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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I am glad it's entirely its own setting and not trying to awkwardly stuff God People and a Cultic World into the WoD. Maybe the concept will have room to breathe.

I will be especially interested in how this handles the tension between monotheistic and polytheistic elements. It has to come up if there's still going to be Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, etc in the background.

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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SirPhoebos posted:

So...why are we giving this the benefit of the doubt?

Because Onyx Path has a good rep, barring Beast, whose dev was not involved and who, as far as anyone can tell, is blackballed.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20





SirPhoebos posted:

So...why are we giving this the benefit of the doubt?

Because OPP has Rose Bailey making sure this is as culturally sensitive as possible, and WWP is headed by a guy who thinks "Full rear end Rape Stiffness" is a thing adults say.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Maybe I'm just confused about the difference between Onyx Path and White Wolf, because when I hear about poo poo like this:
https://twitter.com/HoldenShearer/status/943995121867030528

my opinion of White Wolf's roleplaying umbrella becomes incredibly negative.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

White Wolf (by which we mean the people at Paradox Interactive who bought the old White Wolf), and Onyx Path (by which we mean a new company formed by people who worked for the old White Wolf) are separate entities. World of Darkness and Exalted are owned by nuWW and licensed by OPP, and OPP makes them but nuWW has creative control and occasionally exercises it.

Also people have:

a) already heard various people they trust like Rose and Neall talk candidly about where Scion 1e went horribly wrong and how they want to fix it; and
b) already seen a bunch of stuff previewed, including most of the pantheons, and been positively impressed by the level of cultural sensitivity and radness.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Holden is poo poo, White Wolf is poo poo, Onyx Path is neither, and given how often this is explained, you probably haven’t been reading.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


Personally, I liked that gods don't need humans, but humans have utility for them.

Now let me have a sacred bolt action rifle.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


SirPhoebos posted:

my opinion of White Wolf's roleplaying umbrella becomes incredibly negative.

Basically White Wolf is a different company. Onyx Path is a publishing company that includes some holdovers from the original White Wolf and picked up their gamelines for a long time, until Paradox Interactive bought the name White Wolf and gave it to a swedish dracula edgelord for reasons that I don't quite understand instead of making Crusader Kings But Now With Vampires.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


SirPhoebos posted:

Maybe I'm just confused about the difference between Onyx Path and White Wolf, because when I hear about poo poo like this:
*snipped tweet*

my opinion of White Wolf's roleplaying umbrella becomes incredibly negative.

White Wolf the Paradox company owns the rights to the World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness lines, and thus can mess with any World of Darkness stuff Onyx Path is putting out if it doesn't fit their ~vision~ for WoD. (They're basically leaving Chronicles of Darkness stuff alone, by the way, so don't worry about that.) Onyx Path bought the rights for Scion and I believe Exalted, so they don't have that kind of editorial interference and obviously won't have any for any new properties they make such as Pugmire.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Scion and Trinity, not Exalted. White Wolf just doesn’t care about Exalted.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Mors Rattus posted:

Scion and Trinity, not Exalted. White Wolf just doesn’t care about Exalted.

I mean, who would? I know it eventually came out, but as soon as it did I stopped hearing anything about it.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me!


Mors Rattus posted:

Holden is poo poo, White Wolf is poo poo, Onyx Path is neither, and given how often this is explained, you probably haven’t been reading.

I've been following the conversation and was unclear why there was optimism for another White Wolf reboot when it felt like every other so far went through the same cycle of looking promising in previews and then barfing up gross poo poo all over again. If for whatever reason OP has a level of control they didn't in their other projects I didn't know that, and it would probably have been helpful to mention in your first post.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Rand Brittain posted:

White Wolf (by which we mean the people at Paradox Interactive who bought the old White Wolf), and Onyx Path (by which we mean a new company formed by people who worked for the old White Wolf) are separate entities. World of Darkness and Exalted are owned by nuWW and licensed by OPP, and OPP makes them but nuWW has creative control and occasionally exercises it.

Also people have:

a) already heard various people they trust like Rose and Neall talk candidly about where Scion 1e went horribly wrong and how they want to fix it; and
b) already seen a bunch of stuff previewed, including most of the pantheons, and been positively impressed by the level of cultural sensitivity and radness.

Like a minor note, their preview of the Egyptian pantheon was pretty cool. I like Bast as 'put upon pantheon enforcer who Ra kept foisting duties off on with a bit of a drinking problem' instead of 'sexy Catwoman.'

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!


What are Chronicles of Darkness and Trinity and... Pugmire?

Also, Edgy Dracula?

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


JcDent posted:

What are Chronicles of Darkness and Trinity and... Pugmire?

Also, Edgy Dracula?

Chronicles of Darkness is what the nWoD was renamed to when Paradox bought the rights to WoD and wanted to separate the brands. Trinity is Adventure! (White Wolf's old pulp game), Aberrant (White Wolf's old supers game) and Trinity (White Wolf's old scifi game) which were all actually part of the same universe at different points in time, which Onyx Path is working on new editions of that aren't a mechanical and metaplot clusterfuck like those games were. Pugmire is kinda like Redwall but with dogs instead of badgers, and I kind of hate it for being a fantasy game where you play as a pug that uses a generic d20 system of all things but it's a fine game.

Edgy Dracula is Tobias Sjögren, the man who runs Paradox White Wolf. He's called Swedracula because he's Swedish and a picture of him was used for Dracula in one of the Vampire: The Requiem books iirc. Also he's an edgelord rear end in a top hat who thinks WoD needs to be mature in that incredibly immature way.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Specifically, he thinks it's the kind of thing where eating a baby should have game mechanics backing.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Night10194 posted:

Specifically, he thinks it's the kind of thing where eating a baby should have game mechanics backing.

It's called the rest of your table deciding not to play with you anymore.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20





JcDent posted:

Pugmire?

Funny you should ask. You'll find out in about twelve hours, hopefully.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


wiegieman posted:

It's called the rest of your table deciding not to play with you anymore.

Yeah, it's best not to dance around it. The guy running Paradox's White Wolf stuff is the guy that a healthy gaming group would take aside, talk to about boundaries, and then kick out of the group after he continues to demand that it isn't 'realistic' unless he can commit atrocities in-game and poo poo like that.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20





Lurks With Wolves posted:

Edgy Dracula is Tobias Sjögren, the man who runs Paradox White Wolf. He's called Swedracula because he's Swedish and a picture of him was used for Dracula in one of the Vampire: The Requiem books iirc. Also he's an edgelord rear end in a top hat who thinks WoD needs to be mature in that incredibly immature way.
Swedracula is Martin, not Tobias. Tobias has a decent head on his shoulders, but a gigantic blind spot where is friend is concerned.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Mors Rattus posted:

Hero is going to present ten pantheons of Gods. (The book notes that the other gods are very annoyed that the Greek-derived 'pantheon' became the dominant term.) 

This is why we must call them La Familia.

Lurks With Wolves
Jan 14, 2013

At least I don't dance with them, right?


Kurieg posted:

Swedracula is Martin, not Tobias. Tobias has a decent head on his shoulders, but a gigantic blind spot where is friend is concerned.

I was worried about that. Sorry Tobias, I should have realized when Lead Storyteller Martin Ericsson looked like much more of a Dracula than you.

(Also I was corrected, he was Dracula in Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, not one of the three separate people claiming to be Dracula in VtR.)

Lurks With Wolves fucked around with this message at 20:28 on Jan 27, 2018

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Night10194 posted:

I mean, who would? I know it eventually came out, but as soon as it did I stopped hearing anything about it.
I regained cautious optimism when Slit the War Boy and his sidekick Hamster Lad were told to hit the road, but I'm not really gonna be able to "judge" anything until they come out with another splatbook.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Scion: Origin: Everything Is True, Nothing Is Permitted

So what is the World? It's...everything. It is what every myth says it is. At once. All myths are true. Fionn mac Cumhaill was a man, and also a giant. Aphrodite was born from divine ballsack tossed in the sea, and from the pairing of Zeus and Dione. When mythic histories conflict, well, that's where arguments and fights start ICly. Cosmological truth matters only insofar as a god wants credit for deeds attributed to a rival. Is the earthquake because Tuli's dogs scratch at fleas or because Poseidon is having a tantrum? It doesn't really matter, does it? Whichever is true, the earthquake still happens, and the only real cosmic outcome to a fight over it in an Overworld is which pantheon gets bragging rights. Most people just assume Tuli is behind some earthquakes, Poseidon others. There's no need to be bound by one legend.

In smaller matters, though, it can be hard to reconcile some differences. A relic sacred to two different gods and using two different religious practices which are mutually exclusive...well, that's a problem. Same if one group of legendary critters chases out another because their mythic history says it's their home instead. This is when the gods send their Scions or others authorized to speak for them in order to settle the dispute - peacefully or violently, depending on taste. Or they don't do that, and grudges form and some Scion in fifty years has to deal with it. It gets even trickier if you worship a god that belongs to multiple pantheons - the demands and politics of it can be maddening, let alone the mythic incompatibility yet mutual truthiness. It gets even more muddled when Incarnations work at cross purposes, pantheons invade Overworlds or Titans work to undermine divine claims. You just gotta find a way to deal with the poo poo that gets weird or hard because of all myths being true.

So, world history. Well, World history. Broad strokes? It looks the same as ours. All the geological and geographical changes fit. Electricity is still used, there's still a Hollywood, and so on. It's the details that change, and the motivations, and of course in Fate. Some events may have turned out differently, due to divine influence. Fewer people believe in random coincidence. Hell, 'random' means something a little different when several gods hold dominion over Chaos. Plenty of rulers and major politicians have claimed divine right in the past, and it still happens in the modern day. Sometimes it's true, or mostly true. The gods can and do grant blatant blessings to those they favor, sometimes. Every so often, a prophecy is crystal clear. Sometimes a relic will be a kingmaker, if people agree to use it. But even these don't always reflect the direct will of the gods, and Incarnations tend to avoid situations where people can ask their intentions. Plus, of course, two Incarnations of one god could have different answers. More often, legitimate claims have to do with bloodlines and descent from Scions than direct divine empowerment.

And they're not always true. Not hardly. The thing is, the presence of Scions and oracles makes the claims easy to believe. Some of the false claims become true, retroactively, if a god decides they like the idea or the ruler found a way to gain their favor. On the other hand, maybe they use Titanic power instead of divine. It's not like a lot of mortals can tell the difference in results. Sometimes, they suffer divine retribution, but unless a god literally sends a herald with an incontrovertible message to that effect, it's hard to prove. Typically, no one can easily verify or dismiss such a claim instead. Scholars and priests will argue for generations over omens and prophecies. Even Scions can rarely confirm if their parents had anything to say about a monarch, and tend to err on the side of 'no, that didn't happen' since they know the gods don't usually like to act so directly. More likely, gods are going to watch over the rulers of their favored peoples and nudge events a little, rather than give direct opinions. Some Scions have chosen to rule openly, but that doesn't mean their god approves. It might just be their destiny to take the throne. Or not - sometimes it's Fate that there are warring emperors, for example.

Ultimately, the World doesn't see that many more global leaders claiming divine right than ours does. Most Scions and other divinely connected beings have better things to do than tie themselves to a nation's Fate. They tend to care rather more about personal relationships - Fate's very much about the personal more than the global, so even a man like Caesar is impacted more by the betrayal of a friend than by ruling an empire. Elected office or even a throne are often just not something Scions aspire to.

It's easy to imagine that every important person in history was a Scion. Some were - Lord Byron probably was. Khutulun of Mongolia, definitely. Imhotep? Yeah, Ptah was his papa. But while Scions shine bright, they aren't the only heroes. Mundane humanity can be heroic, too, and the gods acknowledge that and show favor. Scions make big splashes, but even an ordinary human can swim against Fate's currents and divert them a little, or get caught up in the flow despite their best efforts to avoid being historically important. Mortals can be just as important as Scions, if not necessarily as personally potent most of the time. Now, yes, many violent events in the World have divine motivations or Scions involved. Divine wars between pantheons typically impact the Overworld, the lands of myth, more than the World itself, but sometimes these battles spill out. The American occupation of Haiti is said to have had overtones of Columbia, Goddess of America, fighting the Loa. The Knights Templar tried to wipe out polytheism in the Crusades. Caesar's war in Gaul was a one-Scion campaign of annihilation against the Gallic gods, allowing Divus Iulius to apotheosize when his mortal form was slain. However, the gods became much less active in their interference in mortal affairs in the 1800s.

There's a reason for that: industrialization and the rise of modern technology. In the past, before this, a god could reasonably expect to send an Incarnation to meddle but only receive mild Fatebinding, since the story would have to travel by word of mouth. By the time it had saturated enough to become Legend, Fate had already taken hold and diffused itself across the god's mantle. Instant communication and particularly the mass media? That changed things big. If Hera personally turned a mortal into a bird for insulting her today, Facebook would mean thousands of people would end up Fatebound within 24 hours. Open miracles to gain worship gives such an overwhelmingly large response that the god's self-image is pulled in too many directions, too many interpretions overwhelming them. Thus, it's in a god's best interest to stay behind the curtain. It means the World's a bit more jaded than it used to be, sure, but the gods do still interfere often enough and deeply enough that no one forgets them. Scions have it easier, though they can run into the same problem. If a fight with titanspawn or some grand plan gets too explosive, a dozen iPhones are there to stream it out in real time, and Fate has fun with that. Some Scions are fine with impossible stardom at the cost of agency in their own stories, but most prefer to keep a lower profile most of the time.

As for the gods influencing human technology? Nah. Didn't happen so much. Yes, worship and blessings can provide inspiration or remove obstacles, but humans are ultimately responsible for their own innovations and will. Mortals rather than Scions were responsible for most major technological and scientific advances, primarily because Scions have had fewer needs to conquer limitations technologically and in any case are kept rather busy by Fate. That's why the World looks mostly like ours in the broad view, rather than some kind of superadvanced space age society. Many gods also think in ancient patterns, derived from long ago. They don't really understand the vast amount of changes that humans have gone through in a mere century, not really. They understand the technologies and the new society, but they still can't help but think opf humans as the children who relied on them to survive plague and climate. They still help, but humanity is far more in charge of its own destiny these days.

We get a brief sidebar on the Anausa, the Persian Immortals. Their membership was fixed at 10,000 soldiers, as described by Herodotus. When they died, their reserves were called in to maintain the number of 10,000, serving as both heavy infantry and imperial guards. They were exceptionally skilled and prestigious. After Alexander the Great destroyed the Persian empire, the Immortals ended as a historical unit - but the name lived on. Various royal guards, up to and including the 1960s Iranian Imperial Guard, used the name Immortals to tie themselves by Fate to the legends of the Anausa. And thus, the Anausa are now like the einherjar. Everyone who has died under their banner may be called on to reincarnate and fight. When the Immortals take losses, the bodies vanish and new Immortals simply arrive the next day. They are a legend without a pantheon, divine mercenariesw who will work for anyone that can pay. They have deployed all over the World, and are now an elite paramiltiary company that can't truly die or be defeated, though it is excessively expensive to hire all 10,000 at once. Scions can call on them and tie their Legends together - as the Scion does great deeds, the Immortals gain in reputation, and eventually, some other army or guard will take the name Immortal and the myth will grow. However, the Anausa will never serve a Scion of the Theoi, and they are hostile towards the Persian Yazata, even though they should by rights be friendly. Neither the Yazata nor the Anausa will speak of the specific incident that caused them to break ranks.

Next time: Modern mythology.

Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.




THE BLOOD RED FEZ – PART ONE

Thirty years before the search for the Sedefkar Simulacrum, an earlier group of investigators take the Orient Express to Constantinople to stop a cosmic evil born from a cursed fez.

Background

The legend of the Blood Red Fez has been haunting the Ottoman Empire since the sixteenth century, a garment of great and powerful evil. A cult has risen around it, the Children of the Blood Red Fez, led by a sorcerer who goes by Hieronymous Menkaph (formerly an English accountant named Mortimer Leeds). Menkaph learned sorcery from none other than Selim Makryat and his Brotherhood of the Skin, but even though Menkaph has decided to form his own kooky-rear end hat religion the two are still bros. Menkaph believes that the Blood Red Fez offers a quicker path to power than the ways of skin.

According to the Children's research, there exists a tome called The Whispering Fez that holds the secrets to unlocking the true power of the Blood Red Fez. Having already acquired the Fez (or 'a' Fez, more on that later), Menkaph discovered that a copy of the tome had come into the hands of – of all the goddamn people – a fez collector in London, and went there immediately to steal it. He found opposition from a young student named Matthew Pook, who had been warned of Menkaph's activities by Turkish academic Professor Demir. However, Pook made a mistake when he tried to actually steal the Fez, and for his trouble has now become an experiment in its powers. In his last moments of lucidity before the Fez consumed him, he called for help from his friend Professor Julius Smith.

With the Blood Red Fez and the Whispering Fez in his possession, Menkaph plans to return to Constantinople. His student, former harem girl Nisra, the Daughter of Fate has put together a fiendish plan. The Whispering Fez outlines a ritual by which the true power of the Fez is unlocked when soaked with the blood of a prince. Nisra is the Chief Concubine to Prince Ramazan, an exile who is now totally in her thrall. He will make an excellent sacrifice for the Fez.


Left: Hieronymous Menkaph. Right: The young Professor Julius Smith.

So here's the first problem with the scenario, which you may have already noticed: there is nothing at all you can do to make a fez scary. Nothing at all. Spooky fez is a bargain bin SCP Foundation entry, not something that can sustain a whole CoC scenario.

The book really tries to sell you on the cultural significance of the fez, but I'm sorry, you just can't make the maguffin of your story an evil hat and expect me to take it seriously. Honestly, the more the book tries to sell the Blood Red Fez as a Mythos artefact the funnier it gets, up to forcing Sanity loss for being in its vicinity for too long. Also, the Fez is supposedly connected to Yog-Sothoth somehow which is a frankly bizarre choice of Old One for this kind of story. If you're unfamiliar, Yog-Sothoth is essentially uh, God, both outside the universe and the fabric of the universe, coterminous with all reality at once. Nyarlathotep's the jerk who would stoop to making a magic hat, doesn't Yog-loving-Sothoth have something better to do?

Also, while this is a neat scenario (I know I just spent a paragraph trashing it, bear with me), it's a pretty big one. It's a mini-Horrient, kind of a combo of the Blue Train, Black Night and By the Skin of Their Teeth scenarios from the main campaign, and it will probably take at least a few sessions to get through. By comparison, Dancers in an Evening Fog (the first Horrient scenario) should take one, one and a half sessions tops. Blood Red Fez is supposed to be triggered partway through that scenario when the investigators discover Professor Smith's journal; if you do that, then the investigators will have spent more time playing around in this optional scenario than the main campaign! If you don't want to go with that, one thing you can do is run it as a prequel to the main campaign, maybe giving investigators who survive the option of getting carried over into Horrient. This fits well with the scenario as it already includes several characters who play major rolls in the main campaign.

Also, like most of the alternate era scenarios, this one comes with a stack of premade investigators to save your group the trouble of making a whole new set of characters just for one scenario. Unfortunately, these are printed in statblocks in the same double-column format the rest of the book uses, so you'll have to go to the trouble of printing out and filling in your own character sheets if you want to use them. The premades include:

- Professor Harold 'Harry' Worth, a well-travelled archaeologist whose research has led him to belief in the supernatural. He's a member of the Oriental Club and has worked with Professor Smith before.

- Captain Roderick Barrington, Bart., a dashing and chivalric military officer who brushed with the occult during a tour in Afghanistan. He knows Smith through the Oriental Club.

- George Banks, a working class criminal who specialises as a 'snakes-man', getting into hard-to-reach places. He once robbed Smith, but Smith let him off on the condition he try to better himself.

- Amelia Meadowcroft, daughter of a famed explorer and a bold adventuress who has already turned down two marriage proposals. She helped Smith out of a bind in Bulgaria when he was accused of being a British spy.

- Dr. Kasim Polat, a Turkish historian who is writing on the history of the early Ottoman Empire. He is in London attending a conference and is looking forward to returning home to his family. He has worked with Smith in Turkey.

- Dr. Jean-Louis Laroche, a French physician who has spent many years abroad and now practices at St. Bartholomew's teaching hospital. As well as being a member of the Oriental Club, he once treated Smith when he came down with an exotic eastern malady.

The adventure begins when the investigators are summoned by Professor Smith to an urgent meeting in Whitechapel, long past the hours decent folk are awake.

Next time: hat zombie!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I'm sorry, are you not terrified of the fez? It was described as BLOOD RED.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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While I am at home with the idea of Magic Hat Holy Crown Theory being a real and actual thing, this is still ridiculous.

RiotGearEpsilon
Jun 26, 2005
SHAVE ME FROM MY SHELF

Night10194 posted:

I'm sorry, are you not terrified of the fez? It was described as BLOOD RED.

That is every fez!

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


RiotGearEpsilon posted:

That is every fez!

Oh god! It's spreading! d10/d100 San!

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



"Crimson Fez" has a better ring to it than "Blood Red Fez".

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



The only way to possibly salvage this idea is to lean heavily into this being a comedic scenario. Mortimer Leeds is a good first step.

Edit: Do they even make fezes in colors other than red? Is that an option?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The more I think on it the more I think Scion's premise would be way more interesting if it explored a world where the concept of Monotheism simply didn't happen *because* the polytheistic faiths were evidently and abundantly correct. That just, uh, probably wouldn't look a lot like ours.

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

The more I think on it the more I think Scion's premise would be way more interesting if it explored a world where the concept of Monotheism simply didn't happen *because* the polytheistic faiths were evidently and abundantly correct. That just, uh, probably wouldn't look a lot like ours.

It would be, but I think it'd make it much harder to have that sort of urban fantasy feel when you can't say 'things are basically like the modern day, except with a little more superstition and the supernatural.'

I wasn't too hot on the worldbuilding before, but I think this sort of not-really-hidden urban fantasy works super well for Scion as it was implemented.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Ratoslov posted:


Edit: Do they even make fezes in colors other than red? Is that an option?

I've seen leopard print fezes before.

Ain't never gonna do it without The Fez on!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Scion: Origin: What's A Masquerade

There is no secret conspiracy to protect the world from knowledge of the divine. The gods are completely frank and open about their relationship to humanity. They answer prayers, they receive worship, they throw tantrums. Everyone knows the gods exist, even if they refuse to accept that they are divine or to engage with them or even believe they're more than shared collective hallucination. The people of the World tell stories about local Heroes as much as they tell the old tales, though they've rarely met these local Heroes any more than they've met a god. The gods are all well aware of the dangerous of getting too involved. Every pantheon has horror stories about why they shouldn't be doing it. Hera destroyed Zeus' lover Semele right before his eyes. The Tuatha de Danann were once part of mortal Ireland proper, but it cost them dearly - their geasa were turned against them by Fate, ensuring they'd be just as compelled by taboos as their foes.

The more the gods get directly and obviously involved, the easier it is for the Titans to know what to target, and the worse the collateral damage gets. The gods aren't afraid to make their power known and don't try to hide - they just find it incredibly inconvenient to make them obvious most of the time. Instead, they treat the World as a sort of game board for their fueds and plots. They need to keep the collateral damage down if they can, because without humanity, the gods lack validation and definition. Thus, they act for the sake of the World as well as themselves. They have a vested interest in doing so.

So yeah, the divine influence on the World is fairly subtle most of the time - but it's strong. They're in the background of life, occasionally coming into the foreground. Water cooler talk at the office could as easily be about Coyote's latest antics as celebrity dating. Urban legends get attributed to one pantheon or another, and conspiracy theorists tend to believe in debunking that rather than proving it - after all, a real conspiracy would be if myths weren't involved. Magic is rare and terrifying and wonderful, but it's entirely believable. And, as you might expect, the lives of the gods and those tied to them are great fodder for the media. TV, films, comics, tabloids - they all regularly show gods and Scions doing great deeds. Primetime dramas about third-tier minor gods from all over the world air pretty frequently, and most superhero comics have religious undertones thanks to Scions and Incarnations eating a large chunk of the public's imagination about power fantasies. There's a small but steady community of people who pray to be chosen by the gods to become Scions. These 'myth-hunters' sometimes even chase down rumors for the chance to come face to face with the divine.

Fate's nature can also lead to some...strange effects in the world, which humanity understands by superstition - superstition that isn't totally false, thanks to the nature of legend and the power of names. Two soccer teams name themselves for the honor of rival gods. They war with each other constantly for the same position in the conference - by sheer coincidence, each time. A company about to go bankrupt is rebranded and renamed for Osiris or Xipe Totec, in a last-ditch effort to turn things around. But nothing is certain - sometimes, that renewal comes in a total reorg, layoff of the CEO and the executive board, or a hostile takeover. And sometimes it works - and brings a whole lot of new complications that vaguely resemble parts of the myths of the god. Everyone has learned, over the ceturies, that 'tempting fate' is real. It's just an accepted fact. People often trust fortune tellers, frequent lottery players all have their own rituals for success.

The World has far more religions than ours do, in their own way. People in our world may wear a gold cross - but in the World? Maybe it's a hammer amulet or a raven's claw. Yes, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio is still Christ - but signs of Zeus run through the city, too. It is in fashion for some soldiers to carve the Tiwaz rune into their rifles, to prevent jams. You listen to the weather reports on Caribbean radios and you hear drums behind the words sometimes. People just pay homage to the gods, as a matter of course. Celebrities often pick patron gods to follow for extra notoriety, and oaths of office often contain prayers to a local tutelary god. When the Phillies win the World Series, they sign hymns to Ogma and Nike. The San Francisco Giants have an actual, literal giant as their mascot, and the general manager claims they only hire players the giant thinks are worthy. (He refuses comment on whether the giant is just a very tall man in a taller costume.) The fine print in movie contracts usually include clauses to protect not just from copyright infringement but also from ffending the aes sidhe whose names or domains are similar to the film's contents.

Shrines and temples to the gods are all over the place, from ages past and present. Rune-shaped holes carved in a mountainside by an ancient Scion cult. Irish mausolea built as tiny replicas of the Teach Duinn tower. Wooden posts that never decay, along a path through a hidden bog, to guide spirits home safely. Every city has an altar to its patron deity, sometimes displayed prominently and sometimes hidden by secret signs. People rarely notice all these things until attention is drawn to them somehow. They're just...there, it's just normal. However, because the faiths of the gods never ended, they were never reconstructed or had the more objectionable parts removed. The pantheons often stand outside society on these matters, considering the modern shifts in philosophy and the value of life and freedom to be a passing fad or novelty, worth observing but not fully adopting. Where human standards and divine standards clash, Scions often lead the charge in rejecting objectionable traditions of the past. Mortal religions tend to move more slowly, without their leading the way, trying to more gradually influence the gods.

It is true that the "pagan" faiths tend to be more in the background, but again, not due to a conspiracy. For centuries, they were at the forefront, led by Scions who warred with each other for power and territory. Some gods didn't meddle so openly, some left the mortals largely alone...but that changed. It's hard to say exactly when, there's no real specific event to point to...but the gods abandoned direct rule. They never really left, though. Sure, they let new religions form and new ideologies grow and serve society, but they made sure their followers honored them in private, or in cults outside the control of states. Sometimes, the gods never called for a change in public religion, but in the attitude towards faith, urging people to take responsibility for themselves rather htan relying solely on the gods. That's the general thrust, anyway. Of course, there's still messy details. Yeah, the Pope and other monotheist leaders would really prefer if you didn't sacrifice to Aphrodite after attending services, but there's little they can do about it. This is just how things have always worked, regardless of doctrine. Sure, some people have nothing to do with politics or civic religion and just serve the gods, while others are purely monotheists or even atheists. That happens. (It may seem hard to believe, but consider that an atheist can believe the gods are powerful beings without being divine.)

'Cult' is the term the game uses for Scion-focused religions, and they don't mean it as a pejorative. Cults are no more likely than any other faith to produce bigots, fanatics or xenophobes. They're just very private, for the most part, and focused on smaller groups. They aren't really big organizations with diverse points of view. Rather, they are a small group of people who get together to belive osmething specific, with no real higher authority but the Scions or gods they revere. When they go bad, it's usually the fault of their Scion patrons or because the gods have ignored them and not corrected their course in a long while. It's rare, but that does happen. Or maybe they're a cult to a Titan. Hell, not all Titan cults are even malevolent. Some Titans aren't destructive, and some cults are meant to keep the Titans propitiated and safe. The fact that Titans rarely care about anyone begging not to be destroyed rarely figures into the theology. The more dangerous ones are the ones asking to be spared or to be destroyed last, as these groups are often quite ruthless - a viewpoint most Titans are more receptive to. Beyond their patron, the most important other fact about a cult is its purpose. Some cults care more about what they do than for whom, and that doesn't always offend the gods. Worship is worship, and if a purpose has virtue, it is worthy of support. The game provides a list (admittedly incomplete and inexact) of common cult types.

Covens are fairly rare and mistrusted, because they aren't really formed to worship the gods, but to exploit them. USually this involves some kind of traditional transaction or mythic loophole that grants influence over a Scion or a pantheon. Some pantheons embrace this idea of divine bribery or obedience to certain oaths, and others are merely forced to tolerate it. Coven members are generally either self-deluded or know some secret that gives the cult its advantages. Guilds are professional associations which honor specific gods or pantheons. Some guilds are ancient professions, while others have evolved with society - horses and carts to truckers, for example. A few gods even take new trades under their protection, so that software developers, jazz musicians or other modern groups hnor them. Some of these guilds control virtually all of their trades, while others serve a minority, but in either case, joining usually provides some professional advantages.

Family Traditions are frequently found in new immigrant communities, sparsely populated areas or other places with families that are isolated. They develop their own practices and pass them on. Some of these have grown quite large over the centuries, while others remain tiny. In rare cases, some gods even demand family cults, due to a lineage that has sworn service or is marked by Fate. Some are even descendants of their god. Historian cults are designed to live and worship their gods in the manner of some classic period, like ancient Mycenae or 700s Denmark. The most extreme of these live as natives of that time period constantly, and sometimes have otherworld realms set aside by the gods to help them do it, but most just want to revive the 'old ways'. They generally are small, mainly attracting those that enjoy the research.

Mystery Societies are those cults that reveal their true theology and purpose only in stges of initiation after proof of loyalty and spiritual preparedness. This is most common in worship of gods of knowledge, gods with bad reputations (such as a warrior society of Set masked as a social club of drunk frat boys) or cults of Titans, whose followers know it takes a long time to convince others. Reliquarians focus their worship on one or several sacred objects of some kind. IT can be any kind of relic, and these relics need not have any supernatural powers...though often these cults do have powerful, capital-R Relics. While they may lend these to Scions related to their figures of worship, they almost always expect these items back. This is, after all, a sacred rite, not done lightly.

Social Clubs almost treat the worship as secondary. They gather to do something they enjoy, dedicating their effort to a patron god. Some gods don't think this is very flatteirng, but those that are interested in the activity involved will usually accept recreation as worship. Some of these are similar to guilds, except that social clubs accept casual practice while guilds usually restrict themselves to professionals. Temples are dedicated structures housing communities of worship. Temple cults are the closest in form to monotheistic, public faiths in the way they are organized and worship, but even the largest temple cult usually prefers to avoid the public spotlight by comparison. Smaller temples will rent or share spaces, while large ones may have impressive structures or even restored sites of antiquity.

Next time: The Worlds Apart

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 04:42 on Jan 28, 2018

Emrikol
Sep 30, 2015


The name of the tome - The Whispering Fez - is a much more credible name for an occult artifact.

Really, I think the problem is the attempt to oversell the thing. You could do a lot worse than cursed headwear. It's just that "The Blood Red Fez" is approaching "The Evil Fez of Doom" in terms of reflexive silliness.

JackMann
Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.


Fallen Rib

Down With People posted:

Spooky fez is a bargain bin SCP Foundation entry, not something that can sustain a whole CoC scenario.

For your information, those are called Anomalous Items.

Otherkinsey Scale
Jul 17, 2012

Just a little bit of sunshine!


Down With People posted:

Having already acquired the Fez (or 'a' Fez, more on that later)

I'm picturing him sending out some minion, who then goes "boss wants a red fez, got it" and just buys one at a hat store.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20





Let's talk about Onyx Path's other original product. Sort of.

Sort of in the sense that it's sort of Onyx Path's. Pugmire is Eddy Webb's baby puppy, though Rich and Rose provided some help with the design.
So what is Pugmire? Well, it's a d20 game based on the 5e OGL, set on earth several centuries in the future. Humanity is long since dead, no one knows how or why. Most buildings have crumbled to dust and the roads have been reclaimed by forest. But we did leave behind inheritors. At some point before our downfall we uplifted several animals to sentience, some on purpose(dogs, cats, rats, pet lizards), others presumably by accident or contaminated runoff(I'm not sure who's bright idea it was to uplift Wolverines) But even though we left behind the gift of language and intelligence, we didn't leave behind a roadmap on how to run a functioning culture. So they've regressed/progressed to a roughly mid-1400's level of advancement. I say roughly because there's some things that are a little bit out of whack. (Dogs are able to mine and smelt plastic, and it's treated as their most valuable commodity).

Their culture, however, is a little more confused. As all of the uplifted animals have mythologized humans to an unhealthy degree. All dogs subscribe, in one form or another, to the Church of Man. The Church is based on half-remembered and distorted teachings of the first generation of dogs left behind by humanity. Truly mankind was divine if they lifted up dogs to stand at their side. And their chief commandment is to Be A Good Dog. Some are even able to cast miracles through the power of their belief(and an injection of a divine elixir that is almost certainly naonmachines). Others are able to unlock magic through their link with divine artifacts left behind by mankind.

Cats, on the other hand, think that we lifted them up, literally, onto pedestals so that it would be easier for us to worship them. But there is a bit of superstition to that as well, for if they stop acting like beings worthy of worship, they believe their intelligence and magics will fade away. Rats have their own issues.Their own very insane issues

Theme: Companionship as Salvation
The first Tenet of the Code of Man is "Be A Good Dog", but it doesn't really provide a strict definition of what it is to be "Good". In fact I'm pretty sure Three Panel Soul put it better than I ever could.

Good is subjective. A good dog can do bad things, a bad dog can do good things. They are only ever as good or bad as their peers judge them to be. So dogs strive to be good, to follow the code of man, to work together, and trust that everything will work out.

Mood: Mystery
At some point in our future, something of immense magnitude happened that removed mankind from earth. Did we leave for the stars? Did we shed our corporeal bodies? Did we die? The reason is unclear. All Dogs have to go on is what we left behind, and what we left behind is incomplete. This mystery is of central concern to many dogs and it leads to more questions. Some will never be answered, most lead to more questions. In the end, the Old Ones can't be understood by objective facts. The Humanity that Was is more akin go a pantheon of dead gods to the Dogs, and there's not much on which they can agree.
That isn't to say they haven't learned anything, they have, but it's incomplete and half-understood in ways that make sense to them, but are probably silly to us(The police officers wear blue vests because they're the Boys in Blue, and they have to wear blue) The characters take the knowledge seriously, some with scholarly skepticism, others with religious reverence.

Action: Exploration
There are the classic fantasy RPG-ish Things to do, rout monsters, rescue relics, right injustices, feed the needy, etc. But more than that they Explore. The dogs of Pugmire haven't seen much beyond the valley in which they've established themselves. They've only figured out how to make boats that can survive the Acid Sea within the past century, and most of that century was spent in War with the Monarchies of Mau.

The stated inspirations for Pugmire are basically what you'd expect. Mouse Guard, Redwall, Nimh, Watership Down, Gamma World, Thundarr the Barbarian. Perhaps most hilariously for Me is Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. AKA: The anime with the dogs that fight bears and do this.



The game spends some time going over the basics of D20, but I assume that you've been exposed to a D&D campaign at some point in your lifetimes.

The next chapter is a long in-character journal going over the backstory of the realm so that's where we'll pick up next time.

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RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

I feel that an evil piece of ethnic headwear is well within Lovecraft's wheelhouse and I wouldn't be surprised if it was ripped from the pages of his commonplace book.

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