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Gnawing on Gnats- Gripes and Counter Gripes

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  • Gnawing on Gnats- Gripes and Counter Gripes

    All right, so it's been more than a bit since we've gotten into Beast, and in that time, we've had some things percolating, and some things have kind of come up that, yeah, why not explain how things stand, then how they can be expanded, as well as some questions to see if we can start stirring up activity, all that fun stuff-but it's been a while as well, and I could do with something a little more bite-sized to get into, and I tend to be better motivated by adversity, and

    Well, gosh, isn't it convienent someone did a thread on people's opinions and some of them are the things that grind my gears. Yeah, some of that sounds chewable.

    Now with that said, I should establish that the comments I am going after are born more from a frustration with the game than a lot of the other arguments that come from bad faith and having never given it a chance-or at least it feels like that to me. I'm also not going after them because I don't think that Beast shouldn't be complained about-in fact, while i have my gripes with these comments, I think they still kind of point at that fundamental problem of the game's presentation, and that again these argument have their grounding. It's why I decided to take this bitching of mine over here, and to decidely decouple the complaints from the posters-oh, sure, it's not going to take five minutes to find whose comments I'm talking about, but I want to make it clear my gripe is not with the person having the problem, just the thing that was said, and I will do what I can to account for that going forward, so.

    But with that said, the comments still stick in my craw, so lets get our Peter Griffin on and get into what grinds my gears.

    Beasts are hunted but have no oversight on keeping Heroes from being created. Vampires have a governmental body to enforce the masquerade, Beasts do not. The Apex doesn't care and the Dark Mother doesn't care. Makes Beasts seem very anti-survival.
    So on the one hand, this is one of those comments that does feel like it's rooted in a first KS draft read for Beast vs the final product-Beast's actions don't cause Heroes to happen, Heroes happen on their own.

    That asides, it's also one of those comments that gets across how poorly the core got across both it's themes about the individual versus the community (Hunger versus Kinship) and the risk/reward factor that comes with actively trying to build Lair, that thing that is the center of Beast's action. Broods operate in that middle space between older siblings trying to keep younger sibligns from being overtly stupid versus still being drawn toward the legendary acts that will increase their Lair but also draw in Heroes. This is one of those cores to the tension in the interaction of Broods and the greater family in any given Hive-everyone's cautioning wisdom, temperance and patience, but no one became a legend by playing it safe, and it can get a little galling when older siblings actively have this host of probably not the most survival-oriented actions and moments associated with themselves try to tell younger avenues to seek "saner" methods of gaining Lair.


    Beasts written from a "morally right" perspective, either have them be inherently villains or have them be vigilantes.
    I wish Beast had been that coherent, if wrong. The corebook is instead a giant fucking cluster fuck of people writing every which way to Monday, with some people thinking Beasts were basically LBGT Superheores with claws and other people treating them as right bastards-some as misbegotten and ill-fated individuals suffering from forces beyond their control, others as assholes whose every action is the cause of their own misfortune, what other people would call karmic justice.

    There is a general vibe that places Beast on what I would call in other thread the "Dark Gray Line" of the humanity/monstrosity scale, and indeed Beast benefits from properly fixing it's baseline on that line. That said, Beasts do have room to move around from that line, maybe never becoming the squeakiest clean of still-monsters, but definitely not confined to pure villainy. Vigilantism is certainly a way to explore that Dark Gray Line, but there's other ways to explore it as well, and it pays to give attention to many forms and ideas in regards to that. The two are useful guidelines and easy checks, useful shorthand to give a quick communication of how Beast aligns itself different from the other gameliens, but shouldn't be the whole of the law. Beast is a game about the mythology of monsters on the whole, and it explores cycles of violence in many forms, and to really make that work, you need some solid alignment.

    Heroes being only low integrity - This seems added to make Heroes look like the bad guys. Having morally grey Heroes or even ones who are Hunters who lost someone to a Beast would be perfectly fine to have and be more interesting the M'Lady Guy.
    Okay, so I think people know I agree with this....sort of. Namely these days I argue they should actually have Satiety, along with that entire argument of formally making them a third set of Children of the Dark Mother alongside with Beasts and Insatiable.

    As it currently stands, it should probably be griped about how Integrity and Morality aren't the same thing, that the more articulate point is that Beast postualtes that the idea of Heroism is not a psychologically healthy mentality to have regardless of it's actual moral or ethical component, and how even before Conquering Heroes gave us a slew of varied and interesting takes on heroes that all played to the 4 or lower rule, the corebook, even pre-kickstarter, gave us a three pronged spectrum that has resulted in the truism I hold for writing Heroes going forward, being "There should always be Sleeping Beauties, but there will always be Thaddeus Peterson's, and fuck that guy."

    The variety exists, while the Integrity is there to denote that whatever the case, the position of being a Hero is also usually not the healthiest one to take.

    Also, yes, Hunters are indeed people who act out loss. Heroes, however you slice them, do not, even if they pretend to. It is not thematically what they are about. Let each do their own thing and let them do it well.


    If Good Guys:
    I'm going to take the whole assemblage of notes under this and just simply say that, even if we weren't building a splat that, by the nature of the foundation it's work from, didn't rest on the dark gray line between conventional Chronicles protagonists and most of their antagonists, we're still in a game about playing monsters, so "If Good Guys" misses the point hard core.

    If Evil Guys: More thematically if Beasts fed off the presence of Sin like Pride, Greed, Envy, Sloth, Lust, Wrath, and Gluttony I feel like it would be more thematic for them as villains.
    Beast is not Inferno and gains nothing from pretending to be Inferno. It's more interested in the morally gray area of confronting that part of ourselves rooted in the animalistic and atavistic, aspects of ourselves that has done much to give rise to our civilizations but is also used to deny core aspects to our being. Beast is a game about how humanity is messy and not as divorced from our primordial self as we'd like to think, how we are driven by fear and our need for security, and how an overt dedication to that security can end up being predacious or enfeebling in it's own right. Beast's act as a force of clarity often by remvoing the moores that allow for comfortable deniability and allow people to come face to face and to terms with their fears and desires.

    Split Beasts into 2 factions like how we have the Vampire Covenants vs VII, Forsaken vs Pure, Pentacle vs Seers, Prometheans vs Centimani, Changelings vs Loyalists/Privateers, Hunters vs Slashers, Mummies vs Shan'iatu, Angels vs Demons, and Deviants vs Devoted... Man its almost like we have a theme here?
    Maybe take the idea of Beasts who cleanse Sins and Beats who instill Sins and put them into two rival factions? Sounds good. Sounds better than BtP is right now imo.
    Beast has a lot to say and explore in regards to the humanity/monstrosity divide by deliberately ignoring and blurring the lines, allowing by comparison people to realize the monstrosities that still exist in the protagonist bunch while also still exploring the humanity of those who go to the otherside, exercising empathy via the angle of family to lend understanding to that monstrosity and coaxing the human heart behind them out. Having an overt factionalism to Beast itself does terrible things for this angle of familial empathy, judgment, and the exploration of both.

    I have floated around the notion that a soft sort of factionalization centered around how some Beasts, Insatiable, and Heroes do take cues and direction from their other siblings, and so some Beast fully embrace an Insatiable mentality while other act Heroic-but again, that's more soft philosophizing. On the whole Beast does more interesting things by saying "fuck the lines that divide people" and instead treats all of monstrosity more holistically. It also comes again to the individualist, found-family aspect of Beast, where in each Beast has the room to decide who, what, how, and why works for their particular corner of the family-accounting for the wisdom of other family members, but also leaving room to stand on their own and make decisions on their own. It's that Hunger vs Kinship theme again-the trans-valued wisdom of the family in co-operation and in competition with the trans-valuing wisdom of the individuals within it.

    They immediately recognized other monsters for what they are; this destroys the core themes of secrecy in a lot of the games. It sucks being a Winter courtier or a Kindred trying to maintain the Masquerade and someone just walks up to you all 'sup I know you're a fairy/vampire'

    So the thing of the matter of this is that, with one exception, every single splat has a "recognize that someone else is of your own like" and usually have to make an effort to hide internally. Vampriec Predatory Aura, werewolf smell and branding, mage sight revealing mage aura, Azothic Presence, seeing through one another's Mask, seeing the geist haunting the hollow of your soul, the senses attenuated to Sekhem, and the general metaphysical-if-not-visible nature of Scars is a facet in place to allow monsters to see and group with each other. It's usually not even hard for monsters to get a sense of someone else being a monster from there. The Kinship powers of Beasts basically allows them to play along in accordance ot the same terms as everyone else, and is a pretty open field unless they've made the familial connections to blend in. This argument also has a bad conception of how the "Masquerade" of Chronicles works in general and how monsters connect just within their own sphere, accordingly.

    Interestingly, the one case where this argument has ground is also the one where you have to roll to beat their spoof, and winning creates problems for you both. And this is why demons aren't kin, kids.

    Some of Beast's merits/powers are incredibly overtuned compared to the games they'd potentially meddle in (Mage being the exception I guess). Imagine a hobgoblin trying to deceive or trick a group and the Beast can just slap down Mimir's Wisdom etc.
    The problem with this argument is that it ignores how pretty much every splat tends to have iterations and versions of the same powers across the board. No longer as badly copy-pasta'd as they used to be in 1st Edition, but as a off hand example, werewolves, demons, and mummies have that as a direct capability, and vampires, changelings, sin-eaters all have abilities that are only just shy of "instantly know you're lying to me."

    Beast IS probably the only game that needs to think about cross-game balance, which makes it interesting because there's also a decent argument about how, handling it's own internal themes and ideas, it could probably stand to be more powerful? but with how things go now and anticipating to keep it around there, I think this thread did a pretty decent job of explaining how Beast is actually very middle of the road.

    I really struggle to play Beast because there's no cohesiveness in the game, nothing that contextualizes my character's existence as a Beast; there's no Beast society; there's no Beast laws; there's no Beast traditions, and so on.
    The refutation for this actually deserves a much longer and comprehensive explanation than the relative space I'm trying to keep to individual answers, so for now, we'll give a really basic "Yep, the corebook did a bad job of explaining the inter-relationship between Broods formed from collected Lairs in the larger Hive and how they usually organize around, against, and/or in synthesis to the standard set by the Apex-but it is there."


    In my humble opinion, advanced and epic merits are just ridiculously overtuned. Some of these just costs 2-3 xp and are magnitudes stronger than supernatural powers in other gamelines without requiring fuel/willpower to benefit from. I think these should either have been made more widely available or not been done at all. I think this might be an opinion not shared by most people, but for a game with an emphasis on crossover, I think they are really an imbalance in gameplay.
    It's an admittedly really weird piece where those merits were supposed to start showing up in other books and somehow never did. But I'm not entirely sure I agree with how overtuned some of these are, with costs for the advanced and epic merits tending to run high. Still, if any argument can be made against them not becoming more widespread for other splats, a reconsideration for their position should definitely be had, yes.


    And finally

    Thicker than Water.
    Thicker than Water - Beasts automatically increasing their Impression with other splats and monsters by +1. This is mechanical benefit that should be left to roleplay, doubly bad in that it is a passive ability they have.
    For some reason, they default to a higher impression with the Others, than the Others themselves. So a Beast has higher default impression with any vampire, than the vampire themselves has.


    So. I have a particular bugbear with this argument, and I was going to initially try and communicate my bugbear by basically quoting all the times it's come up since the Kickstarter. I quickly abandoned that idea, partly becuase people don't list it by name, but also because jesus fucking christ how much does this one thing come up. So I'm going to opt, instead, to show a really old* example of this before getting into it, and I hope that between this explanation and the following time-stamp, you'll get the position I'm coming from.


    Originally posted by 07-05-2015
    Originally posted by 07-05-2015
    Thicker Than Water
    The 'best-friends forever' power which states that Beasts are always on good terms with everyone because reasons. This power only proves a little more that the Beast Mythos is the one and only truth rather than their own vision. Had it been that Beasts always see other monsters with a Good first impression, it would have made a lot more sense.
    ...

    So the problem with this argument isn't simply that it's bad, it's that it's never been good.

    To draw the picture, let's point out that a like-calls-to-like psychosymbolic sympathetic connection that comes from being a living magical symbol for monstrosity gives a benefit that you can just as easily get from borrowing from the subection's explanation of it on pg. 162 of the Beast corebook, ahem, "meeting in a pleasant environment, wearing appealing clothing, playing appropriate music, or otherwise making the situation more comfortable." It only applies to full on monsters, being one of those rare instances where the "Fundamentally Human" category of Kinship actually means anything since it at best offers average for them. It's chief benefit is allowing you make Social Maneuvering rolls daily instead of weekly, and this is for an optional subsystem by the way. And you can fuck it up easily-in fact, being a splat we set our baseline of being on the Dark Gray Line, there's a clear conflict in place for employing it in the first place.

    All this hullablaloo for a benefit that so cheap that most of your urban horror protagonists are going to get it on virtue of playing to tropes of the genre. The Daeva get this benefit more often just dressing for the evening than Beasts. Most everyone gets this benefit for just playing to the expectations of the game. For Beasts, it's a flimsy benefit put in place because of how much of a hurdle they have otherwise.

    I don't get it, I don't think I ever will. The only actual thing about that demonstrates a problem is how little it shows up in actual play. On that score, it's lack of use does make a decent case that it's an excessive feature that could be given up to provide more space to more substantial feature. But, like. I don't get the whole big deal people seem to have. I just don't.

    ------------------------

    Soooooooooooooooooo, going forward and beyond the selfish value of trying to kickstart my writing gears, why this thread?

    Well, honestly, being very optimistic, I'm getting the feeling that Beast may be starting to pick up in conversations, and I feel like the granular details are the sort of things I tend to not talk about as much, taking my direction more at a top-down, inside-out sort of approach. That's a useful way for forming a coherent base picture, but it does tend to overlook the granularities of things that can be used, examined, and pieced together, and admittedly a lot of people's problems with any given media tends to be less of a "big picture" affair, but in how a wall of division from the work tends to emerge piece by piece, brick by brick, problem by problem. So by creating a venue to talk about the smaller, more particular bits, we can possibly get conversation going that provides edification for why pieces are there in the first, actually looking at if it serves those purposes, and if it could do with refinement, replacement, or absence.

    So, at the risk of opening a flood gate, I kind of want to open this thread up to, ideally, the issues that don't get talked about as much, the little nagging arguments that do get constantly made, or the "not as big issue with the game but it bugs me" style of argument. Not the beams that usually get in eyes, but more the motes, not the wall, but the bricks. I want to see if we can reach some closure and better understanding of these smaller subject, or perhaps realize some of the mismatches and come up with ways it can better fit, or otherwise how the issue it fills can be reworked.

    But mostly, as the title goes, for or against, it's kind of just a thread to chew on the gnats of the game.

    *For comparative values of the words "really old".
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 06-11-2022, 10:40 PM.


    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.

  • #2
    I think something the relates to one of the above cited issues for me:

    How much complaints against Beast do more to diminish things about the other CofD games. This isn't the, "vampires are predators too," bit, but also that. This things like the "two factions" quote. Two distinct warring factions is, by far, the exception and not the rule. It brushes over tons of different layers of factionalization, ignores whole groups, and so on.

    Vampire is the Covenants vs. VII? In what book? The Covenants are all antagonists to each other, Requiem maintains Masquerades themes of young vs. old vampires as commentary on classism, and there's also the Strix controlled vampires, Belial's Brood, powerful individualist vampires that don't give a shit about your local rules and have the power to tell you to fuck off, and Bloodlines that act as mirco-Covenats.

    Werewolf has the Ghost Wolves and Bale Hounds. Mage's Pentacle is already an alliance of the Diamond and the Free Council that's rocky at best with plenty of Nameless that went their own way, plus the more overtly antagonist Banishers, Mad, Liches, Reapers, and Scelesti that round out antagonistic mages.

    I get that Beast breaks a lot of CofD molds, but creating a mold, squishing the other games into it even those most of them don't fit, and then claiming Beast should fit in with this universal mold is a definite gear grinder for me.

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    • #3
      Dunno how much this fits the thread, but something really minor that annoys me to no end about Beast is how it approaches a Beast's dreamform. Like, the rules are totally fine, but I don't personally see much benefit to drawing a distinction between the Horror's dreamform and the Beast's. It just makes them harder to understand [especially when the Horror gets a sidebar explaining its special mechanics] and might even contribute some to the disconnect some people experience with what kind of monster you are playing as. It is a little harder to feel like an iconic monster inhabiting humanity's collective psyche if you only actually get to be that monster in your Lair. And, you know, now that I think about it, nothing actually says that a Beast's dreamform doesn't resemble their Horror, even if it isn't actually the Horror [except some of the short stories, iirc], but like, nothing gets said about it either way. The evergreen issue of "bad presentation" I guess.

      Also, can there please be some benefit to increasing your Horror's Size with Lair dots, outside of the extremely niche and unstated "make it more difficult to stun you or move you around".

      None of this is even hard to fix through houserules, and it doesn't even really have a negative impact on gameplay. And I do not think I have even seen it used as part of an argument for why "Beast sucks actually". But it is definitely a mote that gets in my eyes.


      Consistently Inconsistent
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      • #4
        Originally posted by SomethingFishy View Post
        Dunno how much this fits the thread, but something really minor that annoys me to no end about Beast is how it approaches a Beast's dreamform. Like, the rules are totally fine, but I don't personally see much benefit to drawing a distinction between the Horror's dreamform and the Beast's. It just makes them harder to understand [especially when the Horror gets a sidebar explaining its special mechanics] and might even contribute some to the disconnect some people experience with what kind of monster you are playing as. It is a little harder to feel like an iconic monster inhabiting humanity's collective psyche if you only actually get to be that monster in your Lair. And, you know, now that I think about it, nothing actually says that a Beast's dreamform doesn't resemble their Horror, even if it isn't actually the Horror [except some of the short stories, iirc], but like, nothing gets said about it either way. The evergreen issue of "bad presentation" I guess.
        Well now it's in my craw, so I'll have to chew on it. I actually get the logic of semi-seperated parts of the psyche, maintaining the power and fragility of being in the Lair versus neither when outside, asserting that Horror and Lair are one, and implementing Primordial Pathways as presence, but it does strike me as one of those things that probably has a simpler, more consolidated form.

        Also, I missed this one last night.
        It doesn't help that the themes of story and myth/folklore are also a key part of Changeling, which focuses on recovering from abuse. Or that Werewolf also tackles ideas of family. It doesn't make Beast bad, but it can make it feel like a thematic retread.
        My problem with this argument stems from a misapprehension of how themes, motifs, and structures can and inevitably will be used to different ends or for different means. As a quick near universal examples, how many games have an antagonist whose primary purpose is to drag you back to the place you don't want to be dragged back to? Answer, a lot. For another, more on the nose example before coming back to this specific argument, Changeling: the Lost and Deviant: the Renegades are almost exactly the same game in terms of it's top down perspective, but it's the way those two games deviate in telling "I was forced into being something I didn't want to be and now have to live with the consequences of this inflicted trauma all while hiding, running, and fighting back against the forces that value this thing I have become in the exact ways I don't want to be valued" that make them individually interesting, and even more interesting when compared or contrasted against each other.

        Anyways, the specific argument is gnat-some because, while the Underhill version of Changeling was about the struggle over the story, Changeling 2nd proper realigned itself strongly on the frame of promises, oaths, and obligation for the foundation of a changeling's life, and by and large while the fairy tale element does inform the setting and character capacity, the game is not longer about stories the way it used to be-which is great, because Beast being a game about mythical reputation, urban legendary, and building place by fighting uphill with your narrative is a lot more rewarding, and it's annoying to see that difference split on mere what amounts to an aesthetic argument.

        As for Werewolf having a "better" take on Family, well. No. Werewolf has a different take on family to Beast, and it has it to different ends. In Werewolf, the concept of family is more associated with inherited legacy, obligation, and solidarity-you've inherited the Border Marches god's beef, whether you like it or not, but by banding together in relation to that, you maintain safety and even comfort in the wake of that, and one can even fool one's self into some sort of nobility if they keep up the missive from Wolf and Moon, or maybe just Wolf. In Beast, Family is a lot messier, as condemning in it's role as a fatalistic mirror as it is understanding in it's role of accepting all the hard monster-y bits. Also, without argument, family is much more intentionally contentious in Beast than it is Werewolf-the family tree of the Uratha is ancient, and while the source of divergence between any given werewolf has it's roots in what you're supposed to think about Wolf, a lot more of it is rooted in what you believe your relationship to yourself and your territory is. In Beast though, Astral Gods, Inheritors, High Lair Beasts all have their history and internal conflict that shapes the way any given setting is, and factionalization is as much an issue of your two uncles still fighting over the fact one of them burned down the horse shed and blamed the other for it as it is ideology, nevermind the expanded mommy issues between the Insatiable, Heroes, and Beasts. In crossover, the fact that Beasts have a default line of being more monstrous than their peers starting out is also reflective of that, come back around to being both condemning as well as understanding, in that a Beast does a lot to make you feel okay as you're grappling with your mosntrous self, but they do that by kind of casually encouraging to just fucking get on with being a monster already-a function that, yes, the organizations of monsters in game also do, but not as personally as a Beast does.


        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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        • #5
          My minor gripe concerns excessive number of mechanics. For instance, I don't see what Esurients offer that Nightmares/Atavisms or Dread Powers wouldn't. By rewriting Esurients as the former, each new example would expand the number of options Beast characters have. By rewriting Esurients as Dread Powers, both Insatiables and generic (non-Beast) Horrors would benefit from expanded list of powers (I also think the generic Horror/Dread-Powers system should be rehashed with lessons learned from Deviant, but that's a complex and separate matter that would distract from my point). If giving Insatiables Nightmares/Atvisms without any strings attached isn't supported by the Astral metaphysics, a blanket modification of how they interact with these mechanics should suffice to show that Insatiables and Beasts are not the same class of beings.

          Similarly, some benefits of Incarnation, like Multiple Appendages, could be repurposed as really cool Atavisms and it's a shame they're locked behind endgame material. Others are outright redundant with Atavisms, so removing them would free precious wordcount for other ideas.

          My final example could be most contentious, but I feel the same way about Birthrights, which appear to me as watered-down Atavisms (possibly Merits). This may be because I see the meat of the game in Hungers, Life/Legend dichotomy and Kinship. I see Families as a useful tool for generating ideas, but since I'm enamoured with the "No neat boxes" philosophy, I expect the game to challenge the concept Familial divisions very quickly. The design space occupied by Birthrights could be freed for something else. I freely admit that I don't know what Families could have, that differentiates and enriches playing them.

          Here, I'm going a step further and suggesting a mechanic unreated to Familes. Oftentimes, I find myself missing certain elements of classic WoD, namely Merits and Flaws that deeply modify the game experience (Like a flaw that makes cWoD Mages influenced by local superstitions). Something similar could be used to clarify a given Beast's relationship with their Horror. Was the character one with a Horror since birth, having it sleeping in their soul like a little T-rex in an egg? Was the character killed through Devouring, with the Horror inheriting their mind and memories? Did the character devour the Horror, rather than vice-versa? Is the Horror a vicious symbiote with an independent existence? I bring this up, because the very concept of what Beasts are is complicated, to the point it's hard to advertise them. At my least charitable, I describe them as Sin-Eaters (of the gameline) with identity confusion. I would very much prefer to erase the distinction between the Human and the Horror, but if that's not an option, codifying all the different relationships the two halves could have would enrich the gameline.


          ~

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          • #6
            Something I rarely seem to see mentioned or accounted for in discussions of Beast is Family Dinner, and it bugs me for a couple of related reasons. Firstly, nearly everybody seems to forget or ignore that Beasts who aren't comfortable inflicting the trauma their Horrors crave have backup options that literally just need them to befriend and tag along with nearly any other supernatural.

            Second, it feels weird to me that it's more reliable than regular feeding. Yes there's the upfront difficulty of finding and befriending other supernats, and the ongoing work of maintaining those ties, but the fact that it nets a fixed results instead of a roll is a pretty strong incentive to make it your primary strategy where possible.

            I wouldn't want to see Family Dinner removed from a second edition because I believe the deliberate attempt to deny your Hunger is an important thing for some Beasts to explore, but it shouldn't feel like the easier option after the initial obstacle or two gets resolved

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            • #7
              I think the problem with Family Dinner is the pasivity of it. The Beast only has to "watch" which doesn't really convey the idea of a share communal meal. I think that requiring Beasts to actively participate in the hunt to reap any benefits (even if their family doesn't realize it), or reduce the potential feeding for how removed the Beast is from the hunt.

              Not participating in the hunt for zero Satiety, but making forming Kinship bonds easier should stay as part of it, but gaining Satiety should require some active effort by the Beast(s) involved

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                I think the problem with Family Dinner is the pasivity of it. The Beast only has to "watch" which doesn't really convey the idea of a share communal meal. I think that requiring Beasts to actively participate in the hunt to reap any benefits (even if their family doesn't realize it), or reduce the potential feeding for how removed the Beast is from the hunt.

                Not participating in the hunt for zero Satiety, but making forming Kinship bonds easier should stay as part of it, but gaining Satiety should require some active effort by the Beast(s) involved
                The idea of playing stagehand or lookout for kin through Lair Traits and Nightmares springs to mind, as does working in normal feeding's increased odds of success from spending Satiety as a way to, if not produce a net gain, at least reset the clock on Satiety loss a la Arisen consuming relics to stretch out the timer for Descent checks.

                I feel like part of the intent behind making applying Family Ties a Social Maneuvering action was for the Begotten to be making progress toward applying the Condition by making rolls to aid their prospective kin, but that could definitely be managed more concretely.

                Originally posted by HelmsDerp View Post
                I wouldn't want to see Family Dinner removed from a second edition because I believe the deliberate attempt to deny your Hunger is an important thing for some Beasts to explore, but it shouldn't feel like the easier option after the initial obstacle or two gets resolved
                I'll be frank: Family Dinner should not be a method of denying Hunger. It's there to substitute facilitating other monsters' feeding for your own focal activities, not to let the Begotten put it out of their mind that the troll that lives in their soul craves human flesh with a particular historical or situational context.

                Complicating relationships with the supernatural might be managed by something along the lines of needing a roll of some sort to benefit from Family Dinner and taking a condition akin to Sybaris or Disquiet on anything short of an exceptional success, such that until you next [gain Satiety/lose Satiety/change Satiety Conditions/fourth thing] you can be recognized as an ostensibly-human accomplice to a monster and have some form of social complication (hunters looking for a weakness, monstrous peers looking to curry favor/apply pressure, creatures from the Dream [proto-Horrorspawn?] pushing you to shift the resonance to align with your Legend, etc).


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

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                • #9
                  Meta-predacity is still predacity. Family Dinner addresses how Beasts can be involved with the regular reminder of monstrosity without sharing the specific enoughs, and I do think there's value in that versatility of play, but if there is an angle to improve it upon, it is that: meta-predacity is still predacity.


                  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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                  • #10
                    Here's a shocker for those who definitely know my position: I actually like Thicker Than Water as a concept! Yeah, I've got no problem with it. Like you said Arc, it's a fringe benefit at best and can be easily wrecked or simply have no footing to begin with.

                    Though I can understand where those who don't like it are coming from. I think it's more of a compounding issue with the holier-than-thou subtext in some of the writing and they've falsely associated TTW with said subtext (since it pretty much exclusively applied to Heroes, anyways).

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                    • #11
                      I've been refraining from replying in this post or the other recent one about Beast for a few reasons (the primary that I'm finding it hard to focus my ideas into anything concrete and original to say on the topic, but oh well). I'll note that I've noticed over the years a lot of my problems with the gameline are fairly minor things rather than concept-level, and most of my notes on what I'd want changed are relatively small tweaks in representing the themes and mechanics more tightly. (If anything, to evoke the popular discussion topic, I think Thicker Than Water is too weak to merit inclusion at current without some extra incentive toward it.)

                      That said, I have been pondering a small issue for some time now. (Years even.) This isn't necessarily a gripe, but it is a minor background element of Beast that interests me, and this seems like a good a place as any to potentially discuss its implications.

                      Throughout the handful of books in the line, there seems to be a setting undercurrent of, let's call it, Makara supremacy. This isn't to say the writing treats Leviathans as though they're better than other Families, but it's certainly suggested on more than one noticeable occasion that they think of themselves as superior for one reason or another. It's interesting, I wonder how intentional this was on the authors' parts, or whether this is the result of multiple authors coming to similar conclusions, and I wonder where, in-setting, it could be taken, built up, deconstructed, romanced, vivisected, and autopsied.

                      Especially considering the other thematic and supernatural roles the concept of Ocean plays in the wider Chronicles of Darkness.

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                      • #12
                        For me, some terminology. I would've preferred if what we call "Beasts" were "Horrors", "Horrors" were "Nightmares", and "Nightmares" were "Intrusions" or "Eversions"...

                        Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
                        I've been refraining from replying in this post or the other recent one about Beast for a few reasons (the primary that I'm finding it hard to focus my ideas into anything concrete and original to say on the topic, but oh well). I'll note that I've noticed over the years a lot of my problems with the gameline are fairly minor things rather than concept-level, and most of my notes on what I'd want changed are relatively small tweaks in representing the themes and mechanics more tightly. (If anything, to evoke the popular discussion topic, I think Thicker Than Water is too weak to merit inclusion at current without some extra incentive toward it.)

                        That said, I have been pondering a small issue for some time now. (Years even.) This isn't necessarily a gripe, but it is a minor background element of Beast that interests me, and this seems like a good a place as any to potentially discuss its implications.

                        Throughout the handful of books in the line, there seems to be a setting undercurrent of, let's call it, Makara supremacy. This isn't to say the writing treats Leviathans as though they're better than other Families, but it's certainly suggested on more than one noticeable occasion that they think of themselves as superior for one reason or another. It's interesting, I wonder how intentional this was on the authors' parts, or whether this is the result of multiple authors coming to similar conclusions, and I wonder where, in-setting, it could be taken, built up, deconstructed, romanced, vivisected, and autopsied.

                        Especially considering the other thematic and supernatural roles the concept of Ocean plays in the wider Chronicles of Darkness.
                        This is something interesting that I apparently failed to catch on but want to; could you elaborate, just a little bit?
                        Last edited by 21C Hermit; 05-27-2022, 12:04 AM. Reason: my own thoughts


                        MtAw Homebrew:
                        Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
                        New 2E Legacies, expanded

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
                          I've been refraining from replying in this post or the other recent one about Beast for a few reasons (the primary that I'm finding it hard to focus my ideas into anything concrete and original to say on the topic, but oh well). I'll note that I've noticed over the years a lot of my problems with the gameline are fairly minor things rather than concept-level, and most of my notes on what I'd want changed are relatively small tweaks in representing the themes and mechanics more tightly. (If anything, to evoke the popular discussion topic, I think Thicker Than Water is too weak to merit inclusion at current without some extra incentive toward it.)

                          That said, I have been pondering a small issue for some time now. (Years even.) This isn't necessarily a gripe, but it is a minor background element of Beast that interests me, and this seems like a good a place as any to potentially discuss its implications.

                          Throughout the handful of books in the line, there seems to be a setting undercurrent of, let's call it, Makara supremacy. This isn't to say the writing treats Leviathans as though they're better than other Families, but it's certainly suggested on more than one noticeable occasion that they think of themselves as superior for one reason or another. It's interesting, I wonder how intentional this was on the authors' parts, or whether this is the result of multiple authors coming to similar conclusions, and I wonder where, in-setting, it could be taken, built up, deconstructed, romanced, vivisected, and autopsied.

                          Especially considering the other thematic and supernatural roles the concept of Ocean plays in the wider Chronicles of Darkness.
                          I thought I was the only one who read it that way. It always annoyed me. It was kinda like the ventrue being "superior" in their writing but without the deconstructing of it

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                          • #14
                            As far as i can tell, the Makara are very popular with both writers and readers/players, and I've always assumed that that little lean comes from the general popularity.

                            So, with that said, the curiosity is now "Would people like it more if future material actually substantiated and made a thing out of it to facilitate the idea of family drama, or would folks rather see it dialed back?"


                            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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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
                              Throughout the handful of books in the line, there seems to be a setting undercurrent of, let's call it, Makara supremacy. This isn't to say the writing treats Leviathans as though they're better than other Families, but it's certainly suggested on more than one noticeable occasion that they think of themselves as superior for one reason or another. It's interesting, I wonder how intentional this was on the authors' parts, or whether this is the result of multiple authors coming to similar conclusions, and I wonder where, in-setting, it could be taken, built up, deconstructed, romanced, vivisected, and autopsied.

                              Especially considering the other thematic and supernatural roles the concept of Ocean plays in the wider Chronicles of Darkness.
                              Bearing in mind I haven't done a deep read in a good long while, the explanation that sticks out the most to me is this: Most of the other Families' Lairs are designed to make their prey easier to bring down.

                              The Makara's Lairs are designed to kill you.

                              They are the Nightmares of the most widespread type of inhospitable environment on the planet, that hotbed of superstition from long ago that is The Sea. Before the modern period the primary way a ruler's power was measured was by their ability to have you killed,* and the Leviathans keep their hearts in places that can kill anyone they don't approve of.

                              * As opposed to nowadays, where their ability to control how you live is the greater metric; Vampire occasionally touches on this when it describes the Kindred in terms of their ability to spread death.

                              The Makara are most likely to have the security of a self-identity-stronghold that intruders cannot safely enter, and that's going to have an impact on their comportment even without the Family's secondary tendency to pick up lore that lets them tap into the same I-know-something-you-don't-know sense of superiority that the Awakened are so familiar with.

                              I've made loose comparisons of the Families as directional vectors of fear before, and the Leviathans are fear from Below; you can avoid heights, threats, strangers, diseases, enclosure, and blindspots, but as a terrestrial creature there is a hard limit on how far you can take yourself from world you walk through. Environmental supremacy is built into their root concept.


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

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