Making of a Hero

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Making of a Hero Empty Making of a Hero

Post  Eryr on Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:59 am

So, you dig Scion, and you’re ready to invest your creativity in unique legendary heroes who will suit your tastes. Well, you’re in luck, because that’s what this topic is all about: building a hero.

Step One: Calling

It’s in the nature of the Scions of the Gods to be drawn into lifestyles and careers that hint at the purviews of their divine parents. The power of the ichor that flows through their veins urges them into those lifestyles, and their natural talents tend to keep them there.

When designing a Scion, the first step is to come up with your character’s Calling, a brief statement of the character’s concept. Remember, a character’s Calling is typically influenced by his divine parent’s own predilections. A Scion of Oghma might be a “Shrewd Corporate Lawyer,” a “Brilliant Small-Unit Tactician,” a “Slick Defense Contractor” or even a “World-Renowned Chess Champion.” He’s less likely to be a “Crass Rodeo Clown.” He lacks the natural inclination to pursue such a Calling, and it’s a waste of the talents at which he naturally excels.

Next, choose the character’s divine parent and note the pantheon to which he or she belongs to (in the case of this specific game it's either the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Mabinogi or the Nemetondevos; usually you have a much greater variety of gods, but since we're all interested in playing the Celts, your choice is limited to actual Celtic divinities.) These choices are often intrinsically tied to a character’s Calling. Each deity has a group of six Abilities that her Scions enjoy as Favored Abilities. These Abilities are intrinsically tied to that being, so they pass through the ichor to the Scion. Additionally, each pantheon has a unique Purview that is accessible only to the Gods and Scions of that pantheon. (Note that Tuatha Dé Danann and Mabinogi share a Pantheon-specific Purview, because Mabinogi are considered a sub-pantheon in a sense; their Legend is entwined and so their Scions can access the very same power of enech and geasa.)

Finally, you need to decide on your character’s Nature, which is a personality archetype that helps define your Scion. A Scion’s Nature provides a starting point for the player to portray that character’s interaction with others in the game.

Sean decides he wants to play a character from the Irish pantheon, the Tuatha Dé Dannan. As a big fan of Cuchulainn, he decides to play a child of Lugh - and so, a half-brother of the great Irish hero. After making this decision, he talks to the Storyteller about his choice who finds the 'enough epic' and so Sean continues the process of character creation.

Sean chooses 'Modern Bard' as his character's Calling, seeing his character as a modern version of a fighter-bard of the Fianna. He notes Lugh as the Scion's divine patron and the Tuatha as the pantheon from which he descends. Looking at Lugh's write-up, Sean notes the Favoured Abilities for the deity: Art, Athletics, Integrity, Melee, Occult and Thrown.

This just leaves the character's Nature to be decided. Looking at the choices available, Sean goes with Competitor, figuring that his 'modern bard' will be driven to be the best out there in everything he finds himself involved - the quality inherited from his divine father.

Step Two: Attributes

Now it’s time to jump into the actual mechanical aspects of character creation. Don’t panic, though. It’s all pretty straightforward.

The first aspects you need to nail down are your character’s nine Attributes. These traits define the Scion’s innate capabilities and natural aptitudes, from how strong he is to how smart and all points in between.

The first thing you need to do is to prioritize your character’s three Attribute categories: Physical, Social and Mental. Decide at which category your Scion most excels (primary), at which he is somewhat better than average (secondary) and at which he is just at the norm (tertiary). Is he a strapping athlete, a charming dilettante or maybe a brilliant thinker?

  • Physical Attributes define your character’s physical potential—how much he can lift, how fast he can move and how tough he is. If you’re building a Scion who kicks ass and chews gum, but happens to be all out of gum, this should be the character’s primary category.
  • Social Attributes define the character’s social aptitude—how charming, persuasive and attractive he is. If you’re building a Scion who’s a lover or a cunning manipulator, not a fighter, this category should be primary.
  • Mental Attributes define a character’s intellectual capacity—how perceptive, smart and mentally agile he is. If you’re designing a clever trickster or a brilliant scholar, this should probably be that Scion’s primary category.

Each Attribute tops out at five dots, and a character begins with one dot in each Attribute before adding any. A character receives eight dots to divide among his primary Attributes, six to divide among his secondary and four to divide among his tertiary.

If you lack the dots necessary to raise an Attribute to the level you believe your concept requires, you can always spend bonus points to raise it later in the process. In addition, Attributes may be raised through experience points after play begins.

Sean sees his character as a divinely talented speaker and athlete, a hero in making, if you will. He needs to have a silver tongue and a magnetic personality, being an equivalent of an epic bard who enthralled people with his song and verse; but he needs strength, dexterity and toughness too, because Sean imagines him as a 'younger brother to Cuchulainn' and (partially) models him after that particular hero. So, in the end, he decides to make Social attributes his primary category, with Physical being the secondary and Mental tertiary. The Scion might be a fervid speaker and amazing performer, but most of the time it's his agents that do all the 'paper work'. He may be divinely talented at about everything there is, but it's not because he studies - it's simply in his blood (or ichor as is the case).

Sean fills in Charisma 4, Appearance 4 and Manipulation 3, using his eight dots (plus the one dot each Attribute possesses). His character is a person who exudes an aura of charisma, someone who makes friends everywhere he goes, and is extremely natural at dealing with people, even if he needs to bend the truth to his own liking. Being a descendant of the most radiant of gods, he can't be bad looking, so with 4 dots of Appearance, his character could well be a model, with his green eyes, reddish hair, fit body and that smile to die for. Then, he distributes points in his physical attributes - Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 3, dividing his six dots. His hero is above ordinary in every of these, but is not 'too' divine physically... at least not yet. Finally, that leaves the tertiary attributes. He gives his character Perception 2, Intelligence 2 and Wits 3, putting half of his four dots into Wits and dividing the other two equally between the other Attributes (again, don't forget that each has one dot to start). He is okay as far as studying and thinking goes, but what is important is that he is quite quick-witted - he doesn't really need time to think, he prefers to act spontaneously.

Step Three: Abilities

Abilities are traits a Scion learns through hard work and study, unlike the raw natural aptitudes of Attributes. Like Attributes, Abilities are rated from one to five dots. When performing actions in Scion, an Ability is usually added to an Attribute to determine the number of dice rolled. All Abilities begin at 0.

Each Scion character receives 30 dots to be divided as the player wishes among the 24 different Abilities. Note that no Ability may be raised above three dots at character generation without the expenditure of bonus points.

Each God passes on six particularly relevant Abilities to her offspring in the form of Favoured Abilities. These Favoured Abilities are cheaper to purchase with both bonus points and experience points.


A handful of Abilities are so broad that they require specialization to further define what portion of the broader Ability a character has mastered. The Art Ability, for instance, includes such varied pursuits as sculpture, painting, music and writing. Most artists are not equally skilled in all such pursuits—they focus instead on one or only a few. For such Abilities the player must choose a particular speciality to which his rating applies. His dots apply only to the area covered by his speciality. If an artist character chooses painting as his speciality, his dots in Art (Painting) apply only to his attempts to paint a picture. If he tries to sculpt a monument, he cannot apply his Art dots to that effort unless he also has a separate rating in Art (Sculpture).

Step Four: Advantages

Advantages aren’t ranked or prioritized, merely given special values. Like most traits, they may be increased with bonus points.


Birthrights are gifts given to Scions by their patron Gods, typically upon a Scion’s Visitation. A Scion character receives five dots to divide among four separate types of Birthright: Creature, Followers, Guide and Relic. No Birthright may be rated higher than three dots before spending bonus points.

Epic Attributes, Knacks and Boons

Epic Attributes are innate traits that manifest almost immediately after a Scion’s Visitation, as the latent ichor in his blood wreaks sudden, dramatic changes on his physiology. Knacks are quirks of the Epic Attributes that manifest in different Scions with differing frequency. A Scion receives one Knack free with every dot purchased in an Epic Attribute. (Additional Knacks may be purchased with bonus or experience points.)

Boons are supernatural powers granted to Scions by their divine parents. Most come from the Purviews for which those Gods are best known, but none are off limits. Boons differ from Epic Attributes and Knacks in that they aren’t innate. In fact, to use a Boon, a heroic Scion must possess a Birthright relic that allows access to the Purview from which that Boon comes.

A Scion receives 10 dots to divide between Epic Attributes and Boons. Each dot in an Epic Attribute costs one of those 10 dots at character creation. Each Boon costs the same number of dots as its rating (i.e., taking a three-dot Boon at character creation uses up three of those 10 dots). No score in a Scion’s Epic Attribute may equal or surpass his Legend score. Similarly, no Scion may possess a Boon rated equal to or greater than his Legend.


Virtues are beliefs of great import to the cultures from which the various pantheons emerged. Each pantheon has a set of four Virtues that define proper
behavior. The Tuatha Dé Danann and the Mabinogi favour Courage, Expression, Intellect and Piety.

Step Five: Finishing Touches

On this step, you determine your character’s final traits and finish rounding him out.


Willpower represents a character’s strength of purpose and determination. As a trait, it is used for a variety of purposes. A Scion’s Willpower may override an instinctive response borne of one’s Virtues, create an automatic success on an important roll, allow that Scion to resist a mental assault, power certain Boons and spells or activate a Virtue. A character’s starting Willpower equals the sum of his two highest Virtues, though Willpower may be raised with bonus points.


Legend is the measure of a Scion or other supernatural being’s spiritual puissance. Most mortals have no Legend rating (or a rating of 1 at most). Scions
start the game with Legend 2, and that trait may be raised with bonus points.

Legend points

Legend also generates points, which may be spent for automatic successes, to re-roll a failed action and to power certain Boons and spells. A Scion’s pool of Legend points is equal to the square of his Legend dots.

Health levels

Despite the great body of evidence to the contrary, Scions are ultimately only human. They possess the same seven health levels that other mere mortals possess: one -0 health level, two -1 health levels, two -2 health levels, one -4 health level and a single Incapacitated health level.

Bonus points

Finally, the Scion gets a pool of 15 bonus points that may be spent to improve various traits.

Step Six: the Spark of Life

This is the most vital point in character creation. Although much of your character's strong and weak points have been set already, it is here that they change from a bunch of numbers into a real character - a character that you are going to play. This metamorphosis can only be true if you make an effort. The most important things about a character can't be defined by his or her traits. These things make a character take on a life of his/her own in play. Consider who your Scion is, where he/she comes from, what his/her nationality is, what languages he/she speaks, what he/she looks like, what his/her upbringing is, what his/her hopes, aspirations and fears are... Knowing the answer to these and many other similar questions will make all the difference when you bring him or her to life in a Scion game. Shades of characterisation may often be gleaned from the scores you put in a Scion's various traits, by reading between the lines, but it is ultimately the descriptions that truly matters.

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