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Beast Nature and Morality

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  • #61
    The idea of the monomyth worries me a bit - it risks pulling the game closer and closer to Changeling. They've always felt more . . . primal, if you will, to me than that. With the monomyth being a way for humanity to rationalize them away, force them to make sense, deny the Beasts their purpose.

    If I were trying to justify Beasts, I'd look at them as a form of Goetic vaccine. Throughout history, some things have always been just too abstract for the average human to fully appreciate. But a monster . . . a monster they can understand.

    A landlubber might not appreciate just how dangerous the sea currents and storms can be on the high seas . . . but a giant squid, like the ones in the fish market? That they can get. And so the tentacle Kraken is loosed upon the sea, along with all manner of sirens, sea serpents, and storm monsters.

    In the depths of the swamp, death comes from many sources, none of which a man could fight. Poisonous serpents glide through the trees, while dread disease breed in the stagnant waters. And more than one careless traveler has been swallowed up by the earth, drowning in quicksand. Yet there are so many resources there, to lure the unwary in . . . Until the unstoppable, immortal Hydra starts devouring hapless fools.

    So a Horror can be understood as a ritual scar upon the collective human psyche, a tangible reminder that something is too dangerous to screw around with. Like the tally marks used to keep track of the Silence in Doctor Who, Horrors are something humanity does to itself to remember. Something that no amount of vampire mind tricks, magical memory loss, or fairy games can easily undo.

    A Beast's depredations hurt - but that is the point. Humans aren't supposed to like, or ignore, their neighborhood Beast. They're supposed to fear it. Its a living manifestation of something dangerous, something terrible, that humanity must avoid, until they can find a way to fight back. It sucks for the poor schmucks the Beast hunts, but the burnt hand teaches best. If a Hero kills the Beast prematurely, humanity will simply have to make another, and another . . . until humanity figures out a way to cope with the underlying issues.

    Fight back or die. That's a Beast's message to the world. Find a cure for the disease. Crack down on crime. Hunt down the vampires, werewolves, and worse that would enslave and devour humanity. And every scream of fear they bring, every half-whispered rumor they give rise to, drives that point home

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    • #62
      The big difference between Changeling and Beast is that, for Changeling's, the existence of stories is a positive, where as Beasts see it as a negative. Changelings exist in the plotholes and gain power from the subversions of narrative, and they can do this because for them it's an ocean to swim in-they aren't behold to place in the craft.

      Beasts, on the other hand, don't want to anything to do with it, but at the same time are tied to it as products of humanity reconciling with their fears. Stories are a chain for them, they exist at the end- their place is set. They don't just want to subvert monomyth the way changelings play with stories, they want to flat out defy it, to completely break away from the cycle.

      This doesn't mean a Beast taking action in accordance to the idea of a lesson is setting themselves up to fall into the narrative-the main point of relation for beasts with changelings is the idea of taking the stories reins and going where they want, exploring all sorts of stories beyond monomyth. And it's not like they're the only ones who want to free themselves into being the meaningless world either-many changelings might be weakened by existing outside of a narrative, but a lot of them would be happy to be completely free too.

      But this is why it's important to keep in mind that the monomyth is Heroes' thing. Beasts, however they go about it, are defying monomyth.

      Unless they embrace it in an ultimate, terrible subversion and Incarnate.


      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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      • #63
        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
        But this is why it's important to keep in mind that the monomyth is Heroes' thing. Beasts, however they go about it, are defying monomyth.

        Unless they embrace it in an ultimate, terrible subversion and Incarnate.
        This is the only thing I question in your post, Arcee. Monomyth is certainly a Heroes thing, but Beasts aren't defying monomyth by their existence. They have to work at it. The average Beast who goes around inflicting fear and feeding her Horror - whether she buys into the 'teaching' idea or not - is basically feeding the monomyth. Sure they can deny it, but that's just being willfully ignorant.

        It's the canny Beasts - including (probably) the player's characters - who actively work to subvert the story. They defy the monomyth, they present a target that isn't what Heroes expect.


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

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Bunyip View Post

          This is the only thing I question in your post, Arcee. Monomyth is certainly a Heroes thing, but Beasts aren't defying monomyth by their existence. They have to work at it. The average Beast who goes around inflicting fear and feeding her Horror - whether she buys into the 'teaching' idea or not - is basically feeding the monomyth. Sure they can deny it, but that's just being willfully ignorant.

          It's the canny Beasts - including (probably) the player's characters - who actively work to subvert the story. They defy the monomyth, they present a target that isn't what Heroes expect.
          Brevity might be my enemy.

          But effectively, yes, this. Beasts gotta fight to keep from falling to the chains. The matter has some more tenuous positioning in a deep look, but this is the essential truth.


          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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          • #65
            I think it was the 'however they go about it' part


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

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            • #66
              Originally posted by SonOfGaia View Post

              Thanks for that awesome post. I'm a big fan of Beast, but I've been struggling with the themes, and I really like a lot of the ideas you've articulated. The threat of the Monomyth and the struggle against it echoes debate within the study of comparative mythology itself. The idea of the Monomyth has been highly criticized for oversimplifying and erasing the huge differences and variations within and between cultures, vastly limiting possibilities. In other words, insisting on the primacy of the Monomyth is an act of cultural colonialism and hegemony, and resisting it comes back around to the clash of contrasting principles (masculine vs feminine, religion vs spirituality, etc.).

              Beast at its core now seems to me to actually be a game of subverting dominant narratives and ideologies. In that context, both the teaching culture of beast and the concept of kinship among supernaturals has the potential to be radically disruptive and liberating, mostly on an individual and interpersonal level, but the net effect it all has on society and reality might be deep enough to cause systemic damage to dominant power structures. Of course, teaching culture could also just play into it and end up recreating the dominant narrative, so I can see where the argument against it is. Perhaps there's more power in denying meaning and purpose altogether. There's actually some great potential for reading beasts as queer (in the sense of broader queer theory and ideas of positionality, not necessarily LGBT identity), especially with how dominant patriarchal society constructs and creates social "monsters" through the politics of morality and deviance... but that's a box that would take a quite a while to unpack, so I'll stop my thoughts there. Storytellers and players could definitely explore those concepts, whether in subtle or overt ways, rather than reduce the game down to just a violent struggle against heroes. I don't have a great understanding of the God Machine and angels yet, but I like the possibilities I'm seeing with that, which is great since I really didn't get the inclusion of angels in the core book until now.

              As a final note, I appreciate the conversations people here are having about Beast. It's giving me a lot to think about in terms of how I might want to play the game.
              It’s cool you know about Cultural Hegemonies.

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              • #67
                Kindly do not revive threads that are three years old.


                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

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