Promethean: The Created – System Mastery 79

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Happy October, dear listeners!  You didn’t think we’d skip it, did you?  Halloween is so easy to play around in it’s basically the podcaster Christmas.  So it’s all White Wolf, all month long at System Mastery, and we’re getting started with Promethean, the game that hoovers up the leftover mythology after all the other White Wolf monster titles and somehow adroitly bakes it into a man.. with blonde hair and a tan, and he’s good for relieving our…. tension.

19 responses to “Promethean: The Created – System Mastery 79

  1. Slasher was basically a sourcebook for Hunter about Hunters going crazy (which gives you cool superpowers because its WoD). It became really popular in its own right for some reason

  2. Semi-Serious Q for either White Ween Afterthought: Does Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand deserve its bad reputation, or does it have a bum rap?

    • Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand is either valueless, horrible, or hilarious depending on how well you know oWoD Vampire.

      The story goes that DSotBH was authored by a writer who was being fired, and thus turned the book into a final middle finger aimed towards White Wolf by spewing incredibly stupid, wrong-headed metaplot information that ran aggressively contrary to established setting information. Thus if you know nothing about the Metaplot/setting of oWoD then you probably wouldn’t even realize the ways it’s incredibly, deliberately, and ostentatiously bad. If you do care about the setting and you actually wanted a book about the Black Hand (who were a big mystery in the setting that people actually had wanted a book for for a while) then yes it was downright awful. If you know the setting and just want to see the world burn (or are just looking for non-canon things to dredge for ideas) then it might be worth a read and a laugh.

      Some of the things in it actually attained some popularity in the fandom (I believe it’s where the occasionally popular “Vicissitude is actually an astral parasite infecting the Tzimisce clan” idea comes from), but much of the rest is buried or forgotten because it’s not always a particularly interesting instance of burning down the world out of spite.

  3. Slasher is popular because it’s a really good book that treats its subject matter well. Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand is _hot garbage_ but you kinda need to know Vampire (and preferably Mage) reasonably well to get the most “oh fuck _off_!” out of it.

  4. For what it’s worth creating Golems wasn’t actually necessarily blasphemy. The logic of certain Jewish Mystical Traditions went that if Humans are beings created in the image of god from the Breath/Soul of God to inherit His creation then it was actually their divine right to be able to replicate God’s works on a lesser scale by creating life from the dirt as God had done. There are some Jewish stories that said that Adam, who was closest to god, created an entire staff of Golems for his household. Of course that assumes that most of the formulae to create Golems circulated by mystics actually were a method to create artificial life and not a focus for meditation like they actually were. The idea that “playing god” was inherently blasphemous is more of a Christian idea, some Jewish Mystics would say you absolutely SHOULD play god to follow in His footsteps and become closer to the divine.

    Jewish Mysticism is cool is basically what I’m saying.

    Also In New WoD you don’t get crit fails unless you literally have no dice left in your dice pool from penalties. “More 1s than Successes” is no longer a botch, and generally not even a fail since 1s usually don’t take away successes.

    • To expand on this, every Storyteller/Storypath game uses a d10 dice pool system for conflict resolution, but their implementations differ:
      -oWoD varies difficulty by changing up the target you need to hit on each die. Easier checks might call for Difficulty 6 or lower, while particularly hard stuff would call for Difficulty 8 or 9, but in any case at least one success (or one net success when opposed) allows for you to accomplish a goal. In addition, this is the system in which 1’s count as negative successes except (I think) against 10s.
      -Aberrant/Exalted/Scion is a rules fork of oWoD. The games which use the resultant system don’t just include those three, but also several other White Wolf/Onyx Path games that aren’t World of Darkness lines yet still carry similar mechanics. (They’re still using something like this for Scion 2E, but look to have a better handle on the math going forward.) In this, by default a 7+ is a success and a 10 is actually a double success. Difficulty results from varying the number of successes necessary to accomplish some goal, from 1 (easy) to 3+ (harder).
      -nWoD (or now Chronicles of Darkness) is a different rules fork of oWoD. In these lines, rolling an 8+ counts as a success and rolling a 10 allows you to roll an additional die. As with oWoD, getting at least one success (or one net success when opposed, again) allows you to accomplish a goal. Difficulty here results from external modifiers to the dice pool itself, from perhaps +2 (easy) to -2 (hard).

      The result is that unlike in Exalted, Scion, the die pool sizes don’t need to be terribly large in oWoD/nWoD. With a pool of 4-6 dice, you can still get at least one success most of the time. Large dice pools are only really necessary for spectacular results, which nWoD codifies as “exceptional success”/5+ successes.

  5. Nice episode, very informative, though I feel like I wouldn’t have understood the system mechanics if I hadn’t also heard the Exalted episode.

    The myth of Prometheus changed a lot over time, but one of the later additions had it such that he was literally the one who created humans in the first place, and he made us out of clay. That’s why they named the game after him, and why the Frankenstein novel had “The Modern Prometheus” as its subtitle.

  6. Corebook nWoD (also called blue book) is where you’re going for basic “people investigating the horrors of the WoD” action. Hunter: the Vigil goes into what happens when people team up to fight monsters at a variety of power levels, and there’s a bunch of books (also with blue covers) which are designed to be useful either just with the corebook or with any line, like Mysterious Places or Midnight Roads.

    They called it Promethean because the full title of Frankenstein is “Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus”.

    Promethean has usurped Wraith: the Oblivion for the title of “White Wolf’s best game you’ll never play”.

  7. Fun review!

    One important detail about Prometheans I think you guys missed; they’re incredibly tough to kill, even compared to other supernaturals. They suffer no wound penalties of any kind, and can’t go unconscious from wounds. They’re healed by electricity, so even a badly wounded Promethean can be fully healed in a matter of minutes from sticking a fork into an electrical socket. And on top of that, even if they *do* die, they always get at least one free resurrection (Osiran’s Bestowment gives them two). I always thought it was neat to have an RPG where the PC’s all start with one “Get Out of Death Free” card.

  8. If someone doesn’t make fanart of Dwarven Dora the Explorer, I don’t even know what The Fridge is for.

  9. Stannum, the Refinement of Tin, is not really intended as being on the same level as Cuprum, Ferrum, etc. While choosing the path of Gold, or Copper, or Iron, or whatever is a deep and personal choice of how to live your life, choosing Stannum can be done in the blink of an eye. On the path to becoming human, Stannum isn’t intended to bring you closer to humanity. Instead, it’s the tempting path of hate that just drags everyone down with them.

    Perhaps questionable as something accessible to players, but you’re not really intended to pick Stannum as something your character *is*; it’s something for your character to overcome or avoid.

    • One of the things I like about 2e Promethean is that it gives specific Milestones tied to each Refinement* and the Milestones you need to achieve Mortality are spread across the gamut. This means you are actively encouraged to dip your toes into at least a few of the Refinements rather than just focusing on one.

      *there are also a lot more Refinements to choose from

  10. I’m disappointed that Dungeons The Dragoning lied to me about Prometheans. DtD essentially made Prometheans full-conversion cyborgs or warforged.

    It would have been great if WW would have made a Terminator Promethean where they’ve been reborn using “scientific” techniques because hey,if pre-Matrix Virtual Adepts can exist, why not Technocratic pseudo-science Prometheans?

    • They have those; they’re called the Unfleshed, and they’re meant to allow you to create anything from Promethean Terminator to Promethean Johnny-5. They were introduced in the later 1e books, and then made part of the core in 2e.

  11. My biggest beef with them is that it n their goal to become human, they start at Humanity (and have it at all) at 7…which is normal human level.

    Nwod morality is the worst but this was just a stupid theme fail!

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