More important than any rule about how much your Scion can lift or whether or not he shoots the bad guy is this rule: Have Fun. If you and your friends aren’t enjoying yourselves, something’s got to change. Maybe even how you play.
First, get familiar with the +roll command. It is very simple. Type +roll #, where # is the number of dice you want to roll. Each die goes from 1 to 10. Any die showing a 7, 8, 9 or 10 counts as a success. When you roll a single success, your character succeeds at a simple action. When you roll more, he does better, achieving further goals or succeeding with panache. In Scion, each 10 you roll actually counts twice, meaning that even an ordinary number of dice (three to five dice is human average in this game) can produce extraordinary results.
Some tasks are more difficult than others, however. To represent this fact, the Storyteller assigns a difficulty to every action a character attempts. Many will be difficulty 1, which means that you need to roll only one success for your character to get it right. Any action that calls for a dice roll but has no listed difficulty is difficulty 1.
Harder actions have higher difficulties. A difficulty 2 action requires that you garner two successes for your character to accomplish his goal—one success just won’t cut it. There is no limit to how high difficulties can go, but a difficulty 5 task is one of extraordinary difficulty, which even experienced Scions can have trouble doing.
Unfortunately, things remain pretty up in the air unless you know how many dice to roll, and “a handful” is a little too vague. First, figure out which Attribute governs your character’s action, and pick up a number of dice equal to the character’s dots in the Attribute.
- Strength: Use this for things that require sheer muscle. If it makes your character’s biceps ripple as he does it, use Strength.
- Dexterity: When your character has to be fast, nimble, flexible or physically accurate, use Dexterity.
- Stamina: If it deals with having a solid body, healthy immune system, strong lungs or anything else responsible for keeping you physically able and energized, use Stamina.
- Charisma: When your character is just being friendly, gosh-darn-it, and when he means everything he says, use Charisma.
- Manipulation: This is the other side of the coin. When your character’s lying, fast-talking, debating or otherwise playing someone else with his words, use Manipulation.
- Appearance: If your character’s using his looks to seem innocent, trustworthy, strong, confident, cowardly or brave - whether he is those things or not - use Appearance.
- Perception: When your character is trying to detect something, from noticing the assassin’s reflection to picking up a fugitive’s trail—almost anything that centers around one of the five senses, really—Perception is key.
- Intelligence: Here is a character’s mental brute force, used for any task in which pure brainpower is important. If it requires lots of thinking, use Intelligence.
- Wits: Anything that requires speed of thought is covered by Wits, so when reaction time or quick responses are important, instead of just fast muscle memory (Dexterity), use this.
Second, you decide which of the 24 Abilities is most relevant. There are too many of these to fit them all in this chapter, but they are, for the most part, divided well enough to make the decision easy. Use Marksmanship if your character is taking a ranged pot shot and Politics if the Mafia boss needs to understand where he stands with the other crime families.
Some Attribute/Ability pairs are more natural and come up more often than others. Perception goes naturally with Awareness, for example, because both are mostly about taking in your surroundings. Others are less common: How often do you need to have a high Strength to do well in using your Academics? Something could come up, of course, but it’s uncommon.
Third, since you know which Attribute and which Ability your character is using, you know how many dice to roll. Your character has a certain number of dots in the Attribute (every character has at least one). Your character might have dots in the Ability. Add the first and the second together. Those dice make up your dice pool for that action. That’s how many dice you roll with +roll to determine how well your character performs at this task.
Now, roll them bones. Count up the dice that show 7, 8 and 9, and count 10s twice (10s count as two successes). That’s how many successes you got for your character’s action. That’s the mechanics of playing Scion in a nutshell. Once you get the hang of that, move on to “Bonuses and Penalties” to learn what other factors affect the number of dice you roll, and “Success and Failure” to see what happens when things do or don’t go according to plan.
Rolling successes equal to or greater than a roll’s difficulty means the action succeeds. For most actions, this means one success; more when the difficulty is higher. When this happens, your character manages to do whatever he was trying to do: break down a door, pick the cultist’s pocket or anything else. Of course, there’s a gradation of success. A petty thief is nothing next to a Scion of Loki when it comes to picking pockets. Subtract the roll’s difficulty from the number of successes rolled: The result is called the success threshold (or just threshold). The higher the threshold of a roll is, the better a character does. Maybe you don’t just scoop a guy’s keys, you get his wallet and his lucky lighter too. Maybe you don’t just repair a pistol, you straighten out its aim and give it a temporary +1 Accuracy bonus.
In some cases, combat especially, threshold successes have well-defined meaning. When that is so, the rules will explain that meaning.
Sometimes, rolling a high threshold just means your character accomplished an action with a lot of style. If you’re trying to hit the center of a bull’s-eye with an arrow, a high threshold won’t make you somehow hit the center… more. In such cases, your character simply looks awesome while doing it—which is a benefit all its own.
Keep in mind, though, that difficulty is determined by the desired goal, while threshold represents the icing on the cake. If the aforementioned pickpocket is trying to steal a victim’s keys, wallet and lighter from the start, his player should roll against a greater difficulty instead of just going for the keys and hoping for lots of threshold successes. A player can’t say he wants the keys and then depend on getting a certain number of threshold successes to get everything else. The benefits a high threshold provides are up to the Storyteller on the spur of the moment, not a player’s gamesmanship.
This is a good place to mention that difficulty should, for the most part, be transparent to the players. Scion assumes that a character who’s about to climb a brick wall or tame a horse has a decent idea about how hard it is. For some rolls, such might not be the case. Stating the difficulty of rolls to discover information, for instance, can accidentally reveal too much about the nature of the information. Providing a high difficulty on many Perception-based rolls immediately tells the players that something is hidden for them to find.
Other times, the situation might not be clear to the character. The bricks in the wall the Scion wishes to climb might be old and the mortar crumbled, making the chance for a nasty fall that much higher, or the door he’s trying to force might actually be steel with only a wood veneer. In such cases, the difficulty might be much higher than the player suspects (i.e., the task might be harder than it looks).
When you garner fewer successes than the roll’s difficulty, the roll fails. Failure can (and should!) have interesting consequences.
Some actions have simple consequences. When trying to punch out a titanspawn, write a convincing letter or fix the television set, failure is pretty straightforward. The titanspawn remains standing, the letter convinces no one, or your character has to buy a new TV. Sometimes, the stakes are higher. Not being able to decipher the cultists’ secret cipher means the heroic Band has to guess at the cult’s plans. Failing to beguile and tease the secret password from the cult leader forces the heroes to find another way in.
Success moves the story along, but so should failure. There are many examples in fiction when the characters exhaust their options and find themselves forced to take undesirable or disadvantageous actions. Seeking to redress a failure can also introduce new characters and story options. For example, your character might take the cult cipher to a code expert, but is he trustworthy?
Even when they fail, characters can always try again, but their players face a +1 difficulty to the roll for every failure they’ve already suffered for that effort. If you can’t break a code, frustration or intimidation makes successive attempts more difficult.
Failure should rarely cause immediate and inescapable death. Having everything depend on the results of a single roll can be fun, but never when it’s arbitrary. A hero who is thrown from a cliff and gets one chance to save herself always makes it in the stories - not the case when dice rule the game. In combat, sure, every player knows there’s a chance that every swing will go poorly and the Storyteller’s dice will burn up the table, killing her beloved character. But when it comes out of nowhere, a single dice roll shouldn’t mean death. Even when the character is holding onto a chain above the lava that will incinerate him instantly, failing the (Stamina + Athletics) roll to hang on shouldn’t kill him. Maybe he loses his grip and slides several feet down the chain, encouraging him to spend some of his precious Willpower or Legend on the next roll.
Botches are another matter. A botch is when the roll has no successes (counting automatic successes from any source) and at least one die shows a 1. Rolling a botch indicates that nothing went according to plan, everything went wrong or the worst possible thing happened. Botching a battle plan suggests that the character’s unit will be massacred, while botching a television repair roll might ruin the picture quality or give the character a shock.
Botches have a limited amount of script alteration power. Since they usually mean that things go poorly for the character, botches invite the Storyteller to change the scene a bit against the heroes’ favor. Perhaps they timed the infiltration just right, but it’s their bad luck that a guard really has to pee right now. Or, whoops, the restaurant you and the titanspawn are trashing has a SWAT commander’s retirement party in the back room.
This book mentions specific actions throughout and sometimes gives you a specific combination of Attribute and Ability to roll. The text references specific dice pools by writing (Attribute + Ability) in that format. You won’t always need to roll this number of dice, however. Sometimes you use the number to figure something out but don’t have to pick up the dice. When you don’t need to roll a listed (Attribute + Ability), the total is called a static value.
Something to keep in mind when rolling dice is that the Abilities are fairly abstract. They indicate a person’s complete experience with a discipline. A character’s Control score suggests experience with vehicles or horses, not just the ability to guide them skillfully. For this reason, odd combinations of skills can sometimes make sense.
Carrying a great deal of anything is almost always a (Strength + Athletics) roll, or even an unrolled action for some characters. On the other hand, Alvin the librarian might not have any dots in Athletics, but he has a great deal of experience carrying books. Therefore, when he has to carry 17 ancient tomes out of an Egyptian pyramid, he knows how best to pile up all the books so they don’t fall. His player substitutes Academics for Athletics, in this case. As in most things, the Storyteller is the final arbiter of whether or not a particular use of an Ability is valid, but he is encouraged to be flexible.
Being able to substitute one Ability for another doesn’t mean the first Ability isn’t valid or is less useful. The librarian can carry one small category of items; the bodybuilder can carry anything.
There’s more to a dice roll than a character’s (Attribute + Ability) combination and the difficulty. Bonus dice represent some advantage that the character uses to make it easier to succeed, and dice penalties represent something that hinders the character by reducing his capabilities. Some advantages are so great that they manifest as bonus successes. The most common sources of bonus successes are Willpower expenditure and Epic Attributes.
Add bonus dice for any circumstances or helpful tools that aid your character. A fine-tuned pistol adds one or two dice for high accuracy, a cool breeze or drizzle adds one die to a long-distance running attempt, and a convenient Dumpster adds one or two dice to concealment. The Storyteller is usually the adjudicator of these bonuses. Bonuses from tools and circumstances should not exceed dice. Circumstance is helpful, but raw potential and skill rule the day. (Note: Magic sources of extra dice may exceed this limit.)
Apply dice penalties when something trips the character up. That sword’s really poorly balanced (not like the one Ares gave you), so it subtracts a couple of dice from the attack. After hiding in the Dumpster you really stink, taking a couple dice away from your attempt to blend in at the fancy soirée. Wound and fatigue penalties are common sources of dice penalties.
In most cases, you apply a dice bonus or penalty when a condition affects the character instead of the situation. Likewise, if a condition affects the situation instead of the character, that condition should affect the difficulty of the action. When a character attempts a task that requires an Ability in which he has no dots, however, he suffers a +2 difficulty penalty rather than losing dice from his already small dice pool.
Teamwork can apply a bonus to your character’s roll when he has people backing him up on his action.
Legend provides significant bonuses to actions. For each dot a character has in Legend, the player may add that many bonus successes to that many rolled actions in a single story. Players may also spend Legend points to reroll a single failed roll, even a botch.
Stunts grant a special sort of bonus. You earn this bonus when you describe your character’s action in a fun and engaging way. The Storyteller might award this bonus because your daughter of Athena just did something right out of a Jackie Chan picture or because your description grabbed everyone’s attention.
These are most of the dice modifiers you’ll encounter in Scion. Dice bonuses (and penalties) from tools and circumstances, stunts and Willpower all stack with each other (which can make for some enormous dice pools) to provide the final number of dice you roll to see if your character succeeds.
Not every roll is a number of dice against a flat difficulty, one shot, winner takes all.
Contested Rolls: Some actions your character chooses to take might be directly contested by another character, either another player’s or the Storyteller’s. This is the case when both characters are working against each other or in direct competition with each other. In this case, the player of each character rolls an appropriate number of dice and compares successes. Whoever gets more successes also gets his way.
In the event of a tie, the characters actually tie (they draw in chess or both cross the finish line at the same time). Some conflicts have no “tie,” though: The spy and secretary cannot both win! You have a couple of options. You can simply “roll off,” with both players rolling one die simultaneously until one gets a success (and that one wins). Or you can decide that neither person wins, but neither person loses. The spy realizes he can’t get past the secretary’s eagle eyes, but she doesn’t spot him. The Scion’s answer to the riddle doesn’t quite satisfy the God, but it’s too good for the God to just smite the bastard. Characters may try again, or a tie can lead to a new event in its own right.
Not all participants in a contested roll are equal. Some people might be at a disadvantage for these competitions, which manifests as dice penalties or increased difficulties, as appropriate. A marathon runner who insists on drinking and whoring all night before the run will lose a few dice. If the corporate spy also has to contend with lasers, heat sensors and other high-tech intrusion detection equipment, her player’s roll is going to be a higher difficulty than the secretary’s.
Contested rolls are not restricted to two characters. There are thousands of competitors in some city’s big marathons, some wiseass invented three- and four-player chess (not to mention other multi-player board or video games), and a spy might have to sneak past multiple people at once—giving them all (Perception + Awareness) rolls.
Extended Rolls: Every action can be represented with a single, instant roll, but not every action should be. For instance, when you want to know exactly how long a long-term task takes, such as fixing a school bus so you can tour the country fighting monsters and playing gigs. This is the sort of thing you can approximate with a single dice roll by giving an approximate time frame and letting threshold successes speed it up (or letting the player increase the difficulty for faster results), but sometimes, it helps to be more accurate.
You can also use an extended roll when it is dramatically appropriate for a task to be interruptible, to have partial successes or to go on in the background relative to other events. For example, researching a mysterious God’s history might allow a player to roll once per night that his character spends reading ancient tomes. Making this research an extended roll can allow titanspawn to burst in and destroy the library just as the Scion’s getting close, thus creating the opportunity for partial answers that cause the characters to jump to conclusions or provide the backdrop for the adventures that go on during the day by revealing more information as more events happen outside the library.
Every extended roll also has a cumulative difficulty and a roll interval. Cumulative difficulty is the total number of successes the character must accumulate in order to finish the task satisfactorily. The roll interval is how much time passes between individual rolls, assuming the character is using that time to put effort toward the final result. Just like a normal roll, each individual roll of an extended action has a difficulty, usually 1. On each roll, the player earns one success for beating the difficulty (regardless of what the difficulty is), and one extra success per threshold the individual roll achieves. That is, if the action has a difficulty of 3 per roll interval and the player rolls five successes, he puts one success toward the cumulative difficulty for beating the difficulty of 3, then adds two more for getting a threshold of two. Botching during an extended roll ends the entire attempt in failure, usually disastrously.
If you want to cut down the roll interval for whatever reason but don’t want to make the task too easy or over too quickly, just increase the required cumulative difficulty. Halve the roll interval, double the cumulative successes.
Always remember this about extended rolls: Without a time limit, a character can almost always eventually succeed. If this freedom is inappropriate for a given action, the Storyteller may limit the number of roll intervals before a character must achieve success. Still, this restriction is hardly required. With enough time and effort, a person can accomplish almost anything humanly possible. Scions typically need less of both.
Contested and Extended Rolls: For some rolls, the result depends not just on how fast the character works, but also on who happens to do better. When the German polizei are chasing a car full of Scions down the busy streets of Berlin, or when a hacker and sysop are struggling for control of a bank’s computer, the Storyteller might call for a contested and extended roll.
Keep in mind that these actions are not just races to a set finish line. You can represent them with two separate (i.e., not contested) extended rolls to see who finishes building the death ray first. Rolls that are both contested and extended happen when one character needs to get a certain lead on the other character in order to succeed.
Players of involved characters roll their dice. Just like in normal contested rolls, different characters might have to contend with different difficulties. For example, a cop chasing a thug through unfamiliar territory has a higher difficulty than the perp, who’s on his home turf. Just like in normal extended rolls, both players roll their dice pools at the same roll intervals and accumulate successes as written.
Here’s the difference from a normal extended roll: These rolls are open-ended. It usually doesn’t matter who reaches 20 successes first—it matters who gets a certain number of successes above the other guy first. This is called competitive difficulty. With a competitive difficulty of, say, five, whoever gets five successes above the other person wins. For foot races and car chases, this value might stem from the starting distance between competitors or the lead space necessary to completely lose the guy.
Contested and extended rolls can represent a whole mess of situations, so feel free to tweak them to better fit yours. When your Scion is chasing a Titan cultist, the prey might be home free when he reaches the cult’s compound and the gates close behind him. In that or similar cases, you might say that four successes over the other party achieves victory, but that the cultist has a cumulative difficulty of 20 successes to reach the compound and safety. When there’s a stricter time limit - say, a hacker has 30 minutes before he’s locked out of the system - you can set a limit in roll intervals (a maximum of six five-minute roll intervals) for the hacker to overcome his opposition.
These contests don’t always need to be equal, either. When the two parties in a downtown car chase start out one car length apart, the pursuer might need only two successes above the prey to catch up, while the pursuer needs more to get away. If they start farther apart, the situation might reverse: The lead driver needs only two or three successes above his pursuer to disappear into traffic.
Placing different competitive difficulties on the two parties isn’t the same as giving their actions different (regular) difficulties. The first represents the lead necessary for either group to achieve an objective, the second represents how hard it is. To ground the difference in an example, bring back up a car chase. The two cars might be only half a block apart on a town street without much cover (giving the lead car higher competitive difficulty), but if the pursuer is in a cluster of traffic that the lead car avoided, that driver suffers a higher normal difficulty.
It’s possible to have more than two competitors. There have been some fantastic multi-car chases in cinema, for example. One player’s character is being chased by another’s who is also being chased by someone else entirely, or two people are both chasing the same person, and so on. Everyone involved still rolls only a single dice pool per roll interval; each player compares his running total to every other player with whom he is directly competing.
Sometimes, a given action is so far beneath a character’s competence that there’s no reason to roll the dice. As a general rule, a player with seven dice to roll (bonuses included) automatically succeeds at a standard difficulty roll. Increasing the difficulty by one increases the number of dice necessary for an automatic success by three (difficulty 2 requires 10 dice, difficulty 3 requires 13, et cetera). Automatic successes have success thresholds of zero.
Don’t use the rules for automatic success when a character is under significant strain. Combat is certainly one such time, as is any time the character is willing to spend Willpower. Don’t use automatic success in contested rolls; even difficulty 1 rolls have to contend with the opponent’s successes. Extended rolls can benefit from automatic successes, but they will take a while without any threshold successes.
Use your discretion for automatic success. Sometimes, it’s dramatically interesting how well a character performs a certain action, and in those cases, you want to roll the dice. Players may also opt out of automatic success, and are likely to when hoping for bountiful success thresholds.
Add sources of bonus successes after applying the automatic success rule. Some Scions are so adept that they can treat an action as negligibly difficult and still absolutely rock it.
Some actions require time or effort but do not actually have a chance for failure. Any action performed with the automatic success rules counts as a diceless action. So do other actions that characters can perform but never require a roll to do, including drawing weapons, getting up (assuming the character just fell down), tying one’s shoes or driving in normal circumstances. You’ll no doubt think of others.
Other actions are very quick or require no conscious effort on the part of the character but still require a dice roll. These are called reflexive actions. Reflexive actions are rarely voluntary. Usually, the Storyteller tells a player when to roll a reflexive action for her character. Making a (Perception + Awareness) roll for a character to notice the shinobi’s sneak attack in time to dodge it is reflexive, assuming you don’t declare that your character is very carefully looking around. When a Scion’s body fights off the effects of a disease or drug, that’s a reflexive (Stamina + Fortitude) roll.
Characters may attempt to do multiple things at once. Driving and shooting, helping a friend off the ledge while fencing, and researching two different things at once are just a few examples. Here’s how this works.
In effect, the character is doing two things as a single action. But a player can make only one dice roll at one time. So, doing multiple things comes in two flavors. Performing a diceless action while performing a normal action is relatively easy: A character may drive, as long as she doesn’t pull any fancy or emergency moves, while also doing the crossword (you’ve seen them) or firing a submachine gun at the cops. Or a hero can draw a sword and attack with it in one smooth motion.
Performing a diceless action with a normal action inflicts a -2 dice penalty on the normal action. (An action that benefits from the automatic success rule can be considered a diceless action for this purpose.) The other flavor is combining two normally rolled actions into one. A character may fire two guns at two targets, or swing a sword while running across a tightrope, or throw a shuriken while hacking a database. Performing two actions simultaneously requires only a single dice roll at a -4 penalty. If the two actions use the same dice pool, just apply the -4 dice penalty and roll once. The number of successes applies in full to both tasks. When the actions use different dice pools, though, you must roll the smaller one at the -4 penalty.
This is the term for actions that take longer than just a few moments to perform. Combat is full of instant actions. So is everyday life, really, but who wants to roll for getting out the pan, cracking open the eggs and every few moments of watching them to make sure the yolk doesn’t get too hard? Thence come dramatic actions, which are really just dice rolls that represent a period of time longer than a few seconds. One roll to make breakfast is a dramatic action, as is one roll to search a room or a roll to process forensic evidence. Extended rolls are almost always dramatic actions.
Two heads are better than one, so clearly, two characters should add more dice, right? Pretty much. There are two kinds of teamwork in Scion, full teamwork and limited teamwork. When more than one person lends a hand without redundancy, as many people as can do so roll the appropriate dice pools and add up the successes. That is full teamwork.
Examples: Hauling or lifting something heavy, as long as there’s a way for everyone to exert force; changing all a car’s tires really fast; building a house.
Limited teamwork is when not everyone can be effective at the same time. Usually, there has to be a primary operator and assistants. In most cases, the primary operator will be the person with the highest dice pool. This arrangement is most advantageous, but it might not always be the case (for whatever reason). Roll the primary operator’s dice pool and add one bonus die for every assistant. There may be a limit to the number of assistants a character can have before they become redundant, which limits the number of bonus dice from teamwork.
Examples: Surgery, with one doctor and many aides; research, unless there are enough duplicate books for everyone; building a computer.
Like normal bonuses, stunt bonuses range from one to three dice. The Storyteller adjudicates the value of a stunt. The most basic stunt adds a bit of color to the game, filling out the scene for everyone at the table in a fun way. Doing so adds one die to the dice pool. A one-die stunt also broadens the definition of what is possible just a little bit. The cooler you look, the better you are.
Two-die stunts have a solid benchmark: Not only do they have to have an engaging and fun description, but they should also interact with the setting in a relevant way. This can be a fun use of the physical scenery or the utilization of setting or character details to bring everyone deeper into the game.
As a general rule, players should have freedom to manipulate or utilize the environment as a part of their stunts. While many Storytellers have the urge to make players roll for the more acrobatic stunts they describe, doing so only serves to slow down the game and discourage stunts (especially if the extra roll fails and the “stunt” doesn’t work).
Here’s the rule of thumb: If it has no mechanical benefit, it doesn’t require a roll. Running up the wall to flip over someone is something that might need a roll normally, but it’s part and parcel for a kung-fu battle. If causing the entire roof to cave in and crush a clutch of titanspawn is an incidental part of the stunt, however, maybe it should be a separate action instead.
Three-die stunts are indefinable. There’s only this guideline: If everyone at the table sits up and says, “Wow,” that’s a three-die stunt. These stunts are the ones that are such spectacular ideas or such perfect descriptions that everyone thinks they’re awesome.
Or at least the Storyteller does.
After earning dice for a stunt, players may choose one of the following benefits to the character:
- Regain a number of Legend points for his character equal to the dice value of the stunt.
- (Two- and three-die stunts only) Regain a point of Willpower.
- (Two- and three-die stunts only) When the stunt resonates with a character’s Virtue, regain one channel of that Virtue.
- (Three-die stunts only) When the stunt fits a character’s Nature particularly well, or in games where three-die stunts are particularly rare, earn one experience point.
For values that are unrolled, such as (Strength + Athletics) for feats of strength, stunt dice add directly to those values without being rolled.
Willpower allows characters to exceed their normal limitations by focusing all their effort on a particular action. Players spend Willpower points on character actions in one of two ways: First, they may purchase an automatic success. Doing so prevents the character from botching and increases by one the number of successes the player rolls.
Second, players may spend Willpower points to channel their characters’ Virtues. Spending one point of Willpower allows the character to add a number of dice equal to the chosen Virtue to a dice roll. Players may choose this option only when the action affected by the dice roll resonates with a given Virtue. A character cannot channel Intellect to slaughter an enemy or Vengeance to perform successful surgery. In general, anyway—certainly not without a great reason.
A character may not channel a Virtue more times in a single story than he has dots in the Virtue, though stunts that strongly reflect that Virtue for a character can help refill this pool.
Only one point of Willpower can be spent on a single roll, either to purchase a single success or to channel a Virtue. These are most of the dice modifiers you’ll encounter in Scion. Dice bonuses (and penalties) from tools and circumstances, stunts and Willpower all stack with each other (which can make for some enormous dice pools) to provide the final number of dice you roll to see if your character succeeds.
When you’re sitting down playing, you might take an hour to cover the minutiae of a nail-biting combat, but you’ll probably skip through the scene when the characters go shopping (unless something interesting happens). Since game time is different from real time, and to make some rules work, some terms must separate the two.
Tick: About one second of in-game time, this little sliver of time is necessary only when resolving combat. One tick is the discrete moment in which a character acts. Ticks get a lot more attention on the Combat page. (Even smaller than a tick, an instant, is the moment in which dice rolls are resolved. An instant isn’t so much a measure of in-game time as it is a pause of in-game time that characters never notice. Multiple instants can occur in a single tick of combat—one per dice roll—but instants also occur in slower-paced scenes. When a player makes the roll to determine if her character finds any clues at a crime scene, doing so represents an instant.)
Action: An action is the variable length of time between when a character performs some task (usually associated with a dice roll) and when she gets to act again. Actions are important only when fine divisions are necessary, so they get a lot more attention on the Combat page. In combat, it takes a single tick to perform an action, after which a certain number of ticks of game time must pass before the character can act again. The time from when a character begins to act and when he can begin to act again is one action.
Scene: A period of game time characterized by a common theme or a single important event. One long night spent club-hopping with friends and rivals could be a single scene, even though the game’s focus cuts between characters and might skip hours at a time. One combat is usually one scene.
It’s not too hard to use the descriptions of the Attributes and Abilities above to figure out what you need to roll when. Still, here are some guidelines for how to use them and for things not yet covered.
Walking and running normally don’t require dice rolls. The exact distance he can cover while moving normally or dashing all-out is based on Dexterity. (Dots of Epic Dexterity affect this speed as well.) If obstacles (such as hurdles or crowds of people) or adverse conditions (such as ice or tornado winds) make crossing an open space especially difficult, however, a roll (Dexterity + Athletics) might be called for. If the roll succeeds, the character covers the full distance to which he is normally entitled. If the roll fails, he can move only half that distance, at most. If the roll botches, he trips and falls prone.
Any Scion can jump (Strength + Athletics) yards vertically or twice that horizontally, which requires no roll. Remember that bonus dice and successes (from stunts or other sources) increase the character’s (Strength + Athletics) for determining jumping distance. Characters without a Legend rating use the same value, but count jumping distance in feet instead of yards.
Climbing is also a form of movement. When a character ascends, descends or moves left or right along a vertical surface, his player rolls (Dexterity + Athletics). If this roll succeeds, the character can cover half the distance that he could cover on the ground in a normal Move action. Failure on the (Dexterity + Athletics) roll means the character makes no progress at all. A character whose player botches a climb roll is likely to fall. While climbing, a character cannot engage in multiple actions.
If a character has at least one dot of Athletics, he can swim. Swimming in calm water requires no dice rolls, and the character covers half the distance he can cover in a normal Move action. To swim in rough water or adverse conditions, the Scion’s player rolls (Dexterity + Athletics). If the roll succeeds, the character covers half the distance of a normal Move action. If the roll fails, the character makes no progress. If the player botches the roll, the character suffers one level of unsoakable bashing damage as he goes under briefly, choking on water.
When a character swims, climbs, runs or even walks for a long time over a long distance she is considered tobe performing a “fatiguing activity.”
Falling hurts. A character who falls onto something not designed to catch him safely suffers a number of levels of bashing damage equal to half the yards the character fell. This damage has the Piercing quality. Damage from falling caps out at 25 levels, thanks to terminal velocity. Some surfaces, such as pits full of spikes, are particularly dangerous and inflict lethal damage; other surfaces are particularly yielding and halve the normal damage value (after taking the maximum damage into account). Falling damage can be soaked normally.
Sometimes, players may make rolls to reduce falling damage. (Dexterity + Athletics) represents a character’s ability to “roll with it,” if that’s possible. Each success reduces the damage by one level.
Lifting and Breaking
Also called “feats of strength,” this is what Scions can lift or break with a diceless action. That is, the player does not need to roll, just compare (Strength + Athletics) to the chart. Breaking something in this way is a dramatic action that takes a couple of minutes as the character tears the object apart. Breaking things in a single blow requires an attack. Remember that bonus dice and successes (from stunts or other sources) increase the character’s (Strength + Athletics) for determining feats of strength. In addition, Epic Strength allows for much greater feats than those described here.
Characters who do not have a Legend score have a more difficult time lifting huge objects or breaking strong things. Their players must roll (Strength + Athletics) and compare the number of successes to the chart.
|Feats of Strength|
|(Str. + Ath.) total||Lift (lbs.)||Sample Feat|
|1||40||Lift two microwaves, rip tough plastic|
|2||80||Lift a grown man, kick through a wooden plank|
|3||220||Punch through a wooden door|
|4||350||Lift a refrigerator, bend an iron bar|
|5||450||Lift a calf, lift a motorcycle or kick a wooden door to flinders|
|6||550||Punch through a reinforced wooden door|
|7||650||Snap an iron bar over one knee|
|8||800||Lift a light horse, rip a chain-link fence apart|
|9||1,000||Pull a car in neutral by yourself as fast as you can run|
|10||1,200||Lift a heavy horse or full-grown cow|
|11||1,400||Pull a car with the parking brake on, knock down a brick wall with repeated blows|
|12||1,600||Kick a reinforced wooden door to pieces, rip a fence from the ground, rip iron bars out of the wall|
|13||1,800||Lift ten adults (or five sumos), punch through a metal door|
|14||2,000||Break out of handcuffs, knock down supporting walls through sheer strength|
|15||2,200||Punch through a stone wall, kick a metal door to pieces|
|16||2,500||Lift an average car, kick nearly any door open|
|17||3,000||Punch through a metal door, pull down walls|
|18||3,500||Flip an SUV, hold a muscle car in place while the engine revs|
|19||4,000||Tear steel with your bare hands|
|20||4,500||Knock semis over with a well-placed shove|
|21+||+500 per||Incredible things—do your best to extrapolate!|
Even Scions need air, water, food and sleep, in order of diminishing importance. So what happens when your character goes without?
Going without sleep, a character suffers a one-die penalty to all actions for each full night’s rest she misses after the first. This penalty caps out at three dice. When a sleep-deprived character is not active, her player must roll (Stamina + Fortitude) to refrain from conking out. The difficulty of this roll increases by one every three days. After sleeping for a full eight hours, all penalties fade.
A character can go without food for a number of days equal to ([Stamina + Fortitude] ÷ 2) without penalty. For every day that passes without food after that, the character suffers a cumulative one-die penalty to all actions. When the total penalty exceeds the character’s (Stamina + Fortitude), he dies of hunger. A character can last just over ([Stamina + Fortitude] x 1.5) days without food. If a character has something but not enough to eat, double all durations. One full day of normal nourishment reduces the total penalty by one, so it can take some time to return to full health.
Dehydration is a quick killer. For each day a character goes without water after the first, she suffers a -1 penalty to all dice pools. When this penalty is greater than her (Stamina + Fortitude), she dies. Each day of drinking proper fluids reduces this penalty by two until she returns to full health.
Without air, you die faster than without water. Characters can hold their breaths for ([Stamina + Fortitude] x 30) seconds. Reduce this static value by one to three when circumstances make things difficult - if a character tries to tear open a rusted ship, if the water is ice cold or if an oni punches him in the belly. A character who passes his limit suffers one level of unsoakable bashing damage for every 30 seconds, which cannot heal until the character can safely breathe again. Afterward, it heals as normal.
Just in case it comes up in your games, pregnancy can also impair characters physically. A pregnant character suffers a two-die penalty to physical actions in the second trimester and a four-die penalty to such actions in the third trimester. Reduce this penalty by one for every automatic success the character receives from Epic Stamina.
Remember that bonus dice and successes can increase these static values.
A character can perform strenuous exertion for ([Stamina + Fortitude] ÷ 2) hours without rest before she begins to suffer penalties from fatigue. Example activities include running, fighting, frantic searching, high-impact sex or any other athletic activity. For every two hours the character works beyond the normal limit, she suffers a -1 cumulative dice penalty. One hour of rest reduces the penalty by one, and a half hour of rest before any penalty kicks in resets the timer. Once a character accumulates a fatigue penalty that’s higher than her (Stamina + Fortitude), she passes out for at least one hour (at which point her penalty drops by one).
Some environments, especially extreme hot or cold ones, can penalize the relevant static value. This rarely imposes a dice penalty of more than -3.
Resisting Disease/Poison/Dangerous Environments
These all fall under (Stamina + Fortitude), though each has its own subsystem.
Diseases have five qualities: Virulence, Incubation Period, Untreated Morbidity, Treated Morbidity and Difficulty to Treat. When a character is exposed to the disease, his player reflexively rolls (Stamina + Fortitude) at a difficulty equal to the disease’s Virulence. If this roll fails, the character then has the Incubation Period - which might be as much as a couple weeks or as little as
several hours - before the disease is really dangerous to him. He often develops symptoms much sooner.
If the character goes without treatment, his player reflexively rolls (Stamina + Fortitude) at a difficulty equal to the Untreated Morbidity. Assuming the character has successful treatment, the roll’s difficulty is instead set by the Treated Morbidity. Treating an ill character requires an (Intelligence + Medicine) roll with a difficulty determined by, surprise, its Difficulty to
Treat. A character must correctly diagnose the disease in order to treat it. Once the Incubation Period is up, the Difficulty to Treat increases by two.
Failure on any morbidity roll kills mortals, at a speed and comfort level that varies by disease. Scions suffer only a -2 penalty to all actions due to weakness, but their players get to roll again each day to throw off the disease.
Poisons have four qualities: Tolerance, Damage, Toxicity and Impairment. To suffer the effects of a poison, a character must consume the poison, inhale it, have it injected into the bloodstream or otherwise appropriately absorb the poison. A poison’s Tolerance represents how many doses of the substance a character can have in her system before it begins to deleteriously affect her. (The Storyteller decides how much of a poison constitutes a given dose.) Most deadly poisons have no Tolerance rating, so a single dose is enough to affect a character. If a Tolerance is listed, it’s written in terms of the affected character’s traits as a static value. Using arsenic as an example, its Tolerance is listed as (Stamina) on the “Sample Poisons” chart. That means that a character can have a number of doses of arsenic less than or equal to his Stamina in his system before he begins to suffer the poison’s effects. No matter how high his Stamina is, however, one dose of Jörmungandr’s venom is enough to affect him.
Damage has two values, written as “(injurious potential)/(duration).” The first value describes how much damage a single dose of the poison has the potential to inflict, and the second tells you how often the poison inflicts a single die or level of that damage. Each time a poison inflicts damage, its current Damage rating drops by one. When a poison reaches zero Damage, the character’s system is clear of it. A poison with a Damage of 5B/minute inflicts one die of bashing damage when it first enters the character’s system and one more every minute until it has inflicted a total of five dice of damage. Multiple doses of the same poison add their Damage values, so two doses of that poison would be 10B/minute. Some poisons have special Damage effects, ranging from paralysis to unconsciousness to vomiting or others.
Each time a character suffers damage from a poison, his player reflexively rolls (Stamina + Fortitude) at a difficulty equal to the poison’s Toxicity. Success on this roll reduces the effect of the poison: First, poisons that inflict levels of damage become dice of damage. (When a poison’s Toxicity has an “L” after the number, the poison inflicts levels of damage.) When that is not a concern, aggravated damage becomes lethal damage, lethal damage becomes bashing damage or bashing damage inflicts no damage at all. This is the only way to reduce damage from poison, because it cannot be soaked. Every amount of threshold successes on this roll equal to the poison’s Toxicity reduces the damage by yet another step.
Example: Succeeding on the (Stamina + Fortitude) roll against a single dose of Jörmungandr’s venom would change the nature of the damage from automatic levels to dice. Succeeding on the roll with 10 successes (five to beat the high difficulty, and another five to equal the Toxicity) would not only change the nature of the damage but also reduce it from aggravated damage to lethal. Succeeding on this same roll with 15 successes (beating the high difficulty and getting a threshold that doubles the Toxicity rating) would reduce an automatic 10 levels of aggravated damage to 10 dice of bashing damage.
As long as a character is under the effect of more doses of the poison than he has dots in the static value listed for the poison’s Tolerance, he suffers a dice penalty equal to the poison’s Impairment due to ill feelings, hallucinations or other causes. If the difference between the number of doses and the character’s appropriate static value is greater than the poison’s Impairment, the character suffers a dice penalty equal to the larger number. The only dice pool this penalty does not affect is the (Stamina + Fortitude) roll to resist the poison’s effects.
|Alcohol||(Stamina + Fortitude)||2B/hour||2||-1|
Dangerous environmental effects function much like poison, but only have two qualities: Damage and Trauma. An environmental effect’s Damage is the same as that for poison with only two differences: All the damage is applied at each interval, and it continues as long as the character remains in the damaging environment. A Damage of 5L/action inflicts five dice of lethal damage on each of the character’s actions. Remember that even taking a Guard action or being Inactive, which is as close as one comes to taking no action at all, triggers this damage. Trauma is the equivalent of Toxicity. It is the difficulty on the (Stamina + Fortitude) roll to reduce damage to nothing. Unlike poisons, environmental effects can be soaked (although they ignore armor).
|Sample Environmental Effects|
|Blistering Heat/Numbing Cold||1B/hour||1|
|Titan’s Withering Howl||6A/action||5L|
Driving and Pursuit
Characters with no dots in Control trigger a roll for nearly every action when piloting a car or creature under duress. Otherwise, only extreme maneuvers require rolls, from the bootlegger’s reverse to jumping a pool of sharks. Bad road conditions, such as crappy weather or oil slicks, can increase the difficulty of a roll, while damage to the vehicle inflicts dice penalties.
Racing is a straightforward contested roll between drivers. Actual pursuit is an extended, contested roll between drivers. The farther ahead the lead car is, the lower that character’s competitive difficulty is and the greater the chaser’s competitive difficulty is. Competitive difficulties generally range from 3 at the low end to 8 or 9 at the high end.
Working the Crowd
The core Attributes and Abilities for enforcing your character’s will on others are Charisma, Manipulation, Command, Empathy and Presence. Which one a player ends up rolling depends on the character’s methods.
You don’t always need to get the dice out for persuasion attempts. When the player is having a good time interacting with a Storyteller character, whether or not the target is being convinced, everything is fine. But the time will come that a player wants to convince a Storyteller character who seems intractable. That’s when you pick up the dice, representing a concerted (and mechanically backed) effort to elicit a specific response from someone.
Players of characters targeted by such tactics contest with a roll of (Willpower + Integrity + Legend). Rolling more successes than the target’s player elicits the desired action from the target, successfully convincing the target of something or tricking the target into taking an action. Players’ characters and important Storyteller characters may spend a point of Willpower to ignore what feels like their better judgment and not perform the action; they then become immune to that argument or impulse for the rest of the scene. When rolling against multiple targets (with Command, for example), roll against the target with the highest (Willpower + Integrity + Legend) total. If affected, all targets must spend Willpower to resist or take the action. (Note: Only important characters have this option.)
With several minutes of interaction or examination, a character can attempt to determine the truth of a subject’s façade. The player rolls (Perception + [Investigation or Empathy]), and the target’s player contests with (Manipulation + Empathy). Not everyone tries to hide their thoughts, however. When targeting someone who’s being frank, the roll is not contested. Success on this roll allows a character to discern how the character is feeling about the current events and some notions about relationships between people. The character can also detect lies.
Controlling computers that aren’t yours when someone else doesn’t want you to requires an
(Intelligence + Science) roll, or occasionally a (Wits + Science) roll. The difficulty is usually determined by the sophistication of the target system’s security software. When actual people are on the other end actively protecting a system, the roll becomes contested.
Diagnosing a patient requires a (Perception + Medicine) roll at a difficulty determined by the affliction’s rarity. Truly perplexing cases may use (Intelligence + Medicine). Success on such a roll tells the character what diseases or poisons might be affecting the target, as well as how many health levels (and of what type) the target currently suffers. Without a diagnosis, a character cannot treat any affliction.
Treating wounds with surgery (removing bullets, setting bones and the like) is a (Dexterity + Medicine) roll at a difficulty equal to the levels of damage inflicted with a given wound. If a gunshot inflicts three lethal wounds, the roll to remove the bullet and aid the healing is difficulty 3.
The ability of a doctor to treat poisons and diseases varies widely. Some poisons, especially the strange ones a Scion might encounter, have absolutely no antidotes, and some diseases must be allowed to run their course. Still, modern medicine has a way to deal with almost anything. Diseases have a Treated Morbidity to make them easier for a patient to survive. Poisons have no such value and often cannot be treated. When they can be treated through antivenin and such, the difficulty to treat them is equal to their Impairment. Successful treatment reduces the nature of the poison’s Damage by the success threshold plus one.
While tracking people down in a city requires contacts and lots of footwork, following a physical trail left by someone requires a sharp eye and a lot of experience. Doing so takes a (Perception + Survival) roll at standard difficulty. One roll can put a character on the right track, but long-term tracking is an extended roll, where the distance to reach the target sets the cumulative difficulty. When the prey tries to cover up her trail, this act becomes contested and her player rolls (Wits + Survival) in opposition. The pursuer’s competitive difficulty is determined by the distance to the quarry, and the prey’s competitive difficulty is determined by the lead necessary to completely lose the hunter.
Sometimes, and for any number of reasons, a Scion’s vision can be obscured or even cancelled entirely. The way this is handled in game depends on the source of the loss of sight. If the penalty comes from outside the character, say as the result of fog in the dark of night, kraken ink in clear water or Darkness Boons, the darkness adds to the difficulty of any action that is dependent on being able to see clearly. In situations where that is the case, add +1 to the difficulty in cases where visibility is poor and +2 to the difficulty when there is no visibility whatsoever. The “Visibility Conditions” chart uses two divisions to illustrate how this concept works in game. At the distance in yards where clear vision ends, the penalty for poor visibility cuts in. At the point where even that penalized, murky visibility ends, the penalty for no visibility comes to bear. Without the aid of appropriate Boons or stunts, a character can’t make a ranged attack against anything farther away than twice the “murky vision ends” distance unless her target is individually illuminated (by carrying a flashlight, for instance).
Flashlights and similar light sources supplant the regular illumination within their area, granting sufficient illumination to read within the “clear vision” zone. A significant drawback, however, is that such a light source is visible for several miles, alerting anyone (or anything) that might be lurking in the dark to the location of the character bearing the light and allowing for ranged attacks against such a character as if she were in poor visibility.
Characters who can’t see as a result of their own full or partial blindness suffer a different penalty. A character who can’t see clearly (perhaps having lost her all-important glasses in a classic Velma botch) loses two dice from all actions that require vision. Someone who is rendered truly blind suffers the loss of four dice.
|Condition||Clear Vision Ends||Murky Vision Ends|
|Full Moon, City or Forest||0||3|
|Full Moon, Grass or Leafless Forest||25||50|
|Full Moon, Snowy Ground or Desert||50||100|
|Heavy Snow, Day||0||20|
|Heavy Snow, Night||0||0|
|No Moon, City or Forest||0||0|
|No Moon, Grass or Leafless Forest||0||3|
|No Moon, Snowy Ground or Desert||5||25|
Willpower measures a character’s determination, self-assurance and emotional resilience. A character with a high Willpower is focused and highly disciplined, able to exert tremendous self-control in order to achieve her goals. She can resist outside influences and temptations, and she can push her mind and body to accomplish extraordinary things.
Willpower is rated from 1–10 and has both a permanent and a temporary rating. A character’s permanent Willpower rating is initially determined at character creation by adding together the character’s two highest Virtues (and potentially using bonus points to increase it further). Thereafter, it doesn’t change except by spending experience points on Willpower directly. (That is, increases in Virtues do not automatically grant increases in Willpower.) When a Willpower roll must be made for a character, the dice pool is determined by the permanent Willpower rating. A character’s temporary Willpower rating serves as a pool of points that the player may spend to fuel certain Knacks and Boons or to gain other special effects. A character’s temporary Willpower rating cannot normally be higher than her permanent Willpower rating.
In addition to using a character’s temporary Willpower to fuel certain of her divine gifts, the player may also spend one point of temporary Willpower per action to receive one of the following benefits.
Automatic Success: The player may spend one temporary Willpower point to receive one automatic success when performing an action. This is in addition to any successes generated by the player’s dice roll and counts toward the total number of successes rolled to perform the action. Further, the dice roll cannot result in a botch. The player must declare that she is spending a Willpower point for an automatic success before making her roll.
Activate a Virtue: When appropriate, the player may spend a temporary Willpower point to gain a number of bonus dice for her action equal to the Virtue’s rating.
Act in opposition to a Virtue: The player may spend a temporary Willpower point in order for her character to take an action that violates one of her four Virtues without requiring a Virtue roll.
Resist mind-influencing powers: The player of a sentient supernatural character may spend a temporary Willpower point in order for her character to automatically resist the effects of supernatural or divine powers that attempt to influence her mind or emotions.
A character with no temporary Willpower remaining is mentally and emotionally exhausted. His reserves of spirit have been spent, and he succumbs to listlessness and depression until those reserves replenish themselves. Further, he is subject to a compulsion: In his vulnerable state, his Virtues become the bedrock he clings to for stability. Until a character regains at least one point of temporary Willpower, he may not act in a way that runs counter to any Virtue rated 3 or higher, or fail to act when his Virtue demands it.
Characters regain their Willpower when they act in a way that restores their self-confidence and determination. The following are suggested ways in which a character may recover spent Willpower points, but the Storyteller is the final arbiter on when and how many points a character can regain.
Acting according to one’s Nature: When a character makes a decision or performs an action in accordance with her Nature that has a significant effect on the story, the character receives a Willpower point.
Spectacular deeds: When a character performs an exceptional action or behaves in a heroic manner that befits her role as a Scion, she receives a Willpower point.
Phenomenal stunts: Rather than receiving Legend points for performing a two-die or three-die stunt, the player can choose for the character to receive a Willpower point instead.
Like the Gods who spawned them, Scions are creatures born of divine legend whose deeds shape the World around them. Their actions defy the physical laws that bind ordinary mortals, and as they grow in power, their mythic weight distorts the very fabric of reality, causing waves of improbability that spawn wonders—and freakish disasters—wherever they go. Tumult and conflict surround them as the forces of Fate act against their power, until the physical realm can no longer contain them.
The Legend trait measures a Scion’s power, reflecting the favor of her divine parent and the glory of her epic deeds. As a Scion’s Legend grows, she gains access to greater Epic Attributes, Knacks and Boons, as well as the ability to perform fantastic stunts worthy of her name. But a Scion’s legend is a two-edged sword. As her energies increase, the forces of Fate act against her in corresponding strength, creating a vortex of conflicting influences that warp the laws of probability in increasingly fantastical ways.
Legend is rated from 1 to 12. Scions of Legend 1 through Legend 4 are considered heroes - an ethics-neutral term here meant to separate Scions from mere mortals. Scions of Legend 5 through Legend 8 are considered true demigods. Characters of Legend 9 through Legend 12 are themselves gods. A Scion’s Legend rating generates a pool of Legend points equal to the character’s Legend dots squared.
As well as acting as a measure of a Scion’s power, Legend can be used during play in a number of different ways:
Legendary deeds: A character’s Legend allows her to regularly perform amazing deeds that defy the laws of physics or probability. Once per story per dot the Scion has of Legend, the player may add a number of bonus successes equal to the character’s Legend rating to any action. (A Scion with Legend 4 could add four bonus successes to any four actions during the course of a single story.) The player must spend one Legend point to access these bonus successes.
Rerolling an action: The player may spend one Legend point to reroll a failed action, even if the action resulted in a botch. This ability is most cost effective when used to reroll exceptionally difficult actions or stunts. Only one reroll may be attempted per failed action.
Defensive do-over: By spending one Legend point, the player of an attacked character may retroactively increase his character’s DV against a successful attack by an amount equal to his (Athletics ÷ 2). The player can do so only after the attacker’s player makes his attack roll.
Using powerful Boons: Some Boons are so potent that they must be activated by spending points from a Scion’s Legend pool.
Fueling magical spells: Magic, regardless of its origin, requires the expenditure of Legend points for it to take effect.
Characters regain spent Legend points when they perform epic deeds or act in a way that brings honor and glory to their divine parent. The following are suggested ways in which a character may recover spent Legend points, but the Storyteller is the final arbiter on when and how many points a character can regain.
Performing a Stunt: Characters recover one or more Legend points when they perform larger-than-life deeds. As a rule of thumb, if the character performs an epic deed that sounds like something out of a classical legend or heroic saga, then it’s worth one or more Legend points. Typically, stunts offer Legend points equal to their dice bonuses.
Setting a virtuous example: Characters recover one Legend point when they perform a significant action in a way that is dictated by one of their Virtues. If a character possesses one or more Virtues that do not correspond to her God’s pantheon, the Storyteller may declare that those Virtues do not restore the character’s Legend points.
As a Scion’s Legend increases, her power grows to rival that of epic heroes and ultimately the Gods themselves, until the very fabric of reality is warped by her presence. The greater a Scion’s Legend is, the more she is subject to the vagaries of Fate, as the cosmos attempts to counterbalance her influence. Ultimately, the Scion’s Legend will grow so potent that the cosmos can no longer bear her, and she’ll be forced to depart the physical World altogether.
As a character’s Legend increases, she becomes subject to the following effects:
Fateful Aura: A Scion’s Fateful Aura represents the vortex of probability that swirls around her, drawing conflict and calamity to her like a lightning rod. Wherever she goes, chaos and upheaval quickly follow, as her presence awakens monsters, causes natural disasters, draws enemies or rival Scions, et cetera.
Fatebinding: Such is the force of a Scion’s Fateful Aura that sometimes it can entrap the destinies of individuals who cross the character’s path, creating lifelong companions, allies or arch-foes.
Reducing the Legend Rating
Because of its potentially disastrous effects at high levels, Legend is the only trait in Scion that can be reduced if the player so desires. The only way to do so is for the Scion to dissociate herself completely from her past actions—becoming the archetypal Nameless Hero or adopting a new name and identity altogether. This act effectively requires the character to turn her back on her legacy, something likely to earn the ire of her divine parent. For each month that the character goes without using any of her Boons or Knacks or drawing upon her Legend, her Legend rating decreases by one. The character may still use her base Epic Attributes without risk.