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  • Alternate goals for Refinements?

    I'm wondering, has anyone thought about alternate goals, end points, or pilgrimage results that the refinements (other than Aurum) could pursue? If that's the "become human" splat, what are some things the others could shoot for? Argentum is the obvious- becoming another supernatural creature or fitting into a supernatural society or ecosystem. The others are fairly easy too, actually- it's always felt a bit tacked-on that all of them other than Centimani have humanity as an end goal. Ferrum would probably shoot for some sort of higher/stronger state or prize scientific understanding over humanity. Aes could shoot for being a Qashmal-like being or bodhisattva, transforming into a state or being perfectly adapted to help other Prometheans. Stannum is kind of hard, though, because I can't really think of an "end goal" for them. It's very much set up as a Refinement designed to be temporary, I guess.

    If the refinements have alternate goals, then the journey through them takes on a new dimension, fitting with the theme of creating an identity: the Promethean studies the various areas associated with the Refinement and passes through them until they find a goal that really resonates with them.

    We don't really need a "become comfortable with being a Promethean" Refinement, because there are several already that could have that as their goal, and Centimani doesn't fit it either: it's not so much about being satisfied with your condition or adapting to it as steadily becoming something more and more monstrous.

    It'd also be interesting to open up the Promethean-Alchemist relationship, and let them have a sort of connection more like between other major templates and their corresponding minor templates. You could also have them play various roles within the Refinements. Since Prometheans are so rare, I'd imagine that any sort of organization larger than a Throng would be made up of Prometheans and alchemists. We could have a name for a group of Prometheans and alchemists of one Refinement working together on a project. A fellowship?

  • #2
    Yes, these forums had long discussions about such subjects, the most recent being this one (as far as I know)

    Also, minor tidbit, but Alchemists are not (without a player's guide) Promethean's minor splat, they're antagonists. That's like saying Strixes are Vamp's minor splat.


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    • #3
      You've said you want your version of this game to have the Pilgrimmage be about more or less anything (giant mechanical spider was one of your examples), and also for the New Dawn not to necessarily be acheivable at all. For that reason, I think the question you should be asking is should your version have Refinements at all? Not only are they all centred a lot more around humanity than you're making out, but they're also centred on the idea that the Pilgrimmage is attainable. If you use Refinements, you're going to have to come up with so many new ones to cover all the possible options you want to facilitate, so many new Roles for each one, that I think you're better off asking what would make a good alternative Y-splat.

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      • #4
        I think that your basic premise shows that you don't understand Refinements as written, which is NOT something I say to judge you. Rather, I mean only that your interpretation isn't what *I* read from the Refinements. To whit: They are ALL about achieving the end goal of humanity.

        Yeah, Aurum is obvious in its utility for the New Dawn, but it's more about seeing humans BEING human to better understand – ideally if not practically – how doing those human things that we don't much think about as human makes them human. The Refinement of Gold hinges on that notion of doing-as-becoming, of 'fake it 'till you make it' than it is simply about BECOMING human. Education, family, faith, these are all things that living mortals struggle to understand in others.

        Agrentum is NOT about becoming a supernatural being. It's about understanding how humans deal with the supernatural so as to better know the way people deal with things that are most definitely not human. One of the Created doesn't know how to deal with himself or his throngmates in a human way until – or if – he masters the Refinement of Silver.

        ...And the rest of them are the same. No ONE of them is the key to forging the Divine Fire into a soul; rather they all pile up to make a full experience.

        Needless to say, sure if you're looking to completely change the direction of Promethean: the Created away from the Pilgrimage ending with mortality, maybe you do wanna do as SunlessNick suggests and create whole new mechanics. More power to you if that's your choice, mate. I reckon you can use the existing Refinements as a basis for such a thing, but know that you're moving towards a transhumanist bent that is well outside the themes and what the mechanics of Promethean as written supports.


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        • #5
          On the other hand, we could just forgo the usual "transhumanism is not the point" because that has always been a lose-lose. Let's go along to get along.

          Did you want to keep the basic/complex divide? If so, I'd slot alternate Refinement goals to be solely the province of the complex Refinements. Basic Refinements are about getting a handle on the alchemy, and to represent this, I'd require that a Role be completed in all five as an additional requirement to whatever New Dawn the Promethean seeks.

          In this model, you would have five endpoints (other than Mortality). What these are are sort of dependent on the game, because we're outside the usual Promethean paradigm. Let's see what the Refinements suggest.
          Aes - Aid, teamwork, guardianship, help.
          Argentum - Supernatural, magic, radical forms of being, assimilation.
          Cobalus - Sin, corruption, cleansing, transcendence, self-acceptance.
          Mercurius - Pyros, fire, transformation and transmutation, alchemy.
          Phosphorum - Ephemerality, death and resurrection, brilliance, ignition, light.
          I think one trap in the thinking is that a Promethean is expected to come out as a playable character. That isn't necessary, I think, and if you wanted to fit transcendental New Dawns into bog-standard, giving up on that might help. But that's not fun, right?

          So, I imagine an Aes becoming something like a gargoyle, or an eternal watcher, or a cooperative spirit among unlikely groups. An Argentum might become a shapeshifter, might cross over into a higher state of being, or might become human but with a persistent minor template.Can't think of much for Cobalus, though tempting devils, djinn, and other accusers might fit. Mercurius is the go-to for Pyros-phenomena, like qashmallim, but could also tie into elemental fire. Phosphorum is about mortality and death, which makes it fine for continuing straight into mortality, but might also tie into Will'o'wisps, ghosts, and UFOs.

          Now, if you were open to the non-playable options, you get some exciting possibilities. A Promethean might be reborn into a Genius Loci. She could join completely with the Pyros, or disintegrate into Flux, or even shed her body and stoke her Azoth into some unique creature that feeds on the Pyros itself. I think the key to any New Dawn alternative should be that it radically change the world, even if that change is localized, or beneath the notice of mortals. It should be something worth giving up a soul for, because that's the opportunity cost here. Become a song that will not be forgotten so long as there are human tongues to sing it. Call down the light of an undiscovered star and be washed away in its tide of photons. See a wicked city destroyed in fire and brimstone as the Firestorm blows out the last of your Azoth.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Verge View Post
            On the other hand, we could just forgo the usual "transhumanism is not the point" because that has always been a lose-lose. Let's go along to get along.
            Personally, I am forgoing that. I still think - or rather thought, which I'll get back to in a moment - that this made Refinements unworkable because you'd need too many of them to account for all the possible endpoints this is meant to incorporate.

            However:
            In this model, you would have five endpoints (other than Mortality). What these are are sort of dependent on the game, because we're outside the usual Promethean paradigm. Let's see what the Refinements suggest.
            Aes - Aid, teamwork, guardianship, help.
            Argentum - Supernatural, magic, radical forms of being, assimilation.
            Cobalus - Sin, corruption, cleansing, transcendence, self-acceptance.
            Mercurius - Pyros, fire, transformation and transmutation, alchemy.
            Phosphorum - Ephemerality, death and resurrection, brilliance, ignition, light.
            I think one trap in the thinking is that a Promethean is expected to come out as a playable character. That isn't necessary, I think, and if you wanted to fit transcendental New Dawns into bog-standard, giving up on that might help. But that's not fun, right?
            What you could do is try to equally decouple all of them from humanity, including Aurum. And rather than focussing refinements on an intended endpoint, keep them focussed on the journey, which is the whole point of the game anyway. In which case:

            Gold: Insight into relationships, community, togetherness, all the bonds with others that might exist (which is the true focus of the refinement anyway).
            Copper: Insight into yourself - your mind, psyche, the soul or whatever you mean to have.
            Iron: Insight into physicality in all its forms, your own and that of others.
            Lead: Insight into what you are now - you can't go anywhere without a map, maps need coordinates, coordinates are useless without a point of origin.
            Tin: Insight into impulse and instinct, especially the destructive ones.
            Bronze: Insight into subordination - not necessarily submission, but how to be part of a whole.
            Cobalt: Insight into purging of the old - but can be as physical as it is mental or moral.
            Silver: Insight into the world's other supernatural forces.
            Mercury: Insight into the Fire.
            Phosphorus: Insight into the fleeting - change, speed, death.

            I still think Roles would have to be too numerous to be feasible, but you could pick Refinements based on the type of entity you want your end-product to be. If it's human then Gold, Bronze, Tin and Phosphor jump out. If it's to become a werewolf, then Gold, Bronze, Silver, and Iron jump out. If it's to stay a Promethean, then maybe Copper, Tin, Lead, and Cobalt. If it's the giant mechanical spider, them maybe Iron, Lead, Cobalt, and Copper. (I'm not saying it should be four, necessarily).

            Then figure out something other than a Role to represent learning the lesson from a Refinement. And adapt Demon's Cypher mechanics to create a sort of Z-splat benefit for learning from all the ones you need to. (That's so that there's a concrete benefit to the Pilgrimmage, even when the New Dawn is a distant abstract).

            Anyway, that's my suggestion.
            Last edited by SunlessNick; 09-26-2016, 07:01 AM.

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            • #7
              Really, Roles are only there to couple Refinements to the new Transmutations, and then only in that the number of Roles matches the number of additional Alembics that are there to be unlocked. Roles themselves have almost no crunch to them. And given their near-complete lack of crunch, I would have no problem with inventing potentially dozens of them. Think of them as 2e's z-splats.


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              • #8
                See, I don't think I'm misunderstanding Refinements, because the basis I'm working from is that the book presents all or almost all of them as being ultimately paths to becoming human, and I want to change that.

                I don't think what I'm going for is that different. After all, the Refinements and the whole idea of the Great Work is based on alchemical principles...which were pretty damn transhumanist. Historically, most alchemists who talked about their "great works" were after things like immortality.

                And the Refinements aren't that hard to switch over to alternate goals. In fact, the humanity element seems kind of tacked on to some of them.

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                • #9
                  It's probably more accurate to say that those Refinements were tacked on to the Pilgrimage, which is a journey to humanity. But this has been covered.

                  Where do you want these Refinements to go? Are you looking for help with the idea?


                  LFP: American Carnage (Werewolf: the Forsaken)

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                  • #10
                    I'd like each to have a distinct goal and correspond to different sorts of Pilgrimages, I have some examples. And I do want help. I've mentioned the Refinements I'm having trouble with, Stannum is especially vexing.

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                    • #11
                      Stannum is very much a Refinement about conflict, tension, rage, and, like the other Refinements, acceptance. To follow this Refinement to a non-human end is to either become the Fury, or to transcend it.

                      In some ways this might be like becoming a living Firestorm. One would not hesitate to scourge or corrupt to achieve their ends, and if there's a moral core to this existence it's about vengeance. Perhaps a higher state is about transmitting revenge into Justice, and the Promethean joins the ranks of whatever karma police prowl the Chronicles of Darkness.

                      Another curious bit about Stannum is its elemental vibe. Electricity and lightning and the violence of the Wasteland. An aspect of this ULTIMATE FORM could call upon that affinity. Perhaps she becomes like Thor and Zeus, or lives now as lightning.


                      LFP: American Carnage (Werewolf: the Forsaken)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                        See, I don't think I'm misunderstanding Refinements, because the basis I'm working from is that the book presents all or almost all of them as being ultimately paths to becoming human, and I want to change that.
                        The book presents just about everything in the context of becoming human — which, ironically, leaves me with the impression that we're getting a somewhat narrower picture of what the Refinements potentially cover than we'd get if the book wasn't centered so heavily on that notion.

                        That is, I don't think that the Refinements are paths to anywhere. I don't think of them as paths at all. Pilgrimage is a path to becoming human, and the Refinements are tools that Promethean uses to facilitate that path. They're closer to being the territory that the Pilgrimage passes through.

                        Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                        I don't think what I'm going for is that different. After all, the Refinements and the whole idea of the Great Work is based on alchemical principles...which were pretty damn transhumanist. Historically, most alchemists who talked about their "great works" were after things like immortality.
                        I tend to agree: there's nothing about the Refinements that's inherently Pinnochian.

                        Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                        And the Refinements aren't that hard to switch over to alternate goals. In fact, the humanity element seems kind of tacked on to some of them.
                        Again, I don't see the Refinements themselves having goals. Each one is a field of study, as it were; a topic the Promethean seeks to better understand. Why the Created seek that understanding, and what they intend to do with it, is a separate issue, addressed by the Pilgrimage stat.

                        Now, the Roles are a bit of a different story. They're the interface between Pilgrimage and Refinement. If you change Pilgrimage to something not so Pinnochian, then I'd expect at least some of the Roles to be revised or replaced by less humanocentric alternatives.
                        Last edited by Dataweaver; 10-03-2016, 09:59 AM.


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                        • #13
                          Hm, I feel like "less human roles" is definitely something it would be valuable to speculate on.

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                          • #14
                            Out of curiosity, what would you see as a "less human role"?

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                            • #15
                              Well, that's the big question. I think it might end up being more of a decoupling of existing roles from humanity.

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