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[House Rules] A Brighter New Dawn

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  • [House Rules] A Brighter New Dawn

    So I absolutely adore Promethean 2e and plan to run it for a long time.

    I don't think the New Dawn rules as written are 'bad' but I feel like they're not quite...'good' enough? Maybe it's because I tie the ten Refinements to the ten sefirot of the Kabbalah and view the advancement through the Refinements as being an incredibly mystical and divine experience, but I think the New Dawn as written is really only an incredible achievement in that it is the production of a Human Soul, which (at least from Mage's perspective) shouldn't even really be possible. When put that way, it's really incredible.

    But what if you want it to be a little, I don't know, "stronger"? Here's a suggestion. Take it or leave it (or add to it, if you'd like.)

    Complete 4-5 Refinements: The New Dawn transforms you into a real human being. You have achieved the impossible and created a Human Soul. The memories of your Promethean life are wiped away and you are left a blank slate, able to move on. Your pilgrimage is complete.

    Complete 6-9 Refinements: The New Dawn transforms you into a real human being. The fire of your refined Azoth permits you a choice - remember the trials you underwent, or forge a new life.

    If you choose to remember: You keep all of the alembics that you calcified during your pilgrimage, and they are now charged with willpower instead of pyros, and use Resolve/Composure/Stamina in place of Azoth.
    If you choose to forget: Convert your dots in Azoth into merit dots in order to flesh out your "new life." Add an additional dot for every Refinement over 6 that you completed.

    Complete 10 Refinements: Having completed the Tree of Life, you are now More Human Than Human. If this is a crossover game, you'll probably Awaken. If not, you're still a pretty amazing Alchemist. You remember everything, and you are able to forge for yourself a new life through the power of your Perfectly Refined Azoth.

    Result: Keep all of your alembics that you calcified during your pilgrimage, which are now charged with willpower instead of pyros, and use Resolve/Composure/Stamina in place of Azoth. Also convert your dots in Azoth into merit dots in order to flesh out your new life. Add 4 additional dots as well for the 10 Refinements you completed.

    I can see why some players/STs might not want to use these rules, but I feel that they encourage 'longer' pilgrimages, and reward you for calcifying your alembics and passing through all ten Refinements during your pilgrimage instead of hurrying straight to the New Dawn.

  • #2
    Y'know, I was gonna subtweet this, but there's no need to rehash the same decade-old arguments about humanism in Promethean and the value and diversity of "normal" mortal life. This is a perfectly fine set of houserules. I can see myself using the 6-9 Refinements result, although I think keeping all your calcified Alembics is less interesting than asking the player/character what specifically they want to choose to bring to their new life. I probably would not use the 10 Refinements result, especially the note about Awakening, and I say that as someone who runs and plays Mage.


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    • #3
      Hey, I mean no disrespect. I actually fall pretty firmly on the "humanism" side of the Promethean war. I just also love alchemy and the transmutations and I think that being able to keep all of your calcified Alembics would be cool AS PART of your new human life.

      I mean, willpower is an extremely limited resource, not something you can usually burn 3 of in one go, and would be more of a novelty/story thing than an actual godlike power.

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      • #4
        Two things I like about 2e's New Dawn mechanics:

        1. Each step from 4 Refinements to 10 Refinements gets you something, with 4 Refinements being a minimal, almost consolation prize for having done the bare minimum needed to cross the finish line while 10 Refinements represents the Gold Medal reward for true dedication to the Pilgrimage.

        2. The question of whether becoming an ordinary human is sufficient is left in the player's hands, with the choice between remembering his former existence or cutting all ties with the supernatural world.

        What I'd do:

        Keep the 4–5 Refinements rewards as written. You don't truly get to “you did well; congratulations!” until 6 Refinements. At six Refinements, you choose between “ordinary human” where you're given a place in mortal society and an implicit promise that the supernatural world will never again darken your doorstep, or “cream of the crop, tip of the top” best that humanity has to offer while remaining engaged with the supernatural.

        The first option isn't intended to be played beyond an “epilogue scene” to provide closure, after which the Redeemed departs the chronicle to pursue his new life free from the chronicle's interference. I would personally go so far as to say that anyone who tries to drag him back into to world of the supernatural will likely get a visitation by a qashmal serving as a sort of guardian angel, with some variation of “hands off!” as its mission. I personally would grant the Redeemed one Boon per Refinement after the fifth from 1e's set of Redeemed Boons (see 1e's Athanors); but I can see going for a more streamlined set of rewards along the lines of 2e's “here are some free Social Merits to represent your place in the mortal world”.

        The second option is intended to be played, serving as a sort of “I've crossed the finish line, now let me help others do likewise” goal, or something similar. At a minimum, this kind of Redeemed is more akin to the Heroic Mortal “template” described in Strange, Dead Love, where each Refinement after the fifth gives him a Boost of some sort that improves his ability to deal with the supernatural, ranging from Attributes and Skills through Skill Tricks or new uses for Willpower, to Conviction, immunity to Disquiet/Lunacy/etc., Supernatural Merits, or even continued access to Promethean benefits such as an Alembic or two.

        Remember also that a single Alembic is akin to four Disciplines/Gifts/etc. That is, a single Alembic is a really big deal; you should be very stingy when handing them out. (Prometheans can get away with a low Vitriol cost for calcifying an Alembic in part because Vitriol is pretty hard to come by, and in part because you don't get to calcify the Alembic whenever you feel like it; it's gated behind mastering a Role.)

        In a nutshell, I'd handle the “remember your former existence” option with a second choice: “Heroic Mortal” traits that remain within the scope of human norms while providing improved survivability, or Supernatural Merits/templates (including a Promethean-specific Alchemist template of the non-Insatiate variety).

        On the “calcified Alembics” thing, how about saying that if a Redeemed takes up Alchemy, he gets a price break when learning Distillations from an Alembic that he previously calcified.
        Last edited by Dataweaver; 02-16-2017, 09:52 PM.


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        • #5
          I like the idea of a Qashmal being invoked should someone attempt to pry a redeemed from their It's a Wonderful Life epilogue. I guess part of my hesitation to the assumption that "you get to live a normal life" isn't necessarily that I view a normal life as "boring" but that there really is no such thing as a normal life, especially in the world of CofD.

          One of the Refinements, after all, involves learning about the various supernaturals and the way they interact with humanity, and another involves studying alchemy and Azoth. I feel like, UNLESS you have a guardian angel assuring your peace, your life as a Redeemed will never be "normal."

          As for handing out Alembics, I would only permit characters to keep the Alembics they calcified - in other words, spent their very hard earned vitriol on. I wouldn't be handing out anything, they'd just get to keep what they already made.

          I guess I feel like the New Dawn should be a big deal. Yes, creating a normal human life IS a big deal, but the more refinements you do, the "better" of a human life you should have. But that's just me and I totally respect anyone who doesn't like that.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
            I like the idea of a Qashmal being invoked should someone attempt to pry a redeemed from their It's a Wonderful Life epilogue. I guess part of my hesitation to the assumption that "you get to live a normal life" isn't necessarily that I view a normal life as "boring" but that there really is no such thing as a normal life, especially in the world of CofD.

            One of the Refinements, after all, involves learning about the various supernaturals and the way they interact with humanity, and another involves studying alchemy and Azoth. I feel like, UNLESS you have a guardian angel assuring your peace, your life as a Redeemed will never be "normal."
            It's worth noting that the default assumption in ChroD is that any given mortal has encountered the supernatural, but chooses to avoid bringing it up; it's why one of the Breaking Point questions is “what have you forgotten?” Given the nature of the “naturalized Redeemed”, I think it makes sense for them to be an ironic exception to this: that is, while they technically have encountered the supernatural and forgotten about it, it shouldn't be treated as a Breaking Point for them: they're not haunted by it, suppressing memories out of fear. And there ought to be some sort of mechanism, such as a “don't notice me” not-an-aura that causes supernatural to pick on someone else instead, or a fate-like effect that tends to prevent supernaturals from crossing their paths, to guardian angels who actively discourage the Darkness from staining their lives.

            Go with the more subtle solutions first, and save qashmal interventions for a last resort; but ultimately, all of this boils down to “the Redeemed gets to forge a new life, free from supernatural interference” — which is why this option isn't really player character materiel: the whole point of a ChroD protagonist is that he or she is interacting with the supernatural. These various options I've outlined are really only there to serve as Storyteller tools in case other players decide not to honor the Redeemed player's wishes and the matter can't be resolved out of game — by far the preferred way of resolving the issue.

            Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
            As for handing out Alembics, I would only permit characters to keep the Alembics they calcified - in other words, spent their very hard earned vitriol on. I wouldn't be handing out anything, they'd just get to keep what they already made.
            As I've said since you posted this, my solution to this would be to allow a Redeemed who practices Pyros Alchemy to benefit from the fact that he calcified certain Alembics as a Promethean; but I feel that flat-out granting full access to all calcified Alembics is a bridge too far; especially as a “six Refinements” reward. I'm leery of granting one calcified Alembic at ten Refinements, which is why I prefer the “enhanced alchemist” approach.

            Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
            I guess I feel like the New Dawn should be a big deal. Yes, creating a normal human life IS a big deal, but the more refinements you do, the "better" of a human life you should have. But that's just me and I totally respect anyone who doesn't like that.
            Oh, I agree. The only bone of contention is in what “better” means. One reason I'd prefer something like 1e's Redeemed Boons as a way of making a “naturalized mortal” better over just tossing around more Merits is that “better” doesn't necessarily translate as “more capable” (which Merits tend to represent). For the “naturalized mortal” Redeemed, it tends to translate as “happier” or “more content”. 1e's Redeemed Boons were “these are things about humanity that I admire and want to have when I finish the Pilgrimage”, which conceptually at least fits happy/content better than freebie Merits do.


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            • #7
              One option worth considering is not limiting the Merit dots to the Social. Yes, they represent the place you've made in the world, but the Pilgrimmage isn't just about that, but also the kind of person you've become. So you could also allow Physical and Mental Merits that parallel the live you lived, Refinements you followed, and Alembics you calcified - the only ones that wouldn't be available are Supernatural ones - a redeemed might learn them later, as any mortal can, but this isn't the process to grant them. In this case, how about 1 dot per Refinement - and permitting Merits normally only available at character generation - if the character chooses to forget their Promethean life in favour of the human one.

              If they choose to remember their Promethean life, strip 4 dots from that award in exchange for a varying level of retained supernatural benefit: at 4-5 Refinements, an Unseen Sense for Divine Fire related beings and phenomena; at 6-7, 1 dot of Supernatural Tolerance; at 8-9, an Alembic so long as it was calcified during their Pilgrimmage; at 10, a second Alembic from the same Transmutation (no need for it to have been calcified).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
                One option worth considering is not limiting the Merit dots to the Social. Yes, they represent the place you've made in the world, but the Pilgrimmage isn't just about that, but also the kind of person you've become. So you could also allow Physical and Mental Merits that parallel the live you lived, Refinements you followed, and Alembics you calcified - the only ones that wouldn't be available are Supernatural ones - a redeemed might learn them later, as any mortal can, but this isn't the process to grant them. In this case, how about 1 dot per Refinement - and permitting Merits normally only available at character generation - if the character chooses to forget their Promethean life in favour of the human one.
                I agree with you completely and that's why I specifically did not put 'social merits' in the OP. By converting your Azoth into merit dots to flesh out your new life, you are given a real, physical choice to create the person you want to be. That includes suddenly having Encyclopedic Knowledge (from all of the years you spent reading Spider Man comics) or Iron Stamina (from all of your years working out, represented by your mastery of the Refinement of Iron) in addition to having Allies, Resources, or a True Friend.

                If I seem too generous with my rules, understand that I view a Redeemed to be Not An Acceptable Starting Character Concept, but rather a character type that can only exist if one actually completes an entire Promethean chronicle. It's a major reward for 'beating the game' so to speak. And if you don't intend to keep playing your specific character after the chronicle is completed, having the ability to convert your Azoth dots (in addition to Sanctity of Merits on your Promethean only merits, and the Refinements above 6) into merits allows you to create a more fully fleshed out epilogue for your character based on all of the Refining you did.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by RomulusGloriosus View Post
                  S
                  Complete 10 Refinements: Having completed the Tree of Life, you are now More Human Than Human. If this is a crossover game, you'll probably Awaken. If not, you're still a pretty amazing Alchemist. You remember everything, and you are able to forge for yourself a new life through the power of your Perfectly Refined Azoth.
                  Nitpick. Mages, while human, are still monsters. They're not "more human than human." Their Gnosis and Obsessesions push them away from humanity. Their Attainments push them away from humanity. If we're bringing up the human v. transhuman thing, then I'm going to say that whereas Promethean is the humanist game, Mage is the transhumanist game, pushing the world into something beyond human.

                  Human+ is better represented with psychic abilities than pushing you towards mage-dom, I think.

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, mages are eerily similar to the Insatiate alchemists in their utter determination and obsession. More like Human Ex, rather than Human Plus.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MCN View Post
                      Nitpick. Mages, while human, are still monsters. They're not "more human than human." Their Gnosis and Obsessesions push them away from humanity. Their Attainments push them away from humanity. If we're bringing up the human v. transhuman thing, then I'm going to say that whereas Promethean is the humanist game, Mage is the transhumanist game, pushing the world into something beyond human.

                      Human+ is better represented with psychic abilities than pushing you towards mage-dom, I think.
                      I mean, I disagree? The premise behind Mage is that you are free from the gnostic curse placed upon you by evil oppressive gods and are now free to seek oneness with Divinity, expressed through various symbols. Obsessions and gnosis don't push them away from humanity, it pushes them away from Lies and towards Truth.

                      I don't consider myself transhuman in the least, but I do consider myself spiritual, and I've never seen anything particularly monstrous about Mages except for the Mad, Liches, et al.
                      Last edited by RomulusGloriosus; 02-18-2017, 02:07 PM. Reason: EDIT: once again I should clarify that I mean no disrespect in my post and I can see the argument, I just disagree.

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                      • #12
                        FWIW, Dave Brookshaw has stated before that Sleepwalkers, not Mages, are the natural state of humanity. Free of the Lie, but not Addicted to Mysteries.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                          FWIW, Dave Brookshaw has stated before that Sleepwalkers, not Mages, are the natural state of humanity. Free of the Lie, but not Addicted to Mysteries.

                          Which means human + any Supernatural Merit would automatically apply.


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                          • #14
                            Officially, yeah. It's an area where I disagree with the official ruling (if you can have mages with an antagonistic relationship with the supernatural — Banishers — then why can't you have Sleepers with Supernatural Merits?); but that is the official ruling.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                              Officially, yeah. It's an area where I disagree with the official ruling (if you can have mages with an antagonistic relationship with the supernatural — Banishers — then why can't you have Sleepers with Supernatural Merits?); but that is the official ruling.
                              Sounds like a good persistent condition to impart (in lieu of actual Flaws).

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