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House Ruling Breaking Points, Degeneration, & Degenerating Traits

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  • House Ruling Breaking Points, Degeneration, & Degenerating Traits

    As noted previously, today I'm posting a take on "spiritual health" or consequence traits for Beast. As with any house rules, we don't especially need a cassus belli regarding why we're doing this. One of the great features of TTRPGs is their flexibility to become the game that a troupe wants to play. Modification through house rules, optional rules, etc., are one of the methods for exercising that flexibility.

    What follows is a more fully developed version of the Kinship trait posted in Some Assembly Required, a new take on Lore as Integrity replacement trait, and an example of how to add Breaking Points directly to Satiety (as the game's existing psuedo-replacement for Integrity).

    Kinship as Integrity (fully worked and reusing Humanity mechanics from V:tR)
    • Kinship – describes the extent to which a Beast is able to maintain their familial ties with other beings. It ranges from 0 to 10 and starts at 7.
      • Nurturing (Kinship 10): Gain a +4 dice bonus on all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Descended from the Dark Mother. Gain a +2 dice bonus on all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Fundamentally Human. Suffer no penalty on all Social rolls made with respect to entities for whom Kinship Does Not Apply.
      • Caring (Kinship 7-9): Gain a +2 dice bonus on all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Descended from the Dark Mother. Suffer no penalty on all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Fundamentally Human. Suffer a -2 dice penalty for all rolls with entities for whom Kinship Does Not Apply.
      • Stern (Kinship 4-6): Suffer no penalties on all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Descended from the Dark Mother. Suffer a -2 dice penalty with penalty for all dice rolls with entities that are Fundamentally Human. Suffer a -4 dice penalty for all rolls with entities for whom Kinship Does Not Apply.
      • Overbearing (Kinship 1-3): Suffer a -2 dice penalty on all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Descended from the Dark Mother. Suffer a -4 dice penalty for all Social rolls with entities that are Fundamentally Human. Social rolls with entities for whom Kinship Does Not Apply are reduced to a chance die.
      • Selfish (Kinship 0): Suffer a -4 dice penalty with all Social rolls made with respect to entities that are Descended from the Dark Mother. Social rolls with entities that are Fundamentally Human are reduced to a chance die. Social rolls with entities for whom Kinship Does Not Apply automatically fail.
    • Breaking Points – depend on the Beast’s level of Kinship. These include things like murdering Kin, stealing from Kin, going without contact with Kin, using superhuman powers on Kin, etc.
    • Common Breaking Points
    Minimum Kinship Breaking Point Dice Pool
    10 Profaning a Temple to the Dark Mother
    10 Creating Temporary Horrorspawn 5
    10 Depriving another of consent through mundane means 5
    9 Gaining the Starving Condition 5
    9 Participating in Family Dinner when uninvited 5
    9 Urging another’s behavior with supernatural powers 5
    9 Sacrificing your own Horrorspawn 5
    8 Invited interference with a Kin Group that results in grievous injuries 4
    8 Rejected by someone who is Descended from the Dark Mother 4
    8 Gaining the Ravenous Condition 4
    8 Depriving another of consent with supernatural powers 4
    8 Using supernatural powers to Feed on someone who is Fundamentally Human and is related to someone who has Family Ties with you 4
    7 1 week without contact with Kin (someone with Family Ties to you) 4
    7 Invited interference with a Kin group that results in a death or multiple injuries 4
    7 Using supernatural powers to Feed on someone who is Fundamentally Human and has Family Ties with you 4
    7 Using supernatural powers to Feed on someone who is Descended from the Dark Mother and is related to someone who has Family Ties with you 4
    6 Invited interference with a Kin group that results in multiple deaths 3
    6 Death of a family member who is Fundamentally Human 3
    6 Using supernatural powers to Feed on someone who is Descended from the Dark Mother and has Family Ties with you 3
    6 Killing the Dreamform of someone who is Fundamentally Human and has Family Ties to you in order to Feed on them 3
    5 2 weeks without contact with Kin (someone with Family Ties to you) 3
    5 Killing the Dreamform of someone who is Fundamentally Human for purposes other than Feeding 3
    5 Death of a family member who is Descended from the Dark Mother 3
    5 Killing the Dreamform of someone who is Descended from the Dark Mother and has Family Ties to you in order to Feed on them 3
    4 Uninvited interference in a Kin group that results in grievous injuries to a member of that group 2
    4 Killing the Dreamform of someone who is Descended from the Dark Mother for purposes other than Feeding 2
    4 Using supernatural powers on someone who is Fundamentally Human who has Family Ties with you for purposes other than Feeding 2
    4 Death or a spouse or child that is Fundamentally Human 2
    3 1 month without contact Kin (someone who has the Family Ties Condition with you) 2
    3 Uninvited interference in a Kin group that results in a death or multiple injuries 2
    3 Killing someone who is Fundamentally Human but does not have Family Ties with you 2
    3 Killing the Dreamform of someone who is Fundamentally Human who has Family Ties to you 2
    3 Using supernatural powers on someone who is Descended From the Dark Mother and has Family Ties with you for purposes other than Feeding 2
    2 1 year without contact with Kin (someone else who has the Family Ties Condition with you) 1
    2 Uninvited interference in a Kin group that results in multiple deaths 1
    2 Killing someone that is Descended from the Dark Mother but does not have Family Ties with you 1
    2 Killing someone that is Fundamentally Human who has Family Ties with you 1
    2 Killing the Dreamform of someone that is Descended from the Dark Mother who has Family Ties with you 1
    1 Death of a spouse or child that is Descended from the Dark Mother Chance die
    1 Killing someone that is Descended from the Dark Mother who has Family Ties with you Chance die
    • Detachment Rolls – whenever a Beast faces a Breaking point, they must make a Detachment roll
      • Systems: Gain 1 beat, then roll the dice pool indicated above
        • Dramatic Failure – The Beast loses 1 dot of Kinship. If the Breaking Point is directly related to someone who has the Family Ties Condition with respect to the Beast, they resolve the Family Ties Condition, gain the Jilted Kin (Persistent) Condition, and the Beast gains the Broken Family Condition. Otherwise, the Beast loses 4 dots of Satiety or gains the Broken Condition.
        • Failure – The Beast loses 1 dot of Kinship. If the Breaking Point is directly related to someone who has the Family Ties Condition with respect to the Beast, they resolve the Family Ties Condition and the Beast gains their choice of Bestial, Competitive, Guilty, or Wanton Condition. Otherwise, the Beast loses 2 dots of Satiety or gains one of the four listed Conditions.
        • Success – The Beast does not lose any Kinship but gains their choice of Bestial, Competitive, Guilty or Wanton Condition or, they may elect to lose 1 dot of Satiety in lieu of accepting a Condition.
        • Exceptional Success – The Beast does not lose any Kinship and instead gains the Inspired Condition or, they may elect to gain 1 dot of Satiety in lieu of accepting the Condition.

    Jilted Kin (Persistent) Condition
    • Beat: Gain a Beat every time you succeed in disrupting one of the aspirations of the Beast who caused this Condition.
    • Resolution: Meet with the Beast who caused this Condition and negotiate a settlement.

    Broken Family (Persistent) Condition:
    • Beat: Gain a Beat every time you suffer a setback due to the interference of anyone you've given the Jilted Kin Condition to.
    • Resolution: Meet with the wronged party and negotiate a resolution.
    Lore as Integrity (reworked from Harmony in W:tF)
    • Lore is a trait that describes how close to their humanity or their mythical essence a Beast is. It ranges from 0 to 10 and begins at 3.
    • Breaking Points – certain actions cause Breaking Points (psychological crises) that can push a Beast towards their humanity or towards their mythical essence.
    • Breaking Point Rolls – when a Beast faces a Breaking Point, they gain 1 Beat and roll their Resolve + Composure. The Beast may not spend Willpower points to affect this roll. The roll can be modified by a number of factors (see below). Further anytime the Beast gains a dot of Lore from the Breaking Point roll, they also gain 1 dot of Satiety. Anytime the Beast loses a dot of Lore from the Breaking Point roll, they also lose 1 dot of Satiety.
    Breaking Point Dice Modifier Direction
    Destroying a Chamber of one’s own Lair -X dice where X equals the Beast’s dots in the Lair trait Towards Humanity
    Refusing to participate in an Obcascus Rite +0 dice Towards Humanity
    Staying out of the Primordial Dream for a week -1 die Towards Humanity
    Using an Anathema against another Beast or a Bane against someone Descended from the Dark Mother +0 dice Towards Humanity
    Harming someone Descended from the Dark Mother -2 dice Towards Humanity
    Staying out of the Primodial Dream for a month -3 dice Towards Humanity
    Gaining the Slumbering Condition -1 die Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
    Eating processed food +0 dice Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
    Mating with someone who is Fundamentally Human +0 dice Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
    Staying out of the Primordial Dream for a day -2 dice Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
    Killing someone who is Fundamentally Human +0 dice Towards Myth
    Staying in the Primordial Dream for a week -1 die Towards Myth
    Hunting Kin for Food (anyone with the Family Ties Condition wrt the Beat) -2 dice Towards Myth
    Killing Kin (anyone with the Family Ties Condition wrt the Beast) -2 dice Towards Myth
    Eating the flesh of anyone who is Fundamentally Human -3 dice Towards Myth
    Staying in the Primordial Dream for a month -3 dice Towards Myth
    Using Nightmares on a loved one -1 die Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
    Gaining the Ravenous Condition +0 dice Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
    Spending more than 2 days away from your Kin (anyone who has Family Ties wrt the Beast) +0 dice Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
    Staying in the Primordial Dream for a full day -2 dice Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
    Beast failure states (a.k.a., Inheritance):
    • A Beast who achieves Lore 10 is actively in the process of evolving into something else and must initiate one of the following three states: The Merger (becoming the Beast Rampant), The Subversion (committing to the Hero’s rebirth), or The Inversion (emerging as the Beast Incarnate).
    • A Beast who achieves Lore 0 is actively in the process of shedding their supernatural connections and must initiate one of the following three states: The Retreat (releasing the Beast Unfettered), The Divergence (culminating in the Beast Divided), or The Erasure (coping with the Horror Eliminated).

    Applying Breaking Points Directly to Satiety:

    Skipping the traits and applying the “sins” straight to Satiety is an alternate approach that adds an amount of degeneration mechanic without the burden of an additional trait. With respect to the reworked Kinship, simply take the Breaking Points listed in the table and use the Breaking Point and Dice Pool that matches the Beast’s current dots in Satiety. If the roll result in a Failure, the Beast loses 1 dot of Satiety. If it results in a Dramatic Failure, they lose 2 dots of Satiety. If it results in an Exceptional Success, they gain 1 dot of Satiety. This makes it more difficult to maintain high Satiety since the higher the Satiety the greater the chance of suffering a Breaking Point that may deprive you of a Satiety. Conversely, at low Satiety, while Breaking Points are relatively rare, the odds that any Breaking Point will deprive you of a dot of Satiety and “make things worse” are higher. At Satiety 0, not only does the Beast suffer from the Ravenous Condition but it if it experiences a failure on its next Feeding roll then they must initiate the Merger. If it instead experiences a dramatic failure on its next Feeding roll then the Beast evolves into one of the Insatiable. At Satiety 10, not only does the Beast suffer from the Slumbering Condition but, should they suffer a Breaking Point and roll an exceptional success on the Breaking Point roll then they must initiate one of the Retreat, the Divergence, or the Erasure. Inversion and Subversion are still achieved as normal (the "Fulfillment" Inheritances).




    A final word on the whole Vampires, etc. can do just as many evil things as Beasts. Well, of course they can but, that's rather confusing the reeds in the quagmire for trees in a forest. All of the other game lines (caveat, I have yet to read my Deviant KS manuscript, so am not sure this applies to Deviants) have degeneration mechanics which showcase the "badness" of the activities through Breaking Points. Far from taking that approach, Beast is rather alone in its position that these activities are not only not Breaking Points but are to be fundamentally rewarded. And seen in this context, while some would claim Beast is unique, IMO, Beast is rather off-brand when compared to all of the other game lines (this is something akin to the "which of these do not belong" question in standardized tests). Degeneration mechanics can go a long way towards rectifying that issue.
    Last edited by Jacob; 07-21-2020, 11:26 AM.

  • #2
    Soooooo who is this supposed to be for and why?

    Because I can't see the niche this is supposed to fill within Beast fandom.


    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


    • #3
      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
      Soooooo who is this supposed to be for and why?

      Because I can't see the niche this is supposed to fill within Beast fandom.
      Or I guess to put it in a different way:

      What design flaw is this addressing aside from "the other CofD gamelines haven 'degeneration mechanics', so let's give them to Beast 'cause consistency"?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

        Or I guess to put it in a different way:

        What design flaw is this addressing aside from "the other CofD gamelines haven 'degeneration mechanics', so let's give them to Beast 'cause consistency"?
        Well, let's be fair...not to Jacob, but to the principles of homebrew:

        It doesn't, strictly speaking, have to answer a design flaw so much as be a viable means of entertainment for particular people. A lot of really cool What-If mechanics, including those in the books, are meant to be a sideways difference from the game even if what was there worked originally. So that's why I asked it the way I did.

        If this Kinship-As-Intergrity is intended to fix Beast....welp, there are people I expect to be saying and building things in the vein of Primordial and it's fanbase's interest and there are people waving Reptile Plunder Barge's flag and leave it at that.

        Though on the subject of building up Kinship mechanically, I've kinda always wanted to futz around with Kinship along the lines of how Golden Sky Stories does it-there are two sides to the relationship that build up five levels, one side building up the Critter's attachment to the outside party, the other building up to the outside parties's attachment to the critter-that I kind of also want to stack a Conviction/Loyalty mentality to it and slap on increasing metaphysical mechanics for emobyding how closer ties also warps the makeup of both sides-Beasts get increasing access to nightmares merits and other traits, while the outside family member becomes increasingly odder. I'm not sure it's something that would need to be, like, second edition core material, but I think would be a lot of fun to play with, and if a needs-must appraoch must be mentioned, I kind of always found the Family Ties Condition more of a Good Start than a Whole Thing-like, it ain't but, but a little lacking.


        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


        • #5
          The sample lists wear their games or original on their sleeves far too much.

          Why is making Horrorspawn a problem to Kinship? Why is killing humans without connections to Kin a problem?

          What does eating processed food have to do with anything?

          Why does "time away" or "time in" the Primordial Dream matter? Beasts carry the Dream around with them all the time. Part of them exists within the Dream even if their physical body isn't there.

          Humanity and Wisdom might work pretty much the same way, but Humanity and Wisdom are clearly distinct in what the threat to the character's well being is.

          Originally posted by Jacob View Post
          All of the other game lines (caveat, I have yet to read my Deviant KS manuscript, so am not sure this applies to Deviants) have degeneration mechanics which showcase the "badness" of the activities through Breaking Points.
          Do they? Can you break this down and actually defend this position rather than asserting it? Because I don't think you can. The Integrity traits are extremely varied in how they work, and what they represent. Werewolf, Promethean, and Demon all especially seem to refute this.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            Why does "time away" or "time in" the Primordial Dream matter? Beasts carry the Dream around with them all the time. Part of them exists within the Dream even if their physical body isn't there..
            *raises her hand denoting a point while finishing gin and tonic*

            This is particularly relevant when you start thinking about Beast-Changeling games/interactions thematically, where Beast's approach to the Lost+Found must deal with the fact that the Devouring provided their own take on The Long Way Home, that every Beast has come home and always carries it with them, but that their home is not free from insecurity, confusion and illusion, and misdirecting and manipulative influences.

            This is smidge provided by thinking way too much about how Beast and Changeling interact.


            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


            • #7
              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              The sample lists wear their games or original on their sleeves far too much.

              Why is making Horrorspawn a problem to Kinship? Why is killing humans without connections to Kin a problem?
              It's not the Horrorspawn that are problematic per se but, treating your children as disposable, they are quite literally a part of your Horror after all.

              Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
              The Integrity traits are extremely varied in how they work, and what they represent. Werewolf, Promethean, and Demon all especially seem to refute this.
              A thing to recall, the "sins" as it were are archetypal lists and not constraining ones. For Werewolf the injunctions against: Killing a Human or Wolf, Hunting Humans or Wolves for food, Killing a packmate, Eating Human or Wolf flesh for Essence, Inflicting Lunacy on a loved one are relevant (if not strictly speaking pertinent). For Promethean the universal breaking points for: Using supernatural means to intentionally murder a human and Injuring or killing multiple people with supernatural abilities are likewise relevant (if again, not strictly speaking pertinent). For Demons, doing anything a normal human could not do, such as urging someone via supernatural means constitutes a Compromise, in particular the drawback to the Possession Exploit is particularly telling as it generates Compromise above and beyond that which is generated for using an Exploit in the first place and which cannot be ignored by spending a Willpower point.

              The takeaway is that there are repercussions for causing harm to others, especially where they are mundane.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post

                Or I guess to put it in a different way:

                What design flaw is this addressing aside from "the other CofD gamelines haven 'degeneration mechanics', so let's give them to Beast 'cause consistency"?
                House rules do not have to address design flaws. Hell, I have an entire 11 Path hack for Mage that "fixes" nothing but exists simply because I wanted to exercise the entire set of symbols hailing from the tarot deck's major arcana (there are 22 after all). Hacks aren't always about doing things "better" or "fixing" things. Sometimes it's about doing things different. These games are flexible enough to allow the latter.

                Comment


                • #9
                  For someone that's made a comment about not seeing the forest for the trees.... you're somewhere in quadrupling down on that yourself, focusing on highly specific details instead of the bigger issues.

                  Originally posted by Jacob View Post
                  It's not the Horrorspawn that are problematic per se but, treating your children as disposable, they are quite literally a part of your Horror after all.
                  They're also not actually children. They're pieces of your Horror that you still control. And you made it a check to make temporary ones... as if what... children are immortal? Why isn't having a mortal kid a breaking point too then?

                  The point those, is that the list isn't actually based in Kinship, it's based on Humanity with some Beast stuff thrown on, and it shows. If you can't actually justify these things from the thematic standpoint of what your basing these new traits on, not appeals to other things.

                  A thing to recall, the "sins" as it were are archetypal lists and not constraining ones.
                  I don't see how that's relevant if your examples are bad.

                  For Werewolf the injunctions against:
                  Werewolf doesn't have "injunctions against," anything. Breaking points towards the spirit are mechanically encouraged if your Harmony is too high, or if you just want to be close to the spirits for numerous reasons. Eating humans and wolves for Essence is only really an issue if you follow the Oath of the Moon because it ends up being a breaking point in both directions (and social consequences with other Forsaken).

                  You do what you need to satisfy the hunt and remain balanced.

                  For Promethean the universal breaking points for: Using supernatural means to intentionally murder a human and Injuring or killing multiple people with supernatural abilities are likewise relevant...
                  Well, those are two of many... but you notice that it's explicitly supernatural? Because Prometheans need to progress on their Pilgrimage, and using their powers to kill what they want to become strains their ability to stay on their path. Nothing stops them from torturing a human to death with perfectly mundane means just to see what such pain is like.

                  The takeaway is that there are repercussions for causing harm to others, especially where they are mundane.
                  Not really, the takeaway is that the Integrity-equivalents are all there to reinforce specific thematic elements of the game, not to conform to some sort of overarching forced mechanical consequences.

                  So, lets make this more specific since "unpacking" didn't work:

                  Instead of listing things completely out of context, go through every game line, and point out exactly how all of them but Beast meet your own standard of, "have degeneration mechanics which showcase the "badness" of the activities through Breaking Points."

                  And not shift goal posts to, "have breaking points for causing harm in some vague sense."

                  Also? Good luck with Geist!


                  ...are relevant (if not strictly speaking pertinent).
                  I have no idea what you think the meaningful difference between relevant and pertinent is here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    1) I want to take a second to at least point out with fairness that I too once portrayed the Integrity-alikes under the general lens of "human to monster scale" with breaking points as the flavor text of the game for how that worked-but in fairness to that, I also argued that Satiety already operated like that (and broadly explained how it did) as well as how it deviated and why that was important for Beast.

                    2) I'll also take a second to say that if there was going to be a more conventional Integrity-alike in Beast, Kinship's not a bad place to pin it, buuuuuut

                    3) Kinship already does fill out the role of "balancing the consequences of your monstrosity". It's not an internal matter that has metaphysical consequences like a lot of Integrity-alikes, sure, but Kinship is a highly important social element that is also a case of stakes to lose. Beasts are empowered by the people who surround them, and being too much of a monster can mean bleeding those people like water in a sieve. A Beast can compromise that by associating more with monsters who are a-okay with that, but that has the costs of being involved more with highly visible monsters and dealing with the bleed-in of their influence that just further feeds the internal horror of fatalism and the external realization of that as Heroes and other monsters going after you have More Of A Point About You Deserving To Die.

                    It's important to the themes of Beast and the way it explores things that the consequences of their behavior are reflected in the external actions and reactions of their environment and the people in it. Hunger vs Kinship is fundamentally about the conflict between self and community/environment, and when Beasts tip too far into feeding thesmelves, the family revolts, and the horrible truth you thought you could avoid going into the Devouring rears up to be shockingly true.

                    4) So with that said, I'm still not sure who the fuck this Integrity-alike Kinship is for and why. I might understand if it played more to Deviant's style of design because that has a really complimentary take to Beast, but this basically is yet another case of someone complaining that the coffee they ordered doesn't taste like hot chocolate.

                    Like, really, that's the number one thing I wanna know: who the hell is this hack supposed to be for?


                    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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                      Soooooo who is this supposed to be for and why?

                      Because I can't see the niche this is supposed to fill within Beast fandom.
                      What exactly is the benefit here of this post? If you can't participate in a thread constructively, please leave it.


                      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                        What exactly is the benefit here of this post? If you can't participate in a thread constructively, please leave it.
                        Understanding the goals of the author is important to judging whether or not the homebrew is operating as it's supposed to and what sort of critique will help the author improve their piece. "Know your audience" is one of the first things you learn in professional writing, and for a lot of people, actually taking the time to understand and answer that question can do a lot to direct their writing in stronger and crisper ways.

                        So I wanna know who Jacob is writing this for and why so I can actually offer good advice, because if it's just supposed to appeal to the Beast fandom, as someone who has been here a long time and knows the general taste of the fandom here, the only advice I have for it as is is "the general fanbase isn't going to get anything out of this."

                        Hopefully you can understand why I might not simply want to default to that.


                        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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                          Understanding the goals of the author is important to judging whether or not the homebrew is operating as it's supposed to and what sort of critique will help the author improve their piece. "Know your audience" is one of the first things you learn in professional writing, and for a lot of people, actually taking the time to understand and answer that question can do a lot to direct their writing in stronger and crisper ways.

                          So I wanna know who Jacob is writing this for and why so I can actually offer good advice, because if it's just supposed to appeal to the Beast fandom, as someone who has been here a long time and knows the general taste of the fandom here, the only advice I have for it as is is "the general fanbase isn't going to get anything out of this."

                          Hopefully you can understand why I might not simply want to default to that.
                          Don't argue. Don't post in this thread again.

                          It's not your place to judge the posters, just help and enjoy the ideas of storytelling. These forums are for fun after all.



                          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Jacob View Post
                            The takeaway is that there are repercussions for causing harm to others, especially where they are mundane.
                            Murder is often a breaking point (or equivalent), yes, but for wildly different reasons.
                            • For Humanity it's because it measures how far you've gone from baseline humans.
                            • For Wisdom it's because it's inherently chaotic and Wisdom measures how much in control you are over your actions (which is why premeditated murder is less dangerous for your Wisdom than impassioned killings). If the personal and sliding nature of Wisdom as was intended was properly explained in the core book, we'd almost certainly get situations where murder is a-ok at any Wisdom level provided it's properly planned out and all relevant consequences have been considered.
                            • For Cover it's because you're masquerading as a human and it has nothing to do with you personally at all. Most humans aren't killers. But if your Cover was a known murderer (and somehow not behind bars) or a soldier in conflict zone, in the right circumstances it really shouldn't be a breaking point. In fact, in highly specific Covers and circumstances it might actually be a breaking point to not kill someone (although I have to admit that those circumstances would be exceedingly rare).
                            • Heavy Arms explained the circumstances around Pilgrimage pretty well.
                            • It's not a breaking point at all for Memory or Synergy.
                            • Deviants have a weird two-in-one Integrity-trait called Loyalty and Conviction. Each dot in either corresponds to a Touchstone (and generally you're going to think about the individual Touchstones rather than any dot rating). Loyalty Touchstones are supposed to be protected, so killing them is no good, but Conviction Touchstones are those your character absolutely loathes and you earn Beats by harming or working towards harming them. Anything not related to your Touchstones is totally fine, as demonstrated by one PC in our game skinning a Deviant NPC (who had maxed regeneration so they actually survived the ordeal) to the horror of absolutely everyone involved.
                            • Clarity is the only one where it's pretty inexplicable that murder and doing harm are breaking points since it's supposed to measure your mental grip and perception of the world. The best explanation I can come up with for this is that acting as a Keeper (or otherwise just exposing people to things that would be deleterious to you) seems to also be a generic no-no. That's why murder (the ultimate form of removal of agency) is on the same tiers as kidnapping and brainwashing.
                            The takeaway is that murder, while absolutely reprehensible by any healthy human standards, is a momentous and important event and thus often reflected in various ways for many Integrity-traits even if they don't measure "badness" in any sort of way.

                            For Kinship, it does make sense that harming Kin constitutes a breaking point at various levels, but I do not agree with the blanket breaking points that apply to non-Kin. Also, starting on the upper end of the scale is really weird if the upper end is supposed to be how close you are to Kin and the Dark Mother. I don't think Humanity is a good base for this measurement at all, tbh, since Humanity is designed to model a descent, which is also why it costs XP to raise it. Pilgrimage or Memory, that model larger and larger involvement in their themes, are better fits, imo. Or Harmony, if we see it as a sliding scale between relating to humans and relating to monsters.
                            Small tip: To keep the list more manageable you could remove some of the qualifiers and have a list of modifiers that removes dice or decreases the level it's a breaking point on if, for example, the victim has the Family Ties Condition, or if the act is in pursuit of Feeding.

                            For Lore, I really don't see what processed food or "mating" is doing on that list. Other than that I can't really say much because it's too unclear to me what the Myth end of the scale is supposed to represent. Generally being a monster? Fulfilling a specific legend/narrative?

                            Personally I think it's not that interesting slapping a whole new trait on Beasts. Rather, I think it should be incorporated somehow in existing traits, like your breaking points-against-Satiety idea, or something like Synergy where the Integrity-trait is merged with their Supernatural Potency trait. Replace Lair with "Myth" (sorry for stealing the name but it's a good one) which can only be increased by establishing and strengthening your personal legend/narrative through, for example, Feeding that are in line with your specific preferences, engaging with the larger legendarium by forming Kinship, or even working with humans to strengthen your Myth from the other direction (like working in a community group that warns people from going out at night if your narrative is to stalk those out after the sun has set). Working against your Myth would then cause breaking points. For example, breaking Family Ties, not Feeding often enough, denying your involvement in an act that strengthened your Myth ("No, I wasn't out that night, officer."). At different dot ratings you could add qualifiers (a bit like Touchstones) that narrows down your Myth more and more, making it more difficult to strengthen and gaining those last dots while also providing more opportunities to suffer breaking points. If you want to change one of these you'd have to lose enough Myth to lose that qualifier and then rebuild your Myth in a different direction.
                            I think that would complement Satiety nicely. One measures how well you resonate with the Primordial Dream and your impression in the collective soul of Humanity in the long term (which allows you to draw more power from it in a neat loop) while the other is your short term energy reserves, more acting like a fuel trait rather than a cross of that and an Integrity-trait.
                            I realise this might not be what you're after, but I kinda got in the state of mind where I get an idea and want to just get it all down in writing.


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                            • #15
                              Excellent feedback overall and I thank you for it.

                              Regarding the engineering goals for the Kinship trait, my thought process was to develop a trait that attempted to model one's ability to initiate and maintain "healthy" (however one want's to define it) familial traits. And my thinking was that a slide into toxic familial relationships and ultimately an inability (or at least marked difficulty) to initiate or maintain familial relationships of any kind would be the best fit. The design goal for the trait is to provide game mechanics that highlight the struggle one must have to maintain familial relationships when one is a cthonic monster linked to a nightmare horror that requires frequent feeding and in such a manner, move familial themes to a more central place in the game. Afterall, Kin are still on the menu as it were.

                              Regarding the engineering goals for the Lore trait, my thought process was to develop a trait that strongly signaled when "fail states" like The Merger, The Retreat, The Erasure, The Division, The "Subversion", and The "Inversion" would be indicated. With end states like Erasure, Division, and "Inversion" being initiated as Lore fell to 0 and states like Merger, Retreat, and "Subversion" being intiated as Lore rose to 10. And here "Myth" represents one of the states where the Beast merges with their Horror in a more substantial way (or their Horror grows beyond needing them--i.e., becomes Unfettered). The criticisms of various Breaking Points are well taken.

                              Thoughts on this revised list for Lore:
                              Breaking Point Modifiers Direction
                              Destroying a Chamber of one’s own Lair -X dice where X equals the Beast’s dots in the Lair trait Towards Humanity
                              Refusing to participate in an Obcascus Rite +0 dice Towards Humanity
                              Going 1 week without merging with or using Soul Communion on one’s Horror -1 die Towards Humanity
                              Using an Anathema against another Beast or a Bane against someone Descended from the Dark Mother +0 dice Towards Humanity
                              Harming someone Descended from the Dark Mother -2 dice Towards Humanity
                              Gong for 1 month without merging with or using Soul Communion on one’s Horror -3 dice Towards Humanity
                              Gaining the Slumbering Condition -1 die Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
                              Forgoing Satiety gain from a successful Feeding or Family Dinner (i.e., not accepting the maximum possible Satiety gain from the event) +0 dice Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
                              Kinship with anyone who is Fundamentally Human (i.e., them having the Family Ties Condition wrt the Beast) +0 dice Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
                              Going for 1 day without merging with or using Soul Communion on one’s Horror -2 dice Towards Humanity [@ Lore 8+]
                              Killing someone who is Fundamentally Human +0 dice Towards Myth
                              Remaining merged with one’s Horror or remaining in the Primordial Dream for 1 week -1 die Towards Myth
                              Hunting Kin in service to one’s Hunger (anyone with the Family Ties Condition wrt the Beast) -2 dice Towards Myth
                              Killing Kin (anyone with the Family Ties Condition wrt the Beast) -2 dice Towards Myth
                              Eating the flesh of anyone who is Fundamentally Human -3 dice Towards Myth
                              Remaining merged with one’s Horror or remaining in the Primordial Dream for 1 month -3 dice Towards Myth
                              Using Nightmares on a loved one -1 die Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
                              Gaining the Ravenous Condition +0 dice Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
                              Spending more than 2 days away from your Kin (anyone who has Family Ties wrt the Beast) +0 dice Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
                              Remaining merged with one’s Horror or remaining in the Primordial Dream for 1 day -2 dice Towards Myth [@ Lore 2 or less]
                              Regarding replacing Lair with Myth, I'm actually with Arc on this, Lair is the game's primary feature and the thing which acts as a driver (in concert with Hunger) for many of the activities Beasts are likely pursuing. So, this is not a direction I would go (also, I simply haven't had time to thoroughly read the new edition of Geist, I'm still digesting the new edition of Changeling).

                              (And, since I jettisoned Facebook, I've also lost access to the Hunter, Mummy, and Deviant manuscripts, so, I'm a step behind there too.)

                              In general, I think simply tying degeneration mechanics to Satiety is fine (and have said as much but, I also think Satiety as it is is more or less fine, and have also said as much). The hypotheticals here (and elsewhere) are for those who think otherwise or who want to spin the game in different ways. A potential issue for the "Satiety is fine" or "tying degeneration mechanics to Satiety" positions is, if one also wants to have strong indicators for the game's "fail states" should occur, Satiety is not a good indicator.

                              Simply taking the choice aspect out of Retreat and Erasure is sufficient to delineate when they occur (Retreat becoming a second chance for a dead Beast's Horror and Erasure becoming a second chance for a dead Horror's Beast). This is a hack I do employ, and I do so because Beast-initiated versions of either are rather strongly suicide metaphors (YMMV, and no we shouldn't bother arguing about it).

                              The other "fail states" are much harder to delineate. Hypothetically, a Beast at Satiety 10 might want to initiate Division but the mechanics for it require maintaining Satiety 0 for some time. All of the other three states are Satiety-neutral (although, one requirement for "subversion" can be an epic Feeding which should surely result in Satiety 10). Introducing a trait like Lore can better delineate when Merger, Division, "Subversion", or "Inversion" should occur. If one adds the additional requirement to "Subversion" that a Beast must maintain 8+ Lore and connects the Merger to Lore 10, then the Merger becomes the "overshot Subversion" situation. Similarly, if one adds the additional requirement to "Inversion" that a Beast must maintain 2 or less Lore and connects the Division to Lore 0 (requires some additional rewriting of the Division mechanics), then Division becomes the "undershot Inversion" situation.

                              I'm spinning up a Beast Chronicle in roughly 7 months and these discussions are being quite helpful as I play around with various ideas and house rules to employ in the Chronicle. I'm likely to employ Lore alongside changes to Inheritance to both better highlight the various Inheritances but also to provide some additional complexity for Myth-building (either towards "Subversion" or "Inversion" [and quash the suicide metaphor which I have robust personal antipathy for, for thoroughly personal reasons]).

                              Another interesting conclusion I've come to recently-Satiety better reflects a Horror's Integrity (and concerns the Beast very little, they simply bear it into the physical world as a means to empower their strange abilities). From that perspective, I believe there is room for a trait that reflects the Beast's actual Integrity. YMMV.

                              Interestingly, what to do with Heroes bears some relevance here as I find "Inversion" a bit of an under-developed end state. Like Arc, I don't perceive that there is any problem with Heroes as they are but, given this interesting article, some variations on Heroes would be both interesting and seem warranted. (I've actually had a hack that better parallels Heroes with Beasts for years but not because there's anything wrong with Heroes as written; it was more simply because I wanted a more robust and equivalent antagonist for my Chronicles). In a relevant discussion, there's been much talk about fear and Heroes. In my head canon it's always been the case that Heroes and Beasts are reflections of one another and that Beasts fear the monster without (their Horrors) and Heroes fear the monster lurking within.

                              An interesting hypothetical to spin out of these musings on Inheritance hacks then (for me anyways) becomes, what if Inversion was actually a strong method by which a Beast actually became a Hero (and what if Hero mechanics were such that they had a strong method for becoming a Beast)?

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