Scion – Opening Gambit

Scion Demigod Cover

I am now reading Scion: Demigod to get a better idea of where the game should be heading. So far it seems like an interesting book although, as many people have already stated, the pre-made characters and adventure do take up a lot of room.

My group had our first Scion game this past Saturday and overall I feel it went fairly well. One of the players is new to our group but seems to fit in quite well and while first sessions are (at least for me) rife with distractions it seemed everyone had a good time.

So far only some small pieces of the story have unfolded. I won’t include any information the players don’t know here (and would also hope no one else would in the comments section) so that they may read this post if they so choose.

The Story So Far

The story began with each of them wandering different parts of the world. Their parents (referred to by some in the story as “Patrons”) have not been in communication with any of them since their initial visitation and they have begun to feel lost.

After some time (approximately two months) of wandering they received a letter. That is to say found a letter amongst their belongings or sitting on their pillow in their motel room or some such thing. Each letter was plain white with gold letters and said simply that they should meet “me” (though the me was not specified) at the MG Tower in Chicago. Internet searches and maps did not give the location of this tower but each were able to find it eventually.

Upon reaching the tower each in turn was greeted by a white-clad security officer who instructed them to proceed via elevator to the 33rd floor. The only two buttons in the elevator were the 3rd floor and the 33rd floor so they had little other option. At the top of the floor was a secretary/receptionist (also dressed in white) who instructed them to proceed down the hall and wait until the whole group arrived.

Once the entire group was present she let them into the room beyond. The room was rather odd with Jacob’s ladders, books, a large desk, and a glass door that opened into a pigeon coop. Then their host arrived but introduced himself only as Nikolai. Using some clever Scion tricks they were able to deduce that in all likelihood this person was a god. Though none were sure which god.

Their mission, that they had no real choice but to accept since they had rather nothing better to do, was to find the sword known as Heaven’s Will.

Quest for Heaven’s Will

Their first stop was to a nightclub known as The Alley Divine. There they met the manager who was half-sibling to a group member (both children of Dionysus). The manager’s name was William Grant and he told them that they needed to find a man named Cornelius if they wished to get a map for the first part of the sword (they had been informed by Nikolai that it was in fact in two parts). So, off to an abandoned Burger King located in Watkins Glen New York.

Upon breaking down the door they found Cornelius Carrigan the King of Cartography (as he introduced himself) hiding behind a counter. After some fairly gentle encouragement he informed them that he had been accosted by giants who had forced him to give them a map. Cornelius did not wish to give the players a map because he was fearful of the giants returning and punishing him for doing this. So, he told them, if they could assure him that the giants were gone he would give them a map but not until then.

After a brief conversation it was deduced that the giants would most likely be somewhere inside the glen.

Off to the Glen!

Inside the glen they encountered a group of thugs; six initially but six more (with guns!) came to aid their brethren.

For the most part the players dispatched these thugs readily. However as they were cleaning up and searching the giants’ cave for clues a lindwurm burst from a wall and attacked them. That fight too was short but one of the group was sliced to ribbons by its teeth and swallowed.

Having no medicine the group rushed the member to the ranger station where he was air lifted to a hospital. They explained to the rangers that he’d fallen, and with their powers of trickery were readily believed.

From here they went back to Cornelius and told him what had happened. He agreed to give them the map they needed, peeling it from his own clothing which appeared to be many, many maps layered on top of each other. The map indicated that they need to go to Florida. This marked the gaming session’s end.

Session Wrap-Up Notes

I don’t think I have ever seen more character changes in a game after it had begun than took place during this one. Some storytellers, I am sure, would not allow players to modify their characters post-character-creation but I often find it’s better to let them make minor modifications than to have one player with a death wish because they are playing a character they do not wish to be.

One problem was that of Followers. Two players had some followers and I think they are both removing them. It simply didn’t seem worth it to them once the story started moving. While I was okay with them either way (and in fact was planning to make some rules mods to make sure that Followers stayed useful as the group progressed) I was also okay with doing away with them.

A major problem that arose was that the player who wanted to be the “combat monkey” (normally he plays very non-combat characters and wanted to play something different this time) was rendered rather ineffective by having low wits and by not having the Opening Gambit knack that two other players took. In fact, both players who did not have this had Epic Wits, resulting in the fifth player always acting last in combat (often after the other players had each acted twice). Perhaps this is only a problem because four of the five players took Epic Wits, but the best solution was for the fifth player to take one Epic Wits and take Opening Gambit. As I prefer players getting to play the characters as they want to and I felt he would not get to play his character the way he wanted to without this change I was fine with this.

On the fly we made a modification to the ranged combat rules. Because I had chosen to raise the power level of ranged combat by adding in perception for damage it seemed that ranged might simply be too powerful now (ranged in general but especially guns). To make certain that melee still had its place and that the players that had chosen to be good at melee did not become second class fighters we added a rule that ranged attacks imply a –1 penalty to the dice pool for each friendly target in melee range. This is, as I recall, a rule used in the New World of Darkness. After some thought, however, this may instead become +1 to the threshold of hitting the target, as it seems more in line with the way Scion works.


As I mentioned above one of the players took a really nasty hit from the lindwurm and, technically, we should have had our first fatality. After picking a target the creature snapped at him several times and missed. Finally on its third and final attack it managed to make contact with the him even though he had a very high dodge DV. Unfortunate I am a streaky roller. I have gone entire D&D sessions without being able to hit a target when I needed only 12s, and yet occasionally I roll so ridiculously that players explode. This was one of those cases.

Rules-wise, the player was dead. Very dead. Story-wise I had the player get nearly ripped in half and swallowed, and allowed him to be saved after they defeated the monster. I guess I could have been tough and killed him off but we are all still learning the rules and it was still the first session so a “free rez” (so to speak) seemed in order.

Tune in next time for information on their second adventure: Fixing Doors and Paying Hospital Bills!

(I would appreciate any response from my players. If any respond with a first-person analysis of any or all of the events from their character’s perspective I would consider giving that person a bonus xp.)


    Ya know, I don’t think I read this after writing it even for a superficial editing…

    I made a couple changes as some of it didn’t really even make sense to me.

    Materasu Arimi Says:

    This is all confusing to me. Everyone I meet uses big English words. My English is not all that great. At least I can speak in Japanese with Hiro-san. I will do my best to explain what I learned from my first adventure.

    I had some trouble with the Relics my mother gave me, but I think I understand them better now. It’s much better for my Naginata to hit things then to keep them from hitting me.

    My new friend Kate-san is wonderful, she knows so much about the world and she says that she will help me pick out better clothes. I am so glad I met her. I used my new wristband to mark her with a vigil brand, so if she’s ever in trouble I can help her out. I hope this works the way I think it does.

    All in all my first adventure with my new companions was fun, even if I did not understand it all. I liked the parts where I got to hit stuff, all the years of practice in the dojo seem worthwhile now.

    I look forward to what Josh-san sends at us next, and think I will be better prepared for it this time. Ja ne.

    Hiro Says:

    Journal Entry: 20 May 2008

    The past few days have been very interesting days.

    I have got a new job. I have been hired by a strange man named, Nicholai-sama (he did not give his full name). He likes to surround himself with electronic paraphanalia and pigeons. A strange man to say the least, but I found myself liking him.

    I’ve met more people like myself, children of gods. They seem like they will be a good group to work with. They are all capable fghters and we worked well together fighting as a group.

    Detective White-san is a good man. Although, I am not sure how he will react if he finds out what I do for a living, as he is a law enforcement officer. We shall see. 😉

    Kate-san acts like a silly college party girl, but I beleive that there is more there than she lets people see. She is very personable.

    Arimi-san is very niave, but also very good in a fight. She is much more than the pop star personality that she showed to everyone for the past few years. She has very much growing up to do, and has seemed to latch onto Kate very quickly. Hopefully Kate-san will be able to help her adjust to the new situation.

    I am not sure what to think of Greg-san. He is a very talkative man, and very good at talking to people. He has an ability to convince people of almost anything, which makes me wary of him. I hope he has not been dishonorable and lying to us. He is also very capable in a fight, but then again none of us are unfit in that regard. (perhaps one of the reasons that we were all selected for this job).

    On a final note, this job looks to be turning out as a grand adventure and hopefully will be a well paying one. Also, in the future I need to avoid being eaten by large white worms. It was very painful and I cannot wait to get out of this hospital.


    David Says:

    damnit, the kanji for Hiro’s name showed in the preview. why doesn’t it show in the comment?

    Scott Says:

    The blog ate it.

    That’s the truth (I’ll spare everyone the details); David and I did settle on a workaround to get the Kanji into his comment above.

    -Sorry for the inconvenience David, and thanks again for the comments!

    Scott Says:

    Fell down some stairs


    (Ahh, at least I can amuse myself)

    Scott Says:

    I can attest to Josh’s rolling streakiness from years of first-hand experience. There have been Risk games (among others) with him that bordered on infuriating due to his rolls.

    More or less balanced out by his strings of poor rolls at other times, though some would argue against balance since these would often be accompanied by griping (one of Josh’s super powers), yet how many gamers don’t whine about dice rolls sometimes?

    Det. Flynn White Says:

    Private Case File: 174
    Case: Heaven’s Will


    Tyr: Two months ago visited me and said he was my father. Explained to me why I’ve been experiencing heightened senses and abilities. Gave me two artifacts, a large two-handed hammer (like something out of Braveheart) and a very old pocket watch that has been converted into wrist watch. Explained the existence of others like myself and the titan spawn. He gave me some background about himself and from that I could feel that he was truthful. His fight for Justice and what was right seemed to match what I’ve been trying to do in Detroit, trying the clean up crooked cops and keep that kind of scum off the streets. Never saw him again after that even though he said he’d return with more information.

    Nikolai: Seems to be the head of a corporation in Chicago at a building called the MG tower. I was invited to come and see him after 2 months of no word from my father. Being my only lead I decided to follow it. MG Tower was very difficult to find, even by my standards as a detective which leads me to believe it’s either new or maybe not truly there at all. With recent knowledge about what I know of myself and this new world that steams from it, I must keep all possibilities open. Nikolai didn’t say much but did send myself and others like me to search for a sword to help fight the titanspawn which have been causing chaos. While I don’t trust Nikolai I felt a sense of right in my to find that sword and make sure it gets into the right hands (be it Nikolai or someone else).

    Aimie: Young girl about 18-19, Japanese, and not very bright. However she possesses great strength and ability in combat situations. Seems to be very unknowledgeable in the ways of the world. There is potential there, but she could prove to be very dangerous as I do not believe she knows her own strength as it easily surpasses my own. So far the rest seems to be a mystery due to a bit of a language and culture barrier.

    Kate: College age, party girl. Seems to be good with people and able to make friends quickly. She is extremely talented with hand guns. She seems like a person that could put a good face to this group I have seemed to been put into by Nikolai. That is of course if I can keep her out of parties and into the job at hand.

    Greg Flynn: No doubt brought together by fate as we share a name together, however he is most certainly my opposite. A long time con man for sure and a rare ability to make people do to what he wants at will. I will be keeping a sharp eye on him to make sure he doesn’t try to rob the rest of the group blind. I will not hesitate to take him down should he try to corrupt our cause.

    Hiro: Another I need to keep my eye on, if only because out of the 4 he is the most mysterious of the bunch. He has incredible speed and dexterity and seems pretty good with a firearm. So far that as much as I collected on him. I’ll need to investigate him further to see if he can be trusted.

    William Grant: Owner of the Alley Divine in Chicago. Seems to be an elder half-brother of Kate. The joint isn’t exactly my kind of place. I prefer a quite bar with some classic jazz and a little Scotch in my glass. This was one of those dance clubs with the booming bass that makes your chest pop right out of your body. Grant gave us information on where we could get a map to the first peace of Heaven’s Will.

    Cornelius Carrigan (aka the King of Cartography): A strange man dressed in maps and lives in an abandoned Burger King in a small little town of Watkins Glen, NY. Was able to obtain a map from Cornelius after running out some underlings and confirming that a group of giants had left the town.

    Matt Says:

    Oops, sorry Pat. Mispelled your characters name. Caught it after I sent the comment 😛

    Katherine Sterling Says:

    My life has taken yet another odd turn of late. As if meeting a father I had never known wasn’t shock enough, I also have to accept that said father is a god and I am half-god with special abilites and the whole package. Now on top of that revelation (which I am still struggling to fully process) I have found myself thrown together with a group of individuals with similar circumstances to my own and we five charged with a quest to find an item of power. Um, yeah. When did my life turn into an Indiana Jones movie?

    Anyway, the group themselves seems a odd mix of personalities. First there is Greg, who I find myself drawn to simply for the fact that we both seem to share an affinity for manipulating a situation to our advantage. Then there is Hiro. I really have no idea what to think of him, he’s so quiet and then there’s the whole foreign culture aspect. He’s got that element of sneaky sneaky about him, which must be annoying to the detective. Flynn (the detective, not Greg) seems too damn uptight. But what else could you expect from his type? And lastly is Arimi. I’ve seen those Japanese pop stars on tv before, but knowing one in person is something entirely different. She’s so adorable and cute I just want to keep her in my pocket.

    So these are apparently my new companions or quest mates or whatever. I always wanted to travel the world gathering new and unusual experiences. I just never thought it would be THIS new and unusual.


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