Alchemical Recipes [Promethean: The Created]

So, it was a close vote, but Lineages won out (32 votes for Lineages, 20-some for Refinements, and one inexplicable vote for “alchemical burps”).

Promethean 2nd Edition includes seven Lineages: Frankenstein, Galatea, Osiran, Tammuz, Ulgan, Unfleshed, and Extempore. But why, you might ask, is Extempore included out of alphabetical order?

Well, because the Extempore aren’t properly a Lineage. But we’ll get to that.

“Lineage,” as a concept in Promethean, refers to the method by which a Promethean is created, rather than an unbroken family line. The six Lineages (again, minus Extempore) all have some pedigree; the youngest (Frankenstein) is only a couple hundred years old, but the others are far older. (Even Unfleshed, you might ask? Sure. People have been making human-like representations of themselves forever. Terracotta warriors. golems, and all other forms of living statues were Unfleshed long before Karel and Josef Capek gave use the word “robot”.) But even with that pedigree, what you’re actually choosing when you create a character of a particular Lineage isn’t a clan or a family. It’s an answer to the question: Where does life come from?

If you’re playing a Frankenstein, for instance, life comes from lightning. It’s fast, painful, bright, beautiful. If you’re playing an Ulgan, life comes from beyond. It’s unknowable, and understandable only by experiencing it. When creating a character, Lineage informs how your character came to life, what methods her genitor (if the creator was a Promethean) or demiurge (if the creator was human) used to impart the Divine Fire.

Of course, a large part of what makes a particular Lineage is the humour, the alchemical material that saturates the Promethean’s body. Tammuz are full of black bile. It makes them sleepless and vigilant, but can also make them irritable and despondent. The Unfleshed humour is oil, not one of the classic four humours, granted, but still the humour that makes the Unfleshed useful…whether they want to be or not.

And this brings us back around to the Extempore. Sometimes Prometheans just happen. A massive Firestorm, or just a natural disaster, might kick up enough energy to impart the Divine Fire into a nearby corpse, and it rises up, confused and alone. Extempore don’t have the same drive and innate knowledge of the Pilgrimage (called Azoth Memory) that other Prometheans do, so it seems likely that the methodical system of creating Prometheans that leads to the Lineages also leads to that Memory. But does that mean that the Extempore can’t reach the New Dawn?

Azothic Memory is silent on the matter, and Extempore are rare even among Prometheans, so it’s hard to know. But the Pilgrimage does seem to function for the Matchless. They can take Roles and study Refinements and generate Vitriol. So that should mean that they have a New Dawn to look forward to, right?

They can hope.

OK, ask me questions in the comments. I’ll answer them tonight or tomorrow. Sunday, I’ll put up a new poll for Tuesday’s Promethean update!

88 thoughts on “Alchemical Recipes [Promethean: The Created]”

  1. The Extempore are weeeiiiird. No genitor? No demiurge? What hapless target do I throw my existential angst against?

    Could make a fun character though. I look forward to what’s coming next (hopefully Roles).

    • I have a feeling Extempore are going to provide some awesome material for creating an absurd hero. Camus would be proud.

  2. Ok, what about the nuclear ones? I forget the name, and don’t have my book with me, but I distinctly remember a Lineage born of nuclear explosions in an antagonist section/book of some sort. Are they still going to be in the game, folding into something else, or are they out?

    • yeah- the Zeka were my fave lineage, next to the Ulgan and the Dreamborn (which also doesn’t ‘t show up in here..) I assume this is because of wordcount, or is it something else?

  3. This is going to be so awesome. Hoping this game does come out next year. It is by far my favorite line in WoD.
    And this looks very promising. To bad the playtest is full ^^

  4. I like the idea that the different lineage’s elements are what they see as the source of life.

    Q: So are Constructs being folded into the Unfleshed or are they still a part of the other lines?

    Q: Is anything going to be attributed to the element of Fire-proper? Like hearth or furnace imagery? Or does that all just get folded into the Divine Fire?

      • Constructs are a popular addition, since the made-from-other-human-bodies contradicts the legends many of the Lineages come from. Illuminated is asking whether or not non-corpse Prometheans are only possible as Unfleshed, or whether there will be support for marble Muses and clay Golems.

        • Because of what “Lineage” means, if you’re using the process to make a Galateid, it’s only going to work on a human body. That said, obviously this is a topic we’re going to need to address in the book.

  5. Interesting that the Ulgan are now characterized by “from the beyond”. Previously I always got the impression of them as bridges to the beyond, but being firmly placed in the human sphere of the world. So the distinction is small, but important I feel.

    Are they still all about “the spirits” or is “the beyond” a bit more general then just The Shadow in the new edition? Are ghosts and the Underworld an alternative? The World of Darkness has so many “beyonds” I was wondering if the Ulgan will be a little more muli-choice in the realm (or sub-type of realm, twilight (yes its a state not a realm, I know) for different entities is divide up now after all so they don’t interact so much) they are linked to through their humour?

    Is it still “ectoplasm”? Is that still roughly analogous to Essence right? The “universal fuel” (some ideas from Demon may be leaking into my thoughts about Promethean here) of immaterial creatures for the most part with a few exceptions. Hence my curiosity about more possibility for diversity among the Ulgan.

    • I’d love to see the Osirans fill the “Interacts with the Dead & Underworld” niche. I can’t wait to learn more about the revamped Ulgan and Extempore, I’ve had an idea that takes the mythological aspects of Hunter and Promethean and plays them up dramatically. I’m very curious to see the path taken with Promethean 2e with regards to mythology since the original leaned so heavily on it.

    • [quote]Are they still all about “the spirits” or is “the beyond” a bit more general then just The Shadow in the new edition?[/quote]I’m curious about this as well.

  6. I must admit I’m a bit torn up about this direction.
    I loved the Unfleshed, but they are really a challenge to play in a game that’s already challenging players. And they don’t really fit with the whole alchemical theme, the Ulgan at least try 🙂
    I understand why the Zeka are not included, they are even more destructive and unstable than “regular” Prometheans. But the Extempore’s inclusion caught me by surprise. I’m not sure if I like the idea or not.
    Still curious how this direction is developing…

  7. While I do understand, (not agree), with the realities of Zeka needing more word count than available. So even though it’s early I hope you get your Night Horror book, so I can enjoy your take on the Nuclear Promethans.

    As for questions, given the similarities and previous thematic overlap, how will the differences between Osirens and Ulgans be played up?

    Given that the Unleashed seemed to consume the ‘made from non-human parts’ stick, how will this effect the Galateads & Tammuz descriptions?

    It was teased earlier that Tammuz were taking more cues from the linguistic side of their concept. Can you please elaborate?

    • The cyborg one’s called the Unfleshed and it’s actually listed among the core Lineages! Which is exciting for me. I love those creepy inhuman guys.

  8. Is Azoth Memory a numerical trait, such as Blood Potency or Humanity? I have a creeping hope that it isn’t, because it’s cool to see a capital letter concept without mechanics necessarily attached to it, but on the other hand it’d be cool if it were actually a third stat since no splat has a third stat lined up with Power and Morality/Integrity

    • Nope. Azothic Memory is just something that (most) Prometheans share. It ties into Elpis and maybe Residual Memory, kinda-sorta, but mostly it’s there to explain why a Promethean has some instinct toward completing the Pilgrimage.

      • Why have an Azothic Memory when the ramifications of Torment/Disquiet/Wastelands already drive most Created to chase Mortality? There’s little succor in just surviving, and the reality of the New Dawn is easy enough to demonstrate. What does it add to the game that wasn’t there before? What does it take away?

        • Prometheans have always been really rare, and it’s always bugged me that they have this ongoing culture when they don’t really have the numbers to sustain it. Azothic Memory gives them a tenuous connection to their predecessors, gives the ST a handy way to give a group a hint if they need it, and allows the Promethean “culture” to exist at all.

          • Are you suggesting that what passes as Promethean culture is innate? Or just the drive to the Pilgrimage?

            Between the Elpis, the qashmallim, and Pilgrim Marks, as well as how the Azoth calls to Azoth, and the way the Promethean’s body and “soul” reacts to mortality, my own response is that there are easily enough ways to get the Created (back) on their path.

            The Dominions are also not a bad axis to hinge the “culture” on; they give visions and tie the Prometheans to long-discredited ideas of alchemy and humours. Those who’ve gone before also leave their musings, either with their progeny or in hidden journals.

  9. Fantastic,a couple of questions.

    1. what is the status of the Principle and its Qasmal servants? my guess is that you guys are going to use the new spirit rules for them,but still are you guys have any new ideas for the Divine Fire?

    2. What is this new Refinement all about?what are Roles all about? What is the status about abnathors?

    3. Any hints of what you guys are doing with Transmutations,are they going to be mostly the same or is it completely different?

    4. What is this new homour oil? What emotions does it bring to play,what exactly happens when an Unfleshed goes into Torment?

    5.any new things about the Osirians? i just to know because there my favorite Lineage.

    • 1) That’ll be another update.

      2) That’ll be another update.

      3) That’ll be another update.

      4) Ah! That one I’ll answer. The Unfleshed were created as slaves. Their humour drives them to be obedient, unemotional, and mechanical. When they go into Torment, they might lose all autonomy, or lash out against the people trying to control them.

      5) They’re the only Lineage that can make multiple trips to the Rivers of Death…but it costs them.

      • If the Unfleshed are the slave Lineage, what does that mean for the Tammuz? Are they getting a new “assumption” (most golem legends I know of have them being created as tests of their creators’ insight, for example), and their origin story – which I assume is being retained, otherwise there’s no reason to have the name – is about resurrecting a loved one. Does one of these inform them to a greater extent than before?

  10. Exciting! I love the idea of Ulgan’s as being connected to “the beyond”. It makes for a more flexible character concept than being so rooted in spirits, which I always had a little trouble with. It also makes sense for being possible in a second edition, after there’s been a lot more beyond to explore.

    Two questions:

    1. Since there can be multiple demiurges for a lineage at any given time now, are Dr. Frankenstein and Adam accorded any significance in the game’s lore? I ask largely as a Universal horror fan who can rarely resist throwing an ancient Werewolf family named the Talbots into his games.

    2. What role are the Extempore going to have for players? I’m getting a strong Vampire 2nd ed spontaneous embrace vibe from them. This might be the subject of another future post entirely, but I’m just trying to conceive why I’d choose to pick someone who doesn’t have the inborn knowledge or drive to do the central theme of the core game.

    • 1) Well, sure. Viktor created the ritual (or maybe Mary Shelley did?).

      2) They do have some disadvantages, it’s true. You play one if you want to take on that challenge, being even more uncertain in your Pilgrimage than other Prometheans.

      • 1. I rather like the idea of Mary Shelly creating the procedure. (In general, I find the idea of mixing a fictional creation and its creator in the same setting somewhat disrespectful – it relegates the person who made up the idea to a passive witness).

        2. Presumably, though the Extemporae are free from baggage – no “assumptions” to into their creation, which means less holds them back.

        • I wanted to do a Compact started by Mary Shelley (or maybe her sister) for Mortal Remains, but I ran out of space.

          And yes, Extempore have a pretty wide range of weirdness. Pretty much, if it’s not an established Lineage, do it, call it an Extempore. If I get to do a PG I’ll put a big section on Extempore in there.

          • It’s a Hunter question, so not entirely appropriate, but what do you think are the odds of that getting a chance to see inclusion in a book?

  11. So, if the Unfleshed are the Cyborgs (forgive me, it’s been ages since I’ve looked through the books), does that meant hey will have more of a connection to the God-Machine since this is Second Edition?

    How will the God-Machine play into the Prometheans?

    • I don’t want to explicitly stated a connection between the Principle and the God-Machine, but the book explores some possibilities. None of them are presented as “true,” however. I might tackle that in another update.

      • I think it’s worth noting that Demon: the Descent mentions qashmallim, and makes a point to say that they are not angels of the God-Machine. As such, anything that says that the God-Machine is the Principle is going to be rejected in my games.

        OTOH, I’m fine with the possibility that the God-Machine is the Prodigal Demiurge mentioned in Magnum Opus. Certainly a notion I’d entertain if doing a Promethean/Demon crossover.

          • Hey Matt, maybe you might be able to help me out with this, so the way Lineages are being described (especially now) with the process of their creation being what defines them, I’m starting to get these wild theories spawning in my head in that the first five Lineages actually were spawned from the God-Machine’s attempts at “hi-jacking” the pyros wellspring of the Principle. And the only true inheritors of Divine Fire are Extempore.

            Does this theory carry any merit or have I just developed some sort of Radio Sickness?

          • Hi Matt, maybe you might be able to help me out with this, so the way Lineages are being described (especially now) with the process of their creation being what defines them, I’m starting to get these wild theories spawning in my head in that the first five Lineages actually were spawned from the God-Machine’s attempts at “hi-jacking” the pyros wellspring of the Principle. And the only true inheritors of Divine Fire are Extempore.

            Does this theory carry any merit or have I just developed some sort of Radio Sickness?

    • That’s addressed in the Galatea write-up, in fact. 🙂

      “Among the many Greek myths that has survived to the modern day is story of Pygmalion and Galatea. Pygmalion was a sculptor so brilliant — or perhaps just so narcissistic — that he fell in love with one of his own creations. He begged the goddess of love for a miracle, and she saw fit to grant his wish, bringing his statue, Galatea, to life.
      Of course, that would make the original Galateid one of the Unfleshed, which doesn’t make any sense. According to the Muses, the Greek myth is only a sanitized version of the truth. Pygmalion was an artist, it’s true, but his medium was flesh, not stone. Galatea wasn’t a statue, she was a perfect woman made out of the most beautiful parts Galatea could find. And while her animation was certainly a miracle, it was achieved through Pygmalion’s obsession and occult rites, not the intercession of a goddess.”

      • I loooooove that text! Their demiurge was one f-ed up dude, even moreso that old Victor Frankenstein… And that so wonderfully gives this Lineage a darkness that they need. Thank you for that bit, Matt!

      • I like this a lot.

        By the way, I spotted a minor error in the writeup. You’d probably catch it in editing anyway, but…

        “…made out of the most beautiful parts Galatea could find.” Shouldn’t that be Pygmalion finding the parts?

        I look forward to the finished product!

  12. No Zeka?

    How significant will Lineage be in terms of “What can you do?” In 1e while lineages were rather distinct in terms of torment and disquiet, in terms of function it was “You get one power that everyone else can buy.”

    • Lineage determines how you were brought to life, your humour and (to some extent) your Torment, your choice of Bestowment (everyone chooses one of two), and how you can regain Pyros through elemental dreams.

  13. If the unfleshed humour is oil does that mean that unfleshed need to use some kind of oil in the generative act? Or is it just the easiest subtance to use (like how the constructs had a favored material)?

  14. Will Unfleshed have a more refined set of rules comparable to the Main Lineages?

    I remember in 1st Ed. they were more like freaks of nature and could have any of the benefits of the other Lineages. I liked them so much that it would be awesome if they felt like a real proper lineage comparable to the main ones.

      • Could we get the planned Unfleshed write-up next? As things stand, I’m very nervous about this new take on the Unfleshed; and I’d like to see more about what you have in mind that makes “Unfleshed is a Lineage” a better approach than “each Lineage comes in two flavors: Fleshed and Unfleshed.”

  15. So get me straigh here – there won’t be any Constructs from original Five Linages? There won’t be any living statue Galateids? Living sacred trees of Ulgan? You are either “robot” (Unfleshed) or fleshed, from corpse Created? No more inorganic Prometheans from classical Linages?

  16. Interesting, developments. You say Extempore are rare even among Prometheans? If the material from Mortal Remains is accurate (and there are roughly 100 Prometheans at any given time) shouldn’t that mean there are less than 10 Extempore in the whole world? Or are Prometheans going to be more populous in the new edition?

    • Sometimes no Extempore. If you’re playing one, it’s decent odds your character is the only one in the world.

      (Unless you want there to be more, of course. Maybe several got created in the same event?)

      • I suspect that I’ll be house-ruling things so that demiurges can create Extempore. That is, I’ll treat them less as “freaks of nature” (literally) and more as “a catch-all for Prometheans who don’t fit into the regular Lineages”. Still freaks of nature in a figurative sense; but not restricted to being created by acts of nature.

        • As written, an Extempore is by definition a Promethean created *without* the process of a Lineage, so if a demiurge uses a process that creates a Promethan, it’s either part of an existing Lineage or the beginning of a new one. Would that make the character an Extempore? I suppose it might.

      • One of my regular players, as thrilled as he is that Extempore are going to be in the new core, is concerned that their rarity is just going to translate, in actual play, to “You can’t play this.” (Like with the classic ‘seven Salubri’ of VtM)

        I’ve explained how patently absurd that sounds for something that’s going to be a front-and-center core book option, but for the sake of reassurance is that possible issue going to be addressed in the text?

        • They’re one of the seven Lineages (even if they aren’t properly a Lineage). They’re perfectly available as PCs…just like the Salubri were. I don’t understand why your friend thought the Salubri were off limits; I had a lot of people play them over the years.

          Extempore are rare, sure. That doesn’t mean “don’t play them.” That means “play one, but know that they’re rare, and that can raise complications.” Complications are good. They get you Beats.

          • Over the years, my friend’s had a lot of Storytellers give him the response of “There’s seven of them in the world at any one time. What are the odds that one of those is your character? Play something else.” when he’s asked to play a Salubri. I myself have met a few people who interpret ‘rare and weird’ as ‘intended for NPCs only.’ I’m not saying that’s the correct view, I’m certainly arguing that it isn’t, but it’s happened often enough that my friend interprets it as a commonality.

  17. Are you going to be sticking with the “like creates like” generative acts of 1e, or can a Frankenstein create a Galeteid in 2e? My personal preference would be for the latter (albeit with penalties if you’re not creating another of your own Lineage).

    Also, will there be rules for demiurges creating Prometheans? Or will it be left entirely up to Storyteller fiat on the theory that demiurges are never going to be player characters? I could see the former working as something like “use the same rules that Prometheans use; but since demiurges don’t have Azoth or a Humour, they need to come up with an alternate source of Pyros, such as harvesting it from a Promethean or a Firestorm.”

    • As written, we assume you’re playing Prometheans, so there aren’t rules for demiurges creating Prometheans (I’m not, like, militantly opposed to the idea, I just think it’s a really niche case and we’re pressed for space anyway).

      As for a Frankenstein using the Galateid process, I think it would make for a neat story. The resulting Promethean might be a Frankenstein, a Galateid, or (more likely, if I’m the ST) an Extempore.

      • My own hope would be, if you’re going to bother making rules for Demiurges, it’s part of a larger ruleset (not gameline size, but maybe supplement size) for “mad science” (playing on gothic rather than pulp themes) in the World of Darkness. If there isn’t that much of a potential hook for a character, it seems like it’s better just left to storyteller fiat.

  18. Thanks for answering the above questions I had! ^_^

    How are golems more ‘word-bound’?

    Are Ulgan specifically connected to the spirit world or are they now tied more generically to ‘the beyond’ like maybe some kind of affinity for all ephemeral beings?

    Promethean used to be my favorite line until Mummy came out, but it seems like its second edition will have everything I want! Yay

  19. But even with that pedigree, what you’re actually choosing when you create a character of a particular Lineage isn’t a clan or a family. It’s an answer to the question: Where does life come from?

    So what’s the difference between the Osirians and the Tammuz in this regard, since both origin stories (retained, if we’re going by the names) revolve around a goddess-figure resurrecting a loved one.

    If I had to guess, you said the Tammuz have more to do with the power of language – so my guess would be Tammuz see life as coming from divine ordinance – while Osirians are more chthonic, seeing it as growing from the seeds of what’s gone before, or else life and death as an indivisible whole that just is.

    Is it something like that, or something else? (What else?).

    Regardless, I very much like this aspect.

    • Both!

      Centimani remain more or less as they were, except there’s a greater focus on what that Refinement is (that is, being off the Pilgrimage). Pandorans have undergone some pretty significant changes, and then of course there’s the alchemists that want to harvest Prometheans for their bits.

      Different update, though.

      • Is there much -thematic- overlap between alchemists and Created-hunters from Mortal Remains, or are there compelling distinctions?

      • Do some of these alchemists work for a multinational pharmaceutical conglomerate based in the UK with an Greek Myth themed name?

  20. Will we ever see the new World of Darkness get into Science Fiction tropes, without the “alchemy” trimmings?

    One of the best things about the cWoD was the fact that you could work in the horrors of the future as well as the past. Oprheus brought a scientific, clinical feel to post-death management. The Technocracy gave the mystic traditions a great antagonist, a great foil. My hopes for promethean were dashed when it was announced that they were fueled by “divine” fire. God-machine and Demon give us pseudo-tech, but no real “what have I wrought” science horror. Will the new iteration of promethean fill that niche, or are we stuck in the 18th century superstition again?

    • Bones, you’ve pretty much completely confused the two worlds of darkness and their relations to science completely. In owod, science and technology are complete bullshit, it’s nwod that has actual science fiction elements.

      Scientists can create undead cyborgs or create zombie viruses in Antagonists.

      In Promethean, scientists can harvest pyros to fast grow transgenic or otherwise genetically augmented clones, and the unfleshed can be created by three laws of robotics compliant robots.

      In skinchangers there is a natural disease that alters DNA to make animalistic chimera, and scientists who created human animal chimera to create apemen and sapient rats.

      In hunter there is a process to rewire the human brain to give psychic powers, and a conspiracy that hunts monsters with next gen technology.

      Nwod has rules for actual cybernetics in the Bleeding Edge supplement.

      In vampire there are vampire surgeons who have studied how to apply surgery to undead patients, and in wicked dead two of the vampiric beings are creations of science or at least non supernatural nature.

      In mummy, since their creators also started the bronze age a thousand years earl that it’s entirely possible that the use of sekhem is an actual science that the mummies just don’t understand.

      In Armory Reloaded gunsmiths can incorporate magical features into new guns from the application of engineering.

      In mage the techngnostics are waiting for technology to advance until it can match the power of magic, not to mention that magic might be rivaled by advanced scientists or psychics in the mage chroniclers guide.

      In Intruders it also includes some very science fiction elements from the Abyss such as an intruder that allows one to invent things 20 to 50 years early, variant laws of physics, and new diseases including a strain of cerebral parasite.

      And of course in Demon, their supernatural powers rely on exploiting the laws of physics beyond current human understanding.

      All that is just from memory, Bones, so the question is not “When will nwod include science fiction” because they’ve been doing that since the early nineties.


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