Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Failed Refinements

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Failed Refinements

    In Dark Eras Companion (which I heartily recommend to any Promethean fan), we're introduced to Pneuma, a variant of the Aurum Refinement that's described as a failed Refinement (because it takes the Created's attention off of earning Mortality and encourages them to get stuck on that Refinement instead of learning from it and then moving on to something else).

    The purpose of this topic is to explore other possible “failed Refinements”: either variants of existing Refinements or cut from whole cloth, that look promising on the surface but contain subtle flaws that make them pitfalls for the Pilgrimage.



  • #2
    I feel like there's room somewhere for a failed Cobalus variant, but I'm too braindead to come up with it right now.

    Cuprum is also an easy one to have go wrong, where you just isolate yourself forever and never learn.


    Call me Regina or Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

    Comment


    • #3
      for a long time I have a concept in my head for a Refinement called Sulphuris- it is the "Refinement of Sin", which encourage its followers that understanding humanity must require them to transgress human taboos and understand their darkest passions. The problem with the Refinement is that most of the participates eventually feel too comfortable at staying in that Refinement, or become so disgusted of seeing the dark side of the human heart that they give up upon becoming human and fall into Centimani. The concept came to me as I've started to think how Promethean and Inferno may interact with each other, and that's what came up.


      My Homebrew Signature

      "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

      I now blog in here

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by atamajakki View Post
        I feel like there's room somewhere for a failed Cobalus variant, but I'm too braindead to come up with it right now.
        Endless tinkering and fiddling with small faults at the expense of recongnising the bigger context and moving on? Sort of the perfect is the enemy of the good Refinement.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by LostLight View Post
          for a long time I have a concept in my head for a Refinement called Sulphuris- it is the "Refinement of Sin", which encourage its followers that understanding humanity must require them to transgress human taboos and understand their darkest passions. The problem with the Refinement is that most of the participates eventually feel too comfortable at staying in that Refinement, or become so disgusted of seeing the dark side of the human heart that they give up upon becoming human and fall into Centimani. The concept came to me as I've started to think how Promethean and Inferno may interact with each other, and that's what came up.
          This could be the "failed Cobalus variant" that atamajakki is looking for. It could even be the earlier form of Cobalus, from before cobalt was recognized as a distinct metal (which Wikipedia tells me didn't happen until 1735). Now we need a Refinement of Salt (Salinas, perhaps?) to complete the Trinity of Matter...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AberrantEyes View Post

            Now we need a Refinement of Salt (Salinas, perhaps?) to complete the Trinity of Matter...

            Because of current gaming culture i cant help but form an association between salt and failure and the inability to perceive it or ones part in it.


            Currently running: VtR - The most serene requiem of Venice
            Currently playing: Tomb of Annihilation (DnD5e) - Thulwir, Aasimar Circle of Dream Druid.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by AberrantEyes View Post
              Now we need a Refinement of Salt (Salinas, perhaps?) to complete the Trinity of Matter...
              If I remember correctly, salt was considered the most inert form of matter. That could be the "refinement" that essentially gives up on the Pilgrimmage and tries to make the best of being a Promethean, without hope for anything more.

              Comment


              • #8
                Itzli, The Refinment of Obsidian and Sacrifice. A sort of perverse opposite of Aes. Not unlike the Aztec priests of old, its practitioners try to extract the "heart" of their fellow Prometheans through foiling their plans to achieve Milestones, at the exact moment the Promethean is about to reach it. They hope that by robbing them from that experience, they can benefit of it for themselves (or else, would force their peers.to try harder to complete the Pilgrimage). More often than not, that leads them, as well as their victims, to Centimani.

                Fumus, The Refinment of Smoke and Faith. The unwanted child of Plumbum and Argentum, the practitioners of this cult-like Refinment center their Pilgrimage around the Qashmallim, actively seeking to encounter and interact with them. Needless to say, standing in the path of the agents of the Principle on a mission is not the wisest thing to do: caught up in the chaos wrought by Elpides or Lilithim, a Sycophant risk much, and receive next to no answers in return, since the Qashmallim will only make her progress on the Pilgrimage if and when it suits their mission.

                Encaustum, The Refinment of Red Ink and Honesty. This Refinment isn't so much flawed as it is naive and suicidal. To this Refinment, the fact that almost every Generative Act happened in total secrecy implies that the Pilgrimage requires, in compensation, total honesty. About everything. The Promethean condition, the existence of the World of Darkness, even the Promethean's deepest thoughts and secrets. Count on these guys to try to negotiate with a Disquieted Human, bluntly call out the local Vampire Prince, or reveal the true extent of their power to an Alchemist, all in the hope that "the Truth shall set them free".

                (I don't know if those are intrinsecally flawed or simply unpleasant. Either way, I wouldn't follow one)
                Last edited by Adrasalieth; 06-04-2018, 06:04 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Geez, I'm on a row. Here are some more.

                  Lutum, the Refinment of Mud and Fertility. For the Midwives (the Practitioners of that worldview), the whole point of their existence resides in the Generative Act. To them, the Pilgrimage is akin to the labor, each Promethean a womb from which the Pyros painfully tries to get out. In order to hasten that birth, those Promethean study fertility: not only the breeding and mating of animals and humans alike, but also experiments on the limits of the Generative Act: can one perform it partially? How many possible rituals can exist?

                  The flaw in that Refinment is that the Midwives are interested in creation, not parenthood: they put as much new creatures in this life as they can, but they stop to care about them as soon as they're born. And ignoring or avoiding those kind of responsibilities is not the greatest way to learn about humanity...

                  Vellum, the Refinment of Parchment and Aliases. An improbable mix between the reclusive Cuprum and the socialite Aurum, a practitioner Vellum seeks contact and intimacy with his fellow humans, but only through indirect means: building alternate identities, using proxies, letters, social media, or whatever means that allow to exchange and communicate without truly exposing the Catfish's identity. Without surprise, that rarely goes down well: even without all the potential drama that result from catfishing, that path is mostly a cowardly escape, from someone unable to either embrace solitude or to confront mankind, and thus missing the point of both.

                  ----------

                  Speculum, the Refinment of Mirrors and Dialectic. The combination of the contrary, manipulative side of a Cathar, with the knowledge about the Created's condition of an Originist. Usually known as smug, cocky, annoyingly charismatic bastards, the Logicians are known for their mastery of rhetoric, and their quickness to point out flaws in one's train of thought. Although they turn their legendary sarcasm to anyone at range, they most specifically use those tools to point out the fallacies and potential drifts of other Refinments - those branded as "failed"-, and lead their practitioners to change path.

                  Ironically for a Refinment so bent on removing flaws, the Refinment could also be considered a failed Refinment. its practitioners soon find that all the ideals of each Refinment can be flawed at some point, and many deduce that the Pilgrimage itself has no rational grounds. Therefore, there would be no real objection to the Centimani's creed...

                  (TLDR: Edgelord Refinment).

                  Last edited by Adrasalieth; 06-04-2018, 06:05 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Adrasalieth View Post
                    Lutum, the Refinment of Mud and Fertility. For the Midwives (the Practitioners of that worldview), the whole point of their existence resides in the Generative Act. To them, the Pilgrimage is akin to the labor, each Promethean a womb from which the Pyros painfully tries to get out. In order to hasten that birth, those Promethean study: they dabble with fertility: not only the breeding and mating of animals and humans alike, but also experiments on the limits of the Generative Act: can one perform it partially? How many possible rituals can exist?

                    The flaw in that Refinment is that the Midwives are interested in creation, not parenthood: they put as much new creatures in this life as they can, but they stop to care about them as soon as they're born. And ignoring or avoiding those kind of responsibilities is not the greatest way to learn about humanity...
                    Sounds kind of like Father Mazda from Saturnine Night (the Osiran Centimanus who's put his Pilgrimage on hold to experiment with his Lineage's generative ritual).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Adrasalieth View Post
                      Fumus, The Refinment of Smoke and Faith. The unwanted child of Plumbum and Argentum, the practitioners of this cult-like Refinment center their Pilgrimage around the Qashmallim, actively seeking to encounter and interact with them. Needless to say, standing in the path of the agents of the Principle on a mission is not the wisest thing to do: caught up in the chaos wrought by Elpides or Lilithim, the Sycophants risk much, and receive next to no answers in return, since the Qashmallim will only make her progress on the Pilgrimage if and when it suits their mission.
                      I particularly like this one. It seems like a natural mistake for Prometheans to make - a divine force, connected to them by its very nature - how could it not offer them insight? It can also be sparked by the strong presence of religion in human affairs - sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse - but for Prometheans, with the manifest reality of the Qashmalim before them, surely it would be the former.

                      Originally posted by Adrasalieth View Post
                      Vellum, the Refinment of Parchment and Correspondence. An improbable mix between the reclusive Cuprum and the socialite Aurum, a practitioner Vellum seeks contact and intimacy with his fellow humans, but only through indirect means: building alternate identities, using proxies, letters, social media, or whatever means that allow to exchange and communicate without truly exposing the Catfish's identity. Without surprise, that rarely goes down well: even without all the potential drama that result from catfishing, that path is mostly a cowardly escape, from someone unable to either embrace solitude or to confront mankind, and thus missing the point of both.
                      And this one. It strikes me as a trap for a Promethean who can't quite choose between the Gold and Copper. They want to interact with humans - but they're too afraid of their own limits or the effects of Disquiet to immerse themselves in humaniy, and don't see that those are things they have to confront - or they think study is better done in the abstract, intellectually, and fail to see the need for more intimate interaction. At the same time, they want to analyse themselves and engage in introspection - but they're too afraid of being alone, unable to see how they could advance without some sort of guidance - or they think studying themselves can only be done via comparison to the humans they want to become.

                      TLDR, these two seem like very general traps, with reasons to look attractive - they're things I could see a lot of Prometheans going for.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lots of good ideas here. So, which Transmutations are associated with each of these?

                        IIRC, Pneuma used the same Transmutations as Aurum. I'd recommend against creating new Transmutations for these failed Refinements, both because of the amount of work needed to create a Transmutation and because we want to minimize the mechanical incentive for following a failed Refinement: the motive for doing so should be primarily driven by the Refinement's philosophy, with enough mechanical incentive that you're not obviously screwing yourself over (i.e., you do get Refinements) but not so much that someone would choose to pursue it strictly for access to Transmutations that wouldn't be available in any other way.
                        Last edited by Dataweaver; 10-22-2017, 06:48 AM.


                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Also, it makes more sense for a failed Refinement to simply be unable to foster the development of new Transmutations. And since the Pilgrimmage is measured in Roles, they probably shouldn't have those either - or perhaps the realisation that the Refinement is a failure is still good for a milestone. Conditions and Beats work, though.

                          Another thing is that failed Refinements should be complex - the basic ones draw in instincts from the Elpis itself and don't need to be taught - a Promethean might fail at such a Refinement, but it doesn't seem logical they'd fail in and of themselves.

                          Anyway, Transmutation ideas:

                          My idea for Salt: Saturninus and Disquietism - they best reflect the idea of making the best of things rather than hoping for better.

                          Itzli: Vulcanus would reflect the fire in the heart of a Promethean, Luciferus the ephemeral moment the practitioner is trying to catch, and Alchemicus the act of distilling. Corporeum would help subdue victims.

                          Fumus: Vulcanus is a must. Corporeum might help survive the harsh and isolated places the practitioner must wait, or Saturninus might reflect the faith practioners have in their bond with the angels.

                          Encaustum: Sensorium - if truth is their, well, truth, then finding it is something they'd be good at. Maybe Mesmerism?

                          Vellum: Sensorium - they observe humans, but at a remove. Deception could be a way of hiding from attention.
                          Last edited by SunlessNick; 10-22-2017, 12:26 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Pneuma had Roles, too — basically recasting the Aurum Roles in religious terms.


                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I very much agree with the idea of no new Transmutations for failed Refinements. In fact, I'd even say that only Prometheans having calcified at least one Alembic of both the Transmutations of those Refinements may access them. That would be a great: both from a purely game perspective, for eventual PCs ("oh, look at that brand plausible, definitely harmless Refinement you just unlocked through your hard work!") and narratively. That would represent a Created trying to cross-reference the Paths he already walked on, losing sight of the real subject of study (Humanity) until he experiences a false epiphany, a shortcut that seems to magically solves his problems ("Aww, you have pain reconciling solitude and socializing? What if I told you could have BOTH?").

                              (They could even have some sort of loose alliance, unconsciously caused by the accumulating Flux inside them. "The Composite Refinements", gathered because they're clearly superiors to all those other fools, blindly following one Path at a time without even trying to connect the dots).

                              I think that Roles need to be a part of the Refinements, even the failed ones.These Refinements still reflect something of us. Deviance for its own sake for Sulphuris; excessive devotion for Fumus; unresponsible parenthood for Lutum, etc. Those flaws are humans: we can all pick up memories or stereotypes of someone that displays them. But even as humans, these sides of us drag us down: and for someone that lacks an overall conception of humanity, like a Promethean, the damages would be even worse.

                              My proposal would be that Prometheans in a failed Refinement are considered stuck in its Roles directly (but I'm not sure it has enough weight, mechanically).

                              ----

                              Sulphuris: Disquietism would be a nice temptation for a Promethean: Disquiet is arguably the hardest feature of the Promethean condition, and the temptation to partially remove it through Internalize, or to unleash it upon others to avenge oneself, must be overbearing. As for the second Transmutation, the obvious choice would be Contamination (to make them the dark twins of Cobalus even more), but Mesmerism would also work, as it touches the morally questionable intent of transgressing one's free will.

                              Fumus: Actually, I'd see them more as Vulcanus and Luciferus. Saturninus is really oriented on Prometheans, while Luciferus is all about might and light ecstasy, unfettered Pyros shining in searing coronas: that would make sense for the Sycophants, who precisely venerate the Agents of the Principle for their awe-inspring nature. But then again, I guess it depends if we want to accentuate the "Fanatic preacher that gathers misfits in his angel-worshipping mob" (Vulcanus/Luciferus) or the "Obsessed seeker that didn't sleep in two months because they're on a quest" (Vulcanus/Corporeus), or the "Priest venerating the Qashmal as wardens of the Promethean" (Vulcanus/Saturninus) vibe.

                              I totally agree with SunlessNick for Vellum and Encaustum.

                              Lutum: I'd pick Saturninus (for tinkering with Generative Act lore), and maybe Benefice (for the "We-Are-Family" thing).
                              Last edited by Adrasalieth; 05-26-2018, 09:48 AM.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X