Scion: Saints and Monsters Review

I’m back in the world of Scion today with a look at the Player’s Guide book Saints and Monsters. This book is brimming with different possible pathways for your Scion character so let’s see which of them are worth your time!

Saint Characters

You likely already have information on saint characters, since they’re listed as a supernatural path on pages 162-163 of Scion: Origin. There, saints are presented as totally mortal characters (as opposed to fantastical denizens or divinely-infused Scions) but who nonetheless have a strong connection to the divine. Through their lives and Deeds they “resonate with the Virtues of the pantheons,” and you might consider this to be the Origin authors’ sneaky way of including pantheon Virtues in the core rulebook even though full Scions aren’t supported by that book. A saint is therefore a mortal character with a Virtue track that gains increased power, Knacks, and Birthrights like a Scion even though they aren’t part of the gods’ hierarchies. So let’s look at what’s new in Saints and Monsters.

Image © Onyx Path

Let me just say out of the gate that I don’t love the name “saint.” I get that saints are not strictly Christian: African diaspora religions (including the Loa of Haiti pantheon), Buddhism, and Hinduism are three polytheistic traditions that have established saints (in addition to Islamic, Judaic, and Sikh traditions). Other faiths have related terms, like the Taoist Zhenren, but a critique of Scion is that it’s fits worldwide cultures into a (Eurocentric) mold and I think that’s definitely the case here. Mind you, I don’t have a better term in mind so I appreciate the position the authors’ are in here.

Regardless! In Saints and Monsters the options for saints are the same as in Scion: Origin but just more. The general design of saints as Virtue-having non-Scions is the same but the context is clarified that they are recast as “culture heroes [who]… embody the virtues of their culture.” One important, new distinction is that saints draw their Virtues from the cultures they represent and not by a connection to any pantheon. For instance, if a saint’s Virtue track is bounded by Kinship and Egotism (the Virtues of the Theoi) they “need not worship the Theoi nor be Greek.” This puts saints outside the pantheon system which is a neat idea and raises a lot of story options.

Mechanically, saints get a number of new traits which expand on what’s found in Scion: Origin. They have Cardinal Virtue which means they move twice as far on their Virtue tracks due to actions favoring on Virtue or another, which lets them more easily gain the Virtuous condition (when their at one extreme or another). They also represent Humanity’s Finest which formalizes the divide between saints and pantheons: saints can’t be Scions and so they have different relationships with Legend costs. They are instead Culture Heroes which lets them still scale up without Legend and earn advancements alongside their Scion Bandmates.

Image © Onyx Path

At the Heroic tier saints can still do Fatebindings, and while they don’t get the Ear for Prayer or Ichor for Blood that Demigods do, they get even more Fatebindings and can use Divinity Dice while Virtuous. Additionally in this book there are saint-specific Heroic and Immortal Knacks to give them powers of enforcing the Virtues they live for and performing miracles. There are also a few Birthrights that are inspired by saints but could be for any character. It’s worth noting that most saint powers only work when they have the Virtuous condition, which means they are prone to extreme behavior and also lose a lot of weight when knocked off course. For this reason, they seem like really great antagonists but I’m not personally interested in trying them out as a character.

Prophet Characters

Like saints, Prophets are something you are likely to already have but here they gain a lot of expanded material. Originally, the supernatural path of Prophet was found in Scion: Hero (p. 316) and a related path of the Cassandra (p. 316-317). In Saints and Monsters, this is clarified with the Prophet being the baseline and having the option of Prophetic Destinies. If you’re playing a Prophet, you can choose from six different Destinies (the baseline, the Cassandra, and four new ones) that determine what sort of track your Prophet is on. An Architect is a Prophet using their gift of foresight to railroad Fate into a certain pathway to ensure or prevent some future. A Herald is focused in on the destiny of a particular person or group (possibly the PCs’ Band) whose Legend increases as their focus does cool stuff. A Miracleworker is able to force the strands of Fate, weaponizing destiny, but pushing things carries a possible backlash. Lastly, Oracles are able to clearly see the future and get answers from the Storyguide fairly often to aid her friends. Each Prophetic Destiny comes with (non-tiered) Knacks to gain.

Image © Onyx Path

A Prophet character combines these six flavors of Prophetic Destiny with a Prophetic Purpose, a special fourth Path that gives the Prophet a tie to some other part of the World. A Prophet of the Patron/Pantheon/Purview gains their prophetic abilities from a particular god, pantheon, or divine source which gives them extra Birthrights. A Prophet of the People/Land/Culture is instead the product of a group of people who support them or a powerful site, and they have a strong mechanical benefits on related rolls as a result. Lastly, a Prophet of the Chosen/Cursed/Exiled is supporting a particular companion like Merlin with young Arthur.

Obviously, the last works best with the Herald Destiny but the mechanics are different and it can work with any of them. It’s not entirely clear but it should be possible to have a Prophet with no purpose (mechanically I mean, you don’t want a boring, aimless character) so in that sense there are 24 different types of Prophet you could have. This is great news because, unlike saints, I would absolutely love to play a Prophet in an upcoming Scion game. Watch out for the Oracle of Blog Writers, future games.

Image © Onyx Path


I really love the inclusion of Denizens in Scion 2e, not least because I love my cú sith Mac so deeply. In Saints and Monsters, a whole slew of new Denizen options to make non-human characters at any Scion tier. While the supernatural paths in other books sometimes include persistent conditions and sometimes don’t, all of these do and I think that makes them better.

First up are the Animal-Headed Creatures, a catch-all Path that can accommodate anything from a fully bestial creature like an Anzû to a creature with a human body and an animal head like a minotaur. A Water Spirit is an elemental creature of water like a nixie or rusalka with powers to match (and the possibility of Drowning in Air if they are too long out of the water). Winged creatures are able to soar through the air, something that would be incredible in most games but is mostly “neat” in Scion.

I’m very excited to see a Fair Folk path covering all sorts of fey creatures from faeries to djinn, with variants covering Hidden Folk (magically secluded beings) and Little Folk (physically small beings). Likewise, Giants will cover any large being from ogres and daityas to fomorians and cyclopses. Underfolk are for underground beings who dig and (sometimes) craft. Lastly, the Centaur from Scion: Hero is repeated and expanded here, as an example of a “partially-humanoid Denizen,” with variations for lamia, centaurs with motorcycle bodies, and an expanded nuckelavee. For “nonhumanoid Denizens” we get the Sphinx with variations for lamassu and a joint variant for Japanese komainu and Ryukyuan shīsā as well as Chinese shishi. There’s a catch-all Path for Magical Animals Who Really Shouldn’t Be, particularly prevalent in the legends of the Shén, and a demonic Path for Rakshasa who contend with the Devá.

Image © Onyx Path

Obviously there’s some overlap between, say, Underfolk and Fair Folk in terms of where certain creatures fit but it’s also possible to combine two Denizen Conditions (and Knack lists) into hybrid Paths. Things really get interesting (and customizable) with the inclusion of Denizen Purviews representing the powers of these legendary creatures. Earth Friend, Illusions, Lair, Obdurance (standing by your sworn oath), Transformation, Water Friend, and Wind Friend all are written with Denizens in mind, though Scions (and others) could access them through Birthrights. The chapter ends with advice on Storytelling Denizens and an example of Character Creation, both of which really help to iron out the process.


Oh where was this one when I started with Carolyn Jeckens?!? I’ve been saying since way back in my Scion: Origin review that sorcerers would make a great addition to Scion to round out the Origin Tier options, and the Sorcerer Supernatural Path (Origin, p. 158) does not cut it at all.

Sorcerers channel their spells through Motifs, styles of spell work that add to their power when they can manage it. At Origin Tier a Sorcerer has one Motif but they gain another at each of the others (Hero, Demigod, and God). All pantheons have an associated Motif (such as the list found on Scion: Hero, p. 237) and Sorcerers can pick from these as their magical Motifs or from the list of magical tradition Motifs provided in Saints and Monsters: Amulets (such as curse tablets), Benandanti, Chaos Magick, Goetic Sorcery, Necromancy, Daoist Neidan practice, Afro-Caribbean Obdeah, and Japanese Onmyodo. I love that the direction here is specific practices to go along with the real world pantheons, rather than general magical hand-waving, and it shouldn’t be much work to make new ones.

Image © Onyx Path

These Motifs are combined with Sources of Power, and four are listed in this book (though inventing new ones seems easy): Invocation (temporarily masquerading as a God), Patronage (striking a bargain with an entity), Prohibition (self-imposing rules to accrue power), and Talisman (a Relic providing magical access). Each of these provide points of Legend which they use to power Workings, broad categories of spells that take the place of a Scion’s Purviews. There are five Workings, each containing Techniques (similar to Boons) and Charms (simple, always-available abilities like Miracles). Sorcerers start knowing one Working and the inherent (read “starter”) Technique at Legend 0 and they gain another Working at Legend 1, Legend 5, and Legend 9. New Techniques are bought at 10xp a pop.

The five Workings are Binding (which includes love spells and curses), Divining, Summoning, Wonderment (“the magic of folk- and fairytales”), and Shapechanging. Sorcerers can also use Ritual Sorcery to supercharge their spells and they can lift another being’s magical effects using lengthy Rituals. These are all the powers that Sorcerers have, though, as they don’t have Purviews or even Callings (and therefore Knacks)! The abilities of Workings are fairly broad, though, and as the Storyteller advice says here they have a wide range of game options from Sorcerer-only Bands to integrating with any other type of being.

Image © Onyx Path

Titanic Scions

The fifth big character type explored in Saints and Monsters is Titanic Scions. These, of course, got a lot of attention already in Titanomachy which includes all the rules you would need to make a Titanic Scion including new Callings and Knacks (which I demonstrated with a few Titanic Scions of my own). So what’s new here? Well, just as with Saints and Prophets, the Titanic Scions here are expanded from the original material both mechanically and narratively. The Collateral Rule (found in the Titanomachy Appendix) is a big part of playing a Titan-blooded character so it gets repeated in Saints and Monsters, but the Titanic Callings (Adversary, Destroyer, Monster, Primeval, and Tyrant) are only given by name. Technically you don’t need more than that since you can just make up your own Calling Skills and Failure/Adoption Deeds (or just pick non-Titanic Callings) but it’s a weird missing part of this.

What we do get is a collection of new Heroic and Immortal Knacks based on the five Titanic Callings. These are good collections (the Monster Knacks are particularly good at expanding the Calling), though I did note at least one repeated Knack on each list. Of more interest to me, though, is the new rule of Epicenters, powerful area effects that roll off Titanic Scions. These constantly active effects are instead of Innate Powers (though you can buy those with xp) and are based on the Purviews the Scion has access to. A Titanic Scion with the Artistry and Earth Purviews, for example, will find themselves powerfully taken in by your performances or art and the earth around you will heave up to provide cover if you are attacked. Importantly, there are also downside effects that will make your life more complicated. That same Scion will also find it harder to hide their motivations since they’re so artistically expressive and their protective earth abilities (which are involuntary) will also damage their surroundings in earthquakes. Epicenters add an element of chaos and uncontrolled power to Titanic Scions that really marks them as different from those with divine parents.

Image © Onyx Path

The next section covers Titanic Demigods, with the interesting story element that Titans often hide this path from their children. The last thing a Titanic parent wants is competition so the step into Apotheosis is where many Titanic Scions pull away from their Titanic parents and look elsewhere for guidance. Mechanics-wise they follow the same Demigod rules, substituting an Epicenter for an Innate Power if it comes up in the rules, and they can embrace their monstrous side and avoid dying of Apotheosis doesn’t work out for them. There are also Titanic Mutations which are powerful, double-edged gifts you can design for your Titanic Scion. I really like these and will absolutely be using these for my own Titanic characters, but they also seem like they add complexity without a good story pay-off. I’m torn.

There are some Storyguide bits of advice and steps for Titanic Scion character creation, but in the end I’m not sure the layout of this section works out. Certainly, combining this chapter with the rules in Titanomachy leaves you with a fantastic ruleset for Titanic Scion characters that play and feel very differently from other Scions. But if you only have Titanomachy you’re missing out on some of the coolest bits of playing a Titanic Scion, and if you only have this book you’re missing a lot of the basics for Titanic Scions. I think bottom line is that if you want to play a Titanic Scion get both, and if you’re a Storyguide and want Titanic Scion NPCs get Titanomachy. If you only have this book… I guess work with what’s here and maybe think about expanding to Titanomachy next.

New Callings, Edges, and System Options

This book also has a few different rules options for your Scion game. This is primarily a player-focused book but these sections are for both players and Storytellers in crafting the sort of Scion experience you want in your chronicle.

Image © Onyx Path

First up are two new Callings to expand on the archetypes for character creation. The Outsider is a “black sheep” who doesn’t have the same place in their group that other Scions do, while the Shepherd is a “hype-up person” who support others through difficult journeys and moments. Both of these Callings come with both Knacks (Heroic and Immortal) and all the usual lists of keywords and skills. It’s great having this expansion of character types, and since there are Example Gods listed you can include these in the lists of established pantheons as characters choose from their divine patron’s Calling list (although it’s not nearly as convenient adding these on). A small extra addition for Scion characters is a Magic Purview, which has some specific rules for interacting with Sorcerers and manipulating Fate.

There are also Edges, which apparently come from Trinity Continuum, another Storypath game which I’m not familiar with. Rated with dots indicating their xp cost, Edges are “highly specialized training and unusual talents that don’t quite rise to the level of a Knack.” They’re split into Mental, Physical, and Social Edges with a fourth category of Mythic giving high-cost, very magical Edges. These are all pretty neat but the one to call out is Lair (a Mythic Edge) which is like a watered down version of the Lair option for Draconic Heirs. A more careful reading is needed to see how these interact and/or stack.

Lastly, there are a bunch of rules mods to adjust the Scion game according to your preferences. Calling Dice removes Skills from the game to replace it with dice based on the relevant Calling (using Warrior when you would normally roll Close Combat, for example), while Clash of Myths replaces the detailed combat system with a more narrative approach (which could also be a good option to sometimes sub into your game). Casual Miracles ups Heroic Scion power to have the sorts of displays normally saved for Demigods, Unfurling Legends replaces Boons with expanded rules for freeform marvels, and Tempting Fate presents some different options for balancing the story part of Deeds and their role in advancement.

Image © Onyx Path

Lifepath Creation

I’m also thrilled to see a Lifepath System provided here for Scion characters. I love a good lifepath system, combining design exercises with character stats, and this one has the added benefit of being age-based and allowing you to create characters at different stages of life. Do you want to play a teen or child Scion? Now’s your chance! A sidebar gives advice for balancing things if only some of the characters in a Band are younger ages, but there’s also the option of playing elderly characters, having a Visitation during gameplay, and adjusting these rules for characters in Scion: Dragon. All in all, a nice option to have.


This book expands a lot of awesome stuff for your Scion game, but it’s something that heads in pretty specific directions. While Mysteries of the World is a true companion book to Scion: Hero through Scion: God, Saints and Monsters is for off-the-beaten-path characters like Denizens, Prophets, and Titanic Scions. It’s also got some different frameworks for establishing a chronicle, both the different rules options and lifepath system and the expansion of the cosmology seen in Saints and Sorcerers.

Image © Onyx Path

So should you get Saints and Monsters? Well, if you are intrigued by all of the parts of the book discussed here then rest assured they’re probably as cool as you think. If you only like some of them then that’s up to you but let me say that it’s really awesome to see the borders of Scion expanding and there’s an inherent value to just that. The focus of Scion is clearly Heroic Scions becoming Demigods becoming Gods, and it’s tempting to see growth as getting more pantheons and Knacks to play with. Honestly, though, the second edition of this game is so strong that you could make up a new god, legend, or power with just the base rules.

The real expansion of Scion is in areas like Titanomachy, Scion: Dragon, and community titles giving rules for vampires, lycanthropes, or high schools. The setting and mechanics of Scion can accommodate a huge range of play and to that end Saints and Monsters is an amazing and invaluable book. Will you use every part of this in your game? Maybe or maybe not, but if you love Scion then this book will add range and depth to the world that will make your experience even better.


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