I don't understand the concept of "motif" in Scion: Hero p236-237

For example:

  • I'm a Scion of Ares, and I want to use a Marvel of my War Purview to "Bless" me for combat. As written p237, the Theoi motif is "The most high may grant their favor to those who beseech them." What should I do, concretely?

  • I'm a Scion of Susano-oo and want to use the "Flight" boon. As written p237, the Kami motif is "The kami are all things, and can be bidden to work wonders." What should I do, concretely? Is Motif even required for a purchased boon?

  • I'm a Scion of Hel, with the Passion (Fear) purview. As specified p256, I could create a motif based on Fear. How does this work concretely?


1 Answer 1


The very definition of the purview marvels say that they aren't concrete, which is one of the major shifts from 1st ed to 2nd: Embracing abstract versus crunchy rules.


A Scion who masters a Purview may wield divine authority over it, performing acts of divine power that shape, summon, or influence their Purview through her Motifs. These marvels are flexible and free-form powers compared to Boons and Knacks. If you want to perform an act of divine power, and nothing else on your character sheet allows it, marvels exist to let you do it. The nature of your marvels and what you can do with them is determined by the two elements that go into performing them. One is the Purview used to perform the marvel, whose power, substance, or symbolism you’re drawing on or manipulating to shape the World to your will. The other element is a motif, a magical paradigm or set of metaphors through which you explain how you control your Purview to achieve the desired effect. Most of the time, you’ll use the Motif associated with the pantheon you belong to. Relics also have their own motifs, which you can call upon when you perform marvels of the Purviews associated with that Relic. Finally, it’s also possible to gain motifs from miscellaneous sources, such as a sacred animal chosen through the Beasts Purview

A word for the Storyguide — don’t let the game grind to a halt as a player tries to figure out if they can get a certain marvel out of a Purview or motif. It’s better to let a conceptually shaky marvel through than to sit around debating semantics instead of playing. You can “balance out” a thematically shaky marvel by applying a Complication to the action it benefits or imposing a thematically related drawback on the player’s character.

The main limit is that your pantheon's motif may require a certain "flavor" to be present in how you make it happen.

  • A Scion of Ares may beckon for Ares himself to confer the *Blessing
  • A Scion of Susano-O may claim the wind/air kami carried him from the ground
  • A Scion of Hel can scratch runes into the dirt at their feet

The goal is to give the players some agency and allow them to telegraph as much or as little as they want of their abilities.


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