Scion: Taking It to the Titans
Even the Gods are subject to Fate’s whims and fancies; no being can ignore that fact. The powerful deities of the divine pantheons cannot escape Fate’s fabric as it entwines their Legend in the goings-on of the World. The Devas are no exception: Fate’s fingers tug at the lives of the Hindu Gods just as much (if not more so) than those of mortals. Every Deva feels Fate’s ever-present grasp holding her down to the material and tethering the spirit to the cold, miserable reality of the World. For the Devas, there is only one way to deal with this spiritual imprisonment: Break the chains and free yourself from Fate’s grasp. Samsara represents the struggle against Fate’s binding. Roughly translated from Sanskrit as a “journey” or “wandering,” it represents the struggle for individuals against the eminent and ubiquitous forces surrounding the World, those powers even greater than the Gods and Titans. Each power is a manipulation of the influence of Fate’s interaction with the World, from the simplest abstraction to the overarching themes and mysteries of creation; from cause-and-effect to death and reincarnation. Samsara is a cycle, a process never-ending; only by overcoming fate and denying the realm of the senses can one be one with Fate.
Because at its base Samsara deals with Fate and Fate’s influence upon the World, it shares many qualities with the Magic Purview. In a way, Samsara is the Devas’ own particular brand of magic, and as such the purview carries some of the same effects of the Magic purview. For one, any target of a Samsara Boon, as well as any mortal who bears witness to a Boon taking effect, is immediately Fatebound to the Samsara user. However, sacrifices do not grant the same bonuses that they do for the Magic Purview (Scion: Hero, p. 154). Rather, Samsara Boons require the use of either a sacred expression (“om”) or a yogic position in order to function. If the Deva is unable to move or speak for the proper Boon, he cannot use it. Finally, the Boons of the Samsara Purview may be purchased as Magic spells by any Deva. The experience cost for a Samsara Boon as a Magic spell is twice its normal cost.
Dice Pool: Legend
Fate’s influence rests entirely with action. In Fate’s intricate web, each strand represents the connecting force between two individuals, the strand’s thickness dependent on the strength of the interaction. Kriya represents this most primal aspect. The use of this Boon allows a Scion to manipulate one particular strand of Fate by briefly halting its creation. A Scion may use thispower reflexively to reroll a failed action a number of times. Once they fail an action, the Scion may reflexively roll a dice pool equal to their Legend rating. For every two successes accrued, they may reroll that action again one more time (so four successes would allow two rerolls). Sacrificing a point of Legend to reroll an action cannot be used in conjunction with this Boon.
Dice Pool: None
Cost: 1 Legend (+ 1 Willpower)
While the common Western perception of karma is the give-and-take balance between action and response, the Hindu belief in karma is much more nuanced and mystical. Karma is more than the idea of “do goods things and good things are done to you”; rather, karma represents the totality of one’s action in the great fabric of the World, a delicate maneuvering through the mysteries of Fate. One can never know the complete effect of one’s deeds upon the rest of creation, yet the fated journey of the soul is driven through the choices made and missed.
Using this power, however, can lead a Scion to better understand the primal forces surrounding her actions. Whenever the Storyteller makes a roll in private, be it to determine the effects of Fatebinding, the use of a titanspawn’s power or to check the effectiveness of a hero’s persuasion powers on a mortal, the Scion may learn the inner workings of Fate’s hand. By spending a point of Legend, the Scion’s player may ask the Storyteller about the reason for a particular roll. The Storyteller must tell the player the reason for the roll; he does not, however, have to tell the rest of the troupe. This represents the insight gained from the Scion’s keen observance of Fate. If the player spends an additional point of Willpower, he may learn the outcome of the Storyteller’s roll.
Dice Pool: Varies
Cost: 1 Legend + 1 Willpower
For every action, there is a reaction. The basic law of physics is also an immutable truth in regards to Fate. The entirety of existence is a give-and-take struggle between the actions of individuals and the subsequent reactions doled out from Fate. A Scion with this power has learned to harness Fate’s reflexes to her advantage. When another person successfully performs a supernatural action against her, the Scion may spend a point of Legend and a temporary point of Willpower to perform the same action against her opposition. Whatever the action is, the Scion performs the same action that her target executed against herself regardless of whether or not the Scion would normally be able to perform that action. For example, if a rival Scion uses his Serpent’s Gaze Knack against the Deva, this Boon will return the favor, causing the rival Scion’s eyes to be locked with the Deva. The Pratyave Boon is only effective against beings with a lower Legend rating.
All targets must be valid for the Scion for this Boon to be effective. If a dice roll occurs, the Scion uses the same dice pool as the original actor, but using his own dots in Attributes, Abilities and the like.
Dice Pool: Perception + Samsara + Legend
Cost: 1 Willpower
When a demigod enters into an intense meditative state, he focuses on the divine aspects of his pantheon in order to sharpen his insight on the World around him. By concentrating on his divine parent’s form, from the smallest detail of their physical presence to the larger whole of his parent’s godly existence, the primal forces controlling existence create an aura of energy around the demigod that stimulates the surrounding area. To activate this Boon, the demigod must stay prone for at least one round in a yogic position without breaking concentration. Once a round is complete, the demigod’s player rolls (Perception + Samsara + Legend) and chooses up to three targets within (Legend x 10) feet. As long as these targets remain within this range, they gain a DV bonus equal to the number of successes from the activation roll divided between the targets, at the discretion of the activating demigod. The demigod need not maintain his yogic position after the activation roll. The effect lasts for the rest of the scene.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Craft + Legend
Cost: 4 Legend
According to legend, all creation begins with thought; namely, the thoughts of Brahma intertwined with atman, the universal spirit. Each day, Brahma births new Gods and demigods with his thoughts, creating life where none existed before and birthing new ideas, new traditions and new options in the World. Any demigod of the Devas may mimic this action, albeit in a more subdued way. By focusing her mind for a tick, the demigod may create an object in her hands.
The demigod’s player must first announce the object she is intending to create. There are a few criteria for these created objects, however. First, the object must fit in the hands of the demigod. Second, it cannot be a magical item. Third, it cannot be a sentient thing or living organism. It may exceed no more than one of those dimensions. When the object is created, it appears in the Scion’s hands and lasts for one day. Depending on the number of successes achieved, the purity and essence of the object may vary. If there are only a few threshold successes, then the created item exists, albeit in a very crude form. For example, if a Scion attempted to create a hammer and garnered no threshold successes, then the object formed would be a rusty piece of metal with a torn rubber handle. It has the same function and shape as a hammer, albeit a barely recognizable one. More successes would have allowed for a shinier hammer (or even a name-brand one).
After the player spends the requisite Legend and rolls her character’s (Manipulation + Craft + Legend), counting the number of successes achieved against a target number of successes. Any successes over the threshold allows for the object to be honed into a more realistic size, shape or appearance. The chart below gives some sample difficulties for various created objects:
|Heavier than Scion||+1 per multiple of Scion’s weight|
|Taller/Wider/Deeper than Scion||+1 per multiple of Scion’s dimension|
SAMSARA ••••• •
Dice Pool: Wits + Empathy vs. Intelligence + Occult
Cost: 4 Legend + 1 Willpower
By virtue of living in the material World, we are stuck in an existence bound not only by Fate, but also by ignorance. The cycle of samsara is a reminder of this fact: Because we exist, we are unaware of the sublime knowledge that awaits us once we remove ourselves from the Fated life. The Sanskrit word for this delusion is avidya, which also means ignorance. The demigod can wield this ignorance to his advantage, forcing another being to fully exploit their ignorance of the
sublime and divine.
To use this power, the demigod must first make eye contact with her intended target. Once eye contact is established, the demigod must utter her sacred expression loud enough for her target to hear her. The target does not need to understand the sacred expression nor have the intelligence to recognize it; all they have to do is hear it.
Consequently, if a demigod cannot speak or project her voice loud enough for the target to hear, this power does work. Once the target hears the sacred expression, the demigod’s player rolls (Wits + Empathy) against the target’s (Intelligence + Occult). If the demigod achieves more successes, the target forgets (or, more accurately, becomes ignorant of) one his supernatural abilities. In essence, the demigod has channeled Fate to force the target to lose knowledge of a Boon, Knack, supernatural ability or spell for one scene. The lost power is subject to the demigod’s discretion, but the demigod must know or suspect that her target has that ability. If the target garners more successes than the demigod, Fate punishes the demigod for her insolent attempt to control its mysteries, and the demigod loses access to Avidya for a day. This Boon may not be used against a being with higher Legend than the demigod.
SAMSARA ••••• ••
Dice Pool: Perception + Empathy
Cost: 10 Legend
Death is not an obstacle to the followers of the Devas. Rather than being an endpoint in life’s straight path, the Hindus feel that death is rather a single stop in the overall journey of the soul. To die is but one leg of a longer journey: a milestone, but certainly not an ending. This is not to say that death is an unimportant event; no demigod approaches the end of their physical body and the uncertainty of rebirth without a little hesitation. Sometimes, it’s just a little inconveniently timed, as well. Marana aids in this predicament by staving off the forces of death in the Devas’ vicinity, at least temporarily.
To activate this power, the demigod must stay in her yogic position for five minutes, concentrating on the meaning of death. The player spends 10 points of Legend and rolls her (Perception + Empathy) without counting successes from Epic Perception. The number of successes gained on this roll equals the area in which death cannot occur around the Scion for one day. Consult the following table for a guide on the area of effect:
|# of Successes||Area of Effect|
The aura created by this power affects all physical, spiritual and manifested things. If caught in the aura, no being can die as a result of wounds, poison, disease, natural causes, etc. Instead, these beings are stuck in stasis at the Incapacitated level until they are either healed or removed from the Deva aura. The aura follows the Scion in her movements, so if a being wishes to remain un-dead, it must somehow follow the demigod’s movements.
While this power works perfectly to save a fellow Scion from the ravishes of death, it also affects enemies and mortals alike. All mortals and titanspawn whose deaths were delayed by this power become immediately Fatebound to the Deva. This power lasts for exactly one day and can only be deactivated by a successful (Perception + Empathy) roll – again without counting Epic Perception successes. This power has no effect in the Underworld or Godrealm.
SAMSARA ••••• •••
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Presence
Cost: 15 Legend
According to Hindu belief, existence is ultimately stuck in the concept of maya, the illusion that the World and its material properties exist at all. The spirit and energy that binds the World together is hidden beneath this concept. Every life, death and rebirth of an individual in some way acknowledges this truth, as Fate muddles the spiritual in a shiny veneer of distractions and sensual pleasures. Every spin through samsara’s cycle is inured with this illusion. Yet the Devas have a way of using Fate’s perpetually rotating trick to their advantage. Unlike the Illusion Purview (detailed in Scion: Ragnarok), which can create landscapes of unreality or morph objects or people entirely, the Devas halt Fate’s cycle enough to replicate the illusion of past lives. After spending the appropriate Legend, the Scion’s player rolls (Manipulation + Presence). For every success garnered on this roll without counting successes from Epic Manipulation, the God creates an illusory duplicate of himself. These duplicated Gods look and act exactly as the God using this power. In fact, in some fashion, they are the God, or at least an aspect ripped from her previous existences.
While these duplicates are illusions, they are entirely real in a physical sense; the power of Fate’s maya is strong enough to fool the senses. Each copy of the God shares the same Abilities and Attributes as the progenitor. They have the same Willpower, Virtues and weapons as well. They do not, however, have any supernatural powers.
The God’s duplicates are free-thinking incarnations with a mind of their own. However, being former versions of the God, they are likely to think very alike. The God may not have overt control over them, but they will very rarely disagree or not listen to her.
Once summoned, the duplicates look and act exactly like their originator, down to mannerisms and speech patterns. It is impossible to tell the duplicates apart from their source – except when the God uses her supernatural powers, that is. With so many copies available, it is easy for the God to get lost in the crowd, making these duplicates perfect decoys and distractions. The replicated copies are active until the end of the next scene.
SAMSARA ••••• ••••
Dice Pool: None
Cost: 2 Legend dots
The entire purpose of existing is to remove oneself from samsara’s vicious cycle. Fate’s hand holds everything in the effervescent waters of creation, with samsara’s cycle forever in flux. The end of Fate’s cycle is also the beginning; the process repeats, and the end becomes the beginning. All things die, but the Hindus believe that all things are reborn in accordance with the sum of their actions in life: Those who perform good actions are reborn into a good life, while the bad ones are born into squalor and danger. Gods, while divine, are not immune to the vagaries of death, and they persist in the same cycle as any mortal does. However, a God with this Boon can control the cycle a little better than the average mortal. She can choose how she is reborn!
When a God with this power takes enough damage to be considered dead, she may sacrifice two dots of Legend to be reborn. Her soul does not wither into the ether, her body does not rot. She simply is reborn with her entire identity intact (if not all of her renown). There is no roll associated with this power; the God will simply rise from the dead after an hour, a little less powerful than before, yet essentially still the same.
Once reborn, the God (or demigod) must reacquaint herself with her new level of Legend. All powers that require a Legend rating higher than her new rating are immediately deactivated. Any Epic Attributes over the limit for a demigod or God of her level are brought down to the new rating. (She does not, however, lose any Knacks). Any lost powers due to this Boon’s effect are gone forever and must be purchased again with experience points.
SAMSARA ••••• •••••
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Awareness + Legend
Cost: 30 Legend
The ultimate goal for the Devas who is caught in samsara is to remove himself from the cycle forever, to extricate oneself from Fate’s influence and simply cease to exist. The Sanskrit word for this release from samsara is moksha, or liberation, and it is an elusive achievement from all but the most skilled and patient God. To use this power, a Scion must sit in a meditative trance for one hour without interruption (generally in a yogic position). At the end of the hour, the player rolls his character’s (Intelligence + Awareness + Legend). For every success scored, the God removes himself from Fate’s grasp for one day. While in this state, the World reacts as if he did not exist. People ignore him, those Fatebound to him are removed from their attraction and all memories of the God are shady and uncertain. Magic does not affect the God, nor do other Boons. Gods cannot see or detect the liberated Scion while he is in this state. He can freely move between Worlds without the use of Axes Mundi by spending a point of Willpower. Not even the Titans and their aspects can sense the God’s presence.
Consequently, the Devas in Nirvana cannot interact with the physical environment either without paying some cost. The Devas is not a ghost or a spirit. Rather, he is a non-entity amongst the material. He is liberated and free; going back to slavery is difficult and unwelcome. Fate does not like to have an outsider meddle in its affairs. Thus, whenever the liberated God wants to physically interact with his environment in a significant manner, he must spend a point of Legend in order to do so. By significant, we mean by interacting and manipulating material objects in a fashion outside of normal actions. Walking around is not significant; grabbing a titanspawn is. All Boons and Birthrights cost double to activate while in the liberated state. If the God runs out of Legend points or temporary Willpower while liberated, he immediately returns to Fate’s embrace. The World remembers the God wholly and completely again. The God may also return to Fate willingly by spending two points of temporary Willpower.