Stranger than Fiction
Character Creation and Advancement
Starting characters begin at Legend 3, with ten unspent Bonus Points. Legend is never bought, neither with Bonus Points nor with XP; it is awarded by the ST based on deeds done, missions completed, and role-playing fervor. Multiple characters do not necessarily increase their Legend at the same time; each character’s progress towards the next dot of Legend is individually tracked.
The limit of permitted Epic Attribute squares has changed. Epic Attribute squares may now be equal to Legend dots, instead of one less as previously written. Knacks are still taken for each square of an Epic Attribute.
All purviews are now bought in the same way, and the cost for a Boon no longer changes depending on the type of purview. There is no longer any cost difference between the costs of Boons from the Pantheon-Specific Purview, Magic, Mystery, Prophecy, and other purviews (with the exception of cost differences based on whether a purview is an associated power or not). Boons must be bought in order; i.e., a player must buy a level two boon before being able to buy a level three boon in the same purview.
When buying a one-dot Boon with XP, the Boon costs 5 XP (or 4 XP if it is from a favored purview).
Two-Dot Boons and Higher
To learn any Boon rated two dots or higher, you must learn at least one Boon from each previous level of the same purview.
When buying a two-dot or greater Boon with XP, the Boon costs 5 XP (or 4 XP if favored) times the Boon’s dot value. If you already know a Boon from the same purview and the same dot value, the new Boon’s XP cost is calculated as if it were one dot lower than its actual rating.
- For example, Heart of the Maze (a three-dot Psychopomp Boon) normally costs 15 XP, or 12 XP for a Scion for whom Psychopomp is a favored purview. However, for a Scion who already knows Unbarred Entry (also a three-dot Psychopomp Boon), Heart of the Maze costs only 10 XP (or 8 XP if favored).
Industry: Industry is considered an all-purpose purview and may be bought by any Scion. (Industry Purview from John’s Scion Resources)
This section lists the available Relic powers and their Birthright costs. Players should still consider inventing new powers from beyond this list (and are encouraged to do so), but the powers on this basic list do not require individual ST approval. In general, the more strongly a given Relic is linked to myth or divine origin, the better it is (and the more likely it is that related special powers will be okayed).
- Purview Access: (one dot per purview enabled)
- Purview Enhancement: (one dot per point of enhancement per purview, and the Relic must already provide access for that purview) — This Relic power may be bought multiple times for any given purview. Each dot of Purview Enhancement adds one autosuccess to the Scion’s activation roll for Boons of that purview. In addition, when any power factors in the amount of Boons from that purview the Scion knows, the Scion treats that value as one point higher per point of Purview Enhancement. (For example, Agni’s Torch is a four-dot Relic cigarette lighter, with one dot spent to access Fire and three dots of Purview Enhancements for Fire. A Scion with this Relic adds three autosuccesses to all Fire Boon activation rolls, and is considered to know three more Fire Boons than he actually does for purposes of Creative Spark, Blazing Weapon, and any other Fire Boons which take that value into account.)
- Reliable Relic: (one dot) — A Relic with this power always has what it needs to function (a motorcycle that never runs out of gas, a smartphone that always gets a signal, a flashlight that never burns out or needs a new battery, etc.) If any supernatural effect attempts to stop a Reliable Relic from performing its basic function (such as if a rival Scion attempts to extinguish a Relic flashlight with divine Darkness), the defending Scion adds the Reliable Relic’s dot value to her resistance.
- Ability Bonus: (one dot per Ability) — Each Relic with this power is associated with a particular Ability, and with a specific special case of that ability (Command and ordering troops during a raging battle, Empathy and detecting lies, Animal Ken and interacting with birds of prey, etc.). A Relic with this power provides its user with one bonus die on all rolls involving the selected Ability, unless the situation is covered under the specific special case of that Ability, in which case the Relic instead provides one bonus die per dot of its owner’s Legend. (For example, Hades’ Helm of Darkness adds its user’s Legend as extra dice to all Stealth rolls made to hide in shadows, and one bonus die to all non-shadow-related Stealth rolls.) This power is not for use with attacking Abilities (Melee, Brawl, Marksmanship, or Thrown); enhancements for those Abilities are covered under Powers for Relic Weapons, below.
- Transformation: (one dot or two dots) — Use this cost guideline for any Relic that can transform into something else (a spear that becomes a hairpin, a lute that becomes a pen, etc.). This power is worth one dot if the Relic’s user must pay 1L+1W to change its form, or two dots if the transformation costs nothing.
- Inseparable: (one dot) — Use this cost guideline for any Relic the Scion can’t be involuntarily parted with under normal circumstances (a mystic tattoo that accesses a purview, a weapon that appears in the Scion’s hand at will, etc.). Normally this category is reserved for Relics that are part of a Scion’s body (or that replace a part of a Scion’s body); Relics that come when called cost 1L+1W to summon.
- Birthright Access: (one dot per specific Birthright linked to this Relic)
Powers for Relic Weapons
In this section, the term “weapon” is used loosely, and can refer to any Relic that affects its user’s attacks. For example, a Scion can have a pair of boxer’s handwraps that enhance his unarmed attacks; such a Relic would be built with the weapon guidelines despite being used for weaponless attacks.
- Enhanced Accuracy: (one dot per autosuccess added to this weapon’s attack rolls)
- Enhanced Damage: (one dot per autosuccess added to this weapon’s damage rolls)
- Enhanced Speed: (varies) — Reducing a weapon’s Speed from 6 to 5 costs one dot; reducing Speed from 5 to 4 costs two dots. (You may do both, to buy a weapon’s Speed down from 6 to 4 for a total three-dot cost.) No weapon may have a Speed lower than 4.
- Lethal Damage: (one or two dots) — This power allows a weapon to inflict lethal damage even though weapons of its type normally inflict bashing damage. The one-dot version allows the weapon’s wielder to spend 1L+1W to empower the weapon to cause Lethal damage until the end of the scene (by sprouting thorns, becoming wreathed in flame, attuning itself to the wielder’s spirit, etc.). The two-dot version makes the weapon inflict lethal damage all the time.
- Enhanced Parrying: (one dot per +1 bonus to weapon’s Parry DV) — Melee weapons only. Note that this bonus does not affect the part of the DV equation that is divided in half. Dots spent in this way increase DV at a 1:1 ratio.
- Enhanced Range: (one dot per x2 multiplier to range) — Ranged weapons only. Multipliers from multiple dots of this power are cumulative; a weapon with three dots of range enhancement has its range doubled three times: i.e., its base range is increased eightfold.
- Unlimited Ammunition: (one dot) — Ranged weapons only. A weapon with this power never runs out of ammunition and never needs to be reloaded. (This may be considered a special case of the general “Reliable Relic” power, above.)
- Special Effects: (one dot) — This power changes a weapon’s appearance in remarkable ways (for example, one dot spent here gives you a blade made out of unmelting ice, a shotgun that fires thunder and lightning, etc.), but these effects are usually cosmetic and have no direct effect on the weapon’s combat effectiveness – they’re just cool. Under special circumstances, the ST may decide that a special effect has a more concrete benefit (or drawback).
Powers for Relic Armor
Most Relics that provide bonuses to soaks or DVs fall under this section, whether they are technically “armor” or not. These Relics are handled differently upon whether they cover the body in an armor-like way (say, a Relic tuxedo that provides a bonus to soaks), block attacks in a shield-like way, or neither (in the case of a lucky coin that increases its holder’s DVs).
Armor-like Relics get the basic stats of a comparable mundane piece of armor for free with the first dot; any additional enhancements are added onto the base armor stats. Non-armor-like Relics receive no base stats, and their enhancements are applied to a starting point of zeroes. As a result, armor-like Relics offer more protection for the same cost, while non-armor-like Relics still provide protection while being less cumbersome, less obtrusive, and less predictable than bulkier suits of protective gear.
- Enhanced Soaks: (variable cost) — A protective Relic’s soak value may be increased in two ways, either or both of which may be bought multiple times for the same Relic:
- For one dot, the Relic’s offered bashing and lethal soaks increase by one.
- For two dots, the Relic’s offered bashing, lethal, and aggravated soaks increase by one.
- Enhanced Deflection: (one dot per extra point of Dodge DV)
- Enhanced Flexibility: (one dot per one-point Mobility and Fatigue reduction) — Each dot spend on this power reduces both an armor-like Relic’s Fatigue and Mobility penalties by one point each.
- Bulletproof: (one dot) — This upgrade makes a Relic offer Bulletproof protection if it didn’t already (i.e., it negates the Piercing quality of firearms and certain other attacks).
Powers for Relic Vehicles
Note that, where appropriate, these vehicle upgrades can also be applied to Birthright Creatures meant to be ridden.
- Enhanced Speed: (one dot per doubling) — Each dot spent on Enhanced Speed doubles the base vehicle’s top speed and maximum rate of acceleration.
- Enhanced Durability: (one dot per upgrade) — Each dot spent on Enhanced Durability adds two points to the vehicle’s bashing and lethal soaks, and grants the vehicle one extra health level.
- Alternate Mode of Travel: (one dot per extra mode of travel) — Use this power to create a Relic truck that can drive on the surface of water, or a Relic motorcycle that uses the night sky as its highway.
- Bottomless Fuel Tank: (one dot) — A vehicle with this power never needs to be refueled. (This may be considered a special case of the general “Reliable Relic” power, above.)
- Divine Vehicle: (variable cost) — Whenever its driver uses a travel-related Boon (such as Wind’s Freedom, Unbarred Entry, or Open Underworld Portal), a vehicle with this power follows along, taking any passengers with it. This upgrade’s cost varies according to the vehicle’s size and the number of passengers it could reasonably accommodate. For a vehicle that could carry no passengers or one passenger (such as a motorcycle, horse, or skateboard), this upgrade costs one dot. For a vehicle that could carry two to five passengers (such as a car, chariot, rowboat, or small helicopter), this upgrade costs two dots. For larger vehicles with greater capacity (including buses, ocean liners, 747’s, and subway trains), this upgrade costs three dots.
Followers, Creatures, and Guides
Because they are swept up in the wake of a Scion’s own Legend, all Followers, Creatures, and Guides gain Legend scores of their own, increasing them over time as the Scion does. The Legend score of such Birthrights scales based on the number of individuals. If a Scion has a single Follower, Creature, or Guide, it has a Legend score equal to the Scion’s Legend minus two. If the Scion has two to five Followers, Creatures, or Guides, they each have Legend equal to her Legend score minus three. Scions with more than five Followers, Creatures, and Guides find that those companions have Legend equal to her own Legend score minus four.
Followers and Creatures
For simplicity’s sake, these companions have a few “always on” powers appropriate to their type, and do not have any abilities that must be deliberately activated.
Characters may choose powerful supernatural beings (the Eight Immortals, Malinalxochitl, Thoth, etc.) as Guides, generally representing the idea that something powerful has taken an interest in that Scion’s future. Such Guides do not offer the full depth and scope of their knowledge; they may be too busy, too cryptic, or too consumed by their own motives to be as helpful as a Scion might prefer. Since such individuals have Legend scores of their own, those values do not scale with a Scion’s own Legend, but a Scion will still find that as his own Legend grows, his powerful Guides will have the time, interest, and trust to keep him more in the loop.
Bonus XP Package
Each character can earn a one-time award of up to 15 XP by filling in various extra information about the character. These contributions don’t have to be done all at once, and they don’t have to be completed before the start of play. If you want to make a portrait right away, but you end up saving your character history until later, that’s fine— you’ll get credited for each component as it is completed. The Bonus XP Package is worth 10 XP in all, broken down as follows:
- 1 XP for a 100×100px “user icon”-style image for your character, for wiki use. (I’ll be glad to help if you want a border in the style of the gods’ similar pictures on this wiki.)
- 1 XP for a general character history: your childhood, your life before your Visitation, what you’ve been doing as a Scion up to the point where the game begins, whatever you like.
- 1 XP for a description of your Visitation, and a few sentences about your relationship with your divine parent. (Does that god approve of you? Do you approve of him/her?)
- 1 XP for an in-depth description of one of your Relics or other Birthrights. What great heroes owned it before you did? In what past deeds of legend did it have a role? How did it come into your possession?
- 1 XP for descriptions of at least three significant mortals you know. These can be family members, childhood friends you haven’t spoken to in years, close confidants who know your true heritage, business partners, romantic interests, whatever you like. Expect them to show up during the course of the game.
- 1 XP for a list of at least three gods who may have taken an interest in your character, even if your character doesn’t know it yet. (This list should not include your Divine Parent, and should include at least one god from a pantheon that is not your own.) Do these gods approve (or disapprove) of your actions so far? Do they have big plans for you? Expect them to show up during the course of the game.
- 1 XP for an in-character description of the each of the other player’s Scions in the game. How do you feel about your colleagues? Do you approve of their methods or find them distasteful? Do you have any common ground with any of them? What’s most likely to generate conflict between you and each of the others?
- 1 XP for a general notion on what you’re eventually going to become the God or Goddess of, if you make it that far. (It’s perfectly okay if this changes over the course of the game.)
- 1 XP for a literary- or mythological-style theme that you want to feature prominently in your character’s Legend. (Examples: “death and rebirth”, “pride cometh before a fall”, “a gentle lie vs. a harsh truth”, “if it seems too good to be true…”, etc.)
- 1 XP for art of your character.
- 5 XP for a character OST. Minimum 7 tracks. (Personal themes, songs for how they feel about others, etc.)
The Demigod Template
In addition to the other effects of the Demigod template, characters also gain three extra Virtue dots which they must distribute among their pantheon’s Virtues, because their strengthening divine ichor takes firmer hold over their actions and ethics.
The God Template
Once again, as with the Demigod template, characters who become Gods also gain three extra Virtue dots which must be distributed among their pantheon’s Virtues.
New gods gain an ability common to all their kin: the power to hear the prayers of supplicants. Whenever any other person, mortal or divine, address the new god aloud and by name (or by any of the god’s epithets), he or she hears that prayer across any distance or obstacle. Only actual prayers are picked up by this power— even the uncertain and doubting prayers of skeptics are heard by the gods, but merely mentioning a god’s name aloud, without any intent to communicate with the deity, will generally go unnoticed.
Divine Apotheosis Associated Powers
Upon divine transcendence, the fledgling god develops a finer, more personal command over the ichor of divinity within his veins, and concretely establishes himself as a Legend in his own right, no longer merely in the shadow of his divine parent. As part of this process, his associated powers change, coming more closely into alignment with the new god’s person aptitudes, as distinct from his august heritage.
Gods actually have two lists of associated powers, which usually overlap but need not be identical. Each god has a list of powers which he will pass own to his own Scions, as well as a list of powers he himself personally wields with increased effect.
Powers Inherited By Scions
This list of powers does not affect the new god directly; instead, it is the list of powers his Scions may count as associated. (This is the same list posted on each of the gods’ pages, for use by Scions of those gods.) This list is determined by depth of investment; the epic attributes and purviews the god has invested the most experience in are the ones he passes on to his Scions.
This list, at Legend 9, starts with three items: the god’s pantheon-specific purview, highest-rated epic attribute, and highest-rated purview. Besides the PSP, this list can contain up to two epic attributes and two purviews at Legend 10, up to three of each at Legend 11, and an unlimited number at Legend 12. In order to actually add a second epic attribute or purview, however, it must be rated at least 9 dots. To add a third of either, it must be rated 10 dots, and all epic attributes and purviews beyond the third must be purchased up to the Ultimate or Avatar level to be passed on to Scions.
Note that your Scions are also affected by the “choose eight” rule. If you have more than eight powers to pass along to your Scions as associated powers, they choose eight from that pool.
Powers Wielded Personally by the God
These powers count as associated powers for the new deity’s personal use: whether he can buy them at an XP discount, whether he can use purviews without a relic at hand, and so on— all the functions of the Scion’s associated powers before he attained godhood.
Start with a clean slate: only the new god’s pantheon-specific purview is associated by default.
To this list, at Legend 9, add one epic attribute inherited from the divine parent, one purview inherited from the divine parent, and three additional epic attributes or purviews of the new god’s choice.
Each time the god’s Legend increases, he adds one more epic attribute or purview to this list. This means that at Legend 9, he has five associated powers (plus the PSP), but by Legend 12, that list has swelled to eight.