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Beast's Appreciation Thread

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  • Cinder
    started a topic Beast's Appreciation Thread

    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.

  • Eternal Darkness
    replied
    Since i lack the eloquence of many of the other posters who have said so much better all the amazing things about Beast, i'll be succinct and talk about all the character concepts Beast allows that I could not easily do before in any other game all as starting characters.

    -Primordial entity of pure darkness that feeds on hope by drawing victims into its lair and forcing them to fight for survival against impossible odds.
    -Charybdis. THE Charybdis, a living abyss that sucks in everything that comes near it.
    -A goddamn dragon, complete with fiery lair, fire breath, scales, wings i can actually fly with and claws.

    and my personal favorite

    -A mad doctor complete with dilapidated nightmare asylum full of tormented patients and a vampire colleague to help him administer treatment to individuals with ...behavioral issues.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    If there's one thing about Beast I'm not too fond of, it's the metaphorical aspect of having a monster's soul, but a human body. I'm a fan of more classical fantasy settings, and I like monsters and such being actual monsters and such. I was never really a fan of the trope where monsters walk around in human form, or the term 'monster' is more of a metaphor than anything else.

    Yeah, the Changelings look human, but that's because they're using magic to disguise themselves from mortal perceptions. Beasts are physically humans, for the most part. Now, I understand that playing a literal giant or a sea monster would have been difficult, to say the least, especially in a game where the mortals are supposed to be largely unaware of the supernatural. But it's just a personal irritation of mine and doesn't ruin what is otherwise an interesting concept.

    The idea of playing a creature from humanity's nightmares offers limitless possibilities for character designs, as far as horrors go. Both literal interpretations and metaphorical ones can lead to totally unique monsters, so there's little chance of playing the same type of character as somebody else in the group.

    Depicting heroes as glory seeking attention whores is also a fun twist on the cosmology between humanity and monsters. Because let's face it, what's the first thing most people think about when it comes to adventuring? It usually involves grave robbing historical monuments, committing wanton acts of violence, carrying out vigilante justice by murdering the villain in their own home without so much as a trial. And after all that, you free the helpless love interest, who rewards you with sex for a job well done.

    Beast the Primordial invites you to take a look from the opposite side of the fence and see these characters for the sociopaths they truly are, and I love it!
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 10-02-2017, 07:44 AM.

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  • Mangaholic13
    replied
    There are those who hate this game, some for dumb reasons, others for perfectly understandable reasons; I however am not one of them. I love this game, Beast the Primordial, flaws and all.

    I love how this game is designed with Crossovers in mind, so I could play as a Beast charging in alongside a pack of Forsaken, a Cabal of Free Council, a motley of Summer Courtiers, and a krewe of Bound against an evil army made up of Pure, Seers, Loyalists, and God Machine Cultists!
    I love that I could build my Inner Horror any way I wish, whether it be as a Beast of ancient legend like Grendel, Thunderbird, Leviathan, or Giant; or instead go with something more resent like a Creepy-Pasta or Cthulhu Mythos.
    I love the concept of the Lair, how I can make my own little kingdom unseen, where I can wage climactic battles against foes both monstrous and mundane, while the world at large is left completely unaware.
    I love the idea of playing a creature that must do bad things in order to survive, how my characters morality is completely my decision and not bound to game mechanics, how I have to decide what kind of monster I am; be it a depraved reaver of man, or a harsh but compassionate beast of terror. The choice is mine, and I love it!
    A large number of this games flaws never turned me off, possible because I already enjoyed stories that deconstruct/reconstruct classic stories and had read enough tales from classic mythology that made me see where the writers were coming from when they first presented Heroes to us. And again, while I understand why some people may have a bone to pick with Beasts, I don't find it a massive problem myself.

    Full disclosure, my initial interest in Chronicles of Darkness (then the New World of Darkness) was mostly because Werewolf the Forsaken was the only RPG I knew of where I could play as a Werewolf. As time passed and more splats came out, I got interest in others, such as Changeling and Geist, but I think Beast was the first game that I found myself loving from the moment it was announced (though I am excited for Deviant too. I mean, what other game will let me be a Kamen Rider in CoD?) and I bought the book as soon as it went out on general release.
    Last edited by Mangaholic13; 09-29-2017, 12:29 AM.

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  • Paradim
    replied
    What really snagged me was the concept of Lairs. I love the idea of having a personal pocket dimension that is all yours and a playground to do with as you like. So many games make such a power cost an arm or a leg, or are so far off that you're unlikely to ever reach that point in a game.

    But Beast? It's part of the starting premise! It's such a powerful and evocative capability. It's your personal domain, your own Silent Hill. And it's something which is pretty balanced.

    There are other features of Beast that I really enjoy, but Lairs are the heart of it for me. The environment has always been what helps make monsters terrifying for me. And I love that there's a fundamental power available that's all about setting the scene.

    Edit: An example of what I mean of environment helping... Think of the scene from John Carpenter's The Thing with the Thing being discovered in the dog kennel. Bad lighting, obscuring part of what the monster looks like... Compare with the recently made The Thing prequel, where the Thing gets interrupted while in a brightly lit by florescent lights hallway. You could see everything, which isn't good. Horror is in the unknown.
    Last edited by Paradim; 12-01-2016, 01:02 PM.

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  • Kokiteno
    replied
    I LOVE Beast! It first piqued my interest because I could finally play a sea monster! Reading the actual book made me like it even more, especially in how it framed Beasts as not just mankind's fears but also its enforcers. After all, the word "monster" comes from "monere", which means "to warn or advise" (which is where "demonstration" comes from, too). WoD/CoD had toyed with the idea of monsters as a representation of the "if you do this, bad things will happen" metanarrative with the Lost (who could be taken because they did something) and Slashers (horny teens get killed), but Beast breathes this! Which is why the addition of "Fear as Lessons" didn't bother me at all; I was going to add that myself regardless.

    Secondly, save for one, all the big Splats (Vampires, Werewolves, Changelings, Mummies, Sin-Eaters, etc.) were physically altered humans or inhuman to begin with. Mages were the only ones who had some metaphysical thing about them changed (some would say they just became more Human by Awakening to the Supernal Truth) until Beasts. The Begotten are humans, mind and body. It's their soul that has changed into something bigger. Not just a monster but its whole world, too. There was this song a while back on the radio that crooned "How deep is your love? Is it like the ocean?" I would like to think that a Makara would chuckle when listening to those lyrics, knowing their heart is so deep that it swallows light. I don't really know how to explain it but that idea of having a soul that is a vast labyrinth appeals to some romantic part of me.

    Thirdly, we have Family. Everyone who plays CoD eventually wants a crossover but the reasons to have a vampire, a mage and a werewolf in the same party can sometimes end up being too zany or contrived. Enter the Beasts with their almost annoying big-brother mentality! I've only managed to play one crossover game but the Beast was the perfect glue that held together a psychic and a Demon together.

    Finally, I lover that Beast, like Vampire, is about learning to live with who you are. There is no Humanity to save from the Exarchs or God-Machine to foil. All a Begotten really has to worry about is being fed and avoid dying. Other than that they are free to do as they will. They can range from kind souls searching for a higher purpose a la Lancea et Sanctum by teaching Humanity through fear, to big M Monsters who would make an old school Tzimisce blush.

    There are more reasons, but I think four are enough to drive the point home that I love Beast.

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  • Brian888
    replied
    Much of what I love about this game has already been said here, so let me just add a somewhat trivial, entirely personal reason.

    One of my favorite novels is Rats and Gargoyles by Mary Gentle. It's set in a world inspired by Hermetic magic that is ruled by the Decans, 36 omnipotent god-demons incarnate on the earth in living stone. From the novel comes this description of the 26th Decan, Chnoumen the Destroyer of Hearts (also called other things, as you shall see):

    The ledge ran around the inside of a domed round hall, the colour of old blood. Gold veined the red walls. Arched, huge, too vast even for echoes. Her bird vision brought her sight of black line paintings on the dull red: third-six images colouring the walls around the three-hundred-and-sixty degree circle. Too distant for their subjects to be deciphered.
    "Chnachoumen! Opener of Hundreds and Thousands of Years!"
    The floor of this round hall, blood red and blood dark, ripples: stone becomes liquid. She tilted her head, staring down. The stink of rotting weed dizzied her, Under the surface of the water, dark shapes moved.
    "You have no business here."
    Translucent suddenly: glowing transparently scarlet as arterial blood, the interior sea ripples with white and gold light. Carved in planes of diamond, the coils of a great kraken fill up the pool. Tentacles curve, sinuous. The Decan of Judgements and Passing incarnate in adamant.
    Beast is the only game I can think of that is tailor-made for playing EXACTLY that. You wouldn't have to kludge anything at all; it's a Makara at rest in its Heart Chamber.

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
    Thankyou, but there isn't much more. "Occasionally thought about" was meant literally. I'd probably make them a kind of dream shaman, able to lucidly dream into their Chamber and from there into the dreams of others (theoretically into the Primordial Dream as well, but that would be far more dangerous than most are willing to attempt; and theoretically into the Bright Dream as well, but most of them wouldn't know it exists in the first place). Anything trying to possess them would end up lost in the Chamber.
    Dream-walking and possession bait. That's good enough to Sate my curiosity.

    Add the ability to impose Lair Traits from their Chamber, and that'd make them much more the primal sorcerer archetype.

    Oh, maybe they can add more Chambers, at the cost of one dot of Integrity per Chamber? That, and/or trading one more Chamber for a dot of maximum Integrity.

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  • Maitrecorbo
    replied
    I really hope i'm not going against the spirit of the thread with this. If i am, please tell me and i'll adjust my post accordingly.

    So what i have to say is that although, after reading, i determined Beast wasn't the game for me, i absolutely loved everything involving the lairs. I used this information and mechanics to help me customize and shape the Hedge in a changeling game i was running. The result was fantastic and the hedge felt more vibrant and alive, almost like an npc. My players started talking about things like how the Hedge was feeling today and if it seemed like a good time to travel in or not.
    I also 'ported' a lot of elements from Beast that dealt with dreams and nightmare.
    And Beast helped me create one of my most terrifying npc ever (as in not only were the pcs terrified of it but my players were too, i was quite proud of that one)

    Anyway what i mean to say is that even if there are stuff you don't like, one should always keep an open mind as there are fantastic elements in anything and they can be used to better your games.

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  • SunlessNick
    replied
    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
    Pray, tell us more
    Thankyou, but there isn't much more. "Occasionally thought about" was meant literally. I'd probably make them a kind of dream shaman, able to lucidly dream into their Chamber and from there into the dreams of others (theoretically into the Primordial Dream as well, but that would be far more dangerous than most are willing to attempt; and theoretically into the Bright Dream as well, but most of them wouldn't know it exists in the first place). Anything trying to possess them would end up lost in the Chamber.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    I like it as a game of empathy.

    No, I'm serious. Being a Beast is an invite to empathy. Disregard the few ways you become more powerful by pursuing the hauntings of monsters-Beast's focus on family means that they are likely to find their fellows and just try and help them for no other reason than it feels right, and as they do pursue power through their Kinship, it requires understanding them not only as monsters or archetypes, but also as people. Beasts strip organizations and politics away and reminds everyone that they are basically the same, that they are more alike than not, and as a rule tend toward rough-bringing-people-together sort of answers. I've talked before about how I feel like everyone needs at least two friends, one who knows exactly what you're going through and one who doesn't but is willing to commiserate all the same, and Beasts inherently are that second one for monsters.

    It's not like empathy stops there. Lots of people rag on the "Teaching Through Fear" thing, and while it is inherently monstrous, in this case it is done by monsters who are going to be monstrous one way or another, so the idea that this collection of monsters has decided to take their imperatives and turn it to good is pretty damn cool to me. What's more is that I've always perceived this aspects of Beasts as being a both parties win sort of thing when done right, because while the Beast might get to feed on the moment of shock, they can also use this as a centerpiece to than show how a person is stronger, smarter, faster, wiser, and kinder than they might know. Beasts are adversity, and when they carefully apply themselves to people as they feed, they can help people realize their better aspects, to build them up in the ways that matter versus the ways that don't.

    On a negative-but-fun side, Beast's aren't all sunshine and roses, and they actually aren't inclined to make people better. I do like that they are essentially bad people who may or may not be trying to do good things. Empathetic as they might be, Beasts by dint of their disposition mean they are the sort of people who make being monstrous cool and acceptable. These are people who can bind themselves to Strix as well as Kindred, to True Fae as well as changelings, and while not every Beast would, this blanket default of acceptance despite the depth is grimly fascinating and even kind of funny, and it speaks to a deeply skewed perspective.

    This push and pull between brutally monstrous and wonderfully kind, the desire to eat someone mixed with the desire to help someone, in this right sort of context* is pretty damn cool and makes for a lot of interesting characters that promise a lot of personality, and stories with a-typical approaches. It's just really fun, and more importantly, it's resonant. I've said it before and I'll say it again-while I would never willingingly be a supernatural, if I had to be one, I'd be a Beast. It's a life I can get behind, even in light of the "warts".

    *I bring up context, because I do not like the Lancea Et Sanctum despite them being very similar in tone, and a lot of that has to do with the massive differences in framing devices around them versus Beasts.

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  • HelmsDerp
    replied
    Beast is hands down my favorite CoD game. In a line devoted to personal horror, this is the book that hit me like a punch in the gut because it was so relevant to my struggles and fears. The Horror and the Hunger are incredibly apt metaphors for intrusive thoughts and sadistic impulses, and Beast became a major tool for examining them from the moment I started reading the first draft. I made characters that represented what I was afraid of becoming, monsters who wallowed in their monstrosity. I made characters who fought tooth and nail to be something more, something better. And later I made characters who found community with other supernats and ways to feed their hunger without destroying lives. Beast did for me exactly what these games are supposed to do; it provided a safe outlet to grapple with some tremendously difficult personal issues.

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  • Daigotsu Max
    replied
    I love Beast. It's the Chronicles of Darkness game which finally dethroned Promethean as my favorite. It's such an elegant solution to allow a mish-mash of monsters in a contemporary setting. I've been running it with a mostly new group and we've had a ball with it. I love the design of the power systems and the sliding scale of hungers, and the ability to draw on Lairs to reshape the environment. I loved the absence of a morality trait - don't get me wrong, I love seeing one in other games, but it makes Beast monsters who are unusually at peace with their inner nature, and gives players a lot of leeway in their interpretations.

    I love Beast and will purchase every single book that comes out for it without waiting. That player guide will make my day when it comes out.
    Last edited by Daigotsu Max; 11-24-2016, 06:08 AM.

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  • Second Chances
    replied
    I'd just like to put it out there that I appreciate all of the art we've seen from Conquering Heroes already. Dark Mother be damned, that book is going to horrifyingly beautiful.

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  • nalak42
    replied
    As far as Beast goes honestly this really struck me as the first World of Darkness game (It wasn't Chronicles yet) that one interested me and two actually had a chance of getting some of my friends to play without completely failing to play the spirit of the game.

    First was just the potential of being so many things. I mean yeah there's basically all of mythology to draw on, but at the same time it doesn't have to be old it could be new or abstract or really have no deeper metaphysical logic than spiders are creepy. You could legitimately create that has no idea what their Horror actually looks like because there's nothing in the lair that would enable to Beast to see what it's Horror looks like.

    The second is just the options in play. As I explained to one player you could actually play a character who's big goal is to make someone paranoid via harmless pranks. Yes there's nothing stopping an eshmaki predator from sneaking into someone's house and tattooing the person in their sleep with a warning about when the hunt will begin, but there's something glorious about the option existing to feed by bypassing a security system and shaving the person's head while they sleep before putting bullion cubes in the shower head.

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