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How do you deal with the depressive nature of Promethean?

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  • #16
    Also, don't forget the Milestones. They are what your Elpis visions drive you toward, and the achievements thereof are when hope is rewarded. Which, in turn, leads to resolving your Roles and mastering your Refinements. And that whole process can be incredibly uplifting. My point is that Promethean's hope isn't something that will only be within reach at the end of a long, gruelling slog through unrelenting depression; it's something that can be achieved bit by bit throughout the course of the Chronicle. Heck, earning Willpower from your Elpis is supposed to represent the Promethean getting a morale boost that helps him keep going until his next Milestone.

    And then there are the Elpidim: qashmallim who exist to provide a helping hand when the struggles of the Pilgrimage are getting to be too much for the Promethean to bear. They should be used sparingly; but an appropriate use would be if the Promethean has well and truly gotten in over his head and sees no way out: that's a perfect time for a qashmal to appear and to show him a way (or even to make a way for him if one doesn't exist). No matter how bad things get, a case can be made that the Promethean is never left entirely to his own devices; there's always someone looking out for him.

    There first edition of the game also had Going To The Wastes, which was basically a way for the Promethean to take a vacation. It was presented as a means of reducing your Azoth; and like many aspects of the first edition, it had drawbacks in its implementation that made it awkward to use — not the least of which is that it required taking your character or of play for weeks or months. Thus far, it doesn't exist in the Second Edition; but it could, and it could be used as a means for a weary Promethean to get some rest and to reinvigorate himself before going back to the task of completing the Pilgrimage. I think the biggest change I'd make to the “Going to the Wastes” rules would be to make it something that's far more effective if done as a group than if done solo; and the biggest change I'd make to the fluff would be to present it in the context of rest and recovery. Stories told whole Going To The Wastes should be like a group going on a Retreat, and should feature the “human bits” that ArcaneArts just mentioned.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 09-05-2017, 12:53 PM.


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    • #17
      Originally posted by Maitrecorbo View Post


      That game sounds so great. I read the promethean core twice now and i think i just found my favorite gameline from OPP (used to be Changeling). Sad thing is i'm the traditionnal ST for chronicles games and weirdly enough this is a game that i want to play more than i want to run. Oh well maybe one day.
      If that happens, count it as a Milestone. Jokes aside, I get the feeling: I'd really want to play a Promethean game, but I'm the only Storyteller of the group.

      To me the difference that I try to keep in mind to offset the depressing side of Promethean it's related to the goal of the game, becoming human. Promethean is a game that celebrates the human condition, its painful beauty and huge potential. Where in other games your moments of glory are when you succeed through the applications of your monstrous nature, in Promethean things are different. Sure, some games play with somewhat resonant themes, like Mummy with Apotheosis and Geist with having another chance at life, but the focus in those is different from Promethean's.

      Promethean's core theme is about the desire to become human. I find interesting that the central basic narrative is in a way so distant from that of Beast while both games have Matt as a developer. In Beast, characters defend their right to be themselves despite the intrinsic negative sides of the whole deal. It's about accepting what you are and trying to find a balance. Promethean is not. Rather, it's a journey that allows character to learn enough about the person they want to become. Sure, you might feel awesome when you tear down a pack of Pandorans that wanted to destroy you or when you throw a car at a Centimanus (you should be, supernatural powers are cool) but, on a wider perspective, those are moments when a character defends its right to have a chance at becoming something better. Again, a human.

      And that's the reasons I think the best occasions to show the happy sides of Promethean are the little moments, the brief instants of peace where a Created can taste what being human feels like. Playing with a dog, having fun with friends, laughing at jokes, relaxing on a bench...that sort of stuff. The moments where, as your wounds are healing, you notice that you giving a fuck about stopping those rampaging Pandorans allowed that little kid to get back to his family unharmed.

      It's Frankenstein speaking with the blind old man, even knowing that his family will eventually come and drive the monster away, because, eventually, characters have the hope for that good moment to become normal.

      (Yeah, I belong to the current that calls the monster Frankenstein. He's Victor's son and deserves the surname, not gonna change my mind about it)


      Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
      Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

      Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

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      • #18
        Folks have given the responses that I'd probably give, but I wanted to chime in a little. I developed Promethean, and I understand depression. Promethean can definitely be a bleak game - what the Created go through is hard and it can feel relentless, especially on a read of the game.

        In play, though, that gets broken up by things happening. You wouldn't want to play a Werewolf game that was all violence, all the time, even though violence is an important part of the game. Prometheans do things just like PCs in any other game, but the core experience is about the Pilgrimage. Sometimes that's depressing or sad, sometimes that's uplifting and hopeful. Ultimately, if you want to play Promethean, you have to find the mix that works for your group.

        In our group, we tend to play through a story and then take a few months off and play something else for a while (which is why this game has been going for...good lord, almost six years now?).

        Originally posted by Cinder View Post
        Promethean's core theme is about the desire to become human. I find interesting that the central basic narrative is in a way so distant from that of Beast while both games have Matt as a developer.
        I am large, I contain multitudes.


        Matthew McFarland
        Writer, developer, etc.

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        • #19
          This question is somewhat related to another one that has come up in the past: what do Prometheans actually do? It can be easy to assume from reading that a Promethean's existence is just one long parade of things they do turning to ash in front of them while they sit in a circle and talk about how great it would be to be human. That isn't really what a Promethean throng gets up to in play though. They get tangled up in zany mysteries, they fight monsters, they go on road trips, they interact with the human condition in ways that can be touching, awkward, and comedic. One can absolutely mourn the loss of a relationship that went sour, stewing over how much was Disquiet and how much was really just you. One can also find oneself wrestling with a spider-limbed murder-zombie in the back of a fast food place while two throngmates yell at each other over how to perform alchemy with condiments so they can stop the pool in the basement from spawning more homonculi and another tries to fill orders at the front so the customers don't call the cops, all while wondering how your day managed to escalate like this.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by blackhatmatt View Post
            I am large, I contain multitudes.
            Oh, that was me acknowledging it, no doubt

            As for "what Promethean do?", I'd add that the Promethean fiction anthology helped me understand the variety of the Promethean's daily lives. I read it and loved it, to the point that when some of my players expressed difficulties at understanding the sort of narratives you can have in the game after we talked about it, I just handed the book to them. For what I can attest, it worked.

            Check it out, if you can. As these things tend to go, you might not like all the stories, but there's lots of material to find in there.
            Last edited by Cinder; 09-07-2017, 05:25 AM.


            Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
            Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

            Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Cinder View Post
              Oh, that was me acknowledging it, no doubt

              As for "what Promethean do?", I'd add that the Promethean fiction anthology helped me understand the variety of the Promethean's daily lives. I read it and loved it, to the point that when some of my players expressed difficulties at understanding the sort of narratives you can have in the game after we talked about it, I just handed the book to them. For what I can attest, it worked.

              Check it out, if you can. As these things tend to go, you might not like all the stories, but there's lots of material to find in there.
              Aaaand I bought it. Thanks for the advice!

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