Tabletop Game: Promethean: The Created
Death did them part. They were reassembled.
We know we're not real. It's like playing house, like befriending shadow puppets. It becomes frustrating, then maddening. No one wants the company of monsters, not for long.
Not even other monsters.
The fourth game in the New World of Darkness
setting, and the first of its 'limited cycle' games, which had a set number of sourcebooks. Promethean
had the core book and four Sourcebook
follow-ups, Pandora's Book
, Strange Alchemies
, Magnum Opus
and Saturnine Night
, with a Ready-Made PCs
PDF supplement added later.
The name of Promethean
refers to its central characters, reanimated corpses fueled by "the Divine Fire", "Azoth" in alchemic terms. (The Divine Fire is often affiliated with the fire Prometheus stole from the gods, thus the use of the name.) These creatures are cursed to suffer the unending hatred of the human race, and must struggle for survival against both mankind's rejection and the rejection of the earth itself. What's worse, Prometheans are also hunted - Pandorans, creatures born from Promethean creation rites gone wrong, desire to devour the Created.
Despite the description, this game is actually optimistic
. Prometheans follow what they call "the Pilgrimage", a quest to refine themselves into something more closely resembling humans. They learn to master the Azoth within them and the nature of humanity, with the goal of someday completing "the Great Work": redemption, the final transformation into human beings.
Assuming, of course, they can avoid giving up in the face of the world's spite and taking up the Refinement of Flux
Notable perhaps because a viable group of characters in the game consists of Frankenstein's Monster, a marble statue imbued with life, a hypertech nanite colony in the shape of a man, a mummy, and a golem complete with the name of God on his forehead, and they can go beat up a radioactive zombie-making (and also radioactive-zombie making) thing brought to life by a nuclear bomb and guarded by living cancers, because you were told to by a blood-drenched angel with a flaming sword and six wings. And despite that description, it's actually a rather deep game of personal horror and on the nature of what makes a man. Possibly the strangest of the new World of Darkness games, Promethean
requires more investment between Storyteller and player than the norm, and is thus recommended for smaller groups.
A second edition has been announced, with seven Lineages (Frankenstein, Galateid, Osiran, Tammuz, Ulgan, Extempore and Unfleshed) and ten playable Refinements (the five common ones and four less-common ones listed below, plus the new Refinement of Phosphorus) in the corebook.The various Splats of Promethean are as follows:The Lineages:
The inborn classification of the Created, representing the way in which the Promethean was… well, created. Each Lineage is also associated with one of the medieval Elements and an associated bodily Humour
- Frankensteins: Created by lightning (representing the divine Fire) and overflowing with the Choleric humour, this Lineage can trace its line back to Frankenstein’s original monster itself. The Wretched are freakishly strong, and some can reassemble their bodies with pieces of other corpses. Their Torment manifests as unreasoning vengeful rage, their Wasteland results in constant thunderstorms and endless fires, and their Disquiet results in pity and fear, developing into full-fledged hatred and mania.
- Galateids: Gifted with the breath of life and full of the Sanguine humour, Galateids are descended from Galatea, the mythological Greek statue brought to life by the goddess of love. Galateids can channel their gifts to improve their interactions with mortals (temporarily, of course - Disquiet always kicks in eventually), or even turn into statues themselves. Their Torment gives them a clinging, spiteful quality, at the same time hating those around them and needing them. Their Wasteland kills the air, draining it of oxygen and making it tiring and disorienting. Their Disquiet causes jealousy, possessiveness, and obsession.
- Osirans: Brought to life by immersion with water, and drawing upon the tale of the resurrection of Osiris in Egyptian myth, Osirans are tied to the Phlegmatic humour. Whether or not they are truly descended from the god of myth, the Nepri (as they are sometimes called) can draw upon deeper reserves of life than other Created, returning from death in ways other Prometheans can’t manage. Other Osirans maintain a tie to the dead after creation, with the ability to ask a corpse three questions and receive answers. Their Torment removes their emotions, leaving them coldly amoral. Their Wasteland sours the water in the area, leading to droughts and leaving what little moisture remains stagnant and dead. Their Disquiet causes wild emotions and mood swings in surrounding mortals.
- Tammuz: Rising from death after being buried in the earth and suffused with the Melancholic humour, Golems were all created for servitude and with a hatred of slavery. All Tammuz possess incredible endurance, either the ability to endure physical pain or to endure mystical assaults no other could endure. Tammuz Torment has two parts – an uncontrollable frenzy, followed by a black depression. Their Wastelands result in sinkholes and land growing infertile. Their Disquiet causes others to depend on the Tammuz, clinging to him and growing resentful.
- Ulgan: Also known as Orpheans or Riven, Ulgan are associated with the element of Spirit and the Ectoplasmic humour, and are created when another member of the Lineage imbues a body with ectoplasm, which calls spirits to tear it apart and reassemble it. Ulgan can innately see and interact with spirits, or can sing a song which lulls spirits and ghosts into a magical sleep. Ulgan Torment is an illogical, instinctual drive, much like a spirit’s single-minded existence. Their Wasteland causes a thinning of the barrier between the spirit world and the mortal world. Their Disquiet results in spiritual possession or devolution into mindless routine in mortals.
- Zeka: A recently developed Lineage associated with tainted, radioactive expressions of the other elements and humours. A Zeka might be able to raise radioactive zombies from the bodies of the dead. Others can become scorched shadows on walls, like the silhouettes of the victims of atomic bombs, or mystically sense and home in on radiation, using it to regain Pyros. A Zeka’s Torment is manifested as an intense burst of hatred and the need to destroy. Their Wasteland turns the surrounding area into a radioactive barren, much like fallout, and their Disquiet causes intense and irrational paranoia.
- Unfleshed: Not so much a Lineage as a collection of unrelated Lineages, the Unfleshed are Prometheans made out of machinery or electronics – computers with self-intelligent AI, androids, and the like. Each Unfleshed is unique. They might manifest the Torment and Disquiet effects of any of the other Lineages, but they bear their own Wasteland, which slowly turns the land around them into dead metal.
- Extempore: Similarly to the Unfleshed, this term is not so much a Lineage as a collection of unique Lineages that don't match any others, born when sheer random chance causes the spontaneous formation of a Promethean in the wake of a natural disaster (the sample Extempore, Bin Gereh, was born from a powerful earthquake), creating uniquely empowered Prometheans.
- In addition to those, there are the various optional ways to create a Promethean, such as Constructs, when a Promethean from a 'standard' Lineage decides to create another using inanimate materials and succeeds; the Prometheans created using the body of an animal rather than a human, with most of the limitations that come with such a body; the Prometheans created when a demiurge dreams so long and clear the dream becomes real; and the Prometheans created by demiurges from the other supernatural races of the World of Darkness and partaking of their nature.
The chosen Splats
of the Prometheans. Unlike other species in the World of Darkness, Refinements aren’t social constructs so much as philosophies. There are so few Created in the world that a given Promethean may live out his entire pseudo-life without ever meeting another of his kind, let alone one following the same Refinement.
There are five Refinements that are common among the Created
- Aurum: The Refinement of Gold (Mortality). Prometheans who follow this Refinement believe that by studying and interacting with mortals, they can learn how best to be mortal – and thus, to complete their Pilgrimage.
- Cuprum: The Refinement of Copper (Self). This Refinement involves solitude and meditation alone among nature as a way to understand one's place in the world and to tame one’s own Wasteland.
- Ferrum: The Refinement of Iron (Corpus). This Refinement teaches that Prometheans should train and strengthen their bodies – a strong soul, they believe, cannot exist without a strong vessel.
- Mercurius: The Refinement of Quicksilver (Pyros). Those who follow Mercurius study the nature of the Divine Fire itself, believing that by analyzing and manipulating it, they may be able to stoke the Fire within themselves into a true soul and transcend to humanity.
- Stannum: The Refinement of Tin (Torment). Prometheans who follow Stannum embrace the pain of their Torment and Disquiet, vengefully lashing out at those who have wronged them. This is the easiest path for (non-Zeka) Prometheans to fall into, and the hardest to leave.
In addition, there are four less-common Refinements that are sometimes seen.
- Aes: The Refinement of Bronze (Aid). This Refinement focuses on assisting others who seek to complete their Pilgrimage. They believe that by aiding others on the path, they may find their own way.
- Argentum: The Refinement of Silver (Mystery). This unusual Refinement depends on studying and emulating other supernatural creatures in the World of Darkness – these other beings were once human, and so the Argentum-followers believe that by studying the process by which they were transformed into something inhuman, the Promethean might reverse the process.
- Cobalus: The Refinement of Cobalt (Impurity). Cobalus is the study of impurity and imperfection. Those who follow this Refinement study what happens during their failures – times of Torment, massive Wastelands and outbreaks of Disquiet – to learn what may be done to resolve these imperfections.
- Plumbum: The Refinement of Lead (Source). This Refinement teaches that only by truly understanding what he is now can a Promethean ascend to something new. Followers of Plumbum seek knowledge of Prometheans throughout history and study their own flawed bodies, seeking to know what they are so that they can become more.
There is one final Refinement, one that is often seen as a path of denial or failure.
- Centimani: The Refinement of Flux. Members of this Refinement turn away from humanity and embrace their inhuman natures, becoming true monsters. For some, this is chosen because the Centimanus has lost faith in the possibility of the New Dawn. Some rare few, though, see this as one more path to humanity. There are monsters among mortality, after all, and perhaps the Promethean can learn to become human by first studying what humans aren’t. This is the easiest path for the Zeka Lineage to follow, and the hardest to leave.
Terminology: Prometheans each belong to a Lineage
descended from a Progenitor
created by a human Demiurge
. The five in the core claim descent from Frankenstein's Monster, Galatea, Osiris, Tammuz and Ulgan, but more exist; the Zeka are radioactive, the Unfleshed are made from robots and machines rather than human corpses, and there are other, rarer ones which can be created by freak occurrences. They travel in groups called throngs
. They follow one of five (ten, with Centimani and the Magnum Opus Splats
to focus their Pilgrimages. Their powers are alchemical Transmutations
fueled by their internal store of Pyros
and empowered by their Azoth
. Their Karma Meter
, their ability to comprehend and mimic human behavior and morals.
This game contains examples of:
- A God Am I: Not very common for reasons that will be explained below, but when an unhinged Zeka with low Humanity embraces the Centamani path they can fall into this trope too easily...
- Alchemy Is Magic: Prometheans are alchemical creations powered by the Divine Fire that moves the Universe. Their Lineages are based on the classical elements, they pursue Refinements based on the seven alchemical metals (as well as bronze and cobalt), and they can create Athanors to further refine themselves.
- Angel Unaware: Qashmallim.
- Awesome McCoolname: When you've never heard a name before, and don't really know what names are, you can get a little creative. Hell, one of the sample characters is named "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter."
- Back from the Dead: All Prometheans can do this once. Osirans and a few Prometheans of other lineages can theoretically, given the right circumstances and enough Experience Points, do it as many times as they need to.
- Bin Gereh, an Extempore created spontaneously by a natural disaster in southern Egypt, can do this essentially indefinitely and without cost unless he dies on a boat; as he was created by one of the greatest catastrophes on land, being on water removes that immunity.
- Become a Real Boy: What happens when a Promethean reaches "New Dawn". A more exceptional case for the Unfleshed as they don't have the luxury of starting with an organic human body in the first place.
- Becoming the Mask: Ideally, the line between "pretending to be a human" and "legitimately reacting to things as a human would" will become blurry as a Promethean grows to understand people and tries to make their own place in the human world.
- Being Good Sucks: Averted; the better a person you are, the better the odds that you will successfully complete the Pilgrimage.
- Played painfully straight with the Tammuz's Torment; they become compelled to serve people who depend on them, and the longer they spend in Torment the harder it becomes for them to escape. If they're lucky the person assumes that the Tammuz is a Good Samaritan type and the Tammuz will experience a massive guilt trip if they try to disobey or escape. The unlucky ones get enslaved and endure the most brutal lives imaginable.
- Then they realize they're in a form of enslavement, cue the next trope;
- Berserk Button: The Tammuz as a whole loathe slavery; recently created Prometheans who are African-American and bring up their slavery as an issue get put in their place by the older Tammuz who've seen and lived its horrors since old-testament times.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Any Promethean can change their Refinement, though depending on the presence of a teacher, it could take a week or a month. Not so for the Refinement of Torment — that takes no time at all to join and twice as long as normal to leave. Enjoy your power failures.
- Black and Gray Morality: A lighter shade of gray than usual. The black is a lot worse.
- Blank Slate: Prometheans start with nothing. Hopefully.
- Blessed with Suck: Quite possibly the worst in the nWoD.
- Just to be clear on this: You're nearly indestructible, can eat just about anything, only have to sleep once every two days, can heal with electricity, and get at least one free resurrection - but the universe hates you, and not figuratively, either.
- But Great Grandfather Crow has it even worse than everyone else. He was a crow who died and was then resurrected by some halfwit of a Promethean. Now he's a dead crow with the mind of a proto-human who just wants to become a regular crow again. The rulebook suggests that the New Dawn is actually impossible for him, because the Divine Fire can only turn one human, but he doesn't want that. That said, one test game run by the designers ended with the crow finding Redemption as a bird.
- Constructs, non-Unfleshed Prometheans made from substances besides human bodies (such as iron, wood, or stone), are even further removed from humanity than a normal Promethean, don't even look human without a Transmutation, cause Disquiet more easily, and, while they may have minor advantages, they also suffer from the same weaknesses as the materials they're made from.
- Possibly the king of this: Bin Gereh. Even Great-Grandfather Crow can find a chance at redemption, though it might not be a form he likes. Bin Gereh (and the other Extempores) may never be able to. (He was "created" by a natural disaster, and every attempt he's made at creating progeny - a required step for Redemption - has failed.)
- Blue and Orange Morality: Qashmallim have a purpose given to them by the Principle. They exist to do nothing but fulfill that purpose, no matter how bizarre or nonsensical it may seem. They are generally polite enough to explain themselves, as best as they can, if asked, though you may get tired of hearing "It is the will of the Principle" and "The Principle is the Principle" pretty quickly.
- Body Horror: Pandorans come from the bodies of failed attempts at Promethean generation, with a healthy dose of Flux added in. Heads with tentacles, living viscera with legs and gaping maws, etc. Prometheans who use Pandoran transmutations mutate terribly, as well.
- But I Can't Be Pregnant!: Generally, it's impossible for Prometheans to reproduce, but once in a blue moon one of them impregnates or gets impregnated by a mortal, or (even more rarely) by another Promethean. For a Promethean of either gender, this can be a distressing or confusing experience, but also quite rewarding, especially since it may be a part of their Pilgrimage. The kids turn out as normal human beings — mostly. See In the Blood.
- Came Back Wrong: The first of each Lineage started like this; Prometheans sometimes have this happen to them as well, when the attempts to create new ones create Pandorans.
- City of Adventure: Detroit.
- The Corruption: While not an evil or intentionally malevolent force, Flux, as the agent of mutation and dissolution, acts like this. Also qualifies as Body Horror.
- Cosmic Horror: Certain qashmallim are closer to this than angelic.
- Crapsack World: Even worse than usual; if a Promethean stays within one mile of any place they've stopped for more than one hour, their very presence will make it into a widening area of general unpleasantness called a "Wasteland". While each of the five-plus Lineages will produce different kinds of Wastelands, all of them are very unpleasant in their own ways. Bonus: different Prometheans' Wastelands do not cancel each other out unless they're part of the same throng.
- More so for the Zeka; they're in constant pain, they're radioactive, and not a single one has reached their New Dawn. And the Refinement of Flux is easier for them to access than any other Promethean - in game terms, if the player says "My Zeka changes to Centimani", it happens (normally it takes in-game months)... and it takes them twice as long to climb back out.
- Creepy Doll: When a Galateid's disfigurements are revealed, their appearance is too perfect, seeming artificial and doll-like. One might appear to be made of marble with black glass eyes, another like a store mannequin.
- Critical Existence Failure: Prometheans are literally running on magic, so they can keep going until that burns out.
- To expand on the point above, with enough damage, you will start to take penalties on your rolls. If you take Bashing damage, you will need to roll to stay conscious. Take Lethal damage or get Bashed hard enough, and you will start to bleed to death - and you die. Further damage would turn into Aggravated damage, in essence mutilating the body. Prometheans take no roll penalty, do not need to roll to stay conscious, and will not bleed to death. The only way to kill them is to deal enough Aggravated damage - either by mutilating the body beyond recognition (easier said than done, given the body in question is most likely still moving and actively resisting), or by fire.
- Cult/Religion Of Arguably a Neccessary Evil Or Unneccessary Knight Templars: The Botherud are a group of Prometheans that believe that Azoth is a limited resource that must be conserved and that Promethean reproduction is a Sin against the Divine Fire. Considering that it is a requirement to make another Promethean as a step towards becoming human, this puts them at odds with the rest of their kind and bars them from attaining humanity, unless they reproduced prior to joining, in which case they would have to kill their progeny as per their creed. Bonus points for them also slaughtering any Prometheans they find and using an old Soviet nuclear device close to Boston on the player's Throng in the sample adventure they first appeared in...
- Dark Is Not Evil: The books explicitly mention that some Centimani are not evil, just selfish and tired of Disquiet. Pandora's Book features a couple-an Osiran who thinks that understanding Flux is key to understanding humans, and a Tammuz who simply has it as the first Refinement he learned. It even admits the Osiran has a point; the problem is his detachment from his work.
- Flux as a cosmic force is not necessarily evil, either, even if it does kind of go against the entire purpose of the Pilgrimage. Pandora's Book features an anecdote of a qashmallim of Flux showing up at an elite party where depraved magnates did absolutely hideous things to captive youths, and ended up executing some karmic justice by infecting the magnates with something very nasty and inevitably fatal.
- To an extent this applies to the Prometheans, being a race of corpses that cause disasters just by being near anything.
- The Dark Side: Centimani, Refinement of Flux.
- Deadpan Snarker: Ulgan are prone to it.
- Determinator: All Prometheans need to be this in order to reach their New Dawn. The Tammuz are a more specific case amongst the Lineages; a Tammuz can and will endure everything to accomplish a goal.
- Don't Look at Me!: Considering that a Promethean's Disquiet is harder to resist when their disfigurements are visible, this phrase might get a bit of a workout when the Pyros starts to fly.
- Doom Magnet: The whole goddamn species. In so many ways. For one, their coming near a Pandoran wakes the damn thing up (and is the only thing that wakes them up, at that!).
- It's really hard to even think of a Promethean doing anything without causing something terrible to happen...
- Downer Ending: Not exactly a definite thing, but if a Promethean reaches New Dawn and is reborn as human, they can be killed by a random car accident as soon as they cross the street. A more Tear Jerker of a case is that once made human, they can still be reborn as Prometheans if they die.
- They can also be Embraced, or Awaken as Mages, or die and come back as a Sin Eater...Or possibly even undergo the First Change if they (Or possibly one of the corpses that provided them with the original body) had Wolf Blood.
- As this troper's group found: when their Throng were all reborn as humans and remembered the love that forged the bond that had held them together for the decade they wandered together, they were murdered by a long-forgotten rival and reborn a second time as Prometheans with all their memories erased, all their skills, powers and friendship wiped clean, while their former enemy pretended to be their only friend while setting up them to murder each other in a matter of days after their Third Rebirth. Damn Killer Game Master.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Yes, you really can in this one; there's even rules for it. But that doesn't mean many will...
- Electricity Can Do Anything: It heals Prometheans, it can restore Pyros, and it can animate a disparate collection of parts into a Frankenstein (Or a Torch-Born Pandoran).
- Emergent Human
- Epiphanic Prison: The Prometheans' 'Pilgrimage' has shades of this.
- Evil Makes You Monstrous: The problem with pursuing the Centimani path.
- Existential Angst: You're an abomination born out of a ritually defiled corpse, reanimated by magic sourced from ethereal beings of questionable motive, cause horrific damage to the environment, will motivate every human you meet to hate you, pained by the absence of a soul, will motivate every human to destroy you utterly if they see your real form, persecuted by other ethereal beings of violent motive, preyed on by monstrous creatures that are abominations born by abominations like yourself who made a mistake when attempting to birth more abominations like yourself, subject to a cosmic scale karmic punishment system with an ironic streak, tempted to take up a blatantly evil philosophy that will alienate you from others of your kind, and bound to follow a vaguely defined path which demands you to create another abomination in your image to progress, taking years or even centuries to attain your promised reward. All of this to become a feeble, mortal human who potentially retains no memory of your struggle against the cosmos, with nothing but a human soul to prove your worthiness. Enjoy!
- Expy: Qashmallim Ruby and Mr. Gold are expies for Sapphire And Steel.
- External Retcon: Frankenstein's monster claims the book was his evil "Bride's" idea, that she deliberately told Mary Shelley his story.
- Centralia might have been the result of Frankenstein's monster settling down.
- Extreme Omnivore: Prometheans can eat virtually anything organic. Kind of a survival mechanism considering their lifestyle.
- The Acid Stomach Merit also permits them to eat anything, from loose change to handfuls of rocks as long as they can get it down.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Pandora's Book mentioned that while Pandorans are unable to breed naturally, they can try tainting Promethean flesh with Flux (it's left open whether this would work). One option is to have a Pandoran burrow itself into a Promethean's innards, aiming to corrupt the Promethean from the inside and turn him (or pieces of him) into Pandorans.
- First Episode Resurrection: Subverted. Even if you're playing a Promethean from the moment it comes to "life", it's not actually resurrection. Prometheans are new individuals created from dead bodies, not revived humans.
- Foil: While the Promethean condition is in itself a foil to mortality, among the Created are the Ulgan and the Frankenstein. Frankenstein's Monster was created out of a desire to transcend humanity through science, where the first Ulgan was created with the same intent, but through spiritual means. Frankenstein work to exist and thrive within the world of humans, while the Ulgan tend to embrace lonely, hermetic lives of spiritual reflection, not unlike a monk. The Wretched know they are monsters and try desperately emulate humans; The Riven look for the evil in humanity while trying to ignore the intrusive spirits within their body. The Wretched become emotional vengeance-driven brutes when they're frustrated, whereas the Riven begin to sulk and lose their human nature, adapting a more animal-like mindset.
- Evil Counterpart: The Pandorans themselves exist as foils to the Promethean condition and Sublimati darkly invert the personalities of the Lineages accordingly: Pandorans that would have been Wretched love to burn prey, Pandorans born of Tammuz failure love to enslave them, Galateids are hounded by beasts who hate beauty, and so on.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Each Promethean type is classed with a humour - Ulgan are odd men out, as their "humour" is ectoplasm.
- Temperament Ensembles make ideal throngs, since being in a branded throng with Prometheans of different Lineages weakens a Promethean's Disquiet, slows down the Wasteland effect he causes, and makes it easier to resist Torment. Being in a throng with those of the same Lineage, though, makes things worse.
- Worth noting is that, while a full Temperament Ensemble dulls Disquiet and slows the spread of Wastelands, both still spread, and their effects are cumulative. If the group stays in one place for too long, the humans around them will suffer Disquiet and the land will become all of the various types of Wasteland. A throng with all different types is ideal for play, but if the group overstays their welcome, the result is disastrous, significantly more so than if the Prometheans had been alone.
- Frankenstein's Monster: The whole game is White Wolf's take on the Frankenstein story, and there's that whole Frankenstein Lineage thing...
- Functional Magic: Alchemy/Innate Powers.
- Genetic Memory: Prometheans with the Residual Memories Merit possess traces of the skills their former bodies had. Unfortunately, these skills come with a chance to express a Derangement their former body had as well.
- Glamour Failure: Using Transmutations exposes a Promethean's true face, which is not good.
- Hints about a Promethean's true appearance can also express themselves under normal circumstances. A Frankenstein might have blotchy skin and be of indeterminate race and age due to being made from a number of people, for example.
- Golem: The Tammuz, but rather then being made from clay they're corpses that were reborn from the earth. Unless they're a Construct of the Lineage, that is.
- Gone Horribly Right: Tura Evenkia from Magnum Opus was created when an Ulgan decided to see what would happen if he tried to make a Promethean out of a life-sized wooden idol. Good News: It worked! Bad News: Tura went berserk from the pain of awakening and butchered him with her bare hands before snapping out of it.
- Hate Plague: Disquiet becomes contagious at its worst level, and nothing short of the death of the Promethean causing it can stop it by that point.
- Goes From Bad to Worse — you know all those other monsters in this setting? Disquiet affects them as well. As a small consolation, vampires and werewolves alone among supernaturals don't actually instinctively hate Prometheans. Instead, they find them so deeply unnerving that it becomes harder for them to resist their Unstoppable Rage.
- Hot-Blooded: Frankensteins and Galateids have an inborn tendency to be this way, with Frankensteins more driven and Galateids being more foolhardy.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: But damn it, Prometheans still want to be one!
- Humans Are Special: The reason the Prometheans want to Become a Real Boy.
- I Hate You Divinely Reanimated Soulless Corpse Parent: Prometheans feel an instinctive bitterness towards their creators, and quarrels with them can incite Torment.
- I Love Nuclear Power: The Zeka, the so-called Nuclear Prometheans, introduced in Saturnine Night. Where other Lineages have an affinity for electricity, the Zeka have an affinity for radiation. Their Wastelands manifest as fallout zones.
- Implacable Man: Tammuz become this when they get pissed off.
- In Mysterious Ways: Everything the qashmallim do is in service of "the Principle"... somehow.
- In Name Only: The Galateids are "descendants" of a living statue, but are made out of regular ol' dead corpses just like the other four factions. In fairness, it's only presented as a rumor here that Galatea was a statue, and the going belief in-universe is that Pygmalion made her out of the corpses of the most beautiful women in the kingdom.
- In the Blood: The children of Prometheans (Redeemed or otherwise) have a tendency to be born as Scions, people immune to Disquiet and able to see Prometheans as they are. Alas, seeing "monsters" no one else can often has unfortunate consequences. On the plus side, once the Created realize that there's a mortal who won't go crazy by just talking to them, the kid will have no end of guardian angels.
- Interspecies Romance: Sometimes Prometheans fall in love. It never seems to end well.
- Karma Houdini: Inverted and Subverted; trying to pull this is just making an already hard game unnecessarily harder. Played Straight if the person in question has a passive-aggressive Omnicidal Maniac streak.
- Karma Meter: Humanity: You. Do. Not. Want. It. To. Fall.
- Kill It with Fire: Fire is dangerous to Prometheans because it overloads Azoth.
- Lie to the Beholder: Given that we're dealing with animate corpses here, this is very fortunate.
- Light Is Not Good: Elpidos qashmallim are not by any means nicer than lilithim; they just tend to have slightly more positive missions. Ruby and Mr. Gold, for example, are out to stop monsters. If said monster is, say, a body-jumping demon, they have no qualms at all about locking the doors and slaughtering everyone in the room to drive it away due to lack of hosts.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Pandoran Transmutations.
: It seems like a good idea until you grow a second set of genitals.
- Mad Scientist: Technically, demiurges are Mad Alchemists.
- Mana: Pyros.
- Masquerade: If you don't follow it, you're screwed. Really. Screwed.
- Metaplot: There's a free introductory scenario on DriveThruRPG, and each of the books have a fully-fleshed out story module in the last appendix. Strung together, these form a narrative that describes the misadventures of a throng and at the end of the chronicle features a firestorm engulfing post-Katrina New Orleans.
- Mix-and-Match Man: Frankensteins require at least two different corpses to create. This is optional (and even occasionally necessary) for other Lineages, like Galateids, for example, who require flawlessly beautiful bodies (no matter how many people the parts come from).
- Monster Lord: Sublimati, Pandorans with a high degree of intelligence. One actually created a BDSM Church of Happyology.
- Monsters Anonymous: What friendly contact between Prometheans basically boils down to.
- Mortality Begins At Twenty: Unless you appear younger as a Promethean.
- Mummy: The Osirans are a fairly gauze-free equivalent — ritualistic creation based on the myth of Osiris (ruler of the Underworld), lordly bearing, and a resurrection process that's just a bit stronger than that of most Prometheans.
- Also, as a possibly literal Mythology Gag, missing at least one part. The more mythologically aware get a nice large cleaver and take it to their intended offspring's crotch prior to resurrecting them. The sample characters miss various parts; out of one sample adventure, we have Osirans missing an earlobe, a toe, and... those bits. It's said that the ones who get the "classic" deformity don't really mind, except when they're asked which parts were taken.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: Most lineages have no problem obtaining corpses to use in the generative act. Even the Ulgan, who require supernaturally-touched bodies, live in the New World of Darkness, after all. But Galateids, who require relatively young, unmarred corpses? Well, there are only so many ways young people can die without a mark on them, and it's so easy to just take a lover and smother or poison 'em or something...
- And then there's Disquiet. The only way - and we do mean only way - to cure the fourth and final stage of Disquiet is for someone to find and destroy the Promethean that caused it. The next time you pass through a small town where everyone seems to be some degree of crazy, there's probably a Promethean on the far side of the continent weeping about the town she tore apart because she didn't leave sooner.
- Nigh Invulnerable: Prometheans are all very tough and difficult to kill... and they need to be.
- To give an example, one of the sample adventures in the sourcebooks punishes the party with a nuclear explosion if they screw up; if the players still have their free resurrection they can just wake up and move on. If a player power-builds a Tammuz to absorb damage, they have a (very slim) chance of being able to survive the explosion.
- Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: It's incredibly rare, even by Promethean standards, but sometimes, unique Lineages are born when a Promethean is created from the bodyparts of supernatural creatures, or a supernatural being becomes obsessed enough to temporarily put aside its mystical powers and, through its madness, tap into the Divine Fire and become a demiurge. Saturnine Night covers three of these "Impossibilities", Prometheans who mimic the other races of the night: one Vampire, one Werewolf and one Mage.
- Mircea looks the spitting image of a vampire when his disfigurements are showing, has the Humour of "Vitae" (all-consuming hunger, must sleep in soil from the area where he was created), has a unique Bestowment that allows him to regain Pyros by drinking blood, a Wasteland that induces increasing levels of paranoia and manipulation amongst those afflicted, and a Torment which literally makes him Wangst until he snaps out of it.
- Piker looks like a savage amalgamation of man and wolf, can fly into a berserk frenzy thanks to his Rage Bestowment, has the Humour of "Moonlight" (capricious and moody, regains Pyros at moonrise, plus more if it's a full moon and/or he sleeps under the moon), a Wasteland that induces oxygen deprivation, Disquiet that induces suspicion, paranoia and violence, and Torment that throws him into violent mood-swings.
- The Page of Cups has a unique Bestowment, but modified versions of the Osiran Humour, the Galateid Wasteland, and the Frankenstein Disquiet, with Frankensteinian Torment completing the mix.
- Nobody Poops: The Divine Fire within a Promethean consumes every part of everything he eats.
- Not Himself: A Promethean's Humour normally only informs his actions, occasionally coming to the fore when he's under stress or exhausted. When in Torment, however, his Humour totally dominates his personality and he acts in ways he cannot control.
- Not Using the Z Word: The term "Promethean" is not often used by the Created, because many don't know it is a term.
- Nuclear Nasty: Many Zeky, in particular Tsar Bomba and Oleg Wormwood, a pair of Omnicidal Maniacs with a desire to Nuke 'em all.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Oleg Wormwood and Tsar Bomba both seek to end the world in nuclear fire. The difference between them is that Oleg could actually do it, while Bomba is living a pipe dream. That said, Bomba is by far more dangerous in person.
- Order Versus Chaos: Elpis is the force for order and development, Flux for chaos and entropy. Both have their own versions of qashmallim. There isn't a "conflict" per se, as both are aspects of the Divine Fire, but since Flux is destructive and body-warping, most Prometheans want nothing to do with it or actively attempt to stymie it.
- Organ Autonomy: A regular problem, especially for the Wretched. Given that the Wretched must be assembled from two or more "donors", but any Promethean can do the same if necessary, it is not unique to the Wretched. The Merit "Residual Memories" can turn this into an advantage for a time.
- Our Angels Are Different: The Qashmallim are thoroughly incomprehensible. And on fire.
- Our Homunculi Are Different: The PC characters are actually homunculi, but the term is used to refer to small constructs.
- Our Souls Are Different: Prometheans don't have one, and they want one.
- Phlebotinum Overload: Firestorms, pseudo-hurricanes caused by an excess of Azoth. Even mortals can perceive the side-effects of them, usually because they tend to manifest as massive hurricanes that build-up really quickly and are more damaging then they should be.
- Pinocchio Syndrome: The entire point of the Pilgrimage.
- Playing with Fire: Some Vulcanus transmutations.
- The Power of Friendship: Prometheans gain advantages for sticking together. Primarily by helping to reduce the effects on the environment around them and to provide some form of companionship in such a bleak existence.
- Prestige Class: Athanors, which also include a watered-down part of their power surviving the change into a human.
- Prophecy Twist: In the core book, Mr. Verney tells a psychologist a prophecy the Qashmallim gave him: that if he continued to hunt down Pandorans in what is implied to be Centralia, 'one of [his] own would return to [him] with precious knowledge'. During the interview, Verney recognizes the psychologist as one who sided with his Bride so long ago, and decides to force his Bride's whereabouts out of her. Unfortunately, he accidentally kills her instead, thinking she was still a Promethean. For Mr. Verney, who had abandoned his Pilgrimage, his quest to become human, who believed that it was impossible, the doctor's death indeed gives him precious knowledge - that the Pilgrimage is possible.
- Red Scare: A Zeky's Disquiet is an allegory for this, as it drives those around him to fear, paranoia and witch hunts towards other groups.
- Not an intended theme of the game, but given their immortality and durability, revenge can develop into an issue for Prometheans. Especially amongst older Prometheans where it can become a bigger priority than becoming human as they execute Best Served Cold schemes against those who have wronged them, or their descendants.
- Stannum, the Refinement of Tin, is basically all about revenge. Some Prometheans consider it to be vital to the process of becoming human, as it is a study of the darker impulses and urges usually present within a human soul.
- The first book has a framing story that demonstrates the differences between mortals and Prometheans on this concept. A psychologist is interviewing a suspect in several disappearances who claims to be Frankenstein's monster. After much exposition, the subject of Frankenstein's Bride is raised and Mr. Verney talks about how she turned against him, becoming a Centimanus who created Pandorans, and that he dedicated his life to hunting her. The psychologist is troubled when he talks about her nightmares, her amnesia clouding memories of her youth. Eventually, Mr. Verney reveals he's been playing along with her. She's one of his former progeny, who left him for his Bride, becoming a vile Centimanus, and he wants revenge for what she did a century ago. What he doesn't realise is that she's become human - so when he strikes out at her, expecting a true Promethean, he instead kills her. The text ends abruptly but it's implied his final act is to return her to a Promethean existence.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Unfleshed from Saturnine Night are machines brought to life by Azoth, and due to the nature of the Divine Fire, they are invariably humanoids - even if what they originally were was, say, a laptop. There's even an example in the book - Tachanka, who was originally a military UMV but is now a mecha-teenager with an Arm Cannon.
- And then there's the Hive Mind of nanotech that walks like a man. It even calls itself Legion.
- Science-Related Memetic Disorder: Demiurges invariably suffer from this, as no mortal mind can be exposed to the Divine Fire and come back completely intact.
- Secret Project Refugee Family: Your typical "throng" of Prometheans. A "branded" throng allows its members to share powers and perform other nifty tricks, but there are drawbacks as well.
- Shock and Awe: The Electrification Transmutations.
- Shout-Out: The "Re-Animator" Bestowment for Zeka is actually a subtle one to Night of the Living Dead, and a number of other zombie movies where it is radiation that brings the dead to life. It's also named after Herbert West.
- Also the name of the setting. Mary Shelley's work was fully titled Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus
- The sample qashmallim include two Elpidos who appear as strange agents and show up to deal with the anomaly that's trapped several mortals and is picking it off one by one - though their primary goal is dealing with the anomaly, with human cost as a secondary focus at best. Their names are Ruby and Gold.
- The Soulless: All Prometheans lack a soul; more accurately, they have Azoth that fulfills many of a soul's functions (sentience, emotion, creativity, etc.). It doesn't make them evil per force, but it does complicate becoming human.
- Speech Impediment: Frankenstein's monster stutters, and his "descendents" sometimes have trouble with speech.
- Stages of Monster Grief: The Pilgrimage and transition through the refinements mirrors the stages of monster grief.
- The Stoic: Osirans tend to be this way, particularly when in Torment.
- Taken for Granite: One of the lineages was descended from Galatea, and some have worked out how to turn back into stone. Other Prometheans can learn the trick as well.
- Also, Pandorans turn to stone or other inanimate objects without Pyros, and also tend to if seen by an ordinary human. Unusually, they rarely just turn into straight "statues" of themselves — they generally turn into something that blends in a bit better.
- Then Let Me Be Evil: Hi there, Furies!
- Three-Laws Compliant: Averted with the Unfleshed. The Divine Fire burns away any personality restrictions.
- Throat Light: The Right Hand of the Principle has one, with wheels that are backlit.
- Tin Man: Prometheans have no instinctual grasp of emotion, but can experience them.
- The Topic of Cancer: The mysterious Nuclear Prometheans are the "Zeka", Prometheans animated and fueled by radiation that have a lot of disturbing, creepy abilities. Among them are the ability to give other people regular, boring old cancer, but if you want to get freaky, you can give them a tumor with a mouth that can speak to them, or a mind control brain tumor that is implied to cause endless excruciating pain and leave the victim a helpless puppet with full consciousness but no control over their actions. When Zeka use their powers, their "Disfigurement" usually involves huge cancerous masses growing from within them, boiling, bloating, and pulsating as their skin falls off and their eyes melt. Even when not showing their powers, most of them have signs of radiation poisoning or cancer, such as visible tumors on their faces. Then there are the Carcinoma, which is what you get when Zeka try to make more of themselves and fail horribly: hideous monstrosities made completely out of cancer, with an alien, incomprehensible, malignant intelligence.
- The Tunguska Event: Rumoured to be an attempt to forcibly summon a qashmallim - a bad idea.
- Undeath Always Ends: Thankfully.
- Unstoppable Rage: Torment, particularly for Frankensteins and Tammuz.
- Victory Guided Amnesia: In most cases, a Redeemed Promethean has no or very little memory of her former life. This can cause problems when it comes to the gaps in her past, to say nothing of what might happen if her old throng tries to interact with her.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Lacuna, stealing Vitriol, automatically costs a point of Humanity, and doing it more than once is likely to permanently cut off any hope of the New Dawn.
- Walking the Earth: The typical Promethean lifestyle. Otherwise...
- Walking Wasteland: If a Promethean stays in one spot for more than twenty-four hours, that spot becomes one.
- As a Continuity Nod and Beethoven Was an Alien Spy one town, implied to be Centralia, Pennsylvania, became a wasteland due to Frankenstein's monster staying there on orders from the qashmallim.
- 2nd Edition spoilers ramp this Up to Eleven: Promethean Disquiet, and Wastelands, are effectively Azothic radiation poisoning. They're literally humanoid health hazards.
- Weak Sauce Weakness: In order to refill their pool of Pyros Prometheans have to follow strict rituals when they rest, from sleeping immersed in earth, to falling asleep next to a lit fire, or hearing people's voices (human or Promethean, TVs, radios or recordings don't count) talk as they fall asleep. For some this isn't a problem, but being woken-up requires them to fulfill the requirements again in order to get themselves recharged. The Zeka naturally have more demanding needs, but some of the unique NPCs in the books have crippling versions such as the vampire Promethean that can only sleep in a specific patch of dirt that is barely large enough for him to fit within.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?:...when living is like this?
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Most Centimani. Zeka too, thanks to their elemental affinity to nuclear radiation.
- Yandere: A Galateid suffering Torment.
- Zombie Apocalypse: Some Zeka have the inherent ability to create radioactive zombies from corpses. Get an exceptional success, and the zombies are infectious...