Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Scion: Hero (2nd Edition) - Chapters 1-2

Scion 2nd edition's setting material is like a box of puzzle pieces. But instead of coming from the same puzzle, the pieces are from 10 different puzzles and they're all mixed together and you don't have any picture to build off of. But also, it's good.

Okay, so maybe the metaphor quickly got away from me there. Chapters 1 and 2 of Scion: Hero are all about the game's setting, and there's a lot of good stuff here. But you can't engage with it the way you usually would an rpg setting. It's attempting to set a certain mood, to deliver a certain feel, but it wants to leave the bulk of the actual world-building to the GM. There are a lot of examples, of things like the various types of cults that are active in the World or the sort of activities incarnated gods get up to when they create scions, but the text commits to a relatively small number of particulars.

Like, the Norse god, Tyr, owns a weapons company, called Fenris Arms. It's an interesting and logical thing for Tyr to be doing in the modern day, it fills a little-considered niche by providing high-end weapons adapted for the disabled. Yet it is more or less one of a kind. There's no talk about Dionysus' nightclubs or Shango's minor league baseball team. The text uses Fenris Arms to suggest those other things might exist, but honestly, the only reason it's canon is because of the pun.

Which is fine. No, really. With ten pantheons in the book and more to come and then, on top of that, all the others which exist in the real world canonically existing in the World of Scion, there is not enough room in any one book to list all the ways the gods will influence the setting. You've pretty much got to take the broad approach.

It just requires a different mindset from the GM. The book is only the beginning. On some level, that's how it always works. No game supplement I've ever read has filled in every detail. But usually you get the broad strokes, the significant actors, and some general sense for the boundaries of the world.  Scion, so far, hasn't really provided even the broad strokes. It's more given the guidelines by which GMs can create the broad strokes for themselves.

For awhile, the word "toolkit" was fashionable to throw around in rpg marketing. Scion 2nd edition is one of the few times I've felt like the word actually fits.

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