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Starting a Promethean Game

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  • Starting a Promethean Game

    Alright, so, there's interest on the forums for running a PbP Promethean game. The other two threads about this have already attracted a couple of players, so I'll get attention for that here.

    Caladriu , Wormwood , and Lady Gray come on over here and start the official discussion!

    We've already gathered two Tammuz for this throng, what other Lineages should come into play? Did you guys have a specific setting in mind for this game? (If you don't, I've already got a few ideas that would be fun to explore). One of the themes of the game being proposed so far is Misunderstandings & Misconceptions, what else do you guys want to see explored? The big thing for the Tammuz is introspection, language, and hard work- how do you want to see those incorporated?

    Are there any ideas or themes that are explicitly off the table?

    How long of a Pilgrimage are you guys expecting? Are we going for the four Refinement base requirement, or are we going for a ten Refinement epic?

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  • #2
    Well this is awesome. To be honest, I've never played Promethean before, but I've read and own all the books and I'm eager to give it a go. I was planning on making a pseudo-academic Frankenstein, someone who tries to understand the world by taking every experience she encounters apart and looking at it piece by piece, and in doing so may end up missing the point a lot of the time. So I think she could fit in with the theme of Misunderstandings and Misconceptions. I can also see introspection and to a lesser degree, language playing a part in that, with her trying to see how to fit herself into the pieces of humanity she's found, trying to cobble together a decent approximation. I think a theme I'd like to see explored to some degree or another is passion, and to what degree people shape their passions and are shaped by them, along with the idea that the reality of a situation will often end up taking a backseat to what people believe. I don't have any themes I'd want off the table specifically.

    As for length, I'm happy either way, but including some other Refinements beyond the base four would be my preference.


    • #3
      Passion, and people's beliefs, will definitely play a major aspect of the game- and that will, in turn, tie into the power of words. I can imagine Disquiet playing a rather serious influence on this theme, especially if it hits Stage 3 and up. Sounds like Cobalus and Phosphorum will be Refinements that one, or more, of the Throng will end up pursuing.

      Personally, I'm leaning towards this particular Throng's journey being one that covers all ten Refinements, because that would be far, far too much fun, and it's a rare thing for a Promethean game to really get going and dive into the material.

      Does anyone have a preference as to the setting, or further thoughts on their characters and their respective backstories?

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      • #4
        Awesome! Very curious to see what will happen =D
        Like Lady Gray, the pleasure of playing Promethean was something that had not been granted to me so far, but I own the books and am eager to play =D
        I'm fine with any length, really, but more than the basic four refinements would be very nice, I think, for the very reason you already mentioned.

        There might be some overlap with Caladriu's concept, which I'd be fine with but I'd not have a problem with creating another character if anyone feels there is too much overlap, either.
        My plan was a Tammuz focused on the physical, how bodies move and work and how you can change them - and how much they can take.

        Mark 5's Creator felt responsible enough to educate him a little and set him off on the path with a little knowledge on how to defend himself and even a name, but soon couldn't bear having to see how he puts somebody else through the same shit he had to endure, and departed. Mark 5 didn't take well to that, and should he meet his Creator is liable to communicate this non-verbally. He did, however, take his lessons to heart, for they gave him hope: Forging himself through dedication and exercise will give him a strong body. And with a strong body, he might also attain a strong soul (Refinement of Iron, basically).
        He is also fascinated by the appreciation for the stories of Vigilantes like Batman and Arrow: apparently, Warriors stepping in for those too weak to defeat themselves are liked/appreciated. And he wants to be liked so very, very much. That being physically stronger does not equal being the bully in a conflict is something he hasn't quite worked out yet.
        (hope this short overview is okay and the char is acceptable, if not, just tell me, will re-do/elaborate on the necessary parts)

        I think there is potential for both Misunderstandings/Misconceptions as well as hard work with that concept. I can also see introspection and passion figure into that (especially in combination with the formerly mentioned Misunderstandings and Hard Work). Language maybe not so much, but I've been proven wrong before, and the Power of Words sounds promising =D

        Something that would be off the table for me would be having to RP romantical and/or sexual scenes (I don't mind them taking place, just not having my Tammuz reciprocate them. That said, someone coming on to him is fine, as long as there's a way out for him, and might make for some fun awkward scenes^^).

        What did you have planned for the setting so far? Might provoke some braincells to come up with preferances, but so far, I have none^^


        • #5
          Mark 5 sounds like an interesting character- definitely starting off on Ferrum. I'm not sure there'll be as much overlap as you think, since you're coming at a similar concept from different angles. Your character is an emulator of heroes who doesn't quite get the nuances of the role just yet, and it sounds like Caladriu's character is attempting to atone for past transgressions, so you've already got an interesting dynamic there.

          Just so we're perfectly clear, this is going to be a Promethean 2E game. So, would your first Role for Ferrum be Exemplar, Martyr, or Soldier? (Their philosophy seems Ferrum, but the narrative role you're proposing seems closer to a Stannum mindset. One of their Roles is Vigilante, after all). Also, out of curiosity, where did you character get their name? And what will their Bestowment be?

          Three of the settings in-book that I'd love to poke at are Prague, Portland, and/or Phoenix. Prague for... obvious reasons, given that two of our Prometheans are Tammuz, and Phoenix because it's close to Sedona, and Sedona is a freaking weird town where magical practitioners are so common the metaphysics shops can specialize. When I was last there, a bunch of people were going on pilgrimages out into the desert to experience vortices of energy that is supposed to be the life-giving substance of the universe, and I even saw a gentleman at a bar who was a professional Alchemist, and if that isn't Promethean as all get-out I don't know what is. Portland just because it's Portland, and the varied weird and wonderful parade of humanity in that city is gorgeous.

          However, if you're willing to trust me a little bit more as a Storyteller, I could run Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Coincidentally, this happens to be my hometown and where I live. It's also a weird city, with more authors per capita than almost anywhere else in North America, described of as being nearly as Gothic as Lovecraft's New England thanks to the literature and ghost tour scene here, and a massive landing pad for immigrant communities in Canada. We have the largest cultural festival in North America, and the second largest theatre festival. It also happens to house the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

          More importantly, it's also a city I know intimately, and there's a lot more immersion I could pull out of my hat for that setting than for any of the others.

          My Homebrew Hub


          • #6
            Ah, 2e? Unfortunately I only have first edition books and I'm not in a position to get the second edition, so I guess that's me out. I hope you guys can find another player and I hope you enjoy yourselves. Unless of course you'd be willing to play first edition?


            • #7
              That's great to hear^^

              I'm torn between Martyr and Soldier here. I'd like to give that some more thought. And while I agree that it is similar to Stannum to an extent, for Mark 5 being a Vigilante is not about wrath or vengeance or even Punishment, it's more about combining the practical (improving his ability) with the wonderful (people like batman, if I am batman, they will like me, too!) I feel like this approach leaves a lot of paths to potential Refinements open: Stannum, if he turns bitter, Aurum, if the fascination of and desire for human attention gets into his focus, Aes if he learns and aspires to one of the lessons superheros teach (putting other's needs above yours, that is), and Cobalus if he is ponders the failings of the humans around him - and his own. And in addition anything that might come up through the story, so I think there is maleability there.
              The Character was named by his creator, but whether his creator already attempted to create Progeny four times or whether he simply took the name of one of the things on the abandoned military site Mark 5 considers his birthplace, he does not know (neither do I, I'd leave that open to you, whatever makes for a more fun story^^).
              Heart of Clay looks awesome, so if that's fine with you, I'd pick that one up !

              So many different cities, sounds great! =D However, the Winnipeg approach got my curiousity, too. You got me at "nearly as Gothic as Lovecraft" and the fact that you live there is obviously very intriguing for a setting. Hm. Maybe exchange Portland and Phoenix for Winnipeg? Let's see what the others have to say =)


              • #8
                Conveniently, there's a massive deserted military base in the core of one of Winnipeg's neighbourhoods. There's a lot of debate about what to do with it. The federal government doesn't want to give it up, and the local (very large) First Nations population wants it for an urban reserve. Considering it's on Treaty Land, they've got an excellent claim to it, but I doubt there'll be much progress in the near future. It's also right beside a decent-sized abandoned high school, which would be a neat hideout for people.

                For an idea of what Gothic Winnipeg is like, here's a Tumblr post:

                Oh, and then there's these lovely quotes: Since there is horror here, and since the horror cannot be stopped, since hope is gone and the world is a nightmare of chaos, we must be in Winnipeg.
                –Jonathan Ball, Preface to The Shadow Over Portage and Main

                Winnipeg the ruin, Winnipeg of the haunted past, Winnipeg of
                murder and flames. Winnipeg of cold and death, Winnipeg of the
                hopeless, Winnipeg the doomed.
                –Jonathan Ball, Preface to The Shadow Over Portage and Main

                ^ Said Dr. Jonathan Ball was my Year 1 English prof. He was awesome. And yeah, the whole anthology is named after a Lovecraft story. There's also some lovely horror comics written by a guy Dr. Ball brought to lecture at one of our classes, GMB Chomichuk. This is a link to his graphic novel Underworld:

                You see the building the corpse giant is standing beside? I work in it. His website is called Comic Alchemy. The SyFy show Channel Zero? It was filmed here. I know I'm selling it really hard, but I'm starting to really get behind the idea of my home city in the Chronicles of Darkness.
                Last edited by Arcanist; 10-28-2016, 02:32 PM.

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                • #9
                  Just FYI while we're sharing: I've run Promethean for my home group before, but only for a couple sessions. I've also briefly played 1E Promethean characters in mixed groups, and I'm currently a player in a 2E Promethean chronicle. I've read the 1E books front to back, I love their writing.

                  I'm open to planning a ten-refinement pilgrimage, I'm just very skeptical by nature of assuming that any game (especially PBP) will go on a long time. My ideal Promethean chronicle as a player would be one that jumps around in space and time (narratively, not supernaturally), where each Chapter is like an important week in the characters' lives, and they don't immediately follow each other. Lots of timeskips and multiple locations, returning to some of the major ones later. Zooming in on the most exciting moments and Milestones and letting them play out how they will, with the understanding that there's (potentially) prolonged downtime between chapters where the characters go in and out of each others' lives. Some of the Promethean fiction has this assumption where the throng isn't together all the time, and they reconvene to travel as a full group only every few months or so. That would be cool!

                  I'll quote something I said while planning a different game that didn't get off the ground:

                  it doesn't need to be a big epic chronicle in terms of length (although high personal stakes are great), I'm just looking for something to check in on and enjoy semi-casually. I like jumping right into "the most interesting day in the character's life," in storytelling terms, not so much the slow long-term buildup that's not as well-suited to play-by-post in my experience.

                  General idea for Promethean: maybe my favorite thing about the Frankenstein story is the relationship between creator and created, the weird ugly family bond these two have, the idea that Frankenstein can't just "get rid of" the Creature now that he's out in the world, even if he dearly wants to. I think a cool focus or building block for a game would be a very stormy relationship between two Prometheans, one created by the other, or maybe two Prometheans who share a creator. Maybe I could play a more experienced character trying to track down my wayward progeny to fulfill a major milestone, or vice versa, looking for my creator and trying to bury the hatchet. Or a small throng of two estranged "siblings" looking for their mutual creator, a good twin and a bad twin of sorts.
                  So the way that Prometheans (and other creatures) create others for various reasons and have various relationships with their progeny and creator is really interesting to me and something I'd like to highlight. There's an RPG I love called Progenitor, where it's a superhero setting with contagious powers- using your powers on someone might cause them to gain powers of their own, like how Generation works in oWoD Vampire. The big idea is that supers have a way of creating their own enemies, like how Batman kind of causes his rogues' gallery to exist. That would be really fun to play with, like the connections between a lineage of Prometheans, or more broadly the way that using powers or causing Disquiet/Wasteland has unintended consequences that are also deeply personal.

                  For setting: again, I'd like to jump around a little, but Winnipeg sounds very cool, especially being in a city with lots of immigrants and refugees. I'm imagining my character being made in Arizona or somewhere in the Southwest, so a homecoming in Phoenix/Sedona would be fun. Prague would also be fun for the Golem connection and a Euro setting- I pretty much like all of the settings in the core book, honestly, although the lightning strikes and rogue alchemists of Johannesburg is maybe my favorite and it would be fun to have a Chapter or two there. The one thing I'd add is that I'd really enjoy some wilderness adventure, going out to the deep snowy forest in northern Canada for example. I know Going to the Wastes isn't a strong thing anymore in 2E, but dealing with some truly wild supernatural weirdness miles away from any human settlement would be really fun.

                  Some things I like in general: high strangeness, qashmallim and Firestorms, and weird supernatural things that don't fit into any neat World of Darkness category. There's a great story in the Firestorm Chronicle Anthology that pits a Zeka against some Valravens, supernatural crows that prey on humans with royal blood because...that's apparently a thing that exists. It would also be fun to get glimpses of the formal supernatural societies of the larger setting, meeting up with a rogue Ordo Dracul scholar or a camp of Predator Kings in the deep wilderness. I'm interested in doing Argentum at some point if you couldn't tell.

                  If you're open to it, I'd prefer if we could start with a little more XP than a starting character, and assume that we're familiar with the basics of the Pilgrimage. Suggestion: we could declare one Role that we've already completed, and get 10 Experiences to spend out of the gate, divided between regular Experiences and Vitriol. What do you think?

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                  • #10
                    I like the idea of the time skips, and I agree that it absolutely makes sense given the fluff of Promethean. High Weirdness is always a lot of fun, and I'm a huge fan of qashmallim and Firestorms and just about everything else out there. They will absolutely play a part in this game. I'm also totally open to the idea of declaring one Role complete and giving you 10 Experiences to divide between regular Experiences and Vitriol as you see fit. That would still put you on your first Refinement, but definitely having made steps.

                    The theme of Lineage seems to make a lot of sense, especially seeing as you two are playing Tammuz (and I have a personal soft spot for the Lineage as well).

                    Chapters (and, to a lesser extent, Stories) being important flashpoints in a Pilgrimage makes a lot of sense to me, and I could definitely see some globe-trotting going on, as you do in a story about wandering, lonely, 'artificial' beings. Jumping between Winnipeg, the far north, Phoenix/Sedona, and Prague makes sense to me (I'll have to think of how to make Johannesburg work, but I'm sure I can come up with something.) and you guys will definitely be getting crossover elements.

                    Another fun little detail of Winnipeg is that there's a relatively well-known goth club known as Elysium. No points for guessing what that translates to in CofD terms.

                    Oh, and here's a post from Dr. Ball's blog with the Preface he wrote for The Shadow Over Portage and Main explaining the idea of 'Winnipeg Gothic' :

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                    • #11
                      Lady Gray > That's too damn bad =( I wouldn't mind playing either, really.

                      Arcanist Caladriu

                      I didn't know anything about Winnipeg prior to this, really, but the city is growing on me already xD

                      The scope and thematic range look awesome to me. Totally down with this. Regarding the timeskips: what range of time are we talking? Cause I don't have Dark Eras (yet!).

                      One more thing we might want to consider: posting times/frequency.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for linking the blog, this is actually really interesting stuff. Especially because I know nothing about Winnipeg!

                        Here's what I had in mind for my character. I want something kind of like the sample character Chicago from the 2E book, turning to Flux as a failure state and eventually climbing out of it.

                        Earth Crisis was created in a shallow grave outside of Phoenix for the purpose of fulfilling a milestone for her lonely creator. Creating her wasn't enough, she had to teach her to master Ferrum as she had. But she didn't have the temperament for it, her body was too scrawny, she resented being created for someone else's checklist, and so she was a disappointment to her. They fought, a lot, with words and then with fists and lightning, and eventually parted ways. She went from Ferrum to Stannum, and eventually in fury and despair stepped off the Pilgrimage and became Hundred-Handed. She stopped going by Earth Crisis, and eventually became known as Earth-Dies-Screaming in the Rambles of others. Since she couldn't become strong in the way her creator wanted, she spat in her face by embracing Flux and mutating her body into all sorts of wonderful and horrible forms.

                        When she was roaming, she met someone else who had abandoned her Pilgrimage, a Galateid called Dead Girl. They were strongly attracted to each other, but being in Flux, it mutated into something corrosive and damaging. Dead Girl coerced her into joining a branded throng with her, and with a pack of Pandorans at their side, the two of them did awful things to each other and the world for more than two years. They harrowed her creator more than once, and other Prometheans too, and became infamous. It ended when the two of them were separated in a Firestorm that killed their Pandorans. The pain from the fire somehow cleared away the cobwebs. She'd always felt a strange attraction to fire.

                        Slowly, steadily, she crawled back onto the Pilgrimage. She just goes by Earth now, but they still tell stories about her. She's back in Stannum, but at least she's trying to learn something from her fury now.

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                        • #13
                          Earth sounds like a fascinating character to play. Here's the important question though- do you see Dead Girl as having survived the Firestorm and/or returned to the Pilgrimage? And, if we're doing flashbacks (and/or flash forwards) would you want to explore Earth's days as Earth-Dies-Screaming?

                          Furthermore, what was Dead Girl like? Beyond being Earth's girlfriend and a Centimanus Galateid? Also, how did Mark 5 and Earth meet?

                          Beyond that, let's get into the details of character creation now. What are their Aspirations? And what are the answers to the Five Questions?

                          What Sort of Human Do You Want to Be?

                          How Have Humans Taught You To Fear and Hate?

                          How Did You Split With Your Creator?

                          What Keeps You on the Pilgrimage?

                          What Would You Give Up to Become Human?

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                          • #14
                            Survived the Firestorm yes, returned to the Pilgrimage...possibly/unknown? Maybe she isn't a monster anymore either, but misses the strange freedom of giving up completely and the power they had over Flux in a horrible way and wants to go back, but she's scared to do it alone. If you're familiar with the show Steven Universe at all, I was imagining them being similar to Lapis Lazuli and Jasper. I like the idea of two characters who had a supernatural bond that's also heavily coded as a mundanely abusive and unhealthy relationship, and the PC trying to move forward while the other party is still out there in the world somewhere, hoping to draw them back in because they're just that broken. Dead Girl could be a looming antagonist that's extremely personal in a way that most villains aren't, and a concrete way of Earth's past actions endangering the throng.

                            Dead Girl used to practice Aurum and Plumbum and Aes, which created their branded throng and made their bond tight and powerful. If she's returned to the Pilgrimage, she probably practices Cobalus now. She was precise and controlling and intelligent and strangely elegant, while Earth was the harsh and tough and direct one. She was created as a 30something white woman intended to look more sweet and pleasant and adorable than traditionally beautiful. When she realized what most people were actually seeing in her and in human women, she was confused, then afraid, then disgusted, and increasingly grew to hate them for their ignorance and cruelty to each other. She had a throng once, and a desire to make her body her own instead of an object for others or a vehicle for the Pilgrimage, but that was a long time ago, and Flux has a way of twisting even the most noble justifications for embracing it until nothing is left but dissolution and madness.

                            As for flashbacks: that's a storytelling technique I like and it would definitely be fun to play a Centimanus PC for the occasional scene in a story, just to revel in some weirdness and body horror. Maybe a brief flashback if something is relevant or the throng encounters something she would know about or have some connection to. I mostly want it as "awful period that happened in the past," but I'd be up for rolling some dice there.

                            Considering what Mark 5 is into, maybe Earth is practicing the Vigilante role of Stannum when they meet. They could have been drawn together by both feeling the powerful Azothic Radiance of some Firestorm or qashmal or whatever, and once they found each other, they talked and compared notes and found that they're kind of doing the same thing and decided to team up for a while. One's a Golem, the other one's also a Golem, but different. Together, They Fight Crime!


                            edit: random thoughts about Tammuz themes. Introspection is an easy one, thinking and reflecting on her progress and trouble so far and the different struggles of others, trying to be empathetic for others. Hard work in the sense that Earth doesn't really have much hope that she'll be able to complete the Pilgrimage at all after what she's done, and because she's prone to get really melancholic and down on herself and stop trying when she fails at anything, but she's stubborn enough to keep at it. For language, I was thinking it would be an interesting image if her body had some sort of speech impediment, and her lingering Flux scars only exacerbated it. It's like a metaphor or something!
                            Last edited by Caladriu; 10-28-2016, 10:09 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Hmm... I like the idea of Dead Girl sort of just... hanging around. Somewhere out there. Looming like a dark cloud over Earth's Pilgrimage. Maybe she'll reach out, maybe she'll try and reconnect, maybe she'll try and turn Earth back to the Refinement of Flux... or maybe she just wants closure. I like the idea of Schrodinger's Dead Girl until that aspect of the story must be confronted directly. I also imagine that, if those two were as formidable a pair of Centimanni as you suggest, certain notable sublimati might be aware of them, but I'll probably save that for when we leave Canada.

                              Here's a thing a just thought of- you chose the Inscribed Bestowment for Earth, yeah? What is the inscription? Where is it? What does it say? Does it have any particular significance to Earth? Does she, as the new Tammuz splat page implies, remember something of what she was before she was a Promethean? Perhaps, when she forgives herself, she'll get past her difficulties with language, and attain the mastery of it that the more academically-inclined Golems are said to possess.

                              More pointedly, what's the craft that Earth drives herself towards? All Tammuz have that one thing which becomes their obsession, the thing they work hard at, which becomes the thing they work well at. Examples in the splat section include construction > architecture, wood carving, protecting the Throng, etc.

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