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Some thoughts on how I'd like to see Beast

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  • Darkfoxdev
    started a topic Some thoughts on how I'd like to see Beast

    Some thoughts on how I'd like to see Beast

    Tl;dr: letting beasts embody transgression over just fear

    Something that I've been considering as I read through Beast, and reading some of the threads here, I feel that Beast is the (intentional or not) sequel to Changeling the Dreaming that Lost is to DA: Fae. Except rather than from the brilliant and beautiful Kinain, you're playing as the Thallain, the offspring of nightmares, who are the antagonists of that game (oddly the Heroes also feel a lot like Reckoning Hunters but that's another topic entirely). One thing I noticed was the CofD seemed to move away from it's more edgy options, making them unplayable antagonists or else tame them (compare Red Talons to the Predator Kings and the Tzmisce to the Ordo Dracul) and it's easy to understand why, I think some of the more visceral reactions to Beast, despite being not really worse than vampires in a lot of ways, shows how it's important to build a sense of empathy, so I wondered if maybe bring more of Dreaming into Beast might make it more approachable.

    Alot of people I saw commented on the feeling of otherness being a major draw, or push away do to the game's context, from the appeal of Beast. One of the things I liked about Dreaming was it actually had a similar theme, just with a generally more positive depiction. I wonder if refocusing these ideas, capturing the feel of otherness as a sense of purpose as much as playing the villian, wouldn't aid a hypothetical 2e of Beast. Beast borrows a lot of it's ideas from Vampire, the idea of being the monster, the predator among humanity, of needing the harm and abuse them to survive. I wonder if perhaps drawing more from Promethean might lead to a more nuanced look at the "reincarnation of Archetypal Mythic Antagonists" idea. Capturing the feeling of Otherness not as Fear, but as Transgression.

    I wonder if the game were to have a second edition, if it would be better off harkening a bit back towards Dreaming, bringing back the 'born this way idea' the game waffled on, giving your character more control over their hunger; with Hungers that feed on more than just fears, but also specific transgressive emotions, things that snap people away from societies comforts; breaking taboos or keeping secrets [not the fear of them but also the elation that comes with it] and of course fears as well, the lack of safe places to be, so that there is more than one role to be played by Beasts as well as ditching the idea that if you don't intentionally hurt people your inner monster will go and attack random people. Maybe give them their own oneiromancy to keep the wandering in dreams but I'd ditch the idea of unintentional hunting. Give Beasts full control over their hunting (though I'd keep the satiety rules) and instead draw on something closer to Promethean's Disquiet just on a purely social level, letting people as a group come to loath and disgust you if you aren't directly influencing them, eventually creating heroes. It could make Beasts as much as a tempter or an enabler, the devil giving advice that leads people away from what makes them comfortable and safe in addition to getting to be the monster hunting them.
    This one would have nuance while encompassing most of what beast already is as one hunger type. You could easily have Beasts who antagonize others to feed on their fear but also those helping people find their place outside societies boundaries (which could be simple more moral things, like presenting differently but also just as easily be things like helping an uratha join the Bale Hounds since it's where they feel most drawn, depending on your Beast). Basically taking Dreaming's idea of playing myths that inspire creativity and applying the same idea to playing as darker characters that inspire transgression and helping people come to accept their Vice (for good or ill).

    I suppose I'm trying to say that making Beast feel like a more direct darker CofD version of changeling would appeal to me and I felt the need to share. I'm probably missing something that would make this a mess and it might alienate some of the fans the game has due to drifting from what makes it appealing to them, perhaps I'll try bringing something like this into a circle of the crone Requiem game or maybe something with Lost.

  • Deinos
    replied
    Its a merit, but at least its a merit that can get you 10-50 essence and a ton of powers that is normally only allowed for wascally rivals/antagonists.

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  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Aggressive Meme, Emotional Aura and low-level Desire influences sound pretty great for this concept

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Deinos View Post
    Legendary Horror may let you get some Influence and Numina that will be of use.
    ahh legendary horror, how I hope you are expanded into more than just a Merit

    but seriously, while Legendary Horror has its drawbacks, this is a more than fine suggestion to take into consideration
    Last edited by Primordial newcomer; 04-08-2019, 09:24 AM.

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  • Deinos
    replied
    Legendary Horror may let you get some Influence and Numina that will be of use.

    Leave a comment:


  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Deinos View Post

    Soul shock requires an ES Vampires are significantly more likely to kill someone involuntarily than a beast is to scuff up their psyche with a nightmare. And I don't see anything suggesting its a breaking point.
    my bad, just mistook it for a needed requirement

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  • Deinos
    replied
    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

    actually that's exactly what you for Lair regarding breaking points. otherwise I agree
    Soul shock requires an ES Vampires are significantly more likely to kill someone involuntarily than a beast is to scuff up their psyche with a nightmare. And I don't see anything suggesting its a breaking point.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Deinos View Post

    Of course they're going to be people -- until they lose language and tool use.

    If you houserule beasts to have to be these awful, constant bastards, then yeah, the result is that they're going to be boring. That's why I don't get people who want ABAB (All Beasts Are Bastards). They sit at a nice, comfy level of moral ambiguity; you occasionally have to push someone's buttons, but you don't have to go so far as say, draining their will like a changeling, draining their health like a vampire, or inflicting breaking points.
    actually that's exactly what you for Lair regarding breaking points. otherwise I agree

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  • Deinos
    replied
    Originally posted by Spencer from The Hills View Post
    The ideal that appealed to me in V5 isn't a person anymore and it's difficult to write characters that aren't people.
    Of course they're going to be people -- until they lose language and tool use.

    If you houserule beasts to have to be these awful, constant bastards, then yeah, the result is that they're going to be boring. That's why I don't get people who want ABAB (All Beasts Are Bastards). They sit at a nice, comfy level of moral ambiguity; you occasionally have to push someone's buttons, but you don't have to go so far as say, draining their will like a changeling, draining their health like a vampire, or inflicting breaking points.

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  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Originally posted by Deinos View Post

    What are the benefits, in your mind, to reducing the number of character concepts in Beast in this fashion, by making them all Enablers?
    I apologize for being unclear. The powers Beasts currently have are my favorite part of the book. I don't want to replace them, i just want to add newer and more subtle powers that facilitate the less brute force (both physical, magical and social) approach that this thread is positing as an addition.

    Fanmade lair traits like Wondrous and Atavisms like Alien Allure and Mimir's Wisdom are a good start.You can still have your terrifying juggernaut Anakim, but a social Beast has more subtle ways to influence people without the brute force mind control of most Nightmares. Stuff that could reasonably argue as only cultivating what was already in their mind, not just forcing transgression out of nowhere.

    Tl;Dr : Add on and refocus, not replace
    Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 04-07-2019, 01:51 PM.

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  • Deinos
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
    New thought that came up. This refocus might require a rewrite of their powers. If they are subtle tempers, they need powers that are less direct than the current Nightmares, Atavisms, Kinship Merits and Birthrights.
    What are the benefits, in your mind, to reducing the number of character concepts in Beast in this fashion, by making them all Enablers?

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    New thought that came up. This refocus might require a rewrite of their powers. If they are subtle tempers, they need powers that are less direct than the current Nightmares, Atavisms, Kinship Merits and Birthrights.

    Leave a comment:


  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Darkfoxdev View Post

    I'll acknowledge hadn't looked at the player's guide too closely despite having it. I remember feeling somewhat offput by beast after the corebook, and I liked conquering heroes but everything seemed a bit too personal with the way fear was treated as a source of influence, enablers I skimmed but still felt that they seemed treacherous rather than inspiring in the sense I was referring to, however I do notice alot of people stating that player's guide was a major refocus for the series so maybe I should give it a more thorough look.
    you won't regret it, as many who've read it can promise!

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  • Darkfoxdev
    replied
    Originally posted by Deinos View Post
    Enablers tho. They even can be explicitly about transgressions against bad beliefs and there are already rules for changing the collective unconscious, becoming a living myth, and so forth.
    I'll acknowledge hadn't looked at the player's guide too closely despite having it. I remember feeling somewhat offput by beast after the corebook, and I liked conquering heroes but everything seemed a bit too personal with the way fear was treated as a source of influence, enablers I skimmed but still felt that they seemed treacherous rather than inspiring in the sense I was referring to, however I do notice alot of people stating that player's guide was a major refocus for the series so maybe I should give it a more thorough look.

    Leave a comment:


  • Spencer from The Hills
    replied
    Originally posted by Darkfoxdev View Post
    Problem with true monsters, they're shallow, they get boring after about an hour. How many horror film sequels can you play before you're either retreading old ground or taking the game in directions it was never meant to go (like space). Playing a group of hellraisers who both lack empathy and you have no empathy for is not a recipe for a deep or nuanced chronicle, and anything else... eh. I'd rather build it with a nice PbtA one shot, that would be fun for a night with friends and likely only last 6 hours all tolled up.

    I didn't mean that the antagonists were tamed as a criticism but as an observation of need, villians who are villians for the sake of villiany is something stories tend to outgrow as we leave childhood, playing groups wholly defined by their need to hurt others isn't... well human enough. You aren't a person, you aren't a being with connections to a setting, you are a tool with which a problem can be solved or exasperated. The strix, the demons of inferno, even spirits aren't really playable because they aren't true characters. They're static. Either they make like a strix and find new people to hurt or they make like a spirit and sit in one spot and soak up the fruits of villiany.

    When stories were told about the villian it works to make them either sympathetic, or it gives them little character, treating them as a force of nature. Compare the original Dracula to the Bram Stoker's Dracula film or Interview with a vampire. Villians need nuance to be people, and people need sympathetic motives to be empathetic. Even Paradise Lost gives Lucifer a motive that seems sensible at face value (and shaped demon the fallen).
    I agree with this. Take the Sabbat in Vampire: The Masquerade: V5 portrays them as utter monsters, which I liked. But then so did 90s VtM. That was the point of the whole Path system. But for me, all that exposure humanised them, so they felt less like monstrous ids, running around in dead bodies, with weird aspirations to keep them organised, and more like evil psychopaths. Like low, but stable humanity vampires in the Circle of the Crone or Lancea et Sanctum. Of course, humans are capable of horrific things, but that's missing out the potential of monsters*. It even gave me food for thought about the divide between one's morality and conscience, which, given my religious beliefs at time, was quite significant to me. And still very human. The ideal that appealed to me in V5 isn't a person anymore and it's difficult to write characters that aren't people.

    What's more, I think this is a problem for Beast. To me, they look like humans who compulsively need to terrorise people, and incidentally have super powers that put some of the other splats to shame. The fluff about Makara evokes images of leviathans like giant cephalopods, but what makes them scary, besides their size, which is more Anakim's thing, is how distant they are from humanity. But what are you going to do if you spend the whole game in an abyss? I suppose that like the V:tR Nosferatu and the Lasombra, the appeal is that they are of this abyss, perhaps drawn to it, but in the meantime, they still hang out with people.

    *That said, is one of the themes Beast that it isn't worth categorising between people and monsters? I suppose that Geralt in The Witcher says something like this, but its monsters are like those of W:tF and C:tL.

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