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Promethean: The Created Second Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: The Disquiet Year rss

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Karl Larsson
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The World of Darkness setting has always taken its twisted protagonists from the world of horror and monstrous fiction. It is odd it took until the second iteration of the setting before they got to Frankenstein's Monster, but it was definitely a worthwhile wait.

Frankenstein's Monster isn't the easiest character type to make into a workable game. It is a solitary and disturbed creature, with tragedy as its implied fate. Still, the designers made it work. The characters in the game are creatures made from either dead flesh or inanimate material; like the one made by Frankenstein, or the rabbi's Golem or Osiris in Egyptian myth. All it takes is a creature with the drive and desire to create life, and a ritual that has the capacity to do it.

Having been created, the Promethean (as they are called) will sooner of later have a falling out with their creator, sending them out into a life of traveling nomads. Prometheans are unnatural things, and the world rejects them. Other human beings, and supernatural for that matter, will grow to hate them if they stay around too long. This is called Disquiet, a Promethean will never find a proper home. And being soulless abominations creates a ever returning internal anguish called Torment.

Light at the end of the tunnel
The game is aimed towards making this experience an integral part. All the player characters are on a journey of self-realization called the Pilgrimage. The end goal is called the New Dawn, the Promethean player character becomes human. In search of that goal, they pursue Refinements, ways to perfect themselves. In these Refinements are Roles, archetypical human characters like Leader, Martyr, and Sage. By finding the essence of the Role they take a step on their Pilgrimage.

This gives a campaign a lot of direction, but is also an excellent way to hold a group together. Individual Prometheans may have different personalities and desires, but their goal is always the same: becoming human. Each pilgrimage is unique, but also similar enough for it to make sense for a group to work together.

One is the loneliest number
Few games manage to convey this sense of alienation and hope as good as Promethean does. It is a dark game, but also one of hope. The game is just put together perfectly for a campaign that has both the action and drama of a typical RPG, and the long-term perspective, depth and personal struggle that often is lacking in such games.

In the rules part, the game falls a bit short. The WoD rules are by themselves a little bit clunky, and the attempt to put everything down as rules is a bit self-defeating. Alienation and hopelessness loses a bit of their potency when they are boiled down to rules and dice rolls. After reading half the book, and dozen of pages about game mechanics, you get to a chapter called Rules. You'd think it was a joke. There is a lot going on, and a lot is dependent on other things. It could easily be simplified, but still.

Despite its few short comings, the game is fantastic in its scope and execution. It begins with a fantastic concept, and then find the perfect way to bend it into an intensely playable roleplaying experience.
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