The children of the Gods do not feel as mortals do. With the ichor of their divine parent burning in their veins, Scions are driven by passions both heroic and terrible. These passions, or Virtues, are what drive Scions to perform their epic deeds. Sometimes, when their passions run away with them, it can lead to terrible tragedy as well, as many heroes of legend learned to their regret.
A character in Scion begins the game with one Virtue, chosen from the four virtues espoused by the pantheon from which she descends.
A second virtue may be chosen later during a significant milestone.
The Benefits of Virtues
Virtues represent the core values of a Scion, those deep-seated beliefs that propel her to perform deeds worthy of legend. It is the strength of a Scion’s Virtues that drive her to take action, and when she channels her Willpower in service of her beliefs, she gains an increase in power and effectiveness.
Virtues are special aspects that can be invoked for free once per story when the Scion is acting in such a way as to promote their virtue. This benefit comes at a price, however.
The Disadvantages of Virtues
A chosen Virtue represents a Scion’s deep commitment to the ideals of her divine parent. The deeper the commitment is, however, the harder it becomes for a Scion to resist acting according to her beliefs, even when such action might be dangerous or unwise.
When a Scion struggles against her Virtues, she is not only betraying herself but the expectations of her divine parent. Her ichor seethes in her veins as she tries to act in a way that she knows is wrong. The stronger her beliefs are, the greater the pressure brought to bear against her becomes. If her resolve fails, she risks losing control of her actions, as she’s carried away in a storm of grief and remorse.
When a character spends a fate point to resist a virtue compel, the character must make a Charisma test (the character’s self-image is challenged by their own failing) at a difficulty of the character’s permanent Legend score. If the roll fails the character is subject to a virtue flaw. These are like psychotic breaks, where the character takes his virtue to extremes. For the remainder of the session the Virtue is replaced by the character’s Virtue Flaw, and the GM gains a free compel once per scene on the Flaw. The player must still spend Fate Points as usual to resist the compel.
This section describes each of the Virtues found in Scion, and gives an example Virtue Flaw. These Virtue Flaws can be used as is, or a character can use them as a guideline to design their own flaw.
Conviction represents a person’s selﬂess devotion to a cause, as well as her willingness to take any measures necessary to further her cause or to take action against those who oppose her beliefs. The exact nature of the cause varies from Scion to Scion. It could be a passionate belief in environmental issues or social justice, or a belief in the supremacy of one’s pantheon above all others, for example. Whatever the cause, it must be something that will have a major impact on the lives of mortals or other Scions. Players are encouraged to work closely with their Storyteller to determine the exact nature of the character’s Conviction.
- Characters use Conviction to: win converts to their cause, resist acts of persuasion or compulsion that go against their beliefs, determine the best course of action in support of their cause, commit heinous acts in support of their beliefs
- Virtue Flaw: Fanatic Zeal. When overcome by the strength of her Conviction, the Scion goes to extreme lengths in defense or support of her cause, regardless of the danger to herself or the suffering she inﬂicts on other people. No one—friend or foe—will stand in her way.
A hero’s worth is measured by the foes he defeats in battle, and Courage measures a Scion’s drive to test his mettle against the deadliest opponents he can ﬁnd. Further, the Scion holds other warriors to his own high standards. Heroes must ﬁght their battles alone and live or die by the skill of their sword-arm. Death is something to be faced stoically, even embraced, for it is better to die in an epic struggle with a worthy foe than to live a callow life without struggle.
- Characters use Courage to: ﬁght powerful foes, resist the effects of supernatural fear or compulsion, take death-defying risks
- Virtue Flaw: Berserker Fury. The Scion is so overcome with shame at his perceived weakness that he ﬂies into a murderous rage, hurling himself at his foes without regard to his own safety.
Duty is the Virtue of service to one’s community, respecting authority and upholding the laws that govern a decent society. Civilization is part of a divine order that ﬂows from the Gods themselves, so it is a Scion’s duty to put aside personal ambition and devote herself to maintaining and contributing to a healthy society. Personal sacriﬁce for the greater good is to be expected and celebrated, for a prosperous and safe society reﬂects its glory on each one of its citizens.
- Characters use Duty to: help those in need, build or repair objects vital to a community, uphold the laws of a community, serve an authority ﬁgure in a time of crisis.
- Virtue Flaw: Morbid Self-Sacriﬁce. The Scion is so mortiﬁed at having contemplated violating the divine order that she goes to extreme lengths of personal self- sacriﬁce to atone for her selﬁshness. She might donate personal possessions or wealth to the community, break ties with her family, seclude herself from the community she “failed,” turn herself over to the authorities to confess any crimes she’s committed, et cetera.
Endurance is one of the hallmarks of the epic hero. She endures hardship beyond mortal limits in order to overcome the challenges arrayed against her. Scions who espouse this Virtue embrace this stoic ideal, taking strength from the suffering they must endure. Instead of wasting time and energy trying to avoid any form of hardship, they grit their teeth and accept what comes. The blows of Fate and foe harden them like hammered iron.
- Characters use Endurance to: resist fear, survive extended bouts of hard physical labor, function for days without rest, endure pain, hunger, thirst and fatigue
- Virtue Flaw: Self-Destruction. The Scion is so horriﬁed at her own weakness that she attempts to purge it through acts of extreme self-punishment, pursuing her goals without regard to personal health, safety or survival.
Great things are expected of those gifted with great power, and Scions have many gifts that can enrich mortal civilization. Expression is the Virtue of artistic excellence, which venerates the musician, the painter, the skald and the storyteller. It is the belief that the creation of art in all its forms is a way of sharing the gifts of the Gods with the mortal World. Many Scions who espouse this Virtue believe that their creations act as a vehicle by which the Gods continue to interact with mankind and continue to nurture their faith in the divine.
- Characters use Expression to: create works of art, repair or restore damaged works of art, assist in musical, theatrical or oratorical performances
- Virtue Flaw: Visceral Shock. The Scion’s extreme reaction to stiﬂing her art (or another’s) pushes her to the opposite extreme. She pours her guilt and self- recrimination into her efforts, pushing the performance into the realm of the vulgar and grotesque. She bends her energies to creating art that scars and horriﬁes her audience.
The essence of Harmony is the belief in a cosmic design, engineered by the Gods, that governs the forces of creation. Even the Gods themselves form but a part of a grander design, fulﬁlling their roles just as mortals do as part of the cycle of existence. Yet, despite its complex intricacies, the cosmic order is not infallible. The actions of Gods, Titans or even mortals can disturb its movement, creating rippling imbalances that spread conﬂict and suffering. Scions who espouse this Virtue see it as a sacred trust to keep the divine order in balance. For them, good and evil are arbitrary terms that can cause more harm than good in the long run. What matters is keeping the scales even, answering order with chaos, violence with peace, death with new life.
- Characters use Harmony to: determine a balanced solution to problems, act in ways that maintain or restore balance in a situation, convince others to alter their actions in the interests of maintaining a balance of forces
- Virtue Flaw: Tyranny of Balance. The Scion goes to extreme measures to restore the balance of outcomes in a given situation, even going so far as to inﬂict harm or suffering on herself or her compatriots if necessary.
Intellect is the Virtue of the mind. It exalts the power of reason as the link that joins the mortal to the divine. Scions who espouse this Virtue believe that raw power must be harnessed to the engines of logic and imagination in order to truly master the secrets of the cosmos. They hone their minds through diligent study, relentless inquiry and vigorous debate, constantly grappling with the myriad riddles of creation and the complexities of everyday life.
- Characters use Intellect to: ﬁnd new solutions to persistent problems, investigate mysterious phenomena, acquire knowledge, persuade others to accept their ideas or theories
- Virtue Flaw: Obsessive Analysis. The Scion’s attempt to blind herself to reason forces her to atone by overanalyzing everything. She becomes powerless to make important decisions as she wracks her brain trying to imagine every contingency and every conceivable outcome from every given course of action.
The abstract ties of citizenship, culture or even religion are nothing compared to the bonds of love, family and friendship. Scions who espouse this Virtue reserve their trust, support and devotion for those who share their blood or have shared in their suffering, from parents to kinsmen to tried-and-true friends. Loyalty is a bond stronger than iron; even the Gods themselves test it at their peril.
- Characters use Loyalty to: ﬁght on behalf of a friend, defend a friend who has been unjustly accused, aid a friend in need
- Virtue Flaw: Blind Devotion. The Scion is so horriﬁed by her attempted betrayal that she will go to extreme lengths to support her friend or kinsman, suffering alongside that person even if said person is proven to be in the wrong.
Scions who espouse the Virtue of Order believe that the rule of law is a gift from the Gods that forms the foundation of mortal civilization. As the bulwark against the threat of anarchy and chaos, laws must be upheld and enforced, even when their applications seem harsh or unjust. For society to function, it must trust in the impartiality of its laws, which demands courage and steadfastness on the part of the lawgivers. To those who believe in Order, there is no relativism or moral ambiguity. There is only the law.
- Characters use Order to: investigate crimes, determine wrongdoing, assess penalties, pursue fugitives, deliver lawbreakers to justice
- Virtue Flaw: Summary Judgment. The Scion takes the law into her own hands, ruthlessly passing sentence—and executing judgment—on those she perceives to be criminals.
Scions who espouse this Virtue exalt and respect their God, their ancestors and the traditions of their forebears, taking strength from the wisdom of the ancients. There is no situation that can’t be addressed by heeding the commandments of the Gods and the deeds of one’s ancestors. Those who break with tradition insult the hard work and sacriﬁce of their predecessors and show a reckless arrogance that can only lead to misfortune.
- Characters use Piety to: employ well-worn ideas or tactics to solve a problem, act in accordance with the wishes of one’s God or family, uphold tradition and custom over innovation, impose the dictates of tradition on another
- Virtue Flaw: Self-Righteousness. The Scion withholds her support or aid from those she deems insufﬁciently pious, even going so far as allowing others to suffer or die as a result.
Valor is the Virtue of the noble warrior. She believes in using her martial skill to defend the helpless, to ﬁght with honor and to offer up her life if necessary in service to a worthy cause. Scions who espouse this Virtue don’t believe in ﬁghting for its own sake. Indeed, they would rather avoid battle unless absolutely necessary, for they’re all too aware of its awful cost. They master the arts of battle so that warlords and tyrants cannot impose their will upon decent folk. They pay the price in blood so others don’t have to. Peace and prosperity are built upon the sacriﬁces of the valorous.
- Characters use Valor to: defend the helpless, defeat those who prey upon the innocent, ﬁght an honorable opponent in battle, resist the effects of fear, pain or fatigue
- Virtue Flaw: Valorous Sacriﬁce. The Scion is so horriﬁed by her perceived cowardice that she must atone for her sins by seeking an honorable death in battle. She attacks her foes with no regard for her personal safety or survival, and ﬁghts until she or her opponents are destroyed.
This Virtue dictates that those who offend the Gods or commit crimes against mankind must be made to suffer in kind, regardless of the cost. Vengeance is not about petty revenge, but a redressing of the cosmic balance, paying back a debt incurred by violating the divine order in some fashion. Scions who espouse this Virtue act upon their beliefs as they see ﬁt. Some take an eye for an eye in straightforward, Biblical fashion. Others ﬁnd more creative punishments for those who have committed crimes against Heaven.
- Characters use Vengeance to: hunt down and punish criminals, discern wrongdoing and assess penalties, investigate crimes and defeat those who oppose her efforts
- Virtue Flaw: Implacable Nemesis. The Scion will go to extreme lengths to punish an offender, making any sacriﬁce necessary—or committing any atrocity—in order to see justice done.