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Some Assembly Required - Houserules and Beast: the Primordial

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  • Some Assembly Required - Houserules and Beast: the Primordial

    Some assembly required…

    The goal of this essay is to situate itself along the gamut of positions regarding Beast that range from “perfect as is” to “reboot the whole thing.” As the title suggests this essay is about how one can make adjustments (house rules, game hacks, etc.) to Beast: the Primordial. Before we get into the areas where I personally believe such adjustments are necessary, I want to discuss everything good about the game. In essence, all of the things a home-brewer can easily leave alone because they function very well in concert.

    In Beast: the Primordial, players play chthonic horrors that feed on people’s fears. These entities quite literally are the monsters in the closet, the boogies under the bed, etc.

    If you’re going to play this game, you absolutely need both the main rule book and the player’s guide. And you are probably going to have to make house rules for various things in the game to keep your troupe happy. The reason for this is because main rule book was not the best product ever produced by OPP. I won’t belabor its many issues here (as they’ve been discussed ad nauseum over the years); however, the player’s guide is indispensable because it makes the first attempt at cutting the Beast’s rough diamond into a gemstone.

    So, let’s talk about “The Good”:

    Families & Hungers – On the forums we often refer to these as “X and Y splats.” Mechanically they’re handy taxonomic organizing units that inform the players as to what base abilities and archetypal outlook they can generally expect from selecting one or another of the Families or Hungers. More directly they inform the player about what groups their character belongs to.

    Life & Legend – These are interesting anchors and really help align the opposing stresses the average player character should be worried about with their character. On one hand you have an all-too-human lifestyle which must be maintained so that you don’t attract too much attention from the things that are out to eat you (which is primarily heroes, the putative foil to your escapades). Counterpoint to your Life is your Legend. The Cthonic thing that linked itself to you through the Devouring seeks aggrandizement and together you just might be able to spin a yarn for the ages.

    Primordial Pathways (i.e., all the places I’m not supposed to be) – Similar to Mages, Beasts are highly mobile. Not only can a Beast traverse various Astral Realms but the can harness their connection to their Horrors to navigate the entire gamut of Chronicles of Darkness’s cosmology. And with Skeleton Key they can crash existing gates into such places. For the storyteller and the players, this creates storytelling opportunities the likes of which are really only comparable to those available to players of Mage: the Awakening.

    Lair – One of the most unique aspects of Beast: the Primordial is its supernatural tolerance trait. Rather than simply being a measure of a Beast’s supernatural power it also represents a character-specific setting (or really a series of linking character-specific settings) unique to every Beast. Among the things this particular feature evokes is the familiarity of video games like Castlevania and board games like Boss Monster. No other RPG makes these kind of popular culture references through a primary feature of the game.

    The Primordial Dream (and everything connected to it) – Only fully developed in the Player’s Guide, the Primordial Dream setting is a fantastic take on dreamscapes and nightmare realms. A troupe hardly needs to travel to alien settings when there are so many things to do right in their backyard. (Again, in exactly the same manner as the Supernal Realms in Mage: the Awakening.) What is being afforded here is choice! Choice of setting. Choice of story. Choice, choice, choice. This is a very good thing.

    “Inception” (I actually call this Dream Rhetoric but, in the game, it doesn’t have a distinct name) – Beasts can alter the beliefs of others while they are gallivanting about the various dreamscapes. This is a subtle and frequently overlooked method for exercising your Legend (the anchor) and building your legend (personal notoriety).

    Satiety & Feeding – Satiety is a novel power stat, not the least because it is intertwined with what would traditionally be the “morality” stat (I personally call these spiritual health stats).
    Overlooked by some is the fact that for the first time there are specific Conditions that go along with various states of “fullness” and “emptiness”. While being on “empty” might cause a character issues in another RPG, like Vampire: the Requiem, here “fullness” and “emptiness” are primary features that drive variations in gameplay and are directly engaged in helping players navigate the Experience economy. Similarly, the approach on Feeding takes on a proportionally important aspect in game play with entire scenes needing to be devoted to it. If this seems like too much of a time commitment don’t despair, simply have your player describe their feeding plan, determine the dice pool, roll for results, and treat the feeding scene as a brief bridge between other more important scenes. Like with all resource harvest scenes in Chronicles’ RPGs, feeding can be either a central feature or take a back seat to more interesting story aspects. Its not different simply because the end “fullness” state impacts what players can and may do in the game.

    Atavisms, Birthrights, Lair Traits, Nightmares, & Obcasus Rites – The suite of supernatural abilities that Beasts possess. These are excellent, for the most part are well thought out, and serve to really round out what makes a Beast a monster when compared to mere mortals. If there was one thing I might change here, it would be to remove the Obcasus Initiate Merit and simply open access to Obcasus Rites to every Beast. More on this later though when we discuss “The Ugly”.

    Horrorspawn (i.e., look at my legion of children) – Nothing says chthonic horror like offspring. Horrorspawn puts every Beast in the position to play a Dagon-like character lording over a horde of Deep Ones. This common horror trope (see for instance, “The Shadow over Innsmouth”, Slither, etc.) and like so many other parts of the game provides story options and opportunities to both exercise one’s Legend (the anchor) and expand one’s legend (the notoriety).

    Herald – All the benefits of a Ghoul without any of the messy addiction issues. The customized Retainer that every monster should have. Absolutely great because it provides yet another layer of story opportunities.

    This has been “The Good” vis-à-vis Beast: the Primordial. If you’re a homebrewer thinking about “fixing” Beast, my advice to you is, don’t touch any of things listed above. They all work (more-or-less) perfectly as advertised and, with those features alone you can run a Beast game that is going to be enjoyable and interesting.

    So, let’s talk about “The Bad”:

    Satiety is your (so-called) “morality” stat. Bad(?)—this is a matter of perception.

    Personally, as I’ve said, my take is that these “morality” stats are actually spiritual health stats. From this point of view Satiety works perfectly as is. It’s a visceral, dynamic spiritual health stat. When it's full, everything is fine, your “spirit” takes a nap, and you’re human again. When its empty, you’re in trouble because your “spirit” is literally starving to death. For a game about Beasts and Hungers this works! Full. Stop.

    Rhetorically, “What’s the issue then?” Having read through and participated in so many of the debates over the years I’ll say that unlike other Chonicles’ RPGs there seems to be no consequences for a Beast’s monstrous actions. This makes it quite unlike the other games and causes a sizable portion of the community no small amount of discomfort. Consequences for spiritual health are spelled out and readily visible in each of the other game lines.

    There are consequences though. Every time a Beast spends Satiety they are effectively damaging their own spiritual health. It’s almost as though they were suffering a Lethal wound to empower their supernatural aspects. Remember, at zero Satiety, a Beast’s Horror is literally starving. To. Death.

    There are other consequences. Certain behaviors by Beasts cause the creation of Heroes or allow Heroes to Track Beasts. Except of course when they don’t. This is because in the main rule book there’s often a takesie backsie tug-of-war with the deployment of Heroes as the natural consequence to a Beast’s monstrous activity. (One of its many editing issues.)

    House Rule Suggestion #1: Whenever the text suggests a Hero is created or would engage in Tracking a Beast, the Storyteller makes it happen (which might mean the storyteller simply rolls a stock Hero’s investigation dice pool). Heroes are not an optional feature of the game. They’re the primary antagonist. Necessarily treat them as such. No takesie backsies. This is a game of cat…and also cat.

    Now there are likely to be some who don’t find the “I’m literally starving to death here” and/or the deployment of Heroes (a dangerous physical threat in the hands of a competent storyteller [Protip: Antagonists do whatever the storyteller needs them to, regardless of game-like mechanics.]) to be sufficient consequences for the terrible things Beasts do. And so, the question becomes what else could we do with house rules to showcase consequences?

    Not long ago, Arc wrote an essay on din-Lair, or as she eventually called it Lore. It was an interesting essay, full of all kind narrative ideas for how a Beast’s actions shape the world around themselves. One house rule approach would be to take this idea and run with it. (More rhetorical questions follow.)

    How might this work?

    One approach is to add another 10-dot statistic to the character sheet. We’ll call it Lore. (We could just as easily call it Fable or some other synonym for Legend but, Lore is just fine.)

    What is Lore for?

    Thematically, Lore is representation of a Beast’s quest to construct a legend (the notoriety kind) for themselves and their Horror. We know from Inheritance that this kind of legend is one of the key components for evolving into an Incarnate Beast. This Lore trait then gives us a way to represent that mechanically.

    How could it work?

    Mechanically, one manner in which we could implement Lore is in the following way.

    Lore is a trait that starts at 1. To increase it we have to earn special Lore Beats which convert to Lore Experiences which must be used to purchase Lore dots at the rate of 5 Lore Experiences for 1 Lore dot. We earn 1 Lore Beat every time:
    • A victim of our Feeding loses 1 Integrity from the Breaking Point caused by the Feeding.
    • We “kill” the Dream Form of our victim during Feeding
    • We roll an Exceptional Success when activating an Atavism, Invoked Lair Trait, Nightmare, or Obcasus Rite.
    We straight up gain 1 Lore Experience every time we kill (really kill) our victim while Feeding. (Yes, the Dark Side is the fast path to power.)

    What happened to the consequences you promised us?

    We’re getting to that. As part of our implementation of Lore we’re going to implement a series of knock-on effects.

    Part 1: Lore impacts the Heroic Tracking mechanics. Each time Heroic Tracking would be apply to a Beast, the Storyteller rolls the Beast’s dots in Lore as a dice pool. The results of that dice roll are as follows:
    • Dramatic Failure: The Hero is completely oblivious to the disturbances caused by the Beast and their Horror. The Beast’s Lore is reduced by 1 dot.
    • Failure: The Hero is generally aware that the Beast and their Horror are causing disturbances but is unable to discover any damning information.
    • Success: The Hero discovers an important Clue regarding the Beast and their Horror.
    • Exceptional Success: As above, except the Hero also learns of the Beast’s whereabouts or the whereabouts a physical location corresponding to one of the Chambers in the Beast’s Lair.
    Related, each time a Beast purchases a new dot of Lore, they also check Heroic Tracking to see if their legend (notoriety) is great enough to attract a Hero’s attention.

    Part 2: Even though we haven’t discussed it yet, themes of family and kinship are interwoven throughout the game and, here’s one of the places we going to leverage those ideas to do something new. When a player makes their Beast, they and the storyteller should write up a network of the personalities surrounding the Beast and having a part in the Life and their Legend.
    This could be as simple as a network diagram of names; however, this should be a tiered list consisting of
    1. Familiars (anyone with the Family Ties Condition in relation to the Beast),
    2. Family (anyone related to the Beast through genetics, adoption, and similar relationships, to three times removed) [Remember not all of the people who might qualify for this status are actually going to be part of the Beast’s story. So, no need to make an exhaustive list.],
    3. Friends (people the Beast enjoys interacting with),
    4. Acquaintances (people the Beast interacts with regularly, e.g., co-workers, the barista at a favorite coffee shop, the ticket seller at the movie theater, etc.),
    5. Victims (people the Beast has fed upon)
    6. Strangers (everyone else)
    [Note again, no need to make an exhaustive list. Other Beasts are not on this list.]

    Any time a Beast does something which causes them to gain or lose Satiety, the top-most person (or entity) on the list [storyteller should substitute folks from the list the feel will be interesting for the overall story] that is in the closest physical proximity the Beast suffers a Breaking Point (or the equivalent). If that Breaking Point results in the loss of a dot of Integrity (or the equivalent) then the Beast gains 1 Lore Beat.

    The point here is that we’ve added a game mechanic that while it doesn’t directly make Beast’s deal with the consequences of their actions, someone else, someone very close to them probably, is going to. Personally, I think this is an interesting set of mechanics because:
    1. Someone’s paying the price for the Beast’s activities (there are consequences).
    2. The people paying that price are the one’s closest to the Beast.
    3. It allows the Beast to maintain their illusion that everything is going swimmingly when in reality, everything around them is going off the rails. This is interesting. Not even Promethean does that.
    4. Feeds back into the Hero mechanic.
    There are, of course, other ways to address the consequences concerns, all having to do with reworking Satiety into more traditional looking fuel and spiritual health traits. There’s nothing wrong with these approaches. I personally didn’t take it here with the above hypothetical because I wanted to try addressing consequence concerns without disrupting the novel approach Satiety takes to spiritual health and supernatural fuel.

    “The Bad” #2 – Lessons & the Teaching Thereof

    The role of Beasts as the arbiters of cautionary tales is something that was added to Beast: the Primordial in the time that lapsed from it’s Kickstarter manuscript to when it was finally published. Its primary goal is to provide a (so-called) morally-palatable(ish) Feeding opportunities.

    “Terrifying someone to within an inch of their life isn’t so bad, if it also teaches them a lesson” [paraphrased from many arguments for Lessons].

    The question is, does the game need this? If you believe consequences are a problem for the game and don’t do something like the above hypothetical hacks, then the answer is going to be yes. The reason for this is that Lessons moves the bar on feeding from consequenceless psychological abuse to purposeful moral correction.

    Unfortunately, the optics on this move are a bit iffy. Allegorically, Beasts are intended to be representative of people who don’t seem to fit into society under normal circumstances (and any minority group works here). However, Beasts are supernaturally powerful and rarefied and once we place them in the teaching role they begin to lend themselves to two very different allegories than the one that was intended. Depending on how we interpret the text we read, we might find that our allegory of people who don’t fit shifted to victims out for revenge or, we might find that our original allegory shifted to privileged people exercising power over the helpless. These are categorically bad allegories. We would be right to reject them.

    Can we then employ Lessons as an alternative to consequences?

    Nope. If we’re really concerned about consequences to actions it's better to embrace the bull by the horns and write house rules like the ones showcased above.

    Does this mean the idea for Lessons is moribund?

    A lot of text was spent on it in the players’ guide after all… And, it appeals to a sizable sub-section of the Beast community. Actually, we can preserve the idea, either narratively as the players’ guide describes it or by instituting some helpful game-like mechanics.

    For our next hypothetical hack, let’s assume we developed an implementation for Lore like the hypothetical one above. The way the hypothetical is implemented, it might be possible to accumulate a lot of Lore really fast. This could potentially cause all kinds of problems for a Beast. What if a Beast had a way to sell Lore back (sort of) and fix some of the mess they create with our hypothetical implementation of Lore.

    Thematically, Lessons then are going to represent a kind of spiritual nurturing (which is one of the metaphors used for teachers historically). The goal isn’t the Lesson itself but rather repairing some harm to another’s spiritual health. We use a Lesson only because that’s the set of tools that Beast has on hand.

    Mechanically, we might implement this system in the following way. The Beast goes through all of the normal steps to prepare for feeding, instead of gaining any Satiety at all though, the following effects apply on the roll results:
    • Dramatic Failure: The lesson backfires and the victim becomes a meal. The Beast gains 1 dot of Satiety, the victim automatically loses 1 dot of Integrity, and the Beast gains 1 Lore Beat.
    • Failure: The lesson fails to make an impression. The victim gains no bonus dice to their Breaking Point roll.
    • Success: The victim learns a needed lesson. They gain a +1 die bonus to their Breaking Point roll for each success that the Beast rolls. If the Lesson’s Base potential was 1, the Beast loses 1 Lore Beat. If the Lesson’s Base potential was 3, the Beast loses 1 Lore Experience. If the Lesson’s Base potential was 5, the Beast loses 1 Lore dot.
    • Exceptional Success: As above, except if the victim rolls an exceptional success on their Breaking Point roll, they gain 1 dot of Integrity in addition to the normal benefits for exceptional success. The Beast’s loses 1 Lore dot in addition to the other effects.
    Quite literally a Beast sacrifices their own gain for another’s benefit. (Or, attempts to at any rate.) In addition to providing a useful Lore management mechanic, we also now have a mechanic that feeds directly into the Heal the Hero Inheritance.

    “The Bad” #3 – Community Among the Begotten (a.k.a., “there’s a z-splat for this game, right?”)

    It’s a false assumption to assume that every Chronicles game has an extra archetype. Indeed many of the extra archetype’s are less “z-splat” and more “x-splat+”. Examples include Bloodlines in Vampire, Lodges in Werewolf, Legacies in Mage, etc. Interestingly Demon doesn’t have anything like one of these. You have your Incarnation and your Agenda. That’s it.

    When it was first published, Beast was similar to Demon in this regard—you had your Family and your Hunger. And, that was it. If one looks at the forums there’s been a recurring theme of “what’s the z-splat for Beast?” in many posts over the years. It’s safe to say that there’s a chunk of the Beast community who want that. So much so, that an attempt was made to address it in the players’ guide through the introduction of seekers and incarnation cults. That the topic keeps coming up though is a signal that the treatment wasn’t sufficient in some quarters of the community.

    In a lot ways though, we already have everything we need to do to fix this. It’s evident from the text that the authors conceptualize both seekers and incarnate cults as kinds of mystery cults. We already have rules for mystery cults. Mystery Cult Initiation is a Merit, and the rules for it (are sadly not in any of the Beast rule books) can be found on pages 51-3 of the Chronicles of Darkness main rule book.

    Here the solution is just to turn the crank on the mill.

    Would it have been nice if the mill had already been turned?

    Sure. But this is an area that’s already well-defined in overall rule set. So fixing it with house rules isn’t going to be much of a challenge or an issue.

    This brings to the end of “The Bad” with Beast.

    Which brings us to “The Ugly.”

    First and foremost is Kinship and the entire “Family” allegory. This is an allegory that simply doesn’t work for a portion of the Beast community. And really as we’ve seen, the game is already arranged such that it’s easy to simply skip employing something which would normally be a central feature of the game.

    There are two key problems for Kinship. One of them is that you don’t need it or any of its mechanics to enjoy Beast. The second is that its entire ruleset and accompanying narrative is only in the game to service the “crossover” aspect of Beast. The fractured nature of the main rule book’s overall narrative doesn’t do it any favors. Also not helpful, all the cringy ways in which some of the Kinship abilities read.

    (I’m sorry you can’t force people into your “family” and spying on the meal table from a hole in the ceiling while everyone else eats hardly sounds like a “family dinner.” Read unsympathetically these sound more like stalker metaphors than family metaphors. Beasts are already chthonic horrors; they hardly need to be fairly mundane stalkers too. Just. No.)

    In so many ways, Kinship feels like a not particularly well executed DLC on what is otherwise a fantastic game.

    Rather than eliminate Kinship outright though, we could try preserving it by making it a more obviously optional factor of game play.

    Now one can argue that since Beasts are metaphysically descended from some ur-being called the Dark Mother and that, by virtue of this metaphysical relationship they are also metaphysically related to everything else that goes bump in the night. But this doesn’t really seem to be a central feature of the game’s mechanical systems. And even though it’s threaded through much of the narrative, it reads more like something that Beast’s believe than actual metaphysical fact.

    The question becomes is there a way to preserve the Family allegory stuff without making seem like it’s a more central part of the game than the mechanics actually suggest?

    There are a lot of ways to accomplish that very thing. One method that could be tried is to rewrite all of the Kinship abilities as Obcasus Rites. Another method we could use is to rewrite all of the Kinship abilities as Merits or parts of one or more Merits. For our hypothetical rules hack I’m actually going to suggest a combination of these two approaches.

    Thematically what we’re going to do is one of two natural fits for the whole potential metaphysics issue—religion! (The other being philosophy.) For our hypothetical rule hack, we’ll make a new Merit. Call it Mysteries, so as to invoke the ‘come to the Dark Mother and learn at Her motile appendage’ aspect of religion. We’ll absorb the Guidance ability from the players’ guide into this. Our hypothetical Merit might look like this:
    • 1st dot: Character gains the Guidance ability (exactly as it’s written in the players’ guide) and the Thicker Than Water ability (exactly as it’s written in the main rule book).
    • 2nd dot: Character gains the Family Resemblance ability (exactly as it’s written in the main rule book)
    • 3rd dot: Character gains the following ability:
      • Profane Adoption
        • Systems: This ability can only be employed on entities which are either Descended from the Dark Mother or Fundamentally Human. The participating entity (i.e., the supplicant) must do so of their own free will and cannot be coerced into participating through supernatural means.
        • Cost: 1 Willpower dot paid by the Beast + 1 Willpower point paid by the supplicant
        • Dice Pool: Horror’s Finesse + Occult
        • Action: Instant
        • Roll Results:
          • Dramatic Failure: The adoption fails spectacularly and, the Dark Mother disowns the supplicant, causing the Beast’s Horror to treat them as an entity for whom Kinship Does Not Apply. Note that another Beast might be able to use this ability on the supplicant; however, the supplicant is forever more immune to the Thicker Than Water ability.
          • Failure: The adoption fails and neither the supplicant nor the Beast gains any benefit.
          • Success: The adoption succeeds. The supplicant gains the Family Ties (Persistent) Condition with respect to the Beast.
          • Exceptional Success: As above, except that the Dark Mother blesses the adoption. The Beast loses a Willpower point instead, while the supplicant pays no cost at all.
      • 4th dot: Character gains the Passing Resemblance ability (exactly as listed in the main rule book).
      • 5th dot: Character gains the Family Dinner ability—with Satiety gains exactly as listed in the main rule book but with the following caveats:
        • This ability only works on entities that count as Descended from the Dark Mother.
        • The Beast needs to have been freely invited to witness the hunt or feeding by one of its members, who cannot be compelled to extend the invitation by supernatural means.
    This Merit accounts for all of the parts of Kinship except Mother’s Kiss. Mother’s Kiss we’ll simply reclassify as an Obcasus Rite (which makes it much more difficult and meaningful to employ). We’ll also tweak the requirement for Obcasus Initiate from what’s listed in the players’ guide to require 1 or more dots in our new Merit – Mysteries.

    Now rather than being a (somewhat overwrought) core feature of the game, Kinship is nicely folded into the religion that all Beasts share – the mysteries of the Dark Mother. It’s also a more clearly optional aspect the troupes are free to explore or not without feeling like they’ve missed some important aspect of the game. We’ve also changed the family allegory from something that seems like an overbearing fact to something that delves more deeply into the spirituality of Beasts as characters. (We’ve also fixed one of my “inane” pet peeves with this game, over-incentivizing the utility of Beasts to other supernatural entities. Honestly, players don’t need game-mechanic incentives to work with one another.)

    “The Ugly” #2 – Inheritance
    The issue here is that many of the Inheritances are allegories for suicide. Personally, I find suicide allegories extremely distasteful and the approach taken (remember our allegories: you’re someone who doesn’t fit into society and so, eventually you might choose suicide) is super unhelpful. I’ve written hacks for these in the past but mostly my advice to those who find these allegories also distasteful is to rewrite the Inheritances with two clear notions in mind: sometimes characters die (or get their souls sucked out) and myths evolve over time. A way to approach reworking the Inheritances focuses on interlinking them in a way that one Inheritance might lead to another, and another, and so on, and so forth.

    Hypothetical hacks for reworks might look like the text below:

    Death
    A Beast’s Horror is a scion of the Mother of All Darkness. As such Beasts are not easily killed. And even when they die, some portion of their essence continues on.

    A Beast cannot really die unless the Heart of its Lair is destroyed while its merged with its Horror.

    When a Beast dies in the mortal world of the Chronicles of Darkness, its soul, the Horror, undergoes a transformation into one of the Unfettered--ephemeral nightmares that slumber within abandoned Chambers in the Hive and stalk mortals through the Primordial Dream.

    If a Beast’s Lair is destroyed while the Beast is not merged with its Horror (a rare occurrence), its Horror dies. When this happens, the Beast’s Lair trait immediately becomes zero, he loses all of his Lair Traits, and immediately gains the Soulless (Persistent) condition. While under the effects of the Soulless Condition, the Beast neither gains nor loses Satiety. He cannot employ Atavisms or Nightmares and, for all intents and purposes is a human. This condition persists until the Soulless Beast passes away (from natural or unnatural causes), he gains a new soul, or he is Claimed by an Unfettered or some other ephemeral entity that looks for such empty vessels.

    If a Soulless Beast gains a new soul it slowly transforms into human, replacing it’s Satiety with an equal amount of Integrity and losing all Atavisms and Nightmares in the process but gaining Unseen Sense (Beasts).

    The Beast Unfettered (The Retreat)
    Becoming Unfettered is not a matter of retreat. All Horrors can withstand the loss of their human bodies. (I.e., ignore the Initiating the Retreat section.) The Unfettered otherwise operate as described in B:tP except as follows.

    Lair: Unfettered retain the Lairs that their Horror-self dwelled in while their Beast was alive. These forlorn places drift to the bottom-most part of the Hive where they lay forgotten at the ends of unused Primordial Pathways. Each of the Lair’s Chambers still has the Lair Traits that it had while the Beast was alive but, the Unfettered cannot exert any control over them or employ them in any conscious manner. This is not a matter of statistic recorded on a description of the Unfettered but rather describes the den in which the Unfettered slumbers away its meals.

    Slumber: Like Horrors, Unfettered will slumber once they’ve consumed enough Essence to fill their reserve. They always return to their Lair to sleep. As more ephemeral version of its former self, an Unfettered’s Size remains the same as its Size when it was a Horror.

    Manifestations: Unfettered gain one Manifestation + one additional Manifestation for each dot of Lair that they have as soon as they become one of the Unfettered.

    Second Chances
    Unlike other Soulless mortals, Soulless Beasts maintain tenuous connections to both the Temenos and the Primordial Dream. These connections take the form of crumbled and ruined Oneiroses and overgrown, seemingly abandoned Chambers. Horrors instinctively avoid such places but Unfettered and other, darker entities, are attracted to them.

    The vast majority of those few Beasts that find themselves Soulless do not remain so for very long. The Soulless are magnets for ephemeral entities that desire access to the living world of the Chronicles of Darkness. Of particular significance is that Soulless Beasts gain the Resonant Condition as soon as an Unfettered enters their Chamber.

    At that point, the Unfettered may use its Influences to Strengthen the Chamber eventually bringing about the Open Condition. From there the Unfettered will Possess the Soulless Beast. If no one notices, a pattern of repeated Possession occurs until the relationship progresses to Controlled. Once a Soulless Beast has been Controlled by an Unfettered, the Unfettered can Merge with it.

    The Beast Rampant (The Merger)
    The effects of an Unfettered Merging with a Soulless Beast work exactly as the Merger is described in B:tP except as noted below. For all intents and purposes the Merger works in a similar manner to the process of Claiming.

    Merger Effects: The Rampant may select one of the following three options for each Rank possessed by the Unfettered doing the Merging.
    • Armor: As described in B:tP.
    • Body Warp: The Rampant may select a Dread Power. See CofD and W:tF. This rule replaces those found in B:tP.
    • Increased Attribute: As described in B:tP.
    Increased Awareness: All Rampant gain this Merger effect for free.

    Rampant also retain access to any Atavisms or Nightmares that they had in life but lose any Manifestations and Numina that the Unfettered Merging with them possessed. They have an effective Lair rating of 0.

    Rampant otherwise operate exactly as described in B:tP. Many Rampant eke out short, brutal lives that frequently end on the tip of a Hero’s spear. Occasionally other Beasts find Rampants and grant them succor within the confines of their Lairs allowing both of them to realize several mutual benefits. There are also persistent but unsubstantiated rumors that some few Beasts have found a way to raise Rampant up from their semi-human bestial nature back to full Beasthood, splitting the Merged being back into Beast and Horror again.

    The Beast Redeemed (The Erasure)
    If by some twist of fate a Human soul is used to replace the now dead Horror (e.g., through the intervention of a Mage, etc.), then the Beast is Redeemed. Since Beasts are complex mystical beings, even if the intervention is successful, the Beast must still roll her highest of Finesse + Resistance Attributes - Lair in order for the new soul to take. Success and exceptional success both have the results listed on pp 160-1 in the BPG. A failure causes the Beast to remain soulless. A dramatic failure indicates that the Beast has been possessed by some otherworldly entity like an Angel, Ghost, Spirit, or Dreamborn.

    Separation
    The Beast Divided (The Divergence)
    Some supernatural creatures’ powers allow them to forcibly divide a soul from its body. On the rare occasion that this should befall a Beast and both her Horror and she survive, they are thereafter permanently hobbled and suffer the effects described under the description for Divergence in the BPG except as noted below.

    If the contested roll for losing one’s soul due to external forces (e.g., a Mage’s Spell) is failed, the Horror attempts one last ditch effort to remain free and the Beast’s player rolls Resolve plus his Horror’s Power. In the event of a dramatic failure on this roll, the Beast not only forever loses his Horror but has all of his Attributes reduced to one dot. If successful, the bond between the Beast and the Horror is broken, allowing the Horror to escape the clutches of soul capturing occult forces. The Beast and Horror suffer the effects listed on pp 159-60 of the BPG, including the Horror’s hostility towards the Beast for allowing this turn of events to come to pass. An exceptional result on the die roll still ends in the two, Beast and Horror, being divided but the Beast maintains an Atavism of his choice as noted on p 159 of the BPG.

    Fulfillment – more or less the same. (Pedantic rant – One thing to note though the names of the two fulfillments are semantically switched. In a myth its hero vs monster. We expect the hero to win. In a game where the roles are reversed, when the monster wins, the myth is inverted—literally the opposite of what was expected. The myth gets subverted when something unexpected happens, like the hero and the monster make nice with one another.)

    “The Ugly” #3 – Brood Lairs – the manner in which the Brood Lair construction rules are written in the main rule book entail that Beasts can burrow to one another’s Lairs as a matter of course, whether they want to team up into a Brood or not (you just have to spend 1 day stalking another Beast). Cringe. And unnecessary considering that if you want to attack any enemy Beast you can just navigate to one of their Chambers through the Mists (see that players’ guide, it’s vital). A quick fix is just ignore where the main rule book makes it seem like Beasts are pirates on the seven seas and their Lairs are ships that can be collided into one another. Making a Brood Lair, like making a Brood, requires the consent and cooperation of all the members of the Brood. (Like, this should be a no brainer, yet you can seemingly fight the process using a Clash of Wills…)

    We’ve arrived at the end of this essay. If you’re a homebrewer (or even a spectator) hopefully you’ve found some of the advice and examples above helpful. And for the record, Beast is a beautiful game. Its text might be a mess and all of its metaphors might not mesh very nicely but it’s still a diamond. It merely wants for polish.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Jacob View Post
    Personally, as I’ve said, my take is that these “morality” stats are actually spiritual health stats. From this point of view Satiety works perfectly as is. It’s a visceral, dynamic spiritual health stat. When it's full, everything is fine, your “spirit” takes a nap, and you’re human again.
    Regarding the Slumbering Condition, "At this point, the Beast is functionally human but knows what she has lost -- she is uncomfortable and depressed until she can reawaken her Horror."

    You're not really human again. You're missing something vital to your identity that is going to be gnawing on your awareness constantly. The depression is not something to be glossed over.

    When Satiety is full, everything is NOT fine. Having the Slumbering Condition is not meant to be a "good" state to be in.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Paradim View Post

      Regarding the Slumbering Condition, "At this point, the Beast is functionally human but knows what she has lost -- she is uncomfortable and depressed until she can reawaken her Horror."

      You're not really human again. You're missing something vital to your identity that is going to be gnawing on your awareness constantly. The depression is not something to be glossed over.

      When Satiety is full, everything is NOT fine. Having the Slumbering Condition is not meant to be a "good" state to be in.

      Lolz. Seems fine from the Horror's perspective anyway. Naps = good.

      And honestly, whether or not 10 dots in any of the spiritual health stats is objectively good (statewise) is actually debatable. A Werewolf with Harmony 10 is kind of stuck. A Vampire with Humanity 10 is still not human, exactly... Etc.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jacob View Post
        Allegorically, Beasts are intended to be representative of people who don’t seem to fit into society under normal circumstances (and any minority group works here).
        ChroD does not trade in allegory and the bits where Beast's corebook did so are, from discussion, a mix of enthusiastic newbie writers making content under the assumption that they were making X-Men/True Blood and uncharitable readers taking the presence of minority characters and the mention of minorities in discussion of Temenotic symbolism-drift and combining it with memetic "Beast is a nerd-revenge-fantasy game" reading in a particularly illiterate fashion. Things about a gameline can be made to resonate with certain real issues, but Prometheans aren't an allegory for trans people, werewolf packs aren't an allegory for gangs, Deviants aren't an allegory for the chronically ill, and Beasts definitely aren't a blanket allegory for Your Minority Group Here.

        This is a game where you're part of the collective human unconscious despite some drastic shifts from human psychology from the jump. One of the minor supernatural powers you can develop keys off of you being famous in a way that qualifies as social currency. There's a reason I've long used the "you can be both Dracula from Wallachia and Dracula from Castlevania" comparison when talking about the game, and it's not because Vlad the Impaler got along badly with the Turks.

        The issue here is that many of the Inheritances are allegories for suicide. Personally, I find suicide allegories extremely distasteful and the approach taken (remember our allegories: you’re someone who doesn’t fit into society and so, eventually you might choose suicide) is super unhelpful.
        Many of the Inheritances are failstates for a Beast who cannot cope with the pressures of being a human and a monster at the same time and breaks down just so as the vessel of a potent piece of supernatural iconography. The Begotten are not bereft of the ability to kill themselves normally and doing so is a much less involved process than most of the Inheritances even if ChroD was given to overt allegory.

        Inheritances serve as ways the Begotten condition feeds into different forms of monsterhood than the one where they have an integrated Lair and Horror and human self; the ones that get rid of the human self completely or sever their monstrous drive look tragic in part because of the splat's common starting point of self-knowledge and cultural inclination of accepting horrific appetites and discouraging self-deception. Anathema makes Heroes horrific because they can externally append aspects to a Beast that aren't true to who and what they are, but the Begotten deal metaphysically in resonance, i.e. things being appropriate to what they are in their surroundings and appearance and nature.

        Inheritances are attempts — many maladjusted — to deal with the disjunction between being a creature of primordial power and being a creature of human culture, often by simplifying that interface or turning it into something else, and it happens to be that the supernatural aspects of their life are often more durable and/or easier to gain (at least temporary) satisfaction from than the complexities of human social interaction separate from those supernatural aspects. It's not exactly The Fly, but when a Gorgon with a thousand chittering mandibles tears down his Lair and gives himself over to Hunger, it's more likely because there are no insect politicians and he'd rather be the swarm of locusts than the struggling agricultural minister than because he wanted to tear up his monster-heart before he died.

        Cringe.
        I'm going to paraphrase Twain here and implore you to omit useless words if your aim is to be constructive with this thread.


        Resident Lore-Hound
        Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

        Comment


        • #5
          Satchel IMO, the games are easily interpreted as allegories, addiction (for which Requiem is an allegory), after all, being a thoroughly destructive force. So yeah. No. I'm going to stick with allegory and straight-up contradict you. OPP may not intend to publish allegories but the games are allegorical nonetheless. Authorial intentions frequently don't match the interpretation of texts by readers (which has lately been revealed in academia is a mostly relative affair unless one wants to lean deep into the privelages afforded by the circumstances of race, gender, and wealth). One shouldn't overlook that horror as a genre is itself an overarching allegorical about the dangers of the other (and perhaps it's starting to become a genre whose time has passed considering everything going on in the world today).

          [Edit: I'm going to self correct here and state the specific uses of the word allegory that you're complaining about should actually be the word metalhor.]

          We agree to disagree re:Inheritance. You read failstate, I read suicide (which is a failstate, so really you're quibbling with terms). Question is, does the game need such failstates? I respectfully submit that the answer to that is no. (It incidentally has some naturally anyway but, more to the point why would a Beast knowingly choose to enter one of the failstates as written? Without a traditional "morality" mechanism like in Vampire, there's no indicator that a character should initiate such state.). It's a game right? Not an allegory or, so you argue.

          Ditto with regards to what's cringeworthy. I tend to choose my words very carefully. I don't see employing the word, "cringe," as useless. Unless you're trying to defend stalker metaphors? I'm 95% confidant that's not your intention. (And honestly, I feel like this discussion has been had many a time with regards to Beast. Either your in the, "this bit of text is cringey" camp or not. I am. Your not. So what?)

          At any rate, my intention was to facilitate the development of house rules by others not engage in these pedantic (or as others might call them inane) asides which you can't seem to resist. I'm more interested in how helpful other homebrewers find any of the suggestions and what they might do differently.

          When I have a question that is suitable to your expertise, rest assured, I will seek you out.
          Last edited by Jacob; 06-24-2020, 11:53 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Kinship is extremely central to beasts. This is the crossover chronicle. They are the astral IDEA of monsters and feel kinship with all of the others because of that. I simply see no reason to it being a problem.

            Lessons too. Even people who hated them were swayed to it once the players guide discussed it (where it was fully realized).

            And there isnt allegory regarding minorities. That's just the fact the overall Darkness fanbase has people who HAVE to find connections that arent there. I mean seriously, I cant only imagine how promethean would be if everyone went "its hates trans people and says everyone and even reality wants them dead for wanting to change themselves"

            I'm gonna be honest. There have been tons of these "beast needs fixing" posts from extremely loud vocal minorities here. To be fair, this is better than most, and you sound like you've just been exposed more to the haters opinion, but everyone here is absolutely tired of this game being shit on, even after the players guide sold well and did well critically.

            Comment


            • #7
              Actually it's really two things: one, I've been here long enough that I remember when you joined up. And two, there's a continuum of opinions regarding Beast. The "reboot now" folks are just as right as the "nothing's wrong" folks. So typically, there's only reason to get exercised about things when people act to suppress particular opinions and positions.

              How each person interprets a text is unique and only rarely aligns with what authors intend.

              Which is how we can agree to disagree about the whole Family metaphor thing going on. You don't need an in-game excuse to cross games over. Just a storyteller with a modicum of imagination.

              In other news Beast's place as crossover game is destined to be eclipsed anyway now that we have the Contagion Chronicle. So really, no need to get exercised about different opinions, positions, etc.

              For the record Promethean is an allegory about not conforming to norms. I wouldn't zero in an transgender folks specially but, I wouldn't discount them either. As the Japanese would say, the nail that sticks out gets hammered. All of Promethean's game mechanics are designed around making that happen.

              Also, Beast is an allegory about the price of fame and Werewolf is really the game that focuses on family.

              Comment


              • #8
                So if you're gonna keep on the insistance that Beast is an allegory for otherness and such, you're gonna need another pass or two on this as it comes off a bit problematically toned at places. Such as when you argue the inheritance's are bad because you view them all as representing suicide saying that's a problem when dealing with a game meant to represent being other. Then you follow it up by referrring to the erasure as "redeeming the Beast" after they shove a new human soul in there.

                I get what you're trying to do, but it needs a bit of polish because this does come off a bit as "This is a game where you're an abomination, and your goal is to stop being one at any cost." which is also a bit problematic especially when you bring up the bit the dev's explicitly denied about the game being an allegory for being outside of the norm.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jacob View Post
                  Actually it's really two things: one, I've been here long enough that I remember when you joined up. And two, there's a continuum of opinions regarding Beast. The "reboot now" folks are just as right as the "nothing's wrong" folks. So typically, there's only reason to get exercised about things when people act to suppress particular opinions and positions.

                  How each person interprets a text is unique and only rarely aligns with what authors intend.

                  Which is how we can agree to disagree about the whole Family metaphor thing going on. You don't need an in-game excuse to cross games over. Just a storyteller with a modicum of imagination.

                  In other news Beast's place as crossover game is destined to be eclipsed anyway now that we have the Contagion Chronicle. So really, no need to get exercised about different opinions, positions, etc.

                  For the record Promethean is an allegory about not conforming to norms. I wouldn't zero in an transgender folks specially but, I wouldn't discount them either. As the Japanese would say, the nail that sticks out gets hammered. All of Promethean's game mechanics are designed around making that happen.

                  Also, Beast is an allegory about the price of fame and Werewolf is really the game that focuses on family.
                  I dont really think the reboot people are right. They seek to change everything about the game while claiming they want a dialogue. The nothing wrong camp, however, is more than willing to admit beast is flawed and that it has a major problem communicating what it wants.

                  As for everyone being able to read the text in their own way, that's where your argument about the game being about minorities falls flat. Because now that means admittance to you having it only be that way in your opinion.

                  Beast having Kinship is not an "excuse" it's a valid and completely justified narrative force and mechanic. When you announce a gameline with a focus on crossover, you dont go "we encourage crossplay" you go "this game will have mechanics, lore, and everything else in order to back our claims concerning the gameline"

                  Beast is not gonna be eclipsed by the Contagion Chronicle. The contagion is only crossover in the fact it brings a common enemy for everyone to fight and brings HUGE societies. And believe it or not, I've seen plenty of complaints concerning just how global these organizations are. Your opinion is not fact

                  Let me deconstruct this allegory

                  Beast is allegory about not consenting to norms. Beasts feel throughout their life they are different from everyone. The Devourong is when they embrace that. Their Horror is the essence of how they dont conform. Lessons are about making your own norms and making society realize them.

                  Werewolf is a game about not conforming to social norms. The First Change is the moment the werewolf is forced to fully realize his inner spirit and need to hunt. Werewolves dont care about social norms, only the hunt and balancing the pressures of those norms (harmony) whole still being able to express themselves.

                  Mage is a game about defying social norms. Mages have seen last the Lie and realize there is so much more than what people believe about the world. It is their right to follow their obsessions and mysteries because arent hindered by preconcieved notions of reality and moral quandaries.

                  Need I go on?

                  Allegory can be attached to anything with enough stretching

                  Beast is a game about the monomyth, about being seen as a monster and ONLY a monster and the need to rise above that. There is nothing about the price of fame. If anything being famous is rewarded in the game.

                  Werewolf does not have a huge focus on family. If anything, it's about boundaries, duty, and fire forged friends.

                  Beast on the other hand, believe they are monsters first and foremost. They have a huge focus on understanding what they are and how their relatives are too. A huge part about beasts is that they feel connections to other supernaturals due to their shared natures in the metaphysical sense. To them, all of momstrocity is their Family. A werewolf looks at a spirit in the Flesh and says "get the fuck back in the Shadow". A beast sees a spirit in the flesh and thinks "that monster feeds on resonance just like me. That monster is like my Horror"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'd also like to add your "paraphrasing" of lessons is kind of insulting to well all the arguments that people have had and the bloody section in the player's handbook on the topic.

                    “Terrifying someone to within an inch of their life isn’t so bad, if it also teaches them a lesson” [paraphrased from many arguments for Lessons].
                    See that gives the idea that more or less all of us and that entire section argue "ends justify the means" that we are literally arguing that the existence of teaching a lesson immediately exonerates the Beast of all wrong doing in whatever they're doing because lesson. And the reason I have a problem with that bit in particular is because of how many times, on this board and others, I've had to argue because people want to kevetch about Beast and immediately reach for that bloody idea that the book insists that Beasts glorifies abuse because they read it as saying the Lessons mean the Beast was morally justified in whatever the hell they did due to teaching a lesson. And that's annoying because its not true and we don't treat it like its true.

                    I get wanting to put a short thing for lessons as opposed to a long thing and then say "Player's Guide goes into it in more detail." but a better one would have been, "Lessons are a thing some Beasts do to make the feeding about something besides just getting Satiety. As feeding doesn't require the target to learn the lesson it is predominantly for the Beghotten's own reasons/beliefs/etc. Check the player's guide for a more in depth talk on Lessons and their function."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                      I'd also like to add your "paraphrasing" of lessons is kind of insulting to well all the arguments that people have had and the bloody section in the player's handbook on the topic.
                      I wouldn't (and didn't) say all. I said many. And Lessons has many defenders. IMO, the game doesn't really need them but it also doesn't really explain how to adjudicate them.

                      While the players' guide has a long essay on Lessons it doesn't really provide any mechanics to do much. Hypothetically one could implement Lessons as a kind of aspiration (giving a Beat when you accomplish the task) that still leaves you with just the Beast's tool kit (primarily focused on invoking fear and terror) and we still don't have a how "systems" implementation. Now if we look at the Addiction (Persistent) Condition's resolution points we can see that one has to lose 1 Integrity, then gain 1 Integrity, and the addiction is resolved. This kind of "through the wringer" metaphor might work for resolving addiction but, (and here I'll put my educator hat on, as in, I've been a PhD-level instructor for the past year [and will be again for the Fall semester this year], and a TA for the two years before that) no one has ever used fear to successfully impart knowledge or mold behavior. Capital punishment doesn't work. Corporal punishment doesn't work. Conversion therapy (IMO another cringe-inducing thing) doesn't work. You cannot use fear as a primary teaching tool and it's really not a viable teaching aide either. I apologize if this offends you but, as an educator, I find the idea that fear-consuming monsters would be so hyper-focused on teaching lessons laughable (and I pretty much have to or I'd be so angry I'd probably never stop seeing red). It can be seen as a smack in the faces of educators which obviously wasn't what the authors intended.

                      Nonetheless, Beasts are limited by their tool kit. They're chthonic horrors that feed on fears and causing fear is their A-game. So any Lessons game mechanics pretty much have to focus on imparting fear and causing Breaking Points or they risk jumping out of the narrative that the game's core mechanical systems strive to instantiate. If you have alternate Lessons mechanisms name them and showcase with examples, that would be quite helpful. I am interested in how people implement things differently.

                      Re: your preceeding post to the above -- metaphors, not allegory. Mea culpa.

                      Agree to disagree on the goal of the game. IMO, the game's goal is to increase your Legend (and thereby attain Fulfillment), and writ large the game as a work is an allegory about the price of fame. (Of course, I'd also say that the game's goal is the same as any game, to have a good time with friends and spin a fun yarn.)

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                        I dont really think the reboot people are right. They seek to change everything about the game while claiming they want a dialogue. The nothing wrong camp, however, is more than willing to admit beast is flawed and that it has a major problem communicating what it wants.
                        The question is, is the nothing wrong camp willing to let the reboot people do their thing? Because mostly I see the latter trying to establish dialogues which the former continuously torpedo. Whether you think they're right or wrong, they have a right to express their opinions and creativity without being molested by schoolyard bullies (and I don't mean to single you out specifically, so I apologize if it feels to you as though I am). I swear posting anything on these forums sometimes makes my PTSD go crazy. Honestly, why attack anyone's differing opinion? Also, I'm going to put it out there that reboot people know that the nothing wrong camp think's their raison d'etre is flawed and so posts telling them as much aren't constructive slightly (they already know people think that and they don't agree).

                        Ironically, I'm much closer to the nothing's wrong camp and am interested to see if Arc can actually wrestle all of the errant contexts into something at least as coherent as Geist (assuming OPP and WW afford her an opportunity for such). I could also say that she could do worse than to rope in Stew Wilson, especially regarding the Kinship-family metaphor stuff. Pack is pretty much the perfect family metaphor system in a Chronicles game. If folks really believe that kinship should be a central feature then it needs to be presented as the central feature. Werewolf is built around the pack, that and the hunt. (I'd use caution though--if kinship really becomes a central feature then Beast may start to resemble Werewolf to some degree.)

                        Re: allegories...much too late I realized that I was actually complaining about metaphors which has led us down a completely different rabbit hole. I'll say very little more about the whole matter other than we agree to disagree. It occurs to me that if you don't see Werewolf as an allegory for family then you're probably not exploring the dynamics of pack enough. Werewolf is about so much more than smacking evil spirits around. And if you're not leaning hard into your Beast's Legend and growing its legend then you're missing a core feature of this game too---to the point it will be hard to achieve Fulfillment.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jacob View Post

                          I wouldn't (and didn't) say all. I said many. And Lessons has many defenders. IMO, the game doesn't really need them but it also doesn't really explain how to adjudicate them.
                          Nope still doesn't work. See the problem is that you're still operating backwards from your conclusion that you don't like them and they're bad. Because you still presented it as the dominant concept being that Lessons are a morality license to do whatever as the dominant presentation. Which is also part of the reason for it being absent mechanics on bonuses or whatever, doing so would justify it as more than a thing a Beghotten does to provide external meaning to feeding and would also invalidate feeding without a lesson . (Not counting that any bonuses you give towards it would just feed back into the narrative of Lessons justifying abuse people have about the game.)

                          Originally posted by Jacob View Post
                          While the players' guide has a long essay on Lessons it doesn't really provide any mechanics to do much. Hypothetically one could implement Lessons as a kind of aspiration (giving a Beat when you accomplish the task) that still leaves you with just the Beast's tool kit (primarily focused on invoking fear and terror) and we still don't have a how "systems" implementation. Now if we look at the Addiction (Persistent) Condition's resolution points we can see that one has to lose 1 Integrity, then gain 1 Integrity, and the addiction is resolved. This kind of "through the wringer" metaphor might work for resolving addiction but, (and here I'll put my educator hat on, as in, I've been a PhD-level instructor for the past year [and will be again for the Fall semester this year], and a TA for the two years before that) no one has ever used fear to successfully impart knowledge or mold behavior. Capital punishment doesn't work. Corporal punishment doesn't work. Conversion therapy (IMO another cringe-inducing thing) doesn't work. You cannot use fear as a primary teaching tool and it's really not a viable teaching aide either. I apologize if this offends you but, as an educator, I find the idea that fear-consuming monsters would be so hyper-focused on teaching lessons laughable (and I pretty much have to or I'd be so angry I'd probably never stop seeing red). It can be seen as a smack in the faces of educators which obviously wasn't what the authors intended.
                          First drop the attempt at appeal to authority it doesn't work on this subject. Why? Well for one because we're talking about scenario whereby an individual is required to induce shock, panic, and/or terror on other individuals lest their very soul go on a rampage through the collective unconcious, attempt to, and occasionally succeeding, at inflicting those same traumas without any restraint that might be applied from a human, while you're soul is also causing organ failure (or however one wants to flavor the damage taken from time at Satiety 0 at their table) because its hungry. Because, unless I have horribly mislead on the mechanics of the real world , that isn't a scenario that comes up. So you're teaching credentials are kind of pointless here.

                          The other part, the argument that fear is not a good teacher is missing the point. We're not arguing "Beast's are excellent teachers, nothing educates people more about the importance of good hygiene like nailing them with 'Behold My True Form!'" We're saying Lessons are just something some of the Beghotten do because it helps them cope with the fact that they do need to do these things lest their other half go on a rampage.Some Beasts don't because they feel that they doing what they need to do to survive is in and of itself proper justification for the act. Others do the Lessons because it gives, because they feel that as they and their prey are both thinking, rational, sentient entities then they can't just hide behind the idea that it is needed to survive. That the Horror will feed regardless of a lesson plan, or that feeding will happen regardless of whether or not the target learns what the Beast wanted is why we don't go off saying "Scaring someone half to death is fine, so long as they learned something from it."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If Beast is focusedly allegorical, then the central focus on developing Lair by creating a broad psycho-spiritual presence in the landscape of humanity* would put them up more as an allegory of celebrities and major public figures, with their major struggle being brand control. Anyone who would take such a hindersome approach to the text but still actually apply a little critical reading and thinking to the approach would arrive there in seconds.

                            Of course, almost anyone in the business of making games could tell you the Chronicles approach does not involve such focused allegory. Some games do, but not Chronicles, and certainly not Beast, which actually hews more archetypal than most of it's peers and therefore comfortably acts as a vehicle for a wider array of readings and usages, which is essential for it's function as a crossover-interested gameline.

                            As for the rest of this, well, what can I say.

                            It's very on brand for you, Jacob.

                            *Hell, Lessons as your brand, Kinship for meaningful connections that improve your image, Hunger and the specific sort of people you feed on within that venue as Heels(in the broader sense, not just the direct wrestling connotation) to contrast yourself with and look better than-Christ, it's fucking easy to see this allegory through the lens of monstrosity.
                            Last edited by ArcaneArts; 06-25-2020, 09:25 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.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jacob View Post

                              The question is, is the nothing wrong camp willing to let the reboot people do their thing? Because mostly I see the latter trying to establish dialogues which the former continuously torpedo. Whether you think they're right or wrong, they have a right to express their opinions and creativity without being molested by schoolyard bullies (and I don't mean to single you out specifically, so I apologize if it feels to you as though I am). I swear posting anything on these forums sometimes makes my PTSD go crazy. Honestly, why attack anyone's differing opinion? Also, I'm going to put it out there that reboot people know that the nothing wrong camp think's their raison d'etre is flawed and so posts telling them as much aren't constructive slightly (they already know people think that and they don't agree).

                              Ironically, I'm much closer to the nothing's wrong camp and am interested to see if Arc can actually wrestle all of the errant contexts into something at least as coherent as Geist (assuming OPP and WW afford her an opportunity for such). I could also say that she could do worse than to rope in Stew Wilson, especially regarding the Kinship-family metaphor stuff. Pack is pretty much the perfect family metaphor system in a Chronicles game. If folks really believe that kinship should be a central feature then it needs to be presented as the central feature. Werewolf is built around the pack, that and the hunt. (I'd use caution though--if kinship really becomes a central feature then Beast may start to resemble Werewolf to some degree.)

                              Re: allegories...much too late I realized that I was actually complaining about metaphors which has led us down a completely different rabbit hole. I'll say very little more about the whole matter other than we agree to disagree. It occurs to me that if you don't see Werewolf as an allegory for family then you're probably not exploring the dynamics of pack enough. Werewolf is about so much more than smacking evil spirits around. And if you're not leaning hard into your Beast's Legend and growing its legend then you're missing a core feature of this game too---to the point it will be hard to achieve Fulfillment.
                              The thing is I often see the nothing wrong camp CLAIM they want a dialogue. And then criticize anyone who likes an aspect of the game, is unwilling to rethink anything, or just using it as an excuse to shit on the game (while I dont think you are doing that last part, stuff like needlessly calling something "cringe" runs people the wrong way, as is claiming something is an allegory when the writers themselves have said it's not, only to say "well I see it this way" to evade criticism and declare it as somehow right)

                              As for Werewolf, I've played PLENTY of werewolf. It was my favorite game before Demon released. The pack is definitely huge on bonds, but it's not in the way of family, it's like a group with a duty who have been exposed to grueling trials which in turn bonds them together. Packs are insular to an INSANE degree. They wont take anyone EXCEPT those who have proven themselves (and if you're human, even wolf blooded, you have to prove yourself beyond what's even possible, most of time. Forgot the name but the firefighter pack is fucking awesome). And above all, what really separates them from Broods, is that Packs almost never formed due to familiar bonds and are extremely averse to any "new" person.

                              A big theme of beast is that you dont choose your family (I know you know this, but for the sake of it, can also be "you DO choose your family"). Beasts are the one splat who look to being a monster and think "I'll be it". From then on, beasts feel a quite literal connection to the other supernatural templates (and I will agree, I do think the corebook would've done better if it had focused more. I now hope the possible storyteller guide will do that). In exploring this connection, beasts inevitably see a relation to other monsters and accept them. They encourage they be monsters and will readily help them. Broods can form from as little as a clever conversation, and broods also, through shared lairs (especially shared chambers), bleed their traits together, even if they ARENT beasts. Beasts can gain lesser abilities simply from being around other monsters, taking on their traits. Even if they are enemies, beasts still innately feel these connections and can gain from them.

                              I do understand building the Legend. It's what I focus on in beast games. But I dont see thr theme of price of fame. To become Legend is to gain power and Glory, but I dont see a price beyond "more Heroes" and even then, a well crafted legend can lead them to doubt. And then there is the fact the Beast Incarnate is almost without consequence (to be fair, that depends on how you feel about having to maintain your Myth)

                              EDIT: I feel like I'm doing this, so let me clarify. There is nothing wrong that you see the theme of family. It's great you have a duffering opinion (fuck. That sounds patronizing. I mean we see different themes and that's fine). But Beast consciously reinforces the themes of family. That's why it's the family game to me over all others.
                              Last edited by Primordial newcomer; 06-26-2020, 12:05 AM.

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