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Beast Analysis & Hacks #4: Identity, Family and a little of chronicle building

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  • Beast Analysis & Hacks #4: Identity, Family and a little of chronicle building

    Since I’m a bit burned out and in one of those dreadful moments of “where to start, I can’t come up with anything new” when it comes to fandmade content (but one still has to push back against the white page each day), I figured I could go back to my Beast’s essay series instead. I still enjoy writing these and people seem to find them a useful read.

    Sorry this took a while, but the Player’s Guide happened. That book still scares me for how much of a game-changer it was. Loved it but, damn, I do feel like a babbling baby when I compare it to what I do to. One of my attempts to prove myself I can write decent Beast stuff even after the BPG, the Irkalla Family, went very well, not gonna lie about it. The essay series, though, had to wait a while both because of life demands and because the ideas and additions to the setting the PG brought in had to be absorbed and processed before I could get back to speak about the game’s elements and make any sense.


    I think now I’m ready to go, though. The essay I feel like writing at the moment is not one of those I planned before, though, at least not how I originally envisioned it: today I want to talk about Identity & Family.

    Those are topics I’ve already touched upon in other essays, but were never central enough for me to really say what I think on the matter. Something I really should do for this series to have a reason to be because, to be blunt, I think they’re the core point of the whole Beast: The Primordial deal. There are a lot of other elements, sure, but I sincerely believe that the foundation of Beast lies within Identity, Family and Identity through Family.

    Admittedly, and here’s where my essay will get more controversial, I think the Identity theme comes just a little bit before the Family one. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe Family remains fundamental, but also that it still owes a certain amount of importance to its association to Identity. I hope I’ll be able to show why I think that’s the case. To be completely honest, I actually think the books don’t disagree with that, but that’s where reader’s perception comes in and I sure don’t have the right to tell anyone what the writers are talking about. All I can offer is my perspective, with the hope this will be an interesting read.

    Also, by going through that discussion, I aim to provide some answers about what someone can base a Beast chronicle around. It’s a topic that resurfaces from time to time, and I think I can give my two cents about it, especially if I first focus on what narratives the game lends itself to generate.

    So, three sections this time: “Identity”, “Family” and “Storytelling”.

    Heresy Rating: 2 out of 5. Lots of the stuff I’ll talk about is based on my personal interpretation of the game themes. Most of it is easy enough to reconcile with canon, but I won’t deny this is has lot to do with my own take on Beast.
    Last edited by Cinder; 06-10-2018, 03:01 PM.


    Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

    I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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  • #2
    Identity: Pride, Torment and Holy Graal of the Begotten
    .


    “Pretend to be everything you are not. Teacher. Husband. Father. But there is one unavoidable truth you will never escape: you cannot change. You will always be a monster.”

    “I know. But I’m your monster no longer."
    - God of War 2018

    .
    .
    This essay tackles Beast core themes head on, putting me in a “go big or go home” situation, so let’s be bold and start with the old question: “Yes, but what Beasts do?”

    To which I’ll respond: “Beasts fight for their identity. Aware or not, whether they like or despise it, that’s what they do”

    It's a tricky process. It’s messy, imperfect, painful. Always confusing and fundamentally egotistical, with better chances to lead to a terrible mess instead of an achievement. And even when it does lead to an achievement, odds are it took pain and suffering to get there, both from the Begotten and from those who they met on the path.

    (But, with me being a guy whose forum name and avatar both come from Dark Souls, I’m a sucker for that)

    Let me explain it better.

    The necessary premise is that, in character, Beasts have no idea about what I’m talking about. Kinda obvious, but still something I feel should be remarked since this “not knowing” is the source of a ton of plot hooks and character arcs. Having said that, it’s time to dive in.

    Every aspect of the Begotten condition is something that either empowers, threatens or question one’s identity.

    Starting with their lives before the Devouring, the Begotten feel there’s something powerful, both terrible and magnificent, within them. They don’t have a frame of reference for it, but their connection to the Primordial Dream and the Dark Mother color their lives and makes their sleep uneasy. There’s this constant sensation of something missing, of being unable to grasp the whole picture. Those moments when you struggle to remember a dream and it frustrates you to no end because your instinct tells you it was important? That’s how it feels. Pre-Devouring Begotten feel out of place because elements of their souls still have to awaken from slumber and become whole. That’s the first obstacle to identity: a mind that cannot truly define itself because it lacks true wholeness of self.

    The Devouring is where at least this one issue ends. For some, those who refuse, it’s a conclusion, a moment where the bad dreams stop and they can finally rest. Does not matter if this means they have to sever and cast away a part of themselves like a sort astral tumorous growth: it’s a choice, and one to which the Primordial Dream complies. In a way, it defines one’s identity as much as accepting, the scars on their souls will heal and they’ll live their lives. Still, I believe those who embrace their Horror are more than those who refuse. Partially, it’s because I think the idea of opening themselves to the Primordial Dream is something all the potential Begotten are naturally conditioned towards, both as of some sort of birthright and because a life spent being influenced by the ephemeral currents of the Astral will do that. The Dark Mother, the Horrors and the Primordial Dream are not silent, they’re not hidden by the Lie or hiding in the shadows: they talk. I imagine most of the pre-Devouring Beasts would be excited at the idea of all finally making sense, though those who would rather not have anything to do with that exist (and with good reasons).

    To me, the Devouring is not exactly the main moment where people have trouble with being a Beast. Why? Because they don’t know. They’re just men and women whose entire lives have been plagued by vivid dreams and an aching feeling of not being complete. Many of them would go with it just because they hope things will finally start making sense. No amount of explanations from those who carry on the Devouring (if it’s not a spontaneous one) can prepare them for what’s next.

    (I’ve spent another essay talking about how Beast try to reconcile their human life with that of a Begotten, so I’ll try to stay focused on how elements highlight the theme of Identity. Not to mention that the Player Guide also explored much of that in the meantime, so that’s covered. Still, saying a bit of what’s already been said is inevitable)

    Leaving aside the obvious complications that becoming a Beast brings to one’s life, its various components also inevitably lead the Begotten to confront to who they really are, who they want to be and test their willpower.

    Let’s go step by step and start with the first thing a new Beast discovers about herself: the Horror. There’s been this tendency, of which I’m guilty as well, to talk a lot about how Horrors are born and from where they come from. I get why that’s the case; we find interesting to discuss about the mysteries of the setting and put everything into a wider perspective, a cosmic playground where we talk about the Dark Mother, the pillars of the Astral and other major powers. That’s cool. Still, I think that the risk with that is to forget that Horrors aren’t merely batteries for monstrous powers that latch to random humans. Horrors are a part of the Begotten’s souls. The Devouring is a fundamental moment for a Begotten and the mythological weight and unconscious symbolism that come with the Horror only serve to strengthen what the Devouring means: that the Begotten and the Horror look at each other and acknowledge they are one and the same.

    It’s powerful, exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. It’s not only a human that finds itself into the nightmare, but also the nightmare that finds itself into a human. They are both giving each other strength and purpose and, by doing so, they become a single being with its own identity.

    (Insert “I am thou..Thou art I…” quote here)

    Problems arise because the Horror comes with a baggage.

    The most obvious is the Hunger, which just is not something a Beast can evade. Hunger is not a price for cool powers, no matter if some Beast might look at it that way: Hunger is a need, a motivation that won’t go unheard and a filter that alters the entire Begotten perspective. It’s the trickiest downside to deal with because Hunger is a defining aspect of the Horror and thus one of the Beast as well. Which is obviously problematic because that, combined with monstrous instincts various sort, always makes you hurt people to a degree or another. If you’re a Begotten, Hunger is a part of you. If you go with it or find it repulsive, how you relate to it and how which role you want it for have in your life is a question that demands to be answered, every single day.

    Lair is not less important. With it being a tangible proof of the Begotten’s Legend growing, each Chamber the result of a victory or of an act of insight, the Lair is yet another facet of soul and identity that everyone can look at. A Lair might be subtler than a Horror, but those who visit it indeed enter a private and intimate location that can reveal about its owner as much as Horror and Hunger do.

    Then there’s the monomyth, the astral symbolism and all those manifestations of the human subconscious that exert pressure on Beasts and try to tell them how they should behave, how their stories should go and how people should look at them.

    (Also something I talked about in my Mythology essay. Seems like I was circling around the big topic we’re discussing here without realizing it)

    The most direct incarnation of that are nothing less than the Heroes themselves. Hostile Heroes don’t look at Beast as individual but rather as monsters. Even worse: Heroes see Beast as the monster they have in mind. The kind of Heroes that go after the Begotten impose their own narrative on their marks, not caring in the slightest about the details or about those elements that might subvert their “journey”. Heroes embody the part of the monomyth that tries to erase the Beast’s own identity. The powers Heroes wield, the Anathema, are nothing less than a violation of their target’s self, as they make the Beast the kind of fiend the Hero is projecting on, with the weaknesses he expects her to have. It is, and I’m aware of the irony of the term, dehumanizing. That’s the psychological threat that accompanies the physical threat of Heroes: that these relentless people see you as nothing more that the monster of their story, while in truth you are your own individual and they have no right to determine who you are because this story is yours as much as it is theirs.

    (The fiction blurb in the “Anathema” part of the first chapter of the Player’s Guide, where a Hero calls a Beast Agatha and she thinks “My name’s not Agatha”, explains this perfectly. When I read it the first time I actually stopped and nodded in approval because of how much I was impressed it delivered so much in such a short space. No idea who wrote it, but if you’re reading this, kudos)

    Even the Insatiables play their own role well in this, since they rob the characters of chunks of their souls and violate both the balance of the Hive and the Begotten’s intimacy, doing so with a mixture of hate, entitlement and kind of cruelty that’s both alien and far too human.

    But all of this is the “How”. Sure, these are elements that highlight the theme of Identity and do a spectacular job at it, but they’re not the real tough nut we’re here to crack. That would be the the “Why”. Why Beast: The Primordial gives you all these tools? Why it wants you to confront with them? All of this is fine and dandy but, no matter how much I enjoy the role of the old man coming down from the mountain to offer wisdom, it’s not exactly a revelation: is there a point behind this rant?

    Yes, but that requires us to go deeper. And, Nightmare Mom be my witness, I think I’ll give it a try.

    So, why Beast is a game about Identity? Because to become a Beast means having a chance to both learn about yourself and let everyone else know. By accepting the Devouring, Beasts choose to embark on a journey where they’ll confront with themselves. Their very own essence will manifest and test them, asking question nothing else in the universe would ask.

    I used to say that Beast places one of the CoD central questions, “you’re a monster, what now?” to the center of the stage and I still stand by it, but nowadays I believe the question is more “you’re a monster, but what kind of monster?”. Beast does not only ask “What are you in the dark?” (around which i wrote an entire Dark Era), but also “When power gives you the chance to truly be yourself, what’s the result?”. Those are the questions the Begotten try to answer.

    It’s a journey that cannot be kept bound, because Begotten demand to be be known just as much as they want to know themselves. Their search for identity is so powerful it breaks the boundaries of a single mind and becomes legend. They learn who they are in the dark and then emerge from the shadow so that everyone else can witness them in all their terrible might.

    This is what makes Beast different from other games, the real core of Primordial. Characters that look at their reflection and struggle to keep going, with the goal being none other than finding the strength to endure what you can endure, change what you can change and make your friends, your enemies and the fabric of the human subconscious itself accept who you are, so that you can do it yourself.

    It’s a struggle where all the odds are against the Beast, where it would be much easier to succumb, surrender or just let external forces guide your life. It’s no wonder many cannot do it, since it requires Begotten both to find a balance between aspects of themselves that are frankly terrifying and repulsive and constantly fight back those who’d rather silence their individuality.

    But some can. Triumphant Beast look at their opponents, look at narrative patterns they don’t agree with and at the monomyth itself and say “This is who I am. I’m a monster, but I’m the monster I decide to be. I’m not a character, a role or something to be slain. And I’m the only one that gets to decide how my story will go. Look at me going for it”. It’s the idea that even if there’s something wrong within you, you still have a right to be, the potential to do something good with it and that you can find your own balance despite and because of everything. Call it myth subversion, call it fighting back, realization of self or even Triumphant Howl of the Devil-Tiger, but I’d say that’s by itself it’s not a bad thing to aspire to. Each Beast is a legend in the making that wants to be seen, but nothing says they cannot make their own myth. “To thyne self be true”, after all.

    It’s epic. It’s tragic. Source both of noble monsters and terrible villains. Worth of an horror game that speaks a language of myths and dreams. It’s, in my humble opinion, nothing less than the core of the game, the spark that animates and projects its light over everything else.

    But, like all sparks, by itself it is not enough to provide shape and meaning. It needs something to give it fuel .That’s where Family comes into play.
    Last edited by Cinder; 06-15-2018, 08:55 PM.


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    • #3
      Family: Why it matters and you should care about it


      “Aren’t you afraid...I’ll burn you?”

      “Nope”
      - Hellboy meets little Liz for the first time, gives her a lollipop


      “Lady, I was gonna cut you some slack, 'cause you're a major mythological figure...but now you've just gone nuts!”
      -Hellboy meets Hecate for the first time, gives her a solid right hook in the face
      .


      (Just read Hellboy, everyone)


      I’ll get a couple of things out of the way. The first is that there’s more to Family than its connection to Identity. The amount of story hooks and just general coolness the idea of being related to all the other supernatural of the CoD and how it encourages various degree of crossover makes Beast huge even by itself. The second is that Family is also there because RPGs are a collaborative effort and Family is a useful tool to make the players interact with each other and not only delve on their character.

      I think those are two points that need no explanation, but also part of a necessary premise. Family is more than what I’m going to talk about, but today I’m gonna follow the topic at hand.

      So, if Identity is the core theme of Beast, what’s the point of Family? Cinder, you smartass, do you think the writers put it there to fill space? That they made a mistake? No, quite the opposite: they put it there to make the whole thing work. I don’t “get” the game better than they do, but I do have fun being the guy on the street that proclaims how things are. Just give me a handbell and a fancy hat and I’ll do as Homer Simpson did, with the same haircut to boot

      The problem with Identity is that it exists in a vacuum. What I said above works in theory, but by itself is not enough to provide neither a consistent character arc nor a shared narrative.

      That’s because, without other monsters, a Beast cannot truly empower nor accept itself. After the Devouring, Beasts find themselves removed from mankind just because of the simple fact that there’s no way for a “normal” human to really share a Begotten’s perspective. Once Beast decide to embrace the nightmare they gain plenty of power but also lose a part of their frame of reference when it comes to decide what kind of person they want to be, something they need other supernaturals to confront with in order to rebuild.

      By looking and interacting with other monsters, Beast find a way to learn more about the world that surrounds them, their own nature and what they want to do with the power the Primordial Dream gave them.

      A Beast that only feeds and fights back Heroes is trapped in the mythic cycle; one that grows because of its interaction with the Family is living a life and a legend.

      Starting with the Brood itself, that’s nothing less than a group of people that accept and understand each other’s nature. That’s not to say that they have to love each other and never argue, dysfunctional Broods should be a thing, just that by virtue of the connection they feel with each other are in position to see each other’s grow.

      That’s the thing about Families: they are social structure where people acknowledge a shared bond, either born of blood or circumstances, and its members watch (and often help) each other develop, change and try to obtain what they want.

      Things won’t be always easy because people aren’t always easy. Beast are not robots: they feel and want with such an intensity that conflicts are inevitable. Family members argue for countless reasons even in real life. Indeed, “You don’t choose your family”, but it’s through them you learn how to look at the world and at yourself, and them being able to understand your growth and struggles like none other is what makes the bond between Family members so powerful.

      Beast might be a game about empowerment of self. but such empowerment needs the Family to happen and gains meaning when the constantly growing persona, with all its merit and flaws, finds a place to belong. A place that only Broods and the confrontation with other Family members can lead to.

      This does not need to be black or white, but it needs to be there. Beast might be magnified, mythically exalted versions of human individuals, but the kind of relationship they have with Family is easily relatable. We all have a family member we detest, the one we hope won’t show up at reunions (and will shut up if he does), and by looking at them we realize how much we don’t be like him. The blood bond only makes this realization more powerful because it strikes close to home. But even without going there, even family members we care about offer us examples and perspectives. God, I love my father, but sure there are aspects of him I told myself all my life I don’t want to inherit.

      (And if one day a character looks at himself in the mirror and says “You’ve become your father” and the revelation shocks him, good. That’s character development and story happening. Just ask the Gremgoblin)

      Also, one should not underestimate the simple yet powerful feeling of belonging that comes with interaction with the Family. Considering many Beast felt something was off before the Devouring, to truly find a place and, along with the idea of Lesson being useful, a purpose, holds plenty of ramifications and value.

      That’s why Family offers so much to Beast and remains an essential aspect of it. It fuels and grants structure to search for Identity. It offers Begotten conflicts and things to care about, people to love and to despise. If the Devouring is a rebirth (or the real birth, depending on how you look at it), then the Family is what allow the newborn nightmare child to grow and live its life as a monster. Whether it succeeds or fails it’s another story, but one that starts because of Family.
      Last edited by Cinder; 06-11-2018, 04:26 AM.


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      • #4
        Storytelling: Building games around Identity and Family


        "How do you think this all works? By being big and being bad"

        "Don't say that shit in front of people, it's embarrassing"
        -The Wolf Among Us

        All this theorycrafting is fun to make and I also hope enjoyable to read but, at the end of the day, it has to confront with another of the oldest questions when it comes to Beast: “Ok, but can I make a game with this?”

        You can, it’s nothing too hard, but it requires a couple of precautions.


        Beast being so character-focused, even for CoD standards, it is harder to create a single plot with it without taking the PCs in account. Adapting the plot to the characters is something that should be done anyways, but in Primordial it’s pretty much mandatory. Since what the characters want, what they hunger for and the kind of Legend they want to create for themselves are so important, a Storyteller should be ready to adapt the plot the player needs more than usual so that they have a chance to shine and make their characters act.

        That’s not to say that the Storyteller has no right to influence character creation. If you have a certain kind of story in mind, tell your players. Feel free to veto certain character concepts if you feel they won’t have room to breathe or are just out of place (if the story is about a bunch of kids in a boarding school, the Vietnam War Veteran has no reason to be) but remember to be malleable when the concept makes sense. More than anything, talk to your players. It’s always a valid suggestion, but since lots of what will happen in a Beast game will be influenced by what the characters want, aspire and care about, it’s essential for both sides of the table to communicate .

        It’s true that Beasts lends itself pretty well to sandbox games, so that the characters can explore and do their thing, but story arcs are still an option (the one I always pick, actually. I tend to leave a degree of sandbox in all my games, but I personally prefer to have a major plot under it all). The trick it that you need for it to rely strongly on the characters.

        Whether its is a murder mystery in a Twin Peak-esque town where the Brood are the only Beasts around and their friend and Apex is killed by some unknown force and they have to deal with the consequences of him disappearing, the aforementioned group of kids that make a Brood in a school and clash with older monsters that demand them to shut up and behave so that it ends with an intergenerational conflict, a long campaign where the Begotten community discovers a prophecy that says stars will align and allow for the Dark Mother to manifest into town in a year from today and judge her Children and the Brood must survive the ensuing chaos or a small episodic game where a Brood owns an hotel it uses as a haven for monsters has to protect it from threats both from within and without the Family and it culminates with some nasty Heroes learning about it and launching a raid, story arcs are still a thing in Beast, no matter what the echo chamber of the Internet has to say about the game.

        (Actually, those are the ones I ran so far, not just random ideas, though the first one is not an actual game but rather my basis for the fictional setting I use to practice fiction writing)

        Overall, you’ll want your plot to test your character’s identity. As said before, plenty of the tools Beast offers already help with that but, story-wise, it’s all about questioning their status quo, to disturb their little bubble. You want to make them curious about what it means to be a Beast, to always show them the consequences of their actions and have the world change for and because of them. Make them feel as the protagonists of their own story, as the ones whose life have an impact on the surroundings. Players love it and it also does wonder in-character because Beasts are indeed living their own myth. Make them curious, make them wonder what’s worth to fight for and if their attitude should be changed or not. Make the character cravefor more, show them that the plot is a gateway for them to grow and make their legend develop.

        Don’t shy away from conflict with other Beasts and Brood. Other Begotten are up there with Heroes and Insatiables as the main antagonists of the gameline. It’s easy to underestimate about it, but Beast can be brilliant opponents and great major antagonists. With rival vampires, Pure, Seers there are traditions and ancient ideologies to drive the conflict, but if two Beasts disagree, if a Beast wants something and another disagrees, it’s immediately a raw personal conflict.

        In a way, you have to feed the characters (and their players) the motivation to want more and to keep going. Make sure to make them work hard and reward them when they earn it, but never close all the doors. Keep them hungry.

        In a context where the plot must be adapted to the characters, the Beast setting has enough mysteries to explore that there’s always a way to keep the interest alive and focused in a certain direction. Beasts are, by design, an investigative kind and their position at the crossroads of everything supernatural in the CoD (with the powers and natural inclination needed intrude in everyone’s life)

        This is where Family comes to help. All the inhabitants of the CoD can be exploited to ask the Brood how they want to act. A conflict between different factions? Decide whether you want to stay out of it, which side to help or if you’d rather try to act as intermediary. A mystery to solve? Just pick who can give you assistance, but remember other Family members might not agree with that choice (or even want for you to solve that mystery in the first place!). You feel a “cousin” needs help and that those closest to him aren’t doing enough? Well, time to roll up your sleeves and do what you think to be right then. Someone strong enough to be a menace is threatening what you worked so hard to obtain? Fight them or comply. You want something but getting it will have a price and attract unwanted supernatural backlash? Decide whether it is worth or not.

        The theme of Family also is something to keep in mind while building your setting. Not all games need a full cast of NPCs and a detailed backstory that goes back five hundred years, but Family is something whose influence might emerge even after years whether the characters are aware of it or not. Like in real life, Family is something vast and old that you know little about when you’re a kid but whose importance becomes clearer as your grow. Part of it as to do with reputation, the other is a simple mixture of consequences and memories.

        If one of your Broodmates argued with a pack of wolves and killed one of them, you’re drawn into a conflict by the mere association. If a Beast is infamous for having screwed up and revealed a Lair entrance to a murderous Hero, there’s a prejudice against her. If the Apex If twenty years ago the clash between two Begotten caused victims around the place, destroyed a building and left people bleeding and crying, some will remember about it. Some will still want retribution or vengeance.

        You get the idea. It’s not that different from other backstories one prepares with other gamelines, but it has a more personal and intimate flavor. It is about your Family, after all: a sense of heritage and proximity should be there.

        Obviously, all of this has an impact over the Hive and the Primordial Dream, which open another can of worms made of Apexes, nightmares and astral influences. Building a Legend goes in detail about this, along with other great suggestion on chronicle building.

        (There’s more to be said about this, but I’m veering off topic)

        Beast is as much of a mythological game as one that asks brutally intimate questions. It’s about stories, the way we look at ourselves and the way the world looks at us. About consequences and mistakes. It’s about trying to make peace with yourself and do your best with what you have, so that perhaps someday you’ll find a balance between what you hate about yourself and what you think makes it worth living. And it’s also about finding a place among those who understand you enough to love you with all your flaws.

        Keep it in mind as you prepare and play the chronicle and things will work out.
        Last edited by Cinder; 06-13-2018, 06:38 AM.


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        • #5
          Wrapping it up


          Core themes or not, Identity and Family aren’t the only weapons in Beast’s arsenal. There’s plenty more to explore: Hunger, Lessons, daily life as a monster, myths, dreams, ambition and several others. The moral side and weight that being a Beast implies. Also all kinds of aesthetics that mix with those of other gamelines and local flavors. Some I talked about in other essays, others I might discuss in the future.

          But hey, core themes are core themes: it’s from their coordinates that you move around, explore, experiment and subvert. Believe it or not, I ran (and will run) games where I did not shout “THINK ABOUT IDENTITY!!” into the face of my players. Nevertheless, it’s still useful to know where the Heart of this Lair is.

          Alright, Cinder out

          EDIT: (I posted this essay all together instead than in separate pieces a couple of days of distance from each other. I hope you'll get me feedback about it in general, but I'd appreciate to know if you think this approach is better)
          Last edited by Cinder; 06-13-2018, 06:39 AM.


          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

          I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

          This is what I'm working on

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          • #6
            When you reference stuff from Dark Souls, God of War, Persona, and Hellboy, how am I supposed to resist?

            (keeps logged in and page opened to read the rest later)


            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
              When you reference stuff from Dark Souls, God of War, Persona, and Hellboy, how am I supposed to resist?
              )
              We're all simple people who love simple, cool things


              Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

              I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

              This is what I'm working on

              Comment


              • #8
                Have I mentioned before that you're really good at this?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
                  Have I mentioned before that you're really good at this?
                  Thanks! I do try my best. The "casual chat between friends" tone I use in the essay series can be a hit-or-miss, so I'm glad this turned out well.



                  Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                  I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

                  This is what I'm working on

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                  • #10
                    I have a question relating to family for you cinder. How would you interpret relationships between the species like vampires, who have gone through a similar situation, changelings, who were taken by a force and turned to a mythological figure of folklore, and especially prometheans, who are trying to find themselves by becoming human

                    EDIT: also, the reason I'm asking is I really enjoy your essays on things such as this. Very in depth and with passion

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                      I have a question relating to family for you cinder. How would you interpret relationships between the species like vampires, who have gone through a similar situation, changelings, who were taken by a force and turned to a mythological figure of folklore, and especially prometheans, who are trying to find themselves by becoming human

                      EDIT: also, the reason I'm asking is I really enjoy your essays on things such as this. Very in depth and with passion
                      Thank you very much.

                      You mean relationship with those supernatural that were "thrown into it" more than others?

                      I imagine lots of it would depend on the attitude of the Begotten and supernaturals involved, but generally I find the section about the various gamelines in the Storytelling chapter to be on point and think it provides excellent guidelines to handle the crossover relationship.

                      Just to add some comments to that:

                      With vampires, I think the attitude all parts involved have towards their humanity is an important factor. On one hand, vampires and Beast share and understand what it means to means to have a horrible hunger, but vampiric drawbacks are quite more blunt that those of a Begotten. Some vampires might find a kindred spirit in the Children, but it's also a relationship that, even with its parallels, also has harsh points of distinction.

                      Provided that the Begotten don't have a kinship with members of the Gentry, I'm of the idea that most Begotten would take on a protective role towards the changelings of their brood. They're Family and it's clear they went through a lot. Granted, some Beasts might try to make changelings and Fae get along, since they're all Family, but odds are that's an effort that not many will appreciate (and will probably fail spectacularly)

                      Promethean are interesting, because the Created also have to deal with their own identity and self-discovery, but go towards a direction that's diametrically opposite from the Begotten's. In Promethean, the concepts that the way you were made is something you might not be ok with, that you don't have to accept it and that aspiring to getting rid of what you don't like of yourself, change into something completely new and start a new life as a human while leaving everything else behind (with all this being fundamentally good) are the foundation of the whole narrative and something the characters are encouraged towards. I like to think of it and Beast as two different side of the coin, though of course things aren't as black and white when you look at it more closely. Having said that, the games both explore certain topics while providing wildy different stories, and I think their interactions shine when you highlight these differences. It does not take a genius to understand that, for all the bad sides of being a Beast, living as a Created is awful, to say the least. Still, things get more complicated when emotions come into play: some Beasts might not get why their Created cousins would want to become human and need to have it explained more thoroughy, while others might not be ok with them "abandoning" the Family and take it as sort of offense.

                      There's also the fact that several Beasts, especially those more conflicted about certain aspects of their life, will empathize with the struggles of other supernaturals. Or that, by switching perspective, that some vampires, changelings and Prometheans, might think that Beasts don't really "get" what they're going through and find their intromissions as both annoying and patronizing.

                      Then again, this is just general talk. Beast vary a lot both in attitude and behavior (and so do other supernaturals), each of them having a different worldview. Relationship with Family members being a personal thing, take my words as nothing more than a vague source of ideas: it's way better to analyze these relationship on a case-by-case basis.

                      EDIT: For the record, since I also like Promethean a lot: I love Beast and the narrative where you gotta do your best with what you're stuck with, learn to coexist with yourself and that no matter how much you improve some issues will never leave and you'll always screw up from time to time, is something I adore across all media (and one of the many reasons that make Primordial my favorite game by far), but what Prometheans try to do is on a whole other level. I'm part of the "no thanks, I'd rather stay human than live as a CoD supernatural if given a choice" club
                      Last edited by Cinder; 06-14-2018, 12:36 PM.


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                      • #12
                        Thanks for answering, I really appreciate you taking the time to do it. I have a follow up question for their relationships with vampires and how they view the true fae. Also if you don't want to answer as for now I'm fine with that

                        For the former, I like to think vampires would be rejectful to beast, seeing them as a perversion of their very own inner conflicts. I think this due to the fact vampires feed to keep the beast at bay, never wanting it to show, while beast actively feed, strengthen, and even get along with their horror at times.

                        As for the true fae, how do you think most beast would view them. I think most would view the fae as slavers who have enforced roles onto the changelings, which, due to the nature of beast, would absolutely despise that due to their relationship with heroes

                        Finally, I also enjoy promethean due to the fact while other monsters tend to forget what it means to be just human. Prometheans, at least most of them, look at them and see a sort of beauty in their ordinary lives, free of supernatural danger and able to enjoy the simplicities of life.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                          Thanks for answering, I really appreciate you taking the time to do it. I have a follow up question for their relationships with vampires and how they view the true fae. Also if you don't want to answer as for now I'm fine with that
                          Don't worry, if I have spare time, I usually don't mind answering. I mean, one of the reasons I write these is to encourage discussion and if someone cares enough about my opinion to ask, the least I can do is to give it.

                          Fact is, we're discussing this from the perspective of someone that has access to the books while knowing more about the nature of monsters than average characters in-setting and that the attitudes among supernatural varies wildly. To talk about is tough because it's hard to not fall into generalizations (or at least, I personally find it tough). While we can compare the differences between, say the affiliates of two different Covenants or Orders more efficiently, since the doctrine and structure they live within reasonably influences them towards certain opinions, with Beast things are more complex because they're both an external presence to other supernaturals and usually don't organize in defined, wider communities as often as other supernaturals (the groups described in the BPG being an example of that, of course).

                          There are many vampires that feel cursed by their thirst and their own Beast, but there are entire Covenants dedicated to dealing with it in a less adversarial way and some vampiric creeds that do celebrate it, so while what you say is absolutely plausible and something I can get behind too (I personally enjoy to think of young vampires looking at Beasts and saying "aren't these guys a bit too much into it?), the opposite is also true, varying from vampire to vampire.

                          Also, Beast might tend to be more ok with their monstrous side, at least in theory, but when it comes to everyday life most of them need to deal with the bad sides of Hunger and (and here I'm guilty of not talking of it as much as the other ends of the spectrum), those who are severely conflicted about it are still plenty. Those who make a mess and are unable to solve it are a lot. Merger and Retreat Inheritance are a good reminder of this.

                          With Fae, it's even more difficult to say, since the Gentry are this race of alien, mercurial beings hard to decipher. But they're Family, and that complicates things. I think a lot of Beast would be able to see them as awful monsters, especially those who met and got to know changelings who escaped from their prison, and it would be all too easy for those Begotten to understand what it means to be hunted down. I agree that a lot of Beast would not have a good opinion of them, but some might want to hear their part of the story (since they know a thing or two about stories and how they depict certain sides) or even want to avoid that kind of Family conflict.

                          Add to that the fact that when Beasts go bad, they go really, really bad, and it's gonna be clear why things are tough to predict.

                          That's not a bad thing, though: it means that none of us silly Beast fan can have a truly wrong idea about Family relationships and story hooks because there are indeed so many possibilities.
                          Last edited by Cinder; 06-14-2018, 03:22 PM.


                          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                          I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

                          This is what I'm working on

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                          • #14
                            Ah in the discussion of splat comparisons. I'm curious about something and I'd love to hear what you think. Basically the question is, What is the biggest difference between the themes of Vampires and Beasts?

                            Now to give the reasoning. To me out of all the splats beasts can share kinship, the vampires are the closest. From how i look at it Requiem and Primordial are the games most similar to eachother in themes, that is of no longer being human, of possessing a new world-changing hunger that reshaped their lives entirely, and would become a central conflict of their new lives as they win, lose, and compromise with this instinct that now redefines them. Now I know the timelines do have their differences, I'm not thinking their the same thing. But there themes are are so close I sometimes have a hard time getting a grip with the what truly separates them. So again basically the question is what in you opinion is the biggest difference between these two games central themes and how they create a characters story, what are the stark highlight things that makes a vampire's Requiem apart from a beast creating their own Legend?


                            .

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                            • #15
                              To add on to iceblade, do you think there is a connection to the beast of vampires and horrors of, well, beast? Personally, think it's just a coincidence. Yet, the vampires to have the crone goddess

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