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Lumen, Take Two: New Refinement Rewritten

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  • Lumen, Take Two: New Refinement Rewritten

    After the last fiasco, I decided to rework the Lumen in a way that differentiates them more from other Refinements and makes them viable in a wide range of scenarios, raw or varying degrees of homebrew.

    The Refinement of Aluminum is one of the newer ones, though Prometheans have been treading similar paths for quite some time. The Lumen have a clearer origin than most Refinements: they're widely agreed to be an offshoot of the Aurum. These two Refinements share strongly prohuman sentiments, but the Lumen refocus theirs. While the Aurum focus primarily on becoming human, the Lumen focus on guiding and aiding humanity itself. This has led to quite a few conflicts, as many other Prometheans have interpreted this as a sort of servitude, and even many prohuman Created are wary of putting themselves in too much of a servile role. One main difference between the Lumen and the Aurum lies in their Pilgrimage goals. The Lumen typically seek to refine themselves into the form best suited for protecting and guiding humanity. This typically takes one of two forms: some Lumen wish to be "better Prometheans", while those Lumen who have come to associate with strains of transhumanist thought often seek to become enhanced humans, since they see this as the goal that humanity itself is working towards. Many Lumen have a keen interest in science, pointing to scientific and technological development as signs of humanity's power and worth, and seek to aid these endeavors wherever they can. Other Lumen focus more on philosophy and governance, and almost all of them have at least some appreciation of art.

  • #2
    FWIW, Aurum is no more about becoming human than any of the other Refinements. Rather, it's about understanding relationships.


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    • #3
      So, they literally study the concept of being a foil? Interesting. Let's try to create three roles for them.

      Scientist is already taken by Mercurius.
      Exemplar is already taken by Ferrum.
      Sage, Seeker, Deviant, Pilgrim, all of these roles already exist.

      I'm not trying to be antagonistic, really, I just want to understand what Roles we could give this new Refinement without it feeling like a pale imitation of the others.

      Slave? Villain? Guide? Bodhisattva? Artist?

      I like the idea that you decided to explore. I think it has potential. It just needs a bit more polish


      Glorious Useless-Post Prana
      Cost: 2m; Mins: Linguistics 1, Essence 1 Type: Simple
      Keywords: Mute
      Duration: Instant
      Prerequisite Charms: Ten-Characters Methodology

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      • #4
        I'm sorry, but I'm having trouble grasping the idea that the Refinements aren't about becoming human. Aurum has becoming human as an end goal. In the base game, all of them except Centimani and maybe Phosphorum do.

        The problem is that all of those roles are framed by the game as being paths to humanity rather than goals in their own right, and the one Refinement that isn't about becoming humanity is about monstrosity and is antagonistic towards humanity.

        I was trying to make a Refinement that focuses on and is supportive of humanity without having it as an end goal.

        If Aurum is about understanding relationships, Lumen is about understanding progress and society, and about helping humanity from the outside. It isn't exactly about science, because Lumen pursue science as a means of aiding humanity and society and not a goal in itself. It isn't about being an Exemplar, because the Lumen define themselves by what they do rather than what they are. And it isn't about being a bodhisattva, because they focus on guiding and protecting humanity rather than guiding and protecting other Prometheans.

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        • #5
          I've clarified my position elsewhere, but it bears repeating here: it's not that Refinements aren't about becoming human; it's that they're not about becoming anything. Refinements don't have goals; they have subject matters. While Promethean as written tend to focus on how they relate to becoming human, that's not because the Refinements are about becoming human; it's because the Pilgrimage is about becoming human, and the Refinements are being used to facilitate it.

          To me, Lumen and Aurum cover the same thing: the social aspect of humanity. The differences you describe don't lie in the Refinements; they lie in the Pilgrimage. I could totally see an alternative the Pilgrimage that's about outsiders using their outsider perspective to benefit humanity; and a Promethean following that path who is on the Refinement Aurum would look a lot like what you're describing as Lumen. But it would not a separate Refinement. Likewise, if he switches to Ferrum, he's going to look rather different than a Promethean on the Pilgrimage who's studying Ferrum.


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          • #6
            Huh. I'm honestly thinking that in that case I might as well change Refinements to be focused on certain goals? If we're keeping the Pilgrimage, I'd rather have it be a general representation of a path towards something, but necesarily humanity but a transformation, and the Refinements are different perspectives associated with different goals. In that framework, would the Lumen work?

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            • #7
              My problem with that approach is that it means that whenever you change Refinements, you change goals. And Promethean's Pilgrimage mechanics require the Created to change Refinements at least three times over the course of her Pilgrimage.

              Are you familiar with Vampire: the Masquerade? Originally, every protagonist in that game had a Humanity trait, which was a measure of how well the bloodsucker had held onto his humanity. Later editions saw a need to represent vampires who has abandoned their humanity but retained a semblance of control; and so the Paths of Enlightenment were born: replacements for Humanity that represented different, inhuman ideals to which a vamp might cling.

              That's what I'm thinking of here: alternate Journeys that are to the Pilgrimage as VtM's Paths of Enlightenment are to Humanity, with each type of Journey being centered on a different Destination to which the Promethean might aspire.


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              • #8
                I mean, I guess it's a moot point, since I prefer Identity to Pilgrimage as the integrity stat, and I don't think Lumen would have a problem working in that framework. Interesting idea, though.

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                • #9
                  Thing is, if you replace Pilgrimage with Identity, you still don't need Lumen as a separate Refinement. Just use Aurum, and have the Promethean apply it to the goal of bettering humanity rather than becoming human.

                  If you want a new Refinement, come up with some aspect of existence that the published Refinements don't cover (of don't cover well).


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                  • #10
                    Well, Identity changes the refinements to be more closely related to desired outcomes. Pilgrimage is an optimal thing, and Refinement is related to what sort of Pilgrimage a Promethean would pursue.

                    And I honestly thought Lumen fit. I consider it different enough from Aurum- it's not about mimicking humanity and living among them as it is being outside of them but still supportive of them.

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                    • #11
                      Why do the Refinements need to have desired outcomes at all? They're philosophical outlooks that carry metaphysical weight, you don't have a 'goal' in being a Stoic anymore than you would being an Existentialism or a Nihilist or a student of any other school of philosophy. All Prometheans, by default, have the 'end goal' of 'become human' and are trying to figure out what that means for them and how they're going to do that. Refinements are takes on that goal, but they are not in and of themselves paths to the goal themselves.

                      One thing I really love about 2E Refinements as opposed to 1E Refinements is that in 1E it was suggested you change Refinements to get access to different Milestones, different Transmutations, and different Athanors, whereas in 2E changing Refinements is, to an extent, required. Prometheans are meant to change, empowered as they are by the ultimate catalyst, and calcifying down into one singular expression robs them of the experience of multiple viewpoints and perspectives, and the Divine Fire will fight it every step of the way.

                      I'd take Dataweaver's suggestion on looking at the Paths of Enlightenment in VtM and run with it. Refinements aren't routes or end goals, and I don't think they should be. If you don't like the destination, change the journey.


                      My Homebrew Hub

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                      • #12
                        I suppose all the descriptions of the Refinements as "paths to humanity" threw me a bit. This does just confirm my suspicions that having humanity as the only end goal does the game a huge disservice for me.
                        Last edited by Geckopirateship; 10-08-2016, 02:32 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                          I suppose all the descriptions of the Refinements as "paths to humanity" threw me a bit. This does just confirm my suspicions that having humanity as the only end goal does the game a huge disservice.

                          No, you just don't like it. The point of the game doesn't do the game a disservice.


                          Matthew McFarland
                          Writer, developer, etc.

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                          • #14
                            Agree to disagree, I guess. Sorry for the criticism. I'm glad that there are people it works for, I just never agreed with it. Anyway, I suppose we have a few options here. From the start, I was never really trying to work Lumen into the Refinements completely as written, because of the aforementioned "limiting focus on humanity" thing with all of them, so that gives us two: Trying to work Lumen into a more flexible framework of Refinements without changing much, or working out Dataweaver's idea for separate Pilgrimage paths. The second is an interesting idea, and I feel like it probably should have been the original approach, and it's something I find myself considering more and more. Though I do think I'll stick with Refinements+Identity, the idea of Pilgrimage paths would be a fantastic solution for anyone who wanted to keep Pilgrimage as the integrity stat. I don't even think it requires much work, honestly. And just an offhand mention of it being possible in the book would have satisfied me.

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                            • #15
                              Hm, I remember that ArcaneArts mentioned that he'd be extremely excited about a Refinement that focused on understanding humanity via the lens of transhumanism, so here's this.

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