So... this is an idea I've sort of had percolating in my head for a while.
It draws inspiration heavily from White Wolf's Scion game-- indeed, some of the characters I have bouncing around my head are ones I created while trying out the character creation-- and I suppose also from the Percy Jackson books. (Not the movie. God no.)
The PCs would be the children of the ancient gods-- what pantheon is up to the players, but it would have to be a legit pantheon, no made-up ones, and sorry, but the Elder Gods/Great Old Ones/Outer Gods would not be present.
Naturally, they'd be banding together to go around fighting monsters and stopping the Titans (them as came before the gods) from wreaking havoc and taking over/destroying the world.
While the idea is based off Scion-- and I'd certainly be drawing heavily from it-- I wouldn't be requiring dice rolls and such to determine damage or things like that. There would have to be limitations on what abilities/relics/etc. the PCs would have, of course.
Limitations are key in the early going. Or, if a character has a lot of power, there have to be other drawbacks to it. Balance, y'know.
The New Time of Legends
The world as you know it is not all it appears. In this time of science and rational thinking, no one gives much thought to myths and legends. Those are all just old stories, told to explain the things that unenlightened men didn’t understand.
All myths are true.
The gods are real. They helped shape the world and guided early Man to create civilization. They did this to help drive back the advance of the Titans-- the unfathomably powerful entities that represent the fundamental forces of reality-- which threatened to destroy the fragile world that the gods had created. The Titans were defeated and bound away in the Underworld, in the Durance Vile, the Great Prison of the Underworld, which Greek men called “Tartarus.”
However, some time in the past-- no one is sure when, but at least in the last three hundred years-- the Great Prison was broken. The Titans-- the catch-all term for all of the wicked creatures, monsters, and specters bound within along with them-- escaped. The Titans count among their number the Frost and Fire Giants, the Oni, the Fomor, and most of the "evil" creatures of ancient myth.
The Titans have bided their time since their escape. Their goals are mysterious-- not even their most trusted lieutenants know what they are-- but one thing is clear: if they overthrow the gods, mankind will be the worse off for it!
But the gods have found themselves trapped in a binding, of sorts. If they ride out in force to drive back the Titans, they could do just as much damage-- both literally and figuratively-- to the World that the ruling gods of each pantheon have sworn not to do so. The Titans battle the gods on the celestial planes, but their lieutenants and minions are in the world, and must be stopped.
Where You Come In
The gods are known to have had dalliances with mortals. Look no further than any ancient myth or legend or story of heroes-- from the strong who fought monsters and slew them in battle, to the cunning who tricked the devils into jars or chests, to the charismatic who rallied the people and defeated evil tyrants. Most of them were the children of the gods.
In these modern times, the mundane folk don’t believe in the gods so much, and publicly announcing one’s heritage will lead to ridicule at best and institutionalization at worst. And showing off one’s abilities could lead to a panic and a fearful response from the mortal authorities. Both the gods and the Titans want to avoid waking the “sleeping giant” of the mundane awareness of them.
So both sides must work in secret, the Titans corrupting mortals or other divine children to their cause to work as their front men, while the gods recruit their children to fight them as well.
Mankind does have a “perception filter” over things they can’t explain in these times. In the past, they might have thought they were witnessing something godly. These days, they’ll come up with some other explanation to fit their worldview. This can happen on a broad scale, as well, giving both sides of the Divine War some leeway. But don’t push it.
The various pantheons have ... chilly relations, to be blunt. Each pantheon thinks of themselves as The One True Divinity, of course, but they grudgingly accept the existence of the others at the moment because, well, they're at war, and they need all the allies they can get.
There's always going to be some butting of heads when gods of various purviews bump into each other. (Thor and Zeus almost always come to blows, likewise the various war gods.) There are some exceptions to this. The gods and goddesses of love tend to get on well-- sitting around sipping divine nectar and swapping stories-- as do the trickster gods, albeit the latter love to pull pranks on one another. The earth gods tend to get drunk together and complain about pollution. Gods who favor strategy and cunning get along all right, but there's always a game of one-upmanship going on between them. The gods of the sea? A tossup, as they're as mercurial as their home.
The Divine Pecking Order
At the top of the ladder, there are the Greater Titans
. These entities are unfathomable, even to the gods, and they encompass the entirety of a single force of reality: Light, Darkness, Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Order, Chaos, et cetera. Long imprisoned by the Gods in the Great Prison of the Underworld, they are freed now, but are slow to act, stretching their ancient muscles after their captivity. They have no desires that we can understand but to be free to act.
Next come the Titans
, who each represent a particular aspect of the Greater Titan of which they are a part. The Titans have intelligence and desires that are more understandable, and these are the entities which are dangerous, for they seek outright revenge on the Gods for being imprisoned. They are the entities that seek to reshape, control, and/or destroy the world as they see fit.
Roughly on par with the Titans are the Divinity
, the Gods themselves. Since antiquity, they have overseen the running of the world, but in these modern times, belief in the gods has waned considerably, so some are not as powerful as they might have once been. Still, they are more than capable of battling the Titans, but it is taking the majority of their concentration to keep them in check.
are just below the Divinity in terms of power, but their numbers make them formidable. These are the Oni, the Frost Giants, the monsters of myth and legend. There are orders of power within the ranks of the Titanspawn, from their generals all the way down to the grunts. En masse, they are a match even for the Gods, and some are used just for cannon fodder. The generals are far more cunning and much more dangerous, and they work in the world to undermine the Gods' power however they can.
Roughly on par with the mid-range Titanspawn, there are the Divine Children
, such as you, the players. As with the Titanspawn, there are orders of power. There are Unawakened
, children of the gods whose powers have not truly awakened yet, who have not been visited by or been made aware of who their Divine parent is. There are the Scions
, children of the gods like you, who are aware of their heritage and have begun to use their powers to help in the fight. And then there are the Demigods
, the pinnacle of power for those of Divine birth such as you, who are a magnitude of power above you. One can't get more powerful than a demigod without becoming one of the Divine outright.
Finally, there are the mortals
, the mundane folk that populate the world. They are far more numerous than any of the other ranks in the pecking order, and both the Divinity and the Titans regard them as something like a "sleeping giant." Mankind is powerful, collectively, in its own right-- in ways neither the Gods nor the Titans understand. Hence the secrecy of the war. There are agents for both sides-- some aware of who they're serving, some not-- but by and large, mankind is unaware of what is really going on.
GM Rules for the Game
1. Real Life Comes First.
"Rule One" takes precedence over the others. If you're not able to respond right away, that's fine. We won't be going super fast with this, and if you need to bow out for a while because of RL concerns, that's fine. We can either auto-pilot your character for a while, or have them written out temporarily.
2. Be Respectful of Others.
This essentially boils down to "no power gaming." There are some exceptions to this-- which I'll elaborate on later. But basically, if you're dealing with another named character, defer to the judgment of the person running that character.
3. Don't Make Claims Without Consent.
Doubtless your characters have accomplished something
worthy to be considered for the tasks ahead, but be reasonable about them. (e.g., don't run around claiming to have beaten up a god like Loki, or something. Truth be told, nearly everyone manages to punch Loki in the jaw once or twice, but only another god of the Norse pantheon can really beat him down properly.) Also, the Hulk can beat down Loki any time he wants, but the Hulk's not available.
Pantheons of Note
The Olympians (Greek/Roman)
The Loa (Vodoun)
The Aesir (Norse)
The Amatsu-kami (Shinto/Japanese)
The Tuatha (Celtic)
The Celestial Bureaucracy (Chinese)
Passive Divine Abilities
These are abilities that everyone of the Divinity-- which includes their children-- possess.
I Can Sense You, Highlander
(Divine Sense) -- Those of the Divine can sense the presence of another one of their kind in the area. They can't pinpoint them precisely out of a crowd (unless they know them personally), but it means that the children of the gods can sense the presence of another of their kind if they're somewhere close. This does not work, alas, for detecting the Titanspawn. This ability manifests usually as an "itch" in the brain, and can vary sometimes depending on the strength of the other.
Tis Just a Flesh Wound
(Injury Resistance) -- Those with Divine heritage are more naturally resistant to injury and harm. Even an Unawakened scion is tougher than normal. It's not uncommon for there to be collateral damage when scions fight Titanspawn as bodies are thrown through things like furniture and walls, but it's less likely to cause lacerations and contusions and the like.
Just something to note.
: (duh - bonus points if it's a meaningful name or evokes something related to the divine parent)
: (who is the character’s Divine Parent? what pantheon are they from, and what is their purview?)
: (what is/was your character’s day job?)
// NOTE: At the start, you may have up to FIVE (5) Divine Abilities and/or Attributes.
: (Abilities that are beyond the scope of mortal power)
- Focus -- (the children of the gods need some object to use as a focus for their Divine Abilities; trying to use their Divine Abilities without it is much harder)
- (describe a Divine Ability and what it does/allows them to do)
- (describe a Divine Ability and what it does/allows them to do)
: (Attributes are a part of one’s very being, and require no focus object to use. They include physical powers (strength, speed, etc.), mental powers (intelligence, perception, etc.), and even encompass social attributes (charisma, appearance, etc.))
- (describe a Divine Attribute and what it allows them to do)
- (describe a Divine Attribute and what it allows them to do)
(what does your character look like? what’s their personality?)
(what’s your character’s story? did they know about their Divine Heritage growing up? if not, how did they come to find out?)
(feel free to expand on this as you like, give a little insight into when they first came in contact with the Divine.)
: (even the gods aren’t perfect; what flaws does your character have?)
: (what does your character want to do with their Divine Heritage?)
Some examples... If anyone joins in and this actually takes off, Johnny Merc would be a key NPC-- getting the PCs together and delivering "MESSAGES FROM ON HIGH"-- and Mattieu Carrefour would be a semi-major villain.
: Johnny Mercury (“Johnny Merc”) (real name: John Tarmes)
: Son of Hermes, Greek messenger god
: Courier, B-list actor
- Focus -- gold pendant with the astrological sign for Mercury on it
- Up, Up, And Away (Limited Flight) -- Merc can fly for short distances
- Doors Do Nothing (Limited Phasing) -- Merc can walk through a door as if it weren’t there.
- You Can’t Hide From Me (Limited Omniscience) -- Merc, given something attuned to it, can locate anyone/anything, anywhere in the world.
- Movie-Star Good Looks (Appearance) -- Merc’s damn good looking, and he knows it. He can also “turn it off,” to avoid attracting attention, which just makes him regularly handsome.
- Catch Me If You Can (Agility) -- Merc is at least twice as fast as the average mundane.
A tall, handsome man with brown hair, brown eyes, and a million-dollar smile, Johnny Mercury is one of those actors everyone’s heard of (his biggest role was in that summer blockbuster a few years back, “Dead Locked”), but never quite makes it to the A-list. When he walks into a room, cameras flash a bit, and TMZ loves this guy.
He can be overly dramatic out in public, but in private, away from the cameras, he “switches off” and tones it down, generally getting down to business. Johnny Merc is the Divine community’s messenger, delivering messages to the Divines’ children, delivering care packages, and especially for the children of the Greco-Roman pantheon, being the one who delivers the truth about someone’s Divine Heritage. He likes this job, too, since there’s a lower likelihood of being shot at or attacked.
From a young age, Johnny knew he was destined for big things. What they were, he didn’t know. But he was getting in trouble for it, and showing off whenever he could. By the time he hit high school, however, he started to realize he had no idea what to DO with his life.
That changed when he was visited by his father just after graduation. (What, you think it was a coincidence he chose “Johnny Mercury” as his stage name?) After learning the truth, he went to L.A., making bank by being a courier for some movie studios until he got his big break.
Johnny Merc’s reputation for excessive dramatics both on and off the set, plus his “whimsical” tendency to disappear for days or WEEKS at a time (those times when Merc has had to undertake a job for the Divinity, such as delivering something to another child of the gods) are the reasons why no studio trusts him as a leading actor for anything “A-list.”
: Merc’s meant for support, not front-line battle. His natural inclination to dramatics will often come back to bite him in the ass. He’s a big fan of the ladies as well.
: Help support the cause; make it to the “A-list.”
: Mattieu Carrefour
: Son of Kalfu, the "god" of the dark crossroads, master of the wicked spirits of the night
: Grifter, con man, thief
- Focus: Onyx ring.
- The Shadows Are My Friends (Shadowmancy) -- Mattieu can manipulate shadows in his surroundings, but only shadows that he or his shadow are touching. This enables him to partially bind or strike at enemies.
- From Out Of The Shadows (Shadow-step) -- Mattieu can step into a shadow and step out of another within eyesight; shadows must be large enough to encompass him.
- Fool You Once (Illusion Disguise) -- Mattieu can disguise himself or someone/something else with an illusion. Illusion can fool any four senses-- sight is ALWAYS fooled-- but can be broken if the canny sense detects the deception. Divine abilities of detection can also break the illusion, and also make it much harder for Mattieu to fool that person again.
- Snake Charmer (Charisma) -- Mattieu can be very charming, and does inspire the mundane to assist/follow him.
- Feet Don’t Fail Me Now (Agility) -- Mattieu is about half again as fast as the average mundane.
A young man of tanned complexion and dark hair, Mattieu is handsome, but passably so. He appears rather ordinary most of the time, which is how he likes it. His dark eyes are kind, but they unmistakably show how clever he is. He can’t hide the cunning in them. Generally, however, one would not be able to pick him out of a crowd if asked.
The only child of a New Orleans whore, Mattieu Carrefour grew up without any knowledge of his father. He lived on the street, and took to grifting and con jobs to make ends meet, and became quite accomplished at it. It wasn’t until he came of age that he learned the truth, when he found a stranger with a straw hat and a cane who he couldn’t fool with even a simple scam...
His hands flew across the top of the fold-out table and then he spread his hands apart. Finally the cards stopped dancing under his fingers, and he looked up at the smiling stranger. Mattieu didn’t return the smile, and any friendliness in his eyes had evaporated.
“All right,” Mattieu spat. “Find the lady.”
In response, the stranger laughed, a deep dark sound. “Interestin’ tricks you got there, boy,” he chuckled. Mattieu couldn’t place how old the guy was. He was bald, and he leaned on the cane like an aged person, but his face and body looked young. His eyes, though, his eyes seemed unfathomably old. Then the stranger smiled with yellow teeth and held up a hand, a card between his fingers. He flipped it around and showed Mattieu “the lady”-- the Queen of Diamonds.
With a start, Mattieu looked down at the table, flipping over all three cards. Where before there should have been three black cards (the two, the three, and the five of clubs) underneath, all three showed the Ace of Spades. “But I,” the stranger grinned. “I been doin’ this game far longer’n you, boy.”
That was how Mattieu Carrefour first met his father, Kalfu. That was five years ago. Now he’s even better at his cons, and he’s got his eye on the long game.
: Mattieu Carrefour is not a fighter. If forced into a battle, he’ll do whatever he can to get out of it and fast. He’s a manipulator and deceiver foremost.
Our Ragtag Band of Misfits
- "E.J." Emmett Jager - Son of Ma'at (Egyptian) - P.I. - Defender of Truth & Justice
& The American Way <Chanlin>
- Lupo Virtus - Son of Mars (Roman) - MMA Fighter - Proud Warrior Guy <Mytical>
- Jack Childs - Son of Tlaloc (Aztec) - Butcher - Protector of Children <Scorpodael>
- Aiden Mistel - Grandson of Freya (Norse) - Retired financier - Hedonistic Wanderer <Naamah>
- Fiona Black - Daughter of Sun Wukong (Celestial Bureaucracy) - Gambler - Loveable(?) Rogue <Chanlin>
- Hassan Al-Ashraf - Son of Anubis (Egyptian) - Antiquities Dealer - Creepy Cursed Not-Dead Guy <Nearly Ruined>
- Johnny Mercury - Son of Hermes (Greek) - Actor - "MESSENGER OF THE GODS!"
- Paul Hays - Son of Pluto (Roman) - Socialite - Rich Idiot With No Day Job
- Solomon Becker - Son of Sobek (Egyptian) - "Facilitator" - Aussie Hardcase
- Selene Hoffman - Daughter of Thoth (Egyptian) - IT Consultant - Hacker Par Excellence
- Shinihime Raiko "Ko-shi" - Daughter of Izanami (Amatsu-kami) - Artist - She Sees Dead People
- Edana Conner - Daughter of Belisama (Celtic) - Fire-Eater - The Girl on Fire <dragon_wings>
- Deann Hunt - Daughter of Artemis (Greek) - Zookeeper - Huntress & Devoted Daughter <Kheldarson> [REFUSED THE CALL]
- Luke Cooley - Son of Lugh (Celtic) - Drifter - Rebel Without A Cause <KabeRinnaul> [INJURED]
- Saitou Haruko - Daughter of Amateratsu Omikami (Amatsu-kami) - Mangaka - Bright Spark
- Paul Boavista - Son of Quetzalcoatl (Aztec) - Conservationist/Doctor/Surgeon - Well-Intentioned Extremist
- Mattieu Carrefour - Son of Kalfu (Vodoun) - Con Artist & Thief - Sneaky Bastard
- Morgan MacBride - Son of the Morrigan (Celtic) - Terrorist - You Should Be Running. (Seriously. Run.)
- Agatha Riggs - Daughter of Heimdall (Norse) - Scientist - Amoral Madgirl
- Susana Ishii - Daughter of Susano-o (Amatsu-kami) - Criminal - Maniac