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Arcane and Cinder Reread The Beast Corebook

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  • #76
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I'm not entirely sure what "Beasts ought to be supervillains" means, but in the context of power as compared to henchmen, they're well within the very vague bounds of what supervillain means considering the range of Joker to Darkseid.
    The context of powers wasn't what I had in mind. A memorable supervillain is about something, has a meaning and purpose of his own. Taking your examples, the Joker commits crimes not for mundane reasons, but because he believes the universe is irrational and unjust, and is trying to break the people who have faith in reason and justice. Darkseid is a tyrant whose driving goal is to predict, and then control, every aspect of human behavior, reducing everyone to machines under his command.

    I don't get the sense, from reading B:tP, that the typical PCs are characters like that, standing for an archetype and possessed by a grand purpose. They're ... petty. Small. Look at the examples given for gaining Satiety. The way Kinship works has the Beast being a hanger-on in another monster's story - a minor character at best. The game doesn't much support grand villainy, which was what it ought to have done.

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    • #77
      Thinking about how Beast could benefit from systems for rumors, urban legends, and the spreading/cultivation thereof, the first thing that comes to mind as a possible starting place is the Krewe mechanics from Geist 2e. Those obviously aren't an exact fit, but I think they did an excellent job modeling groups of people loosely connected by social network and shared beliefs.

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      • #78
        Jokers motivations vary a lot depending on the author. He started as a petty criminal. The philosophic aspects came in much later, and are still hardly consistent.

        For all of Darkseid's grand ambitions, he's grasping at control because his first love was poisoned by other scheming gods and the only way he can cope is eliminating any risk of others having that power over him.

        They're both kinda petty based on how you look at them.

        Of course, Beast exists withing the Chronicles of Darkness setting. Beasts have to conform to the limitations of those conceits unlike comic book characters. The Joker doesn't fit in the CofD not because his power level, or goals, but because he's too grand and public. The Joker wouldn't survive one trip to Arkham if it was in the CofD because someone would off him for causing too much of a mess.

        Beasts can't run around killing dozens of people on camera to revel in their monstrosity and fit in the setting.

        A Beast's horror is an archetype (literally) their Legend is a purpose. They're just scaled to the setting, and in that context are quite big.

        Kinship doesn't force any specific power dynamic so people can tell different stories with it. I have a Beast that runs with an Uratha pack (and his Kinship has made him part of the pack mechanically). In character, he respects the pack's leadership as separate from himself, but he's extremely adamant that their territory is part of his larger territory and they follow his rules for using that space. This has gone unchallenged since he single-handedly wiped out a Fire-Touched pack that were breaking his rules in the area; though that caused its own tensions because some of the pack with allies in other local packs are nervous about having that turned on them at some point.

        Doesn't sound like a "hanger on" or minor character does it? The reason it isn't "grand" has nothing to do with what he can do, but rather that he's already annoyed at the attention he's gotten from Heroes and Hunters and he really doesn't want to deal with more of either.

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        • #79
          Heavy Arms then I'll clarify.

          My response to Arcane's post was a confirmation of intent. That's it. Which no, I don't see as a violation of previous intent.

          What I'm not ok with is stuff like this:

          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
          And here I thought we were moving on or something.
          Passive aggressive statements like this don't help. Please don't do that.

          -------------------------
          And I'm going to get into "Satiety-as-Integrity-Trait" later, I'm currently prepping for a Changeling VC game.

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          • #80
            Originally posted by tasti man LH View Post
            My response to Arcane's post was a confirmation of intent.
            You could have done that without a statement that implies a position that wasn't stated in this thread should be treated as it was.

            Which no, I don't see as a violation of previous intent.
            Uh huh...

            What I'm not ok with is stuff like this
            Great I'm not ok with:

            "Then I suggest you not resort to knee jerk, overly defensive language like this:"

            "Moving on"

            "And you can get that across without using loaded language."

            "Going to move on from this. Anything else on that front, I'm hitting the report button."

            "Which no, I don't see as a violation of previous intent."

            This isn't even passive aggressive. It's just aggressive, manipulative, and controlling. None of this helps.

            Want me to not passive aggressively point out that you're hypocritically restating something you yourself threatened to get the mods involved in if we didn't drop it? Own up to your own part in all this. Or get the mods and we can see who they tell to shut up. The thread had moved on until you decided to take it back though.

            I think you owe the thread (not me) a lot more than me asking you to please not do something at this point.

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            • #81
              I'm going to make it plain that I would rather you both stop this exchange entirely.

              Beast is controversial enough.


              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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              • #82
                Can I please ask that both of you drop it? It’s clear that you’re not going to find common ground. I’m not going to ascribe intent on either side, and I believe the frustration is real, but it’s not helping anyone who wants to follow Cinder and Arcan’s re-read.

                So please, can it stop without anyone needing to get just one last word here and let us enjoy the re-read insights?

                Edit: Noting the crosspost with Arcane.


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

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Michael Brazier View Post
                  I don't get the sense, from reading B:tP, that the typical PCs are characters like that, standing for an archetype and possessed by a grand purpose. They're ... petty. Small. Look at the examples given for gaining Satiety. The way Kinship works has the Beast being a hanger-on in another monster's story - a minor character at best. The game doesn't much support grand villainy, which was what it ought to have done.
                  Maybe this is a difference of definitions, but…

                  No gameline-PC monster-type is minor enough to warrant description as "henchmen," least of all the one whose universal toolkit includes having a safehouse, being specifically persuasive to monsters, and having the ability to enhance any supernatural power.

                  The way Kinship works is more than the barest engagement of Family Dinner. The way Hunger works makes it easier to feed with petty activities if you stay hungry all the time, but feeding is expressly more effective if you're angling the effort toward your Aspirations, burning Satiety in the pursuit makes it work better (and, as the Player's Guide points out, if you want to become Gorged without relying on Family Dinner then your best bet is to spend down to 5 before the roll), and carrying out a feeding attempt inside your Lair also works better.

                  The narrative pressures on a Gorged Beast encourage them to hang back while their Kin handle the heavy lifting, sure, but Mother's Kiss, consistent access to specific Chambers of a Lair, and the Beat criteria for Family Ties do not paint the picture of Beastly involvement with another monster as henchmanning — point me at someone who strengthens another monster's powers, is empowered by that monster's sating its appetites, shelters it, and develops tailor-made psychic proxy demonstrations of Why That Monster Is Scary through their connections, and I will tell you that you have identified a media producer.

                  The principal struggle of being Gorged or Slumbering is keeping active enough that your lifeline don't abandon you for being little more than a mortal in the know, just as being Starving or Ravenous push you to hurt the people close to you and either drive them away, destroy them, or otherwise render the relationship fraught. That's what keeps them in the dragon's seat when they aren't the Demon Lord proper — an involved Beast upsets the apple cart of a locale personally or by their support of someone else.

                  Like, sure, Beast characters can scrape by on petty theft and vandalism. You can also play a game of Demon where you stay as far away from Infrastructure as you can and collect your free Cover Beat at the end of each chapter instead of pursuing the Cipher or adhering to an Agenda, but just as that doesn't make Descent not support being a revolutionary in a cold war for reality, the ability to feed humbly doesn't constitute lack of support for "grand" villainy.

                  The Horror is easy to leverage as resonant imagery, but it principally wants to eat. Supreme ambition is a personal pursuit that widens the scope of that hunger; for all that the localization process has adapted them out of easily surviving in the world-soul, the Temenos is not the native layer of the Astral for the Primordial Self — even before we drill down and remember that the Temenos deals in heavier fare than casual rumormongering, a Horror originates from a place where the minds of animals and geography dwell, and its influence on the world skews toward the real and the palpable, with the abstract and cerebral stuff of Nightmares requiring effort and/or cooperation.

                  Just because Family Dinner doesn't require you to do anything more than be present for the feeding doesn't mean helping doesn't help.


                  Resident Lore-Hound
                  Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Bunyip View Post
                    Can I please ask that both of you drop it? It’s clear that you’re not going to find common ground. I’m not going to ascribe intent on either side, and I believe the frustration is real, but it’s not helping anyone who wants to follow Cinder and Arcan’s re-read.

                    So please, can it stop without anyone needing to get just one last word here and let us enjoy the re-read insights?

                    Edit: Noting the crosspost with Arcane.
                    Please ask mods to drop things.

                    But yes, agreed, both of them should drop it.



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

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                    • #85
                      Roughly where are we in the core book now? I seem to have lost the thread on the discussion.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by nalak42 View Post
                        Roughly where are we in the core book now? I seem to have lost the thread on the discussion.
                        I currently am....still in the Intro, at the beginning of Heroes.

                        Dunno where Cinder is at.


                        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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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                          I currently am....still in the Intro, at the beginning of Heroes.

                          Dunno where Cinder is at.
                          I'm there too.

                          Also, I wanted to say this when covering the inspirational material, but since it's been discussed and Arc mentioned her notion of "Beast as celebrities" (which I also share and often use to tackle the game), in recent years I've read more of The Wicked + The Divine, a rather famous comic about a group of people who awaken as gods and live the subsequent divinity as the superpowered combination of music/superstars/huge influencers. The authors intentionally depict it that way and, while Scion lists it as an obvious inspiration, there's plenty in there (especially spoiler sensitive stuff) which tracks even better to Beast.

                          It's a good one and really useful for Beast, even more than it looks at first sight. I also have other examples of famous media I think are relevant to Beast, but that's a big topic and I need this energy to cover my daily wordcount. We'll get there.

                          For now, if you're curious, those media include Black Sails (a lot, to the point I'd add it to the book along the aforementioned The Wicked + The Divine), The Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul, Bojack Horseman, and more. If you notice a common thread in that list, it's because it's there.

                          EDIT: My other comic inspiration aren't relevant to this reply, but I feel bad whenever I cut them out, so let's mention the obvious Hellboy & Sandman, plus Monstress, I Kill Giants and Harrow County.
                          Last edited by Cinder; 03-31-2021, 05:12 AM.


                          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub

                          I write about Beast: The Primordial a lot

                          This is what I'm working on

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                          • #88
                            Continuing.
                            Picking up with Heroes in the Introduction

                            You know, the square jawed, divinely chosen champion icon is more a matter of modern imagery rather than actuality. It's not that there weren't strong men and warriors, but even Hercules frequently displayed moments of cunning and genius, and in cultures around the world, the prominence of warrior heroes is dependent on the contexts they were told in. Odysseus may be an "antihero" by Greek standards, but Anansi is a favored culture hero/god.

                            I dig the idea of Heroes feeding on fear in a different way, but I would rather give them a Satiety trait then leave it allegorical. I also feel like we need to get to the roots of the issue-sure, it's fun to raz Heroes for needing all the world to wrap around them in Lair-like fashion, but I would again go to the heart of the matter and make it clear where some people learn to accept and embrace fear as part of who they are, some people get close to the Devouring...and reject the idea that they're afraid at all. I feel like the rest of this second paragraph hinges so much better on this notion.

                            Also, I'm all for giving Heroes Lair and Satiety. Fuck it, make it so Heroes are Beasts who turned the Devouring into the Conquering ala Inversion. I'd have them operate very differently from Beasts, but let's bring them all the hell in. And yes, I have ideas for exactly how they should operate.

                            Anyways, how that's relevant is that it spins this thing about finding someone to hate and someone to lead around the centerpole and jabs it straight forward. This doesn't preclude Oracles either, but the mechanics of that evolution would have to be reconsidered.

                            Note to Self: also, explore the Devouring in depth. It may not be like the Awakening, but lots of things can happen instead of the Final Devouring.

                            The Dreaming(Bright and Primordial Dreams, and the Mother's Land and individual dreams as well) are Contagion. or perhaps simply contagion. Point is that Heroes and Beasts should be susceptible to warping, and being warping influences as well(Heroic Lair, anyone). The same applies to the Insatiable, but they're here to eat humanity's arrogance, so maybe it takes more work on them.

                            If there is a splat I'm okay with going "Maybe people are stupid and need someone to step in and take charge", it's mages. And demons. And mummies. and-look, point is I'm also comfortable with Heroes being those assholes.

                            Again, we have this notion of Astral splats sliding around people's dreams and drawing the warning clues from there. I realize we have this in Heroic Stalking, but we could make it so much weirder.

                            Note to self, finish writing up that roots of Families and Heroes thing. It's good shit.

                            The lack of actual oppositional cornerstone is felt. But yes, one problem with Heroes, in-game, that Beasts have to reconcile with is that some (not all) of them kinda have a point there.

                            See, it's the diving into Lair/Legend building aspects of Heroes that misses the point. It feels like the book is actively leaping from "kinda have a point" to "megalomaniacal asshat" without understanding what's between, and what drives one from the other. "Some people can't handle being people who can be afraid" spirals outward and connects the two.

                            So by this reading, Heroes are the US Court systems. Good to know.

                            Beasts also kinda have a point. There's no breaking the circle.

                            Again, that lack of self reflection has to be textually earned.

                            The Victorious, the Bright/Enlightened, the Plain, the Immortal, the Armored, the Priest, the Libertine.

                            Anyways, Nightmares.

                            Specifics to Archetypes. Individuality and Archetypalism continue to beat a drum. Need to incentivize Beasts to conflict with seeing Harry who works long nights to get through collect vs seeing Gas Station Attendant. Chew on it.

                            Hmm, maybe high end Beasts need some of their own talespinning blended in with Nightmares. At the least, Nightmares should probably stop relying on humanity as the sole vector-maybe some of those adjustment Nightmares need to be refigured. Need to toy around with this possibility. I wouldn't worry about it low end.

                            Somewhere between Werewolf and Mage, particularly for the violent imagery.

                            the monsters are you, you are the monsters, self is a lie and all the demons are out to play.

                            The tree metaphor for Beast society remains apt, and appropriate for it's similarity to the Dreaming. On the street level, it's all about the brood. At the top of the pyramid and base of the tree, the Dark Mother looks down/up in love and conspiracy, and Grandparents in the Attic slither around and manipulate family drama to their ends. After all, they are you and you them, after all. Still need to write Kneel Before the Maw Part 2: Endmaw.

                            (Mastigos horror is heavy and strong in Beast)

                            Fuck, what was that bridge to the Apex?

                            It's like a patchwork blanket of terrible things gnawing your jaw off. "Chains, not walls."

                            Inheritance is suicide.

                            God fucking damnit Incarnates and the Power Scale question.

                            Supergirl's coming up in a bit, seems like a good place to call it, whaz next?

                            OH, yeah, themes and inspirational material. Definitely calling here.

                            Relevant to some of the points here:
                            Last edited by ArcaneArts; 04-06-2021, 09:57 PM.


                            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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                            • #89
                              Any way you could... Um... Give any indication what things from the book any of that corresponds to?

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                                Any way you could... Um... Give any indication what things from the book any of that corresponds to?
                                1) I only ever promised stream of consciousness.
                                2) ....buuuut it's Introduction, Heroes through Inheritances. Next notes'll start on Themes.
                                Last edited by ArcaneArts; 04-07-2021, 02:24 PM.


                                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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