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A Different Take: Heroes as Protagonists and Beasts as Antagonists?

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  • A Different Take: Heroes as Protagonists and Beasts as Antagonists?

    EDIT-For the sake of clarity, the intended purpose of this thread was to see if there is potential in a "flipped script" take on Beast using the mechanics of the game and whether or not I should actually buy the book for Beast or if I should save my money and just do a little tweaking to Hunter: The Vigil with the same base concept. It is not intended to attack fans of Beast or anyone else, although I admit I should have made this more apparently clear in my original opening post.


    Alright, it's no secret that Beast is the least favorite of the CofD gamelines in my opinion for a wide variety of reasons that I'm sure most of you already know by now, so I won't repeat them all.

    Normally, I just invoke Rule Zero and excise Beast entirely from my CofD games, but I actually had an idea recently to fix that. It's subversive and intentionally runs counter to the default themes of Beast anyway, but I was never one for thematic purism to begin with.

    I don't like the Beasts and find them unsympathetic, and often times, I actually kind of root for the Heroes and find their strawman portrayals in the early Beast works to be cringe-inducing at best. The fact that the main villains of the game are literally called "Heroes" just reeks of punk contrarianism, which I am not a fan of. But it has given me an idea of sorts.

    What if someone did a fan game that was an inverse of Beast: The Primordial? One where you played as the Heroes and the Beasts were the true evil in the setting?

    Before anyone accuses me of trolling, I want to make it clear that this is not meant as an attack on anyone who likes Beast the way it is. If you like Beast as written, that's fine by me. You do you and to each their own. Have fun gaming the way you like to.

    However, I do not like Beast as written and I want to change it to fit my liking, something more in line of action-horror, dark modern adventure, and stories of Good vs. Evil (with the Heroes being Good and the Beasts being Evil) because that's more to my tastes.

    However, I am not as familiar with the mechanics of Beast (I boycotted the game at launch and so I don't have a copy of it) and I am wondering about the potential of a Heroes fan game, with the archetypes being based on literary and mythic heroes such as Hercules, King Arthur, Odysseus, Robin Hood, etc.

    There could be room for tragedy, a Hero risking becoming the very monsters he fights. However, I like the dynamic struggle between Good and Evil as a theme, even if it is an old one.

    Would anyone be willing to give such a fan game a chance? Is there potential in a direct subversion of Beast's premise?

    Or should I just keep doing what I was doing and act like Beast isn't there in my CofD games?

    Any constructive feedback is appreciated. Let's keep it civil and not bring any off-topic issues into this thread.
    Last edited by Camilla; 03-18-2019, 03:19 PM.

  • Deinos
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I could make a case about the LeS does work in a very human way, even if not in a very good way. There's plenty very human about twisting religion to justify morally reprehensible actions.
    True, but that's... not actually how Humanity works, for anyone but them.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I could make a case about the LeS does work in a very human way, even if not in a very good way. There's plenty very human about twisting religion to justify morally reprehensible actions.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Deinos View Post

    Lancea Sanctum's tactics as working is never called into question. Likewise, they don't pay the humanity piper for their actions. The narrative of God existing and sending them forth is called into question (because Requiem isn't really about metaphysical validation), but their tactics working as far as stoking faith and maintaining their humanity is never called into question. Beast lesson stuff is nothing new for the game, but its called into question for beasts, while LS doing the things that would tank the humanity of any other vampire is never called into question.
    to be fair here, the Lancea Sanctum (and granted this is from their 1st edition supplement) not only bring their faith in to stop their humanity from draining, but also initiated programs like confessions to lift burdens from vampires.

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  • Deinos
    replied
    Originally posted by nofather View Post
    While you could argue that the Lancea et Sanctum are chosen by god to do the will of god, it seems fairly clear that that is them clinging to straws, rather than the developer telling us that god is giving them the go ahead as part of their plan.
    Lancea Sanctum's tactics as working is never called into question. Likewise, they don't pay the humanity piper for their actions. The narrative of God existing and sending them forth is called into question (because Requiem isn't really about metaphysical validation), but their tactics working as far as stoking faith and maintaining their humanity is never called into question. Beast lesson stuff is nothing new for the game, but its called into question for beasts, while LS doing the things that would tank the humanity of any other vampire is never called into question.

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  • HelmsDerp
    replied
    Well, it wouldn't be much of a game if there were never any complications, but I think Beasts with that Atavism wouldn't have too much trouble finding a vampire willing to bite, pun very much intended. Removing most of the effort and worry of feeding is a damn good incentive for an alliance.

    Another personal favorite strategy for low impact feeding: Follow some Summer Court Changelings to a political protest. A few people go home a bit more emotionally drained as the changelings harvest glamour, but it's nothing a good night's sleep won't fix. You can adjust the event based on court. Attend a concert with Spring or a wake with Winter. Help Autumn run the best haunted house in the county. The main thing a Beast has to offer in that dynamic is the relative safety with which they can thwart Huntsmen, given that they have no special weakness to iron and many strong combat powers.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    HelmsDerp, re-reading family dinner, my bad. I misremembered how it worked.

    you do have a point, but it should still be noted that such a smooth partnership would be exceptionally rare. (though I will say much more beneficial than I once thought for the beast. I thought the partner would still have to inspire fear)

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  • HelmsDerp
    replied
    Family Dinner is a very useful dial to have if you want to run stories on the less monstrous side though. There are a fair number of ways to use it for low impact feeding, sometimes even lower impact than the other splats could manage alone, and far lower than if the two were both feeding separately.

    For example, a Beast with Relentless Hunter befriends a vampire and establishes family ties. Once or twice a week they go out and hunt down a mortal and the vampire takes a single point of vitae so the Beast can get that sweet three satiety. The rest of the time the vampire stays topped off on the Beast, who recovers as much blood in two hours as a mortal does in a week. The vamp is taking a fraction of the mortal blood they would otherwise need just to stay alive and the Beast is just tagging along. It's never completely victimless, but it's as close as you can get in these games.

    Sure, it isn't always that easy. You wouldn't want it to always be that easy. But it's a nice option to have. Sometimes you want to play a "designated bad guy" who has worked hard to make a positive difference.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    family dinner, while a very useful ability, should be noted that beast cant expect to find every supernatural, much less think that they will be friendly to them and ALWAYS be friendly with them.

    family dinner in the end has 2 big shortcomings. it relies on the beast being able to establish a relationship with a supernatural who likely wont always be there for him, and 2 hope that new friend is willing to be more overt in his methods so the beast can feed. now the first part can be argued that they dont NEED to be in a relationship, but a beast can only be stealthy for so long before being found out (and this is ignoring have to know the unknowing associated whereabouts). the 2nd part may matter less with werewolves compared to other supernaturals, but for many creatures it's best to be subtle around humans and not cause fear willy-nilly. having a beast tell you to just scare the crap out of someone would be a chore for many (though to be fair, that beast should help in return obviously)

    to end it off, a beast surviving on family dinner is likely only doing that. surviving and never living

    EDIT: I am VERY sorry if I misinterpreted and that you simply met beast DOES have a way to avoid scaring people, instead of saying it was a viable alternative to just feeding themselves
    Last edited by Primordial newcomer; 03-25-2019, 07:59 PM.

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  • nofather
    replied
    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    That I have an idea for. It's mostly that Beast doesn't bullshit around with the fact that you are a monster:
    I think it kind of does, though. Vampire, as disassociated as it is from the act of harming people, doesn't tell people they're out there doing good in the world the way the Beast attempted with its lesson belief system. While you could argue that the Lancea et Sanctum are chosen by god to do the will of god, it seems fairly clear that that is them clinging to straws, rather than the developer telling us that god is giving them the go ahead as part of their plan.

    While the covenants are structures designed to maintain a semblance of humanity as one is already a monster, they're clearly painted as coping mechanisms developed over the ages, rather than the universe going out and telling them 'This is the way.'

    Though I think your perspective on the 'tangibility' of the damage done to humans is pretty well thought out (and that we're a bit likeminded on this point, even if our own opinions on the games are different), Beasts do have a way around it via the Family Dinner option, which is the way to have the fear-mongering monster without the baggage of being a fear-monger, just sort of assisting one. Of course that also weakens my argument about terror in the modern world versus the disassociation of physical harm in tabletop games too.
    Last edited by nofather; 03-25-2019, 07:20 PM.

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  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
    Don’t wraiths feed on being rembred?
    No. What you're thinking of is the Memoriam Background...which, well, not every Wraith has that.

    They feed off of emotions to gain their fuel stat, Pathos. Their Passions are linked to strong emotions that keep a wraith stuck in the Shadowlands/Underworld, usually tied to something in life that they left unresolved. While it's possible for them to gain Pathos from secondhand sources that just experience the emotion, it's easier for them to get it back by experiencing their Passion as a whole. And since some Passions are specific enough to not always occur, that means the Wraith might need to engineer a situation so that they CAN get the Pathos they need...regardless if any mortals involved are aware of it.

    EDIT: Apologies if my answer is a bit rushed, I'm stepping off to work right now.
    Last edited by tasti man LH; 03-25-2019, 06:57 PM.

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  • Konradleijon
    replied
    I’m not a big OWOD fan. Can you explain to my how Wraith went there?

    Don’t wraiths feed on being rembred?

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Still... Changeling the Dreaming and Wraith the Oblivion went there (even if more optionally than Beast) over 20 years ago. Perhaps it's why people talk about the big three instead of the original five a lot, but those two games and some very hard to disassociate from real life ways of 'feeding;' and some of the most disturbing aren't even inherently violent. A CtD Changeling that specializes in Ravaging for Glamour would probably make a good number of Beasts balk at how vicious it is to just drain away all the positivity and creativity via purposeful emotional sabotage on someone until they're a depressed wreck of a human being... and keep doing it until you've broken them completely... is way farther than most Beasts would go.

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  • tasti man LH
    replied
    Originally posted by lnodiv View Post
    I genuinely wonder if the people that look at this game and laser-focus on the fact that the protagonists victimize people have ever played another game of anything in the CofD or WoD.

    These gamelines have had monsters that victimize people for a living (literally) since the very first vampire product was released. This is not a new concept to the setting. Beast approaches the subject matter differently, and the bullshit they tell themselves so they can sleep at night is much more transparently seen for what it is by the reader (bullshit) but if the average vampire player, for example, spent five minutes reflecting on the nature of that gameline's protagonists they'd see through the bullshit justifications there, too.
    Originally posted by nofather View Post
    I have been more than a little surprised at the 'They're monsters!' shock. There was a lot more to have issue with when the game came out than 'They're bad guys!'

    That said, I do think some of it is that Vitae/Lethal damage is abstract enough and non-real enough many people seem disassociated from the fact that vampires drain people's lives away, or it matters less in where the majority of RPGs are of the 'How many did you kill? Because that's how you're rewarded!' mindset that's so commonplace. While in a world of terrorists and fear mongers, having someone try to play upon people's fears and leave them a terrified wreck hits more close to home.
    That I have an idea for. It's mostly that Beast doesn't bullshit around with the fact that you are a monster:

    Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
    While all of the CofD gamelines have some sort of metaphor for playing as "the other", they all offer shortcuts so the negative side of it that can be side-stepped. It not being necessary to drop mortal hunters (Vigil hunters or otherwise) on any of the gameline's monsters, being a monster carrying its own duties that don't involved being ostracized as an "other" (Werewolf, Geist), being the "other" is portrayed as cool, sexy, and empowering (Vampire, Changeling), or even being cathartic in allowing PCs to change the world into a better place (Mage, Hunter).

    Plus, despite CofD (and by extension, its progenitor WoD) lofty (or more cynically, "pretentious") goals of trying to offer more mature and in-depth storytelling versus the EVILS of murderhobo "rollplaying" from mainstream titles like D&D or Pathfinder...there is still an element of escapist power-fantasy involved in the previous CofD games.

    Beast doesn't really allow for that. At least, not in the conventional way.

    As talked about above, Beast does have escapist power-fantasy embedded in it...just not based off of positive emotions. And, as an "other", people don't react well to the idea of embracing their other-ness through negative emotions since it runs counter to everything we're taught about how to achieve integration of minorities.
    For instance, looking at Satiety and the other "feeding" methods of the other CofD gamelines...

    Vampires can make the blood-drinking thing less icky by either investing in the Herd Merit, and rationalize it away as consenting adults being ok with some more intense love bites, or flat out just defaulting to blood bags. Or abstracting the feeding roll to a single dice roll, no scene needed (which even then, TBF, according to Vampire STs I've talked to, it gets repetitive and dull to have to keep doing feeding scenes, so making it the abstract roll is a necessity).

    Werewolves aren't required to kill the targets of their Sacred Hunt, and depending on the game you might actively choose to not even have any Iron Masters around, and thus no humans to worry about Hunting. And all of the other prey rationalize away as not being human at all, or that they're so far gone that they aren't even human anymore.

    Mages and their Mysteries don't require human victims at all, Promethean's Disquiet being something they can't help, Changelings aren't required to be the source of whatever generated emotion is needed to create Glamour, etc.

    Beast, as of right now, doesn't have those convenient shortcuts.

    Even when using Family Dinner, you still have to cause intense fear in their prospective target. There's really no way to get around that, and that's why people tend to draw a line between Beast and the other CofD gamelines.

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  • nofather
    replied
    I have been more than a little surprised at the 'They're monsters!' shock. There was a lot more to have issue with when the game came out than 'They're bad guys!'

    That said, I do think some of it is that Vitae/Lethal damage is abstract enough and non-real enough many people seem disassociated from the fact that vampires drain people's lives away, or it matters less in where the majority of RPGs are of the 'How many did you kill? Because that's how you're rewarded!' mindset that's so commonplace. While in a world of terrorists and fear mongers, having someone try to play upon people's fears and leave them a terrified wreck hits more close to home.
    Last edited by nofather; 03-25-2019, 01:54 PM.

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