Introduction

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Introduction

Post  Eryr on Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:24 am

Since the dawn of man, the Gods have involved themselves in the affairs of humankind—and in affairs with humankind. Slaking their all-too-human desires with the flesh of mortal paramours, the Gods often sire half-breed offspring. These children, Scions, are invariably left for their mortal parents to care for. Though far weaker than their divine parents, Scions possess abilities far beyond those of any mere mortal. These abilities are often augmented even further by Boons and Birthrights provided by the Scions’ godly parents. As a result, Scions tend to rise to positions of power and influence.

However, the life of a Scion is far from easy. Though bound by ancient pacts, filial loyalty and fear of Fatebinding from harming one another directly, the Gods are perfectly willing to strike at their rivals by killing or maiming a favoured mortal son or daughter. The tales of Heracles, Onamuji and Sigurd are ample proof of that. The danger a Scion faces has only multiplied with the escape of the Titans, the progenitors and ancient foes of the gods. Like the agents of the Gods, titanspawn often go out of their way to slay Scions before they can grow into their full power.

In ancient times, the Gods interfered in human lives more directly, letting rampaging beasts, natural disasters, plague and famine speak of their displeasure with man. In addition, the spawn of the Titans often lurked just outside civilization, ready to devour hapless mortals who stopped at the wrong spring to drink or took the wrong paths through the deep woods. It was to Scions that mortals looked for protection from supernatural predation, and it was Scions who often interceded with the Gods on mortals behalf, flattering them or moving them to feel pity, or offering the Gods service if they would spare the weaker mortals.

In due time, the Gods retreated from the World. With the titanspawn threat wiped out by the efforts of early Scions, the corresponding rapid growth of human civilization and the conflict between nations threatened through the chains of Fate to draw the pantheons of Gods into war. To avoid this eventuality, the heads of the various pantheons met and agreed that the Gods should leave mankind to its own devices before the massive Fatebinding effects either threw them into conflict or changed them beyond all recognition. In response, most Gods retreated to the Overworld, only visiting the World occasionally in mortal guises.

Despite their overall withdrawal from worldly affairs, the Gods are compulsive meddlers. Though seldom taking direct action against one another or overtly guiding the course of humanity, the Gods still possessed a means of interfering in human history, their Scions. Over the millennia since the Gods’ retreat, a myriad of Scions have lived and died, most ignorant of their fantastic origins. However, in every generation, a few Scions worldwide, seldom more than a handful, receive a Visitation from their divine parents, unlocking the power of the ichor flowing through their veins. One or two in a century might even be gifted with Birthrights. Prior to the present day, the last conflicts involving a large number of Birthright-armed Scions were the two World Wars (both of which are now regarded as fiascos by the Gods).

All that changed with a single event, the escape of the Titans. Somehow sundering their Underworld prison (and in the process, damaging the realms of the dead), the Titans have reentered the Overworld after eons of imprisonment, hungering to regain their former rule and revenge themselves on their wayward offspring, the Gods. While a war between Gods and Titans rages in the heavens, the Titans have begun seeding the World again with their spawn. In response, the Gods have begun visiting their Scions in greater number and arming them with mighty Birthrights that they may stop the titanspawn from establishing a beachhead in the World of men.

Though humanity has long since tamed all but the most remote or dangerous areas of the mortal World, the return of the Titans and the unleashing of their monstrous titanspawn represents a threat beyond the ken of modern man. Only the Scions are equipped to deal with such threats, and are again filling their ancient role of guardians of man and human civilization.

Spawn of the Gods, nemeses of the Titans and protectors of humanity, Scions are all this and more.
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Re: Introduction

Post  Eryr on Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:39 am

Lexicon

Birthrights: Birthrights are gifts showered on the Scions by their God parents. These can include weapons, armour and equipment featured in myth—the armour of Achilles, the swords Gram and Kusanagi, the coco macaque, The Book of the Dead, or the shield Xiuhichimalli—or magical beasts—the inged horse Pegasus, the boar Gullinbursti, a nekomata, an ahuizotl, or even a dragon. It might even mean command over a supernatural retinue of Spartoi, Einherjar, tengu, jaguar knights, mummies or zombies, or access to the advice of a knowing guide, either a wise mortal or a benign supernatural being. Though many ancient Birthrights exist, new ones are being created all the time for today’s Scions.

Boon: A Boon is a supernatural power inherited from a Scion’s divine parent. The types of Boons available at character creation are limited by the patron God’s Purviews. Heroic Scions are unable to directly wield these powers. They require Birthright weapons, armour or equipment to use Boons, and such relics may be stolen, depriving the hero of his Boons or even making them available to the thief, or destroyed.

Calling: Each Scion feels an almost inexorable pull to follow in the footsteps of her divine parent in some manner. By that, it’s not meant that a son of Ares will, for instance, claim he’s a war god and that all should worship him. Rather, such a Scion would likely be drawn to a career in the armed forces or as a mercenary or a weapons designer, and even as a child, he may have been a schoolyard bully or the head of a gang of toughs. The siren song of battle rings in the Scion’s ear, even if his half-divine nature is never revealed to him.

Epic Attribute: This is a direct bonus to a mundane Attribute that arises from the power of the divine ichor that flows through a Scion’s veins.

Fate: Fate is a powerful, unseen force that acts as a counterweight to the deeds (and misdeeds) of Scions and their patrons. In the game, Fate is a powerful force that fulfils two unique functions:

  • Fatebinding. The power of a Scion’s Legend allows him to perform wild feats by essentially bending the laws of probability in his favor. If a Scion uses this ability too much, however, individuals caught up in the Scion’s actions can become inextricably bound to him forever afterward. This phenomenon, known as Fatebinding, ties the lives of the affected individuals together and shapes the course of everyday events in strange and unpredictable ways—their paths cross one another again and again, and their goals become intertwined despite their best efforts. Fatebinding can create boon companions that follow a Scion through thick and thin, or it can spawn nemeses who dog his every step. The presence of Fatebound individuals (be they friend or foe) can affect a Scion’s abilities and modify the way he can draw upon his Legend. The greater a Scion’s Legend, the more easily this phenomenon occurs. Fear of Fatebinding is one of the main reasons modern Scions work to avoid the fame one might expect them to covet.
  • Fateful Aura. As a Scion’s Legend grows he warps probability to such an extent that he becomes a literal magnet for calamity. Natural and man-made disasters (or miraculous events) occur wherever he goes. If there is a robbery that’s going to happen, or a Titanspawn attack, or an attempted coup, the appearance of the Scion is guaranteed to make it happen. In a sense, the character’s Legend becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy—where he goes, momentous things happen whether he likes it or not. By dealing with them, he increases his Legend further, spawning an ever-increasing cycle of fateful events. A number of divinities, from the Asgardian Norns to the Olympian Moirae, have become so tied to Fate as to have been reduced to little more than mouthpieces for the inscrutable force. In addition, mortals and even Scions are sometimes possessed and used as the pawns of Fate in its efforts to forward its unfathomable agendas. As their Legend grows, Scions enjoy the tender ministrations of Fate more and more.

God: Born of the Titans but tied to the World, the Gods once blatantly interfered in the development of human civilization and, in turn, were shaped by the beliefs of man into the deities we recognize from Classical mythology. The Gods long ago retreated from the mortal world to avoid the dangers of being drawn into conflict via Fatebinding to their mortal followers. When one of the Gods visits the World now, it is almost always done incognito and for the purpose of reacquainting himself with humanity. In the course of “reacquainting themselves with humanity,” many Gods manage to sire Scions.

ichor: The divine blood that flows through the veins of Scions, giving them their power.

Knack: A Knack is a minor supernatural benefit tied to an Epic Attribute.

Legend: A measure of a Scion’s power and renown, Legend has a variety of powerful effects on characters over the course of the game. A character's total Legend score determines the strength of his Fateful Aura, the likelihood of Fatebinding individuals, the progression of his powers and the general outcome of any dice rolls. Additionally, Legend points can be spent to affect the outcome of actions during play, to power certain of their Boons and Knacks, and to power magic spells.

magic: Magic in Scion is the use of Fate (sometimes in conjunction with innate Boons) to either curse or bless a target in some way. Magic may also be used to tie an object’s or person’s fate to an outside object, effectively binding those things together. Finally, Scions (and Gods) may use magic to project their own powers onto a target by tying their two fates together momentarily and then projecting their power onto the target.

Overworld: The Overworld is a realm of limitless potential where both the Titans and the Gods were born and where the various pantheons now make their homes.

pantheon: A pantheon is a grouping of Gods, typically with an attitude and customs derived from a specific human culture. This book details six major pantheons: the Aesir, the Amatsukami, the Atzlánti, the Dodekatheon, the Loa, and the Pesedjet.

Scion: A Scion is the half-divine offspring of God and man. Though they lack the raw power of their parent deities, Scions still possess abilities far beyond those of the mortals who surround them.

Titan: A Titan is an archetypal being of incarnate chaos. Though not necessarily evil per se, such beings are driven only to follow their primal, typically destructive, urges and to revenge themselves on their rebellious offspring, the Gods.

titanspawn: These are the monstrous offspring of the various Titans. The most powerful titanspawn are equal in power to the Gods themselves. Currently only the weakest of the titanspawn are capable of forcing their way into the World, but these tirelessly strive to pave the way for their mightier brethren.

Underworld: The various underworlds of the individual pantheons were once connected to one another via the prison of the Titans, creating in fact one Underworld separated into distinct demesnes ruled by each pantheon’s death god. It is to these realms that the shades of the dead who believe in the Gods of the various pantheons are drawn after death. With the escape of the Titans, the nucleus that anchored the pantheons realms together is shattered, the Underworld is fragmented, and many of the souls of the dead have been released to haunt the world of the living.

Virtues: A Scion’s behaviour is influenced by a set of four Virtues dictated by the pantheon to which he belongs. By their nature, the Gods of a specific pantheon espouse the Virtues that were important to the culture from which they once drew worship. In turn, these are the Virtues by which the worth of a pantheon’s Scions are judged.

Visitation: The Visitation is a pivotal event in the life of a Scion. It is the moment when her true nature and divine lineage is revealed to her, typically by her divine parent, though occasionally through a divine herald such as Hermes, Legba, Hugin/Munin, etc. This is also the occasion where the Scion is gifted with her Birthrights.

World: The World of Scion is quite similar to our own. The main divergence from our own world that this one has experienced is that all of its ancient myths reflect real-world events. Now that both the Titans and the Gods have again become involved in the affairs of man, many of the World’s ancient sites of power have again become supernaturally active. In addition, a large number of these ancient sites have been stripped of their contents, which now reside in museums and private collections around the globe. In the ancient sites and in the places where relics from those sites are held, links to the Overworld exist that the Titans, the Gods and the minions of both may use to more easily access the World.
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