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  • Arcane and Cinder Reread The Beast Corebook

    So recently Cinder posited that they were gonna reread the Beast books, starting of course with the core. And I thought to myself "Hey, even though I have three books I've been chomping at the bit to read, that sounds like a cool idea, it's been a while since we've read the corebook all the way through" and then I mentally corrected my self and change my royal pronoun to my personal one-and then stopped and said, "Hey, you know what could be cool? Swapping our notes from our reread with each other." And then I thought "You know what would be even better? Sharing those notes in a public forum." So I hit up Cinder and tossed the idea to them, and they were for it, so here we are.

    With that said, two points of quick clarification, being 1) So how is this gonna work, and 2) Wait, who the fuck are y'all?

    As to the former, well, it's gonna be informal and unorganized, I'll be honest. We're not, like, setting goals to have it all read by so and so time (though I did briefly consider doing that and pitching meetings to try and make a mini-podcast out of ths), it's just read, toss in our notes when we're done. One of us may get ahead of the other, one of us may have really scattered notes, so on and so forth. What probably will happen is that, while we'll undoubtedly respond to people chatting in the thread, you'll probably get a reall sense of what some of the conversations between me and CInder are like, how we check on each other's train of thought.

    And this leads to our latter question. You're probably asking this if you're not familiar with this neck of the woods, so I'd like to say Hello, Welcome to the Beast: the Primordial threads, I hope you've had a good time in the forums overall. Cinder and I are both probably the biggest fanboys of Beast active in the forums, and we're also active freelancers who take jobs for Onyx Path when they come along. Cinder is The Beast Guy, and I've drunk a lot of whiskey and gin while putting text down about this game. We aspire to one day have a batch of books to pitch to Richard Thomas for the line, but in the mean time we spend an inordinate amount of time speaking to what we think Beast does well and where it can do better. It would be presumptuous to suggest we are the foremost experts and voices of authority in this forum, but it's not for lack of trying. Point is, we're professionals who are passionate fans of this game even as we're critical of it, and we have some history suggesting people like to listen to us talk about the subject, hence the thread.

    Now, ground rules for discussion (and naturally, Cinder and I will be abiding by these rules).

    1) If yer gonna chat in this thread, you should probably re-read the corebook right along with us-or read it, if you haven't read it before.
    2) Criticisms of and problems with the game are welcome, but we expect these things to be handled in good faith. Give the benefit of the doubt to people making counter arguments, be willing to consider that you might be wrong, and work conversation to either help you better understand the game or at least determine it's not for you. Be willing to let something go if you or the other party just seems to be dedicated to going around in circles. If you come in here to just rag on the game, or worse to make people feel bad for enjoying or even just contemplating the game, you will not be welcomed, you will be reported.
    3) This is not a discussion about Matthew McFarland or the things he did. Period. Don't try to make it one.
    4) The authors of this work are real people with real lives, real problems, and real emotions. Many had Beast as their first set of jobs, and as such some of Beast's roughness stems from this fact. This is further exacerbated by a very wonky and confusing production cycle. It is one thing to be critical of the writing and the design, but that it should not overlap into attacks on the authors. If you are asked to lighten up or back off, please do so. Be critical of the work and respectful of the authors.
    5) Yes, Beast went through a hasty rewrite in the middle of it's Kickstarter. I have various stages of Beast prior to those rewrites in my folders. We are not talking about about any Beast corebook beyond the finished copy that you could now get from DriveThruRPG. While we can accept that some concepts from earlier can factor into the reading (looking at you, Homecoming), please keep commentary on earlier versions to a minimum and focus primarily on the final product.
    6) By contrast, you can bring up how later books affect the information in the core book, including cases where it replaces or supercedes this previous information. Also, feel free to discuss how text in other gamelines, so long as it's relevant, similarly matters to Beast.
    7)Though, no, let's not labor the point that Changeling: the Lost Second Edition looked different from the time Beast was written to how it is now, nor how Hunter, Geist and Mummy were all still in first edition states and Deviant wasn't public at the time.
    8) In general, even if something gets into an argument, try to be polite and keep it fun.

    If you push too hard on points 2,3,4,5, and 7, you will not be welcome, you will get reported.

    So, with that, said, let's have fun, starting with!

    Oh my god, the intro is sooooo bad.

    (Actual notes require me to read, I just looked at those first two lines and remembered I never really liked the intro.)
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 02-03-2021, 02:57 AM.


    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.

  • #2
    Should be interesting. I look forward to reading along.


    Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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    • #3
      Eh, I don't think the first two lines are that bad. In fact, I kinda like 'em. They're short, sweet, carry a good amount of info, and leave some questions behind.

      The first line: "You don't suffer nightmares." already suggests to the reader they're going to be playing the role of a character if they didn't already know that coming in, and that said character is at least not entirely human, if not completely inhuman. After all, humans suffer nightmares, so there has to be a degree of inhumanity to the character you're gonna be playing. This leaves the reader with the question of what exactly they're gonna play as. The second line: "You cause them." informs the reader that whatever they're playing as, nightmares are gonna play a key role in their nature. Specifically causing them of course, but it doesn't mention how or why, which gives the reader incentive to read on.

      So yeah, I believe the first two lines are actually pretty good.

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      • #4
        Oh, this is up!

        Well, Arc said most of everything, I think. Yeah, long story short I felt like I needed a refreshment and was in the mood for it, so the Beast reread is happening.

        I should be able to post some initial thoughts about the Intro later today and get the ball rolling.

        Also, any conversation involving me & Arc is bound to the cruel sovereignity of our distant timezones, so that's probably going to mean we won't be always active around the same time.
        Last edited by Cinder; 02-04-2021, 09:33 AM.


        Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

        I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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        • #5
          Well, it has been a while since I read Beast, and I still have a lot of inconsistencies in my head about what came from the original draft and what is in the final book, so at the very least rereading it could be a good opportunity to reorganize what is what. Also, I always enjoy reading Cinder's thoughts aboust Beast and Arc's thoughts when she is drunk.


          Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

          "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

          I now blog in here

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bunyip View Post
            Should be interesting. I look forward to reading along.

            Same here. Beast always came off as a game that was so, so close to being something great.


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            • #7
              I know this is a dumb question, but is the players guide being considered as part of the re-read? I know many consider it "essential" so I don't know if it's being considered part of it

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                I know this is a dumb question, but is the players guide being considered as part of the re-read? I know many consider it "essential" so I don't know if it's being considered part of it
                Cinder will eventually be re-reading, but our communal reading does not include it-but you're welcome to incorporate it into conversation about the corebook.


                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.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                  I know this is a dumb question, but is the players guide being considered as part of the re-read? I know many consider it "essential" so I don't know if it's being considered part of it
                  I'll get to it, eventually. As per this thread, I think Arc and I will do the core and then see if we feel like doing the other books too.

                  It's all rather chill and informal (though we'll sure try to provide a good conversation here), so we haven't discussed about schedules & possible progression. Still, I would not exclude the chance and I don't think Arc does either.

                  Edit: Ninja-ed by my esteemed partner in crime. What a betrayal!
                  Last edited by Cinder; 02-04-2021, 02:13 PM.


                  Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                  I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, I'll have to see if I'm willing to it after this-but the chain of operations for me would be Building the Legend, then Conquering Heroes, then the BPG.


                    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
                      Thanks for clarifying. I really looking forward to this!

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                      • #12
                        Why would you put yourself through that?

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                        • #13
                          I don t know if this is the right thread, but while i was re-reading the Inspirational section two films has comed to my mind.

                          Don t knock twice
                          A story on an Eshmaki Predator or Collector, not a very great film but a lot of references on Beasts mechanics.
                          The Horror has a Lair, it moves through pseudo Primordial pathways and marks an Herald.

                          Knock knock
                          Nice film, no supernatural elements, but a perfect example of an high satiety feeding of a brood with two Enabler or Ravager or Nemeses (or a mix of those).
                          Also another proof that Keanuu is so cool that even when he has the role of a poor asshole he is still able to make you forget about your heterosexuality for a while

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                          • #14
                            Ok, let's start to write something. I meant to do that yesterday, but the day turned rough and I've spent the evening reading Sandman instead.

                            First step is the Introduction, though I want to discuss the fiction too before this thread ends. I have thoughts about those. Not gonna do the whole chapter in one post: I think it's easier to have a conversation and write more specific commentary if I keep stuff in smaller bullet points.

                            The one thing I said when starting my reread is that reading these purple books gives me life, and the Introduction is no exception. It still makes me feel things. Going back to the core's very beginning now, though, sure made me notice some issues.

                            I'm talking about the first bunch of sections here, since I think those coming after are better (and I'll get to them later).

                            It's not like they're badly written and there are sentences and paragraphs I think work well. For example, the opening lines are really strong, the part about the dark places pre-Devouring Begotten visit in their dreams is cool, the Overview is alright overall, the Garth Ennis' quote is perfect. The main problems in there are rather big ones, though.

                            More than anything, they suffer a troublesome lack of identity. They say things, aim for a tone, and describe some vague concepts which fit in Primordial's ballpark, but when I read those again I could not help but to think "Which game I'm being introduced to here? Because it sure is not Beast." I have been through other parts of the core a lot over the years, but it's been a while since I read the intro (outside of the Dark Mother section) and, for a reason or another, those first pages sure don't fit into the wider picture, both in the core's context and even moreso in that of the whole gameline. It's messy and does not ring as true to me as other parts of the core did back in the day and still do nowadays.

                            A couple of other things:

                            There are bits in there that really don't work for me. One is that "you never really fit in pre-Devouring". While I think it's good to have Beasts show sign of their nature all their lives, that paragraph does not sell the concept to me. That part about "walking among the flock"? Yeah, I don't like that one.

                            Then there's the whole idea of Lessons as absolute truths rather than the Begotten social construct born out of necessity, half-understood mysteries, and inner conflicts other parts of the book describe them as (and how I think Lessons should be, I might add). I get why that happened, I know from where this Lesson confusion comes from. I know, really. But here it shows painfully and offers the wrong perspective. Here, in the game's introduction, which causes a dissonance Primordial could have really done without.

                            And then there's that Joseph Campbell reference a little below which just makes me groan.

                            So yeah, I love Beast more each day, it's still my favorite RPG with a very special place in my heart, and I'm a fan of the books, but the way it introduces itself is not good.

                            (Also, I'm right with Arc on how a reading progression should do: Core, Building a Legend, Conquering Heroes, and then Player's Guide. We don't always agree on everything, but we're partners in crime for a reason).
                            Last edited by Cinder; 02-04-2021, 11:06 AM.


                            Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                            I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                              O

                              Then there's the whole idea of Lessons as absolute truths rather than the Begotten social construct born out of necessity, half-understood mysteries, and inner conflicts other parts of the book describe them as (and how I think Lessons should be, I might add). I get why that happened, I know from where this Lesson confusion comes from. I know, really. But here it shows painfully and offers the wrong perspective. Here, in the game's introduction, which causes a dissonance Primordial could have really done without.
                              So yeah, I was re-reading the introduction also yesterday, and I must admit that reading those parts made me cringe so bad. I mean, I know that the lessons are social constructs, but their presentation in the introduction was so, well, bad, that it made we wonder why do I even like Beast. Then I ran back to read the Kickstarter Preview, and it reminded me what actually drew me into the game in the first place. Then came the realization that I've never actually read the final introduction, and instead my perception of Beast relied a lot on that initial preview- which actually, I was always fond of. I mean, sure, the Lessons as a social construct to keep Beasts in line makes sense, but I had little to no issues to use the initial presentation, and I must admit that I still like the Homecoming over the Devouring. The "decision" part of the Devouring doesn't really add something to the game, I think, beside "I chose to be a monster in order to teach people through fear", so yeah, it feels a bit off, IMO. However, it seems that at the very least the whole "Oracles of Fear" thing which this introduction added eventually became the Oracles in Dark Eras 2, so I while it is problematic, good things still came out of it.


                              Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

                              "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

                              I now blog in here

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