new purpose. This mysterious drifter has come from California to Fargo seeking other scions to help him stop his murderous father from
    claiming Zeus’ mantle.

    Episode 1: Talents or Minas

    Eva receives a frantic phone call from a woman claiming she and her daughter are being hunted. Her daughter is a child of Zeus and needs asylum. They will be waiting in a church in a small town outside of Fargo.

    The PCs go there, but find the church in ruins with a giant scorch mark below a hole in the ceiling. They find some tire tracks and give chase.

    Along the road they find a crashed car and a dead woman inside. Out in a nearby field, they find a scared looking girl and a strange blond man wearing a black suit in the snow. They briefly battle the strange man before he disappears in a flash of light.

    They take the body to Daisy, a police woman who is a long time friend of Eva, and the two fight about her getting caught up in something greater than she can handle.

    Meanwhile, a blizzard is coming in five days.

    Episode 2: The Persistent Widow

    Ira gets a call from his friend, a native American scion named Wes. He says that he is trapped in the Dairy Queen after almost being attacked.

    The two head over to help Wes, and get embroiled in a battle with another funny looking blond fella wearing a suit.

    They escape, but not before needing to take out one of the blond man’s goons.

    Episode 3: The Wicked Servant

    Eva gets called by Lars Gunderson, the man who was trying to take Samantha, the scion of Zeus. He wants to speak and they agree on a temporary truce.

    At the bar, the two argue about their positions in this war. Lars was basically just watching Sam and her mother, and tried to save the girl after they were attacked. He is offering their safety in exchange for the girl. Eva doesn’t believe him, and goes to leave when they are attacked by some mysterious men in black.

    The battle is quick, especially after Lars summons a bolt of lightning using his relic, a magical pen that draws runes in the air. After seeing Eva’s reaction to his ability, he flees and Eva tries to help clean up the crime scene. Though she drew a bit too much attention after Fatebinding the bartender who began posting about the encounter on social media.

    Meanwhile, Ira and Wes go to Deer Lake to recruit a reclusive scion named Zoe who is also being hunted by the scions in suits.

    Episode 4: The Seed Grows Secretly

    Eva has told her family to leave the house and begins to prepare for a battle that is sure to come. Meanwhile, Sam has come out of her room and is very confused about the events of the past few days.

    She runs away, but is quickly caught by Eva and Ira. Though, it turns out Hephaestus’ hatred for Olympians runs in the blood, as Ira has to stop himself from hurting Sam.

    They investigate the body of the man in black who attacked Eva and find a menu from the Toasted Frog and a military ID for Sgt. Orlando Florida. They head to the bar and find out that the sergeant and his friends were frequent guests and work at the military training base nearby.

    Using some cleaver tricks, Eva passes as a firefighter checking on the smoke alarms and Ira pretends to be a new recruit. However, they meet up with Colonel Texas Kentucky, who may or may not be a scion. He apologizes for the incident at the church and that they no longer need Sam, but that the two should stay out of his way since they have similar goals.

    Eva gets a call from a worried Daisy who knows she was at the bar during the incident. The two fight, and Daisy informs Eva that the man at the Dairy Queen was a serial killer named Torjus who Daisy was chasing many years ago. If Eva wants to survive, she cannot fight Torjus. He is a monster in human form.

    Episode 5: Drawing the Net

    Ira forges armor and weapons for the group. The main weapon that they will be using against Torjus is a spear empowered by Sam’s lightning.

    Eva gets a final call from Lars. He says that he can stop Torjus’ revenge attack on them if they give up Sam. Eva still won’t give up Sam, and Lars breaks his cool calm facade and curses out Eva in frustration, saying that she is going to surely die. He is interrupted by gunfire nearby and hangs up.

    Episode 6: The Faithful Servant

    The day of the battle of the blizzard begins.

    The episode begins in the hospital. Daisy had tried to barricade the entrances to Fargo to prevent Torjus from coming after Eva. She was the only survivor.

    Back at the house, the group waits in silence.

    Finally, as the blizzard batters against the house, it is drowned out by the sound of engines. A parade of cars pull up to the house. Torjus and his flunkies get out of the cars and start shooting up the house. Luckily, the group were waiting in one of the guest houses.

    The battle rages as Ira, Wes, and Zoe fight against the mooks while Eva fights Torjus. It isn’t going well for the goons, and quickly run off after they throw a lightning spear into the empty house where they were searching. The spear also explodes. Meanwhile, Torjus is getting the upper hand, but then gets booped out of existence… and then returns with two giant friends.

    It is at this point that Eva and Torjus use their legendary titles to literally become beings of fire and duke it, setting most of the neighborhood on fire.

    Eva’s griffon comes to help, taking Torjus into the air but is killed when he gets a fireball to the face. Torjus, at this point, is messed up after being punched in the face repeatedly by Eva’s shield and being dropped from 20 feet in the air. Still, he fights against Eva and the other scions who managed to kill the giants.

    Backed into a corner, Sam comes along and throws the remaining spear at Torjus who was forced inside a building with broken plumbing. A very burned and broken Torjus emerges from the house, but finally dies when Ira throws his hammer, hitting Torjus in the head.

    But the battle isn’t over, Ira has let his guard down and is taken over by Hephaestus and starts choking Sam. He needs to be separated from the child and Wes drives him away from the scene, but not before Ira repairs Eva’s griffon.


    Sam is taken by the chosen of Hestia where she will finally be safe. Eva and Daisy reunite and decide to travel away from Fargo for a time. They are invited to go to Canada with Zoe and take a long vacation. Meanwhile, Wes is still ferrying Ira as far away from Fargo as possible, and meets up with a strange woman with snakes in her hair who asks if there’s a place to stay nearby.

    End of Season 1

    And that’s what happened in my very first game of Scion.

    Overall, I had a blast, but more importantly my players also really enjoyed the game.

    That being said, every good GM has to take the time to look back and examine what worked and what didn’t.

    I’m a huge fan of the aspects of the storypath system and for the most part it clicked pretty well. Some things we had trouble with that needs to be remedied for next season.

    #1 Enhancement and Complications

    My players got frustrated when they couldn’t figure out what Enhancements and Complications they had at a given time and only figured out to write them down late in the season.

    We have some more experience with the system so this wont be too much of a problem in next season hopefully.

    I also had some trouble with these systems though. Enhancement wasn’t a problem, but I was having trouble making Complications a factor in the game. This could just be growing pains, but I wish the game had a stronger idea of how it wants Complications to be used.

    #2 The Skills and Genre

    My group are veterans of Call of Duty (or Chronicles of Darkness if you want to be technically correct). So we gravitate towards investigation and mystery games by default. For the most part, we managed to integrate Scion’s over the top action and superheroesque fantasy into a more grounded mystery game.

    The one big problem we had was the lack of an Investigation skill. We tried our best, but next season we are replacing Academics with Investigation. I’m sorry to Academics stans, but we have never used this skill (I think we used it once but I can’t remember) so we are just chucking it into the garbage.

    It does say something about the game that we managed to fit a police procedural mystery story like Fargo into a game of Scion with no friction.

    Speaking of…

    #3 Story and Structure

    Overall, I’m proud of the story we told with God Wars: Fargo. Not all of it worked out, but there were much less plot holes or contrivances than what usually happens when I’m crafting a complex narrative mostly on the fly.

    I didn’t mention one part in the recap where they were planning on forging a new weapon and I had to contrive an encounter with an elf that never went anywhere.

    That being said, the best thing about Scion and the storypath system is that is presents itself as a system that emulates tv shows. This is a brilliant bit of framing because it allows for a richer form of storytelling. We were using actual flashbacks in our sessions and they were some of the best parts of the game.

    The biggest issue we had was a lack of groundwork for more social scenes that we could have done through those flashbacks.

    Needless to say, next session, we will be going hard on flashbacks.

    #4 Music

    We experimented with ambient music for this season and I have to say, if you haven’t figured out a way to use music in your games you are missing out.

    For this season, I leaned heavily on the Fargo soundtrack and it really added to the atmosphere, especially the theme when a heavy moment hit.

    I’m telling you, music is the new innovation in the RPG space.

    #5 The Characters

    The player who was playing Eva really enjoyed her experience, but the player who played Ira had a rough time. He wanted to play an outsider to this place, but just because of how short the season was, his character got kicked to the wayside unfortunately. Next season, we are going to focus on there being more of a connection between the PCs, or at least trying to build one through the flashbacks.

    #6 Virtues

    Never used them and they never made sense to us. Thematically, virtues seem cool, but we just couldn’t find a natural way to fit them into our sessions. They felt too intrusive and unneeded in the heat of the moment.

    #7 The Final Boss

    Now this was weird. We were going over the final battle, and my players actually surprised me with something. They wished there was more of a second form to Torjus rather than what happened which was me juicing him with Tension Points.

    They wanted me to make the final boss harder.


    Well, not really. What they really wanted was more variety in the enemies they were fighting. More cool powers and shit. They wanted Torjus to do something like absorb the giants and grow huge or something.

    Otherwise, my players really enjoyed the way that Scion handles combat. They felt it was very cinematic and fun while also allowing them to tell a story through the fights. It’s hard to judge this as a GM because you are going over a million things at once during a fight scene. But I’m glad it worked for them and I’ll be trying out some of the weirder stuff for next season.

    Speaking of, what are we doing for next season?

    Ira is done in our story, but Eva’s player wants to continue her in another season. But for now, my players want a change of pace for season 2.

    Well. The votes are in, and both my players want to be scions of titans.

    In our personal headcanon, titans are just gods that aren’t beholden to a central figure in a pantheon like Zeus or Odin, or they are just general outcasts. Some might be evil, but so are some of the “good” gods.

    But yeah, we are leaning in hard on investigation next season of God Wars: Fargo. Instead of being inspired by the Coen’s absurdist gritty crime stories, we are going more contemporary to shows like Hannibal and Black Spot. Shows that feature a more supernatural bent to the crime genre.

    Eva’s player has decided she wants to play as a detective type character… mostly because she can be a plant person and call herself a PI (or Plant Investigator). I hate her so much.

    Oh, and Ira’s player wants to be a gorgon / medusa. And I couldn’t say no to a character idea like that.

    We’ve already done session 0 for Season 2. Everything went smoothly.

    The PCs are going to start at Legend 2. We don’t do experience in these types of games, instead I just awarded my players 5 extra dots to distribute where they will.

    Anyway, that’s it. We had a lot of fun, and just wanted to share a story of a successful campaign.

    100 bonus points to anyone who can figure out the episode titles.