Promethean: The Created
From Edge of Darkness Wiki
The game is inspired by the classic tales of Frankenstein's monster, the Golem and other such simulacra. The characters are individuals created by first dismembering and reassembling a human corpse in most cases or multiple corpses in others to form a human body, then animating the body with Pyros, the Divine Fire. The resulting creation is known as a Promethean. Animated by the Divine Fire, but lacking a soul, Prometheans seek the greatest prize they know: humanity. Prometheans have no direct equivalent in the original World of Darkness (though Frankenstein's monster, as well as the ability to create and play as such, were associated with the Sons of Ether), but elements of the game, on the surface, recall elements of such games as Wraith: The Oblivion and Mummy: The Resurrection.
The life of a Promethean
A Promethean is created from the corpse of a human by a creator; in certain cases, desired components from more than one corpse are combined into a single end-product. Very rarely, otherwise inanimate matter may be used, making a sort of magical android similar to a Golem but with considerably greater variation in form and composition. Most Prometheans are created by other Prometheans, who must create more of their kind as part of their journey towards achieving a state of true mortality. Much less common are instances where mortal creators wield the Divine Fire in order to create a new form of life; these mortals are known as demiurges, and are the most likely to create new types or Lineages of Prometheans. When a Promethean is brought into the world, they often have full knowledge of any languages their body spoke in life, and the processes necessary to control the body (hand-eye coordination, basic visual navigation, etc.). In all other aspects, they are a blank slate, although individuals may discover 'memories' of skills, locations, knowledge, etc. once possessed by the mortal(s) whose bodies they now use. Some Prometheans aid their progeny in learning the basics needed to survive in the world; others leave them to figure things out on their own. There are also cases when the maker is destroyed by one means or another before the progeny wakes.
The Promethean is not human, in either the physiological or cognitive sense. It is a corpse that walks, its autonomic functions and soul replaced by the power of the Divine Fire. While the Divine Fire allows him to pass as a human from a distance, it does not make up for the lack of a soul. When a Promethean spends enough time around humans, the humans begin to fall prey to Disquiet, the feeling that there is something not just fundamentally different, but utterly wrong about the Promethean. Disquiet initially manifests itself as distrust or avoidance of the Promethean; at its worst, it can blossom into mindless rage that can only be abated by the death of the Promethean. Different Promethean Lineages generate different manifestations of Disquiet, each with their own enervating effect on the local environment and population. Disquiet affects more than just mortals; a Promethean who spends too long in one place will find the landscape and environment itself becoming tainted by his Disquiet, eventually turning into a Wasteland. Leaving the tainted zone far behind allows the land to eventually heal, but it does require the Promethean to keep on the move.
There is only one true means by which to truly escape from Disquiet: attaining mortality. Such an act requires years of dedication, but it is possible for Prometheans. By undertaking the Pilgrimage, the Promethean gains knowledge of his self, other Prometheans, and humanity as a whole. The various steps of the Pilgrimage vary widely from one Promethean to the next, but one step remains constant and inviolable: the creation of another Promethean of their line. The Pilgrimage is difficult and lengthy, but it can be achieved.
It is worth noting that the understanding and becoming of humanity can just as easily refer to the baser and worse of human impulses as to the noble and good - although those Prometheans that actually perform reprehensible acts (murder, stealing etc) are less likely to successfully complete the Pilgrimage
Each Promethean takes after the traits of the progenitor, the first of their kind. The various "lineages" of Prometheans take their roots from notable "created" or "reconstructed" throughout folklore and fiction. Each lineage is also aligned towards one of the five classical elements, and, in keeping with the alchemical theme of the game, is imbalanced towards one of the respective humors.
During the course of a Promethean's journey towards mortality, they must dedicate themselves towards a Refinement. A Refinement is equal parts philosophy and alchemical regimen, framing the Promethean's outlook on humanity and their own existence as well as granting them knowledge of Transmutations, the ability to alchemically alter the properties of their bodies and Pyros to great effect. It is expected that a Promethean will change Refinements at least once in their journey. There exist six major Refinements, but only five are viewed as "acceptable" by most Prometheans. These Refinements draw their names from five of the seven planetary metals:
- Aurum, the Refinement of Gold, or Mortality. The Refinement of Aurum requires the study of humanity: their cultures, their beliefs, their emotions, and their actions. Truly "understanding" humanity may take many routes, some as benign as attending church services, others as horrific as committing cold-blooded murder in order to understand why humans do the same. Those who practice Aurum gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Deception (using Pyros to escape the notice of others) and Mesmerism (using Pyros to subtly gain control of the emotions and thoughts of others). Practitioners are often called Mimics or Adamists.
- Cuprum, the Refinement of Copper, or Self. Practitioners of Cuprum wish to gain total control of their bodies, their minds, and hopefully their Torment, in order to ease the control their humors have over their bodies and the toll their Disquiet takes on the land. Many followers of the Refinement take to isolation in nature, avoiding the "threat" that humans affected by Disquiet pose towards them. Those who practice Cuprum gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Metamorphosis (using Pyros to shapeshift) and Sensorium (using Pyros to enhance the senses beyond physical limits). Practitioners are often called Pariahs or Eremites.
- Ferrum, the Refinement of Iron, or Corpus. Those who practice Ferrum follow the path of the practiced warrior, believing that they can earn the trust of humans through martial prowess and the necessity for defenders in times of crisis. Practitioners of the Refinement often learn as much from martial arts and military training as their Disquiet allows them to do. Those who practice Ferrum gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Corporeum (using Pyros to power and harden the body) and Vitality (using Pyros to perform unnatural feats of strength). Practitioners are often called Titans.
- Mercurius, the Refinement of Quicksilver, or Pyros. Followers of Mercurius believe that for Prometheans to understand what makes a mortal a being with a soul, they must first understand that which serves as a replacement in themselves: the Divine Fire. To gain such an understanding, they often demonstrate a moral, intellectual and spiritual flexibility unmatched by other Prometheans, pursuing whatever avenues they believe might lead towards enlightenment. Those who practice Mercurius gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Alchemicus (using Pyros to alchemically analyze and transform objects) and Vulcanus (controlling the very flow of Pyros through their bodies and bodies of others, using it to fantastical effect). Practitioners are often called Ophidians.
- Stannum, the Refinement of Tin, or Torment. Disciples of Stannum have most likely witnessed first hand the horrible effects that Disquiet has on humans; often, they have been the target of that very rage. They believe that the best course of action is to get even, cultivating the flow of Disquiet and gaining revenge on those who have wronged them. Many Prometheans likely practice Stannum at some point in their journeys, but many outside of the Refinement view it as "youthful rebellion" at best, and obsession at worst. Those who practice Stannum gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Disquietism (controlling the flow of Disquiet to redirect its effects towards humans and away from the Promethean, or easing its influence all together) and Electrification (using Pyros to generate electricity). Practitioners are often called Furies.
The sixth Refinement is Centimani, the Refinement of Flux. Taking their name from the Hundred-Handed of Greek mythology, the followers of Centimani study Flux, the force of destruction that acts opposite of Pyros. Many Centimani are viewed as monsters by other Prometheans due to the fact that they have effectively abandoned the pursuit of mortality and have firmly embraced the belief that they are monsters. If this were not enough, the study of Flux often bring Centimani into close association with Pandorans. Some Prometheans, however, follow Centimani as a step along their Great Work. These creatures study monsters among humanity - serial killers, rapists, and criminals - as well as manipulating their own monstrous forms.
The fourth book in the line, Magnum Opus, introduces four lesser-known Refinements, each one coming about due to certain rare conditions.
- Aes, the Refinement of Bronze, or Aid. Practitioners of Aes have sworn to protect their throng mates and other Prometheans in need. The practitioner usually serves both to protect their throng mates from physical harm and to keep them devoted to the Great Work. The Refinement can't be practiced alone, however, as it requires the Promethean to protect those close to themselves. Those who practice Aes gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Benefice (providing aid to another Promethean) and Corporeum. Practitioners are often referred to as Sentries.
- Argentum, the Refinement of Silver, or Mystery. Practitioners of Argentum have discovered that they are not the only monsters in the World of Darkness. There also exist vampires, werewolves, mages, and things unknown. The practitioner of Argentum seeks to understand humanity by understanding its opposites. It observes the various other supernatural creatures of the World of Darkness, as well as mortals who are mentally ill, in an attempt to discern the secrets of the works. Those who practice Argentum gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Sensorium and Spiritus (using Pyros to blend in with and rebuff other supernaturals). Practitioners are often referred to as Mystics.
- Cobalus, the Refinement of Cobalt, or Impurity. Practitioners of Cobalus have realized that certain parts of Promethean existence, such as Disquiet and Torment, are impurities that keep them separate from humanity. As a result, they seek to understand imperfection in all its forms - in their selves, in objects, and in humanity. Unlike Centimani, they do not spurn humanity; rather, they seek to truly understand what humanity is by examining the flaws of human existence. Those who practice Cobalus gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Contamination (drawing out and purging the imperfections of humans and Prometheans) and Deception. Practitioners are often referred to as Cathars.
- Plumbum, the Refinement of Lead, or Source. Practitioners of Lead believe that, before they attain Mortality, they must understand what it means to be a Promethean. They wish to understand what they are, how they do what they do, the history of the Great Work, and the various threats Prometheans face in daily existence. Those who practice Plumbum gain an affinity towards the Transmutations of Disquietism and Saturninus (control over one's own Azothic Radiance, their humors, and their Bestowments). Practitioners are often referred to as Originists.
In the pursuit of mortality, one step must be undertaken by all Prometheans: the creation of another Promethean of their line. There are times, however, when the creator is not fully prepared to bring a new life into the world, doing so out of haste, impatience or selfishness rather than necessity. When this occurs, the process of creating new life becomes tainted; Flux takes the place of Pyros, and a Pandoran is created. Most Pandorans exist as mindless entities driven solely by instinct; there are the occasional few, however, who attain full sentience and possess human levels of intelligence. These Pandorans are known as Sublimati.
All Pandorans center their existences around one goal: the acquisition of Pyros to feed upon. Pandorans react strongly to the flow of Pyros, awakening from states of dormancy induced by mortal Disquiet (in which the Pandoran appears as if a statue or similar object) and chase after the source of flame. If a Pandoran is successful in its hunt, it will likely kill and cannibalize the Promethean. Some Pandorans keep their quarries alive but helpless, feeding off the Promethean's constantly regenerating Pyros. Each Pandoran exists as a Mockery of a Lineage, sharing similar elemental alignments and humorous imbalances as their creators. The Mockeries are:
- Ishtari (the Mockery of the Golems, given to imprisoning their foes and keeping them alive as long as possible while feeding on their Pyros)
- Renders (the Mockery of the Riven, tending to tear apart the Promethean quickly and drain the Pyros from what remains)
- Sebek (the Mockery of the Nepri, given to inhabiting watery environments and drowning their prey quickly)
- The Silent (the Mockery of the Muses, tending to mutilate and disfigure their prey)
- The Torch-Born (the Mockery of the Wretched, given to charring the flesh of their prey before consuming it)
- Carcinoma (the Mockery of the Zeka)
- Gremlins (the Mockery of the Unfleshed)
Ironically, the bane of Prometheans' existence, Disquiet, is the most effective weapon against Pandorans, as a Pandoran subject to the attention of a mortal (and the Disquiet thereby generated) for more than a short span of time will be forced into a physically inert state of dormancy, as well as physically transmuted into some form of stone. Many Pandorans remain this way for centuries, as only close proximity to a source of Pyros (such as a Promethean, Firestorm, or quashmallim) will rouse them.
The Qashmallim are powerful manifestations of the Divine Fire, seemingly angelic beings who exist to carry out a single mission on behalf of something they call simply "The Principle." They are bringers of visions and messengers of doom, givers of hope and swords of retribution. Each qashmal vanishes after carrying out its task or if it failed in the attempt, and they never try again.
Just as the Divine Fire itself is mysterious and ineffable, the qashmallim are unfathomable and their motives impenetrable. One qashmal might be dispatched to warn a person of impending danger, even as another is urging a separate person to bring about that danger. Even as they may work at cross-purposes, they also seem to be divided into two general Choirs:
- The Elpidos serve Azoth, promoting change, creativity and fertility even as they punish and warn. They can be both benefactors and scourges to humans and Created alike.
- The Lilithim serve Flux, encouraging waste, corruption, mutation and chaos. They are capable of awakening and commanding Pandorans, and pursue the cause of transformation for its own sake.