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Scion – Character Creation Challenge

Posted by paradisio on June 18, 2009

As per previously requested, today on the Character Creation chopping block is Scion. Scion’s first book, Hero, came out in 2007, and thus far has seen a grand total of five books released; unfortunately, I would be surprised to see another release at this point, so the game is pretty much at end of life. I really like the theme, it’s basically a modernization of classical storytelling, you take the roll of a Scion, or literally a child of a god and embark on epic quests, eventually becoming a god yourself. The game is divided up among the three primary books: hero, Demigod and God; each with an emphasis on that level of play.

Like most White Wolf game lines, it has great background stuff, but in my opinion suffers from poor mechanical execution, but nothing a few minor house rules can’t solve. After all, no one is perfect. In general, I would consider Scion to be Exalted lite as far as System goes, suffering some of the pitfalls of it’s fore barer but not all of them.

To start with, the character I will be making will be at the base level as usual; while I can’t throw battleships or anything, everyone has to start somewhere! Also per the norm, I’ll be sticking with the base book only to simplify things to the base level.

Step One: Calling

Calling could really be paired down to concept but it includes much more than that. In general, Scions should be exceptional, and while I would like to make “animu nerd” guy, I should probably think of something a bit more fitting. After a bit of thinking I come up with “eccentric entrepreneur”, thinking maybe the nerd turned some of his desires into a business that profited off people with similar desires. Think Batman, but instead of having his parents killed he just spent too much time in has basement watching explicit animation.

Next up is the really big one, divine parent. This one determines not only which pantheon I fall under but a lot of my abilities and whatnot. In general, while it’s funny to think of a contradicting character, the system punished that pretty heavily, so you’re much better off following a similar path as your parent. The core book covers Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Aztec, Japanese, and Voodoo pantheons as well as a large list of deities. My first inclination is Japanese, but I actually decide to go with Greek since they have a penchant for being eccentric historically. I have a hard time pinning the character to a specific deity, but I decide to go strangely with Hades, greedy but smart with darkness bubbling beneath the surface. I could have gone with one of several others just in this pantheon alone, but I think this should work out just fine and be interesting to roleplay. At this point I should also note the gods favored abilities and associated powers, which we will get to more of later:

Associated Powers: Epic Charisma, Epic Manipulation, Arete, Darkness, Death, Earth
Abilities: Academics, Command, Occult, Presence, Stealth, Thrown

Last in this step is nature, which tells me something about personality as well as what recharges my willpower reserves which allows me to do particularly good at rolling occasionally. As with parents I see a lot of attractive options: architect, autocrat, competitor, cynic, gambler, libertine, survivor and visionary. I narrow it down to visionary and libertine, and go with the latter after a bit of thinking since it focuses more on pleasures, something I wanted to get across with the character.

Step Two: Attributes

Attributes follow the standard White Wolf attribute system, I choose a primary, secondary and tertiary category and get a certain number of points to put in each. After all is said and done my attributes look like this:

Primary (Social): Charisma 4, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2
Secondary (Mental): Perception 2, Intelligence 4, Wits 3
Tertiary (Physical): Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2

I diverge a bit from Hades here, I just don’t imagine this character being physically attractive at all, his only decent physical trait being good hand-eye coordination. He is smart and knows how to talk his way out of a pickle or into an anime license though!

Step Three: Abilities

First I note down my parents (and thus mine) favored abilities, and out of my thirty points I get for abilities I must spend one in each of these skills, putting me down to 24 off the bat. My skill layout is as follows, and just like Exalted I can’t put more than three into any skill at this point.

(F)Academics 3
(F)Command 3
(F)Occult 2
(F)Presence 3
(F)Stealth 1
(F)Thrown 1
Art 2 (Cell Shading)
Awareness 3
Control 2
Empathy 3
Integrity 3
Melee 2
Politics 2

Diverging a bit from Hades again, I don’t picture this guy using range weapons (particular thrown) or being stealthy, otherwise I like the favored skills.

Step Four: Advantages

Basically advantages encompasses all the cool stuff I can do thanks to my divine heritage. It basically is divided into two categories: birthrights AKA divine gifts and epic attributes, knacks, and boons. Last on the block is Virtues which are my character’s convictions.

For Birthrights I get 5 points to choose from, once again limited to three or below. The main one that falls into this category is a relic, or a special power that lets me channel my divine heritage. These are basically mandatory at the Hero level for using your special abilities but become less important the more powerful you get. As well as letting you use special abilities, they have other effects from being weapons to letting you have other cool abilities. There are some specific options in the book ranging from a satchel of dragon’s teeth to the Golden Fleece itself, but I really don’t like any of the options so I come up with my own for three dots, an ancient tome filled with the souls of famous ancient artists Hades entrusted to him to protect and also to use as a grim reminder. For my last points I spend 2 on followers and choose to get 5 zombie followers. I’m not sure if Hades would frown on that or not; but really, frame by frame editing of anime to remove anything related to the original country of origin is literally a soul sucking job no living thing would want to do.

Next up are epic attributes, knacks and boons. Epic attributes basically just mean I kick butt at one attribute, and each time I take a level in an epic attribute I get a knack which lets me get basically an associated special ability. Boons on the other hand are just special abilities with a variety of effects. For both of these fields I get a grand total of 10 points, mostly traded in on a 1:1 basis. I’m not restricted to my parent’s stuff at all at this point, but it would help in the long run if I picked things on the same track as theirs due to decreased costs. For both I’m limited to one each for the time being unless I choose to spend Bonus Points to increase my legend score by 1, I’ll get to the details of this later, but I choose to do that so I’m not so restricted in what I take now. I take the following:
Epic Charisma 1 (Charmer)
Epic Manipulation 1 (Overt Order)
Epic Intelligence 1 (Fast Learner)
Epic Wits 1 (Social Chameleon)
Chaos 1+2: Eye of the Storm, Hornet’s Nest
Darkness 2: Shadow Mask
Arete 1

Well, diverging a bit more, the character is a bit eccentric, quite the opposite of papa, so I throw in some chaos here, hoping he can make the most out of chaotic situations using his smooth tongue.

Last, before I forget is Virtues, straightforward and simple.

Expression 2
Intellect 3
Valor 1
Vengeance 3

Smart guy, but don’t get on his bad side.

Step Five: Finishing Touches

Just wrapping things up at this point.

Willpower: two highest virtues or 6. Allows me to resist mental assault, get automatic successes and can be used for certain abilities.

Legend: I bumped it up to three (more on that soon), although it normally starts at just two. Basically like Essence in Exalted.

Legend Points: These are used for a variety of divine things, but it’s simply my legend squared or 9.

Health Levels: Once again, following the Exalted bandwagon here. I have one -0 health level, two -1 health levels, two -2 health levels, one -4 health level, and finally, one incapacitated health level. Basically as I reach a “health level” I take a certain penalty to my actions called a wound modifier.

Bonus Points: Last on the list is bonus points, although I always wonder why they put this last considering the importance. Basically I have 15 points to spend to increase a variety of things. I basically cut this by half though to increase legend to 3 (costs 7), limiting my options significantly. I spend 4 to increase Manipulation to 5, 3 on Followers to increase it to 4 (yay, more zombies), and I have one more point which I’ll put into something completely new: Guide. It’s always nice to have a little guidance in difficult times.

That’s really it, all you really have to do from here is fill out a background and you’re done. I think Scion is a great game, and I really hope White Wolf puts out some more products or another revision of it, but it could use a bit of errata in the meantime!

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2 Responses to “Scion – Character Creation Challenge”

  1. “unfortunately, I would be surprised to see another release at this point”

    Personally, I see this as a selling point for the game, instead of a downside. The game is pretty much complete and you don’t have to deal with new Epic Attributes being published in every book thus making you want to rehash an old character because there’s an attribute that suits the character concept better now.

    The game is really cool, if the mechanics are clunky on occasion. I would have loved it if they had used the attribute block from nWoD instead of the one from oWoD / Exalted. I ran a chronicle that went really well, and now that the product line is basically complete, am considering launching a new one soon.

  2. Paradisio said

    Well, I can see that, I’m just a fan of ongoing support. 😛 I like having new stuff to play with and it’s easier to find games with people for ongoing/long term product lines.

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