Speaking of White Wolf Game Studios, I also happen to have wanted to play the RPG _Scion_ for a very long time. However, despite my love of and religious work with the mythologies of cultures throughout time and/or space, I had trouble seeing what I could do with the game. That is, _Scion_ seemed inert to me, a cute idea, a cool concept, a thing which was awesome in and of itself and should have had me frothing at the mouth with ideas for characters and games but didn’t.
Luckily, that has all changed! I have had . . . drumroll, please . . . AN IDEA!
Of course, it’s an idea that might be a little bit intense, so perhaps I should say it now: there might be triggers in the game and maybe even in this description or the links I provide, mostly around misogyny, the oppression of women, and (possibly) child abuse.
Yeah, I wanna explore some pretty serious shit with this campaign. The idea came to me as I was reading this article: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/mar/05/india-hinduism-goddesses-feminism-global-development. I immediately experienced a bubbling eruption of questions (many of which are asked below) about religion and culture and the religious projects of myself and others. It’s one of my single favorite things to have read on the internet just for that. It wasn’t until I followed a link to another article (http://www.buzzfeed.com/regajha/indias-incredibly-powerful-abused-goddesses-campaign-condemn) that I thought of _Scion_ however.
I would like to explore at least some of the following questions in a _Scion_ game, if I can find a group willing to do so. I would like at the very least two players and could probably handle up to four, MAYBE five. My life is a little busy at the moment, so I’m thinking a biweekly or maybe even monthly game. In the case of the latter, though, longer sessions of 6-8 hours might be preferrable.
Does a religion honoring goddesses lend itself to/create a culture that honors women and thus treats them well? Does this change if the goddesses are honored as part of a pantheon alongside gods (as in many Hinduisms) or as supreme over gods/the only form of divinity (as in many Euro-American Goddess spiritualities)? This can be read as asking if the entire feminist spirituality movement has any real hope of achieving its goals and can be generalized into other identity-based movements (race identity religions like the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, gay/queer spiritualities like some Radical Fairies’, etc.)
If one is creating a religion, how does one decide if that religion is proscriptive or descriptive as regards the structure of society and the place of people within it? Why does one choose the option they choose?
Can the subaltern speak?
In pointing at a real injustice in another culture, can members of a different culture erase historical and present states/forms of equality and justice in that culture? (think white feminists and Islamic modesty garb or female circumcision)
Can that which is empowering for one person be disempowering for another who shares the relevant identity? How does colonialism play into this difference, if at all?
What happens when members of an outside culture are driven inescapably to act against what they perceive to be an injustice in another, without regard for (or, likely, knowledge of) the ripple-consequences of their action? If we are utilizing a virtue ethics, how can we fault or criticize them for doing so? Whose virtues determine the moral rightness of actions taken in this situation? What if the victim wants the help? What if e doesn’t?
Can that which is degrading, disgusting, or unjust be holy? What does that mean? How does that then affect or create our understanding of the world and our behavior? If one is creating a religion, how does one decide what to honor and what to exclude? Is there a reason to honor that which we find repugnant? Is there value in leaving all that is repugnant out of one’s new religion? What are the consequences of each?
What could drive a goddess into an abusive relationship? What does that say about how we in the modern/post-modern USA treat the divine, however we experience or construct it?
Does making some concept or thing central to one’s religious system (such as unconditional love in many Christianities or nature in many neopaganisms) compel one to embody/respect/protect the concept or thing or does it absolve you of that responsibility (“God’s got that covered”/”I’ve done enough by means of ritual”)?
_Scion_ is a highly hackable game, and I welcome scions of any god or god-like being players wish and can make a case for, as well as for other player-created additions to the game or non-scion character ideas. I am certainly a special-snowflake kind of player (my first three RPG characters ever were each half-dragons, culminating in a half-mercury dragon for Paladine’s sake!) and so like to run a game that’s welcoming to others like myself. And. I am running this as a _Scion_ game for a reason, so let’s all just keep an eye on our thematic goals as we create our special snowflakes, k?
For further inspiration:
Religious prostitution: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/jan/21/devadasi-india-sex-work-religion
Colonialism reading gender equality/matriarchy as the oppression of women: “The Tale of Old Venn” in Samuel Delany’s _Tales of Neveryon_
Cross-dressing to honor a woman-protecting goddess: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-andhrapradesh/all-set-for-gangamma-jatara/article4685238.ece
Gayatri Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?”