Let’s talk politics for a second. Don’t worry we aren’t talking about the politics of the country but more accurately the politics of a small group.
I have run this gaming group for roughly six years. It has been both a blessing and a curse. To be honest I love it. In part the group helped me realize how much I don’t want to be an engineer. It also helped me realize how much I love telling stories. Tabletops are an interactive storytelling event, if you’re all close friends the story become very deep and personal. It became just as much hanging out with your friends as it becomes a more interactive video game.
In a tabletop there is no division between Player and Character, they are ultimately one and the same. In the game system of Scion this is very liberating. However, this is a huge liability in some situations.
As I said in a good group this isn’t an issue. In a bad group well… We have had only two people that have been fundamentally bad players. In the first case, it was mostly a difference in viewpoints that everyone sort of ended up making worse. In retrospect we could have fixed the problems and moved on together but at the time all of us were too young or simple too set in what we wanted. Maybe it was for the best as respect didn’t seem to go both ways at the table.
In the last case it was mostly a toxic presents. The person wasn’t bad he was just, well he shifted the tone. He had a very set idea on what he wanted to do, be damn what others wanted, other players or myself. Most of the time it was subtle, he would do something that had a general connection to what was going on. The game would shift through just a little bit. Other times he would sledgehammer his way to what he wanted. Forcing the group to his idea of what we should be doing, but thanks to that subtle shift it didn’t feel out of place. It’s hard to fully explain because I can see where it happen in the what and when but I just don’t know the how and why.
It happened relatively recently so maybe I can’t fully analyze it without feeling what I felt at the time. That said I have two conflicting points about this player. The firstly I wanted to play. I wanted to play scion it was stress release, for a few hours I was essentially a god so there is the power trip. The second is a lack of desire to play. This confliction crept on me slowly always making me feel a little off. I should have picked up on something being wrong when he got upset for the jokes we made at his expense. Our group has always shown affection through drunken confessions and insults. So it was definitely warning flag I should have dealt with.
But as I said I wanted to play, and no one else really spoke up, so I couldn’t really give up playing simply because I felt a little off. We played through three campaigns together, the first one was decent. The second one had moments, but really started to drag, and finally the third one.
I was feeling so burnt out. College that semester was lots of heavy writing that I am slowly getting back into. It was also this contradiction. My campaigns have always been half-planned, half-seat of my pants. With every game I was planning less and less. My desire to not play was growing with every session. I felt burned out, which is weird, normally I would have been jazzed. I was writing, tons of ideas, just floating in and out of me but I didn’t want to use them.
I should have realized what was going on. I gave this bad player a lot of Heavy stuff, choices and decision but it didn’t change shit for him. He kept doing his weird subtle sledgehammer thing.
I wasn’t alone in this. We lost a player due to his out of game antics with a girl he was dating and just how shitty he was to her, the girl was a player but left after his actions following their break up. I remember being extremely insulted by his remark, she was my guest in my house, but I didn’t want to interject in as it was mostly a personal. One of my closest friends explained that most of his absences during this time was because he didn’t want to spend time with this other player. Two of this player’s friends who were in the group when he wasn’t around were really more active and were had more fun to play with but if he was at the table they were more drawn away from the game and less active. I think a couple of the insistences of weird behavior by everyone was because of his presence.
Which is the roundabout way to my point; a group is only as strong as the members’ relationships. A toxic presence kills the group slowly. I am bringing this because this is the summary from the third play through. I have never had to motivation to finish, but the group has recently restarted we talked about some of the problems the last game had but I never realized how much it affect me personally till I sat here staring at what is essentially my work. Work I didn’t want to do. I made the best of it at the time but it still broke something in me and I have just started to get out of that funk. You can see there is no order in the work it essentially drifts from event to event that because I didn’t want to make a story and I just didn’t want to sit through it and watch it change into something else.
I can’t be bothered to finish this at the moment maybe in a year but at the moment I will end it here, close this chapter and come back at another date.
Read on if you want… I am not proud of it.
Thomas S. Lye, a scion of Thor has betrayed the Gods and now our Band must hunt him down! After our band manages to escape the tiger pit that was Mexico City leaves its foundation shaken and her people rejoicing; although they will likely do that after have picked up all the glass and cleared away the rubble, the band seeks to end Thomas for a greater reason than his simple betrayal.
Our band leaves Mexico under the cover of fire and darkness, setting sail for North Korea. Though the escalation of many problems begins to happen, The boat was launched without supplies, good food is abundant to the weakest of Scions with heart and courage, but the most vital provision is missing; the all mighty booze. Landing in Hawaii they stock up and head out.
Arsenio proceeds to spend the entire cruise drunk. Whether he is drinking to forget or drinking to remember is anyone’s guess. Clive fishes and become Arsenio’s drinking buddy the two bond over the stories of trying to kill each other. Their clash in Mexico is almost legendary. Rocky trains sharks and get a Megalodon shark to become loyal to him. Kiara is asleep most of the ride. Yu spends his time teaching the polar bears economics and how to steal things. The polar bear gang latter becomes one of most dread pirate gangs in the Pacific.
Then bored and drunk, and mostly unsupervised, Rocky creates the dreaded Blood Fruit! After tricking Clive into making a dessert out of it, and everyone partakes. The Blood fruit robes our scions of their mental capacity and they become crazy.
After somehow managing to get the boat to the North Pole the band realized what has happened and locks Rocky in a chest they freeze solid in an attempt to prevent him from going crazy any more.
The band arrives in the Sea of Japan where they are confronted by a giant sea dragon. The dragon has had one side of his mustache cut off and Thomas S. Lye told the dragon that it was the band. The band in a strange moment of discipline negotiates with the dragon before Rocky is eaten, and the dragon smashes their boat.
With the boat smashed; the band is split into separate parties they end up spread out, Rocky washes up in Russia, Arsenio rolls in Japan, Clive and Kiara find themselves in South Korea, and Yu lands in North Korea.
Our Scions soon learn, that despite being stuck in a time bubble, North Korea is a DMZ between the Shen and the Amatsukami. The two pantheons have been stuck in a cold active war of sorts. As such both have created a field that denies ichor from activating making Godlike things Mortal. The only way to use the power inside of the field is to destroy the relic creating the field or to gain sponsorship.
Rocky after getting into a fight with Russian Guardsmen meets his Uncle Vidar who sends him into North Korea to look for a woman named Kim affectionately called the She-wolf by the North Korean Army, who she is vivisecting. Rocky discovers the DMZ when his powers don’t work in North Korea, he reluctantly plows on ahead. He meets an enigmatic scion called Ishmael, they never introduce each other, yet they travel North Korea together. Rocky learns from his new friend that Thomas is in North Korea. Rocky fascinates on an idea and together they hatch a plan to lure out Kim who is soft spoken and completely unsympathetic to North Korea. After meeting all three form a plan that has them being captured so they can take out Central Command from the Inside. Only it will take Ishmael several days to set everything up. Without his powers Rocky is at the mercy of North Korea’s Interrogators.
Thomas S. Lye visited Rocky while he is captured the two trade banter but nothing comes of it, Thomas left his brother to be tortured. Kim comes back at the end of the week and feeds Rocky, leaving him wondering two things; how much longer, and why didn’t Vidar warn him?
Clive climbs out of the ocean and finds a tailor, he purchases a suit for him and his polar bear. He has to keep his head down as he starts looking for a way north, he contacts his mother who tells him to get a sponsor so he can enter North Korea and not be powerless. He remembers an old friend Yuri a young god in the Amatsukami and sees if he can get a sponsor from Susano-o. Though Yuri isn’t in a generous mood to help.
Yuri just wants just a few things before he can help, Dragon Beard Hair, a fully functional Yamato class battleship, written permission from the Empire of Japan to use the Yamato, help from Hedion, help from a scion called Lucas, 300,000 tons of Twinkies and the Complete Conquest of North Korea, Clive can work on the last one after being sponsored. A simple task for a God, but Clive is not a god… Clive starts by thinking maybe he can pick up the dragon’s trail from the wreckage of the yacht.
Yu washes up on a beach, once again forgetting what is going on. A security team finds him and Yu asked to be taken to the magic show. He is detained by North Korea security forces until he is freed by his father who explains he was travelling with a group of Scion who were doing something, and maybe he should look for them to figure out how he got “Shanghaied.” Yu travels to South Korea, discovers a report of the boat’s destruction and thinking it is related makes haste
Arsenio begins to look for the other members of his band. He believes that he can find them by checking every bar, dive, and hostess club from Odate to Fukuoka his tree and giant jaguar close behind him. After meeting half the population of Japan, he catches a slow boat across the Sea of China and enters South Korea. He begins moving on to every bar, dive, and Hostess club in Korea from Jeollanam-do to P’yongyang. He finds Clive soon enough only to lose him when he goes to settle his tab. After spending more days at the bar, the Sapling, Hedion and several Spartans stage an intervention to get Arsenio back into the hero game. Arsenio doesn’t seem to care…
Kiara gets arrested when she makes landfall at a military and is confused when she is asked if she is a spy/assassin by a woman named Soo. She incites that Scion of her Mother and Grandmother only serves to bring one thing, the elimination of Secrets. Soo lets them go, telling her to get out of North Korea. She and Hedion shrug at the exchange then they move off to find Clive, who is trying to figure out his list. After both meet up with Arsenio and Clive, Kiara then leaves the party to check into a few things.
So enter Suraja, is a scion of Kali, who was sent to South Korea guard a scion of Ganesha who is working on the latest Nuclear power reactor for South Korea, once boredom sets in she is causing a major disruption in the positive forces inside the lab, and told to look into a strange wreck by her charge. Not having much better on her plate she sets out to find the wreck as Clive and Yu both make haste to it as well. Our Scions arrive around the same time and introduction go about as smoothly as most things go with this band… They wreck their boat after trying to hurl over the thing over Japan, where they have to turn it into a giant rabbit before it explodes red pulp mess with quiet “meep.”
Realizing they could get the Emperor’s permission they head to the Imperial palace in Kyoto where they murder the Emperor in kink custom wear. To be fair it was an accidental murder. One resurrects later, the Emperor signs the documents need for permission. The band heads off the Yamato’s final resting grounds.
Once there Yu stretched out and falls asleep in the car, Arsenio and Suraja suit up to dive. Clive goes down to the bottom of the sea, where he meets an Old Sea Turtle God. Said Turtle isn’t interested in leaving his home. Clive tries to bring him a new home a tanker filled with an experimental fish food that was going to be used on the Salmon Schools of North America, it was designed to make them stronger and tougher than normal fish, it also scares off natural predators due to its terrible smell. Naturally the Turtle won’t live in anything so stinky, Clive then tries to brute force the issue, but the turtle is strong in the way of the water.
While Clive flounders against the turtle, Suraja summons a ghost and learns about the turtle and the dreaded Nommo, a fish monster that lives in the other half of the Yamato only hunt at night during a full moon. Where they murder on weary sailor dragging them deep down under water to feed on their still drowning bodies.
Clive, not having any luck drops the band off at the bar Arsenio is drinking at, before going to seek out Lucas. Clive finds Lucas has been deployed to a nearby British carrier, Clive learns that Sea Turtle Gods are most cranky but fun loving things, Clive realizes his mistake. Clive also learns that he will need a time machine or something else to get Twinkies as the rights to the receipt are currently in the air. The reason Twinkies are needed are because when they are fresh they can be used in an ancient ritual that allows them to create a magical bond that fixes and bonds things together in a seamless bond, hence why they are needed to fix the Yamoto.
Clive heads back to the Turtle and begins to get him drunk. The Turtle however has a constitution and a bladder the strength and size of the ocean. Clive hatches a plan to use the Blood Fruit as a means to get the Turtle out of the ship. Clive learns things he will never speak about to anyone about the Blood Fruit but he makes a wine from the fruit and fills the Turtle’s cup, the turtles trip might have been enlightened or it might have been crazy talk either way one half of the ship raised.
The second half of the ship lies not far from the first half and it too was filled with a swarm of Nomos (Nomi?) And one who wields a powerful energy weapon. Clive and Yu manage to fight the Nomo off raising the ship from the bottom of the sea. Though the ship half was partially damaged. Clive creates a massive glacier island to keep everything safe and sound.
The Duo acting on a tip flies off to a remote tropical island. An island of lush forgotten beauty is actually a tropical resort for the fancy rich and drunk. Here they meet the drunken totally not a Russian Texan from Albuquerque Gregory. Gregory had a vodka bottle that never ran out, but he lost in a high stakes children’s card game against an evil penguin overlord. The penguin himself won’t give the relic back without getting something in return. He wants rights to the Twinkies.
Which brings our pair to their next step; they catch a flight to New York City and the Law office of Saxon and Schmidt. Saxon is handling the case of the late Mister Kebler and the legal claim of Four men who claim to be his illegitimate sons. While their genealogy isn’t in question which of the four is actually the eldest son is disputed. Time and Space inside the non-linear Fae realm doesn’t translate verbatim to the linear world of man. Realizing that they are screwed legally, they arrange for their lawyer to fly down from South Korea and take a hand at the issue.
Thus Oslo begins cracking the case, discovering a true legal son who still lives. As the legal son it doesn’t matter which bastard son is the oldest, as the legal son has first right. This legal son is currently living as Kim Jong-un II in North Korea. Clive is hesitant to take part in recruiting the son as North Korea is currently protected by an Anti-theoanthon field. Yu enters an Axis Mundi and enjoys the hospitality of Shen’s Beaurarchy for three months. While Clive spends his time visiting Shinto shrines trying to get partial Sponsorship for North Korea. Yet no one from the Amatsukami seems to be able to respond to his hails.
There is a reason for the silence. After Clive dropped everyone off and went to look for Lucas, Arsenio and Suraja form a plan to enter North Korea and simply take advantage of the Anti-theoanthon field. Also they believe that Rocky is located there and he might get in trouble, his absence from the group while refreshing is troublesome. Together the two of them bribe Chinese officials and swear that they are nothing more than happily married couple wishing to see the world. They place bribes, vault their possessions and enter North Korea powerless, weaponless. After spending a day on the guided tour and discovering the height of North Korean cuisine which is cardboard, and thicker cardboard. They decide they have had enough. In the middle of the night they scale down the side of their hotel to escape. The plan does not go swimming, resulting in them getting chased by the Glorious People’s Army of Korea. They managed to escape and ambush a convoy of soldiers. Together they take the uniforms and weapons for themselves and hatch a plan to find Rocky.
Arsenio testing a theory realizes that his dragon teeth are still functional. He grows a small force, and due to the power of the teeth they are fully capable of speaking and reading Korean. Searching the body reveal the location of a stronghold. Arsenio leads his troops in a surprise attack that the North Korean’s were not expecting. The assault goes well; Arsenio’s troops take and hold the compound, before freeing Rocky from his prison as he was being tortured to death. Freed, psychologically damaged, Rocky assaults the remaining forces and discovers an impenetrable red door.
Finding his way inside Rocky finds his old friend Ishmael waiting for him. He needs a second person to turn the key. Rocky mildly confused turns the key. The stronghold was the central command for all of North Korea’s Nuclear Weapon. Every Rocket and ICBM in the small dictatorship launches, travelling into the stratosphere. Before anyone can rationalize a logical response to the warheads, they detonate. Leaving most of Asia in the dark, as a cloud of radiation and death falls on Korea. China’s Capital goes dark throwing the entire nation in chaos. Japan suffers from a massive blackout, while they are prepared many will die as a result.
In her bunker, Soo Minamoto, Supreme Commander of South Korean DMZ, a scion of the Amatsukami smiles as the lights go out before the EMP shielded generators kick in. She rises slowly and orders the total mobilization of all South Korean military forces. Her orders? “Search and Destroy, today we end this war.”
Son Jong-un, a North Korean Agent working on his own peaceful plan of unification watches in horror as all his work is destroyed as 13 small suns rise and set in the heavens above his home.
Meanwhile in a field Kim So-Yeon places yellow wildflowers on the graves of her younger sisters, smiling for the first time in years as she knows the North Korea was being punished.
Rocky has but a moment to grasp the full horror he has done before he turns to his friend Ishmell and tries to attack him. Ishmell renders Rocky unconscious before he apologies. He pulls out a phone and orders his own forces to start attacking. A secret army mobilizes and begins to attack both the southern and the northern forces.
Arsenio and Suraja find Rocky and having stood in the glow of the new suns understand better than Rocky what just happened. Arsenio sees this is a moment to attack he gathers up his forces and leads them across North Korea to attack the The International Friendship Exhibition. Rocky hops in a hole and digs out never to be heard from for a while.
Meanwhile Jericho, a big game hunting scion of Apollo was enjoying the inflight movie, before the plane’s power blinks out and he left sitting in the middle of falling plane. Quick thinking Jericho runs into the cabin of the plan grabs the controls, forces the thing to at least slide across the ground rather than just flat out crash. He manages to save the crew and passengers from their pancake fates. However he doesn’t know where he is, and he suddenly realized that he can’t use his godly powers.
Before he can fully digest that horrible fact he meets the convey of Arsenio and his Spartans the two Greek demigods bond in the only appropriate manner before agreeing to help each other out. They find the international Friendship museum guarded by a massive giant.
The battle is a crushing one, mostly with Arsenico’s Spartans receiving a crash course in pancake making. Arsenio finally saves the day when crushed under a rock, where his full power returns throwing the rock back to his full strength crushing the Giant in a liquid paste.