Smallville: The Scion Lifepaths

edited March 2011 in Story Games
Sooo, I really like the White Wolf game Scion for its compelling setup and cool powers, but I kinda don't like the system. Í mean, I've been rolling d10s in die pools for White Wolf games since 1991 and I couldn't get Scion to work right. Either I was knocking the shit out of the non-combat people or the combat people were knocking the shit out of me. There was no middle ground.

However, there were a lot of good things about the game, including the idea of the Fatebound, which is essentially that the characters, being Bigger Than Life, develop relationships with people and sometimes even things that fall into their fated roles: the doomed lover, the One True Love, the wacky sidekick, the eager rookie, the elderly sage, whatever. This concept led me to constantly work out relationship stuff as the center of a Scion universe. I'd need something with superpowers (my first draft of a revision was Mutants & Masterminds), but when Smallville came out, I said, yep, this.

So here's my Scion game lifepath using Smallville.


  • edited March 2011
    The Pathways begin before you are born.

    Draw your square for your PC and connect it to everyone else as normal.

    Now do two circles (Extras). One of these is your Divine Origin. Zeus, Thor, whatever the hell. Don't connect the Divine Origin to your box yet, but go ahead and identify it. The other circle is your Mortal Origin. This may or may not be a biological parent, but it is a person who reflects your upbringing in this world of mortality and normalcy. It is the combination of your Divine Origin and your Mortal Origin that makes you who you are, but the first thing you do is connect your Mortal Origin to you and draw an arrow backwards to the origin.

    Hint: draw the arrows to and from your PCs (and any other sufficiently divine beings) slightly further apart than you might. You will want to be able to label the arrows AND write something in between the arrows. This is going to accommodate our Fatebinding system.

    Draw an arrow from the Divine Origin to the Mortal Origin. Is your divine parent grateful for the caretaking done or insanely angry at being spurned or avoided?

    Next, do your Origin like you normally would. Youth, Focus and Road are all the same.

    All Scions have the same Life-Changing Event, Destiny. Our version of Destiny is that you increase any Value (three times), gain a New Ability, increase or gain a new Ability, Distinction, or Gear, and gain the Divine Heritage Asset at d4. You also increase a Distinction and increase a Relationship, Asset or Resource (two times). You also finally establish the relationship from your Divine Origin to you. This is the time in your life when that relationship comes to the surface.

    A starting Scion should have a Priority and an Identity as well. If you want to be more powerful, go ahead and do the Modus Operandi and Motivation steps too.

    All Abilities wielded by Scions have the Limitation "Divine" and one other Limitation. Some Gear might not be Divine, it might be Alchemical, Magical, or whatever, depending on what sorts of things your GM wants to introduce.
  • Fatebinding takes place along Relationships to and from anyone with a Divine ability. Essentially it means that your legend flows along established, mythic lines, and that your relationships will happen the same way. This is cool because it causes tension between what your feelings are (and their feelings) and what the universe pushes you into.

    A Fatebound relationship should be written IN PERMANENT INK on the lifepaths. They do not change. Fate does not relent. However, you also have the normal, in-pencil relationships with the same target.

    Example: Theseus Munsey, Prince of the Fairies, has a d6 Relationship with hot harpy lawyer Ocypete Schneider. From him to her it's "Ex sex is the best sex", from her to him it's "Why can't either of us take the hint?" and their Fatebinding is TRUE LOVE NEVER DID RUN SMOOTH.

    * When you act in accordance with the existing Fatebinding definition, you just roll the Relationship as per normal, or three times the Relationship if you're conflicting with it/changing it.

    Example: Theseus and Ocypete meet at a party. A schlub keeps hassling her. He has one of her feathers, too, so she can't oppose him. Theseus to the rescue! He rolls his Value of Love and his d6 Relationship with Ocypete when blocking the guy out.

    Example: Ocypete sues Theseus for a sinister client. "We're finally going to bankrupt that sonofabitch!" She rolls her Glory and 3d6 for the Relationship, then steps the Relationship back to d4.

    * When you conflict with the Fatebinding definition, you roll the applicable Relationship as normal (or three times if you're changing it), BUT your opposition gets to roll your Fatebound Relationship die as if it were an applicable Stress die. This happens even if you're not rolling the Relationship that is Fatebound.

    Example: Ocypete gets engaged to Oanomochi (d6 "I guess he'll do."), but his enemy, Garafena, closes in on him. She rushes in to save Oanomochi, rolling her Duty plus d6 Relationship with Oanomochi. Garafena rolls his normal Value/Relationship, but also gets to roll d6 for the Fatebound relationship Ocypete has with Theseus, since she is betraying that by trying to protect her un-Fated fiancee.

    Just as the player decides when they are challenging their relationships, the GM decides when Fatebound relationships are being challenged.
  • This is cool stuff! I think variant Pathways brings a whole new flavor to the table, which is obvious just from looking at how much setting and background info you can pack into the charts.

    Looking forward to seeing more of this.
  • One thing that isn't clear in Scion and should be made clearer in this hack is:

    * How do you tell when a relationship is becoming Fatebound?
    * How many Fatebound relationships can you have?
    * How many is a good idea for the game and for a character?

    More thinking as I develop it. But the important thing is that big permanent marker.
  • Hey, I was reading Nine Worlds, more or less randomly scouring my mythological game library for ideas and I think the Muse section oughta be required reading for all Smallville GMs and players. It explains clearly what makes for a relationship that impels characters into motion, and how to write a plot that targets relationships (though Nine Worlds is more collaborative in approach to plot-creation than Smallville.) Good shit.
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