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  • Prometheans are what exactly?

    Ok so I know that Prometheans are obviously based somewhat on Frankenstein's Monster and their called Prometheans because the Novel Frankenstein had the alternative title the Modern Prometheus but beyond that I don't really get really get Prometheans. I should properly point out I have not got any Promethean books as I prefer to know what I'm buying before I buy. To me Prometheans seems to be a mix of Frankenstein, Alchemy and more obscure elements. Most confusing I found are the Lineages; I can't really work out what they're all meant to be and why they decided to have them the way they are.

    A Lineage based on Frankenstein's Monster, called Frankenstein ok sure but aren't they all based on Frankenstein's Monster? A lineage that appears to be based on Golems, beings made of mud or clay from Jewish folklore ok to me that's just weird. A lineage created from the prettiest corpses huh? A lineage that are Nuclear ok... A lineage "descent" from an Ancient Egyptian god?
    Now the Unfleshed an entirely robotic Lineage, interesting but not sure if I'd put that in the same boat as Frankenstein's Monster.


    There was once only darkness and then there was light, I am born from the places where these forces meet.

  • #2
    Prometheans are human corpses given new life through various rituals (or sometimes, just random chance and obsession) that imbue them with the Divine Fire, a strange force of change and chaos that drives them on a metaphysical journey towards becoming a real human being. While a Frankenstein is sewh together out of disparate parts and charged with electricity and an Osiran begins their Pilgrimage submerged and missing a piece, they're all fundamentally the same thing: a new creature trying to become a new proper soul. Lineages are just a rough guideline for fairly dependable ways to create a Promethean that inform some tendencies and abilities, but all Created would recognize each other as kin.

    It's a game about learning what humanity is about and building an identity you can become in a world that you don't understand full of people who reject you. I love it dearly.


    Just call me Lex.

    Female pronouns for me, please.

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    • #3
      Prometheans are beings created from something that does not live, like dead bodies, clay or machines. This is done with a ritual that instills them with the Divine Fire, giving them life without turning them human. This is what unifies the Prometheans and gives them access to roughly the same kind of powers. There is no single "true" way to do this: there are countless variations of the ritual possible. A Lineage is essentially a group (or rather: line) of Prometheans created in roughly the same way. The first Promethean created in a particular way is called the Progenitor, with the five "core" Lineages (the ones from 1e, and the first five mentioned in the 2e book) being named after their Progenitors. Frankensteins are made from stitched-together corpses and struck with lightning, Osirians are reassembled and embalmed but are missing something (either through requirement for the ritual or because of an effect of the ritual), Tammuz are created from earth and instilled with holy words like golems, the Unfleshed are essentially robots, automatons and other man-made things, Extempores are... well, nobody really knows.

      Something similar to this we see in Mage: The Ascension: even if all the Mages work their miracles in different ways the fundamental concepts are the same, no matter if you use a deck of Tarot cards, Voudou, a laptop, a raygun or a bowl full of herbs burning over a fire.

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      • #4
        The elevator pitch is that Prometheans are a catch-all for life miraculously but unwisely created from nothing, burdened with their ignorance of the world and beset by prejudice and exploitation, carrying on through the world in a search for peace and a place of their own.

        There are elements common to all Prometheans derived from Frankenstein: the dangerous naiveté of the Created, invigoration through electricity, the Disquiet that provokes torch-carrying mobs at its worst, and how fire bad. There are also elements derived from particular stories, including Frankenstein, for the different Lineages reflecting different ways the Created come to be: the patchwork body parts of the Frankenstein Lineage, Galateids sometimes hewn from stone, Tammuz golems imbued with life by a blessed word. And there are elements to Promethean as a game that complement the myths of created beings without necessarily deriving from them directly: the lonely journey that evokes the Incredible Hulk TV show credits, the put-upon, soul-searching condition of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing, the innocent hope of Homeward Bound.

        What brings it all together isn't the aesthetics of each legend or creature – the Extempore even provide official support for Prometheans with no Lineage and no recognizable mythic origin. It's the experience of being an outsider with no past, no family, no familiarity, and nowhere to call home, but pressing on in the hope that, eventually, you can forge all those things. In the meanwhile: misunderstandings, confusion, grief, and violence. That's the common thread to Prometheans.

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        • #5
          Prometheans are an original concept that draws inspiration from many sources, including but not limited to Frankenstein's monster. They are artificial life forms, Created beings brought to a facsimile of life by Divine Fire, like Prometheus was said to have stolen from the gods and given to humanity. This animating force burns away at their beings, causing them Torment; their very existence is pain to them. It leaks out from them, burning everyone and everything around them; people, animals, and the land itself rejects them for reasons neither party fully understands. When enough of it leaks out into an area it scorches the earth in a Firestorm, a flurry of raw dynamic force that brings natural disasters, rioting, and other catastrophes. Prometheans seek to escape this wretched existence by embracing the transformative force that gives them life and using it to change themselves into true living beings - humans, specifically.

          Lineages are just that; lines of descent from one Promethean to the next. When a human creates a Promethean, as Doctor Frankenstein did, they play the surrogate Prometheus, stealing Divine Fire (perhaps unknowingly) from a mysterious force known simply as The Principle, and imbuing their creation with it to give it life, or something that passes for life. Afterwords, the Creations sometimes mimic their progenitors and create companions for themselves by the same methods. This is done for a variety of reasons, from loneliness, to love, to something resembling paternal urges. Some Prometheans even believe that propogatong their Lineage is a necessary step in the Great Work of becoming human. Frankenstein was not the first human to create life where there had been none - Isis assembled the pieces of her husband, Osiris's body, sewed them together, and wrapped them in linnen before raising him from death. Pygmalion of Cypress carved himself a lover from Ivory, named her Galatea, and prayed to Aphrodite to bring her to life. These are all real-world myths of Created beings, and in the Chronicles of Darkness, those myths contain a seed of truth, though the reality was usually more grim than the myth - Galatea, for example, was most likely carved from flesh, not from Ivory. Either way, the methods of their Creation survive in the minds of the Created, who continue their lines even into the modern day.

          The Lineages in the books are not the only ways to give artificial life to a human effigy, but they are the ones that have been most widely and consistently propogated. But who knows, maybe there's a little Created boy out there somewhere, made by a lonely toymaker who wanted a son. Maybe he's made other puppets to share in his journey to become a real boy.
          Last edited by Charlaquin; 10-15-2016, 07:03 PM.


          Onyx Path Forum Moderator

          My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

          Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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          • #6
            Thanks all its much clearer now.


            There was once only darkness and then there was light, I am born from the places where these forces meet.

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            • #7
              Damn. You guys really make me want to play this game.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dxanders View Post
                Damn. You guys really make me want to play this game.
                It gets my vote for best game in the CofD, tied with Changeling. While I might like some better, it's still pretty damn close to a masterpiece.


                Just call me Lex.

                Female pronouns for me, please.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by dxanders View Post
                  Damn. You guys really make me want to play this game.
                  Do note that due to the personal nature of the Pilgrimage Promethean is best enjoyed in a small group with an experienced ST.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Beriorn View Post
                    Do note that due to the personal nature of the Pilgrimage Promethean is best enjoyed in a small group with an experienced ST.
                    Oh, no doubt. It definitely seems like a challenging game to run in much the same way as Wraith: The Oblivion was.

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                    • #11
                      Also, you need to tinker with it a bit if you want it to be about any goal other than becoming human, even if you just want that to be a possibility. The book gets super sledgehammery about "The Only Good Goal Is Becoming Human And Anything Else Is Wrong And Bad".

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                      • #12
                        Which isn't really a flaw; it's just the nature of the game.


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                        • #13
                          You know, I'd probably love it if Vampire had made the Ordo Dracul the main covenant and had all the others minor factions or antagonists, but I'd be able to understand when people said "but I don't want to play a vampire mad scientist, it's kind of a flaw that the game forces you to".

                          Like, if they ever do a Player's Guide or an ST Guide, and it doesn't even raise the possibility of alternate goals or removing the Pilgrimage, I'm going to hit full Karkat mode.
                          Last edited by Geckopirateship; 10-16-2016, 05:35 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                            Also, you need to tinker with it a bit if you want it to be about any goal other than becoming human, even if you just want that to be a possibility.
                            This is true. Although, you can keep an Alembic if you complete all 10 Refinements on your Pilgrimage. Not much of a consolation prize if you have your heart set on becoming something completely non-human. Humanity as a desireable state that you want to strive towards is just part of the buy-in for the game. If you don't buy into that, you will indeed need to hack the game to change that fact.


                            Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                            My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                            Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                              You know, I'd probably love it if Vampire had made the Ordo Dracul the main covenant and had all the others minor factions or antagonists, but I'd be able to understand when people said "but I don't want to play a vampire mad scientist, it's kind of a flaw that the game forces you to"
                              No more than it's a flaw that the game "forces you" to play vampires. In this hypothetical Ordo-focused version of Vampire, playing a member of this group would just be part of the buy-in of the game. Play it, hack it, or skip it, but don't assume that because you don't like it it's inherently flawed. Personal tastes are personal.

                              Originally posted by Geckopirateship View Post
                              Like, if they ever do a Player's Guide or an ST Guide, and it doesn't even raise the possibility of alternate goals or removing the Pilgrimage, I'm going to hit full Karkat mode.
                              I wouldn't get my expectations up. That would be comparable to a vampire ST guide discussing the possibility of removing feeding.


                              Onyx Path Forum Moderator

                              My mod voice is red. I use it so you know when I'm speaking in an official capacity, not as an indication of tone.

                              Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

                              Comment

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