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The Beast made me do it! A convenient excuse?

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  • The Beast made me do it! A convenient excuse?

    So, the more I have been playing and diving deeper into the books, lore and story of VTM. The more I notice that a huge part of the being a vampire has to do with struggling with the Beast inside them.

    Be it paths, humanity, or disciplines and frenzy, there is a lot of matters that are tied to the beast. If I take a drink for each time the word Beast appear in the books, I would be drunk after almost every chapter.

    As I read on however, I feel the Beast feels more and more like a convent plot device. Your character did anything bad? Oh no, it's not that you are playing a bad person, it's cos the beast made your character did it. Going on a blood drench frenzy? That just the beast's primal survival instincts. Diablerizing another kindred? The beast demands it. Sabbat being who they are? It's not their fault! It's cos they love the beast. And so forth.

    Blame not thy self, blame the Beast.

    It reaches a point where... I feel unlike other TRPGs where you are kinda responsible for your character. Here players got a convent excuse whenever and however their characters does something bad.

  • #2
    Its convenient until the neonate gets a teacher. If they aren't fully aware of anything they can blame their actions on some baser desire that takes them over.

    However, once they are picked up by the local vampires and taught about the new way of unlife, that excuse goes out the window. They know better now.


    • #3
      Using this line is an express route to low humanity and being put down by whatever authorities are in the area.

      It's a deliberate trap. Such an easy excuse. But leaning on it means that the character isn't taking responsibility. Every time they do it, the Beast will get stronger, and their life expectancy goes down...

      Prone to being a Classic Curmudgeon, goshdarned whippersnappers...


      • #4
        I don't think I've ever seen the Beast be a valid excuse in any of the VtM material. Even when the Beast literally did do it, it's the vampire's failure of self-control that's presented at fault.


        • #5
          it is your responsibility to keep your beast in check and a kindred that fails at it is a danger to himself, the kine, other kindred and the masquarade so using that excuse is a good way to end up dragged out into the sun (on top of the degradation of your humanity as others have pointed out.) also the beast isn't a separate entity to you which you just share a body with, it's part of you.( like your conscience or your instincts)
          Last edited by archderd; 07-31-2020, 04:01 AM.


          • #6
            Which edition are you reading?

            In V5, yeah, the beast has an influence in your every action, so you can always agentic shift away from what you did. Tried to escape someone's moderately unfriendly grip and ripped a guy's arm off? Beast. Got really weird in an argument? Beast. The Beast is always there and there's nothing you can do about it.

            In literally every other edition, this is not the case. You may feel the beast stir at times, but it doesn't seize control of your actions quite so readily. The Beast is like hunger, and it sometimes tries to possess you if it feels you're not doing a good enough job of keeping it happy. It will take control only when it feels you are threatened either by hunger or by danger or someone's attempts to provoke anger. If you play smart, you can go for very long periods without the Beast rearing it's ugly head. If the beast takes control in these editions, you deserve the blame, because you could have set your stage better.

            Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.


            • #7
              As said. "In game" it's a very problematic excuse because a vampire who does not control it's Beast it's a danger to everyone. If your character did something bad, it may well be better to say you did what you wanted to do (even if it actually was the Beast), otherwise you would be admitting a dangerous lack of self-control.

              Out of game, you know when the Beast made you do it because there's a mechanic, and you literally lose control of your character. It's almost never convinient, and hardly an excuse. If anything, it's the STs excuse to ruin your PC's day
              Last edited by Aleph; 07-31-2020, 08:12 AM.


              • #8
                This is even a bigger problem in Wraith, as the Beast is a non-Sapient entity that is controlled by the GM.

                The Shadow is fully aware, able to talk and reason, and is suppose to be played by fellow players, and can do much more nasty shit, then run away or kill a bunch of people.


                • #9
                  You can't blame the beast for you eating a whole birthday cake (person) when you walked into the bakery (nightclub) when you are all sorts of hangry.

                  There is a reason why the paths book is called Chaining the Beast. It's for people too weak to control their own urges so they have to find alternatives
                  Last edited by Dwight; 07-31-2020, 11:07 AM.

                  You've been playing around the magic that is black
                  But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back


                  • #10
                    This is talked about in the “Devil Advocate” by Trevors chase in the shadow guide book.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                      This is talked about in the “Devil Advocate” by Trevors chase in the shadow guide book.
                      You should look at avatars in Mage sometime.

                      You've been playing around the magic that is black
                      But all the powerful magical mysteries never gave a single thing back


                      • #12
               Here it is.


                        • #13
                          I don't know if it's an "excuse" so much as a reason. You struggle with urges more intense than the human mind was designed for, and so you routinely lose. The result is a bit like "American Werewolf In London". You technically aren't responsible for individual actions, but are responsible, to put it bluntly, for not killing yourself. You know perfectly well that you are going to kill again, and that you can't stop yourself from periodically killing. And every dawn when you crawl into your box instead of watching the sunrise, you make yourself indirectly responsible for all of those actions that you won't be able to control directly.


                          • #14
                            I disagree. Giving into your Beast all the time does make your character a bad person.

                            “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband


                            • #15
                              It's not "giving in". The urges are literally too strong to beat consistently. That's what is represented not only by frenzies, but by various beastial results.