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The original Scion game was an awesome concept that died under its mechanics. A single dot of difference in stats during mid-level play meant one PC was invincible while another was mincemeat. Still it was a reasonably well-loved game line so how does the Second Edition fare?
Honestly it is a good start but has severe shortcomings that may very well prevent it from reaching greatness.
Firstly, the crunch. The new mechanics are far more balanced compared to the original but are still poorly internally balanced. Some boons and knacks are radically more useful. Access to the type and number of boons and knacks are also much more restricted resulting in overall weaker Scions.
One good thing is that most Purviews come with the necessary immunities that were once level one boons. Gods of water no longer drown nor do fire gods burn to death because their players were cheap. The bad thing? Epic Attributes are mostly gone and with them most of the formidability of Scions. Before even a starting Scion could, with the right knacks, weather a hail of gunfire or hurl an SUV at a giant. Now this could only be achieved by Feats of Scale which basically means only as a dramatic action once per session if that. Instead of bonus dice or automatic successes, Scions receive enhancements. Bonus successes that only count if the roll succeeds.
Without automatic successes, gods are just as prone to failure as talented mortals. It is entirely mechanically possible for Heimdall to fail a spot check in the current system. It robs the game of a lot of the epic feel that was Scion’s calling card. Mechanically, Hero scions are not markedly more formidable than well-trained humans.
The fluff however is where the game falls flat. It expects Newthink level of cognitive dissonance from the players. The game asserts all myths are true despite their contradictory nature, instead of the old “all myths are true but not all are accurate”. It posits a world where monotheism is predominant despite the fact that the gods are demonstrably real and active. Gods are written up as ridiculously powerful but a single scion is credited with destroying an entire pantheon. Titans are no longer primeval beings who are often an existential threat to mankind. Instead those are Primordials and Titans are basically undefined aside from “enemy of an existing pantheon”. The game itself lampshades it.
It does not help that the writer(s) wear their politics on their sleeve. Two African gods are written as violent thugs, one is afraid of cultural appropriation. Their pantheon weakness is systemic racism. Yes, really. A Chinese goddess regards her poor reputation as the result of sexism. Guan Yu, a Chinese culture hero lauded as a paragon of valor, seeks restitution for his “toxic masculinity”. Its too heavy-handed and egregious.
Overall the fluff lets the game down and the mechanics, while serviceable, are not the best fit for a Scion game.
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