Into the Shadows

Saying Goodbye

My gaming group made their final decision about our Saturday morning RPG last night. We had already come to a unanimous decision that Scion had major issues, and while there was some divergence as to what to do about it most fell closer to the “abandon it and don’t look back” side than the “muscle on, the idea is so cool!” side.

I should say that I do in fact still love the idea of Scion and I am not without hope that I will some day return to it with a better idea for a campaign and a better outlook on how to play it. The idea of playing a child of a god and fulfilling your epic destiny is exciting and fun but the rules really get in the way of the enjoyment.

The Problem

One friend of mine, who wasn’t playing the game mind you, said that the rules shouldn’t matter all that much. He mentioned a few bad systems we had survived in the past (one of them being Role Master which I personally liked quite a bit when I was younger) and said that Scion should also be able to be “gotten around”.

The problem as I see it is that many bad systems are bad because they are overly complicated and thus the rules get in the way of the story. In those cases it is easy for the GM to simply come up with a quick solution on the fly and look up the actual rule later. In the past I have done this many times and on occasion decided to stick with my rule rather than go with theirs. I think I tend to be fair in these situations and a lot of times I see my players nodding and saying things like “makes sense” when I make these judgments. Scion is different.

What makes Scion different? In my mind it relates to their attempt to make it simpler. While someone could easily point to the way epic attributes work (one dot being one automatic success is fine, but three giving you four auto successes and then ten giving you more than you could possibly need…) I really feel that the oversimplification of the rules is what lead them to get in the way.

While the auto success system does relate to this I don’t think it in fact is the whole of it. In addition to the auto success problem we have the defense trumps offense problem and the complete lack of balance problem. In the end, while the game was cute in concept it feels like it was rushed to the printers without any real play testing, and while our group isn’t made up completely of rules lawyers I think we all tend to feel that winning within the rules is more fun than winning because the rules seem silly and it was better to just let the players win and move on.

The Solution

While I am already running an additional game, this one Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition, I wanted to replace my Saturday morning game anyway. I have to admit for what it is I love the new D&D. Yes, it is a little board game like at times but it does allow for role playing and I think most importantly it’s fun. Quite frankly it feels perfect for a Tuesday night. I doubt I would want to try to run something deep and complicated on a work night.

On the other hand Saturday mornings are wide open. There are tons of games out there but I really wasn’t sure I wanted to go buy a new one and try it out. After stumbling through Scion I think our group needed something we knew we liked. We had some problems with Werewolf when we played it but at least the system didn’t in the way too much. While we did leave off with the possibility of returning later, at least one member of our group had another game in mind.

Returning to the Shadows

I first played Shadowrun with Scott and another friend of ours back in second edition. I loved the world even though the system was kind of clunky. Of course, I was used to clunky systems so it really didn’t seem that off too me. I didn’t play Shadowrun again until I picked up Shadowrun 4th Edition, mostly on a whim. My group loved it. It seemed to have the perfect mix of simplicity and diversity, options without burden and while the rule book was convoluted and a bit hard to find things in it was also very complete with rules for most situations and ways to make it feel dramatic and exciting.

So, given that it is tried and true and that our group had a lot of fun with it last time (life more than the game got in the way and caused it to end) we decided to return to Shadowrun. With the recent release of Unwired as a PDF and the hardbound book coming out at the end of the month and the other Core books Augmentation and Arsenal already being out (and sitting in my backpack right now!) it really felt time to make our way back into the shadows.

    ojiepat Says:

    Yay! I missed you shadowrun! Welcome home.


    Cool, have fun guys! I need to pick up those books myself soon.