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Why Do You Think Beast is Good/Bad?

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  • Why Do You Think Beast is Good/Bad?

    So I recently made a thread discussing my alternate take on Beast: the Primordial. In that, I briefly explained that I couldn't enjoy the game, so I'm changing it to something that I can. Here's what I said in that thread:

    Originally posted by crapcarp View Post
    I’m not gonna sugarcoat it: I cannot enjoy Beast as it currently stands. I believe it betrays one of the most important themes of ChronDark, it makes veeery unfortunate implications, and overall is rather immature.
    ​This drew some interest (but no flames, thankfully) and to keep that thread from being buried in a discussion about the overall quality of the official game, I've decided to make this thread for that discussion. And really, I think such a discussion is definitely something that is needed. There's been a lot of emotion thrown around on the topic, creating a divide between people who liked the game and those that didn't. The aim of this thread (besides draw conversation about it from my other thread) is to bridge that divide.

    ​I don't like Beast. In fact, I really don't like it, but there are some people who do. Ever since reading the book, I've delved into various discussions over the game. The problem was that I arrived late to the party. I purposely kept out of the discussion because I'm of the mindset that one should only inform their opinion from a finished product (unless they're playtesting or something, but that's a whole other ball game). So I waited until I read the final book, formed my opinion, and then went out to find that everyone else had moved on. After the flame wars died down, it seemed like people were only interested in discussing the game within their own camp. I missed out on all the action, but I honestly think that's for the better, considering the fiery nature of said action.

    ​So now that everyone has had the time to read the final book and simmer down, maybe we can share our thoughts in a civil manner and really learn about the other's perspective. I'll kick things off with mine:

    Betrayal of Theme

    ​Chronicles of Darkness definitely has a theme of moral ambiguity all throughout the gamelines. It's a game that asks the question "Are you really sure you're doing the right thing?" constantly, and if players and/or characters aren't mulling over that, then frankly something's going wrong. Beast: the Primordial goes "Fuck all that, Beasts=good, Heroes=bad". The game goes on and on about how Beasts are right, good, and necessary, despite the fact that they literally make people suffer in order to live. How? Because they teach lessons, apparently. Yeah, humanity has forgotten to fear the dark, so Beasts are here to remind people why they should (which is really backwards, but I'll get to that), how nice of them.

    And the Heroes? Well they're obviously wrong and bad. Why? Because they just wanna make the story all about them. It couldn't be the simple fact that Beasts are killing people, or at the very least making their lives a living hell. No, they just want the Beast's head on a pike. I mean, it's one thing to have a game that's about subverting the narrative, but it's completely another to say "All the Heroes are bad guys, end of story!"

    ​INB4 "But the game mentions good Heroes". Yeah, it does, in a single sidebar, and that's about it. And what does said sidebar say about them? That good Heroes never interact with Beasts, so you should just have bad Heroes in your chronicle. That is one of the most contrived and laziest hand-waves I've ever seen. The game pretty much up and says "Screw having any nuance or thinking about your actions, you're a wonderful, special snowflake. Heroes gonna hate!"

    Unfortunate Implications

    ​As if it's portrayal of Beasts ain't bad enough, we also have the game's subtext: Beasts=oppressed minorities, and Heroes=oppressors.

    ​INB4 "But the game's not really about that!" Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. Let's take a look at the Introduction, particularly one of the game's major themes:

    ​"You Don't Choose Your Family
    ​Monsters don't choose to be monsters, but, looking at Greek myths, one often feels an element of fatalism or determinism. Medusa and her sisters are sometimes listed as children of Echidna, but there are also legends that Athena cursed Medusa for sleeping with Poseidon. That notion that monsters are responsible for their own nature plays into the rather childish, but pervasive, notion that everyone and everything faces the same choices. On a sociopolitical level, we see it when people blame the poor for being poor, as though it were a choice (and a moral failing). In Beast, Heroes see the Begotten as irredeemable because of what they are - but the Beasts cannot be otherwise. Even Beasts that "choose" to be Beasts because another of their kind offered the Devouring aren't really making a choice; they know what they are. The Devouring just confirms it.

    The struggle against this theme is also an interesting one. A Beast might feel that his family - the one he grew up with - is his family, whether he likes them or not. That feeling provides conflict because he's a monster and they (like all Good People) think monsters should die. The notion of intentional family, though, is a way to subvert and struggle against this theme. A Beast might feel that these people she grew up with aren't her family, they're just the people who raised her. Now she's ready to take her place among her true people (other Beasts, or the supernatural in general)."

    ​If that's not enough evidence for you, then consider the truckloads of the corebook fiction portraying Beasts as actual minorities (or at the very least, in such a position). So yes, the game portrays Beasts as oppressed and downtrodden because they just can't help being what they are, and Heroes wanna cave their heads in because they're meanies who just don't understand. But that's not my main issue here. Yeah, it's incredibly petty, but it also has the unfortunate implication that minorities actually do hurt people and that those bigots who say so are 100% right. The simple fact is: Beasts make people suffer. Sure, they do this in order to live, but people aren't wrong for trying to defend themselves. I mean, is it wrong to kill a lion that's about to kill and eat you? Sure, it's gotta eat, but that doesn't make it wrong for you to avoid being eaten.

    ​Minorities however, don't. Being homosexual, in and of itself, does not make a bigoted Christian suffer. Said Christian's intolerance of homosexuality is what makes them suffer. Same kinda deal with any other minority. Even if they were making other suffer, they shouldn't revel in that and tell everyone who gets upset at them to go fuck off. And to top it all off, it somehow manages to be even worse. How?

    ​The Slumbering Condition. It might seem rather odd to point to a single game mechanic like this, but lemme explain. The Slumbering Condition makes a Beast effectively into a normal human being. They don't need to feed, as they don't lose Satiety, and all they lose is their supernatural powers. That's it! Even if Beasts are born, all they have to do is feed a few times and just have their Horror slumber. So Beasts can actually help being what they are, but you know who can't?

    Heroes.

    ​Yeah, once a Hero, always a Hero. They're always stuck being sensitive to the Primordial Dream (and before it used to be that Beasts created Heroes), and the only reason Beasts have to constantly feed is simply because they want to. But then Beasts don't get to be special I suppose.

    ​Oh, and Family Dinner, too. So yeah, Beasts don't even have to make others suffer to get to Slumbering. All they have to do is witness some vampires feeding (and even if vampires don't strictly have to feed, they're only choices are either feed or stay in a coma for eternity), werewolves getting Essence, mages getting Mana, or any of the other various ways supernaturals get their juice. But hey, Beasts are totally oppressed minorities, right?

    All That Being Said...

    ​This is only my perspective.

    Yes, my previous statements are quite inflammatory, but they are also my honest feelings towards the game, and that's what it mostly comes down to: Honesty. I think if any of us are gonna have a fruitful discussion over this, then we have to be honest about our feelings. Unfortunately, politeness can sometimes be a hindrance. Don't get me wrong, though; I'm not saying we should just go off insulting one another. Rather, we should acknowledge that there are a lot of strong emotions involved and not be afraid to display them. As long as no one is making any personal attacks, and stomping on anyone who tries it, then I think we can get along with this.

    Honesty, not uncivility.

    Are my previous statements all fact? Well, I believe it is, but then again, I do have to admit that there is a possibility that I'm missing something, and that's why I'm opening a dialogue: To get other people's perspectives on the matter. Maybe I'll learn something, maybe I won't. But whatever happens, I just hope this can get people to connect over the matter.

    ​So, what are your thoughts on Beast?

  • #2
    Originally posted by crapcarp View Post
    Everthing about heroes in that post
    The thing is, Heroes may always be heroes, but the books say, if not clearly, that it is specifically low-integrity heroes that base their whole lives around hunting Beasts, high integrity heroes have enough sense of self outside the monomyth to be able to decide whether or not an individual beast is enough of a threat to justify killing them, and Matt said in another thread that such a hero could even team up with a beast if they felt it justified and one such good hero actually does appear in the Night Horrors book for the line, a widowed single mom who only goes after Beasts who mess with her kids or the neighborhood they live in.

    Also, Slumbering Beasts still get targeted by the low-integrity heroes, so it really isn't a choice they can make if they want to be able to defend themselves.

    And I will say, a good beast is basically batman with a bit of the hulk, using fear and their legend to fight bad guys, to control their inner monster.

    Basically, Beast seems worse than it is because the authorial voice is too "in character" It is mostly the Beast perspective but isn't clear on when it is or isn't from that perspective.
    Last edited by The young man in the cafe; 06-16-2017, 01:41 AM.


    Despite the user name I am actually bigender.

    My Savannah Setting for CofD can be found here

    My heroes as monster tamers rules for BtP can be found here

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    • #3
      Well i like cod then because in my opinion mulling over wether We're doing the right thing because while it can be fun from time to time it shouldn't be all there is i think if you see a zombie kid you shouldn't shoot that says alot i believe if you do something wrong you just have to try to be better thats my opinion so thats why i will never play a beast who hunts for pray but Thats just me guys

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      • #4
        Originally posted by crapcarp View Post
        So, what are your thoughts on Beast?
        Slumbering is dangerous because you don't lose the things that mark you as a supernatural being to any monster with the eyes to see it and you don't gain mundane Anchor Traits to make up for all but losing the ability to make use of one of them. Ask any monster how good a deal it is to still be visible to and aware of other monsters without any ability to defend yourself besides some minor social grace and the chance that you might hard-boot the your powers back on if these attentions nearly kill you like they do dozens of mortals on a regular basis.

        Family Dinner is based on the premise that sustenance is being gotten or hunting is being done with someone losing something in the action. Witnessing a feeding or a hunt necessitates knowing enough about the actors to be able to reliably observe the act for this to serve as a meaningful source of sustenance rather than an opportunistic snack, which in turn means most applications stem from sponsoring, compelling, or tacitly enabling fear, pain, loss, etc — this is not an "all I have to do is this and my hands are clean" recourse to any but the most shortsighted ethical models.

        Lessons are a cultural element common to many circles of Begotten thought as a preferred code of conduct to maintain self-awareness and steer their predations in a positive direction, not an uncritical means of justification for feeding. Again, Beasts are keenly aware that monsters walk among humanity and that many of them descend into vicious and/or alien behavior without the mediating influence of human contact or support from other monsters; they don't have the option to look the other way and hang up the hecatoncheire's coat when their natures are born from abiding terror with a hefty helping of foreknowledge-obligates-proactivity, so a tradition of going to smash windows and steal blood in places where blood-thieves and window-smashers are to make it known that there are blood-thieves and window-smashers about rather than just doing those activities wherever at random gives the "species" a direction that isn't liable to burn itself out as quickly as the more ill-considered "feed teens to the gnashing fangs of the morgue monster until I get bored and start chopping heads myself" angle.

        Your reading of the game's subtext as analogizing Beasts as oppressed minorities appears to be founded entirely in the fact that some of the example characters are also minorities and that Heroes pursue individual Beasts irrespective of their track records. This is tenuous.

        Your reading of the game's moral position on Beasts as "Beasts = good" appears to be founded entirely in the fact that "Beasts do not deserve to die just because they're Beasts" is part of the principle point of conflict between the Begotten and Heroes and that the game's saying Beasts have to feed themselves means it absolves them of moral agency and demonizes anyone who prevents them from feeding. This is tenuous.

        Your reading of Heroes as unfairly maligned appears to be founded entirely in the notion that Beast-hunting Heroes care about the activities of the Begotten despite, ironically, their worldview making any wrongdoing on the part of a given Beast a convenient bonus justification on top of the foundational "Beasts are associated with bad things, Heroes are celebrated for killing Beasts to symbolically end bad things, and as a Hero I need to kill the Beast so I can be celebrated/end bad things." This assumes Heroes are just Hunters by a different name rather than people with a busted self-image bound to an Astral archetype as mentally rigid as any spirit, and so is markedly tenuous.

        The thematic relation Beasts have to disenfranchised groups, such as it is, is that your circumstances will not always allow you to avoid choosing between your own wellbeing (or that of people you love and/or depend upon) and that of other people (with or without those circumstances but usually not in that first parenthetical group) and that, while what you are has no inherent connection to these acts of fear and hunger, you will often be denied the benefit of the doubt and associated with them whether you ever engaged in them or not. It's being poor and getting treated like a criminal for the clothes that you wear and the street that you live on because of your proxying in onlookers' minds for the worst of the poor in general rather than because of who you are in particular.

        The notion that the Primordial Dream in its modern state has been warped by the realities of travel and fiction serves well in providing the basis for the principle issue the Begotten face re: their place in life. If they did once serve a specific purpose, the nature of their birthplace has changed so drastically that even if they hold to that original purpose and even if doing so is the correct decision, they have to adapt themselves to work around those environmental shifts if they're to carry their traditions forward and keep them relevant. If they want to forge a new purpose for themselves, they'll have to build that plan of action with the new Dream in mind if they hope to make it stick. Whatever the case, conventional wisdom mixed with supernatural fatalism holds that the Dream-has-changed bell can't be un-rung.


        Resident Lore-Hound
        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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        • #5
          Beasts /aren't/ right, though, and the book is not subtle about how the whole Lessons thick is a crock of shit the Begotten feed themselves to feel better about tormenting people for a living, just the same as the Lancea Sanctum dresses up being a predatory monster as a duty from God.

          Originally posted by Ameraaaaaa View Post
          Well i like cod then because in my opinion mulling over wether We're doing the right thing because while it can be fun from time to time it shouldn't be all there is i think if you see a zombie kid you shouldn't shoot that says alot i believe if you do something wrong you just have to try to be better thats my opinion so thats why i will never play a beast who hunts for pray but Thats just me guys
          Your keyboard has all sorts of exciting periods and commas. Please make use of them.


          Remi. she/her. game designer.

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          • #6
            Sorry lex i will fix it but dont be mean

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            • #7
              Quick thing on the whole Heroes are always Heroes thing. Heroes can retire from the quest, it's just not necessarily a thing a lot of them do. (Particularly the low integrity ones that make their life around slaying Beasts for power)

              As for slumbering well yeah it does make the Beghotten more close to human, but it's not a safe state. As the guy in the cafe said a Hero can still potentially pick out a slumbering as can antagonistic Beasts and then there are the are the potential issues of something finding an access point to the Lair which is undefended if the Horror is asleep and well there are a lot of potential issues if something gets in with actual capability to be dangerous. (Insatiables being a worst-case scenario beyond even maybe killing the Beast.)

              As for the morality thing again part of the main issue is balance. Part of the game is figuring out the balance what the Beghotten has to do (lest it be ripped apart from the inside by it's own soul) with what its willing to do to avoid the whole being ripped apart from the inside. (Not to mention the collateral damage the starving Horror will cause in it's amoral attempts to feed.) Essentially being a Beghoten is literally being both prisoner and prison.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                Quick thing on the whole Heroes are always Heroes thing. Heroes can retire from the quest, it's just not necessarily a thing a lot of them do. (Particularly the low integrity ones that make their life around slaying Beasts for power)

                As for slumbering well yeah it does make the Beghotten more close to human, but it's not a safe state. As the guy in the cafe said a Hero can still potentially pick out a slumbering as can antagonistic Beasts and then there are the are the potential issues of something finding an access point to the Lair which is undefended if the Horror is asleep and well there are a lot of potential issues if something gets in with actual capability to be dangerous. (Insatiables being a worst-case scenario beyond even maybe killing the Beast.)

                As for the morality thing again part of the main issue is balance. Part of the game is figuring out the balance what the Beghotten has to do (lest it be ripped apart from the inside by it's own soul) with what its willing to do to avoid the whole being ripped apart from the inside. (Not to mention the collateral damage the starving Horror will cause in it's amoral attempts to feed.) Essentially being a Beghoten is literally being both prisoner and prison.
                Hey, I didn't spend all those years as a Teen in The Pizza Shop studying to one day become an Old Man in the Tavern just to be called Guy. Also, Lex is right about lessons, which is kind of what I meant about the authorial voice of the corebook being messed up regarding In Character VS out of Character, most of the books is the way the begotten themselves see things. Heck, My main Begotten character is just a Hollywood director/producer who feeds his hunger for power by being the same sort of overbearing visionary that so many mortal directors are, and doesn't bother with moral justifications other than "no worse than a mortal with the same job"
                Last edited by The young man in the cafe; 06-16-2017, 03:59 AM.


                Despite the user name I am actually bigender.

                My Savannah Setting for CofD can be found here

                My heroes as monster tamers rules for BtP can be found here

                Comment


                • #9
                  Others have already touched on the idea that the whole 'Lessons' thing is self-delusion that Beasts themselves try to believe, and not a universal truth. It's self-evident that Beasts are not the 'good guys'.

                  I enjoy playing the game for the exact opposite reason - it's one of the two gamelines where I find myself able to play through compelling concepts that aren't weighted down by moral concerns at all. I get to play someone that wants to survive, no matter what it takes, or what it costs to those around them, and then explore those costs as a player. It's fun to explore the concept of the Unfettered without consideration of the inherent abandonment of humanity required to pursue that in a different gameline.

                  Don't get me wrong - it's fun to explore that descent away from humanity sometimes, but sometimes it's fun to explore someone that's already reached that point, and their coming to terms with the fact that they have. Beast vs Hero conflicts tend to trend towards Villain Protagonist vs Knight Templar more than anything else, at our table.

                  tl;dr Playing a Beast is like taking the Dark Side path in a Star Wars game, and that can be fun to explore sometimes.

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                  • #10
                    I like Beast for a few reasons:

                    1) The whole "Betrayal" of the themes of the CofD is one of the best aspects of the game. Beast separates itself (like Promethean, Hunter, and Geist as well) by pushing back as the "monster I am lest monster I become" approach to the moral grays of the setting. Challenging players to look at the morals of their character's actions through a much different approach is a healthy thing for both the diversity of play experiences the CofD can provide, as well as giving us new ways to view the moral struggles the games address. I'd also take a very large wager that any attempt to claim a true "theme" to the CofD as a whole to betray is fraught with inevitable failure. All of the game lines have different themes, moods, and approaches. Werewolf isn't wrong to engage in "transactional" transgression where werewolves can actively choose to sin equally towards the two extremes of their nature to achieve balance, rather than finding Harmony solely by sinning as little as possible. Mage isn't bad for taking a somewhat absolutist stance on the ethics of using magic. Promethean isn't wrong for having a "win state" to pursue that's actually achievable. Etc. Beast isn't wrong to avoid a lot of moral gray areas in the conflict between Beast and Hero. It is however, exceedingly misleading to claim that the Beast vs. Hero conflict not being terribly nuanced means that Beast lacks nuanced or ambiguous moral dilemmas. Those come from the Beasts themselves with Heroes only acting as a motivating factor. The overt antagonism of Heroes is there to ensure that Beasts have a strong reason to address the ambiguity of their awareness of their place in the monomyth and the idea that they could potentially escape it.

                    2) Regardless of how you feel about some of the thematic elements of the game, Beast's mechanical approach to being a monster in human form is actually really cool. Rather than a "most desirable" play spot where you want traits like Humanity/Harmony/etc. Satiety creates a very compelling reason to see each general hunger level Condition as a different playstyle challenge.

                    3) Beast is far more about using the monomyth as metaphor for human abuse than what so many people seem to complain about when the book and discussions lean towards larger population examples. Beast asks a vital question: "How does the concept of cyclical abuse hold up in the face of abusers seeking a way out of that cycle?" Like all metaphors, it's also imprecise in execute. Vampires are (at least post-Gothic reimaginings) rape metaphors, but that doesn't mean Requiem has unfortunate implications just because it doesn't really deal much with how that metaphor would logically relate to the victims of vampire feeding. Beast isn't about oppression, but othering, and in the exploration of the other oppressed minorities stop being a black & white issue. Members of any given oppressed minority can easily given in to the desire to counter-other those that oppress them. It's easy to stop thinking of cops as humans and just think of them as the enemy when they're constantly harassing you (or worse) because of your skin tone. Trying to escape that mentality is difficult, and entirely what Beast is about.

                    4) Beast is one of the few games that has ever really gotten under my skin on a fundamental level. As always when this comes up, I don't talk about the specifics in public. However if I had to describe what it was like to live in my head before I finally got proper therapy and medication (and even now, it's only more manageable, not gone), I could just point to this game. For all the talk about the grander scale metaphors, Beast captures some very intimate, and very real experiences. While Beast doesn't belabor this idea (and doing so would ruin it anyway), I have to compare it for me to something like a girl watching the new Wonder Woman movie. Beast isn't as aspirational, but it is hard to describe the feeling of some man I've never met creating a game that speaks deeply to the struggles I've dealt with in my life in a way that's always been exceedingly difficult to express. Even if Beast is doomed to be one of the lesser CofD games in popularity, there are people out in the world actively enjoying and engaging in a game that gives them common ground with me in a way to even start to bridge the feelings of isolation built of decades of convincing myself virtually nobody in this world could ever understand the inner me, and nobody would ever want to be around me if they did.

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                    • #11
                      I don't play Beast anymore simply because I'm not a fan of the innate sadistic nature of the game. You feed your hunger by willingly beating people down, metaphorically, literally, spiritually, etc. And I'm not a fan of that kind of emotion.

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                      • #12
                        Ok, there's this thread that shows why several people appreciate the game. As for discussing further, I believe other around here have already said what I could have said, probably with better words than mine.

                        I'll try to add something more hoping it does not get redundant.

                        The moral ambiguity in Beast is not less present than in any other CoD game. Beasts are innately encouraged to be, well, monsters, and there's no use to contest that, but that's only a part of the picture. The point is not "you're a monster, go have fun" but rather "you're a monster, you're THE monster, and then what?". The recurrent theme of all the WoD gamelines where you have to deal with your monstrous nature, which in other gamelines is combined with others, takes the center stage when we talk about Beast. You are not a someone that was pulled into this, you're not a normal person that one day was transformed and enrolled into a century old-conflict whether you like it or not, you're not a rogue agent trying to find your place in the world and survive and you're not someone that was cursed by godlike beings and now has to pick up the pieces. You're a monster because when the moment came, whether by "normal" or spontaneous Devouring, you accepted it. There's no other core conflict, no out-of.context menace and no excuse that "distracts" the game for this theme. You don't have the option to cast that aside: you have to deal with that right now because that's what you are.

                        I have to disagree on how you think the book depicts Beasts and Heroes. Beasts aren't right, Heroes aren't wrong. The two sides are all a mess, made up of people that try to fit some overarching mythical narrative into their lives. Here's the deal: it does not work smoothlessly. Beasts are people and Heroes are people. The Begotten want to do their thing because living is nice and feeding feels good. The Heroes want to do their thing because someone has to and killing Beasts feels good. Both want to to do their thing and you can bet about it, being powerful, being important, being feared and loved, being a legend, feels really, really good. They're both addicts, in a certain way. Not surprisingly, turns out the whole thing is flawed by default. Playing with mythical roles and Jungian archetypes is not something that leads to a balanced life. Beasts hurt and kill people and Heroes do the same. Whether they admit it or not, they're all aware of this. This is where the justifications come in. The lessons are not depicted to be something functional at all: they're more of a Begotten social construct than a mandate from the Dark Mother (I personally argue that the Dark Mother's mandate is more along the lines of "go be a great and terrible monster, with all that entails"). Beasts keep telling themselves that lessons are what they live for because otherwise they'd have to deal with the fact that without them they're not better than a nightmarish parasite. A truth nobody is eager to look at, for obvious reasons. Heroes, for their part, have their own issues, mainly the fact they belong to a dimension of conflict, glory and thirst for blood that is out of place from our world. Not to mention that, by the book own admission, killing a Beast does indeed have positive effects on the surroundings. Does not change the fact that many Heroes are still killing people.

                        Mythology is not subtle about this. Heroes are larger than life beings and monsters are a scourge upon the world. The book does not move away from it. Sure, you have the wonder, the powers, the idea of being mythical in a mundane world and the raw, dark, wisdom of the Primordial Dream, but look at the characters within a real world perspective and the result is an understandable "what the hell guys". The books says that, the characters know it. The responsibility for what they do is theirs and none other. Nobody is absolved from his actions because of his nature. That's the easy way out that Beast did not take since day one, though, I admit, it was less clear in the first draft. Another reason I think the revisions did more good than ill. Sure, you have the truly rotten ones, but that's a given. Hubris is not exclusive to Mage: I'd argue that, in a more brutal, primordial way, it's also one of the central inner conflicts in Beast.

                        Look at the monomyth in Beast as the seed from which infinite shades of white, black and grey can grow from. At the core you have that narrative, made of horrors and champions, of revelations, wonders and terrors. A narrative is nothing without characters and Beast is about what those characters see when they look upon themselves and whether or not they accept to be part of the story as it was always been written and to which degree. Humanity changes and stories change with it. To be honest, to me this is what makes the game interesting: you can play the straight bad guy only so many times before it gets boring; I'd rather play with characters who struggle to find a balance, screwing up along the way as people in their situation would do.

                        The whole "Beasts are minority" angle...I mean, I won't deny there are elements to play with if that's the subtext you want, but there are no more examples of minority in Beast fiction than in the other books' fiction. The whole idea that Beast are supposed to be mistreated minorities that fight back, which in turn would mean that the metaphor is faulty because Beasts do hurt people by default...look, I don't see it there. Sorry, but never read it that way. I do know it's a thing that came up from time to time, which in turn means there are elements that lead to that interpretation, but for me "Beast = Minority" was never a thing. There's fiction and many characters are minorities. Big deal, hardly an uncommon occurrence in the CoD. Sorry for the snarky tone about this one, but I just don't get it.

                        Look, now I'll get to the admittedly not good argument of what I took out of the game. It's a weak argument because I'm nobody and what I write is neither canon nor that good. I'll try to not abuse it.

                        I read your thread when you posted it. You called it "alternate take", which is legitimate, but to me was more a "highligth some themes that are already there". Not being ok after the Devouring, realizing that perhaps the whole deal was not for you and that your "Family" and the Dark Mother are not worth doing what you have to do to survive is something that's perfectly fine. I imagine not a few characters would react that way. It's not the central theme, I give you that, but it's a valid storyline.

                        I wrote and will write about all the CoD games, but Beast probably is the one I wrote about the most. I never, for a single moment, forgot that Beasts are morally responsible for their actions. It's that dilemma, the fact that your nature pushes you to be a monster and that it would be so much easy to let it guide you and feast, but at the same time that would make you a horrible person, the constant struggle to be as much as a "decent, useful monster" as possible, what captivates me. Trying to defy the narrative of violence and get something good out of your conditions, perhaps by turning the lies you tell yourself into truths. It's Jules from Pulp Fiction knowing he's the tyranny of evil men but trying hard to be a shepherd, Paarthurnax from Skyrim trying to be good while also knowing that the world would be probably better without him. And, of course, also the occasional "then let me be evil" character. It's also Heroes, which I recently discovered to love almost as much as Beasts, having realized with time they're the other side of the coin and more "brothers and sisters" to Beast than all these human disasters touched by the Primordial Dream would like to admit. Driving all my analogies into the dirt, I look at them as Tom & Jerry. Yeah, it's as dumb as it sounds.

                        I'm writing a Beast homebrew right now that's 100 pages and still going. It's a fucking book. I choose a delicate setting and used it to write about Beast, in an effort which I'm completely aware is always in danger of going spectacularly bad. And yet, Beast allows me to use some of the darkest events of human history and elaborate them in a way that I don't think other gamelines would have allowed me to do, where all the characters, minorities, oppressors and everything in between, have to deal with the same dangers and temptations. I can't speak about the quality, I'm a terrible critic when it comes to my own work and I don't have the arrogance to think I'm doing a great job, but I'm still doing it only because of Beast.

                        EDIT: As an additional note, I love the Heroes, I like the Insatiables, but for me the best conflict is Beast VS Beast. Whether other Begotten or the monster within, that's the one I enjoy the most. Still gonna use all of them though.
                        Last edited by Cinder; 06-16-2017, 11:13 AM.


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                        I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by crapcarp View Post

                          Unfortunate Implications

                          ​As if it's portrayal of Beasts ain't bad enough, we also have the game's subtext: Beasts=oppressed minorities, and Heroes=oppressors.

                          ​INB4 "But the game's not really about that!" Bullshit. Absolute bullshit. Let's take a look at the Introduction, particularly one of the game's major themes:

                          snip

                          ​If that's not enough evidence for you, then consider the truckloads of the corebook fiction portraying Beasts as actual minorities (or at the very least, in such a position). So yes, the game portrays Beasts as oppressed and downtrodden because they just can't help being what they are, and Heroes wanna cave their heads in because they're meanies who just don't understand. But that's not my main issue here. Yeah, it's incredibly petty, but it also has the unfortunate implication that minorities actually do hurt people and that those bigots who say so are 100% right. The simple fact is: Beasts make people suffer. Sure, they do this in order to live, but people aren't wrong for trying to defend themselves. I mean, is it wrong to kill a lion that's about to kill and eat you? Sure, it's gotta eat, but that doesn't make it wrong for you to avoid being eaten.

                          ​Minorities however, don't. Being homosexual, in and of itself, does not make a bigoted Christian suffer. Said Christian's intolerance of homosexuality is what makes them suffer. Same kinda deal with any other minority. Even if they were making other suffer, they shouldn't revel in that and tell everyone who gets upset at them to go fuck off. And to top it all off, it somehow manages to be even worse. How?

                          snip

                          But hey, Beasts are totally oppressed minorities, right?
                          (Emphasis added)

                          This is a fallacy. You are using one part of the text to make the assertion that Beasts represent oppressed minorities, and then using that as an argument that another part doesn't make sense because it doesn't follow that model that you are asserting. If you take the book as a a whole then your own references defeat the argument you are making.

                          I will also echo Heavy Arms about one of the things I like about Beast. Beast is the second game in CoD that really speaks to me (the first being Mage), I have darker impulses within me, and if they were to come out as a supernatural force I would be a Beast. And I struggle everyday to keep those impulses at bay, just like Beasts do. But I also understand they are part of me and that I need to work with and understand them to be safe and whole. That is the personal horror of Beast for me.


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                          • #14
                            As for me, i feel that the reason i didnt like Beast is incredibly petty and stupid.

                            I see dreams (and nightmares) and storytelling elements like the monomyth to be more a Changeling thing and i dislike that another splat is ... muscling in on it.
                            Now that being said, i really like a lot of the elements in the book and so what i've done is that i've ... cannibalized pretty much everything in Beast to use in changeling instead. (the only thing i'm not using from the book is beasts as a playable splat).


                            Completed campaign: Scion 2nd Edition. Les Légendes Currently playing: Being a dad for a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old son.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by crapcarp View Post
                              And the Heroes? Well they're obviously wrong and bad. Why? Because they just wanna make the story all about them. It couldn't be the simple fact that Beasts are killing people, or at the very least making their lives a living hell. No, they just want the Beast's head on a pike.
                              That's the definition of this kind of Hero, essentially. The way I've put it in the past is: A Beast may or not deserve to die (it's hard to argue that someone who feeds their Horror by being a zealous health inspector deserves to die for that - equally, it's hard to argue that someone who does so by murdering people doesn't). A discerning hunter may decide a Beast deserves to die. A more extreme hunter may decide all Beasts deserve to die. A Hero doesn't care if the Beast deserves to die, only that they deserve to kill it - that's why they're bad, not because they want to kill Beasts. It's the flip-side of "If Beasts are honest, they admit they use the concept of “lessons” to make what they do more palatable." (Which is a quote from the game).

                              ​​Same kinda deal with any other minority.
                              On RPGNet, there was a poster who said that this deal resonated very strongly with her, because she was mentally ill, and there were ways that no there were certain ways she actually couldn't help hurting people round her because of an aspect of her being. (When I think of how my own mental health issues, I can relate to this view of the game). Another poster said it "wounded [him] in the soul" that she identified with Beasts in this way - I'm not certain whether he ever saw the irony of that, though.

                              For myself, I made the argument that "oppression" might be better represented by "othering." Othering doesn't require a power differential, or can have it go any way - both the 1% and poor can be othered, but only the latter can be oppressed. Othering can also take many forms besides violence, like fetishisation or appropriation, which could be fruitfully explored.

                              But all in all, I'm glad it was played down some in the final version.


                              The biggest reason I like the game, though, is that despite its outre protagonists, Beast is one of the CoD games where I can most imagine said protagonists engaging with the world much as mortals do, and living much the life they did before. This is reinforced by how many effective feeding behaviours are things we find - and moreover accept - taking place between humans all the time.

                              An example Beast in the game feeds her Hunger for Power by winning debates - but she definitely likes those times when the guy she defeats gets violent in response, and she can beat him down and really show him who's the winner. We might not like such a person in real life - but she only hurts guys who respond to a woman out-arguing them by attacking her, and can we really fault that? - and can we really say she'd deserve to die for enjoying those times it happens? - and can we we really say it makes her deserve to die if those times feed something in her? - and can we really say it makes her deserve to die if that something is a nightmare monster? - because she's still only hurting guys who respond to her beating them in an argument by physically attacking her.
                              Another example Beast feeds his Hunger for Power by being a zealous health inspector. Another by prosecuting domestic abusers and showing them that there's a system bigger and stronger than them. Both of these are laudable when humans do them.
                              Another does it by being a judge - we don't know what kind of judge he is - he might be a hanging judge, he might be perfectly scrupulous, he might aim his rulings to keep a trial going for longer so he can exercise his power for longer, he might revel in figuratively beating down lawyers - because his power is the same either way.
                              Another does it by robbing people. Reprehensible, but it's rare to find people who think it should have the death penalty (at least after the fact - more people would accept that the target has the right to defent themselves lethally in the moment).
                              Another does it by winning promotions, and then rubbing his competitors' faces in it. Asshole, but most of us wouldn't side with the competitors killing him.

                              All those things feed the same Hunger for Power. Some we punish, some we tolerate, some we applaud, but to the Dream they're part and parcel of the same impulse. Which makes Beast a very good vehicle for exploring the currents of power, evil, and abuse that run through mundane human interaction - and how much of it we accept - and how much of that we should or shouldn't.
                              Last edited by SunlessNick; 06-16-2017, 12:00 PM.

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