July 7, 2013
A Look At The Crunch Of Scion
Scion was a short lived series published by White Wolf Publishing; the same company that brought us such games as Vampire: The Masquerade and all of the World of Darkness. Unlike most of White Wolf’s games, however, Scion was not set in the World of Darkness. It had its own world and its own cannon. Specifically, the ancient gods of legend and myth were real, the end times were upon us, and their half-moral children were called on to fight the war in Midgard (Earth) while the gods took up arms in the Overworld (the various homes of the pantheons) and the Underworld (the various worlds of the dead, where the Titans were sealed away in Tartarus). The Scion series was primarily made up of three books; Scion: Hero, Scion: Demigod, and Scion: God. Each of these books covered a different tier of power for the characters. In Hero, the characters were just coming into their own, just starting to forge their own legends. In Demigod, the characters have ascended past the meager role of heroes and become true legends. Finally, in God, the characters have fully ascended past their mortal forms and become gods in their own right, standing beside their divine parents rather than acting as their pawns. Later on, The Scion Companion and Scion: Ragnarok were also released, adding additional pantheons, Perviews, and adventure ideas to the game.
Mechanically, the game is very similar to most other World of Darkness books, specifically those before the compete reset of their line (when Vampire: the Masquerade became Vampire: the Requiem, and so on) with some changes in the rules to match a more epic level of play. I have heard it compared to Exalted, another White Wolf game, but I have had little experience with that game, so I cannot say.
Characters in Scion must choose what pantheon they belong to. In the core Scion book, characters can belong to the Norse, Greek/Roman, Japanese, Aztec, Egyptian, or Voodoo pantheons, selecting a god to be their parent. In terms of virgin gods and goddesses, such as Artemis, the characters can be “adopted,” originally belonging to another god, but handed off for whatever reason the player and the Gamemaster can come up with. Characters can then select their Perviews, their areas of influence as a divine being. These are usually influenced by their divine parent; children of Thor and Zues will commonly have Weather as a Perview, while children of the Baron or Hades will often have Death. Characters can choose other divine boons as well, such as Epic Attributes that allow them to perform feats impossible to those without the divine Ichor running through their veins. In all, the mechanics of the game are meant to allow characters to feel both powerful and epic, and the stories often reflect those seen in mythology.
Unfortunately, the game is far from perfect. Mechanically, it needs a lot of work, as there is virtually no balance of play and the scaling of powers and abilities ramps very sharply once you ascend past the Heroic Tier of play. Even so, the game is incredibly fun. I have seen no other game match the feel of ancient mythology in our own world as well as this one has. It is a hit with most of my players and I recommend it to anyone looking to sate an itch for truly epic gaming.
Image Credit: White Wolf Publishing