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Arcane's Problem With Heroes

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  • #16
    Another angle that could possibly be explored with Heroes is that most of them dont just feel the need to prove themselves Heroes. Many NEED beasts to feel meaning in their lives. A Hero does not have a story of his own. A Hero's life is not special without a beast. A Hero is a broken person who only feels whole by destroying his other half, the Beast.

    It's just a suggestion, but it's one I think has some merit (or none. I'm not a storyteller at all. So I'm bad at the more broad idea stuff)

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    • #17
      I think it's pretty telling that all this time later and we're still struggling to make sense of Heroes. I wish my thoughts on the topic were a little more ordered; I have two parallel lines of thought, and I feel like they come together into something important but I can't make them connect smoothly.

      So first off, Heroes as a metaphysical rejection of fear: Yes, absolutely. I see this and I mostly agree, but I do have one small point of contention. I'm not sure Heroes need necessarily entirely reject the idea that they can feel fear at all. There's plenty of space to get lost in the idea that "oh I feel fear it just doesn't control me"
      It's certainly something I have personal experience with. I was a horrifically anxious child. Couldn't go near the bookshelf with dad's Stephen King novels because the covers gave me nightmares. Struggled to fall asleep because I was afraid of something coming in the window to kill me. Genuinely freaked out by the dog with glowing eyes in the Goosebumps tv intro the one time I didn't change the channel fast enough.
      It went on like this until one Halloween when I was, I dunno, nine probably? There was a big community party with a fake graveyard outside, and every time I tried to read the graves a person in a grim reaper costume chased me. Around the third or fourth time something snapped and instead of running I turned and started hitting them with my plastic costume sword, and lo and behold they ran away from me
      It felt like this glorious lightbulb moment, this sudden blazing revelation that I could be scarier than the monsters, if I could only remember how to hold onto the feeling of being even more angry than I was afraid. I didn't have to be afraid of the dark if I was resolved to punch anything that frightened me squarely in the face. Monsters hate that, apparently!
      And that did wonders for my fear! It also had the unfortunate side effect of leading to a laundry list of incidents where I nearly decked: friends, family members, my youth pastor, at least two deer, all because they had the misfortune to spook me in the dark.
      I never really felt like I stopped feeling fear, just that I figured out how to convert it into rage. And that felt good! It felt powerful! But while I changed my reactions and gave myself an illusion of self control I was still stuck with an impulse response, and it took a long time to unlearn.
      So all that to say that yes, Heroes being extremely susceptible to ambient astral fear and lashing out because lashing out feels like taking control makes total sense to me

      In addition to rejecting fear I think Heroes are a rejection of monstrosity. Beast is a game of looking at the monstrous and being able to say, yes, that is me, and I am it, and we are all of the same cloth. Heroes see monsters too, but they say that is not me, that could never be me, that is Other, and we cannot share a space, one must die. Where Beasts are deeply inclusive in their view of Kin Heroes are highly exclusive.
      This is the part of Beast that speaks to minority experience. It's is absolutely not an allegory, in specific or in general, but it does dig into that sentiment of seeing yourself portrayed by the social powers that be, distorted and caricaturized, labeled as subhuman and a threat to Morality. Beasts are able to look past that warped image and with varying degrees of comfort see themselves. Heroes absolutely cannot do that, all they can see is an Other that needs to be destroyed. They can't see their own potential monstrosity at all. Beasts are conversely somewhat better equipped to still see themselves in humanity, at leas those that haven't lost that part of themselves to inheritance.
      In a world where most people don't want to acknowledge that monsters exist, or at least pretend they're something that only happens to other people in other places, Heroes take it a step further, trying to make it a reality through violence. Killing a monster just makes a dead monster though. The real way to get rid of a monster is to bring it into the firelight and show it was never really monstrous to begin with. Maybe there's some potential for gradual shifting of cultural perceptions, like how Godzilla started as this terrible icon of destruction and in later movies morphed into a protector

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      • #18
        Additionally, and worth a separate post: In terms of giving Heroes some more mechanical support what if we leaned into the parallels with Slashers and divided them into two tiers? The first being the enhanced mortals already in the book, no need to to complicate things by changing the base functions. It would be pretty easy to then add a second layer of Legendary/Demigod Gifts more in line with what we would expect from Hercules and his ilk to the existing base.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by HelmsDerp View Post
          Additionally, and worth a separate post: In terms of giving Heroes some more mechanical support what if we leaned into the parallels with Slashers and divided them into two tiers? The first being the enhanced mortals already in the book, no need to to complicate things by changing the base functions. It would be pretty easy to then add a second layer of Legendary/Demigod Gifts more in line with what we would expect from Hercules and his ilk to the existing base.
          I'd be careful with that to be honest. I always found it understandable but annoying with "heroes are slashers" it oversimplifies them in my opinion

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          • #20
            I don't think there's anything wrong with Heroes lore-wise, except the books not making it clear enough that Heroes don't actually go around calling themselves Heroes, most don't even realize they are Heroes, they aren't necessarily organized, there's no specific unifying motive for them, they don't have to work together because there's no unifying "point" to Heroism. "There are people sensitive to the primordial dream, among them some do X", it's purely an archetype, and there's nothing really that differentiates a Hero from an Oracle, it's purely in the behavior.

            My proposed fix is to simply have a word for people who have the connection to the Primordial Dream that Heroes do in general, and then save Hero as a term referring specifically to the ones that act like antagonists, it would save a lot of effort by not having to describe the horrible things Heroes do to deserve being called antagonists just to later add "wait, but not all Heroes...". Yup, my gripe with it is that small.

            It would change the whole discussion from "I'm a X, so I must do Y" to "I do Y therefore I am X".
            And just to be clear, I know this is technically already done, so just read this post as "there's no problem with Heroes" as they are.

            Apply Occam's Razor here, you don't need to think too much about WHY Heroes should be antagonists, because they CAN be antagonists, and since Beasts can't detect Heroes at all the only way for a Beast to come across one is for that Hero to come to the Beast first, so the only ones likely to appear in a game are the ones who want to interact with Beasts, and it's just very unlikely that one would want to befriend Cthulhu if one chooses to interact with him.
            Last edited by DreadQueen; 07-30-2020, 02:58 AM.

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            • #21
              Kind of like the distinction between Oracles and Heroes in Dark Eras 2. Not all people who have that connection to the Primordial Dream are necessarily opposed to the Begotten. Some might just see them as part of the cycle, like the Oracles did in ancient Egypt before the reign of Sobekneferu.


              “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

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              • #22
                Very minor I'll add, it is too bad that heros are called out to only be low integrity. Or at least heros who answer the call are pretty much only low integrity. At least last i looked it was that way and unlike other gamelines, beast does its best if its antagonist isn't necessarily a bad guy. With Arcs talk of shades of grey, honestly its more dynamic if the hero can be a lighter shade of grey than the beast. The struggle then can be convincong the hero you are not the monster. Not every hero should be this way but some should unlike the book calling out that high integrity hunters don't answer the call.

                If I've read that wrong or that has changed I'd be happy to hear so.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post
                  Very minor I'll add, it is too bad that heros are called out to only be low integrity. Or at least heros who answer the call are pretty much only low integrity. At least last i looked it was that way and unlike other gamelines, beast does its best if its antagonist isn't necessarily a bad guy. With Arcs talk of shades of grey, honestly its more dynamic if the hero can be a lighter shade of grey than the beast. The struggle then can be convincong the hero you are not the monster. Not every hero should be this way but some should unlike the book calling out that high integrity hunters don't answer the call.

                  If I've read that wrong or that has changed I'd be happy to hear so.
                  It's that most Heroes that run into beasts are low integrity. It is not a prerequisite to have high or low integrity.

                  As for making the morality less black and white, Heroes usually having low integrity (and I would like to point out that low is mostly only 4, which is pretty close to middle) are STILL the people going out killing monsters that feed on fear alone. Monsters that, unique from every other gameline, go in accepting monstrosity and usually looking to build a reputation of that same monstrosity that makes them. The fact they do this, while so very easily turning the people against them, is why they are great at keeping to the grey area. It should also be important to note that Beasts, when hunting, tend to build a Legend that transcends usual human morality and paints a picture. When a Hero comes in, they will more than likely see what the beasts do, whether that is stealing what's valuable to everyone or controlling them through force of will and fear, as just that. They won't see what they do as "showing what is truly valuable" or "protecting the masses with an iron fist" they will tell the Beast they "no, you simply take what you dont have" and "you rule for the sake of being able to".

                  As much as Heroes are grandstanding and destructive, they are able to make themselves on even moral grounds with the beast, by forcing them to reconsider if all they do really is just horrid acts of hunger and selfishness, all the while not realizing their own evils

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post
                    Very minor I'll add, it is too bad that heros are called out to only be low integrity. Or at least heros who answer the call are pretty much only low integrity. At least last i looked it was that way and unlike other gamelines, beast does its best if its antagonist isn't necessarily a bad guy. With Arcs talk of shades of grey, honestly its more dynamic if the hero can be a lighter shade of grey than the beast. The struggle then can be convincong the hero you are not the monster. Not every hero should be this way but some should unlike the book calling out that high integrity hunters don't answer the call.

                    If I've read that wrong or that has changed I'd be happy to hear so.
                    Yes, antagonist is not necessarily = bad guy.

                    There is a Integrity 7 Hero in Conquering Hero who still actively hunts Beasts, but only those who are direct menaces.
                    Do note though that Beast was written during a period of transition to the 2nd edition rules, so even though it uses Integrity instead of Morality it feels like the Kickstarter version wasn't entirely written under the new perspective for the system.

                    The 2nd Edition rules removed Morality as a game mechanic, it uses Integrity instead which is more akin to mental health. Instead of looking at a sheet stat to determine who is a "good guy" and who is a "bad guy", you are now supposed to ascertain that through a character's perspective, after all, good and bad is subjective, even Hitler was a good guy to some people. From a Beast's perspective a Hero is a guy who comes from nowhere bent on killing him/her, you don't need to delve into philosophical questions, that guy wants you dead and you need to do something about it.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by DreadQueen View Post

                      Yes, antagonist is not necessarily = bad guy.

                      There is a Integrity 7 Hero in Conquering Hero who still actively hunts Beasts, but only those who are direct menaces.
                      Do note though that Beast was written during a period of transition to the 2nd edition rules, so even though it uses Integrity instead of Morality it feels like the Kickstarter version wasn't entirely written under the new perspective for the system.

                      The 2nd Edition rules removed Morality as a game mechanic, it uses Integrity instead which is more akin to mental health. Instead of looking at a sheet stat to determine who is a "good guy" and who is a "bad guy", you are now supposed to ascertain that through a character's perspective, after all, good and bad is subjective, even Hitler was a good guy to some people. From a Beast's perspective a Hero is a guy who comes from nowhere bent on killing him/her, you don't need to delve into philosophical questions, that guy wants you dead and you need to do something about it.
                      Ehh, I think it's still important to note that whether or not integrity is morality, low integrity tends to translate as someone who's shredded sanity/flawed perspective affects them in ways that lead to what most define as evil actions

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post
                        Very minor I'll add, it is too bad that heros are called out to only be low integrity. Or at least heros who answer the call are pretty much only low integrity. At least last i looked it was that way and unlike other gamelines, beast does its best if its antagonist isn't necessarily a bad guy. With Arcs talk of shades of grey, honestly its more dynamic if the hero can be a lighter shade of grey than the beast. The struggle then can be convincong the hero you are not the monster. Not every hero should be this way but some should unlike the book calling out that high integrity hunters don't answer the call.

                        If I've read that wrong or that has changed I'd be happy to hear so.

                        A problem here... Is that the position of a character that can be a lighter shade of grey than a Beast and is open to being convinced that the Beast isn't strictly just a monster, would probably be a lot better served by a Hunter, than a Hero.

                        When you have Hunters and Heroes in the same system, they need important distinctions, not just system effects but what they can do for the story overall. Where that falls might be open to a lot of interpretation and preference, though.

                        But I think it's important to consider the place of Hunters when talking of Heroes as well.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Paradim View Post


                          A problem here... Is that the position of a character that can be a lighter shade of grey than a Beast and is open to being convinced that the Beast isn't strictly just a monster, would probably be a lot better served by a Hunter, than a Hero.

                          When you have Hunters and Heroes in the same system, they need important distinctions, not just system effects but what they can do for the story overall. Where that falls might be open to a lot of interpretation and preference, though.

                          But I think it's important to consider the place of Hunters when talking of Heroes as well.
                          Id say, the different motivations that drive both and the difference in abilities is already enough to seperate them. You can, and likely do, have low integrity hunters after all.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mr.F.I.X. View Post

                            Id say, the different motivations that drive both and the difference in abilities is already enough to seperate them. You can, and likely do, have low integrity hunters after all.
                            I don't really see it as being an issue of low integrity. But more a factor of the Primordial Dream pushing Heroes to kill.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Paradim View Post

                              I don't really see it as being an issue of low integrity. But more a factor of the Primordial Dream pushing Heroes to kill.
                              Considering how high integrity heroes works, i would say that the Primordial dream push heroes to React, what kind of reaction they will take are heavily influenced by integrity level

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