Sunday, February 17, 2008

Legend, Willpower, Avatar, and Titan

Trying to post something at the Scion Forum today, I nearly ran afoul of trying to distinguish temporary Legend points from permanent Legend rating.
  • A character, with a Legend rating of X, has X-squared temporary Legend points.
  • Many powers grant Legend, and others charge Legend. In most cases this means points, but there are a few things that temporarily boost Legend rating instead.
  • However, it's terribly easy to accidentally not specify "points" or "rating" and those vague moments can get a little painful or confusing sometimes.
A similar problem sometimes occurs with Willpower.
  • There are things (mostly powers) that trigger based on permanent Willpower rating.
  • Other things (powers again, but also non-power mechanics) care about temporary Willpower points.
  • Distinguishing between the two can sometimes be tricky.
Then there's the word Avatar, which can mean:
  1. The top Boon of a Purview - the ultimate level of a field of godly power. (Note: sometimes players and forumites refer to the Ultimate epics as Avatars, but technically this is incorrect)
  2. A character currently using such a Boon.
  3. A birthright that allows a god to manifest with lower Legend (rating) for fewer Legend (points).
  4. The sentient embodiment of one of the Titans, who can have 2 out of 3 of the above.
  5. The words standard english-language meaning gets used occassionally, which in Scion would be roughly the earthly manifestation of a god, regardless of whether or not they used the birthright to manifest it, and regardless of whether they have and ultimate boons (in other words, it's still their avatar regardless of whether they have Avatar or any Avatars).
  6. The physical body manifested from ichor by a god to be their earthly manifestation.
And, of course, the word Titan has similar issues. It can be:
  • The world-sized embodiment of a primal concept. (Also sometimes known as a Greater Titan)
  • Any of the many simultaneous Avatars (primarily 4th meaning, but also potentially the 1st, 2nd and 5th) of a Greater Titan.
  • It's mythology-specific meaning, the primal beings from which the greco-roman gods were birthed. These would be just the Greco-Roman Avatars of the Greater Titans: Cronus, Ouranos, Gaia, etc. This is rarely used by the books, but it's hard to avoid when discussing the myths and characters that inspired the game.

Wouldn't all of the above be easier if they'd just used a thesaurus?

  • Legend Rating could have determined "Myth Points".
  • Willpower Rating could have associated temporary "Ego Points".
  • "Primals", of which greco "Titans" are but a subgroup, could have "Avatars" (4th meaning only). Gods would instead have "Manifestations", with the option of purchasing the "Mortal Coil" (or perhaps even "Humility"?) birthright.
  • The apex of Powers could be "Ultimate Boons" to compliment the games existing Ultimate Epics, though perhaps "Ultimates" and "Pinnacles" would preserve a distinction between them.
I think choosing to use multiple different terms would strengthen the game and remove much of the ambiguity and confusion of the rules. I fail to see what possible advantage all these duplicate terms and alternate meanings have. Does anyone have insight into why such decisions were not made?


r_b_bergstrom said...

Thankfully, the standard English language meaning of titan, literally meaning "like the greco-roman Titans of myth" and thus akin to "gigantic" or "primal" or "awesome" doesn't come up much in Scion - though perhaps the poetry of the game suffers for it.

While scion does have some lunar scenes, astronomical references are pretty minimal so you're unlikely to ever get confused about a moon of Saturn.

In a game where names hold so much power (see Mt Erebus in "The Ragnarok Gambit" in Scion Demigod, or the "Angel" entries in Scion God), be especially wary of tickets for a voyage aboard a ship named Titanic.

SiderisAnon said...

I think it's all a secret plot by Titan Industries...