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Some Assembly Required - Houserules and Beast: the Primordial

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  • Jacob
    replied
    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.)

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  • nalak42
    replied
    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."

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    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"

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  • nalak42
    replied
    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.

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  • Jacob
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    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.

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  • Jacob
    replied
    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.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    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.

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  • Jacob
    replied
    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.

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  • Paradim
    replied
    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.

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