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  • Beast Z-Splat

    So there's this thread called Beast: The Monomyth which is focused on a fan remake of Beast: The Primordial, & there was complaints about it, on the very thread (because of course they were there, where else would they be?).
    Personally I approved of the remake. The x-splats had a very multiculturalism feel to them & the y-splats were cool in looking at how different people would interpret being a Begotten.
    However, among the complaints about the remake, the point about how Beast: The Primordial had no z-splat was mentioned. Which I found very interesting.
    So this thread is looking to try & correct that (assuming you think it needs correcting). At the moment I've got two different ideas to take the z-splat in:
    ● Horror Refinements: the Anakim has the brutes, the brains, & different representations of powerlessness; the Makara has the sea serpents, the tentacled monsters, deep sea monsters, Arctic ocean monsters, tropical ocean monsters, fresh water monsters, & merfolk; the Ugallu has monstrous birds; there's a multitude of dragons; etc.
    ● Roles in Society: the warriors, the scholars, the judges, the executioners, the occultists, the nightmares, etc.

    Any got any other ideas for a z-splat? Or maybe some ways in which the already proposed ideas can be developed?
    Last edited by Krat05; 05-25-2020, 07:16 AM.

  • #2
    To address "correcting" it one first needs to establish what the problem is.

    "Z-splats" aren't any sort of necessity. Some gamelines have them, some don't. Changeling has two (or z and some additional letter) via Seeming, Kith, Court, and Entitlement. Hunter doesn't even have an x and y.

    So the simple absence of them isn't evidence of a problem unless it's a problem in all the other games that don't follow the three axis model.

    A place to hang more mechanics doesn't necessitate z-splats either. We have power selection, Lair Trait selection, Family Birthrights in the BPG, and a plethora of Merits (esp. Kinship Merits) to make each Beast unique. Any Beast can learn to access Obcasus Rites, create Horrorspawn, or form a Primordial Cult. If you want to customize your Horror, or get bonuses towards specific "roles" those mechanical niches already exist without adding a z-splat.

    So, the first question needs to be answered for any productive direction forward: what does a z-splat add to the game that it currently lacks, that such a mechanical layer is best suited to deliver?

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    • #3
      I don’t understand. I know what a splat is, but I don’t know what x, y and z mean.


      “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

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      • #4
        The terms came about when Vampire, Werewolf, and Mage all followed the same pattern: a splat your character was "born" into or was selected for the character by an external force, a splat that was chosen by the character usually reflecting the character's philosophy and there is usually an option for not picking one in-character, and a specialist splat that was a refinement of one of the other two which is generally not available at character creation and is mechanically optional.

        These were dubbed x, y, and z respectively.

        So, in Requiem, your x-splat is your Clan (another vampire Embraced you as it), your y-splat is your Covenant (a vampire group you join to pursue your specific goals, though not all vampires join Covenants), and your z-splat is your Bloodline (variants on Clans that pursue a much narrower concept of the broad Clan archetype).

        After Mage, the gamelines got more experimental with that formula, though almost all have at least and x and y splat (though you could actually argue Beast has two x splats).

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          To address "correcting" it one first needs to establish what the problem is.

          "Z-splats" aren't any sort of necessity. Some gamelines have them, some don't. Changeling has two (or z and some additional letter) via Seeming, Kith, Court, and Entitlement. Hunter doesn't even have an x and y.

          So the simple absence of them isn't evidence of a problem unless it's a problem in all the other games that don't follow the three axis model.

          A place to hang more mechanics doesn't necessitate z-splats either. We have power selection, Lair Trait selection, Family Birthrights in the BPG, and a plethora of Merits (esp. Kinship Merits) to make each Beast unique. Any Beast can learn to access Obcasus Rites, create Horrorspawn, or form a Primordial Cult. If you want to customize your Horror, or get bonuses towards specific "roles" those mechanical niches already exist without adding a z-splat.

          So, the first question needs to be answered for any productive direction forward: what does a z-splat add to the game that it currently lacks, that such a mechanical layer is best suited to deliver?
          When I started this post I didn't have an answer to this first question. Now I do, sort of, maybe.
          I'm thinking how like how Begotten are all family in a sense. What if there are these ancient echoes in the Primordial Dream of old Horrors which made their mark on history. Monsters that have inspired the stories of Grendel, Medusa, Caorthannach, & others. These Horrors have left echoes in the Primordial Dream that resonate to this day. So, the mechanical layer I've come up with here is by digging into the legacy of one of these monsters, you learn to access powers (shall we call them Evolutions?) which dig into the sort of stuff the respective monster was known for.
          How does that work? What are some other ideas for some mechanical layer that a z-splat could bring?

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          • #6
            Heavy Arms thanks 😊

            Wonder why they called it x, y and z instead of a, b and c?


            “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

            Comment


            • #7
              Krat05 I think your idea is cool. Grendel would make a great Eshmaki.


              “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

              Comment


              • #8
                Not a big fan of Beast, but it does capture the icky horror factor of Grendel and his mother (and the Firedrake) pretty well.


                “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                  Wonder why they called it x, y and z instead of a, b and c?
                  For the same reason x, y and z are common variables or used to denote the axes in coordinate systems/charts.


                  Bloodline: The Stygians
                  Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                  Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                  • #10
                    Yep, I needed a reminder why I was essaying.

                    EDIT: also, old relevance.
                    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 05-25-2020, 03:23 PM.


                    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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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Krat05 View Post

                      When I started this post I didn't have an answer to this first question. Now I do, sort of, maybe.
                      I'm thinking how like how Begotten are all family in a sense. What if there are these ancient echoes in the Primordial Dream of old Horrors which made their mark on history. Monsters that have inspired the stories of Grendel, Medusa, Caorthannach, & others. These Horrors have left echoes in the Primordial Dream that resonate to this day. So, the mechanical layer I've come up with here is by digging into the legacy of one of these monsters, you learn to access powers (shall we call them Evolutions?) which dig into the sort of stuff the respective monster was known for.
                      How does that work? What are some other ideas for some mechanical layer that a z-splat could bring?

                      Now this is a cool idea i'd be willing to help work on this project, though i'd argue that taking Legendary Horror covers the 'Z' Splat for Beasts. It's just a customizable Z-Splat.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Krat05 View Post
                        When I started this post I didn't have an answer to this first question. Now I do, sort of, maybe.
                        I'm thinking how like how Begotten are all family in a sense. What if there are these ancient echoes in the Primordial Dream of old Horrors which made their mark on history. Monsters that have inspired the stories of Grendel, Medusa, Caorthannach, & others. These Horrors have left echoes in the Primordial Dream that resonate to this day. So, the mechanical layer I've come up with here is by digging into the legacy of one of these monsters, you learn to access powers (shall we call them Evolutions?) which dig into the sort of stuff the respective monster was known for.
                        How does that work? What are some other ideas for some mechanical layer that a z-splat could bring?
                        This feels like rewarding the player by granting them additional powers when playing towards archetypes which will (in comparison, despite nothing being removed) penalise the player who wishes to create a unique monster. I'm sorry to say it but it feels like a really bad idea.

                        Additionally, gaining access to rarer powers is a concept already fulfilled via Kinship. I think that,along with Inheritances, already fulfils a lot of conceptual and mechanical space that would otherwise be used by z-splats.
                        I mean, look to what roles z-splats in other games fulfil:
                        • Bloodlines in VtR are a mishmash of numerous concepts, and the only thing they all have in common is that they specialises the characters in some way. They're also highly limited to the x-splat (though second edition is steering away from that to some degree). While bloodlines are fun, they're not a useful example to enhancing other games because they're multiple concepts forced into the same mechanical space (which irritates me to no end, but that's a different discussion).
                        • Lodges in WtF are a combination of specialisation and an extension of the y-splat. Quite interesting but potentially not that applicable to BtP since that would be an attempt to bring additional granularity by introducing social groups that share the same extra advantages. A Brood sharing some advantages by tapping into the same part of the Primordial Dream is by no means a bad concept, but I think that should probably have a build-a-Brood style system rather than being tied to a larger organisation (which is also an argument against that type of y-splats).
                        • Legacies in MtA are specialisations of the type of mage you are. This is an important thing to have because MtA has extremely strong x-splats that perpetuate through the entire game. This is in stark contrast to BtP where the two x-splats form multiple combinations and are relatively unimportant after character creation.

                        If you want z-splats in BtP, what purpose would they fulfil in the game? Is it possible to introduce one without restricting the freedom of unique characters and character arcs that BtP offers? Or, alternatively, is that a restriction you're okay with?


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Krat05 View Post
                          So, the mechanical layer I've come up with here is by digging into the legacy of one of these monsters, you learn to access powers (shall we call them Evolutions?) which dig into the sort of stuff the respective monster was known for.
                          How does that work?
                          I think this is too much like Families as they already are. If I want my character to emulate Medusa, the extant rules already provide me all or close to all the tools needed to do so (and obvious design spaces to homebrew something that might not be there).

                          It also doesn't really mesh well with the idea of Beasts seeking to create their own Legends. Seeing Medusa as an icon to emulate in one's on progress isn't the same as turning yourself into Medusa. Especially as such iconic monsters are famous because they die in the end, most Beasts wouldn't want anything to do with following too closely in their footsteps. Beasts chase after Inheritances as moments of self-definition, not copying others.

                          So I don't think, as it stands, it addresses the question. Beast doesn't currently lack anything this idea would add as a z-splat. Beasts can already be created mechanically to emulate specific legendary monsters, seeking to learn Atavasisms to further grow their power in a specific direction, etc. Diving into such legacies doesn't, by itself, seem to require a mechanical layer added to the game.

                          What are some other ideas for some mechanical layer that a z-splat could bring?
                          As Arc already implied, and I hinted to as well, most people would consider it more important to create a true y-splat for Beast as that's something notably missing, even if it would result in something more like Changeling minus Entitlements since Beast already has two default splats.

                          Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                          Wonder why they called it x, y and z instead of a, b and c?
                          To add to Tessie's point about traditional Cartesian axis variables:

                          One of the early points made about how the "default" setup of the first CofD books (five x-splats, five y-splats, infinite possible z-splats) in contrast to the WoD setup was how it achieves far greater diversity with less options (as well as the benefit on cognitive load of have less options to pick from, and easier time designing powers for less options); which is best illustrated as a graph.

                          If you're playing a VtM game your only significant diversity for individual PC creation is your x-splat of Clans and Bloodlines (Bloodlines being "minor" Clans rather than a separate option). While a y-splat axis exists in VtM sects, outside of highly specific situations like playing an Innconu spy in a Camarilla game or something of the sort, in practice VtM games only let you play one Sect at a time within the PC coterie. Thus if you were to graph this on a Cartesian plane, you'd get a rectangle 1 high by (Seven core clans + ST allowed non-core Clans/Bloodlines) wide to represent the diversity of playable options.

                          In VtR, you'd have a square (as the initial three games all did the 5 x 5 splats) 5 high by 5 wide. The area within that square showing how many more options this approach allows.

                          Hence the x,y default, with z being the traditional third axis label

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                          • #14
                            Heavy Arms I forget exactly what a Cartesian plane is, but I get the gist of what you guys are saying. It’s like a graph. Thanks.


                            “It is a far far better thing I do than I have ever done...” Sidney Carton’s last line before going to the guillotine to save his True Love and her husband

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, let me clarify some of my thoughts on this:

                              1) I think where most people are looking for a y-splat is in material that should either be baked in better into the core game experience, and a clear understanding of why and how Family applies to the Primordial world is also a huge portion of the conflict.
                              2) The major "philosophical" argument that exist in the Family really only has two other major arguments, and Beasts who follow them are pretty clearly antagonists.
                              3) I've chatted with Cinder before about how mythology does have long reaching effects on keeping the shape, or at least the idealistic flow, of civiliations down the line, and more concretely how having grandpas in the attic and chaos serpents in the branches would continue down into the street level experience, family politics churning the depths that ripples on the surface, and how that factors into tangible story hooks as well as possible tangible metaphysics for Beasts. It's not inviolable(or even out of left field), particularly as part of the push and pull of Hunger vs Kinship, Harmony vs Discipline, archetypalism vs individualism, etc. to create a scenario where in dealing with your psychospiritual grandpa has perks-but let's make it clear, it also means letting your grandpa in the attic into your life and possibly into your personage.
                              4) Loosely related, the Dark Mother is one of the most active Big Forces in the Chronicles universe in the lives of her related splat, and that has it's own considerations on the subject.

                              It's a better take on the "z-splat" than a lot of other attempts I've seen-but it lacks the full context to really it hit the mark, and I wouldn't really personally think of it in terms of a z-splat*(or y-splat).

                              Also it's motivated by crapcarp, who hates Primordial and seems to identify with Thaddeus, so I also find that suspect, being totes honest.

                              *although the way Changeling and Werewolf have approached their z-splat has definitely applied a crowbar to the concept that reminds me that the old concept of z-splat only barely exists in modern 2nd Edition.


                              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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