Learning How to Be a Person [Promethean: The Created]

Open Development, Promethean: The Created

Illustration from _The Velveteen Rabbit_ by Margery Williams

Illustration from _The Velveteen Rabbit_ by Margery Williams

This past week, we got an email from a guy who found a particular resonance in Promethean. He’d been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome (a form of high-functioning autism), and his story of how he’d struggle for years to fit in with people struck us as particularly poignant. You can read the email here.

If you don’t know, in my day job I’m a speech-language pathologist (or speech therapist) for the Cleveland school district. Over the years I’ve had occasion to work with a lot of folks on the autism spectrum, both high and low functioning (and even that’s an oversimplification, but I don’t have all night), and it’s often struck me how much deliberation goes into learning social interaction – something that those of us who aren’t on the spectrum kind of take for granted.

But what that tells me is that empathy can be learned. Maybe it comes easier for some folks than others, but you can teach yourself to feel and care for other people. The Monkeysphere might only hold 150 people comfortably, but you can stretch it.

Prometheans are, in part, that struggle in a metaphorical kind of way, Naturally the Great Work isn’t just about empathy, it’s about a lot of other facets of being human, too. But you know me: I’m a humanist, and I’m kind of an optimist, so that lesson of learning how other people work tends to show up in the Pilgrimages of my players’ characters.

Anyway, I just thought that was cool and worth sharing.

Now, for Tuesday’s update, would you prefer:

Milestones or qashmallim?

  51 comments for “Learning How to Be a Person [Promethean: The Created]

  1. Chris Shaffer
    December 21, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    It’s a close call, but I’d have to vote for Milestones.

  2. SSmith
    December 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm


  3. nikink
    December 21, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Qashmallim ftw. 🙂

  4. Arcane
    December 21, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Milestones, and may everyone who votes for qashmallim curse my name if we win.

  5. Yossarian
    December 21, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Qashmallim! Some of my favourite parts of Promthean.

  6. atamajakki
    December 21, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    Qashmallim. I’m already cursing you, Arc.

    I’d once made the case for Promethean as the autism metaphor to go alongside Changeling’s PTSD and Wraith’s depression. Interesting to see that come up again.

    • Arcane
      December 21, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      Glee. I am filled with [i]glee[/i] at this.

      I mean, I love y’all, but I gotta get my kicks somewhere.

      • Theeds
        December 21, 2014 at 11:15 pm

        Well, whatever floats your boat down the Styx, I guess. Christmas Krampus curses for you, and I’m voting for Qashmallim.

  7. December 21, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    Qashmallim because the mystery of how they are (not) related to the God Machine interests me

    • Arcane
      December 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Seriously? Some focus on why Promethean is awesome might go better.

    • Andrew Thomas
      December 23, 2014 at 1:14 am

      For this reason, Quashmalim.

  8. KingCarnival
    December 21, 2014 at 11:06 pm


  9. Theeds
    December 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Qashmallim, though I don’t mind hearing about either. So I won’t be cursing anyone near Christmas, thank you.

  10. Eolirin
    December 21, 2014 at 11:08 pm


  11. Stupid Loserman
    December 21, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    I’ll vote for milestones, but I really just wanted to leave a comment of appreciation. It’s really cool to hear Michael share his experiences, and to see the game touch people on a personal level. Thank you for sharing that in turn, Matt.

  12. Beard
    December 21, 2014 at 11:19 pm


  13. BlitzKitty
    December 21, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Qashmallim, esoteric weirdness yesplz.

  14. Afro Luigi
    December 21, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I’m going to vote for Qashmallim.

    Also wow, that email tugged at my heartstrings. I’m going to need to take a minute, then I’m going to share it!

  15. Satchel
    December 21, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Oof, rough choice.

    Going with the qashmallim for the same reason as BlitzKitty.

  16. Anaximander
    December 21, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    Qashmallim! One of my favorite aspects of Promethean

  17. Leliel
    December 22, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Aspies unite! Good show, Michael.

    I’ll have to go with Milestones here.

    • Calrabjohns
      December 22, 2014 at 11:39 pm

      Unite indeed. Thank you for articulating much of what I feel also, Michael.

      Milestones too.

  18. December 22, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Wow, two updates in a row that are big on the feels! Thanks to you Matt, and who ever wrote that email, for sharing and giving us a little look into your lives. It makes me happy to know that we work in parallel fields and reflect upon the same humanity that we observe in our down time.

    Tough call for the choice, but Qashmallim will win for me almost every time.

  19. JohnD
    December 22, 2014 at 12:53 am


  20. Olympius
    December 22, 2014 at 1:03 am

    Qashmallim please!

  21. Alessandro V.
    December 22, 2014 at 1:05 am

    qashmallim, please

  22. Vedic
    December 22, 2014 at 1:11 am

    My vote goes to qashmillim

  23. Christian A
    December 22, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Milestones, please.

  24. Dataweaver
    December 22, 2014 at 2:28 am

    Milestones. at this point, I’m more interested in learning what makes Prometheans tick.

  25. Zooroos
    December 22, 2014 at 2:55 am

    Milestones for me, please.

    And that letter… I think I may have a reached a milestone of my own, methinks.

  26. tau neutrino
    December 22, 2014 at 4:02 am

    Qashmallim. Will they be brought in line with the new spirit rules?

  27. Ephsy
    December 22, 2014 at 4:50 am

    Milestones, man.

  28. Felipe
    December 22, 2014 at 5:17 am


  29. ThomasM
    December 22, 2014 at 8:04 am

    As much as I’d love more information on the qashmallim I have to vote for milestones.

    Thanks for sharing that message. Its amazing to see how much we can learn from each others’ experiences.

  30. bwgustaf
    December 22, 2014 at 8:28 am


  31. Matt
    December 22, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Amazing email… and referencing the monkeysphere hypothesis by David Wong!

    milestones !

  32. reseru
    December 22, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Qashmalim, please

  33. Nicias
    December 22, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Milestones please.

  34. Tori
    December 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    ugh, tough. I want both…

    but I guess I’ll vote for Qashmallim.

  35. Ryan
    December 22, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Another aspie here; I’ve found the language and terminology of Promethean very useful to communicate with my gaming group – particularly using Torment as a way to explain what it’s like when “I’m feeling overstimulated by my surroundings, I’m going into a meltdown, so excuse me for a little while as I retreat to somewhere familiar/comforting until it passes” happens.

  36. Phaolan
    December 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    My troupe is a really wonderful hodge-podge of individuals who fall right around Asperger Syndrome on the Autism Spectrum (not to mention various gender-queer, LGBT and other qualities that are ‘outside the norms’ of society… Whatever THAT means), and we mine Promethean for all we can in terms of finding ways to describe who and what we are.

    Despite the easy assumption that the New Dawn is a metaphoric ‘healing’ of anything outside the ‘neurotypical’ or ‘hetronormative’ or what have you, I think that the game offers avenues to explore what acceptance really means. I’m glad I’m not the only one to do.

  37. NeoTiamat
    December 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm


  38. Charles Watford
    December 22, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I’d like to see more on the qashmallim please.

  39. Metamurpho
    December 22, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    First off, I would like to commend you for the Velveteen Rabbit image. I always thought the little guy is a great Promethean idea.

    Second off, I’m voting for milestones. And I curse Arc anyway! Cursing is fun.

  40. Andrew Thomas
    December 23, 2014 at 1:18 am

    If the Quashmalim win, can we also hear about how they interact with other antagonists to tie Promethean chronicles together? Would seem like a necessary part of selling crossovers, too.

  41. Cerulean Blue
    December 23, 2014 at 4:17 am

    Thanks for having shared Michael’s experience, it’s very touching.

  42. B
    December 23, 2014 at 10:25 am

    I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and an essay I wrote about my experiences will be in the Winter 2015 issue of my university’s student and alumni magazine, At Buffalo.

    Qashmallim, please.

  43. Doink
    December 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm


  44. DreamingGod
    December 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I vote for Qashmallim!

Comments are closed.