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[New Inheritance] The Commitment

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  • [New Inheritance] The Commitment

    The conflict between Heroes and Beasts reaches backward in time, stained by oceans of blood and recounted in mountains of stories. This seemingly endless altercation of opposing narratives is often framed in terms of a Monomyth, an unifying and unbreakable legend of order versus chaos. Never shall the two sides meet in the middle, except as mortal enemies.

    But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?

    There is an alternative seldom acknowledged among Beasts and Heroes alike, precisely because of the particular challenges it involves. There is no standardized approach, no shortcuts, and no finish line. Instead, what must happen is a systemic and earnest discussion and confrontation of the underlying assumptions and grievances that shape the Monomyth into such a pervasive phenomenon. The Beast and Hero reconcile the two sides of the human condition into a coherent whole, without necessarily having to transform themselves into something completely different. If successful, this Inheritance represents a Commitment to recognizing oneself in the other, and bridging the gap to reach a mutually beneficial equilibrium.

    The Beast must take actions instrumental to raising the Integrity of a Hero, their chosen beacon of the Bright Dream, and must in turn align their Hunger to be compatible with the Hero's belief-set. This often involves finding common ground between the Lives of the two sides, or establishing compromises between the Legends. The exact mechanics are not as important as the narration, but if the player and ST need guidelines, they can consult the system for “Merger With The Fetch”, from the Autumn Nightmares supplement of Changeling 1ed, pages 106-107. However, certain details might need to be adjusted. For example: the parts involving Oneiromancy between the Changeling and Fetch become an open and good-faith conversation between Hero and Beast inside the Lair. For such purposes, the Hero must be treated as an invited guest [Beast Core, Page 98].

    Another potential guideline is to use Cathartic Feeding on the Hero, whose mechanics are shown below.

    Under these rules, Beasts have an alternate way of Feeding their Hungers. The canon Feeding mechanics are referred to here as Trauma, for reasons that go without saying. A Traumatic Feeding works as usual, while a Cathartic Feeding is focused on providing a consensual and constructive means for someone to confront the fear represented by the Hunger in question. The Satiety Potential Chart for Catharsis is mostly the same, save that it cannot benefit from the +4 of killing the victim. Instead, the Beast receives +4 if their Feeding helps the intended target Resolve a Persistent Condition related to fear or equivalent emotion. If the Beast regained all Willpower from their Life or otherwise significantly reaffirmed their human side during the Cathartic Feeding, the mortal in question gains the Informed Condition for the Integrity Breaking Point. Any given mortal can only benefit from a Cathartic Feeding once per Story.


    The Hero's role in the Commitment consists of rejecting the notion that he is the driving personality of the world, which ideally happens in tandem with quests that raise his Integrity. He should no longer define his entire self-image about being the only one who is right, but also maintain the overall idea of protecting and inspiring people. This typically means that the Hero will have to engage with the local mortals in ways that challenge his worldview, such as learning how to do genuine teamwork from Hunters. Meanwhile, the Beast's role in the Commitment is to legitimately be a figure of wisdom, but with a focus on teaching his Kin on how to reach equilibrium with their own monstrous natures instead of pure indulgence.

    To represent the Beast's efforts toward fostering a better community for his Kin, consider taking inspiration from the Infrastructure Hijacking Conditions. However, the Beast uses Clue Elements to pay for "Monomyth Breaking Conditions", which are modeled as tangible changes to the interplay between Bright Dream and Primordial Dream. In other words, the Beast makes use of his Kinship to help other monsters engage with mortals in less harmful and more fulfilling ways. For example: consider an Ugallu Collector who works as a CEO, and whose Horror is a classic gold-hoarding, fire-breathing dragon. He can use his corporate influence in negotiations with the local Changelings, with a focus on equitable exchange of favors. The Ugallu Collector could agree to fund social programs and philanthropic organizations that help victims of abuse, while the Changelings could agree to proactively use Oneiromancy to help mortals with psychological issues.

    The Commitment is considered successful when the players and ST agree that it is. They must discuss the criteria for success beforehand, with the players declaring fitting Aspirations and the ST designing sessions to match. The ST is strongly discouraged from making objective and inflexible rulings on what is the best way to achieve this Inheritance, and should take his players' preferences and expectations into account. Likewise, the players are strongly discouraged from demanding easy solutions for systemic problems, and should put in effort to reflect how their PCs struggle against the Monomyth. When consensus is reached, the Chronicle is effectively concluded in a way that resolves loose plot threads and results in a meaningful change to the immediate setting. Of note is that this doesn't mean the Hero and Beast will never have problems with each other again and always agree on everything. It simply means that both sides have agreed to define their own destinies without relying on animosity toward each other. The players and ST are free to imagine what happens afterward according to their own beliefs.


    "I hope you will have a long and happy life, if only so you can realize how stupid and wrong you are."

  • #2
    Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
    The conflict between Heroes and Beasts reaches backward in time, stained by oceans of blood and recounted in mountains of stories. This seemingly endless altercation of opposing narratives is often framed in terms of a Monomyth, an unifying and unbreakable legend of order versus chaos. Never shall the two sides meet in the middle, except as mortal enemies.

    But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?
    I would find this right when I'm about to pop out the door.

    I'll go into more detail later (hopefully), but in the mean time-Hungers are the universal polestar of Beast's perspective, and how society and individual's sense of self breaks back down into the Hungers is a big part of Beast's dialogue, that's not how Inheritance or the Dark Mother's perspective works, and that's not how you discuss racism.

    Like I said, I'll try and get more into it later.


    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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    • #3
      I'll be frank: This is ludonarratively toothless and not terribly germane to how Beasts or Heroes work.

      "You get the Inheritance when everyone's decided you've gotten the Inheritance, and then the game is over and you each get to think whatever you like for the hypothetical epilogue" is not exactly a compelling mechanical space to build on, particularly after following on from "consider taking cues from this other homebrew system that basically models the same thing conspiracy Icons do in Deviant."

      As written this seems less about meeting in the middle and more about changing yourself to suit the delusions of an egomaniac and making supernatural creatures subservient to mortal needs (while the role of a Hero in all this is simply pulling his head out of his backside, talking to the neighbors more, and doing less murder). And somehow this is supposed to be "reconciling the two sides of the human condition into a coherent whole, without necessarily having to transform [yourself] into something completely different."

      Beast inhabits a metaphysic wherein the interior of the human soul is underpinned by the hungry soul of of the world itself; Heroes draw their powers from the magical potential of humanity as a collective, brought to bear against the fear and hunger that spills forth through the Astral Realm of Language to describe and reshape it beyond what it already undergoes from crossing through the Cave; the Primordial Selves of the Begotten dwell in the no-man's-land at the spiritual intersection of mankind and the universe, neither wholly legend nor entirely inchoate desire, and they become what they are through a moment of genuine recognition, self-awareness, and acceptance.

      The Incarnate Inheritance leverages the power of the Bright Dream to expand a Beast's Life and Legend into a Myth, while the Divergence sections off the Mother's power and Hunger into a separate being, but nothing about the way Chronicles of Darkness works really supports calling the Commitment you've described a genuinely positive end with metaphysical consequences.

      There's ample room for something roughly similar — monsters have served as guardians of sacred places in myth and legend for centuries, and Incarnation both provides some respite from the extremes of desire and offers textual examples of identifying oneself as a protective force — but that doesn't have to involve Heroes at all, and more likely involves the Beast taking pains to keep in touch with their human community as well as the lands their Lair draws influence from.

      The problem of Hunger is one that most Beasts learn to live with, and transcending it takes more than a frank dialogue and application of traumatic forms of power toward altruistic goals.
      Last edited by Satchel; 02-05-2022, 04:08 PM.


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

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      • #4
        Satchel I can sorta get the gist of your feedback. From my understanding, your criticism mainly consists of the following:
        • The supposed climax of the Inheritance is boring and dismissive. It puts the weight of the resolution on the imagination of the players, rather than providing sufficient material for them to feel like they accomplished something meaningful.
        • The cooperation is unequal and out-of-character for both sides. Heroes are tasked with trivial gestures of repentance, while Beasts are burdened with using their powers for incompatible goals.
        • Heroes do not need to be involved in the process, and probably get in the way of thematic coherence.
        • There is no metaphysical change to the Beast, which is the focus of the canon Inheritances.
        • All in all, the Commitment is just kinda superficial and does not deliver on its misguided proposal.
        Please correct me if I misunderstood what you said. Is there anything salvageable in this, in your opinion? Or should I scrap the entire concept? If there is something worthwhile here, how would you personally adjust and expand on it?


        "I hope you will have a long and happy life, if only so you can realize how stupid and wrong you are."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
          The supposed climax of the Inheritance is boring and dismissive. It puts the weight of the resolution on the imagination of the players, rather than providing sufficient material for them to feel like they accomplished something meaningful.
          More than that, the lack of any mechanical or metaphysical change to the Beast themself combines with the achievement of the Inheritance explicitly marking the end of the game means that this is not so much an Inheritance as a vague direction for an endgame — a "chronicle" in Chronicles of Darkness's systems terminology is the longest unit of dramatic time, consisting of all the interlinked stories with the characters at the table, so if a chronicle is concluded, there's nothing more to be done.
          The cooperation is unequal and out-of-character for both sides. Heroes are tasked with trivial gestures of repentance, while Beasts are burdened with using their powers for incompatible goals.
          Heroes do not need to be involved in the process, and probably get in the way of thematic coherence.
          As the Player's Guide's section on the Four Paths for Incarnation highlights, while Heroes aren't exactly completely unrelated to Beasts, but the murderous variety's overstated importance in the narrative is still an overstatement — there's definitely room for incorporating someone with a natural interpretive faculty and shaping focus from the Bright Dream into one's metaphysical alteration of self and world, but requiring one for the process is a bit much, especially when, unlike Subverting the Hero to win Incarnation, there is no added benefit to doing so.
          There is no metaphysical change to the Beast, which is the focus of the canon Inheritances.
          All in all, the Commitment is just kinda superficial and does not deliver on its misguided proposal.
          Essentially, yes. It reads less as an Inheritance and more as a way to have a happy ending outside the scope of a horror/mystery setting with strong Gnostic elements; the world is not so kind, and Beast is one of the gamelines where that fact is most in evidence by the fact that socially unpalatable Hungers are an immutable part of the world.

          Please correct me if I misunderstood what you said. Is there anything salvageable in this, in your opinion? Or should I scrap the entire concept? If there is something worthwhile here, how would you personally adjust and expand on it?
          Leaning into the name and the comparison to subverting Infrastructure, I'd make it more about bridging the Bright Dream and the world outside of dreams through the Lair — making the "nightmare sorcerer/producer" end of the Satiety spectrum ascendant by tying the organizing principles of Legend and Kinship to a discrete part of the world and getting a constant source of Satiety at the price of powered mobility.

          Like, the thing that sets Beasts apart from Heroes and the Insatiable is that they have a place of their own that they can share with other people, and that aspect of sanctuary is one of the main mostly-positive aspects of the Beast toolkit's emotional resonance; minimizing how much everybody individually has to hurt other people to keep the lights on by pooling resources is an established tactic for Beasts with Kin and broods and Primordial Cults to rely on, so having there be weird little enclaves where regular mild sacrifices and ritualistic behaviors are melded into the day-to-day goings-on of the populace to keep the world watching out for them seems entirely in-theme.


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

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          • #6
            Satchel Is this any better? Could you help me come up with some good examples, please?

            When a Beast finds a potential Chamber for his Lair [BTP Core 94], he may exchange that Chamber for a Dark Beacon. What sets apart a Dark Beacon from a Chamber is that it’s a symbol rather than a location, and it acts as a metaphysical extension of the Beast. Anyone who has knowledge of this symbol and its significance may use it to summon the Beast, which works analogously to a Summoning of an Ephemeral Being [ChroD Core 139]. The appropriate methods are decided ahead of time by the ST and the player, but should be based on the Horror, Lair, Family, Hunger, Legend and Kinship.

            Once the Dark Beacon is lit (i.e. the summoner applies the Open Condition), the Beast may open a Primordial Pathway to the summoner’s location. The Beast does not have to spend 1 Willpower, and scores an automatic Exceptional Success. However, while the Primordial Pathway is open, the Beast suffers the effects of the Entrancement Anathema [BTP Core 209], fixed at High Satiety. This represents a compulsion to aid and protect the summoner, in ways that fit the purview of the Dark Beacon. The summoner may extend this assistance and protection to all those who participated in lighting the Dark Beacon, and the Beast may return to his previous location via the same Primordial Pathway.

            If the Beast fulfills the requests of the summoner, it counts as Feeding The Hunger. This uses the normal rules for Satiety Potential, and the summoner must make requests which fit the purview of the Dark Beacon. However, the +4 modifier of killing the victim is replaced by “the summoner performs a sacrifice or offering for the Beast”, analogously to the requirements of the “Consecrate Temple” Obcasus Rite [BTP Player’s Guide 105]. This means that Beasts who use Dark Beacons have a vested interest in establishing Primordial Cults [BTP Player’s Guide 100] whose activities are organically integrated into the lifestyle of the local residents. Furthermore, if making use of a Dark Beacon results in significant conflicts or complications for the Beast, he receives 1 Beat.

            As a drawback, the Beast must keep the knowledge of the Dark Beacon closely guarded or cleverly disguised, lest it be used against him. Heroes may subvert the Dark Beacon by investigating and interrupting the summoning ritual via Heroic Stalking/Tracking [BTP Core 206-208]. This often involves kidnapping and blackmailing Cultists, defacing and altering the symbols, and replacing the sacrifice or offering with a trap or ambush. By the end of the process, the Heroes apply the Phobia Anathema on the Beast, which is fixed at High Satiety and represents a panic response to leaving the area of the subverted ritual. Furthermore, the Primordial Pathway closes and the Beast cannot open any others until the scene is over or until the Heroes are defeated, whichever comes first.

            Any location where a community regularly performs minor sacrifices and offerings for the Beast slowly accumulates Satiety within the offerings and sacrifices, which often acquire forms that match the nature of the Beast. The community must place the Dark Beacon in a position of mythical significance inside the location with the agreement of the Beast, who must be invited to consume, indulge or otherwise partake in the sacrifices or offerings. Any attempt to bypass these requirements via supernatural abilities fails automatically. This is treated as a modified version of Family Dinner, which gives 1 Satiety if the Beast willingly and knowingly swears commitment to helping the community, as long as they continue to perform the sacrifices and offerings.

            The community may choose to end this agreement at any time, especially if the Beast breaks his word, whether through action or inaction. This requires destroying the Dark Beacon, which makes the Beast lose all Willpower and suffer the Persistent Soul Shocked Condition. The Resolution must be an act of genuine repentance which comes at great personal cost for the Beast, and the Beat is earned whenever the Beast faces significant conflicts or complications due to a lack of Willpower, such as being unable to open a Primordial Pathway. If the community breaks their word, they do not suffer any inherent drawbacks but will have to deal with retribution from the Beast.


            "I hope you will have a long and happy life, if only so you can realize how stupid and wrong you are."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
              Satchel Is this any better?
              It's more of a thing than the first version, to be sure, but it's fiddly in some unnecessary ways if this is still supposed to be an Inheritance.

              Anathema are being used in this model to represent things that they don't really correspond to mechanically, and Dark Beacons are ill-defined (they're symbols rather than locations, but you still need to find a location that is a potential Chamber to develop one), as is whether taking them marks the changeover to the Inheritance.

              A very rough sketch of an alternate take, with the focus being on a transformation keyworded "Beast as Conspiracy":

              The Beast forges her Legend into an iron chain connecting her soul to the rest of the world; her Horror sleeps within the minds of all her cultists, and her Lair is a sacred place. The Beast must roll an exceptional success on a feeding roll with a Satiety potential of 8 or more while she is Gorged, committed within the Chamber in which her Horror lounges or its material reflection, and must allow her Satiety to rise to 10. As the Horror Slumbers, she falls comatose for a number of days equal to her Lair rating, making a contested Wits + Resolve roll against her Horror's Finesse each day until she accumulates successes equal to her Willpower rating or runs out of rolls. If she is successful, the Horror physically vanishes from the Lair, appearing throughout its Chambers and their material counterparts in odd graffiti and uncanny shapes in the environment; if she fails, she gains the Slumbering Condition and loses a Willpower dot.

              Once a Beast has undertaken the Commitment, she gains a number of benefits:
              • She experiences Guidance from the Dark Mother (BPG p141-2), and gains the Obcasus Initiate Merit; if she already has the Merit, she immediately gains the Communion Condition. She counts the Chamber in which she undertook the Commitment as an extra Heart for the purposes of restoring her ability to regain Willpower after receiving Guidance.
              • The Chamber in which she performed the fateful feeding is Consecrated for the purposes of Obcasus Rites, if it was not already, and she counts any successful use of the Consecrate rite as an exceptional success.
              • Her Lair twists to better accommodate visitors; she gains dots in the Well-Stocked Lair Merit equal to half her Lair rating, and she may prevent the Lair from triggering breaking points in guests without needing to spend Satiety.
              • Her Legend spreads throughout the Bright Dream, drawing followers to her newly-consecrated holy ground; the Beast gains the first two dots in the Primordial Cult Merit, if she does not already have it, as well as additional dots in the Merit equal to her Lair rating; in addition, the Beast can benefit from Followers in the vicinity of her Chambers and their material reflections, as the Hero ability (BtP Core p212), a number of times per story equal to her Lair rating.
              • She can gain and "store" Satiety through her cult as though it were a Horrorspawn (BPG p115), and treats her cultists as Horrorspawn for the purposes of gaining the +2 bonus to Satiety potential; she can see through her cultists' eyes at the cost of her Defense, and can speak to them and use Nightmares on them at any distance while projecting her senses thus as an instant action.
              • She can better maintain Horrorspawn with her Horror's true form distributed and her Lair grounded; count her Lair rating as three dots higher (to a maximum of 10) for the purposes of incubating full Horrorspawn, and count the Potency of any full Horrorspawn she creates as one lower for the purposes of determining how quickly their bodies decay (Horrorspawn with an effective Potency of 0 lose their bodies after three months); the Beast can harvest pieces of her Horror from the dreams of her cultists for the purposes of creating full Horrorspawn, though all other systems are the same.
              • If one of her cultists or Horrorspawn creates or discovers a Chamber she can incorporate into her Lair, she may do so using the usual systems as though she had created or examined the Chamber herself.

              The drawbacks to binding her Lair to the world thus are as follows:
              • The Beast is permanently Gorged; if her Satiety falls below 7, she takes a point of lethal damage; if her Satiety falls below 4, her cult immediately suffers a breaking point with a penalty equal to her Lair rating; if her Satiety would rise above 10 and she cannot allocate it her cult or an existing Horrorspawn, she takes a point of aggravated damage and immediately generates a temporary Horrorspawn (BPG p112); if her Satiety would fall to 0, she loses a Willpower dot and collapses one of her Chambers, gaining Satiety equal to her Horror's Power in the process.
              • The Beast no longer merges with her Horror while in her Lair, and does not benefit from the additional Attribute dots provided by her Lair rating, though her Atavisms and Environmental Immunities continue to function and she may still spend Satiety to heal.
              • Having permanently bound her fortunes to the Bright Dream, the spiritual health of her followers has an impact on the Beast as well; whenever she loses a Primordial Cult benefit due to dramatic failure on a breaking point roll, she also loses all her points of Willpower; if her cult collapses, she loses a point of Satiety per chapter.
              • She cannot stray far from her Lair on her own; if she falls asleep outside of her Lair or its material counterparts, she vanishes when nobody is looking (circumstances conspire to cause cameras and other forms of indirect observation to flicker and fail to facilitate this) and reappears in a Consecrated Chamber, losing a point of Willpower in the process.
              • Her Lair biases itself toward a condensed geographical area; whenever she opens a Primordial Pathway from a Chamber other than the Heart or the Chamber in which she undertook the Commitment to an area in the material world other than its material counterpart, that area becomes the new location corresponding to the Chamber if it is closer to the location corresponding to the Chamber the Beast Committed herself in; locations that have ceased to directly correspond to Chambers are considered to have Spiritual similarity to the Chamber thereafter. This effect also applies to Chambers created from locations other than the material world, moving their metaphysical roots to the waking world; other worlds whose geography corresponds more strongly to the material world experience a similar condensing effect within their own realms.
              • The Chamber in which the Beast undertook the Commitment counts as a second Heart for the purposes of killing the Beast by collapsing it, without the additional required successes afforded to the Heart itself; characters with any form of Unseen Sense can identify the Chamber's material counterpart as a place of power at a glance, supernatural attempts to gain access to the Chamber through the location gain a +2 bonus and count rolls to do so as an exceptional success on three successes instead of five.


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

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