Steve Martin, appearance on The Muppet Show
Steve Martin, appearance on The Muppet Show

One of my favorite bits of Promethean is the Ramble. In case you don’t know, the Ramble is simply the tale of a Promethean’s Pilgrimage, a story summing up their experiences on the road to the New Dawn. I’ve been taken with the idea of Prometheans exchanging letters, constantly relating their Rambles to a disparate throng that maybe only comes together once every few years – it was precisely this idea that fueled The Epistolary Chronicle (which appeared in the Mage Chronicler’s Guide).

The chapter openers for Promethean, like Beast, are going to feature two styles of fiction: One, a connected story of a throng (written by Jose R. Garcia, who also contributed a story to the Firestorm Chronicle Anthology), and two, on the facing page, part of a Ramble.

One thing that we’ve tried to do with Promethean Second Edition is really dig in to the potential diversity of these characters. Part of that meant adding in the Extempore and the Unfleshed as fully playable options, and collecting all 9 of the original Refinements (and adding a 10th!) into the book, but a more direct way to showcase the myriad character options was to present a whole bunch of examples. The write-ups for the Lineages introduce these characters, in just a paragraph each, and the write-ups for the Refinements help you trace their Rambles just a bit. The full-pages chose seven of those characters (and then I chose an eighth, but he doesn’t show up elsewhere in Promethean and I can’t tell you yet where he shows up), and gives you a detailed look at a formative moment, a key part of their Ramble.

So, want to see one? Sure you do. (Next week, I’ll do a write-up about Transmutations. You’ve earned it, you’ve been patient.)

Shadow’s Ramble

I can tell you everything about dinosaurs. I can cook up a perfect batch of scrambled eggs. I can recite the best of Shakespeare by heart. Algebra? I can solve a quadratic equation in my sleep.

I know how to talk someone down from a fight. If that doesn’t work, I know how to strike them so hard, they’ll never want to hit a bottle or a kid for the rest of their life. It’s all there, on the only file that proves that I exist. Police came. Took me away, took Rob from her a few weeks later.

When they were processing me, asking me all those questions, that’s when I started learning all the things I didn’t know. The first time I learned what color my eyes were was when one of the officers wrote it down on my rap sheet. They were brown, just like Rob’s. The only thing that I knew for sure was what they wanted on the signature lines. I signed it the same way I’d sign Rob’s permissions slips when Mom was too drunk to do anything: Anthony Barnes, with the “t” crossed near the very top.

Yeah, I still called her that. That’s what Rob called her, and he dreamed me up to be his big brother, so why wouldn’t I?  Even when they took him into the van, he still called her “Mom.” He said goodbye to her first. Mom was too stunned to even give him a hug, so I did it for the both of us. I thought about staying. I really wanted to when I saw Mom curled up on the couch and wailing. I thought that maybe if I could make Rob happy, I could make her happy too, right? It didn’t sound smart then, either. I was gone by the end of the day. Last I heard, she moved somewhere outside of Jupiter. She said the ocean air helped her stay sober. I don’t know what Rob’s up to these days. I don’t think they’d tell me if I asked. I’m working on it.

I lived in a lot of dreams after that. Everyone dreams alone, it’s a great way to keep to yourself. Even when I met Vasily and Driscoll, I’d just spend my time in someone else’s dream, or just go hide when I’d get kicked out. I didn’t like being solid anymore. I kept coming back with a new skin color or a different hair style. One time Driscoll went out on a house call and he took me with him to keep watch. He kept asking me to help him out, so I figured I’d go at least once. I was minding my own business when I saw my reflection in a teapot. Bright green eyes, looking right back at me. Driscoll’s pulled out some gray, slimy thing from one of his patients, and I just stared at myself the whole time. He finishes up, we walk out, and I haven’t been solid since. I think they like me better as a shadow anyways.

I know a lot of things. I just wish I knew more about me.

21 thoughts on “[Promethean]Ramblin’”

      • obviously that was as well worded as you can expect from a drunken Pandoran… Is 2e coming out soon? I feel like last year it was almost done and then… a lot of stuff happened, and i’m guessing it was just in limbo. So not sure what the state of it actually is.

        • Currently on Layouts, as per the latest Monday Meeting. If my forecasting abilities are still good, I predict a PDF release no later than Fall 2016. If an *advance* PDF happens, then earlier, with a physical release later.

        • So, here’s what happened: Promethean went through the usual stages (writing, redlines, revisions) pretty much on time, but then a couple of things coincided:

          1) My health got weird. Not bad, exactly, but basically I couldn’t work at the same rate I used to (getting old sucks, but as my dad used to say, it beats the alternative). This was exacerbated by…

          2)…my day job workload doubled. I did 100 assessments last year; even adjusting for the fact that I didn’t start the position until October it probably wouldn’t have been more than 120 or so. I did 213 this year. It takes a toll.

          3) Promethean’s development hit at the same time as Beast, and the decision was to get Beast out the door first. But, following getting Beast to where it needed to be (which took longer than expected), then Dark Eras and a zillion other things came up.

          Basically I just needed a month to do the development and then another month or so for Michelle to edit, but that kept getting pushed back. But then *finally*, it happened! Yay!

          So it’s never really been in limbo per se, just hit a logjam of other issues and confounded by the fact that I can’t spend 18 hours a day working full tilt anymore. 🙂

          (Chaney tells me we should get a proof maybe the first week in June, so things are moving right along.)

    • Like, physically? Dunno. Chaney tells me we might have a proof in a couple of weeks, so assuming nothing goes whack-a-ding-hoy with it and I can get it turned around quickly, maybe an advance PDF in June? (This is not a promise, mind, this is an estimate.)

  1. Well some of the great writers circles were just as intimate. How do folks as nomadic as Prometheans keep the communication going if not face to face? A box of fifty year old letter in the hollow of a an oak everybody swears is haunted?

  2. I dunno, this seems to describe exactly the fiction that marked the first edition. Here’s Verney relating some of his comrade’s Rambles, here’s Zo Malek falling back into her Pilgrimage. Nothing as succinct as a story told at a fireside, but not dramatically different in terms of being a personal reflection of each Promethean.

    Still, can’t wait to meet Shadow. He’s clearly an Ulgan, however they are defined in 2E, and, what, an imaginary friend taken a bit too far? Nice.

  3. I always liked the distinct voice that Promethean’s fiction has, that matter of fact acceptance of weirdness. This does not disappoint.

  4. I like that the Unfleashed are becoming a core Humor! Is there any word on Clones, or are clones wrapped up into the Unfleshed. I was hoping to make an Ayanami Rei inspired character when Promethean comes out.

  5. This is wonderful stuff, and it’s stuff that wasn’t in the playtest docs that we playtesters got, so thanks from a slightly different perspective, Matt!

    …And as for the Transmutations tease? Know that my throng (er, troupe? We do get into this game a LOT) playtested the heck out those, and I’m mad-crazy excited for y’all to see the wonderful work went into that particular set of mechanics for Second Edition. I can’t say more ‘coz nondisclosure agreements are a thing we take seriously, but yeah, feel free to look forward to that, too. Excite!


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