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Mortals, worship and faith are important in Scion Second Edition, or at least they get a focus they didn’t in the edition prior. The gods are still here, in spirit and in fact. Strange peoples walk the World. In the World, the old pantheist religions were never quite overtaken by monotheism, though some weathered the changes better than others. Certainly, the Abrahamic faiths still exist as cultural entities, even if they’re subtly altered by the existence of, well, gods. We talk about worship and cults, and making characters within them – and how that worship affects the gods, both emotionally and metaphysically. Scion Second Edition doesn’t hew to the popular idea that the gods are reliant on, created by, or even wholly defined by worship, but it does talk about how the ideas create constraints for the gods within Fate, and how gods can derive power from worship and sacrifice. This means mechanics for cults and worshippers.
Here’s an excerpt from the First Edition supplement The Yazata, detailing a cult of the Persian gods that inspired a bit of how mortal cults will be treated in the new edition.
Cult of Mithra (Follower •• to •••••, Guide • to •••)
The Cult of Mithras flourished from the 1st to the 4th centuries, A.D., throughout the Roman Empire. Its devotees — mostly Roman legionnaires — spread subterranean Mithraic temples as far from Persia as Britain. As a mystery cult, very little information survives about the specifics of their practices and what meanings their rituals had. Even old writings on the Cult of Mithras are all lost, only known through references to them from other works. This is exactly what the still active Cult of Mithra wants. Mortal historians believe the Cult of Mithras died out in the 4th century. They don’t know about the secret war that caused its decline.
The Dodekatheon had enough of a rival pantheon propagating worship in their territory. Caught between rising mortal belief in Christianity and agents of the Dodekatheon working to root out Mithraic worship within the Roman legions, the Cult of Mithras was forced into hiding. With time, the purge stopped. The Dodekatheon found Christianity more dangerous than the Yazata, and concentrated on preserving memories of their own stories. With a collective sigh of relief, the Cult of Mithras was back in action, albeit greatly deprived of influence and membership. Since then, the Cult of Mithras has worked to rebuild its influence and membership. The wealthy Cult now owns several security firms and a world-wide information network.
Mithraic Cultists have a Melee of 3 and often wield both modern and ancient weaponry (a pistol or rifle along with a hasta or xiphos). If being used as a Guide, the Scion is partnered up with one of the more senior members of the Cult of Mithras, a mortal who knows about the struggle between the Gods and the Titans and has access to an information network dedicated to tracking events related to that struggle.
WHAT ABOUT THE ANAUŠA?
The Anauša (in Scion: Companion, p. 61) are now a mercenary force without the backing of a pantheon; what happened to the relationship between the Yazata and the famous Immortals described by Herodotus? The details of the falling out between the Yazata and the Anauša are unknown except to the two parties, but most trace the Anauša’s departure to the disappearance of Ahura Mazda. If they know what happened to Ahura Mazda, they aren’t talking, yet neither are they working for the Yazata. The Anauša only work with Yazata Scions of the Hero or Demigod levels. Even then, it is for an increased cost: Hero Scions must pay double the Legend cost to summon the Anauša and Demigod Scions must pay quadruple. At God level, the Anauša won’t answer the call. This, of course, only applies to Scions of the Yazata.