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  • #46
    Originally posted by Cinder View Post
    Beast does wonders when it comes to daily conflicts & personal relationships and, as far as I'm concerned, it shines the most when used to run Tier 0/Tier 1 games.

    I'll defend this take until the Sun dies down.
    To underline this:

    It tends to get pushed to the background in favor of the more involved fare supernatural societies bring to the table, but most gamelines have some level of support available for just letting your occult nature gradually interfere with your ability to live like a mortal does and not spawn a half-dozen urban legends when you eventually have to skip town.

    Beasts are built to line up with those specimens particularly well. Whether it's vampires starting to handle the shallows of their new sunlight allergy, freshly Changed werewolves acting out the Wolfman movies, unaffiliated changelings trying to work up the nerve to confront their fetch, newly Awakened mages chasing the dragon, young Sin-Eaters dealing with the complications of being two ghosts, or other similar free agents, a Beast serves as a handy influential figure whose supernatural activities mostly hew towards the mundane.

    Their tendencies set up Protagonist Versus Self stories of the "look at how messed up being magic is making you over time" variety really well by holding up a mirror to the more "obfuscated controlled fall" trajectory many other lines develop by being able to lighten the load and cover for each other through shared social groups, and playing games where everyone's basically just a person among a group of other persons really highlights that shift by contrasting them against the mostly-normal people surrounding them.


    Resident Lore-Hound
    Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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    • #47
      You know, I want to post what I have when I have te Intro done because, fuck, it's the intro, it shouldn't take that long, but since it actually is, fuck it, I'm up to the start of Heroes, let's start some dialogue:
      "You don't suffer nightmares.
      You cause them"

      Gag me.

      It's been too long for me to know for sure if I actually always had a problem with these two lines, but as the writer I am now with the knowledge I have, it feels like I always have. In another product, these'd be fine opening words-DND had Gothic Lineages come out, I think, and as a prelude to a game where the bright hero is still kind of king despite DnD being DnD and where characters fight fear but don't cause it, that'd've been a great line, but in Chronicles it's a complete flop. 1) The main conceit of the gamelines is to play monsters, already a frightful and nightmare inducing character concept, and therefore to really get into the visceral thrill and danger of playing a character, you have to dig into what makes the line frightful and alluring. 2) It's like this text completely forgot what Beast is, ie mythic horror wrought through the lens of urban horror as a humanist lens. The opening of Beast really needed to be a "This is a time for great (and terrible) deeds" style line. Like, just idly, if I had to write two sentences to try and sell someone on Beast, it might be something like "The monsters are still making the world. It's time to rise up and make it in your image" or some shit like that. All this tells people is you scare people, and honestly it does it in a way that unfortunately immediately prepares people to read the abuse angle (dear god, I really should good faith sit down, look at, and discuss that). just fucking ugh, hate these stupid lines.

      Honestly, the opening in general has the same sort of "you were special all along!" I shat on Genius for (and that some of early Forsaken stank of, thankfully never enough to turn me off). There are games for that, and honestly Beast isn't a bad game for it since they are Very Much THe Bad Guys, but Fucking Sell The Game instead of appealing to special girl bullshit.

      I am through the first page and I could tell you more about quantum physics from a similar read. How did anyone forget to actually sell the game.

      Okay Beast, I love you, but you are trying super hard to say you aren't the bad guy, and I'd rather have you just admit you have to do bad things and rebuild from there. Just because you are a bad guy does not mean you are a bad guy.

      One, Beast with a Thousand Faces is cute, two, We still don't really a have a full picture of what Beasts are or what they do beyond some yikesome from the teaching through fear schtick and we're going into myths and rumors about that? That doesn't work because we're doing a whole phylum of unrelated monsters with their own shit, and we barely have an idea of what we're doing. THe sections in Vampire and Werewolf matter becuase people are going to come in with their own expectations and that's a quick way of managing them, but here you are literally still trying to get people grokking what the game is.

      I realize it's stil a useful way to tell people about the chracters, but jesus christ. Like, the literal bloodline-was anyone asking questions about that yet?

      Angels arrive in deliberately frightening and confusing forms and then command the witnesses "Do not fear"
      The Dark Mother manifests under the bed, in the clost, from the curve of pipe, and out of the back of then mind,and silently promises "it's okay to be afraid."

      Not that being afraid isn't an indicator that something is here to hurt you or kill you, mind. Not that being afraid can't render your mind useless. Not that being afraid means you're falling short of the scenario.

      But it's okay to be afraid. Being afraid is part of living. It's a gate, not of answers, but of questions, that lets us decide who we are.

      In some arguments, it's why you have a choice at all. But regardless of that, the point remains.

      It's okay to be afraid.

      You're okay to be afraid.

      That's who the Dark Mother is. She is not kind, nor is she oft contemptuous. She has an agenda, but it may be simpler than we imagine. She has an agenda, and maybe it has more teeth than we think. She is the world and the scream and the little girl wanting mommy and the mothers who both sit back and the mothers who respond.

      She is not here to revel in you being afraid. She is not here to comfort you FOR being afraid, or to tell you you are wrong FOR being afraid.

      But she is here to tell you

      You're okay to be afraid.

      Easily one of the best background characters of Chronicles, and I haven't even read the section yet.

      Don't dig the presentation of mystery here. Don't get me wrong, the Dark Mother should be a reliably mysterious figure- she is after all the incarnation of that irreconiliable part of ourselves where humanity and inhumanity blur, where the act of struggling to create metaphors is both kindness and failure-but honestly, if you compare the Dark Mother to other aspects of the setting, she's among the most personal of originates for monsters. THe Curses and their contaminant Origin points, Moon or, previously, Wolf, THe Watchtowers, the distant Progentiors and Demiurges, the Conspiracy Heads, the Cthonic, all very distant. Arguably the Gentry, the Judges, and especially the God-Machine and the Deviant Progentiors are on the same relative level of closeness as the Dark Mother's (Hell, the G-M and the Deviant Progentiors are obviously closer), but the Dark Mother's level of closeness is both markedly different in form and activity than others. In fact, that's part of what should be so concerning about the Dark Mother, that she IS so involved. Other Monsters, going forward, should be able to interact with her with semi-frequency. She's a monolithic, incomprehensible figure, but she is PRESENT in that way that would make any other splat /uncomfortable/.

      Oh yeah, here's something that never gets brough up anymore-the uncomfortable claim that The Dark Mother is the literal First of Monsters. Most people get now that's more a constant pervasive shadow who has a dibs on firs in that way you have to abolish any shadow before seeing what's there, a pervasive underline or backdrop that exists in the thematic, but dear god, they wanted Beasts to get in everyone's face, where it's kind of obvious now Beasts, and the Dark Mother, exists in everyone's shadow-/unnervingly/ present.

      "It is to FEAST"

      ergeher

      The next section goes on to elucidate on how the Primordial Dream is both there to remind everyone they've got something to be afraid about about (Which the Hungers tap into quite well, but) and something to learn, but the nakedness of that statement cements the problem with the lot-Beasts are both here to EAT and to BUILD. They are here to EAT to BUILD. It's not /wrong/, per se, but Beast is a better game the more you lean into the tower of mouths image, that it's a game that builds-in hunger, yes, but in other aspects. These are the underworld celebrities of the game, the aberrant Lady Gaga's of the supernatural world, riding high on reputation laughing when that reputation becomes obscure. This is a game of Endless Hunger, but it is a game of Terrifying Myth. Beasts Eat, have no doubt. They consume a lot, and a fair number consume to just consume-but even the idlest of them do not have that consumption mean anything idly by itself. They exist in a world with meaning-where meaning can be embodied- and with consequence.

      Gah, this section reeks of retcon.

      I have no problem the The Horror section, and it is important for understandings Beasts as humanity's monsters. Other monsters come from weird powers, but Beasts? They are (almost) all humanity's baby.

      Some of it has started, but I anticpate starting it more here in it's nascency before it goes in depth for Ch. 2-(Unfortunately I never finished this thought and I don't recall where it was going, but it'll be fun to see it guessed at)

      Part of the problem of the nightmare wisdom as it's portrayed here is that there's no good correlation between the terror and the wisdom. In theory it works, and in fact has depth and breadth (see "The sinister, the terrible never deceive: the state in which they leave us is always one of enlightenment." quote by Thomas Ligotti in The Medusa, cited in Book of the Deceived), but since Beast had it as a budget word count increase and shift that became the red headed stepchild for later writers to deal with, it never makes a full cohesive sense, it's never demonstrated, never articulated. Show your work may sometimes be shit in school, but it matters for unintuitive but correct angles.

      Note for future writers-when yer talking about how Kinship feels and operates, paint in in the language of fear. This little bit about knowing how someone in their midst is a predator trying to worm into a social circle is evocatve shit, and I like this notion of twisting feeling around that a the flutter of fear is also the flutter of excitement at meeting kin.

      Note for developers, this empathy take, by the way, is why there should probably be Kinship leaning towards humans as much as we have Kinship for monsters. Beasts are still human, in their own way, and more importantly it's cool to see this nightmare empathy and thusly disappointing to never see it in action.

      I imagine Ch. 2 is gonna give it more, but I want to articulate the mixed feelings of having another Beast be involved in a nascent Beast's devouring. On the one hand, it reinforces the notion of family in a big way and also provides a ready reason why some Broods form. On the other hand, for me anyways, the emotional maturing I went on and can sort of associate to Beast was never really a big gay family affiar(as it were), and I feel like the sometime insistence on this case quashes some of the story potential of a Beast coming into their own on their own. We'll have to see how much of a thing it is later on.

      Oh, yeah, the Big Brother/Sister concept. That feels REALLY superfluous. It's enough that Soul and Horror call to each other and allow the possibility of collapsing into each other to form the Beast.

      THe gag is coming on again. Yes, we know, the monsters is Some Kind Of Strife. We know that. You're not some poor benighted soul cursed to this monstrosity, you are an ascendent being who welcomed themselves with the gentle crunch of their own jaws. The realy question is you're now going to serve as the collective shadow to your community or if you're just gonna cast one over them.

      "THe Beast isn't a villain. She's a lesson."

      I hope people remember how much I actually I fight for Lesson culture. I really am a fan of it, even if I want to morph it into the broader mythology builder angle. I will fight all takers on it's behalf.

      but dear god, lines like this DO NOT HELP.

      And now we come to Lair, what is the heart and soul of Beast, the "Even as we curse monsters, we admire them. Seek to become them, in some ways." of Beast, the meta-textualization of the reality of monsters that forces the question of "since we're gonna think on these fuckers anyways, what the hell are they for?" of it. Let's see what the intro says on that.

      On the meta level, player choice of course shapes the Lair, and players involved in shaping their own story is gonna have their pick of the litter from scenes to carve into, but someone help me out, did we ever get how a Beast personality shapes the Lair mechanically? Anything we can do with that? Gotta chew on that.

      And embedded in the human experience they are.

      What doesn't kill you makes you wish you were dead, and what you survive makes you stranger. Beasts are shockingly boring at higher tiers.

      The Small World thing needs to be emphasized more going forward. "Nay, I am the World-The World Inside the Gourd."

      Also, I wouldn't say this for a basic book, but somewhere in a supplement, we should probably explore the freedom to build specific dungeons out of their Lairs. Some of us still don't have the tools to make the OG Water Temple.

      Eh, it explained Lair well enough on a practical level, but if you subscribe to my worldview where Lair is the raison d'etre of Beasts, it doesn't do enough.

      I kind of feel like Hunger also gets short changed-neither recognized as the short-term and immediate twin of Lair or given due as the sometimes-esstential/sometimes-toxic selfishness twin to Kinship's more selflessly-inclined aspect.

      Also, if we're gonna chat about Lessons giving a textural essence to the Primordial Dream, we gotta go that. Or honestly just wrap it up in the mythmaking angle-mean what you wanna be, or someone else will decide who you are as they meant it.

      I never finished that third point did I? I need to do that. Anyways, Heroes-also definitively children of the Dark Mother, just fucking do it. Maybe the rebellious children who Forswear their family (cough), but let's really up the family drama and bring them into the tree, really properly place them along with Beasts and the Insatiable.


      Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
      Feminine pronouns, please.

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      • #48
        Why do you like the Lesson bullshit so much Arcane? And Beast is a game I loved in its first draft before people bitched and they half heartily changed it.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
          Why do you like the Lesson bullshit so much Arcane? And Beast is a game I loved in its first draft before people bitched and they half heartily changed it.
          Konradlejion, there's an attitude problem here breaking both the forum rules (which is not my role to point out) and those Arc kindly put out in the opening post of this thread (which instead is).

          We told you already, but if that's how you're going to contribute to this thread, please stop. All other things aside, and there's plenty, nobody's here to indulge whatever bone you have to pick with the game, especially if you talk like that. ESPECIALLY if we put "let's not turn this into a Primordial-related toxic feast, we have too many of those already" request right at the start.


          This is getting out of hand. Please stop or leave the thread.


          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

          I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

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          • #50
            Given I just put a dump of text where I suddenly seem to take a 180 to my usual stance on the subject, I'll mention I'm okay with it. That said, mods have warned you Konrad, so know my allowance here is not gonna necessarily save you.

            Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
            Why do you like the Lesson bullshit so much Arcane? And Beast is a game I loved in its first draft before people bitched and they half heartily changed it.
            I like Lessons because...Yeah, that's one of the reasons WHY we have monsters.

            Beast, as a crossover game, had a lot on it's plate to balance in order to play neatly with a lot of the other games. Beast dealt with it by reducing, simplifying, and becoming archetypal, which in turn leaves the game in a state of existential quandry-it makes bare a big question not only about Chronicles, but a lot of media, being "Why do we use monsters in our stories?"

            Beast, pre-rewrites, kind of waffled and ignored that, favoring a form of monstrosity that was much more internally incurious and non-reflective, which is fucking weird for a splat that that basically function as the id-shadow of humanity with a conscience, deriving from a ephemeral type whose major source book cites introspection as a theme.

            Also, we come back around to that classic of reasons, people were reading proto-Beast and were coming up empty on what, exactly, they were supposed to do.

            Lessons are a flawed way to handle this setup and response, but they point the way to resolving it. It reinforces that Beasts are part-metaphor, which emphasizes and deepens a lot of the bigger themes and ideas that a lot of fans of Beast find as the reason it's interesting and speaking to them, making Beast a game of transcendence in a primal fashion and making it clear that Beast is a game of mythmaking, about being a world, about reconciling our sharp edges and finding how to use them to elevate, improve, and connect to communities. It makes Beast's driving question of what they do as defining Who They Are, What They Stand For, What Sort of World Will They Be. It links a lot of what made Beast mildly interesting presents a clear picture, under the poor development, of what Beast could be, and honestly needs to be if it's gonna have a future.

            It also helps to differentiate them from their two major antagonists on the philosophical level, particularly given the nihilism read of Beast that I have ever ready. Heroes see themselves as the ubermench, those embody meaning but are, in practice, don't see themselves bound to the meaning they embody. The Insatiable deny meaning in all of it's forms, and instead send the world down into the meaningless of it all. A Beast has the freedom to follow either of those routes, or to follow where Lessons lead-to embody meaning, but to allow themselves to be subject to them, which means that they have room to learn from their mistakes and to Become something else.

            It's imperfect, but it makes a lot of Beast click, and points how future Beast's implementation of mythmaking should work and how it speaks for the game.

            Anyways, that's my nutshell answer, and that's your one indulgence on my part, Konradleijon. If mods don't act on this one and you do this again, I'm reporting you directly.


            Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
            The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
            Feminine pronouns, please.

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            • #51
              I would have liked it if the Game-line went pure Overlord your a terrible person let’s not try to justify it. And cut out Heros entirely.they wernt written well at all. And the never intrigued my.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Konradleijon View Post
                Why do you like the Lesson bullshit so much Arcane? And Beast is a game I loved in its first draft before people bitched and they half heartily changed it.
                Please leave the thread. If you actually hate the game now, you don't have to mention it more than once. You have mentioned your distaste a lot in multiple threads.


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

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                • #53
                  Some thoughts/questions that arise from these takes:

                  1: Do you think it's fair to summarize that Beast would benefit significantly from a rewrite that explicitly frames lessons as something Beasts view as necessary for themselves, not something necessary for the victims?

                  2: In terms of inspirations and the collective cultural touchstones that Beast references to provide a shorthand mental framework for readers, can we identify any good examples of lessons/legend building? For an example from the stories I'm most familiar with, take Greek mythology. If you say "this is a game about playing one of the monsters from those myths" I have a pretty good idea what that means in terms of what supernatural abilities might be available. I also have a good idea of what antagonists might look like, ie watch out for exiled royal demigods. I can map those forward to a more modern and metaphorical setting pretty well. What I don't have is a sense for is how the monster views its relationship with humanity. I may have answered my own question there, that's the part the game has to build, since it lacks that easily referenced cultural foundation.

                  3: Segueing from that back to the larger question of "why do we use monsters", I think that's the interesting place where answering questions about Beast's specific appeal intersects with appeal of the setting in general. Why do we want to play in a horror (or at least horror inspired) sandbox? What makes the movie monster appealing to play, and what humanizes it and makes it relatable?
                  I think all horror stories are on some level stories about trauma. The good ones, the interesting ones, use the fantastical to expose and comment on the mundane. Where CofD really shines is in giving players a framework to tell those stories, and Beast struggles to carve a unique niche while remaining archetypal. Changeling readily enables stories about rebuilding a life after escaping an abusive relationship. Sin Eater has a clear focus on confronting oppression and injustice on an overwhelming, systemic scale. Beast... lacks that kind of direction.

                  There are two main things Beast has to work with regarding finding its theme. The first is confronting the fact that you, the character, must cause trauma, and do so in a more active, direct, and malicious fashion than other kinds of monsters. Not that they can't be just as bad, or worse, but the deck is more heavily stacked against you when it comes to trying to not do that, to play the good guy. Unless the Hunger mechanics were completely overhauled that's a fact that the game has to acknowledge. Second, and related, is that growing up human, and later trying to live one foot in that world, the only time you see yourself represented in media is as the villain. You are always the villain. You do not get to be what you are, who you are, and also be one of the heroes. It doesn't work that way. There's a lot to play with there with other people not seeing the struggle, not understanding how bounded your choices are and how laughable "have you tried not being a monster" is as a 'solution'. A lot to be said for how exhausting it is to fight the current literally all the time and how appealing it is to just stop trying and revel in what you can't change anyway. Beast could do with fewer examples making the Heroes' case so effectively for them.

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                  • #54
                    I think it's OK if the rewrite is explicitly frames that Beasts need a Lesson Culture to take control over their Legend. Beasts themselves might be completely ignorant of this fact, or outright reject the idea if other Beasts try to convince them of it, but the players/authors of said characters need to be 100% clear that they are either portraying a Beast that is not in control of their Legend, or has developed a more personal/unique/etc. version of a Lesson Culture than the default ones presented in the book.

                    As an analogy, a person hikes up a mountain, and at the top, overlooking the vast expanse of nature around them, takes a long moment to clear their mind of other concerns and simple be present in the moment. The hiker is an avid outdoors-type and rejects new age stuff or other philosophies and doesn't at all accept calling this meditation no matter how much you point out that yes, that's a form of meditation. It doesn't really matter if the hiker considers it meditation or not though; because they're gaining the benefit of the experience and practice regardless. If the hiker is a character in a CofD game, their player is well within their rights to ask for a meditation roll even if their character rejects that label.

                    As long as the people at the table understand what's going on, the characters can deviate from that default; and it can be done more successfully because people have a better grasp of what's functional-if-different.

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                    • #55
                      The introduction of Lessons never really sat well for me. Either the presentation failed to present an effective case for it to me or perhaps I'm just not understanding how this element is meant to help support the game. By directly bringing in this concept of Lessons, it makes explicit factors of horror movies (and stories really) which goes to very awkward places.... And without careful consideration and conversation addressing it.... It presents an elephant in the room of the presentation of victims of violence and abuse in these kinds of stories as being deserving of what they're receiving.

                      So... I guess I do kinda get the idea of "Lessons" as meaning to tap into how horror stories have their stories expressed.... But I really think this needs to be balanced against the concept of victim-blaming and that there should probably be some earnest conversation about that.

                      I feel like so long it wasn't explicitly called out, it could remain implicit (and to be honest, probably still deserving some talking about in my view). But with it being brought up as "Lessons", well... It can't be ignored. I can't ignore it.

                      Originally posted by HelmsDerp View Post
                      1: Do you think it's fair to summarize that Beast would benefit significantly from a rewrite that explicitly frames lessons as something Beasts view as necessary for themselves, not something necessary for the victims?
                      This is a very interesting idea, I think. I think this kind of separation might be necessary, and helps bring the story to focus more on Beasts themselves as more introspective horror which fits Chronicles of Darkness better.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                        Note for developers, this empathy take, by the way, is why there should probably be Kinship leaning towards humans as much as we have Kinship for monsters. Beasts are still human, in their own way, and more importantly it's cool to see this nightmare empathy and thusly disappointing to never see it in action.
                        My first initial thought when reading this was "Kinship Touchstones"?

                        Which...ok, since I know it's going to come up, re: "Beasts having no Integrity stat equivalent and thus no Breaking Points and no Touchstones":

                        I will say that I do like the idea of Beast's not having an Integrity-equivalent track. That the game, to me, is about providing the option of Beasts trying to break out of or not follow imposed views of what morality is. That instead the Beast is free to dictate to themselves what being "moral" is (and thus assisting in defining what their Legend is to them) and has a freedom of choice to it that the other CofD splats don't have.

                        ...on the other hand, among Beast critics/non-Beast CofD fans this has contributed to the idea that Beasts are repugnant amoral assholes that don't give a shit about anything, especially them never ever feeling bad about their actions not being reinforced by mechanics the way the other CofD splats are. And once again feeding into "Beasts are the worse, why should I ever play as them?" mentality.

                        So in that regard...yeah in that regard I wouldn't be opposed to a theoretical edition update giving them a Integrity-stat-equivalent, but definitely change things up so that it's something distinct to Beast and its themes and not, say, just give them Vampire's Humanity or Changeling's Clarity track.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
                          My first initial thought when reading this was "Kinship Touchstones"?

                          Which...ok, since I know it's going to come up, re: "Beasts having no Integrity stat equivalent and thus no Breaking Points and no Touchstones":

                          I will say that I do like the idea of Beast's not having an Integrity-equivalent track. That the game, to me, is about providing the option of Beasts trying to break out of or not follow imposed views of what morality is. That instead the Beast is free to dictate to themselves what being "moral" is (and thus assisting in defining what their Legend is to them) and has a freedom of choice to it that the other CofD splats don't have.

                          ...on the other hand, among Beast critics/non-Beast CofD fans this has contributed to the idea that Beasts are repugnant amoral assholes that don't give a shit about anything, especially them never ever feeling bad about their actions not being reinforced by mechanics the way the other CofD splats are. And once again feeding into "Beasts are the worse, why should I ever play as them?" mentality.

                          So in that regard...yeah in that regard I wouldn't be opposed to a theoretical edition update giving them a Integrity-stat-equivalent, but definitely change things up so that it's something distinct to Beast and its themes and not, say, just give them Vampire's Humanity or Changeling's Clarity track.
                          I'm not entirely sure they need an Integrity-alike, but I'm not against the Touchstone concept, possibly slowing Satiety Loss or acting as an alternative to Satiety Expenditure, or possibly reinforcing Lair in certain ways. So long as being co-harmoniously part of a community remains a major facet of Kinship, that speaks enough to their struggle.

                          But for me, the fact I keep coming back to, outside of some of these cool things the intro mentions and never follows up on, is that Beasts are parts of humanity. Horrors(and correspondingly Beasts) are gestalt Primordial Dream/Mother's Land dreamborn, which means they are an embodiment of the fear and hunger in everyone. I want that to be a two way street, where coming across someone whose primary fear resonates with their Family and/or their desires resonate with their Hunger means that a Beast can know a lot about that person (possibly at the expense of taking on their personality, since the individual vs the community is a major component of Beast's struggles), or visa versa a person might be empowered to act on their fear or hunger, allowed a moment to be Beastial as they do so.

                          But Touchstones are one of those things Cinder and I keep batting back and forth. Human Kinship should have a lot of cool pieces to use into, but Touchstones are, without a doubt, a cornerstone of that possible powerset.

                          EDIT: Some small clarifications: I think the fact that Beasts allow themselves to become Beasts is a big part of Beast's power fantasy and fatalistic horror, and I think with that step away from humanity, it doesn't make much sense to break the infinity loop of humanity-and-monstrosity that Satiety is.

                          That said, Kinship vs Hunger is definitely a major theme of Beast, and I don't want to ignore that either, so in my head I reframed the conversation around Touchstones and Human Kinship for Beasts, which is that it's not so much keeping a hold of yourself so much as keeping others from getting a hold of you. Community and connection is power for a Beast, and it's a fortress first, cannons second sort of affair. A lot of my ideas on Heroes stem from this fight over the community.

                          Of course, communities can take some different forms, and not all of them are healthy. Power can take many different forms, and a Beast willing to forsake one form has other options. Of course, power has it's price. At least with trying to co-integrate into a community, the prices are laid up front.

                          Originally posted by HelmsDerp View Post
                          Some thoughts/questions that arise from these takes:

                          1: Do you think it's fair to summarize that Beast would benefit significantly from a rewrite that explicitly frames lessons as something Beasts view as necessary for themselves, not something necessary for the victims?

                          2: In terms of inspirations and the collective cultural touchstones that Beast references to provide a shorthand mental framework for readers, can we identify any good examples of lessons/legend building? For an example from the stories I'm most familiar with, take Greek mythology. If you say "this is a game about playing one of the monsters from those myths" I have a pretty good idea what that means in terms of what supernatural abilities might be available. I also have a good idea of what antagonists might look like, ie watch out for exiled royal demigods. I can map those forward to a more modern and metaphorical setting pretty well. What I don't have is a sense for is how the monster views its relationship with humanity. I may have answered my own question there, that's the part the game has to build, since it lacks that easily referenced cultural foundation.

                          3: Segueing from that back to the larger question of "why do we use monsters", I think that's the interesting place where answering questions about Beast's specific appeal intersects with appeal of the setting in general. Why do we want to play in a horror (or at least horror inspired) sandbox? What makes the movie monster appealing to play, and what humanizes it and makes it relatable?
                          I think all horror stories are on some level stories about trauma. The good ones, the interesting ones, use the fantastical to expose and comment on the mundane. Where CofD really shines is in giving players a framework to tell those stories, and Beast struggles to carve a unique niche while remaining archetypal. Changeling readily enables stories about rebuilding a life after escaping an abusive relationship. Sin Eater has a clear focus on confronting oppression and injustice on an overwhelming, systemic scale. Beast... lacks that kind of direction.

                          There are two main things Beast has to work with regarding finding its theme. The first is confronting the fact that you, the character, must cause trauma, and do so in a more active, direct, and malicious fashion than other kinds of monsters. Not that they can't be just as bad, or worse, but the deck is more heavily stacked against you when it comes to trying to not do that, to play the good guy. Unless the Hunger mechanics were completely overhauled that's a fact that the game has to acknowledge. Second, and related, is that growing up human, and later trying to live one foot in that world, the only time you see yourself represented in media is as the villain. You are always the villain. You do not get to be what you are, who you are, and also be one of the heroes. It doesn't work that way. There's a lot to play with there with other people not seeing the struggle, not understanding how bounded your choices are and how laughable "have you tried not being a monster" is as a 'solution'. A lot to be said for how exhausting it is to fight the current literally all the time and how appealing it is to just stop trying and revel in what you can't change anyway. Beast could do with fewer examples making the Heroes' case so effectively for them.
                          First things first, I would generally fold lesson culture over into mythology building, which is also a fancy way of saying "Identity building" in the same way deed building leads to Legend in Scion. With that in mind:

                          1) Neccesary? No. Beneficial? Yes. For the Beast more so than the victims? Definitely. My general angle on this is "If you don't decide what you mean, someone else will." Sometimes, not even that is enough-but this is why it pays to be clear in what you mean to be.

                          2) I find the meta-nature of it makes it easier to see it from an RPG stance than in a fiction sense-but you can see how a person is made by their stories and some of the things they communicate in pretty much any story. Hercules grows with each of his tasks, and the "Valiant" Little Tailor becomes King, and a whole different person, as he performs each of his trickeries. As for the lessons, I never forget when I learned that the first part of the Epic of Gilgamesh is basically political propoganda telling people to move closer to the major cities.

                          That said, it's easier to see it in games like Scion and Dungeons and Dragons (oh my).

                          3) I think there's a lot of inherent drama and humanity in the question of what you do when you're the sort of person who finds themselves defined by the darker aspects of humanity. Some people find themselves driven to cut flesh, some people find themselves to take the wealth of others. Some of these people may become murderers and thieves-some may become butchers and tax collectors. Beast goes a little beyond that, but it remains the question: this is who I am, and I would rather die unceremoniously than deny that, but now how do I make that into a thing that benefits the community?

                          And of course, how much does any one person owe their community, anyways? (The extreme answers to that question are found in Heroes, Instatiable, and Beasts who play both.)

                          Trauma and Villainy are definitely things I keep in mind for Beast-I wouldn't dare move them from the Dark Gray Line that usually divides the other protagonists and their antagonists. That said, I'm also obligated to think about how that positions allows them to blur and murkify that line and the questions that come with it.

                          Beasts are definitely Bad Guys, and one of the big things they have to fight with, and motivates them, is that people who go against them usually have some kind of a good point. The contest, then, is how much of a good point is left on the floor, and/or if they can be powerful enough to make up for it.

                          You're a monster who's fighting for their right to belong to a community. It falls on each one to justify how and why they do.
                          Last edited by ArcaneArts; 03-28-2021, 03:52 PM.


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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
                            "Beasts having no Integrity stat equivalent and thus no Breaking Points and no Touchstones"
                            Touchstones at their core is just a meaningful connection for the character. While they're often tied to Integrity equivalents, there's nothing that forces them to have that mechanical connection. Also, Beasts do have an Integrity equivalent in Satiety (on top of it being the fuel stat, just like how Synergy is both Integrity equivalent and power stat in Geist 2e), so if you do think you need something like that as a foundation for Touchstones, let the Touchstones primarily affect/be affected by Satiety. You could even do it like Deviant and have human/monstrous Touchstones be the basis for the Life/Legend Anchors.
                            Well, maybe that's not the best idea for how to go about it, but there's plenty of ways to fit Touchstones into a second edition of Beast with just a little bit of creativity without having to add a new trait for them to work off of.


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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
                              I will say that I do like the idea of Beast's not having an Integrity-equivalent track.
                              It's fairly easy to argue that Satiety doubles as fuel and Integrity-equivalent.

                              ...on the other hand, among Beast critics/non-Beast CofD fans this has contributed to the idea that Beasts are repugnant amoral assholes that don't give a shit about anything, especially them never ever feeling bad about their actions not being reinforced by mechanics the way the other CofD splats are. And once again feeding into "Beasts are the worse, why should I ever play as them?" mentality.
                              Beast shouldn't be revised to try to bring the haters on board. It should be revised to address the flaws in the game that aren't just people coming up with reasons to justify their dislike without any deep examination. The whole point of this thread is people that are huge fans of the game doing that examination.

                              The Integrity thing is a bad faith critique of the system, because Integrity and it's equivalents are all over the place in what sorts of behaviors they encourage. Uratha can eat humans to regain balance because Harmony doesn't care how you get around to breaking in the direction you want to go. Mages are more heavily penalized for killing someone out of extreme emotional duress than they are for planning and executing a detailed revenge because Wisdom is about self-control not about ethics. Etc. Having an Integrity stat for Beasts could make them "worse" by more directly codifying the mechanical pressures already existing in the feeding/Satiety loop as an measured separate Integrity style trait.

                              -----------

                              That all said, Touchstones aren't a bad idea, but it depends where the rest of the mechanics go. As Tessie said, there's lots of options here.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                                The Integrity thing is a bad faith critique of the system, because Integrity and it's equivalents are all over the place in what sorts of behaviors they encourage.
                                ...I know? I even pointed it out:

                                Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
                                So in that regard...yeah in that regard I wouldn't be opposed to a theoretical edition update giving them a Integrity-stat-equivalent, but definitely change things up so that it's something distinct to Beast and its themes and not, say, just give them Vampire's Humanity or Changeling's Clarity track.

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