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  • Beast's Appreciation Thread

    Ok, had to log back in to get this off my chest: I love Beast. It's my favorite Chronicles of Darkness game and considering how great I find these games, that's saying a lot.

    I am also tired of always seeing people criticize it like there's no tomorrow each time the name comes up. I'm tired for several reasons, the most irritating of which being that many people that dislike Beast shape their criticism on problems that are not actually there or on a only partial understanding of the game. Hell, some of them never even read the book, and base their opinion on the word around the Internet, like some sort of twisted echo chamber that has few things to do with the real deal. I saw disasters, and Beast was not one of those.

    Is it a perfect game? No, naturally. I'm aware it has problems. A part of the criticism is absolutely legitimate. The Kickstarted draft needed to be modified? I think so, and while I don't agree with all the changes, I think it gained a lot in the process and improved. Some of its themes can be read the wrong way? I guess, but I'd say that's valid for all the CoD games. Is it a bit lacking when it comes to goals and what the players are supposed to do? Possibly. Never was a problem for me but I can see from where that criticism is coming from. We still have all the future to focus and improve. I just don't think it is bad as many paint it (and still better than some corebooks during their first incarnation).

    Anyways, I'm not here to unearth old discussions and revive quiescent fights. I want to do something positive: a roll-call among all those who love Beast, with all its flaws and strengths.

    Just throwing that out for now. I'll get back to this and probably do a better posts that explains what I personally like about it, but for now I just wanted to kickstart the discussion. I'm sure I'm not the only that thinks it that way.

    So, if you agree, come out your Lair and make your voice heard. I sure can use some positivity and encouraging discussion among fans at the moment.


    Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
    Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

    Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

  • #2
    I love Beast for its crossover goals, for the difficult and ambiguous if not outright monstruous position it demands of its protagonists, for the struggle against being more than what others will inevitably see you as and the possibilities to deal with the chains of the monomyth, for the way Beasts can and do relate to other monsters, for the bonds they have to one another and the meanings of family that said bonds bring to fore and question, and for letting you play a legend of fear and manifestation of terror itself in a world covered in shadows, standing at the precipitous edge of mankind but being so tied to it, embodying a vital piece of the meaning and worth we extracted from chaos and darkness.

    The game had a rocky and contentious start, and there were things I didn't like and changes I struggled to accept, but I think today Primordial is a better product than it was going to be because of that, with potential that begs to be explored and acnowledged, rich in value that's yet to be wholly acknowledged. It has its flaws and I'm not going to deny there is much that the splat needs to really get all it could be out there for players, but paraphrasing a poster whose identity I've woefully forgotten: "The core book is only the Heart of the Lair".
    Last edited by YeOfLittleFaith; 11-15-2016, 08:16 PM.

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    • #3
      I'm one of those people who didn't have any issues with the initial draft. I lost a lot of my enthusiasm for Beast as the barrage of criticism and hate for a game that I thought was just excellent ended up overtaking every discussion about it on the Kickstarter comments and on RPG.net. Once the actual changes started being made to Beast as result of that mess I began to feel betrayed: this wasn't the game I had been promised, I thought to myself. I saw everything that was going on and just went 'screw this' and dropped Beast like a hot potato for a while.

      A few months ago that changed. I went back to my final downloaded version of the game and read the book all the way through again. Character ideas started to flow, things like 'History teacher who is really a serpent of ruin in a desert of broken civilizations' and 'Mob hitman who's true self is an ogre that dwells in darkness and leaves the half-eaten bodies of his victims laying around in a pit.' I started to look at the crossover potential that had initially drawn me to Beast in the first place, and go 'we could definitely make something great out of this.' Heroes were a little shaky for me now, but I could still see some potential in the new way of doing things; it meant you could do things like have a Beast move in somewhere new and a young inexperienced Hero could already be there without contriving anything.

      I learned to see the positives and appreciate the final product for what it was: A labor of love that got some lovely expansion even though it has some unseemly scars here and there from its ugly birth. Which, I guess, is pretty dang appropriate for a game about playing one of humanity's primordial nightmares. You can't make a world without a little pain.


      Revlid wrote:
      Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Aiden View Post

        A few months ago that changed. I went back to my final downloaded version of the game and read the book all the way through again. Character ideas started to flow, things like 'History teacher who is really a serpent of ruin in a desert of broken civilizations' and 'Mob hitman who's true self is an ogre that dwells in darkness and leaves the half-eaten bodies of his victims laying around in a pit.' I started to look at the crossover potential that had initially drawn me to Beast in the first place, and go 'we could definitely make something great out of this.' Heroes were a little shaky for me now, but I could still see some potential in the new way of doing things; it meant you could do things like have a Beast move in somewhere new and a young inexperienced Hero could already be there without contriving anything.
        .
        As the one who wrote around here about that 'History teacher who is really a serpent of ruin in a desert of broken civilizations', I'm glad that idea had an effect on you. It's my best Beast character, means a lot you appreciated him. Thanks.

        Keep this up, people. This is exactly what I was talking about.


        Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
        Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

        Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

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        • #5
          Cinder My friend you are so fucking right. Beast just hit all the right spots for me. I like ALL of it's themes. the Family theme for example: Of Course mosnters would want a family of monsters. who elsse understand them? And The theme about fighting heroes? of being the monster that is not gonna be defeated by some asshole,Defying Fate,Defying what everybody believes. That's what Beast brought everyone,and i love it.
          My favorite theme is one tht Beast shares With mage: Everything Is Real. Every dream you ever had,every thing anyone ever thought about. all the gods and monsters and in-between stuff. they all exist,they are real. you can see them. Sometines you are them. The Myth Is Real Because Everything Is Real. That's Beast for you.

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          • #6
            I love Beast and would say that it is in the running for my second- or third-favorite CofD game (Werewolf is its primary competition). I've read a lot of the old threads here and on rpg.net and I found a lot of the discussion quite frustrating.

            My primary problem with Beast is that I am not sure what the characters should be doing aside from making friends with other supernaturals and feasting. I've read a lot of threads with advice on that, though, so it's clear there's something there.

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            • #7
              Full disclosure: I wrote on the core, so this is more "I really like the sandbox Matt gave us to play in" as opposed to "Isn't my writing great?!"

              I really like how Beast fits into and breaks a lot of genre tropes -- you really can build anything you want, from any myth you can imagine. I think Lair is the coolest power stat in any CofD (or WoD) game ever. And I like that you play the *villain*, and the conflict of what your character does with that.



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              • #8
                Originally posted by Cinder View Post

                As the one who wrote around here about that 'History teacher who is really a serpent of ruin in a desert of broken civilizations', I'm glad that idea had an effect on you. It's my best Beast character, means a lot you appreciated him. Thanks.

                Keep this up, people. This is exactly what I was talking about.
                It really did. I have to thank you again for that one too!


                Revlid wrote:
                Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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                • #9
                  I'll admit, I've got a love-hate relationship with this game. But since this is a thread for love, I'll just give all my loves.

                  I love how Beast not only allows you to create any kinda monster (even the critics have to admit a splat like this is a long time coming) but it goes so much deeper than that. It's not just about the horror itself, it's also how that horror is the essence of horror to begin with. You're not just making a nightmare, you're making the stuff of nightmares. This aspect of Beast is actually very profound when you think about it.

                  The subversion of roles is also a neat aspect when you get past the whole defensiveness mess around it (I'm sorry, but I just can't deny that it's there). This is a game that says "Some days, the dragon wins" and asks the question "Does even a monster not have a place in the world?", which is a really good theme. I also like the crossover potential it has with the rest of ChronDark.

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                  • #10
                    I have to say that I love many things about Beast, while others get my goat a little, but on the whole I love it far more than I dislike it. The idea of not only being a monster, but an archetypal monster, the kind from legends and stories, not just a thing of flesh, is a fascinating thing for me. it reminds me a lot of one of my favourite anime of all time, Fate/Zero and its Heroic Spirits, except Beasts come from the opposite direction. I love the way that the game makes it so that the only price for being an actual monster is that you, as both a player and a character, feel guilty about it. I will make no pretences at liking morality meters. Sanity meters are nice, but I feel like quantifying the morality of a character just so you can see when you're being nasty takes away from the visceral nature of the thing, putting up a barrier of numbers between the player and their actions. Beast doesn't do that, and I love that fact that if I want, I can play a truly evil character, can feel that catharsis, without being punished for it other than the possibility of being Gorged.

                    The idea that 'monsters have a place in the world' is a very interesting one, and subverts much of the way that people generally think about such creatures. The way that humans make their own predators is also a rather profound theme, as the good crapcarp pointed out above.

                    I will admit that Beast is quite special to me, as it was the first of the CoD games which I really engaged with, and thus I may be biased, but I honestly think that its virtues far outweigh its flaws. Heroes are one of those flaws (love the concept, not the execution), but I truly think that Beast as a whole is worth more than many give it credit for.


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                    • #11
                      I actually just wrote a blog post about Beast that is meant to highlight some of the neat storytelling plothooks it supplies.

                      http://dailyplanescape.tumblr.com/po...es-of-darkness

                      I love how Beasts have the opportunity to interact and ally with both the protagonists and antagonists from other splats. Liars are definitely one of the coolest powerstats ever, and the way Lair blends roleplaying with statistics and worldbuilding. Beast has tons of innovative ideas that have made a welcome addition. I'd also like to add that while the criticism of Beast was a painful process, it demonstrated why I love OPP; they are willing to listen to their fans and make changes to their projects. They show commitment to improving the world, even if their audience is small. That's what Beast reminds me of every time I crack my book's spine. It's worth its weight in gold.
                      Last edited by Second Chances; 01-13-2017, 10:11 AM.


                      CofD booklists:
                      Beast I Changeling | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire

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                      • #12
                        I still haven't read Beast, but I've seen the hate for it and I always take it with a truckload of salt. They always seem extremely uncharitable, like people are determined not to like it, and that really bothers me. Glad to see a thread like this.

                        I dragged my feet a bit on the Kickstarter, and before I got around to chipping in, I started hearing about the critiques. They sounded pretty overblown to me. Then I heard there were going to be some changes made to it in response to the critiques, so I decided to hold off until I heard more about what was changing. And everything I heard sounded like a really cool idea that had to be changed for one reason or another. Overall the game still sounded like a cool concept, but the last-minute changes kind of took the wind out of my sales, like Aiden said. So I didn't end up kickstarting it, and by the time it got to PDF I had lost momentum.

                        I still think Beast sounds like a cool concept. It saddens me to see folks hating on it. Eventually I plan to get the PDF and read through it, and even if I end up not liking it, I think the work and the fans deserve respect.


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                        • #13
                          Ok, my boss stopped giving me extra work hours for the week, let's talk.

                          I'll start with what I like from a general, Storyteller's/myth enthusiast side:

                          As you can guess, there's a lot of I like about Beast. Starting from the rawest, let's admit Beast's powers are cool. Atavisms are awesome, Nightmares are incredibly versatile. As other said, Lair is probably one of the coolest power stats ever: not only is something that gives you power, but also something deeply tied to your character in a way other power stats just aren't. It offers roleplay hooks, flavor and extras in delightfully horrifying package. Having the option to play a mythical monster is something I never expected to happen, but Beast does so in a a way that's both fulfilling and original. I also belong to the crowd that had no particular problems with the Kickstarter draft and had some issues with the changes, but I think the process improved the final product and showed us more of the great potential we have within our hands. I can't wait both for the Player's Guide, which will explore more the nature of Horror and what means to be a Beast, and the Storyteller's guide, that I expect to tell us something new about Heroes, the Primordial Dream and the Dark Mother. Beast unlocked a completely new side in the CoD's universe and its flavor is something that I shamelessly enjoy.

                          Now that that's been said, let's get to themes. Family is interesting and ripe with conflict, both from a singular or crossover focused perspective. The choice between embracing your monstrous nature, defying expectations or striving to find balace gives me so many ideas I could not possibly list them. The fact you have the potential to just fight against what the world expect from you while at the same time accepting you're made the way you are is something I find extremely stimulating. The morality that comes with Beast lies completely in the hands of the players and the fact the book makes no excuses about it is refreshing; Beasts are monsters. That's the starting point. We can argue that's correct for all the CoD games, but Beast does it in a way that brings up the fundamental conflict to the surface in a way the other games do not. Beasts can be bad, and the book never shies away from that. But they can also be something else: it's up to them. The choices you make, the way you deal with the Horror, and how you see other monsters is the whole point of Beast. It's not the only one, of course, but I'd argue it's the main one. You're a monster: now deal with it.

                          There's also the fact that you're not merely a monster. You're the stuff of legends. You're a nightmare that reflects the fears of mankind. A dark mirror that reflects the nature of man. You know the book suggested in the introduction, "On Monsters"? Bought it, read it, it's great. Beast lets you play as a myth, but a myth that has a chance to break the cycle of monomyth., to subvert a pattern as old of the human race. Or embrace it and forge a new legend. How cool is that?


                          Then, in order to be totally honest, I'll get personal. It kinda is embarassing, but I still feel like doing that. It can explain why I like this game so much. I have a mental condition. It's something that haunts me and causes me many problems, but I can't deny it. It also makes me hurt people. Not in a physical way, don't worry (I'd rather hurt myself), but sometimes it gets the best of me and I can't help it. I'm scared, angry and I say things. People get mad and/or hurt. Lost so many friends because of it, because of anxieties and fears I can't always keep in check. I know how weird and pathetic this might sound, but Beast resonated with me. I do consider myself a monster from time to time (not a dragon, but I think you get my point). I know what it means having to costantly struggle with yourself in order to be a good person and not unleash something bad on others. Hating yourself and your nature too, at times. The conflict that's at the core of Beast is, a way, similar to the one I have with myself. Totally aware the things are different, I'm not delusional, but, then again, it just struck a chord. Saying otherwise would mean to lie. At one point, you just have to accept you're made the way you are and that, if you want to be a certain kind of person (both for yourself, the others and the whole world), you'll have to work hard while also being honest about your nature. It won't be easy, you'll make mistakes and you might eventually give up and fail, but it is still worth trying.

                          I used Beast as a therapy tool and it helped me in some quite grim moments. All the compliments to the writing, themes and gameplay aside, I don't think I can say more than that in order to show you how much this game means to me.
                          Last edited by Cinder; 11-17-2016, 07:41 PM.


                          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                          Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps".

                          Hopes to write about monsters, shapeshifters and soulless abominations someday. If you have criticism that can help me improve, I'm always here

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                          • #14
                            I love Beast, spend way too much time talking shop about Beast while working the closing shift at my old job with one of my best friends, and had the privilege of having my very first 100% successful Chronicle be a Beast the Primordial game. I love the crossover potential it presents, and how it allows for characters and concepts meant to subvert and dissect core elements of the other gamelines so the players are left asking meaningful questions about the game world and the real world. And above all I love the way Beast, like a true nightmare, reflects the world of darkness and what makes it so fascinating to explore trough roleplay.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dusksage View Post
                              I love Beast, spend way too much time talking shop about Beast while working the closing shift at my old job with one of my best friends, and had the privilege of having my very first 100% successful Chronicle be a Beast the Primordial game. I love the crossover potential it presents, and how it allows for characters and concepts meant to subvert and dissect core elements of the other gamelines so the players are left asking meaningful questions about the game world and the real world. And above all I love the way Beast, like a true nightmare, reflects the world of darkness and what makes it so fascinating to explore trough roleplay.
                              That sounds amazing. Have you written an actual play or a game summary that you're willing to share? We don't get enough examples of Beast in play.


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