Promethean: The Created
|Promethean: The Created|
|RPG published by
|Rule System||Storytelling System|
|Authors||Justin Achilli et al|
|First Publication||2006 (1e), 2016 (2e)|
The New World of Darkness' first attempt to do something different from its predecessor, in the form of "Frankenstein's Monster: The Roleplaying Game". You are a Promethean, an incredibly rare unliving (not undead; your body isn't really alive, but you are a whole new entity, albeit of artificial origins and often made from corpses in some way) creature stumbling through the World of Darkness. In lieu of a soul, you have a storehouse of Pyros, the Divine Fire from which all life springs, but which isn't meant to exist in such a concentrated form. As a result, its radiance burns all around it, causing reality itself to hate you - and that's not hyperbole.
See, the Pyros within Prometheans produces an effect they call Disquiet, which causes mortals and other supernatural beings to feel uncomfortable around you at the best of times and slowly drives them to despise you. Though the Divine Fire hides the monstrous appearance of a Promethean most of the time, it can't completely conceal their true nature, so Disquiet becomes an inevitability with all but the briefest of interactions with others. Even worse, at its most advanced stages Disquiet becomes contagious, turning entire communities against a Promethean they might have never even seen.
In fact, merely hanging around in one place too long eventually fucks it up as the land is corrupted and unbalanced by your presence- a phenomenon dubbed the Wasteland. Not only does it amplify Disquiet further, staying in it for a prolonged period of time triggers a Pyros-fueled "natural" disaster called a Firestorm that almost always maims or kills Prometheans caught within it. As a result, Prometheans must always be on the move, since staying still for too long ensures that they'll have a mob with torches and pitchforks at their doorstep calling for their head and the very land beneath their feet trying to force them out.
Your goal, then, is to master the understanding of humanity. Through this, you can use spiritual alchemy to hone your Azoth (the power of the Divine Fire honed into a form suited for creation), and eventually transmute it into a human soul, giving up all your mystical powers to become just an ordinary human... but to the Prometheans, anything is better than an existence characterized by complete alienation from literally everything that isn't another Promethean.
Promethean has the dubious honor of being the NWoD's equivalent to Wraith: The Oblivion or if you're generous, Mage: The Ascension, in that it's a game where people read it, but don't play it. The setting is incredibly bleak, even if the tone the game is trying to go for is optimistic (since it is canon that you can achieve the New Dawn and become human... but the rules are complex, it requires a hell of a good Storyteller to be run successfully what with the whole "the world itself despises you" thing, and frankly not a lot of people actually want to play a game where your goal is to go from a super powerful monster to a squishy human. Especially when that squishy human then has to live in the World of Darkness).
In a way, it's the most Humanity Fuck Yeah fanboyistic of the Chronicles gamelines. Yes, you play as a super-powerful golem ala the Frankenstein's Monster archetype, but the whole point of the game is "all this power is meaningless because You're Not Human", with the drive of every single campaign being to find a way to ascend from your cursed state to the blessed form of humanity.
Until 2015, Promethean was also the only game that did not have an earlier version in the Old World of Darkness. Vampire, Werewolf, Mage, Changeling, Hunter, Mummy and Demon all have a version in each. Geist is more of a spiritual successor to Wraith, as they deal more or less with the same subject. Orpheus is the only unpaired in the Old World of Darkness, but it deals with the underworld and is more akin to Wraith and Mummy. It since had to share the position with Beast: The Primordial, although they can be somewhat argued as a rework on the core concept of Changeling: The Dreaming.
2016 saw the release of the second edition of Promethean: The Created. It weakened the relentless bleakness a bit: Firestorms, for instance, purify Wastelands (making the mechanic for summoning one something that's not a sublimatus might actually do), and Torment in general has been eased up a bit, to make actually developing relationships with humans a bit easier.
- 1 Lineages
- 1.1 Frankensteins, the Wretched
- 1.2 Galateids, the Muses
- 1.3 Osirians, the Nepri
- 1.4 Tammuz, the Named
- 1.5 Ulgan, the Riven
- 1.6 Unfleshed, the Manufactured
- 1.7 Extempores, the Matchless
- 1.8 Zeka, the Children of the Bomb
- 1.9 Supernal Prometheans, The Impossibilities
- 1.10 Dreamspun Prometheans
- 1.11 Animal Prometheans
- 1.12 Extinct Lineages
- 2 Refinements
- 2.1 Simple
- 2.2 Complex
- 2.3 Centimanus, Refinement of Flux
- 3 Transmutations
- 4 Other Weirdness
Lineages are the "racial" splat; they describe where a Promethean came from: how was it created? What is its view of the world? Mechanically, they serve to determine elemental affinity, primary humor (the body fluids thought to determine personality in the past, and in the case of Prometheans their general personality type), Torment (how the Promethean snaps when aforementioned humors go out of control), Disquiet (how humans freak the fuck out over their existence), Wasteland (how the world itself freaks the fuck out over their existence), and general outlook as well as giving Bestowments (racial boons).
Frankensteins, the Wretched
- Humor: Choler (Yellow bile)
- Element: Fire
As their name suggests, the Frankensteins are made from pieces that were put together. Most frequently of human bodies, but they can also include nonhuman or even inorganic parts. Because of their fractured nature they can be quite contrarian, questioning everything they see to learn from it. They see their existence as a challenge, fully putting their abilities to the test. They revel in such challenges, willing to take them on to test and expand their limits. This makes them rather forceful and zealous in nature, albeit as bitter, angry, and vengeful as the first of their kind (who is still around and answers to the name of "Mr. Verney"- in-universe, Mary Shelley originally got the story of Frankenstein and his Monster from the Bride of Frankenstein, who became a Centimanus).
Also like Frankenstein's Monster, a Frankenstein's Torment is simple, violent, rage- often at the things they love most. This very frequently ends up creating a vicious cycle in which the Frankenstein's Torment drives him to go too far in the name of revenge, only for the consequences to come back and bite him in the ass and push him further into Torment. Their Disquiet makes people irritable and quick to anger, and eventually people come to view the Frankenstein as the source of all their problems. Finally, their Wasteland triggers violent thunderstorms and causes people and animals alike to grow increasingly aggressive.
Galateids, the Muses
- Humor: Sanguine (Blood)
- Element: Air
The social ones, named after the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea. Galateids are creatures of love for good and ill, from the purest of love to the darkest of obsession. They are prone to obsession and crave company of all kinds. They aim to please, even if this means enduring abuse. Because of their closeness they gain insight into humans that the other Lineages lack, but they tend to fall apart when they're on their own.
The Galateid Torment exaggerates their need for companionship, making them prone to paralyzing insecurity and wild mood swings. Their Disquiet creates obsession in people as well- as in "creepy stalker shrine" levels of obsession. Galateid Wastelands are similarly marked by extremes, especially extreme winds and extreme passions in mortals.
Osirians, the Nepri
- Humor: Phlegm
- Element: Water
The Osirians are the product of, you guessed it, Osiris. Much like their mythical progenitor, the Osirians are not whole. Though while the original lacked a dick, the Osirians can be missing just about anything on their bodies. The scholars amongst the Prometheans, they have great intelligence and mental fortitude with a knack for gathering information, artifacts and secrets. They are emotionally distant though, which suits them just fine given their cerebral approach on their Pilgrimage.
Osirian Torment takes their phlegmatic nature to an extreme, causing them to become callous and manipulative; in such a state, others become little more than pawns to be used and disposed of. The Nephri Disquiet pushes people away from them at first, but with time they become fascinated with the Osirian, wondering what he might be- and then deciding the only way to know for sure is to dissect him and see what's inside for themselves. Wastelands formed by Osirians are wastelands in a literal sense- rain doesn't fall, plants won't grow, and humans grow proud and overconfident.
Tammuz, the Named
- Humor: Melancholer (Black bile)
- Element: Earth
AKA golems! Tammuz are, much like the Golem of Prague, inscribed somewhere on their body. This can be a Hebrew word written upon their forehead, or take the form of any holy or unholy phrase, or even tattoos or scars that will not go away. The Tammuz are builders and creators. They start out simple (building walls, digging wells) but as they continue on their Pilgrimage their creations become more and more complex. Do NOT call them servants though, as the best way to turn a Tammuz violent is to disrespect its work, forego paying it for its work, or trying to enslave it. Not working is an alien concept to the Tammuz and one of the most important and difficult things for them to learn. Being creations of words, Tammuz have a knack for language, and they often learn many languages while on their pilgrimage.
Tammuz Torment can manifest in one of two ways- either an anxious restlessness that no amount of work can diminish, or a state of apathy in which they can't be bothered to do much of anything at all. Disquiet caused by them causes this depression to spread to humans, who inevitably end up blaming the Named for it; it doesn't help that the Tammuz's words are always interpreted in the worst possible ways when this happens. Even nature seems to be depressed in their Wastelands, as dark clouds fill the skies and predators stop feeling the need to hunt.
Ulgan, the Riven
- Humor: Ectoplasm
- Element: Spirit
Named after a Siberian shaman said to have been torn to pieces by spirits and reassembled from the remains. Ulgan are shamans, dealing with the spirits and ghosts all around them. Much to their dismay, for the Ulgan want nothing more than to escape the constant attentions of the spirits. This forces them into roles of diplomats to be able to handle the constant botherings by the denizens of the Shadow. This is because they are made from a dead body and ectoplasm, the stuff of spirits. When not being constantly pestered, Ulgan reveal themselves to be quite macabre with a dark sense of humor. The weight of their burden is an extra risk to them, putting them at risk of becoming as irrational and capricious as the spirits themselves.
Ulgan Torment brings with it a sense of detachment and isolation, causing them to eschew the mortal world for that of the spirits they would normally want to be rid of. Disquiet caused by Ulgan leads to a sense of paranoia and the feeling one is being hunted- specifically, by the Riven. Their Wasteland causes the barriers between the mortal world and Twilight to grow unstable, allowing ghosts and spirits alike to enter and wreak havoc (and undoubtedly annoying any werewolves in the area).
Unfleshed, the Manufactured
- Humor: Oil (2e) or Any (1e)
- Element: Metal
AKA motherfucking robots. From manikins and statues to clockwork devices and cutting-edge androids, the Unfleshed are the vegetarian option of Promethean: they contain 0% meat. Because they are machines they are, of course, beings of extreme logic and literal of nature. They were built with a purpose in mind, and an Unfleshed that cannot fulfill this purpose will frantically search for a way to do so. However, they do not consider themselves tools despite them being built as such. Treat them as tools anyway and they are hit with a wave of emotion, which will frequently end with the offender getting an arm ripped off. The most difficult part of their Pilgrimage is to learn how to be imperfect: how to fail, be bad, let their judgment cloud their minds and so on. Eventually they must become truly free-willed and be a tool that they wield themselves.
The Unfleshed's Torment can manifest in two ways, just like the Tammuz's: sometimes it comes in the form of embracing their mechanical nature, becoming unemotional, obedient, and fixated on performing their original functions. Other times it can make them dangerously violent in the same vein as a Frankenstein. Their Disquiet makes others view them as things instead of sentient beings- at best, they're useful servants and at worst, they're slaves whose expression of free will is nothing more than a malfunction to be corrected. The Manufactured's Wasteland similarly divides nature between the dominant and the submissive, while pushing people to act as methodically and repetitively as any machine.
- Humor: As parent Lineage
- Element: As parent Lineage
Introduced in the 1e sourcebook Magnum Opus, Constructs are essentially attempts to take Prometheans to the more "traditional" idea of golems being made out of inanimate matter rather than corpse flesh. If Constructs exist in your game, they essentially say that, yes, the myths of Galatea being living marble or the Golem of Prague being living clay are true. Being made of material has assorted benefits and drawbacks - stone or metal-based Constructs are armored but slower, for example - but the universal drawbacks are that they do not look human (their Pyros just can't hide their Disfigurements) and they induce Disquiet far faster. Other than this, though, they follow the "normal" rules for their parent lineage - Frankenstein, Galateid, Osiran, Tammuz or Ulgan.
Although a Construct can be made out of any material, each Linage has a particular material that "resonates" with them, imposing the least penalty to attempts to create a Construct offspring:
- Frankenstein - Copper
- Galateid - Marble
- Osiran - Limestone
- Tammuz - Clay
- Ulgan - Birch Wood
In 2e, the writers realized that there wasn't really that much of a difference in terms of concept space between the Constructs and the Unfleshed, and so they were quietly folded together. Thusly, 2e's version of the Unfleshed Lineage encompasses any Promethean made out of something other than corpse-meat, rather than just those made out of machines.
Extempores, the Matchless
- Humor: Varies
- Element: Varies
Byproducts of freak accidents in which enough Pyros manifested near a corpse to bring it to life as a Promethean. All other Lineages describe them with variants of "What the fuck are you?", making them the Special Snowflake Lineage. They come from many different backgrounds without any rhyme or reason to them. Most of them however are created through fate or sheer luck, others seem to be the embodiment of some location as if they were elementals, others still seem to resonate with some kind of disaster. As a result, many Extempores have Humors and Elements that don't match, or may have more than one of each. It's not known for sure if they're even capable of reaching the New Dawn, due to the often inexplicable means in which they were formed and their disconnection from the Azothic memory that gives Prometheans an instinctive knowledge of the Pilgrimage. Extempore Torment, Disquiet, and Wastelands can take as many forms as the Matchless themselves.
They were introduced in 1e, in the Magnum Opus sourcebook, but got updated to the corebook of 2e. Their creation rules in 1e were fairly handwaved, but they received much more detail in 2e.
The Hollow, Skeletons, Beggars
- Extempore Sub-Lineage
- Progenitor: The American Dust Bowl (1933-1939)
- Humor: Sanguine + Melancholer
- Element: Air + Earth
When America's poor farming practices combined with the droughts of 1933 into a disaster that saw topsoil blow away in huge dust storms, sparking a famine that devastated the nation, a new lineage of Prometheans arose from the wastelands that consumed the Midwest. The Hollow are desiccated Prometheans torn between their affinity with the dead earth and the killing air, formed from the corpses of those who died of physical or metaphorical deprivation. They are driven by their hunger, making them prone to both Sanguine and Melancholic Torments at random, and in fact they're so desperate to have something that it actually becomes a power for them: their "Hunger" bestowment lets them try to convert damage from an attack into Pyros or Willpower. After the Dust Bowl ended, their creation rite stopped working and the Lineage is all but extinct, with the last remaining Hollows doomed to perish by 2039 as their Pyros fades.
Zeka, the Children of the Bomb
- Humor: Radiation
- Element: Radiation/Fallout
The Zeka are freaks even among the Prometheans, with the only real connection between Zeky being the massive amounts of radioactivity involved in their creation and the constant pain they suffer as a result of said radiation. This radioactivity also has a tendency to make them rather unhinged at the best of times and completely insane at the worst. Disquiet? Unreasoning paranoid fear, a la the Red Scare of the 1950s but worse. Torment? The Zeka goes into a mindless killing spree, exhausting all of his/her Pyros in the pursuit of killing anyone and everyone he/she can find. Wasteland? The nuclear variety, of course: the land becomes a veritable Superfund site smothered under cold, sun-blocking clouds that rain down poisoned ash and snow, mutant insects proliferate whilst everything else dies, killed by the spiritual radiation contaminating the land. These guys are screwed even by the standards of Prometheans; for some fucking insane reason, a Zeka takes "radiation damage equal to their Azoth" if they complete the New Dawn. But, see, you need a minimum fucking Azoth of 4 to achieve the New Dawn. And a 5-dot dose of radiation? Is instant fucking death. It's no surprise that most of them embrace their monstrous nature and become Centimani for relief, something that is easier for them than any other kind of Promethean - these guys find Centimanus as easy to enter and as hard to leave as other Prometheans find Stannum.
In 2e, Zeky were modified greatly. The radiation in the Zeky's humors corrupts their Alembics with unexpected effects, and may even create entirely new ones. Although they cannot heal from electricity, they can heal from radiation (any kind will do, from lying out in the sunlight for the UV radiation to jury-rigging a bunch of microwaves, although the most intense radiation is much more effective), and while they can boost their stats for longer than other Prometheans they run the risk of spreading radioactive fallout across their general vicinity and puts them at risk of overloading their Pyros; in fact, the radiation they emit grows stronger with their Azoth to the point where merely being close to one can cause fatal radiation sickness. While in Torment, their Azoth spikes and they don't expend Pyros when using it, making their rampages more devastating even before the Wastelands they create by doing so are factored in. Zeka Disquiet is now more contagious than other forms of Disquiet if enough Disquieted people are in contact with each other (think of it as a nuclear reaction reaching critical mass) and also inflicts radiation sickness on its victims, exacerbating the paranoia and indiscriminate fury it creates until the people thus affected drop dead of radiation poisoning. Finally, the Firestorms the Zeky produce are nothing short of Azoth-powered nuclear bombs whose effects can last years after the Zeka that caused it has left.
Supernal Prometheans, The Impossibilities
- Humor: Any (Mystical)
- Element: Any (Magical)
Introduced in 1e's Saturnine Night sourcebook, the Impossibilities are Prometheans created by demiurges who belonged to one of the supernatural races, who somehow found the drive to abandon their normal "creative rites" and tap into Pyros to breathe life into a new Promethean, coloring it with their own supernatural nature. Examples given in the sourcebook include a "vampire Promethean" with the Humor of Vitae, who can refuel Pyros by drinking blood, and a "werewolf promethean" with the Humor of Moonlight, who can fly into a berserk frenzy. In 2nd edition, these Prometheans are mentioned as one of the many possible forms the Extempore lineage can take.
Introduced in 1e's Magnum Opus, Dreamspun Prometheans are born when Pyros and the Astral Plane get kind of kinky together. Like the title says, these are Prometheans literally dreamed into existence. Somebody dreams about making a person somehow, and elsewhere, it comes to life. Because of this, Dreamspun Prometheans can be a bundle of different elemental affinities, like Extempores, or they can seemingly mimic an existing Lineage. The biggest difference is that, being partially Astral beings, Dreamspun Prometheans can't dream on their own. Instead, when they sleep, they unwittingly project themselves into the dreams of other people... and, of course, not only does this tend to twist the dream into a nightmare, it means the Promethean can whammy them with Disquiet without ever meeting them face to face. Under the 1e rules for Wasteland, a side-effect of their wasteland is that peoples' dreams start to merge together even when the Promethean itself doesn't enter their dreams. Naturally, they can eventually figure out how to have some control over the dreams they're entering. In 2e, they're considered to be a form of Extempore.
Yeah, that's right, sometimes, Prometheans are such dicks that they will try and perform the generative rite with animal corpses just to see what'll happen. If it works, you get a flesh golem animal with human level intelligence and the ability to talk, but no opposable thumbs (unless, you know, they used a monkey) and who suffers from the absolute bullshit rule that humans who sees the Animal Promethean talking suffers a cumulatively worse Disquiet check each time it talks, until it's inevitable that the humans will go nuts and try to kill it. This is another 1e idea out of Magnum Opus.
Although hinted at existing in 1e, 2e makes it explicit that Lineages of Prometheans rise and fall all the time, and many ultimately go extinct. Although Extempores are the most obvious candidates for such a fate - the Faceless, Extempore Prometheans born of chemical warfare, went extinct when using chemical weapons was outlawed after World War 1 - they're not the only ones. For example, the "Fire Lineage" slot now taken up by the Frankensteins was once given to a Lineage now remembered only as "The Prophets", who rose from the bodies of those who died in agony from torture, plague or executions.
The "class" splats. Prometheans are divided by their "Refinements", their philosophical approach to undertaking the Great Work and achieving the New Dawn. All Refinements take their name from the Latin name for a particular metal to follow their alchemical theme, such as Stanneum (Tin), Aurum (Gold), Cuprum (Copper), Aes (Bronze) or Argentum (Silver). Unlike most social splats in the World of Darkness, because each Refinement focuses on a very specific concept of spiritual refinement such as Aid, Mortality, Torment, Source, etcetera, it's understood that a Promethean will change between Refinements on a relatively regular basis, instead of trying to stick to just one for the entirety of their existence.
In first edition, Refinements weren't really anything special. They defined which two Transmutations you could start taking dots in and were used to unlock Athanors, which were permanent passive special abilities that'd also translate over into special bonuses if the Promethean achieved the New Dawn. You could freely switch between them, but it would take time in order to fully "grasp" its nuances; a week with a tutor, or a month figuring it out on your own. The exception is Stannum (or Centimanus, for Zeky); this is so instinctive to Prometheans that they can instantly switch over to it, but it's so seductive that it takes twice as long to change out of it.
In 2e, Refinements became vastly more important, as pursuing them became necessary for the New Dawn to occur. With every Refinement comes a number of Roles. If a Promethean can fulfill these Roles they become closer and closer to the New Dawn and finally become human. A Promethean has to fulfill no less than ten Roles picked from at least four Refinements to be able to attempt the New Dawn; the more Roles thus mastered, the easier it is to accomplish the New Dawn and the easier the Redeemed Promethean's life will be upon becoming human. There are 10 refinements in total: five simple and five complex. Starting with a simple refinement a Promethean can, upon completing its Role, either perform another role in the same Refinement or switch Refinements. The complex Refinements require someone to teach it, and a Promethean can never have more complex than simple refinements. Because of their philosophical nature, Refinements also affect and influence a Promethean's study of how to manipulate Pyros, and so each is associated with two specific Transmutations.
Aurum, Refinement of Gold
- Nickname: Mimics
- Concept: Mortality
- Associated Transmutations: Deception, Mesmerism
The thing about Prometheans that you need to remember is that they don't come into the world with an instruction manual. When they wake up, they don't know anything. Humanity in particular baffles and confuses them; they know they have to become human to accomplish the Pilgrimage, but they don't have the advantage of decades of conscious and subconscious social tutelage to fall back on to teach them about what that means. So, followers of Aurum, known as Mimics, focus on trying to better understand humans and blend in. As the New Dawn is the ultimate goal of Prometheans, it's a natural fit, but it doesn't hold all of the answers. Their Roles are:
- Companion: By living as an equal amongst humans (friends, lovers) the Promethean wants to learn intimacy and human interaction. Preferably without Disquiet ruining it all.
- Follower: Through trust and deference, the Promethean wants to learn how to trust people. Some take it too far and become almost totally subservient to that one person.
- Leader: By taking charge themselves, they learn how to care for people, whether this is actual care or more in a mentor-like way.
Cuprum, Refinement of Copper
- Nickname: Pariahs
- Concept: Self
- Associated Transmutations: Metamorphosis, Sensorium
One of the more philosophical of the Refinements, the Pariahs focus their efforts on attempting to find rebirth through understanding the soul. With some slight resemblance to Buddhism and Taoism, the Refinement of Cuprum preaches that the superiority of the soul to the body of and of nonresistance to fighting. Pariahs withdraw from human contact, adopting hermit-like lifestyles wandering the world and attempting to understand their place in it with the hope that this will eventually convince the world to accept them as part of it. For a Pariah the most important thing is to learn how to come out of their shell, bit by bit, to emerge as something new. Their Roles are:
- Hermit: By seeking solitude and reflecting on themselves, a Hermit seeks to learn about itself, emerging as a new person.
- Sage: Living in solitude, Sages are willing to have others in their company for some time so that they can instill wisdom upon the visitors, but in reality just having them over is enough.
- Watcher: Stalkers, in more way than one. By hiding and following someone the Promethean can learn stealth, hunting and how to find hidden targets.
Ferrum, Refinement of Iron
- Nickname: Titans
- Concept: Corpus
- Associated Transmutations: Corporeum, Vitality
Ferrum focuses on the physical aspects of the Promethean rather than the spiritual. The Titans seek out struggle and overcome it, learning from the experience. Titans strive to master their bodies, becoming stronger, faster, better in the belief that when they have mastered their flesh, they will have attained the physical perfection needed to shed their impurities and attain the New Dawn. Their Roles are:
- Exemplar: It's no use being the biggest badass on block when nobody around you grows along with you. Training others trains you as well, in ways you could never train yourself.
- Martyr: You're a badass. Use it to protect those less badass than you. You can take it, and what doesn't kill you will make you even stronger.
- Soldier: Learn how to protect yourself. Through that, protect others.
Plumbum, Refinement of Lead
- Nickname: Originists
- Concept: Source
- Associated Transmutations: Disquietism, Saturninus
The counterpoint mirror to Aurum, practitioners of Plumbum make the rather reasonable argument that if you want to become more like a human, you should probably figure out exactly what the hell you are and how that makes you different first. The Refinement of Lead focuses on studying the base Promethean condition: how Disquiet and the Wasteland work and how to lessen their impact, identifying just what makes them tick and how they tick in order to make reasonable deductions into why. Because of this, Lead is second only to Stannum as the most likely choice for a Promethean's first Refinement. Their Roles are:
- Ascetic: By being alone or with fellow Ascetics a Promethean can learn what it is like to be a Promethean without endangering others with their powers. Groups of Ascetics tend to not last very long but they can get shit done fast.
- Chronicler: Essentially a historian of the Promethean condition. By talking to other Prometheans, they discover what they are, where they come from, and where to go next.
- Pilgrim: Travelers who seek where they came from, and from there they can decide where to go next. They are the glue that keeps a Promethean throng bound together.
Stannum, Refinement of Tin
- Nickname: Furies
- Concept: Torment
- Associated Transmutations: Disquietism, Electrification
There are many philosophical arguments that one could make to justify the Refinement of Tin, from the fact that Torment and Disquiet clearly are natural parts of the world as far as Prometheans are concerned, to the need to understand the propensity for destructive rage that lurks within the Created, but ultimately it all boils down to something simple. Furies use their Torment and hopefully learn from it before it consumes them. The Prometheans have to put up with a lot of shit in their day to day lives. And sometimes, it's good to be able to dish out a little payback. Their Roles are:
- Outcast: By living on the fringe of society, a Promethean can learn from the farthest parts of humanity in the hopes of coming closer to it.
- Savage: Weaponizing their Disquiet, a Promethean can learn what effect his fury has on others and how fear can break down a community. With luck, he won't go further and become a Centimanus in the process.
- Vigilante: By establishing himself as the protector of a community, the Promethean can be a source of justice in places where there is none.
Aes, Refinement of Bronze
- Nickname: Sentries
- Concept: Aid
- Associated Transmutations: Benefice, Corporeum
The Sentries are the upholders of hierarchies, putting the good of the group before their own. This Refinement is only practiced by Prometheans who have managed to form a Throng (a traveling group of Prometheans), it focuses on the idea of sacrifice and teamwork, striving to become the best they can in order to ensure that others are helped and guided. Their Roles are:
- Bodyguard: By protecting their charge from danger, a Promethean learns how to deal with people on their terms instead of the Promethean's own.
- Seeker: Tending to the emotional and spiritual needs of a group, the Promethean learns that sometimes people need to hear things they should hear, instead of what they want to hear.
- Servant: By taking up the burdens of others a Promethean learns how to adapt in many ways: to suit others, how to fit in and fostering empathy.
Argentum, Refinement of Silver
- Nickname: Mystics
- Concept: Mystery
- Associated Transmutations: Sensorium, Spiritus
The Mystics are, in a word, curious. Argentum is basically the same "let's learn about the neighbors!" mindset as Aurum, but applied to the other creatures of the night instead of humanity. Now, this might seem counter-intuitive at first glance, but remember the point made in Aurum; Prometheans don't really know anything about humans, they just know they need to become one. So, Argentum is a valuable philosophy to them as the Study of What Humans Are Not, aka vampires, werewolves, mages and all other wonderful critters that hide in the dark are their focus. It does kind of suck if your Storyteller is adamant on running a game where you don't meet any other kinds of supernatural phenomena beyond Prometheans and their little bubble of Azoth-related weirdness, but on the other hand, there's never a shortage of ghosts or spirits, especially when an Ulgan is around. Their Roles are:
- Envoy: The unlucky bastards who get to make first contact and hopefully convince the other game lines that they mean no harm, hopefully before the werewolf rips your head off because it thinks you're possessed by a spirit. Which, if you're an Ulgan, is not entirely incorrect.
- Observer: The bookish ones, keeping logs on what the other game lines are and what they can do in an attempt to learn from them and not get brutally murdered in the process. With luck, they can learn how they differ from humanity and apply that knowledge to the Promethean condition.
- Wardens: The Prometheans who are LARPing Hunter: The Vigil. No idea what they're up against, but they carry everything that might help against the (other) monsters out there.
Cobalus, Refinement of Cobalt
- Nickname: Cathars
- Concept: Impurity
- Associated Transmutations: Contamination, Deception
As you'd expect of a place called the World of Darkness, the world that Prometheans live in is not a happy place. And, likewise, humans are far from angels. The Cathars seek perfection through imperfection. They devote themselves to study of the darker and seedier aspects of life; sin, vice, madness, cruelty, evil, all so they can learn to better identify the impurities in their own souls and expel them. By knowing their limits and fallibilities the Promethean can learn how to endure, and in enduring grow stronger. This is a very difficult path to walk, as such focus on humanity's ugly side and the Promethean's own flaws can lead to disillusionment that ultimately guides them down the path to Centimanus. Their Roles are:
- Confessor: By helping others overcome their weaknesses and deal with their sins the Promethean learns more about why people do bad things.
- Deviant: Sex, drugs and rock & roll, baby! By indulging in vice and sin the Promethean gets a first-hand look at what it's like to sin. This can also include things like self-mutilation, checking into a mental ward or even become part of a hate group. Empty a Glock on Count Orlok!
- Provocateur: Instead of indulging in vice the Promethean pushes it. Be a fucked up whore, a drug dealer, incite crowds into violence or lurk internet forums and troll them.
Mercurius, Refinement of Quicksilver
- Nickname: Savants
- Concept: Pyros
- Associated Transmutations: Alchemicus, Vulcanus
Prometheans are creatures born of alchemy and the Divine Fire, and it's only natural that some seek to find the keys to completing the New Dawn by unlocking the secrets of Pyros. The Savants are the wizards amongst Prometheans, learning how to do Alchemy beyond the abilities of their fellow kin. Despite being a bunch of nerds they can grow immensely powerful. It is one of the deeper and more thought-provoking Refinements, and requires a certain level of introspection to even contemplate. Their Roles are:
- Craftsman: These Prometheans simply build and make thing, just to say that they can.
- Explorer: The world is filled with answers, and these Prometheans try to match them to the right questions.
- Scientists: By experimenting with their abilities in the scientific method, the Promethean can figure out just what it can and can't do. Unfortunately they tend to place their science above any kind of ethics.
Phosphorum, Refinement of Phosphorus
- Nickname: Light-bringers
- Concept: Ephemerality
- Associated Transmutations: Luciferus, Vulcanus
The Light-bringers know that the path to the New Dawn takes long: years, if not decades. They don't want to wait though: they want to be human, and fast! As such, the followers of this Refinement want to feel alive more than anything else, spurring themselves and other Prometheans forward. Their Roles are:
- Daredevil: Live fast, die young. Preferably more of the former. They do dangerous and stupid things to the point of Chaotic Stupid because it makes them feel alive.
- Psychopomp: To truly appreciate life you must know death. By studying death in some way or form the Promethean hopes to learn about life from it.
- Whip: Spur others onwards to JUST DO IT. If they don't act, they don't live and need to be dragged into life, kicking and screaming if it must be.
Centimanus, Refinement of Flux
- Nickname: Hundred-Handed, Freaks
- Concept: Monstrosity
- Associated Transmutations: Pandoran (1e) or Flux (2e)
The Refinement no Promethean likes to talk about, Centimanus is the complete opposite of all other Refinements in that it focuses on embracing the alien and evil aspects of Promethean nature. The Hundred-Handed have effectively given up on the New Dawn entirely; as far as they can see, if the world is going to keep treating them like monsters then they may as well become monsters in reality too. Centimani reject the New Dawn as either impossible or simply not worth it, instead focusing on becoming the greatest monsters that they can be. Between their mastery of Flux and their ability to command Pandorans, other Prometheans view them with pity at best and at worst feel they have to be destroyed for the good of the rest of their kind. In first edition, despite this association with negative aspects of Pyros, being a Centimanus could still serve as a bizarre and unconventional step on the Pilgrimage; potentially misleading, yes, but also a great way of understanding humanity by further becoming aware of What Humans Are Not, much like Argentum. In 2e, however, Centimanus was changed into a true embodiment of stasis and degeneration; this Refinement has no Roles, and so a Promethean cannot progress on the Pilgrimage until they abandon it; due to the extent it takes them off the Pilgrimage, the only Refinement that a Centimanus can switch to is Stannum. Also, since they can no longer progress on the Pilgrimage, they can no longer make their own vitriol. Which means that they can only get it by draining it out of their almost-certainly-unwilling fellow Prometheans' bodies via the lacuna, like a Pandoran. This is exactly as rapey as it sounds and more.
The powers of the Prometheans, Transmutations are intimately associated with the various Refinements.
In first edition, these were your standard arrays of powers; each has a number of powers ranked by dots and you need to buy these in dotted order with increasing amounts of EXP.
In second edition, things are more complicated. Upon entering a new Refinement a Promethean gains access to one Alembic (a small group of powers within a Transmutation) for each Transmutation that the Refinement has. Upon completing a role and picking another the Promethean can pick one new Alembic from each Transmutation. Upon completing all three Roles within a Refinement the Promethean gains access to all four Alembics within a Transmutation. Each Alembic contains three abilities that can be used as regular powers. When shifting a Refinement a Promethean loses all their powers and has to start with one Alembic from each Transmutation, even if one of the Transmutations is shared between the old and new Refinements. By spending XP a Promethean can choose to Calcify an Alembic, allowing them to use the Alembic and its powers regardless of their Refinement.
The power of transformation, and one of the signature Transmutations of the Mercurius refinement. The Stone Alembic focuses on altering the physical properties of objects, from repairing broken machines to turning lead into gold. The Aqua Regia Alembic allows Prometheans to produce a corrosive acid that eats away at nearly anything it touches. Spagyria specializes in manipulating temperatures, shapes, and sizes. Finally, Elixir can animate objects, briefly resurrect corpses, and immobilize enemies by turning them to stone for a short time.
As its name suggests, Benefice helps others and through that aid the good of the group- a perfect fit for the Refinement of Bronze. The Command Alembic grants bonuses to any action requiring teamwork. The Consortium Alembic enhances the beneficial effects of the alchemical brand on a throng. The Control Alembic helps to boost the defenses of the user's allies. Finally, the Community Alembic allows the user to share Pyros and even some Bestowments and other Alembics with his throngmates.
Contamination exploits the weaknesses of others and is meant to teach the Promethean that nothing is perfect. The Indulgence Alembic lets a Cathar detect a person's Vice and undermines their inhibitions in a way that they will be more likely to act on it. The Leverage Alembic allows the user to make someone reveal their darkest secrets- and then spread the knowledge of them to anyone who's listening. The Madness Alembic can induce (or rarely relieve) insanity, and the Suffering Alembic grants the user control over pain- either mitigating it or amplifying it as they see fit.
Three parts Celerity and one part Fortitude, Corporeum is all about boosting the speed, dexterity and toughness of its user. The Charites Alembic grants greater Dexterity. The Zephyrus Alembic improves speed, initiative, and defense. The Motus Alembic improves Stamina and Strength, and the Hygeius Alembic allows users to shrug off all but the most painful wounds.
Now you see me, now you don't. The signature Transmutation of Aurum teaches the importance of hiding who you are, lest Disquiet and fear of the unknown push people away from you. The Anonymity Alembic focuses on erasing any evidence of a Promethean's presence. The Assimilation Alembic allows Prometheans to better blend into crowds and interact with groups of people. The Doppelganger Alembic lets a Mimic pass himself off as somebody else, and the Shadow Alembic grants the user the power to move silently and unnoticed.
Disquiet is a bitch. Disquetism can make it YOUR bitch. To some degree. At least enough to make it somebody else's problem. The Externalize Alembic manipulates Wastelands, sparing the user's throngmates as it turns its dangers against someone else. Internalizes suppresses the inevitable progression of Disquiet, making it slightly safer to interact with non-Prometheans. Redirect makes it seem like the user's Disquiet is coming from somebody else and provides the tools needed for the angry mob to occur, and Weaponize grants a variety of bonuses against enemies suffering from Disquiet.
Zap, motherfucker! Stannum's go-to Transmutation is all about electricity and lightning in all its possible forms. The Machinus Alembic is used for remotely manipulating machinery and electronic devices, essentially making him a one-man generator- a useful ability given that Prometheans regenerate Pyros from contact with electricity. Arc is the most basic of the Alembics, which is all about electrocuting enemies with lightning bolts. The Oscillitus Alembic grants Prometheans control over magnetism, which can let the user do anything from ruin electronics to unleashing an EMP at will. Finally, the Imperatus Alembic allows the Fury to gain greater benefits from consuming electricity.
Wielding the powers of Flux allows a Centimanus to degrade itself and the world around it, reveling in decay and ruination. The Alembic of Blight focuses on fuelling Disquiet and coaxing the birth of Wastelands and Firestorms. The Alembic of Lordship allows a Centimanus to control Pandorans like faithful pets. The Alembic of Mutation lets a Centimanus resculpt its body in various hideous ways, allowing it to adopt (potentially permanently) various Dread Powers. Finally, the Alembic of Flux allows a Centimanus to disrupt the Transmutations of other Prometheans in classic counterspelling fashion. This is a 2e Transmutation which replaced the Pandoran Transmutation of 1e, being much more versatile in effectiveness. Night Horrors: The Tormented added two more Alembics. The first is Cannibalize, which lets a Centimanus steal the skills, merits, and attributes of others. The second is Unleash, which gives the Centimanus the ability to make its body a living conduit of Pyros to strengthen itself and burn its enemies.
Signature power of the Zeka Lineage, Irradiation lets a Promethean create, control and manipulate radiation in various ways, from cooking enemies with blasts of the stuff to sucking it out of the environment to creating mind-controlling tumors in human brains to commanding swarms of carnivorous roaches to creating giant bug minions to shifting into ashen outlines on walls resembling those caused by people caught in nuclear explosions. This is a 1st edition Transmutation introduced in Saturnine Night; 2nd edition seems to be replacing it by simply causing a Zeka's radiation to alter the effects of other Transmutations' Alembics in unpredictable ways (e.g. Metamorphosis' Tegere Alembic might allow a Zeky to give someone cancer with a touch).
Derived from the Latin word for "light-bringer", Luciferus grants the ability to mess with light. The Solar Flare Alembic gives the Light-Bringer an aura of light that can dazzle or blind anyone near by. The Morning Star Alembic uses light to beckon and beguile anyone who sees the user. The Blaze of Glory Alembic makes the user's Azoth more potent than normal, and the Beacon of Helios Alembic allows the Light-Bringer to become a force so inspiring that he can save a throngmate from certain death.
This transmutation did not exist until 2nd edition.
No, it's not just shapechanging. It's adaptation, with some shapechanging added to the mix- an odd fit for Cuprum at first glance, but the Pariahs aren't complaining since it fits into some of their wild splat themes. The Aptare Alembic grants traits that allow the Pariah to survive any environment, from water-breathing to enhanced climbing. The Bestiare Facies Alembic gives the ability to shapeshift into an animal. The Tegere Alembic changes the Promethean's skin into natural armor, and the Verto Alembic specializes in manipulating the Promethean's appearance.
Mind powers! Through Mesmerism you can mess with people's emotions, ostensibly so you can understand human psychology better. The Phobos Alembic invokes fear, the Eros Alembic inspires devotion, the Eris Alembic induces confusion, and the Penthos Alembic eats away at self-worth.
The variety of corrupted Alembics that can be used and created only by Zeky, and invariably take a devastating toll on the world around them. The only known example mentioned is Tsar's Gift, which quite simply is all about making things explode.
The 1e signature power of the Centimanus Refinement, Pandoran Transmutations make a Promethean into a better monster, physically deforming it into useful, if grotesque, new forms and allowing to command Pandorans instead of being eaten by them. It was replaced in 2e by the Transmutation of Flux.
Pretty much the Promethean equivalent to the Sphere of Prime, Saturninus allows a Promethean to master the aspects of Pyros that most affect their own nature. The Heed The Call Alembic hones a Promethean's abilities to sense the Azothic radiance given off by others of his kind, or make his own radiance more difficult to detect. The Plumb the Depths Alembic allows a Promethean to make the most of the collective Azothic memory that all Prometheans share through the Divine Fire. The Stoke The Furnace Alembic enhances the effect of Pyros used to temporarily boost attributes. And finally, the Prime the Vessel Alembic allows the Promethean to protect himself and his Vitriol. More importantly, it can be used to create the alchemical brand that joins a throng together for a wide variety of benefits- including slowing down the development of a Wasteland.
As the name suggests, this is the Transmutation of the senses. It can grant new senses outside of human ability. Specifically, the Vitreous Humor Alembic enhances sight, the Receptive Humor Alembic augments perception, the Stereo Humor Alembic allows the user to see auras and read minds, and the Somatic Humor Alembic can sharpen hearing, smell, or taste.
There are some ugly things out there in the World of Darkness, and Spiritus deals with them. The Clades Alembic tweaks a Promethean's humors to mimic the Bane of a supernatural being, allowing them to fight against them more effectively. The Clupeum Alembic grants superior defenses against supernatural powers. The Veritas Alembic pierces supernatural illusions and disrupts the powers of supernatural beings. And the Larunae Alembic allows a Promethean to pass himself off among supernatural beings as another of their kind, the better to study them.
A mix of mental and physical fortitude to strengthen a Promethean. The Unbowed Alembic hones the mind to shrug off attempts at controlling it. The Unbroken Alembic gives a direct increase to sheer resilience. The Unconquered Alembic allows the user to perform incredible feats of strength, and the Unfettered Alembic ensures that no chain or confinement can hold the Promethean who uses it.
The Divine Fire powers Prometheans, which interacts violently (and dangerously) with regular fire. The Cauterio Alembic utilizes the Divine Fire's power to transform, imbuing an inanimate object with a part of the Divine Fire's power or even give it a degree of intelligence. The Ignus Aspiratus Alembic allows its user to manipulate mundane fire, though it can all too easily go wrong. The Mutus Aspiratus Alembic allows Prometheans to sense and manipulate Flux, albeit in a much less dangerous manner than the true Transmutations of Flux (though this does make it better for dealing with Pandorans). Finally, the Sanctus Aspiratus Alembic grants the ability to manipulate Pyros directly.
No corner of the World of Darkness is free of strange things, and Prometheans will encounter a lot of fucking weird-ass stuff on their Pilgrimage, even just by sticking to their little bubble of Azoth-induced or influenced things.
Pandorans are the malformed horrors spawned when a Promethean creation rite fails; the body of the prospective Promethean tears itself apart, and Pandorans spawn from the pieces. Like Prometheans, they draw power from Pyros but cannot generate Azoth themselves. Instead, they harness the destructive aspects of the Divine Fire (called Flux) to steal the Azoth from Prometheans; if none are nearby, they enter a state of dormancy until a source of Azoth revives them. In the rare event they manage to steal the precious substance known as Vitriol from a Promethean (an act so dreaded it has its own name, the lacuna, and is essentially diablerie lite, sucking away all the memories of the Pilgrimage), one can evolve into a Sublimatus, a much more intelligent but no less monstrous creature that exists solely to hunt and kill Prometheans. Though normally they attack Prometheans on sight, the Centimami are infamous for their knack for using them as guard dogs.
Mysterious angel-like beings thought to be sentient manifestations of Pyros. They serve something they refer to only as "The Principle", which Prometheans theorize might be the source of the Divine Fire. When they appear to a Promethean, odds are something important is going to happen. Be warned this is not necessarily a good thing.
Clones and Hybrids
Clones are essentially artificial Pandorans; attempts at creating clones of humans through stolen Pyros, producing creatures that are even further removed from humanity than Prometheans are. These miserable creatures rarely live for longer than a few years (unless they somehow find a steady source of Azoth and are only capable of serving a specific purpose dictated to them by their creators. The few that do manage a glimmer of self-awareness quickly succumb to despair as they realize their soulless nature, but most act as little more than servile automata. However, they can be made into full-fledged Prometheans and get a chance at undertaking the Pilgrimage.
Some of the loopier Rathbens (see Alchemists) go a step further, splicing in bits and pieces of animal DNA to create what are called Hybrids. Hybrids initially appear human, but quickly degrade into a freakish amalgamation of human and animal as their genetic instability manifests itself. They also tend to be a mess mentally as well, as the human parts of their mind are irreconcilable with their animal instincts.
A 1e element that hasn't resurfaced in 2e yet, Scions are essentially the Promethean equivalent of Dhampyres; human children born to a parent that should not be capable of siring a child or falling pregnant. Whether they are born from the carnal union of Promethean and human - or, more miraculously, two Prometheans, Scions are fundamentally normal kids... except for the ability to see through the "masks" that Prometheans project to fool people into thinking they aren't walking corpse-golems. And the fact they're immune to Disquiet. Needless to say, you do not want to try to hurt one of these kids.
The newly introduced antagonists of 2e, mortal alchemists interested in Pyros tend to be known as the Insatiate by the more temperate practitioners of the trade, because they're so damn desperate to make their alchemy work that they're willing to torture and murder Prometheans in order to rip the Pyros-rich Vitriol from their bodies so they can use it for their alchemy- turning lead into gold, brewing the Elixir of Life, that sort of thing. They also tend to try mixing up various tonics to give themselves superpowers, Jekyll-style. This is pretty insane to begin with, but add in the fact that it's really not a good idea to go injecting raw transmutational energy into your living brain, and the Insatiate tend to go screaming off the deep end in pretty short order. In effect, their complete disdain for their own humanity effectively makes them attempt the Pilgrimage in reverse, trying to learn more about monsters so that they can throw their humanity away forever by slurping down the Vitriol to become them. And, unfortunately for the Prometheans, alchemy tends to pay very well (unsurprising, given the "lead into gold" thing), so they have a lot of resources at their disposal.
Alchemists who don't go doing this tend to be far less hostile to Prometheans, because, you know, they're not hopped up on pure liquefied madness and know enough about Prometheans to conclude that it is unwise to provoke them. That said, Prometheans try to avoid the sane ones too: all it takes is a little Disquiet for them to realize they have a free source of Vitriol sitting right in front of them.
Closely related to these are the "Rathbens". Named after the rogue Cheiron Group scientist that first perfected the procedure of cloning, these scientists are single-mindedly fixated on creating clones, and the effects of the clones themselves inevitably push them right off the deep end if they haven't gone insane already.
When a Promethean stays in a Role for too long after completing it, are not part of a branded throng, and have not yet performed multiplicatio (the step of the Pilgrimage in which the Promethean creates another of their kind), something strange happens. Their Azoth weakens and eventually fades away completely, and when the Divine Fire dies out so does any trace of free will and intelligence. The end result is a Petrificatus, a mindless wretch whose only trace of humanity is the Role they continue to act out.
Outside of their Role, Petrificati are essentially automata that can do little more than eat, walk to safety, and make feeble attempts at self-defense if attacked. However, they retain the supernatural resilience of a Promethean to an extent and lose several of the typical Promethean vulnerabilities (e.g. weakness to fire), as well as all access to Bestowments and Transmutations. As their Azoth is gone, Petrificati do not cause Disquiet, Wastelands, or the like; Pandorans also ignore them for the same reason. (People may notice their odd behavior, but typically assume it's just stress or fatigue.) They are immune to mind reading as well, as they have no minds to read. Even while "alive", all that they do is the product of instinct and compulsion rather than any kind of thought process. Some may still retain Vitriol, but it is useless to them and reacts violently when they take a large amount of damage at once.
This would all serve to make them more pathetic than anything else if it weren't for one major exception to their Role-driven behavior: when presented with a corpse or severely injured person, a Petrificatus will attempt to perform the act of multiplicatio. Most of the time this only leads to the creation of Pandorans, but it can also end up creating a new Petrificatus instead. Given their innate resilience, it is not unheard of for small communities to be full of Petrificati- and if the Petrificatus' Role is murderous or works with corpses, their numbers can rise to dangerous levels. As there is no known way for one of the Stuck to rejoin the Pilgrimage, the only thing anybody can do for them is to end their emptiness.
An enigmatic spiritual force that seeks to keep Prometheans stuck on the Pilgrimage, never reaching the New Dawn but never abandoning it outright like the Centimani either. While it can manifest in Twilight, it acts like no spirit or ghost and can manifest physical forms for itself. Though its bodies can be killed, it can create new ones at will and it is unknown if it can be permanently destroyed.