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  • Krat05
    started a topic Beast Z-Splat

    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.

  • Krat05
    replied
    I've tried my best to make a category of y-splats for Begotten that could be inserted into the game with ease. I have failed.
    What I have made is what looks like a group of Merits that I call "Paths". The Paths mechanically blur together, with a plus to your Willpower when you act in concert with your chosen Path, & a minus to your Willpower when you act against your chosen Path. You cannot have more than one Path. Acquiring a Path, feels like it should require an appropriate quest & some sort of oath.
    Now, the Paths that I've come up with:

    Defenders: protective of the community in which they live.
    Enforcers: those who see to it that laws, rules, & desires of the Apex are followed.
    Nightmares: dig into the angle of Begotten being scary.
    Priests: self-proclaimed priests of the Dark Mother, though sometimes there is evidence that she acknowledges this status.
    Rebels: identity more as human than as Begotten.
    Scholars: desire to understand the Begotten condition & the other supernatural creatures in this world.
    Teachers: making sure Begotten, especially new ones, know what they are doing.
    Tricksters: trickster-archetype.
    Tyrants: have the belief that as being the Dark Mother's "First Children" or something, their natural place among the other supernaturals is right at the top, above everyone else.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Paradim View Post

    No problem and I appreciate your essays.

    I just wish there was better support on how to better direct the development and usage of a Brood.
    Which is why one of the first supplement ideas I came up with was for the Brood.

    Leave a comment:


  • Paradim
    replied
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    I have discussed Brood as the significant organizational factor before and I didn't drop it in before for idle reasons.

    I have a follow-up I'm currently working on that covers a lot of the ideas presented at the start of this thread with the better context I alluded to earlier, because a more fully formed version of what this thread set out to explore was on my mind as one half of a supplement pitch I am developing.

    And regarding family, I have a further essay coming that is going to explore the role of Family in regards to Beast, alongside the place of Beast in the larger Chronicles discourse.

    In the meantime regarding that latter, anyone who has watched a family drama or comedy can get a gist for it. Heaven forbid, Downton Abbey should make clear the angle of understanding with about three episodes. Apply teeth, fire, and urban mythology and you've got a decent shorthand for some of the things I'll get at.

    Apologies for the shortness-I've got, like, eight fires going on.
    No problem and I appreciate your essays.

    I just wish there was better support on how to better direct the development and usage of a Brood.

    Leave a comment:


  • HelmsDerp
    replied
    Krewes stuck out to me as a relevant model too. Beast came into existence in an awkward place between breaking the mold of five(ish) essentially global albeit locally iterated factions and the more recent expanded second edition mechanics for player led organizations.

    To borrow Hunter terminology, it deliberately eschewed conspiracy level organizations, and I think that's a good thing, but I also think guidelines for compact/krewe/pack level would help significantly with giving players some direction. Cults were a strong addition, one that should be built upon.

    Regarding the Teaching of Lessons: I've been thinking about this off and on, trying to figure out a way to better make what I think was the intended point. Honestly, I think it's framed completely wrong. Beasts Teach Lessons comes across as active and presumably intentional, and this understandably makes many people uncomfortable given the primary tools a Beast has to 'teach' with.

    Consider instead: People Always Find A Reason Why. Beasts don't have to actively teach lessons, their very nature ensures that they are walking cautionary tales. Victims wonder why they were chosen, the people around the victim try to figure out how to make sure it won't happen again, won't happen to them. People are always going to see a warning, always going to look for something they need to do differently. You can't stop that pattern seeking tendency, can't stop people from ascribing meaning to chaos. All you can do is try to steer it, try to determine what you are warning against.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Paradim View Post
    I'll be honest, "when Broods and a proper exploration of Family on the whole" completely loses me. I'm left blinking and I'm not seeing what you mean here. How does a Brood, a close approximation to a Pack to my best understanding (and I'm fine with my understanding not being the best, so I'm interested in further viewpoints on this to better develop my understanding), constitute as covering a "y-splat"? Further, I've no idea how to interpret "a proper exploration of Family" as a means of what a "y-splat" usually covers. Nor am I sure how to even begin to. I'm utterly lost on that.

    Now, it might be obvious to you. And that's fine. But it's not going to be obvious to everyone. And that's also fine. But the books are meant to be a guide.

    My point being with that.... If the concept of Family is to cover the range of "y-splat" social stuff.... I don't really think the books go into that enough to really provide a solid explanation for it. And while I don't want Beasts to have strong social structures either... There's a spectrum of options for how strong or light of a touch can be applied that can help give players of the game more information of what they can do with their games.
    I have discussed Brood as the significant organizational factor before and I didn't drop it in before for idle reasons.

    I have a follow-up I'm currently working on that covers a lot of the ideas presented at the start of this thread with the better context I alluded to earlier, because a more fully formed version of what this thread set out to explore was on my mind as one half of a supplement pitch I am developing.

    And regarding family, I have a further essay coming that is going to explore the role of Family in regards to Beast, alongside the place of Beast in the larger Chronicles discourse.

    In the meantime regarding that latter, anyone who has watched a family drama or comedy can get a gist for it. Heaven forbid, Downton Abbey should make clear the angle of understanding with about three episodes. Apply teeth, fire, and urban mythology and you've got a decent shorthand for some of the things I'll get at.

    Apologies for the shortness-I've got, like, eight fires going on.

    Leave a comment:


  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by Paradim View Post
    I'll be honest, "when Broods and a proper exploration of Family on the whole" completely loses me. I'm left blinking and I'm not seeing what you mean here. How does a Brood, a close approximation to a Pack to my best understanding (and I'm fine with my understanding not being the best, so I'm interested in further viewpoints on this to better develop my understanding), constitute as covering a "y-splat"? Further, I've no idea how to interpret "a proper exploration of Family" as a means of what a "y-splat" usually covers. Nor am I sure how to even begin to. I'm utterly lost on that.
    As a Beast, you are the human vessel of a piece of potent iconography, equipped and encouraged to steer and reflect the activities and aesthetics of other monsters and also, to a less focused degree, humans. You literally have, as innate abilities, scaled-down versions of some of the things an archmage gets from rewriting their place in reality past the threshold of minor godhood, and half your powerset works based on collecting themes and motifs.

    In analogy to a werewolf pack, a brood is like if your pack was built around one or more idigam, in terms of both power and pursuits as well as spiritual impact, with the caveat that those idigam are human-comprehensible beings you can have a reasonable conversation with. Broods are local-scale political entities, but the way the Dream works (and the other Dream, for that matter) means their reach isn't confined to their membership and their material holdings — Chambers are important but replaceable, and building a reputation is one way the Begotten aim for the Apex, just like exploring the history of the hive is one way they facilitate Obcasus Rites and communion with the Mother.

    The other analogy that springs to mind? Krewes. A krewe of the Bound is mostly people (living and dead and in between), with the geist-having membership being a distinct minority with spiritual importance. A krewe's membership could get real big and their reach could extend real far, but ultimately it's a cult whose main policy-drivers are the folks that can universally initiate new members or call upon the belief system's exalted iconography.

    Krewes can get away from the Sin-Eaters that started them. Packs continue to exist in diminished form irrespective of werewolf involvement as long as the totem hangs on. Broods don't have these weaknesses except insofar as Beasts can make stupid decisions about who's allowed in their nightmare-sharehouse and how they handle their extended family. The Begotten don't need the Ordo Dracul or the Alae Draconis to serve as a political faction when every Beast is (metaphorically or literally) A Dragon acting as leader, fixer, and/or mascot for their own subfaction or contributing to the mix for another Horror-having psychic throwback.

    If the crew of werewolves that runs with the clutch of thunderbirds on the West Side has bad blood with the batch of vampires outfitted by the den of serpent-folk by the docks, that's a concern for those groups and whoever gets caught between them regardless of any institutional affiliation they have. The seat of Apex gives local concerns something to fight over besides mortal resources and ideology, but most Beastly organization is going to be cults of personality and other circles of friends/family/"friends."

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  • Paradim
    replied
    So... This is kind of something that has been on my mind a bit. And while the direction of mind takes on this topic doesn't follow the OPs, there are some things being talked on in here that has me thinking and questioning.

    Personally, I think another "axis" would be useful. And for the game as it currently exists... there kind of IS a "y-splat" already existing. Maybe a proto-y-splat. And that is "Lessons". Or rather, the concept that Beasts somehow have this pervasive or ingrained knowledge of the whole "Teaching Lessons" principle in accordance to their instinctual need to Feast. In which case, there would naturally exist two "y-splats" on that axis. "Beasts that Teach Lessons" and "Beasts that don't Teach Lessons". ...So is that all there is to it?

    I guess another perspective on that could be, "All Beasts will Teach Lessons, whether the Beast means to or not." But that is a very Major point to make and one... that the game makes very little deal about. That sounds like something along the lines of "The Wolf Must Hunt", and we can see a game that makes a very effective use of such a statement. "Beasts Teach Lessons" is woefully under supported and...

    Well, it's just utterly lacking, in my view. I would appreciate it better supported (and this is where I've been musing some ideas of, such as maybe a focus on HOW "Beasts Teach Lessons", maybe with splats such as "Guardian", "Avenger", "Instructor", or something... Some story archetypes that get used a lot, maybe?).

    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    Not very well developed, yes.

    But convince me an explicit y-splat is needed when Broods and a proper exploration of Family on the whole resolve that issue within the themes and structure of Beast

    Because honestly, a refocusing on family dynamics and Broods as Political/Mythological Entities is all that needed, and any more organizational focus beyond that begins to destroy the advantages you have from Family on thematic, directional, diversely stratificational, and conflicting levels, and possibly more.
    I'll be honest, "when Broods and a proper exploration of Family on the whole" completely loses me. I'm left blinking and I'm not seeing what you mean here. How does a Brood, a close approximation to a Pack to my best understanding (and I'm fine with my understanding not being the best, so I'm interested in further viewpoints on this to better develop my understanding), constitute as covering a "y-splat"? Further, I've no idea how to interpret "a proper exploration of Family" as a means of what a "y-splat" usually covers. Nor am I sure how to even begin to. I'm utterly lost on that.

    Now, it might be obvious to you. And that's fine. But it's not going to be obvious to everyone. And that's also fine. But the books are meant to be a guide.

    My point being with that.... If the concept of Family is to cover the range of "y-splat" social stuff.... I don't really think the books go into that enough to really provide a solid explanation for it. And while I don't want Beasts to have strong social structures either... There's a spectrum of options for how strong or light of a touch can be applied that can help give players of the game more information of what they can do with their games.

    Leave a comment:


  • DreadQueen
    replied
    Physiological needs aren't the only drive for societies to form.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post
    So something that basic requires an entire meaningless system devoted to it just to act as suggestion boxes to the players but the way Beast society works should be left completely to the player's imagination?
    If you can manage to model a completely mundane social grouping with Merits, you can model a Beast social grouping with Merits. You don't even need Merits for a lot of it, because the way Lairs and Kinship work is Begotten society. You're not drawing on your ties to a global conspiracy, you're keeping in touch with your local esports tourney organizers or maintaining ties with the criminal underworld of your greater metropolitan area.

    Nothing about being a Beast requires high-level organizational structure to manage, because you feed through methods that can be completely innocuous and the only things that catch you out as a Cryptid-Ass Monster-Monster are Heroes and other monsters. Colonies, not covenants; packs, not tribes; motleys, not Courts; Beast politics is literally broods and the people they're attached to, with hives serving as a greater unifying feature of a locale.

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  • DreadQueen
    replied
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    *Which, by the way, you seem to be misunderstanding as a carrot instead of a stick despite me having openly explained that factor, which does not help my understanding of your comprehension, being honest.
    Nah, when reading your thread I pictured it more like the Beast reaching the carrot only to realize that it's rotten because it was poisoned by a Hero.

    By instance, back to Bogeyman, what is the Bogeyman? he's merely the personification of a lesson, "there is punishment for breaking the laws of society".

    So here you have Mr. Bogeyman, he's the principal of the school, he feeds by disciplining the children, over time that becomes his Lore.
    Mr. Bogeyman is a good guy, his presence at school prepares the children for life in society, it keeps them from being near the wrong crowd, it teaches them that there are laws that must be obeyed if we want to live collectively, he becomes good at it, his presence seeps into the collective thought and the kids from the local community grow up to be good law-abiding citizens. (like Werewolves changing the resonance from a place).

    Then someday comes Billy, Billy is a problem child, he doesn't behave regardless of how much Mr. Bogeyman tries to discipline him, Billy does not care about discipline, he looks at Mr. Bogeyman and says "fuck this, this is authority abuse", then someday Billy sees it: Mr. Bogeyman is a monster, now it all makes sense to Billy (even if he got it completely wrong), because Heroes don't look at the bigger picture, they tend to villainize, he can't see the lesson, all he sees is a monster scaring children, and he must fight it. Mr. Bogeyman does not know Billy is a hero yet.

    Billy starts his campaign against the monster, he starts to undermine Mr. Bogeyman little by little with small acts of vandalism around the school, over time, that twists the Lore, and worse: Billy can also influence the collective thought, he starts to seep into the other student's dreams and slowly still a sense of rebellion into the other students. "we must fight the system", over time he forms a small clique of punks that drags the entire school average down eventually making the entire school be seem as a bad place by the community, then with their help they finally fight against the monster and take him down, Mr. Bogeyman disappears mysteriously and is substituted by a much more lenient principal who believes the best way to educate children is to let them whatever they want to.

    A decade later the entire block becomes a bad neighborhood because the kids grew up to be vandals, was Mr. Bogeyman really the villain here?

    This is just an exaggerated example for easier comprehension of course.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post
    So something that basic requires an entire meaningless system devoted to it just to act as suggestion boxes to the players but the way Beast society works should be left completely to the player's imagination?
    Did anyone say that? I said that if you want to design a larger beast society, it should probably not be forced into the y-splat model. You know, just like how basically all other RPGs manages to build setting elements without tying them mechanically to the characters.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post


    Then it is a problem that seems to be common in the recent game lines, but still a problem nonetheless.
    Um. No. Literally no one complains about organizations for Demon or Deviant. People understand needing to make Agencies and how to design cohorts that play big brother to smaller cohorts in response to Conspiracies is part of the game.

    This is because the actual problem has nothing to do with Beast somehow being hurt by a lack of organizational, institutional, or philosophical y-splat and because Beast's big problems in this direction are a) the first edition is unclear on what you are supposed to do via the game's direction of Build Your Lair, direction that most players are trained to get an answer from their y-splat from, and tangentially b) the first edition is unclear on how to communicate family as the way that Beasts see their peers and how (primarily for Beasts) that leads to the usual polticking and cliques people are looking for, but needs to maintain as loose (but we'll come to that later).

    Hungers are at least better understood by the first edition as an single player motivation with a depth and breadth of worthwhile commentary that translates into fun and viable gameplay, but again due to lacking perspective and understanding on the game's central gameplay, it's easy to miss how Hungers work in concert or realize all the things that make it a dynamic and important part of a character's mythos. It has the potential to, people should be able to look at Hunger and go "Aha!, I know what I want to do", but the ball was dropped.

    It is no secret that during the development of Beast, the developer was asleep at the wheel and that the writers went everywhere. I reiterate again and again-Beast has everything it needs to be a great game, it just needs better focus in terms of the direction and writing. THings like the "Lore" system* are considerations for how to build up what's already there, possible additions that might reinforce the themes and ideas at work and open to the space of Supplemental Material, but I would need that system explode when presented in a book before I'd bother adding it to the core.

    The game is flawed and needs to be reworked, and there are portions of the game that could use reinforcing-but borrowing from another one of these rants, I'm not interested in arguments about how the game turned out to be coffee when people thought they were ordering hot chocolate.

    Dig past the surface, look at the big picture, and deal with the sickness instead of the symptoms. Beast very intentionally isn't like all the other games, and trying to bend it into that shape doesn't actually solve anything for Beast.

    *Which, by the way, you seem to be misunderstanding as a carrot instead of a stick despite me having openly explained that factor, which does not help my understanding of your comprehension, being honest.

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  • DreadQueen
    replied
    So something that basic requires an entire meaningless system devoted to it just to act as suggestion boxes to the players but the way Beast society works should be left completely to the player's imagination?

    Leave a comment:


  • Tessie
    replied


    Originally posted by Krat05 View Post
    Begotten society, doesn't really feel very well developed to me. It feels a bit thin. I know of the y-splats being the social angle to the gamelines. So yeah, that's my entire argument. Note that this is nothing more than my opinion of things.
    While I can see the want for a wider Begotten society beyond the Brood (though I would definitely prefer building up local domains), what would be the purpose of tying that to a y-splat instead of developing a wider society in the setting? I think forcing characters into specific organisations with unique advantages clashes a bit with the themes of family and building personal relationships. And it might be impossible to implement without also uniting beasts as a group apart from other monsters, which would seriously hurt the idea that beasts choose their own family freely from other splats as well.

    Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post
    Reading ArcaneArts' thread I can't help but think Hunger should be something that is part of a Lore system instead, think about it, the Bogeyman scares children who don't behave, do that enough and it becomes a part of your Lore, a part of you, so you get mechanical advantage for further feedings in that way (extra dice), but at the same time it might become so ingrained in the collective thought that feeding in a drastically different way wouldn't feel so right, Lessons are more effective when they are consistent.
    As opposed to the bonus already granted to feeding according to your preferences, and the penalty for not feeding according to your preferences?

    Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post
    Having the player work towards creating their story is so much more fun (at least to me) than picking from 5+2 generic descriptions of what type of monster they should be.
    I do agree with this statement. That's why I like how recent game lines have stepped away from forcing you into 5+2 generic archetypes of what type of monster you get to play and instead grants you the freedom to create the character and story you want to play.

    Deviant is particularly good at this. Almost your entire character is built from the building stones provided by the game, untied to any splat axes. The game would be just as mechanically sound if you excised Clades completely and had Adaptations be choices from a list. The only problem is that too much freedom tends to kill creativity, and having five generic archetypes as your first stepping stone (as opposed to five generic archetypes which your character is forced to lean into, as used to be the case) to narrow down your ideas into a functioning character concept.
    For me it doesn't really matter that Hunger isn't mechanically pervasive in the game because it has a huge impact on my character creation process to make my character more interesting. For that purpose it very well could be a question to answer during character creation.

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