Today we’ll be talking about the “Yes, but…” philosophy of gaming. The first time I’ve heard of this was in Exalted, when people were discussing how to run a game where the players were meant to be able to deconstruct a setting the moment they hit the table. Exalts were demigods, divinely powered humans given the means to enact sweeping changes to Creation the moment they were exalted by the gods.
Given the sheer nature of the game, it was a slight paradigm shift. Suddenly, rather than Level 1 characters who fought rats for experience points, the basic starting character was more than able to hurl an Ox-Cart onto a group of guards, or easily dispatch of a sorceror terrorizing a village by summoning a demon to wale on them.
Many GMs didn’t exactly know how to deal with this, and were therefore forcing their tried and true methods: throw bigger opponents. Just to somehow even the odds, GMs were throwing lesser gods, elemental dragons, and entire armies at new characters, just to somehow reassert the older philosophy of gaming. Same old stuff… bigger scale.
In reaction to this, a group of other GMs realized that the power level of the player characters was deliberate. Rather than fight this sudden increase of power by slapping down even more points on the villains, these GMs figured that the game was all about the consequences. It enabled large scale change because it was about What Happens Next.
And so the same goes for Scion. As children of the Gods, even starting Scions can pick up a car and swat some gangbangers with it if properly motivated. With the change in setting to a modern-day one, a whole new can of worms opens. Religious persecution or worship, Advertising opportunities, Politics, the Military, the Media… people hoping to become children of gods too, strange secret sex cults revolving around these godlings, hoping that perhaps their children might bear the spark of greatness too. These are the things that spring forth from the actions of the players.
The game is bigger than them not because the monsters are huge (which they are), or just because of combat. The game is big because all of a sudden the world is watching the Scion’s every move, judging them, worshipping them, emulating them.
At it’s very core, the “Yes, but…” mentality of running is one that revolves around permission:
“I swat the guy with a backhand that twists his head around thrice and declare myself the new President of this country!”
“Sure.” the GM answers, but then follows up with the complications of ruling a country, other ambitious scions doing the same to others, and the power struggles that happen next. Rebel Scions might believe that it is not their place to do this, while others realize that the first was on to something… if they can hold the title.
It’s the complications that fuel these stories and games, and I feel that this is the path that would suit me best in Scion. Given the nature of the characters, and the players, this should prove to be very interesting indeed as they struggle to push the agendas of their parents, all while balancing their personal lives, public appearances, and how they handle the mortals that stand in awe of them.