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  • Quixote
    started a topic So I've Read Some Reviews...

    So I've Read Some Reviews...

    I have never played Beast, and I've thumbed through the rulebook a total of one time. So everything I say, I say from a deep well of ignorance:

    I've read several reviews that raise some concerns about the core elements and message of Beast: the Primordial. Specifically, that the game seems to be justifying abuse, encouraging victim-blaming and like behavior and that it does so while presenting the abusers as an oppressed community and those who stop them as the oppressors.

    I would like to hear what people who actually play the game feel about it. Are these observations totally off the mark? Are there elements to the game that make these concerns less concerning?

    Absolutely no judgement whatsoever. I know nothing about the topic but what I've read and would like to learn more.

  • frankbot5000
    replied
    As a fan of both the CoD and the WoD, a key to understanding the appeal of both is that you are purposely playing stories that often pose moral and intellectual challenges to you personally, as a player through a dark lens.

    Understanding what is tolerable or good at your gametable versus someone elses is the other side of that (everyone has limits). Often playing through these stories from the point of view of an abuser or the tragically disturbed shines light on aspects that we may not have considered. However, fundamentally, everyone at the table should recognize that there is a difference between playing through a character flaw or arc and just wallowing in the grisly parts.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    I believe the mods felt it best to delete a post and response to said post.
    Ah. That would do it.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    I believe the mods felt it best to delete a post and response to said post.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    I feel like I missed something.

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  • ryu238
    replied
    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

    Don't got the time, studying for exams. Though I understand your point
    Thanks. I appreciate that.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by ryu238 View Post
    Sir, you don't give any evidence to the contrary that he is wrong somehow.
    Don't got the time, studying for exams. Though I understand your point

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  • ryu238
    replied
    Sir, you don't give any evidence to the contrary that he is wrong somehow.

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  • CTPhipps
    replied
    I think this stuff is conflict stirring for no good sake.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    Originally posted by ganonso View Post

    In my experience, when you get to it, the argument is less that Beasts are rewarded for being evil but more they are rewarded for being a petty sort of evil who is uncomfortably like RL evil and abuse. Other lines do evil but either there is some sort of twisted grandeur to it, or it is engaged with a level of metaphor who makes it safe to engage.

    What detractors don't like is you can burn someone for being a jaywalker, stalk a woman in the streets, frighten children because you can and all that sort of things for Low Satiety meals. You will never meet a vampire or a dark sorcerer IRL but plenty people who do the actions proposed as Low Satiety meals for kicks and giggles.
    To return to an old drum I keep beating: Yeah, and the easy way to contextualize this problem with the original presentation is that it's appropriate for a more powerful and long-established character than fresher/more Kinship-oriented characters.

    It's easier to make the heightened effort to pursue a High-Satiety meal or help your non-Begotten broodmates feed at low Lair ratings, because your hunger doesn't scale as quickly as it does later on. It gets harder the longer you've been an active fear-spreader with a built-out stronghold in the human soul, because the lighting bill comes more and more often as time goes on and you have much less time before you start drawing attention in a big way.

    The feeding example in the corebook is generally used and I understand why. It is a textbook case of disproportionate retribution and nobody will empathize with a monster who strangles you almost to death for being a bully. The Ready Made Characters suffer also from that. They are for lack of a better word, mundane and unambitious.None of their Aspiration deal with the supernatural or provide plot hooks tied to being a Beast.
    "It's easy to ignore the mundane side of the game and spend all your time on the supernatural side of the game" is a recurring problem with most of the franchise — lord knows it's made running Changeling difficult in some ways — but "mundane and unambitious" is the baseline state of the game for most characters before they dive into forbidden lore and get big ideas that build on the base of the Maslow hierarchy. Most other games' Y-splats or base template gives them a secondary goal to work towards, but no Sin-Eater starts with a Cause Touchstone, and no Deviant with a sense of self-preservation is going to have qualms with ruining people's lives even if they don't deserve it.

    The main thing is that Beasts get most of that from their own ambitions or the magical-political affiliations of their kin. Their power comes from lower-tier universal ideas from the world-soul, and the world is petty and unambitious at the level of "it's scary to think about what might make me break my vow of poverty" or "what if somebody finds out I'm having an affair?" or "there's a monster in the woods." The setting of the Chronicles of Darkness is built on a foundation of petty avoidance of pain in objective or relative terms — it's what many Ministries of the Seers perpetuate for power in Mage, it's what the Law of Suffering is in Mummy, it's the Beast in Vampire, it's the superstructure that Vices are built on, and that all is what every Beast is built to be able to engage with no matter their higher ambitions.

    Chronicles 3rd could do better with highlighting this mechanically, but the vast majority of the franchise's fiction is only tangentially concerned with the fact that the things being dealt with are magic versus the fact that they're dealing with mostly bad people inhabiting a world where magic enables bad behavior. Beast's fumbled early execution does not undo the facts of its preceding context and, as mentioned before, none of us has a time machine to make that initial bad presentation go away.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Paradim View Post

    Im just kinda floored by how judgemental this comes across....

    I'm also not sure what the difference is being found between the basic justification of a Beast needing to feast or die, a vampire needing to drink blood or go insane, or a werewolf needing to hunt and consume essence or die.

    There also seems to be an assumption that having a justification for an act makes it morally or ethically correct. So I'm mostly left confused...
    If anything, Beasts tend to be more morally and ethically grounded (not more moral or ethical, mind, just grounded) because trying to find a place where it works in a community (or the simpler and flawed version in lesson culture) makes them more directly accountable for their monstrosity, vs everyone else who is distracted by their core conceits. A Beast doesn't get to say things like "I just need to get home" or "the wolf must hunt"(and may we take a second to point out how that line is as fucked up as it is true?), and so instead has to make place for themselves, and either have it survive the scrutiny of their community....or be powerful enough to say "Fuck you" to the conseqeunces.

    And what's really terrifying, for Beasts, is that the road to the former can often end up needing the latter at points in the process of figuring it out.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 08-23-2021, 07:43 PM.

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  • Paradim
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Brazier View Post

    It's quite true that all the other CofD gamelines have protagonists that do horrible things to people, and that Beasts are not, objectively speaking, the worst of the monsters. The reason Beast repels people so much more than the other lines is - none of the other lines have passages in their core book that seem to justify what the protagonists do, but Beast's does. I'm willing to believe, by now, that those passages were the result of incompetence, not deliberate intention ... but they're still there.

    And in one way that implied approval from the narrator gets in the way of the game's fun. A big part of the pleasure of playing at transgressing boundaries, after all, is the knowledge that you'd be in the wrong if you did such things in real life. Passages that imply such behavior is not wrong, but justified, work against that knowledge and thus weaken the enjoyment. They make the game feel less like exploring the mind of someone unlike yourself, and more like fantasizing about behavior you'd secretly like to do for real, but haven't the nerve for. It's the difference between playing the role of a murderer in a drama, and indulging in dreams of being a murderer.
    Im just kinda floored by how judgemental this comes across....

    I'm also not sure what the difference is being found between the basic justification of a Beast needing to feast or die, a vampire needing to drink blood or go insane, or a werewolf needing to hunt and consume essence or die.

    There also seems to be an assumption that having a justification for an act makes it morally or ethically correct. So I'm mostly left confused...

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    As that old drum of mine goes, Beast has everything it needs to be good, it just needs to be presented right.*

    THing of the matter is that a lot of people who read Beast and get that initial bad impression-which no fault, again, I get it-are not going to be the people who can really execute on that presentation, but they often think they are.

    As for the still ongoing claim, I'm sure I've spelled out the ways every gameline is casually monstrous and skips right along doing it without a call out. In fact, I think I've done it at least twice already.

    Beast, again, is primarily unique in that it openly calls it out, and in fact makes it a major theme and struggle. And that's not a fault on the other games, the other games need to address their own themes and ideas and conflicts-but it must needs be said that the other games do it, and part of the point of Beast, along with Hunter, is calling it out like it is.

    And you know, it really doesn't take a lot of deep thought to see that pretty plainly. Yes, I benefit from having sunk way too much time into this franchise, but it's kind of a neccesary factor of buy-in that a certain amount of "trusting the reader"/hand-waving to distract from it to get people to buy in to a game about playing a monster that's pretty easy to see from the word go.

    So I hope I can be forgiven when my skepticism raises my eyebrow every time this comes up by someone who swears Beast is just that different. If anything, I'm both surprised no one actually brings up the fact of how archetypal Beast is for the Chronicles methodology and would be really surprised if someone ever did.

    *which is not to say that some new material can help strengthen it-see the Hero stuff I'm working on getting into the game as an example-but Beast doesn't need to radically change what it is to work.

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Brazier View Post
    The reason Beast repels people so much more than the other lines is - none of the other lines have passages in their core book that seem to justify what the protagonists do, but Beast's does.
    I really think this needs more citation and less restatement.

    First off, how do you really justify the claim that none of the other core books make attempts to justify what the protagonists do?

    VtR never justifies the way vampires corrupt human society to make their feeding easier and their nature secret (from common knowledge anyway) as the lesser evil compared to what the Strix or Belial's Brood would do unchecked?

    WtF never presents the Uratha as justified in hunting humans as long as it serves their spiritual duty to preserve the balance between spirit and flesh as a good thing?

    Etc.

    It's a pretty big, and I don't think easy to support, claim that the other games don't present some pretty nasty stuff as justified for the protagonist characters to do.

    I also have seen lots of attempts to "show" that Beast is significantly bad about this, but it always seems to involve cutting things out of the presented context (like ignoring an earlier or later passage that contradicts the "justification" as valid).

    Yes, Beast needs a rewrite. But a good rewrite isn't going to come from reflexively addressing surface or second hand impressions.
    Last edited by Heavy Arms; 08-23-2021, 05:00 PM.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Brazier View Post

    It's quite true that all the other CofD gamelines have protagonists that do horrible things to people, and that Beasts are not, objectively speaking, the worst of the monsters. The reason Beast repels people so much more than the other lines is - none of the other lines have passages in their core book that seem to justify what the protagonists do, but Beast's does. I'm willing to believe, by now, that those passages were the result of incompetence, not deliberate intention ... but they're still there.

    And in one way that implied approval from the narrator gets in the way of the game's fun. A big part of the pleasure of playing at transgressing boundaries, after all, is the knowledge that you'd be in the wrong if you did such things in real life. Passages that imply such behavior is not wrong, but justified, work against that knowledge and thus weaken the enjoyment. They make the game feel less like exploring the mind of someone unlike yourself, and more like fantasizing about behavior you'd secretly like to do for real, but haven't the nerve for. It's the difference between playing the role of a murderer in a drama, and indulging in dreams of being a murderer.
    Yeah and I agree. The presentation is bad and needs to be improved. I'm just stating that regardless of the corebook seemingly approving of it, many people have spread the idea that Beasts are non empathetic monsters that do what they do simply because they can rather than needing to do it

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