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  • Clickbait: Better Insatiable with One Easy Fix.

    Okay, apologies for the glib title, sometimes I can't resist the joke. That said-

    *pulls up an edgy Sonic the Hedgehog song for talking about a nihilistic opponent*

    So in the Makara and the Plain thread, I got asked some questions about the Incarnates and the Insatiable. Between the two of them, the Insatiable are easier to talk about, because for me, the big questions about the Incarnates deal more with the baked-in foundation of Beast and how it should be going forward, where as the Insatiable are, well, as noted. But before we get there, we should probably have some contextualization.

    Sooo, way back when Beast was out solely by it's own little lonesome, there was many an argument about the presentation and moral/ethical position of Beasts, namely "are they assholes or are they justified somehow"-which you might have noticed I decided to just go ahead and frame as a central conflict of the game, but it's also reductive to leave it there. There are a number of reads, both simply textual and in application to several literary and gaming theory lenses, that have a lot of interesting results when you apply them to Beast that makes the answering of this "state of consensual confrontation" troublesome and hard to navigate, and often problematic.

    The big thing to note about this conflict, as it relates to our subject, is that Beast in it's earlier incarnations, including the final core book, is that it hews nihilistic, a philosophy that centers and expands upon the idea that existence is meaningless, and in fact it can be argued that the entirety of the game is about nihilism and how to handle that, including abusrdism or various other forms of rejection of the philosophy*. Where this is particularly meaningful is that Beasts seems to fall in favor of nihilism, and driven towards behavior that strongly facilitates it.

    Even early on, as a long time fan of the franchise, for me, this struck me as a bit of a gnawsome itch in the argument-I personally will default to fatalistic nihilism when left to auto-pilot, and I hate it, and more importantly, while there are many valuable insights that come from nihilism, it strikes me as a philosophy destined to make assholes, whether you accept the ubermnschen element of the philosophy or reject it. However true nihilism may be, a pure embrace of it seems like a setup for failures in individuals and society along the line, and a certain amount of history backs that up. It's a thing to pay dues to, never to ignore, but not a thing to simply rely on.

    But it seemed like Beast was really gonna lean right and down into the nihilism, toxic outlook and resultant actions and all, and in some way, I was ready to come to terms with that for the franchise.

    And then came Conquering Heroes, and with it the Insatiable, and suddenly Beast became a lot more dynamic.

    For the mass of readers, the Insatiable were.....oddly digested, regardless of your final reception of the Insatiable. Even the most favorable responses to the Insatiable noted a sort of jenkiness to their presentation, and less favorable ones would call it a slap dash of the Strix, the idigam, and Prometheans without a driving idea behind the hybrid.

    The big thing that was latched onto, for a lot of people and myself, was that the Insatiable were an external indictment of the absolute worst behaviors emergent from nihilism. By just feasting to feast, by giving not a fuck about others, you weren't enlightend-or, at the least, you weren't better than some of your direst opposition, an equal and opposite force to Heroism that needed some dressing down-who presented a reality you needed to dress up, because the reality otherwise is kind of terrible.

    Anyways, the presentation of the Insatiable was still jenky enough it never sat nicely until The BPG's clarified what they were, at which point holy shit, it all makes sense, how did anyone miss this, it makes it a lot easier to understand them, wait, in fact why was it written like to begin with?

    So, without further ado, let's get to the one easy fix:

    The Insatiable do not envy Lair-they consume it.

    The Insatiable are primal, foundational, elemental-and the truths that come with them is that death comes for us all, there's no control or safeguard against it. Even worlds will collapse, stars will die, space fold in on itself. There is no meaning in anything, there is no worth that lasts out, there is only reality at it's barest, hungriest, at the bottom of the world, where all of reality can be seen with starkly beautiful and terrible alacritous clarity, freeing from the muck and mud of existential need and chained only to all-embracing Thanatos.

    And in this view, the diseased eye of humanity is an abberation that clearly needs correction.

    The Insatiable consume Lair-the culmination of psychospiritual real estate that distinguishes humanity as an animal apart from the world-because this conception of self as separate from the the world is aberrant, wrong, defiant, hubristic, maybe disgusting, maybe foolhardy-wrong, this animal cancer is wrong. It doesn't understand itself right, it seeks to not belong.

    Few Insatiable are gonna be able to articulate this, mind-the Consumption leaves the persona behind, after all, just driven to all-consuming, parodical need for satiation of safety and desire, destroying the sense of why these things we cling to were important at all because it's not like it'll ever be enough. Let them age long enough, maybe the "joke" will become clear over time, and they'll be able to monologue about it-but honestly, even letting humanity and their siblings conceive of this fact misses the point because this sort of heavy handed existential wrestling shouldn't even be happening.

    Low scale Insatiable consume Lair as it's made manifest and important by assault Beast's hoarding of it (and attempt to eat the Heroes rendering of it, but frustratingly it's a particularly tempestuous thing to try and sink their teeth into), large scale Insatiable take their assault onto the Cave, the Omphalos, and language itself. THey're fans of Lovecraft. They either think the Dark Mother betrayed them and the Primogenitor, or that she courted the Primogenitor to correct mistakes she had made, or don't have any clue how that all works out and don't fucking care to worry about it.

    And from there, everything else clicks. Schism, the need to kill as they Satiate themselves, the pressing of boundaries for things to happen beyond articulation, the fundamental relationship to the world, the relationship they have to the Begotten and how they need to understand how it doesn't fucking matter if they ever get it.

    Render the world to it's truth-nothing means anything, nothing matters beyond it's immediate impact, and to attempt otherwise is to fucking miss the point.

    TL;DR, they're that one asshole classmate you had who thought they were so smart by pointing out how nothing matters and justified smacking your icecream out of your hand in that you're taking things too seriously. THey were unironic fans of the Joker and other such assholes, would sit pretty on their exaltation of this vicious indifference, and would really try to tell you to just embrace the pain of living because that's what it takes to be infinite.

    They speak to a fundamental truth that does not fucking matter in actually dealing with the world as it is, and will not shut the fuck up about it.

    *Mummy the Curse is the other predominant gameline I would describe as being nihilistically driven, but unlike Beast, Mummy doesn't really seem interested in notions of entirely escaping (or permanently juxtapositioning under other views of reality thereof) nihilism-it's a fact of life in Mummy, where as Beast has room to rage against that dark night.


    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
    Mummy's cosmology may be nihilistic, but the mummies themselves are not. They work for the Judges of Duat, and carrying out the Judges' will is their purpose and guiding principle.

    And if Beast is about nihilism, that may explain one of the flaws in the game as first published - that there wasn't, fundamentally, anything for Beasts to do, except be assholes. If nothing means anything, there's nothing to aspire to, no goal to accomplish; so there's no reason for Beasts to cooperate with each other, or do anything in particular. They just ... wander around tormenting people, or hang out with monsters who do have a guiding purpose, or real work to do. Why should they do otherwise? It's not as if there's anything important going on. (Only there has to be something important going on in actual play, because without that the game has no plot. Seinfeld lasted as long as it did because Jerry Seinfeld is a master of farce, but very few people can reach his level.)

    It takes a great deal of work, and a delicate touch, to make art that's about the emptiness of existence without paralyzing the reader with boredom.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm gonna slide past all the quibbling we could do on Mummy, and similarly slide past the question of how we moved from looking at one feature of a setting and how a tweak may or may not make it better onto a question I have spilled a lot of time and words on already (and I'm pretty sure you've been around for) and say:

      Almost fair cop is almost fair. Almost.

      The problem isn't so much that Beasts didn't have anything to do so much as Beast First Edition was pretty poor at explaining it clearly-though it did decently well with the actions that contribute to that goal. Still, in the same vein as trying to say Scions from Scion have nothing to do when there is literally Building Their Legend right there, Beasts have the clear and obvious goal of Building Their Lair (which is basically the same-but-genre-appropriate thing as Scion). Beasts go around and self-transcend By building up their presence in the psychospiritual landscape of humanity, and they do that by....Satiating their Hunger, connecting to their Kin, collecting Chambers, and conflicting with challengers like the Insatiable and Heroes (and other Astral entities, and finally all the other fucks in the Chronicles world). THat's all in the book, it's just not communicated well. They do great and terrible deeds, and the effect of that spills through the Astral and reinforces the Children in kind.

      There has been some rumbling that something akin to the Great Work framework from Promethean or the Omen system from Imperial Mysteries or a reversal of the Lore System I proposed months ago or even just basically Lair EXP would be a boon to making that clear, and my idea for Branches would also help, but again, saying that Beasts clearly had nothing to do is like saying Scions clearly have nothing to do.

      Unlike, say, Genius (because I can), Beast presents a nihilistically driven world and challenges them to build a mythology, a world, in defiance of it and to work to make it keep, while also challenging them to provide proof of it's validity in the world-and most importantly, says they can. It's not easy, but it's definitely doable.
      Last edited by ArcaneArts; 07-06-2021, 04:10 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.

      Comment


      • #4
        Granted, this isn't the right place for discussing why Beast is a hot mess. It's just that this is the first time I recall anyone saying that Beast is about nihilism, and that thought was what occurred to me when I read it.

        (And yes, the way Genius builds "you can't really accomplish anything" into its world and rules is even more dispiriting than, let us say, Beast appears to be on first reading.)

        To approach the topic you intended - if the Insatiable are the thoroughgoing nihilists who do nothing but tear down what others build, to prove that striving is futile and achievements meaningless ... it would follow that Incarnates are the Beasts who, in a strong sense, succeed in creating their myth, or becoming what they wanted to be. Which is why it's harder to talk about them?

        Comment


        • #5
          All I want to say is that the way Conquering Heroes framed “What are Insatiables, really” as this huge mystery only for BPG to answer it in a tiny sidebar was hilarious to me.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Michael Brazier View Post
            Granted, this isn't the right place for discussing why Beast is a hot mess. It's just that this is the first time I recall anyone saying that Beast is about nihilism, and that thought was what occurred to me when I read it.

            (And yes, the way Genius builds "you can't really accomplish anything" into its world and rules is even more dispiriting than, let us say, Beast appears to be on first reading.)

            To approach the topic you intended - if the Insatiable are the thoroughgoing nihilists who do nothing but tear down what others build, to prove that striving is futile and achievements meaningless ... it would follow that Incarnates are the Beasts who, in a strong sense, succeed in creating their myth, or becoming what they wanted to be. Which is why it's harder to talk about them?
            No worries mate, sometimes I get little kneejerky with some responses.

            Incarnates discernably succeeded, but they're not the only measure of success out there-some don't even involve Inheritance, and arguably the best versions of success don't even look at Inheritance.

            As for why they're hard to talk about, a simpler version: there's an argument to be...not made, but contemplated, that Beasts* could be grouped with mages, demons, and mummies as being a game with a strong thematic of power, specifically being powerful as opposed to being powerless (like Hunter, Deviant, and Changeling), and correspondingly could be enabled along those lines**. If that's the case, how much are we talking about with Beasts, how much should we keep behind the "gate" of Incarnation, and how do we keep that appropriate for the themes of Inheritance, particularly as a metaphor for suicide and the actual absolute destruction of either your Life or Legend?

            There's a lot of moving parts on that.

            *and werewolves, because if mythic god monsters get the jump, godkilling demigods definitely come in line before them.
            **Which is not to say it should, or that I'm leaning that way-mostly, it's useful for the purposes of thought exercises.
            Last edited by ArcaneArts; 07-08-2021, 11:57 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.

            Comment


            • #7
              So I understand with this presentation why the Insatiables are what they are but are they intelligent enough to make great plans or are they contenting themselves with serial killing and gnawing at Chambers?

              Because I think they would be furious if they happened on the boundary stone between the Temenos and the Anima Mundi. If they could destroy it, it would cure the disease of the mind alright by drowning humanity in the dreams of nature.

              Hell they could very interested by a certain ocean at the end of the universe and its fisherman.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ganonso View Post
                So I understand with this presentation why the Insatiables are what they are but are they intelligent enough to make great plans or are they contenting themselves with serial killing and gnawing at Chambers?

                Because I think they would be furious if they happened on the boundary stone between the Temenos and the Anima Mundi. If they could destroy it, it would cure the disease of the mind alright by drowning humanity in the dreams of nature.

                Hell they could very interested by a certain ocean at the end of the universe and its fisherman.
                Depends on the tier. Considering Beast conventionally sticks around Tier 1/2, the relative will of the Insatiable is motivated towards the long work of trying to create a chain-linked world of humanity-shattering conception of self and gobbling up Lair, to which the Primordial Dream is both blessing (it's literally the manifestation of humanity's animal self and is great insprining more of itself) and curse(it's also literally the thing that humanity first invents lanague to manage and cope with). Tier 3/4 Insatiable, though, are gonna be Insatiable who have a means of striking the world en masse, and might even have the metaphysical might to take on The Cave* and language directly.

                The big thing that gets in the way is that, like how the Devouring leaves a Beast as themselves but actualized as a Beast, the Insatiable just Consumed is just themselves, but with their Hunger gone wild. It takes time for a personality to bend and warp enough to "get the joke" and really get into the intuitive desire the drag humanity down-for a lot of Insatiable, the parody is the best they'll get in the meantime.

                The Insatiable in theory love the Abyss and how it contributes to that end goal, but there are two caveats. The first is that most (but notably not all) Insatiable don't have an interest in making reality a non-thing and complete contradiction, so the Abyss in that way is a double edged sword. The second is if the bit Brookshaw brought up of the Abyss not being Kin actually is something that works it's way to into the canon and retcons previous entries (which I'm increasingly leaning towards, because the Abyss is no one's kin), then the lack of metaphysical interaction keeps it hard to make it manageable for them. That Said, the Insatiable do team up quite often with Scelesti as well as Ministers of the Raptor, and an Awakened who's both is probably their best friend.

                *Beast's don't see the Omphalos the way mages do-for them, it's the Cave that lead's to the Mother's Land. It's functionally the same center stone of Langugage, but it leads straight to the Dreaming Wilds instead of the Swath or Spire Perilous, and is, well. A cave.
                Last edited by ArcaneArts; 08-05-2021, 12:02 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.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                  Depends on the tier. Considering Beast conventionally sticks around Tier 1/2, the relative will of the Insatiable is motivated towards the long work of trying to create a chain-linked world of humanity-shattering conception of self and gobbling up Lair, to which the Primordial Dream is both blessing (it's literally the manifestation of humanity's animal self and is great insprining more of itself) and curse(it's also literally the thing that humanity first invents lanague to manage and cope with). Tier 3/4 Insatiable, though, are gonna be Insatiable who have a means of striking the world en masse, and might even have the metaphysical might to take on The Cave* and language directly.

                  The big thing that gets in the way is that, like how the Devouring leaves a Beast as themselves but actualized as a Beast, the Insatiable just Consumed is just themselves, but with their Hunger gone wild. It takes time for a personality to bend and warp enough to "get the joke" and really get into the intuitive desire the drag humanity down-for a lot of Insatiable, the parody is the best they'll get in the meantime.

                  The Insatiable in theory love the Abyss and how it contributes to that end goal, but there are two caveats. The first is that most (but notably not all) Insatiable don't have an interest in making reality a non-thing and complete contradiction, so the Abyss in that way is a double edged sword. The second is if the bit Brookshaw brought up of the Abyss not being Kin actually is something that works it's way to into the canon and retcons previous entries (which I'm increasingly leaning towards, because the Abyss is no one's kin), then the lack of metaphysical interaction keeps it hard to make it manageable for them. That Said, the Insatiable do team up quite often with Scelesti as well as Ministers of the Raptor, and an Awakened who's both is probably their best friend.

                  *Beast's don't see the Omphalos the way mages do-for them, it's the Cave that lead's to the Mother's Land. It's functionally the same center stone of Langugage, but it leads straight to the Dreaming Wilds instead of the Swath or Spire Perilous, and is, well. A cave.
                  Ok so the Insatiables take their stolen Lair as a weapon against the dream of humanity, even if a low tier, this weapon is mostly local in effects? That at least makes them have a goal something I never truly saw with the exemples presented.

                  So what's the difference between actualization and consuming ? You seem to imply an Insatiable Horror is not sapient.

                  What would become the Moments in this version? Would the Insatiable still be somewhat related to cataclysmic epochs?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Okay, lot to dig through in this, let's see if I can do it in 20 minutes.
                    Originally posted by ganonso View Post

                    Ok so the Insatiables take their stolen Lair as a weapon against the dream of humanity, even if a low tier, this weapon is mostly local in effects? That at least makes them have a goal something I never truly saw with the exemples presented.
                    So yeah, in a fair bit of irony, while Insatiable come in with a fair amount of metaphysical mass as Mother's Land Dreamborn/Anima Mundi Goetia that is expressed by the number of Esurients and possibly the scale of Schism coming in, the fact of the matter is that for their really big stuff, Insatiable need to hold Lair in their mouths, or at least in their gullets, without swallowing. Now for low levels of Lair, that's not a problem, but in that 6-10, the underlying Dreamborn is now going to actually be burdened with have so much connection to humanity that makes going through with plans interesting. The ultimate fit of irony is this is the most common way an Insatiable might end up switching over towards the Beastial or Heroic philosophies/mentalities-not that that makes them Beasts or Heroes, though-Insatiable Inheritances.


                    So what's the difference between actualization and consuming ? You seem to imply an Insatiable Horror is not sapient.
                    The underlying Dreamborn is as sapient any other dreamborn/goetia is-which is to say, functionally Yes Sapient, academically the fights will be had.

                    There is, however, a catch to that, which starts with the fact the Astral is a giant fucking headache for someone who regards it as the second big thing to rework. For our purposes, the particular problem that matters is that dreamborn don't have Manifestations, so when regarding how Dreaming/Astral phenomena can appear nad interact with the real world, we have to consider the options we have, namely the Begotten and the Insatiable*.

                    Now moving this into the psychologically driven part of this, what happens with the Devouring is effectively a Big Version of what Jung would call individuation, which for our purposes we also conflate with Maslow's self-actualization from his Hierarchy of Needs. Individuation happens when the conscious self reconciles with the unconscious self and collapses inwards, which at some point I got the idea that this was collapsing the Jung's Persona into his Shadow to create a new layer (of sorts) of Self, which is wrong, but it proves a functional frame work for Beast, so-

                    The Devouring is a process that attunes human soul acting as a superego-persona to a Horror's id-shadow, and as the nightmares come on, they come more and more together until both basically attain that layer of self, at which point there's one last choice to make, which is to isntead of being two beings who partook of each other is instead able to become one-people who accept the final Devouring actualize into Beasts.

                    The Consumption is what happens when a world soul shard that could act as an id-shadow instead just overwhelsm and devours that persona without becoming part of it.

                    Now, as this relates to sapiency-in both cases, you'll notice the original personality remains relatively intact. Unlike Claiming, where eventually Old Man Dickface, He-Who-Slinks-In-Shadows-After-His-Prey, or Michael-22 will eventually emerge as their own voice and even become the dominant voice, Beasts and insatiable kind of remain the same person as who they were before-just either more so themselves, or with their hunger for security devices and desire ramped up.

                    What would become the Moments in this version? Would the Insatiable still be somewhat related to cataclysmic epochs?
                    I'll get back to this when I have time.

                    *And also Heroes, if any of this Forsworn shit ends up canon


                    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
                      Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                      Okay, lot to dig through in this, let's see if I can do it in 20 minutes.


                      The Consumption is what happens when a world soul shard that could act as an id-shadow instead just overwhelsm and devours that persona without becoming part of it.

                      Now, as this relates to sapiency-in both cases, you'll notice the original personality remains relatively intact. Unlike Claiming, where eventually Old Man Dickface, He-Who-Slinks-In-Shadows-After-His-Prey, or Michael-22 will eventually emerge as their own voice and even become the dominant voice, Beasts and insatiable kind of remain the same person as who they were before-just either more so themselves, or with their hunger for security devices and desire ramped up.


                      I'll get back to this when I have time.

                      *And also Heroes, if any of this Forsworn shit ends up canon
                      There is no hurry. These are very good and inspiring even if they need clarification before becoming mass-consumable.

                      So Insatiable are essentially id-driven having supressed their superego? While Begotten are ego-driven (in a psychological sense, not the Pride one) being relatively balanced?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ganonso View Post

                        There is no hurry. These are very good and inspiring even if they need clarification before becoming mass-consumable.

                        So Insatiable are essentially id-driven having supressed their superego? While Begotten are ego-driven (in a psychological sense, not the Pride one) being relatively balanced?
                        I mean, sorta-yes-but-also-on-paper-no.

                        THe Insatiable are distinguished from the Begotten in that the Dreamborn that Consume victim's souls are larval Horrors, which mostly means they're just Mother's Land Dreamborn. The Horrors of Beasts incubate in Chambers deep in the Mists, feeding on mythology, iconography, and impressions until they coalesce as Horror and Heart respectively. So in this way, Insatiable don't have the neccesary elements to be a proper id-shadow* in the way Horrors do, and so can't act as such for other people in the same capacity**. If we make Human Kinship a thing, the Insatiable won't have it.

                        That said, these smart animals soul shards from the Mother's Land still do stand in for the roles the Three Children play in handling the psychological contrasts in the same way they play Strawmen Nihilists on the philosophical argument where Heroes and Beasts are Ubermenschen and Ubermenschen subject to Categorical Imperatives***. They may not actually be id-shadows, but the academic saying that on the street before getting their jaw ripped off is going to feel very silly for having that be their last words.

                        Originally posted by ganonso View Post

                        What would become the Moments in this version? Would the Insatiable still be somewhat related to cataclysmic epochs?
                        Moments are Moments, still cataclysmic epochs, faces of the Primogenitor. They don't carry much meaning or offer as much psycholgoical import beyond reminding you that the world is and you are not beyond it. The Insatiable have their point to make.

                        *And it is id-shadow, because it is both id and shadow and also neither of these things because we're making a fiction, not a psychological construct, but we do reference both.
                        **So wait, does this mean that Beasts can interact with people as though they were superego-persona's and individuate with them the same way they did for themselves? Yes, they can. The effects might not be as profound as a Devouring, but it is the right of Beasts to act as id and shadow in allowing people to confront their repressed selves, because so long as people share their Family or Hunger, they are those things. Need to do that Psychology and Mythic Action of Beast thing.
                        ***Superego-persona analog and ego-self analog respectively on the psychological scale.
                        Last edited by ArcaneArts; 08-05-2021, 07:27 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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