Scion: God

By on 18 July 2009

First up, be sure to read over my review of Scion: Hero and Scion: Demigod (preferably in that order) in order to get an idea of what I’m on about here. Scion: God is the third part of the Scion rulebook set, and gives the details on end-level characters, and their foes.

Cover: I didn’t much care for the garbled green mush of Demigod’s cover, but the cover on Scion: God feels suitably epic, with one of the signature characters in full action-type fury. The background is interesting, and in general it feels a lot nicer to look at.

Prologue: They’ve not been too bad until now, albiet far longer than the fiction segments found in most games. But for this time, I skipped it. So I really can’t give my thoughts on it. Sorry.

Intro: The intro chapter here is a bit longer, and while it gives some details, could go into more depth. It tells you the statistic and mechanical process by which your characters ascend to godhood, but leaves out the characteristic details. We are told that the characters’ entire bodies are now composed of ‘ichor’, the substance of the gods; but what does that involve? Do they go into a cocoon or something? We don’t really find out. Still, I picture it rather like Doctor Who regenerating, so maybe I’ll go with that during actual gaming. The most useful part of this chapter is the details on two new talents; creating an ‘avatar’ to appear on Earth covertly (extremely useful), and creating your godly home.

Knacks: The basic non-magical abilities are now amped up to silly levels. Included is the ability to set them to a star-level, which is basically an automatic win on any specific skill. These all feel suitably epic, but there are two major flaws. Firstly, the combat-type abilities, if used on Earth, are of a level that could cause extreme property damage, as in ‘we may have to redraw global maps now, due to some countries now being craters’. Fun if you like that sort of thing, but for an ongoing campaign, potentially problematic. For that reason perhaps, the game includes full details on the various Overworlds of the Gods. When combined with the Underworlds listed in Demigod, there’s plenty of suitable playgrounds for such skills to be used without them being too munchkin.
The second, and far more difficult problem for me, is that you’ll need a LOT of dice. The game scales quite well between levels, but just make sure you’ve got a lot of spare d10s handy. This is an understatement. Bring a box.

Boons: These aren’t too bad. They can be a pretty mixed bag, with some of them being just silly (was the best idea they could come up with for a bit of Moon magic the ability to let you build a mansion on the moon with little ET-type butlers? Lay off the hash already), but anyone can just draw a big red line through those ideas and come up with better ones. The most useful bit is that, when you hit a maximum capacity on these, they let you embody your particular sphere of magic,which is both cinematic and epic.

Overworlds: This chapter covers details on each of the pantheons’ respective homelands. And, I’ll be fair, I liked this chapter. There wasn’t much that could go wrong with it (but knowing White Wolf writers, any time I say that, they’re bound to find new ways to prove me wrong), and it kept pretty simple and direct. Each homeland is respectively atmospheric and suitable for the culture they represent, with a few of them (in particular, the Aztec) being especially strange, alien and full of unique potential.

The Titans: This chapter is where things start to seem…. odd. Or at least, suffer from the same problems I pointed out in Hero; badly laid out. But we’ll get to that; basically, this chapter covers the Titans, and we discover quite a few interesting things about the ‘bad guys’ of this game. For a start, they are the epitome of primary concepts in the cosmos; that is, they’re not rampaging monsters, but they’re things like Air, Fire, Light, Darkness, Gravity; basically, things that need to exist. So for that reason, you can’t ‘kill’ the Titans; otherwise, there would be no air for people to breath, nothing to control the fire that people create, the world would have no sunlight or would alternatively burn under a neverending sun etc etc, you get the idea. So, killing the Titans as a plan is kinda out. Also, they’re each a living landscape about the size of a planet. Sorry, forgot to mention THAT little detail too.

So yeah, this is the first time that a lot of VERY important things are mentioned. Naughty writers. Anyway, the good thing is, each of these Titans has avatars (like the gods and the characters have when they’re on Earth, so they don’t end up wrecking the place), and it’s those avatars that are causing the problems. Unlike the gods, the Titans are bound so tightly to their avatars that, if the avatars are imprisoned (or killed), so are the Titans. So, yeah, that’s the concept. Now, I like this idea and all, but should have been perhaps disclosed earlier. At least as early as Demigod. Anyway, enough of that; this chapter describes six of the Titans, and gives details on their landscapes, their inhabiting avatars, monsters, and so on. It’s not bad. What is bad, is… well, I’ll get to that.

The Heroic Saga is the pre-written adventure section of this book. The adventure is alright this time around, and the writing is noticeably less juvenile than in Demigod (barely). It opens with some nice short story scenes that set up the whole ‘being a god’ thing pretty well (it’s not all that glamorous really), and these are all pretty tightly-written and cohesive.
The second part involves the characters going back to Earth (and hopefully not wrecking the place) to find an important relic, and finally kill a character who should have died at the end of the LAST book, but only insisted because the writers wanted to keep him around for this book for no good reason, because the writing on the Demigod adventure was so pathetically sub-par… no, I’m still not over that.
Anyway, this segues into the third part, which lets the characters venture into the Titan realms described in the last chapter in order to capture the Titans’ avatars. And the problem with that, we’ll discuss in….

Antagonists: Normally an excellent segment in all of the Scion books so far, the Antagonists section here serves to give statistics for the Titan avatars and their respective minions and servants. And it’s here, in a separate section. When it COULD have been just included in the main sections for each of the Titans, back in the chapter about Titans.
And, similarly, so could the details about venturing through the Titan realms from the pre-written adventure.
So here’s the biggest flaw – the descriptions of the enemies and their lands is in one chapter, the possible storylines for each of those is in ANOTHER chapter, and the actual stats for the enemies are in YET ANOTHER chapter. Would it have been so hard to put them all together, into one chapter? Really? The biggest problem with Hero was the layout, and that’s the problem here; not quite as bad because it’s not anything as vital as game mechanics this time around, but it just feels lazy.

Index: White Wolf indexes are about as much use as a chocolate teapot glued to a motorbike. If you don’t believe me, use one to tell me what page of this book

In conclusion, I like Scion: God. I think it rounds off the Scion series quite well, and leaves a lot open for you to develop from. I think it could be laid out better, and I think that the system could be streamlined at this level so that it doesn’t involve so many large numbers, but overall it works pretty nicely. Most of all, it -feels- epic enough, and even though the game is geared somewhat towards a siege-warfare type of play at this point, it’s not integral to the game and you feel a real sense of freedom to be able to develop the game into different levels and take it where you want to go.

Reviewed by Marsten

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Guest isn't a real person, but this review has been written by one (a real person that is). They kindly submitted it for publication here. Their details are contained in the body of the review.

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