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Fan re-write of Beast

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  • Fan re-write of Beast

    So I wanna start off by saying this. I am very conscious as I write this that Beast is, shall we say, a somewhat controversial game. A lot of people have very strong opinions about it. It's been several years, and at this point, I think we've all kind of come to our own conclusions about it, to the point where I don't think anyone is changing their minds. I don't wanna argue about whether Beast is good or not good or anything like that. And what I'm working on right now is not meant as an attack on anyone's love for it. A lot of people love the version of Beast that we have right now. And I don't want to attack that or try to take that love away. I certainly don't want to hurt any feelings. And suffice to say that this isn't something I could do without my fair share of criticisms of Beast, but it also isn't something I could do without my fair share of affection for it.

    That having been said, a passion project I've been working on for the past few days or so has been a sort of deconstruction and reconstruction of Beast. It's currently still gestating in my brain, but I've been getting some stuff onto paper, and I'm wondering if it's something that anybody here would like to hear about, critique constructively, etc. I don't have a full-on write-up of anything yet, just a lot of disjointed notes. Please keep in mind this is not intended to be a "fix" for Beast, and it's not intended to be a "better" version of Beast. It's just something creative Beast sparked in me. Meant to be kind of its own.. uh... beast... It explores its own themes and is meant to kind of follow its own structure. This is not my version of Beast: The Primordial. This is my idea for a game about a type of character called a Beast and they're supernatural but uh they have their own thing going on and also it's still a little baby that isn't fully developed and gosh I sure do hope you like it and if you don't then like don't be mean to me I guess I mean I did my best.

    The Bullet-Points:

    -Dark Mother is a much more antagonistic force in this re-write. In a certain sense, she is "the antagonist" in that she is the one who initiates the story, although the game isn't necessarily meant to be about challenging or resisting her.
    -Being a beast is neither a choice nor something you're born with. It's something the Dark Mother forces on certain individuals, for her own purposes.
    -Dark Mother is also the one who causes certain people to become Heroes.
    -While Heroes and Beasts are still diametrically opposed, both are pawns in the plots of the Dark Mother. The main difference is that Beasts can see her machinations a lot more clearly than Heroes can. Neither is really good or evil. Both have been put in really shitty positions outside of their control.
    -Heroes are, overall, a much bigger threat to Beasts than in the core. To the point where one showing up is a real "shit your pants" moment for a given Beast.
    -Beasts are, at their core, personifications of abstract/intangible fears and anxieties of mortals. This is already in the books, but writing it here is meant to replace Families as your racial splat. Families and Hungers are merged into a single splat that determines what fear you embody and how you feed.
    -Satiety is reworked into a more traditional fuel source, a la vitae, essence, glamour, etc. That's because a lot of its other intended effects are being molded into...
    -Legend. In the core, Legend refers to one of a Beast's Vice/Virtue replacements. In this re-write, Legend is a combo Integrity replacement/Power stat, similar to synergy in 2e Geist. In addition to the usual benefits of power stats (Spend more fuel/turn. Superhuman attributes), Legend gives Beasts more atavisms (more on them later, if people are interested) as it increases, as well as free merit dots (This makes more sense as we go.) At Legend levels 2, 4, and 6, those free merit dots are automatically spent on the Fame merit. Legend replaces Lair from the core, but a lot of the "Lair Traits" get reworked into more nightmares you can purchase.
    -The downsides of Legend pretty much exclusively have to do with Heroes. The higher your Legend stat, the more likely it is that a Hero is going to come after you. A Hero pursuing you also gets to add your Legend trait to... almost everything to do with you. He uses your Legend to resist supernatural powers the same way you would (Even if they're not yours). He gets it as a bonus to his defense when he's fighting you, and can apply that Legend-Defense against ranged attacks. He also adds your Legend to his dice pools to attack you, whether it's a physical attack in combat or some other roll that's meant to ruin your day some way out of combat. This is in addition to several other advantages Heroes have against Beasts. The most significant of which is that a Hero can attack a Beast's legend directly. This is about the only way to reduce one's Legend, but Legend hitting 0 is, you guessed it, game over. Make a new character.
    -A Beast can increase their Legend with normal XP if they really want to, but it's not really necessary. Literally any time a Beast feeds his hunger, they gain a Legend Beat. When those legend beats combine to form enough legend xp to increase the stat, they are immediately spent, and their legend increases. Even if they don't want it to (And they kind of probably don't). Not feeding is not really an option, as going too long without it, worst-case scenario, will end in your death.



    What all of this is meant to add up to and just what the hell is going on in this game (OR How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Elevator Pitch:

    The Primordial Fear (Name-change to make more concrete what it is) is a sort of collective unconscious where all of humanity's fears, anxieties, and all such synonyms coalesce. But the thing about fear is that it typically only lasts until the thing causing it is confronted or it kills you. Either way, it's not meant to last forever. But humanity has this tendency to worry and fret about things that we can't see, or touch, or really put our fingers on. These kind of intangible, lasting fears. And when enough of us do that, it creates this lasting, large, looming anxiety in the Primordial Fear. The Dark Mother does not like when this happens. Why? Who knows. It's something she keeps to herself. Whatever the reason, she's found a solution to this problem. Maybe not a great one, but it works for her. When this happens, she pulls a mortal deep into the Primordial Fear. She channels this fear and anxiety into them and causes them to become a walking embodiment of it. This is what a Beast is.

    This is really only step one of this solution however. Because people still feel these fears and anxieties and, left to their own devices, they'll just manifest another one of these big, unending nightmares in the Primordial Fear. This is why she instills in these Beasts a hunger to feed the fear they embody. As they do so, inevitably, their "legend" grows among the people they feed from. They become known, even if only as a whisper or an urban myth. More importantly, they become associated with that fear. Whether people realize it or not, they start to view the Beast as the source of their fears. The feelings of powerlessness they feel are because of the manager at their job, who rules their store with draconian tyranny. Or their fear of the dark is because of the nameless terror stalking people in the woods. The Beast, essentially, becomes a scapegoat for the fears that already existed when they were just a normal human.

    It is, at this point, that a Hero rises. As a Beast's legend grows, inevitably there is someone who thinks, I have to stop this. Many people, of course, want it to stop, but a Hero takes that responsibility onto themselves. The person who does this finds the Dark Mother's blessings empowering them against the source of all of this strife, though they may never even realize that something supernatural is going on.

    And why does the Dark Mother do this? Catharsis. When people see the Beast, the source of all their worries and fears slain, be it literal or metaphorical, it relieves the tension that has been plaguing the Primordial Fear. The people feel, at least for the moment, that the source of their fears and worries are gone. And the Primordial Fear is able to relieve itself, at least for a time, of the gordian knot of persistent worries that have been persisting through it.

    As a Beast, you have been reborn as a monster. You were born to die. A story has been written, and you have been cast as the villain, whether you like it or not. Sooner or later, a hero is coming to put you down.

    The only question is: Are you just going to lie there and let him?



    If this is something people are interested in hearing more about let me know. I'm gonna keep working on it regardless because my brain has been ticked, and now I have to do it.

  • #2
    *rubs bridge of nose*


    Line's that way, pal.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
      *rubs bridge of nose*


      Line's that way, pal.
      To be fair, it's a line that several white wolf writers are ahead of me in.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Neckbeard the Pirate View Post
        To be fair, it's a line that several white wolf writers are ahead of me in.
        Hmm?

        Did I miss the memo that someone was putting together a Beast 1.5e? Official or STV?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
          Hmm?

          Did I miss the memo that someone was putting together a Beast 1.5e? Official or STV?
          ArcaneArts has referenced that it's on her list of things she wants to do (Reading that she wanted to is what sparked my brain going "How would I do Beast?" and then the 'tism took over) It's not what she's working on right now, but it's something she really wants to do.

          Granted, she's freelance, not staff. So nothing officially announced. But I went archive diving and

          "I will happily admit here:
          How Beast can be reworked is one of my two major obsessions in terms of writing. I think I've missed the current pitch period, but I am not leaving Beast alone.

          And a lot of it is in line with the previous commentary you're referring, and in the same spirit-But oh man I want Beast.

          EDIT For Clarity: This does not mean anything is happening yet. I have nothing to report on the subject. I may end up never having anything to report on.

          But for now, the main follow-up is yet..."

          So, as of now, nothing is happening. And what does happen is more likely to be integrating stuff from the PHB and making the whole thing more thematically coherent and less like 20 different writers were told to go with no oversight. Definitely nothing as dramatic as what I'm working on.. But there is desire on that front.

          EDIT: I'm fairly certain I've seen other writers on the forum say they wanted to do something similar. That's just the one I remembered and could look for.
          Last edited by Neckbeard the Pirate; 02-01-2020, 05:45 AM. Reason: forgot a point

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Neckbeard the Pirate View Post
            Granted, she's freelance, not staff. So nothing officially announced.
            ...and that has completely different and misleading connotations then the term "white wolf writers".

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

              ...and that has completely different and misleading connotations then the term "white wolf writers".
              If I misunderstood something then forgive me. I thought she did work for OPP, and that made her "a white wolf writer."

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              • #8
                So serious question:

                What's the appeal of this to people that like Changeling the Lost already?

                The Dark Mother is now more like a Keeper snatching humans up and twisting them into inhuman things. The main Lost antagonists are more equals (or worse) as either fellow lost, Hedge beings, or the Huntsmen. Wyrd is a double-edged sword that helps you actualize your self but risks bringing you closer to your Keepers designs. Etc.

                The pitch leaves me wondering where the uniqueness is.

                ---------

                Edit:

                On the whole writer terminology thing.

                Onyx Path and White Wolf/Paradox Interactive are two different companies. Working for Onyx Path doesn't mean you're working for White Wolf, even if you're working on a property WW owns.
                Last edited by Heavy Arms; 02-01-2020, 06:06 AM.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                  So serious question:

                  What's the appeal of this to people that like Changeling the Lost already?

                  The Dark Mother is now more like a Keeper snatching humans up and twisting them into inhuman things. The main Lost antagonists are more equals (or worse) as either fellow lost, Hedge beings, or the Huntsmen. Wyrd is a double-edged sword that helps you actualize your self but risks bringing you closer to your Keepers designs. Etc.

                  The pitch leaves me wondering where the uniqueness is.
                  Serious answer: Thank you, because that's a really helpful question to ask.

                  As of now, the main difference between Changeling and what I have here is theme. Changeling is, at the risk of being reductionist, PTSD the game. You've come back from something traumatic, and now you're just trying to rebuild your life. Or build a new one. What I'm going for here is that the traumatic thing is happening now. I'm trying to capture the idea that being a beast is a lot like being tied to a railroad track and you can see the train coming. You've been cast in a narrative where your role has been decided for you and everything is building up to your eventual downfall, and while you can stave that off, you can't exactly stop it.

                  Also pacing is a big thing. Changeling is very much a slow burn. There's a lot of paranoia. Not knowing who you can or can't trust. This version of Beast is intended to play a lot like a roller coaster. Your legend is growing. In fact, it's probably growing pretty fast. The higher it gets, the more fucked you are. In Changeling, you spend xp to increase your wyrd when you want to. Your legend is growing whether you like it or not, and it's growing at a fairly fast pace compared to most supernaturals and their power stats. And it's honestly intended to be less of a double edged sword and more of a burden than most things. Like yes, okay, as legend grows, you become "more powerful." But "More Powerful" in this context doesn't really help you to do anything more than be a more terrifying beast. As a changeling, a higher wyrd is helpful for your stated goal of "re-integrate into the real world and build a new life for myself, and avoid going back to arcadia" because your contracts help you to do that. As a beast, your higher levels of power are kind of intended to feel hollow. In the sort of fun way that power is generally not worth it in the Chronicles of Darkness, and we all play this game because we kind of like playing out fucked situations and trying to fight our way out of or through them.

                  Or at least that's what I'm going for. I think you are right that mechanically, this needs some tweaking to make it more unique.

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                  • #10
                    So... what's the point of asking, "are you going to lie there and let him," if you're tied down anyway?

                    It feels like you're getting too narrow in your design to the point where it's going to start feeling like a module for some larger game than a complete game in and of itself. You're, um, railroading your Beasts onto a very specific narrative, saying they should be defiant, but then hobbling all of their methods of defiance. The pacing aspect certainly isn't helping from a game-play perspective. How are players supposed to actualize standing up and not taking it, if they're shoved to the end too fast to really do much?

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                    • #11
                      *rubs the bridge of her nose*

                      I have the feeling this thread is going to give me a headache later.


                      Sean K.I.W./Kelly R.A. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Sean, Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                      Feminine pronouns, please.

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                      • #12
                        if I may ask, why is the dark mother so...direct in this one? she seems almost like a hyper-focused god machine. why the shift away from a truly atavistic being?

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                        • #13
                          I'm not feeling this. Like at first it seems like a variant where the Guardian Beasts from the Players Guide's beliefs are fact. Save that instead of the Dark Mother being a neglectful parent, she abducts kids to throw in a pit and have knife fights with Thunderdome rules.

                          There's also a level of hopelessness to the scenario I'm not feeling. The Dark Mother is essentially a god in this and she's active, focused, and capable of operating on small scales. You can't win against this thing, or even oppose it in a meaningful way because if you get too close to its weight class I can't see why it won't just crush you into a mushy paste. Basically you're playing Deviant, except your Progenitor is a God with the resources and powers of such.

                          Heroes are well not entertaining. Like I get the idea you want them to be threats, but you've gone about it in a way that's more likely to get the ST punched in the face for than praised. The way their built means the game would need to function like Elder Scrolls:Oblivion as you wouldn't be able to risk becoming powerful since it would passively boost your enemies. Which of course also means you can't oppose the big bad because they can always just create more Heroes and the stronger you get the stronger they are immediately.

                          Not to mention the bit about seeking the Dark Mother's blessing because the fear of this thing gets too great, has two options as I see it. One the Dark Mother is a known deity to the world active churches to the Dark Mother all over and such and shrines etc. Which means you've got churches and such to The Idea of Evil from Berserk.* Which would still be preferable to the option where this implies the Dark Mother is actually the God people pray to in most religions. Trust me I had so much railing from some players just on Demon just because Soul Pacts are titled as such even if they have nothing to do with it; it would not have ended well if the game gave enough evidence that it implied their religion was actually worshiping an entity that directly causes untold pain, suffering, and misery because our species can't not be worried about something.


                          *Actually considering this whole cycle is based on trying to relieve the fact that humans are bleeding worry worts and the solution is to create monsters to fear as a source for those worries it is The Idea of Evil from Berserk.

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                          • #14
                            I have to agree with nalak42, specially when it came to Heroes, just reading about your idea when it involves Heroes makes me ask, why would I play a game like that? just thinking about playing like that becomes frustrating in my head.

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                            • #15
                              Thirded. Demons are constantly on the run or hiding, but the thing is that they're really good at being on the run or hiding, and they only get better at it. And turning from hunted to hunter when they have the opportunity. So it doesn't feel disempowering, only really tense.

                              I'm not saying it doesn't need a partial rewrite, but I'd go with the idea that Heroes and Beasts feed on each other; Heroes abusing someone who isn't naturally a latent Beast can result in them calling for anyone to help, and the Dark Mother answers; her offer is to fuse with a Horror and be adopted, but her price is to fundamentally accept you are defining yourself in opposition to Heroes, one of the furious marauders at the gates. However, with the acceptance it is fundamentally a cycle of abuse, comes the capacity to break it, and turn Heroes back into Oracles (Dark Eras 2; that's what they're supposed to be, but Egyptian Beasts fucked it up).


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