I’ll say it again, I didn’t expect to get so much out of my Scion campaign, not a week’s worth of content. But it’s time to end it with this last little piece. This one isn’t about plot, as I’ve already covered the Hero, Demigod and God story arcs, but a series of anecdotes and funny moments that happened during the game.
As with every article before this one, please refer to the Scion Primer I posted on Monday in you have any doubts, though you can drop me a line in the comments and I’ll clear anything up of course!
I hope you’ll forgive the overwhelming lack of images on this post, couldn’t find any that were good enough to go with the stories. But you know what? I think I’ll get them done, immortalise the stories with some art by my favourite artist.
I mentioned during the Demigod story arc that every Godly Virtue and Purview had ‘descended’ from the heavens as fictional characters, but I didn’t give you the full list. So let’s kick this off with that. The names in red are those that don’t exactly match, but I couldn’t really figure out a better example…it’s why I had most of those characters killed in horrible ways off-screen by NPCs. Though some I kept because they were too cool not to use.
It accomplished two things: enhanced immersion by not making the characters the only ones working on the story arc plot, thus making their allies and enemies a bit more convincing…and I didn’t have to deal with these weak characters myself.
For the characters whose source isn’t exactly obvious, I’ve included the source material.
- Conviction: D’Artagnan – The Three Musketeers
- Courage: Conan the Cimmerian
- Duty: Samurai Jack – Samurai Jack
- Endurance: John McClane – Die Hard
- Expression: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille – The Perfume
- Harmony: Altair Ibn La Ahad – Assassin’s Creed
- Intellect: Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones
- Loyalty: Athos, Comte de la Fère – The Three Musketeers
- Order: Inspector Javert – Les Misérables
- Piety: Connor McLddddddddeod – Highlander
- Valor: King Arthur Pendragon
- Vengeance: The Punisher – DC Comics
- Frost – Sub Zero – Mortal Kombat
- Darkness – Arsène Lupin – Arsène Lupin, Gentleman Cambrioleur
- Chaos – Deadpool
- Animal – The Phantom –Comic Strip by Lee Falk
- Magic – Merlin
- Fire & Justice – Ghost Rider – Marvel Comics
- Guardian – D’Artagnan (Yes, he multitasked)
- Water – Percy Jackson – Percy Jackson & The Olympians
- Sky – Storm – X-Men
- War – Horseman of War – Book of Revelations
- Fertility – Horseman of Famine – Book of Revelations
- Health – Horseman of Pestilence – Book of Revelations
- Death – Horseman of Death – Book of Revelations
- Earth – Sandman – Marvel Comics
- Moon – Nuraryhyon – Japanese Folklore
- Illusion – Mandrake the Magician, Freddy Krueger & Dream – Comics Strip by Lee Falk, Wes Craven and Neil Gaiman in order
- Psychopomp & Mystery – Cheshire Cat
- Prophecy – The Voodoo Lady – Monkey Island
- Sun – Doctor Light – DC Comics
- Jotunblut: Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
- Arete: Angus MacGyver – McGyver
- Cheval: Jericho – DC Comics
- Tsukumo-Gami – John Smith – The Dead Zone, Stephen King
- Heku – the Spectre – DC Comics
- Itzli – Jack the Ripper
I’ll leave it up to you to judge them, and perhaps tell me which ones you would’ve picked!
Should we call it a draw?
The Troublemaker was, from the start, a combat character. So, to test her mettle, Bastet sends her to the Pyramid of Giza to retrieve her relic, which had been hidden in a secure room only accessible by a being with Legend.
As she finds and equips the relic, gold-inlaid gloves with wicked claws, a Jackal-man breaks through and attacks her, one of the weakest Titanspawn I could send after her…I thought.
What followed was a 30-minute fight where the Jackal couldn’t hit the player, because of her high Dodge defence, and the player couldn’t damage the monster because of its high soak values.
Their fight went on for so long, I had to say it was causing structural damage and the room was collapsing on them, just to break it up and add some excitement.
I’ll forever remember the scene, player and game master leaning on the table, heads lazily resting on our hands, “Missed, your turn,” and “No damage, your turn,” the only things heard.
Mightier than the Sword
I mentioned in the Demigod Arc that the Four Horsemen wrecked Las Vegas and that the military had cordoned the city off. The fact the characters walked straight into the military base and talked their way into getting full access is worthy enough of a story, but what happened later takes the first prize in most of our stories.
During the first night at the base they come under attack from a contingent of Minotaurs, with the normal humans dying fairly quickly and the Scions and allies doing their best to survive.
The Rock Star faces off against one of the bigger minotaurs, and us being the idiots that we are and the fact it’s 3 in the morning, the jokes about the Minotaur’s ehm, equipment, start rolling and so I make it part of the creature’s description. After all, it’s naked and it’s not a Ken doll.
So the Rock Star looks around the table, before declaring his action in combat to be “I’ll cut it off!”
He swings his mighty sword, channeling virtues for extra dice, using legend points for even more dice, and adding in every form of bonus and buff he can think off, resulting in an unwieldy number of dice to roll. The attack has an insane number of successes and when he rolls for damage, he gets another ludicrous number…and then I check the Minotaur’s stats in the book and the thing basically has Ludicrous+5 in damage resistance.
The sword swings with all his might, it slams into the Minodong and a sharp DING resounds across the battlefield, as the blade meets the unbreakable schlong, sending vibrations back to the Scion in almost cartoonish ways.
That of course, demoralised the entire group, a borderline “Nope.” But they managed to regroup and kill off the minotaurs, but no one will ever forget that some things are mightier than the sword.
At one point, the Troublemaker and Rock Star fought Draugr, undead creatures from Norse myth that generally lived near their graves to protect their treasure and were able to grow in size and strength. According to myth, only Heroes had the strength and courage to defeat them.
This monster doesn’t exist in the Scion game, so I designed its mechanics and created it and at an earlier session, I had the Rock Star fight one of them. On this battle, he discovered that the “courage” part of the tale is literal and refers to the Virtue of Courage. Only someone from a pantheon with that Virtue could damage Draugr.
So of course, the Troublemaker had no chance at defeating them, but the Rock Star couldn’t fight them all on his own.
But Scions and players are resourceful.
With careful strategy, they herded the monsters until they almost stood single file. Then the Troublemaker, the strongest of all the characters, picked up the Rock Star and threw him at the monsters, his sword cleaving through all of them, defeating a dozen enemies in a single turn and becoming one of their signature maneuvers for the rest of the game.
I mentioned that during the first story arc the Inspector had the most to do and the biggest influence over the game, something I regret as game master. But one of his moments of glory and one I will forever remember is how he brought in every person on the list, gave them a selling speech and pretty much manipulated them all into becoming part of his network “for their own protection.”
The only thing missing was a threat of sleeping with the fishes and cement shoes, because he was already making offers that they couldn’t refuse!
There were many “NOPE!” moments in the games, when the players simply decided that whatever they were facing, or were about to was simply not worth it.
The first time they attempted to reach Prophecy and saw a giant Hydra near its home was one of them, and it was instantaneous. “There is a Hydra, heavily modified with cybernetic components.” Characters turn around and get the hell out.
When Anatoli showed up, it was instant Nope, and they rushed to get the hell out of the way as soon as possible.
But one of my favourite ones involved the Troublemaker. She was pursuing a trio of Japanese shapeshifting demons. They split and while the Rock Star tailed one with his bike, she followed another, while calling the rest of the group and giving them the description of the third one so they could intercept him.
The demon she tailed, in human guise, walked past an alleyway and suddenly a chain shot out of it and pulled the demon violently into the darkness. She froze in her tracks and when she saw Nico emerge from it, someone who at the time was still their enemy, the character and player both said “Nope!” and just leftdd, no questions asked.
One of my favourite Purview fights was their encounter with Jotunblut, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. They first met Jekyll and couldn’t see anything supernatural about him. Later on they met Hyde, but still hadn’t figured out how he changed. Deciding Jekyll was the easier target they pounced, but in the scuffle, they broke his nose and blood poured into his mouth. As he swallowed it, the purview’s power kicked in and Hyde came out to play.
What followed was an intense shootout through the streets of London, with the characters using every trick they had to burn through Hyde’s many supernatural resistances to damage, including a few to completely negate attacks.
Hyde was powerful, and both he and the characters used their weapons, lampposts, cars, patches of road and whatever they could get their hands on and rip apart.
From earlier experiences, they knew that the supernatural resilience was skin-deep and that fleshy bits like the mouth were usually much more susceptible to attacks. So the players concocted an elaborate strategy that ended with Jekyll jumping through the air at them, the Rock Star crashing into him, making him gasp long enough for the Troublemaker to fire off a sniper round into Jekyll’s mouth, making it bleed profusely and on swallowing some of it, triggering the transformation back.
Then they killed him like a loose end in a mafia movie, execution style.
One of the funniest face-palm moments of the entire campaign was this.
The Rich Kid had received a new pet from his father, a Coatl, a winged serpent and when they first saw Hyde a day before their super epic fight on the street, they merely stalked and sniped at him to test his resilience, but otherwise remaining out of his sight.
But then Hyde moved through alleys and got out of their sniping line of sight, so the Rich Kid had a brilliant idea, he said he would put the Coatl in Hyde’s path, to scare him or push him back out to where the Troublemaker could keep taking pot shots.
The serpent descended on Hyde and roared at him, and I’m sure in the Rich Kid’s mind, this was an amazing moment where Jotunblut would cower when faced with Aztec might, but the purview just grappled the snake and crushed it with is powerful arms, instantly killing the kid’s new pet.
After the face palm came the laughter.
The Rock Star’s player has a thing with dice, in that he can roll some insane numbers when he needs to.
One of the things we did every once in a while during the Hero campaign was send him on gigs, to get his name out, become more famous and through his music increase his legend.
At a particular gig things started badly, with him failing some checks miserably. But as he sees the management moving to get him off stage, he begs me for another roll and I agree. He rolls amazingly, with double the number of successes needed to get back on track. In-game he rocks the place like never before, sending them on a musical journey to Valhalla.
I tell him to keep rolling. He has the audience, but now he has to keep them.
He rolls amazingly again…and again…and again, so by the time he finishes, you could almost hear the Guitar Hero Star Power effects in the background.
He left that gig with some money and followers so devout they were almost cultists.
Don’t mess with Loki!
Basic rules of dealing with the Gods: Don’t piss off Zeus and don’t deal with Loki.
My players and NPCs all warned the Rich Kid not to mess with Loki, but still he did, asking the Trickster god to give some information, saying he’s ready to pay the price. So Loki gives him the information and asks for one the character’s Relics as compensation, to which Rich Kid refuses.
The rest of the party sweat bullets and the room goes quiet, even more when roleplaying as Loki, I merely smile and say “Ok.”
Next morning, Rich Kid receives a call from Buenos Aires, his home city, telling him that his house caught on fire and all his servants and friends had died, burned alive with his home. Knowing this to be the work of Loki, he travels home and in the ruins of his house he calls out to his father. Tezcatlipoca appears to him in the moonlight.
Now, every other character would’ve sworn revenge on Loki, or asked for something, but this character was such a sycophant weirdo that he decides the right course of action is to offer a sacrifice to his father in honour of this painful yet valuable lesson…not that Tezca had anything to do with it.
He offers his blood to his father, to which the Moon God replies that such a paltry gesture doesn’t match the young man’s passionate words and intent. When Rich Kid asks what his father wants, Tezcatlipoca says only something that really matters to him will do, like his oldest friend in Argentina, a police detective who was the Commissioner Gordon to his Bruce Wayne when his parents died.
Without even flinching, the Rich Kid does so, killing his friend and making sure that before he died, the detective knew who his murderer was.
Back in the ruins of his home, he presents the body and a cup filled with blood to his father, who once again appears in the moonlight…before turning into Loki. The Trickster god smiles wickedly and says, “I thank you for your offering,” and vanishes, leaving the boy (and player) there, stunned.
He calls out to his father and this time the real Tezcatlipoca shows up. And much like everyone else, he has these choice words for his son: “Don’t mess with Loki!”
Scions want big boom
One of the virtues during the Demigod arc was Expression, and I had taken it to its darkest extreme by making the fictional character the serial killing protagonist of The Perfume. The scions had the original plan of manipulating Inspector Javert—the virtue of Order—into taking care of this murderer but the French inspector didn’t cooperate.
So, as they thought what they could do to catch this one, another scion of the group, a player who showed up once every planetary alignment and who played a Scion of Hephaestus, simply left their safe house, broke into the Expression’s perfume store, strapped the place with enough C4 to wipe out the block and left.
The moment Expression opened the front door on the other day, he and most of the city block ceased to be.
When the others confronted him for his callous actions, he simply shrugged and said they were talking too much.
It was the explosive Scion version of “Leeeeroyyyy Jenkins!”
Everything in life is location, location, location!
During the Demigod arc, The Rock Star and the Troublemaker had a couple of sessions on their own, pursuing some of the virtues. One of them was the virtue of Intellect, which had manifested as Indiana Jones, hat and bullwhip included.
They joined him at an ancient Viking burial site and after dispatching some of the previous tenants, they delved deep into the tombs, finding any number of devious Indiana-Jones-esque traps. The scions, using their powers, dodged, jumped and barrel rolled through the contraptions, making it look stylish on the way. Because of the supernatural elements in the ruins, when they missed, they received grievous wounds.
Once on the other side of a long trapped-covered hallway, the two Scions look back to see Indiana Jones casually stroll through the hallway without taking his eyes off his notebook. He reads aloud several passages, stopping right on the spot his notes tell him to and suddenly a blade swings and misses him.
When he clears the room, he pulls a switch and disables the traps, before turning to them and their incredulous looks, asking “What?” at which point the players couldn’t hold back the laughter.
“He looks like he’s got it under control!”
The other virtue the Rock Star and Troublemaker combo were after was Courage, personified in Connan the Cimmerian. Their information led them to the entrance to Jotunheimr, the land of the Frost Giants, apparently guarded by a massive poisonous worm.
When they reach the entrance, they see the door to the realm busted open and the worm cut to ribbons to one side. With great care the cross the threshold into this new land and follow a trail of destruction so vicious I had to spend extra time describing the very specific ways the bodies had been cut.
They followed the trail to the home of the giants, a mighty frozen fortress, where they caught up with Conan, looking just like Schwarzenegger and swinging a massive blade and tearing more giants apart, but without making any progress, as the giants almost threw themselves at him to keep him at bay, to keep the monstrous warrior away from their king, Utgard-Loki—not the God Loki, just shared the name.
The two scions hear my description of the assault and on seeing the giants push back the Cimmerian, one says “Should we help him?” to which the other simply said “Nah, he’s got it!” With fear clearly etched on their face.d
There are many more stories of course, but some I like to keep just for when we sit down to remember the good times playing together. The Rock Star had an adventure fighting off a Fenris wolf that goes badly but ends with him having a beer with Eric Donner and Thor. It’s a cool tale, but the Minotaur one had to be told.
I have many more campaigns to talk about, and this trip down memory lane has made me want to write those too, but I’ll do so at another time! And who knows, maybe my next set of memories will come from this new group I’m playing with.
I hope so.