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  • Anyoneatall
    started a topic What's your opinion on beast

    What's your opinion on beast

    So it's been a while since Beast was released and i would be curious to know what the geberal opinion on beast is right now on this forum

  • Shinsoryuu
    replied
    One thing I like about Beast is how varied the Horrors can be, since monsters in stories are so diverse. I will admit to combing through works like Pokemon, Monster Hunter, Etrian Odyssey, and Elden Ring for inspirations for Horrors.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Anyoneatall View Post
    It is incredible how much attention this post has gained 😅
    Beast is controversial, if you hadn't guessed.

    Leave a comment:


  • Anyoneatall
    replied
    It is incredible how much attention this post has gained 😅

    Leave a comment:


  • Satchel
    replied
    I've said it elsewhere and I might as well say it here as well: when you push aside the problems of scalar/emotional volume on the language involved with the game — words like "legendary monster" and "feed on fear" and whatnot — Beast is a game about being the human behind a storied cryptid; the first Incarnate the Player's Guide presents as having one of the most widespread cults is literally Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil is one of the sample Apexes in the corebook, and multiple example monsters in the writeups for the Families and Hungers include creatures whose popular image has tended to be more innocuous than it might if they more actively sowed major distress.

    The continuum that Satiety's Conditions and benefits implies is that the Begotten swing between their souls being literal beasts who need to feed and hunt and take and are accordingly dangerous as manifestations of their mortal desires and being compelling imagery that drives stories and shapes culture and moves people around them to take action while they blend into the background. The phoenix of the abandoned foundry is an elusive urban legend when it's not starved for arson. Nessie is a shadow on the water when she's not in the mood to drive the breath from divers' lungs. The kappa is just a cutesy mascot character you see on local merch when it's not desperate enough to rob people who come too close to the river.

    The splat is, very loosely, the Astral shamanoids, whose primary otherworld is the one where human culture lives. They can leverage that into some Demon King-level geopolitical maneuvering — as ever, the Dracula-who-is-also-Dracula comparison is useful here — but the baseline archetype of a starter Begotten is that thing that makes it unwise to stick around certain places for reasons people don't feel comfortable talking about, whether because of visceral fear of murder or because in the light of day it's a little embarrassing to give voice to the notion that an Alien Big Cat stalks the woods on the far end of the golf course.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    It sort of depends on the relationship between the two and how it's being worked, and I assume the comparison has a lot to do with the aesthetics. There's a lot of slasher tropes in Werewolf 2nd, as a side example, without the game being a slasher game. I can see Beast has it's own weird relationship to the trappings.

    Of course, it's not that hard to find Slasher trappings in any of the games, but I can see how Beast possibly comes off a little stronger.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Maybe this is just my inner horror movie nerd but I find the comparison to Slasher films hard to justify. But that depends on what you consider a proper Slash flick because that's groan large enough to have a wide array within it. Playing Beast is nothing like playing Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. The things they do that build tension are narrative devices that build tension for the audience, not things they're purposefully doing to build of far/shock in-character. The only thing that makes those movies work as inspirational material for Beast is because Beast is - at least in part - about cultural myth making and they have become part of pop-culture mythology that extends beyond the films; such PCs only work because those films are so strongly ingrained in modern culture that their tropes are something to riff on in a very meta way.

    Of course The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and A Nightmare on Elm Street are much closer to Beast, but stray much farther from the lone psycho implacable man version of a stalker. TCM pushes way harder into a family and group dynamic that pressures and enables members into ways of behaving. While there's a lot of issues to examine in how Leatherface is portrayed, he's not Myers or Jason despite wearing a mask and having an iconic weapon. He's emotional and gets flustered and frustrated, he has wants and desires that are out of step with his family's goals that creates tension within the family, he is minimally sadistic from the perspective of someone that has been conditioned to see humans as livestock (not to get to PETA here, but how he operates is not that far removed from how animals get turned into meat people buy at the store, esp. accounting for when the film was made). Other members of his family are far more emotionally sadistic than Leatherface, but they rely on his brute physicality or emotionally stunted nature, to go through with things they can't do themselves. It's all sorts of fucked up, but that's the point.

    A Nightmare on Elm Street kinda obviously plays much more into how Horrors work because Freddy is a literal dream monster that feeds off of fear. Freddy is a character, not just a human shaped murder-machine. He has to carefully pry into the minds of his victims to maximize the torment he causes to make himself stronger, in his cause of purposefully perpetuating a cycle of violence he was born into, and decided to make endless after his death. To an extent, Krueger is the poster for what the Unfettered Inheritance looks like at its absolute worst case scenario: a horror, freed of its mortal shell by a bunch of vigilantes, that retained all of the intellect, cruelty, and desire for revenge coupled with its new freedom to roam the Primordial Dream and slake its hunger on any dreamers it can find. One of the movies is literally about "the Entity" that takes the shape of Freddy and start's tormenting (fictionalized versions of) the real world people that make the movies.

    But that starts getting into the issue with "slasher." Lots of slashers are just... horrible humans doing brutal things. Only the most supernatural slasher films, to the point where they start getting to the blurry lines of where the genre ends and becomes something else, actually map onto Beast in a meaningful way. And that's to the game as it currently stands in its flawed form.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by moonwhisper View Post
    My humble opinion (I'm not much of an expert compared to others like Arc) is that Beast doesn't know exactly what it is or what it's supposed to be.
    The problem is that it lacks a well-defined source material to use as solid foundation upon which build the game.

    All other game lines draw upon a huge trove of well-established tropes, archetypes, literature, movies etc. that constitute the core, the heart of the games, that sets the main mood and a common ground which players can agree upon.
    By simply saying "vampire" or "mummy" a whole bunch of common, shared imagery comes to mind, even to prospective players who haven't read a single word of the lore and setting. The details and specifics may be different (since CofD adds more complexity to the lore than the basic tropes) but the essence of this shared imagery is still there.
    Most game lines are about archetypal monsters, each with at least a classic movie (think Universal Monsters) and/or a novel that immediately comes to mind. Even those who don't, like Changeling, still have a huge amount of myths, legends, folklore to back them up (with possibly the sole exception of Demon the Descent, since the God-Machine setting is a notable departure from the usual biblical setting of demons; and yet it still features common tropes like fallen angels, pact-making etc.)

    Beast doesn't have that. It's too much its own thing. If you have to pitch it to a new player, you can't rely on common tropes and archetypes. If I close my eyes and think of evocative imagery, nothing comes to mind. If I need inspiration, I don't know which "classics" to watch or read.
    The book pretends it's inspired by monster stories like Beowulf's Grendel, the Odyssey, Ovid's Metamorphosis etc. but it's a lie. There's nothing in the game that makes it actually be about mythical monsters: whether your Horror is a Frost Giant, Jack the Ripper or Bob the Creepy Neighbor doesn't make any difference.

    Actually, if anything, the source material of Beast seems to be Slasher movies. A Slasher could kill his victim in a couple of minutes if he wanted to, but doesn't. Slasher movies have plenty of stalking, taking their sweet time to instill fear, and causing as much psychological shock as possible. Sounds familiar? That's what Beast is all about (as it is currently presented). So yeah, watching Halloween and Friday 13 seem to be more Beast-inspiring than reading about dragons and krakens.

    As a consequence of this lack of identity, it seems like everybody has their own interpretation and their own ideas of what Beast should be. Some say it's about being a villain up front, accepting that you're a monster and need to be an abuser to survive, BUT others say it's not true you need to be an abuser, you can come up with a neutral or even positive spin on a Hunger. Some like to have justifications for Beast actions, like framing them as lessons or playing antihero type characters, BUT others say that lessons are victim-blaming and that Beasts are not meant to be justified.

    I feel like currently everybody just picks and chooses what they like about Beast and discards the rest.
    DontEatRawHaggis suggested a "Feeding on Sin" take on Hungers.
    Somewhere on this forum I saw a Beast rework that focused on the Monomyth and Beast-Heroes interactions.
    A friend of mine reframed Beasts as Storytellers, focusing entirely on the Lessons aspect, accepting to be villains to provide personal growth to their victims.
    Personally I'm working on my own take on Beast, focused on mythological and symbolic aspects of monsters, with Feeding reframed in a more generalized "Fulfilling a Narrative" tailored to your Monster/Horror.

    I really do hope that a "Beast 2e" may fix things, but I fear that the lack of source material defining its core identity may be an issue rooted deep into the game's conception itself, more than just just poor execution or presentation.
    Beast 2e will have to make drastic choices and take firm stands, hacking away a lot of stuff that would have been awesome if properly developed, but doesn't fit with the rest.
    I think that if we ever get a Beast 2e, it will certainly be a much better product that the current one, but it will shatter many expectations and be quite divisive in the fanbase (more so than what new products usually do in any fan community).
    In some ways, it's actually just specific enough to make that problem even more compounded. "Mythic Monsters" isn't a pairing of words that lacks connotative imagery and subsequent feel and theming, and I do reckon the book pointed enough in the direction of the neither-kind-nor-cruel-but-always-troublesome way of the world (I wouldn't call a hurricane a slasher, and there's an attempt to get the idea that Beasts are akin to such things in the world), but with the broadness, it's a bit like jumping off a cliff a hang glider to catch an updraft only for to it to fall out a little ways in, which I would argue is probably more upsetting than if it just purely stonewalled players-it's disappointing to feel like you've got a start only to suddenly lose it.

    Of course, I feel like I can't mention that if I didn't point out the obvious counterpoint...which also involves me beating up of fangames a bit, but they are instructive here-we've seen from those how more specific ides also get narrow enough that it becomes hard to support them as full blown games. The themes and goals of these games may be directed, but they actually create much more limited gameplay directive than these fangames intend to be, and thus they bloat with other system and flail in trying to justify the outside arguments. As individual ideas, a lot of them tend to succeed better if they would become more specific forms within Chronicles framework-templates like the Merit Templates of Hurt Locker or B-Splat adjacent templates-or if it must be a Major Template, be willing to play lighter and looser with it, akin to Dark Heroes and the Purified.

    Surprising no one, I found the "bundle of arrows" glued together and blending action and impact together with Kinship was a good answer that allows for commentary, comparison, contrast, and ultimately re-rooting the variety into it's broad look about the mythology of monsters on the whole and that a lot of that can be made better with the "Scion Darkly" approach I keep harping on, but in giving due to what draws people to make those fangames, as well acknowledging that perhaps better focus might not be the answer I think it is, I would say that if Beast were to ever get a Z-Splat, it would be an expansion of Families into granular explorations of specific legends that helps hone in on the idea-a concept that not only works with building on the themes and ideas of Beast while adding some direction, but could also be used as an avenue to increase the weirdness, which I'm all for.

    Beast benefits a lot from it's broadness and versatility, since it allows you do a lot and to allow differing concepts to bleed together in interesting ways, both on the idea stage and in the actionable, fun-having phase of it-but the lack of attention to it's centerpole (not it's lack of a centerpole, mind you) means it definitely flounders. Mythic Monsters is definitely a box for ideas, and it starts to build it's thematic infrastructure, but with where it's currently sit, it teeters between being a toybox and being a game, and Chronicles games generally need to be fully in the latter.

    Leave a comment:


  • moonwhisper
    replied
    My humble opinion (I'm not much of an expert compared to others like Arc) is that Beast doesn't know exactly what it is or what it's supposed to be.
    The problem is that it lacks a well-defined source material to use as solid foundation upon which build the game.

    All other game lines draw upon a huge trove of well-established tropes, archetypes, literature, movies etc. that constitute the core, the heart of the games, that sets the main mood and a common ground which players can agree upon.
    By simply saying "vampire" or "mummy" a whole bunch of common, shared imagery comes to mind, even to prospective players who haven't read a single word of the lore and setting. The details and specifics may be different (since CofD adds more complexity to the lore than the basic tropes) but the essence of this shared imagery is still there.
    Most game lines are about archetypal monsters, each with at least a classic movie (think Universal Monsters) and/or a novel that immediately comes to mind. Even those who don't, like Changeling, still have a huge amount of myths, legends, folklore to back them up (with possibly the sole exception of Demon the Descent, since the God-Machine setting is a notable departure from the usual biblical setting of demons; and yet it still features common tropes like fallen angels, pact-making etc.)

    Beast doesn't have that. It's too much its own thing. If you have to pitch it to a new player, you can't rely on common tropes and archetypes. If I close my eyes and think of evocative imagery, nothing comes to mind. If I need inspiration, I don't know which "classics" to watch or read.
    The book pretends it's inspired by monster stories like Beowulf's Grendel, the Odyssey, Ovid's Metamorphosis etc. but it's a lie. There's nothing in the game that makes it actually be about mythical monsters: whether your Horror is a Frost Giant, Jack the Ripper or Bob the Creepy Neighbor doesn't make any difference.

    Actually, if anything, the source material of Beast seems to be Slasher movies. A Slasher could kill his victim in a couple of minutes if he wanted to, but doesn't. Slasher movies have plenty of stalking, taking their sweet time to instill fear, and causing as much psychological shock as possible. Sounds familiar? That's what Beast is all about (as it is currently presented). So yeah, watching Halloween and Friday 13 seem to be more Beast-inspiring than reading about dragons and krakens.

    As a consequence of this lack of identity, it seems like everybody has their own interpretation and their own ideas of what Beast should be. Some say it's about being a villain up front, accepting that you're a monster and need to be an abuser to survive, BUT others say it's not true you need to be an abuser, you can come up with a neutral or even positive spin on a Hunger. Some like to have justifications for Beast actions, like framing them as lessons or playing antihero type characters, BUT others say that lessons are victim-blaming and that Beasts are not meant to be justified.

    I feel like currently everybody just picks and chooses what they like about Beast and discards the rest.
    DontEatRawHaggis suggested a "Feeding on Sin" take on Hungers.
    Somewhere on this forum I saw a Beast rework that focused on the Monomyth and Beast-Heroes interactions.
    A friend of mine reframed Beasts as Storytellers, focusing entirely on the Lessons aspect, accepting to be villains to provide personal growth to their victims.
    Personally I'm working on my own take on Beast, focused on mythological and symbolic aspects of monsters, with Feeding reframed in a more generalized "Fulfilling a Narrative" tailored to your Monster/Horror.

    I really do hope that a "Beast 2e" may fix things, but I fear that the lack of source material defining its core identity may be an issue rooted deep into the game's conception itself, more than just just poor execution or presentation.
    Beast 2e will have to make drastic choices and take firm stands, hacking away a lot of stuff that would have been awesome if properly developed, but doesn't fit with the rest.
    I think that if we ever get a Beast 2e, it will certainly be a much better product that the current one, but it will shatter many expectations and be quite divisive in the fanbase (more so than what new products usually do in any fan community).

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    I think it's great to have Kinship as a weird conceptual bridging mechanism for picking up fearmongering tips from other monsters as a person blended with a fragment of the very idea of monstrosity, and the fact that Hunger and focusing on Being A Beast and using Beast-specific modes of sustenance like Horrorspawn makes it harder to keep up relations with other monsters lends weight to the idea I'd gotten as far back as the core that an appreciable number of Beasts eventually burn too many bridges and find their niche as solitary powerful monsters.
    THis bit hits on one thing that has existed since even before the first KS draft but has really been badly muddled for the entirety-

    Beast, for the most part, is* by and large a Greco-classical Character-is-Fate tragedy. I remember thinking back when I was in a playtest group that Beasts, as a major guideline, aren't really supposed to escape their unhappy endings, which is one part of their pathos, but also one part just desserts, and that the fun of Beast includes a healthy dose of the same sort of fatalistic-freedom for fun that games like Fiasco, The Play's the Thing, Paranoia and other such games that are built around that premise-that knowledge that things are going to end badly and you might as well have fun with the ride down. Obviously, nuance and diversity in storytelling as is the standard for Chronicles means that that can't always be assumed, but even to this day I want a Beast Storytelling Chapter to include a section on having fun with embracing near-inevitable tragedy, leaning into expected failure rather than away from it for angst, absurdity, action, horror and, yes, contemplation.

    I mean, Beast can play a lot of different ways, and I want to see that facilitated, but even as I drum on that the main theme is Kinship versus Hunger or enjoy the ways the game can be a deep dive into the human condition, a raucous supernatural crime thriller, or a perhaps entirely too serious soap opera-

    there's a real beating heart in the conflict between escaping your fate while being true to yourself in a situation and world where character and fate are one and the same.

    tl;dr, One of Beast's problems is that the writers never fully got across how you're not supposed to get away with it (most of the time), let alone how and how much to do that.

    *On top of being urban mythic horror
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 05-10-2022, 10:17 PM.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post
    ArcaneArts honesty, I don't mind that they aren't kin. I only mind that they are the only instance of not-kin. Sadly, though its word of god with what Brooks haw mentioned we have some kinship powers that related to the abyss iirc, I forget the specifics but I remember it making paradox worse.
    The Void Is Waiting just forcibly redirects supernatural powers used in the vicinity towards the victim; its secondary effects damage the users of supernatural powers, cause some number of supernatural powers to fail, and turn the baseline effect into a vector for the Beast to gain Satiety.

    I've spilled some ink on the matter of Abyssal Kinship here, for whatever that's worth.


    As for my opinion of Beast? It's in roughly the same place Geist was in 1e, where a new edition would do well to refocus things to better allow prospective players to identify what horror headspace the titular monsters are meant to occupy (like how Geist 2e is now pretty clearly a Ghost Game even though the krewe is an extremely odd variety of ghost). At first blush it seems like it leans a little harder into the extremity of sustenance than other games, but comparing notes with Hunter and Demon and the like makes it pretty plain that it's actually running on about the same level with a textual reduced degree of concern for making excuses or brushing things under the rug.

    I think it's great to have Kinship as a weird conceptual bridging mechanism for picking up fearmongering tips from other monsters as a person blended with a fragment of the very idea of monstrosity, and the fact that Hunger and focusing on Being A Beast and using Beast-specific modes of sustenance like Horrorspawn makes it harder to keep up relations with other monsters lends weight to the idea I'd gotten as far back as the core that an appreciable number of Beasts eventually burn too many bridges and find their niche as solitary powerful monsters. I wish the side of the game being Gorged encourages had a little more written on it, but that's more a matter of Chronicles in general not having a lot of content for handling the intersection of the supernatural with day-to-day mundane issues as story beats so far.

    I do feel like the early line's ambiguity about how the Primordial Dream works has worked against it — large portions of the Insatiable's writeup in Conquering Heroes are hard to square with other books, it's not entirely clear how the Hive Trait works as a navigational aid, there's a lot more thematic ground and less contentiousness for Beasts to claim other monsters come from divergent paths out of the Mother's Land rather than the Primordial Dream, etc — but that's just a similar sort of problem to early Geist not pinning down the Underworld as a narrative device and setpiece. An edition assembled by a developer with both hands on the steering wheel would doubtless do better.

    I'm totally fine with it being a game where you have to Do Villainy to sustain yourself, justified or otherwise. I'm not sure whether I'd change out which five Hungers were the default or just put all seven in the corebook in a hypothetical 2e — Whispers and Enablers definitely belong closer to the front in a version of the game where Kinship and social spaces are better integrated into the presentation, but Predators and Nemeses practically demand inclusion by the nature of the splat, Tyrants and Collectors fill a valuable middle-ground niche in terms of mundane feeding that can go to either extreme of the scale, and Ravagers need the breadth of their Hunger's expression properly explored to keep it from being read as just the Break Stuff Hunger.

    All in all, most of my mechanical issues stem from it being a new gameline from the pre-corebook Revised Storytelling System; being rebuilt in a more solid structure would go a long way toward patching the holes.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post

    It's a Mage related Nightmare. It emulates Paradox/the Abyss because it's part of what makes mages scary. Many has interpreted this as the Nightmare invoking the actual Abyss, but as far as I understand Beast, Kinship Nightmares have nothing to do with the actual powers (or weaknesses) of other supers, and everything to do with human perception of those supers, accessible to Beasts through (and powered by) the Primordial Dream.
    It's not so much that it's invoking the Abyss (though, c'mon, everyone has a bit of the Abyss in them, and a splat that evokes soul-deep Nightmares has some room to tap into that) that's the discussion so much as it's kinship with the Abyss that grants it.

    Brookshaw has posited, after the release of the core, that it's antithetical to the nature of the Abyss as a contrarian mess that refuses to mesh semiotics to meaning at all-In a poor visual metaphor, shoving someone's face into a fire in the Abyss could result in them drowning or having their face flower-and so basically wouldn't have the metaphysical nature for the sympathetic connection of Kinship to stick-the psychosymbolic association of Monster like-to-like is too confining a label for a metaphysical force that basically laughs at names and other identifiers.

    THere's a lot of arguments about it, but the simplest and biggest one is that Beast has established that as not being the case so far, and it falls on later developers on whether to honor that text and surrounding logic or Brookshaw's argument and surrounding logic, and how that's going to be addressed.

    Giving that psuedo-developer answer in the interest of moving on from the topic, I'm inclined to lean in favor of Brookshaw and to basically not have to worry about retroactively explaining it, because Beast has a lot more shit to deal with than that if it's gonna get it's act together.

    ANYWAYS.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 05-10-2022, 05:34 PM.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post
    ArcaneArts honesty, I don't mind that they aren't kin. I only mind that they are the only instance of not-kin. Sadly, though its word of god with what Brooks haw mentioned we have some kinship powers that related to the abyss iirc, I forget the specifics but I remember it making paradox worse.
    It's a Mage related Nightmare. It emulates Paradox/the Abyss because it's part of what makes mages scary. Many has interpreted this as the Nightmare invoking the actual Abyss, but as far as I understand Beast, Kinship Nightmares have nothing to do with the actual powers (or weaknesses) of other supers, and everything to do with human perception of those supers, accessible to Beasts through (and powered by) the Primordial Dream.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mr.F.I.X.
    replied
    ArcaneArts honesty, I don't mind that they aren't kin. I only mind that they are the only instance of not-kin. Sadly, though its word of god with what Brooks haw mentioned we have some kinship powers that related to the abyss iirc, I forget the specifics but I remember it making paradox worse.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post
    My own opinion boils down to it being wierd that the unchained are singled out as not kin but are the only instance of not kin monsters. Even abyssal things are kin so the argument of them being unnatural feels wierd to me.
    I've got the answer to this (and lean into the argument from Brookshaw that the Abyss shouldn't be kin, but that's still not text, so), but as I've answered that somewhere in the range of approximately way too fucking much, I'm gonna flip the script for this one:

    What does allowing the Unchained and the other supernaturals born from the God-Machine's power and influence to be treated as kin, the same as everyone else, do to positively benefit both Beast and Demon within their respective lines and games that include each other regularly(As opposed to a Demon game that has a Beast or visa versa)? What do you think some of the consequences of doing it like that would be? Do you think those benefits outweigh those cons?

    Convince me.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 05-10-2022, 12:35 PM.

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