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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


At the same time the other part of OPP made Beast.

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Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


One of my favorite bits of the whole Beast thing was back when the Kickstarter was still going. OPP dev David Hill made a post about pitch season and gave an example of a pitch that got passed over in favor of Beast and it played off similar themes of social justice and oppression but was way more tasteful and interesting.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Night10194 posted:

At the same time the other part of OPP made Beast.

Well. Black Hatt Matt made Beast. And he traded in a lot of his Credibility from Demon for the opportunity. The edits and changes I'm finding are hidden in sidebars and optional rules but they're important. Cause they were made after the KS feedback came in. The paragraph where he says that Heroes are born and good heroes are boring was written after he was told that Beasts can't be born the way they are and they need to have a morally compelling reason to exist.

I'm not really sure what the fan reception is on other boards, but I'm telling everyone I know to avoid it like the plague.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Given that Beast was almost certainly made with the intention of being socially conscious and responsible, I'm not really sure if I could point to a "this is where it all went wrong" moment for future developers to avoid.

SirPhoebos
Dec 10, 2007

Horned Rat-Sempai Noticed Me! :swoon:


Rand Brittain posted:

Given that Beast was almost certainly made with the intention of being socially conscious and responsible, I'm not really sure if I could point to a "this is where it all went wrong" moment for future developers to avoid.

I would say the point would be "dismissing any negative feedback as trolling simply because it's harsh in tone."

I get that it's possible to write something with the best of intentions that instead comes off as tone-deaf. But if a large part of your intended audience is saying that you've laid a huge turd, you need to consider the fact that maybe you got it wrong.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

SirPhoebos posted:

I would say the point would be "dismissing any negative feedback as trolling simply because it's harsh in tone."

That's a time honored White Wolf/OPP tradition at this point though, and certainly not exclusive to Beast by any stretch. Implying that one's critics must be MRA sympathizers is a new one, I'll spot you that.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


I would say that if it comes to a point where you are comparing your detractors to an imaginary villain faction you created who are so far gone as to be inhuman and beyond reasoning with, it's probably a good idea to take about 5 biiiiig steps back.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Rand Brittain posted:

Given that Beast was almost certainly made with the intention of being socially conscious and responsible, I'm not really sure if I could point to a "this is where it all went wrong" moment for future developers to avoid.

The literal instant they decided to make a significant part of the game a naked allegory for Gamergate.

That's going past kicking a hornet's nest into taking a big ol' bite out of it.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

I think that there's definitely a seed of huge wrongness that was planted when someone decided to base the main villain on something too hateful to be given any dignity, but that doesn't really explain why Beasts are so unlikeable.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Also if you're going to make a game where your protagonists are meant to be a stand-in for persecuted minorities, then you should really be prepared to be incredibly, exceptionally critical of your work. I'm talking more self-aware and objective then you've ever been before when making a game. Because it's one thing to make a game about monsters wrestling with their inhumanity and it's quite another thing to make a game where your monsters are actually GLBT analogues and also happen to be child abusers and serial stalkers, but it's really okay see because they're totally justified in perpetrating their abuses because their victims deserve it.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Yeah. Part of the reason beasts are even more horrible now is that they lost what little justification they had for their actions when they stopped being born the way they are but nothing else changed. And the game never ever for a single moment posits what a world without Beasts would look like. If they had said that a beastless world would be a hellscape where no one gets a good nights sleep because they're tormented by constant waking nightmares and society barely advanced beyond ancient greece? Then maybe Beasts would have a compelling reason to exist.

Also, the fact that Heroes are born the way they are but they're depicted as egotistical and utterly incapable of seeing anything from any worldview but their own should have set off the irony klaxons 3 states away.

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


My other favorite thing about beast was some of its most ardent defenders were exactly the people it was trying to condemn

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Luminous Obscurity posted:

My other favorite thing about beast was some of its most ardent defenders were exactly the people it was trying to condemn

And/or self-admittedly abused, self-loathing, and seriously messed up people self-identifying with the beasts, which was upsetting on basically every level possible.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

I mean, "willingness to be receptive to criticism" is like Creative Writing 101. Literally, the teacher I had for that course in college absolutely hammered that point home over and over. We each of us had to go into his office and have him critique the major story which constituted the significant part of our grade for 15-30 minutes and he made it clear that anyone who stormed off in a huff because "You just don't understand my vision!" would not be passing. Then we had to have at least two other people in the class do detailed critiques on it as well. Is it fun? Is it pleasant? No, and it probably never is. Is it helpful? Is it useful and valuable to have other people who aren't invested in your darling rip it to shreds? Yes. And when not just those dern SA goons but like people on two or three other forums are going "uh guys, maybe you should take a look at this" then maybe you should take that as a big loving cue to seriously reevaluate your work.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Daeren posted:

And/or self-admittedly abused, self-loathing, and seriously messed up people self-identifying with the beasts, which was upsetting on basically every level possible.

That was bad. "The suicidal" should not be your target audience unless you're trying to get them to seek help.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Daeren posted:

And/or self-admittedly abused, self-loathing, and seriously messed up people self-identifying with the beasts, which was upsetting on basically every level possible.

That's part of the reason that I really hate Beast, and am doing this review. Not to put too fine a point on it but the 4th-9th grade years of school were a very unpleasant time for me. So having a game tell me that I deserved it, or that my feeble attempts to lash out(Which actually ended up getting me the help I needed) made me literally Hitler is infuriating.

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


Thing was, the initial criticism (if you could even call it that) was mostly people just saying, "hey this seems kind of messed up, is the anti-hero stuff just IC trash-talk?" and BHM getting really snippy and evasive, if not ignoring some people outright.

Edit: also he'd ignore the cohesive, well-written effort-posts in favor of snarking at some random person who dropped in the thread to ask how someone could be called a hero AND a be a bad guy

Luminous Obscurity fucked around with this message at 00:06 on Apr 30, 2016

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Kurieg posted:

That's part of the reason that I really hate Beast, and am doing this review. Not to put too fine a point on it but the 4th-9th grade years of school were a very unpleasant time for me. So having a game tell me that I deserved it, or that my feeble attempts to lash out(Which actually ended up getting me the help I needed) made me literally Hitler is infuriating.

Yeah, I'm just going to reiterate that seeing a very familiar profile of my former abuser as an example protagonist in a playtest, in which nobody and nothing called them out as anything but a reasonable archetype, made me want to throw everyone involved out of a very high window.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Daeren posted:

That's going past kicking a hornet's nest into taking a big ol' bite out of it.
Aaaand I am saving this snippet for a future PC idea.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




I think a key misstep for Beast was that it didn't really have many layers. At the very least it could have obfuscated itself better, but it really seemed to just be "you're an awesome elf dragon on Tumblrin your soul and everyone hates you for it, and that's why it's okay to use your psychic vampire HTML codes on them." There was less ambiguity to its themes and characters than other lines, and this really came through in some of the writing being very "tell" instead of "show." Like that burglarized girl who deserves to be in coma-dream-hell because

Falconier111
Jul 18, 2012

S T A R M E T A L C A S T E

Oh man, every further post in this thread makes me happier I chose not to read that review.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Also the reasons Beasts are unlikeable have been elaborated on extensively both here and in the WW/OPP thread. Long story short, Beasts are emblematic of very real world instances of abusers who abuse people because "they deserve it" and the book unabashedly cheerleads them for it and sets their villains up to be the dumbest sorts of strawmen to further justify their lovely actions. Vampire makes no bones about the fact that vampires are awful monsters who do terrible things to people, and vampiric feeding is also frequently analogous to very real world instances of rape and assault so they certainly aren't any "cleaner" in that regard, but Vampire the Game itself doesn't endlessly fellate vampires for their predations, in fact it does exactly the opposite and generally spends plenty of time hammering home the undeniable fact that You Are A Monster. You hurt and kill and feed on people and there is no grand cosmic justification for that, you don't serve as part of some vague Jungian ecosystem and perpetrate totally necessary abuses for reasons, you feed on people because you're a monster and you're too cowardly or weak or selfish to go up onto a rooftop, lock the door behind you, and watch the sun rise.

Vampire is a better game because the dilemmas it presents the players with are infinitely more relatable and compelling than those in Beast, and vampires themselves are consequently more compelling characters. Most of us, I would hope, have not perpetrated horrible violence and assault upon other people, but most of us have experienced moments of selfish weakness and temptation to do bad things for personal gain or because we're too afraid to do something else. The question of "what does your character do now as a vampire, a night-bound immortal that has to subsist on blood and has a ravening monster for a soul?" is more interesting precisely because vampires don't have any cosmic justification for existing...the only reasons you have are those you make for yourself. Vampires have a tragic element to them because being a non-vampiric person is pretty much presented as being objectively superior in every way, from being able to live a normal life and eat normal food and enjoy physical intimacy that doesn't involve drinking blood to not loving spontaneously combusting in daylight. And lastly, vampires are cool and sexy and it's understandable why a player who in their real life feels persecuted or ostracized or overlooked or unable to express their true inner selves for fear of these consequences would enjoy exploring a game that lets them be a cool, sexy, tragic creature of the night who happens to look fabulous in black. Vampires contain all the elements of a well-realized power fantasy while also maintaining clear self-awareness that being a vampire is actually a tragic curse and that vampires are not objectively a net benefit to society, that they are monsters and the world would probably be better off without them and even the most well-meaning vampire can be ground down over the years and wind up a cold-eyed predator callously treating humanity like a living larder, which is your personal horror element.

Beasts have none of this. Beasts aren't cool and sexy, they're sadistic assistant principals and health inspectors. They torment people who leave bad tips and poison Halloween candy and abandon people in the wrong neighborhood. There's that one Beast who provokes men into attacking her so she can turn around and beat the poo poo out of them, and I'm surprised there isn't an example of a Beast who spermjacks one-night stands just so we can tick off all the boxes on the strawman stereotype bingo card. Beasts are also huge loving assholes that murder and abuse and torture people but the book tells the reader that this is right and proper and noble and if this is meant to be some Paul Verhoeven level satire then it utterly fails on every level, except it isn't satire because we know that Matt McFarland genuinely believes that Heroes are the villains of this piece and has ignored and contorted the arguments of anyone who's pointed out to him that Beasts are repugnant assholes and that Heroes are actually more sympathetic than the ostensible protagonists we're meant to relate to.

Also there's the whole "Beasts are super-special crossover pals with everyone" which is so contrived that when I first saw that part in the original Kickstarter draft I pulled the muscles in my eyes from rolling them so hard.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



No, no, Beasts don't magically make all supernaturals like them!

They just automatically start with an impression of Good or higher from all supernaturals!

The difference is clear, right?

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Falconier111 posted:

Oh man, every further post in this thread makes me happier I chose not to read that review.

Hey :( I put a lot of work into it. And I'm not even 1/5th of the way done.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Kai Tave posted:

Also the reasons Beasts are unlikeable have been elaborated on extensively both here and in the WW/OPP thread.

I'm not denying that Beasts are unlikeable; I'm just saying that I can't point to a singular design decision that sent it to where it is now that could have been made differently in order to avoid it all.

It's more like a design, um, trajectory, that led the whole thing down to Deeply Uncomfortable Town.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not denying that Beasts are unlikeable; I'm just saying that I can't point to a singular design decision that sent it to where it is now that could have been made differently in order to avoid it all.

It's more like a design, um, trajectory, that led the whole thing down to Deeply Uncomfortable Town.

I agree, and that's why every attempt to "fix" it is hopeless, because the core concept is broken. You'd have to strip out so much you'd be better off making your own game.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Rand Brittain posted:

I'm not denying that Beasts are unlikeable; I'm just saying that I can't point to a singular design decision that sent it to where it is now that could have been made differently in order to avoid it all.

It's more like a design, um, trajectory, that led the whole thing down to Deeply Uncomfortable Town.

I would say that the cardinal rule Beast broke is the way that the text more or less objectively paints Beasts as good and justified. I'm not saying that if it weren't for that Beast would suddenly be a grand ol' time because it clearly wouldn't be, but making it so that the authorial Word of God is constantly reminding you that these abusers are right and their victims deserve it is what leads to, for example, Heroes having to be contorted into an army of strawmen exclusively because they have to be bad and despicable, otherwise the central thesis falls apart.

Maybe a better way to say it would be that the central decision to make Beast "Matt McFarland clumsily attempts to exorcise his anger at Gamergate and MRAs: the Game" is what inevitably sent it to shitville. Matt could be the most well meaning guy in the world (though I'm certainly not going to extend him the benefit of the doubt at this point after how he behaved in response to his critics) but I'm going to suggest that it's extremely unlikely if not outright impossible to create a game with something like that as your foundation and maintain the necessary objectivity to actually make it a good game. When you're at the point of literally dressing your villains in fedoras just to make sure people get the message that HEY THESE GUYS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BAD OKAY then you've probably hosed up.

And none of this even explains why he decided that what his game of super awesome persecuted minority revenge fantasy stand-ins needed was to also be cosmological child abusers for the Jungian unconscious.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Rand Brittain posted:

Given that Beast was almost certainly made with the intention of being socially conscious and responsible, I'm not really sure if I could point to a "this is where it all went wrong" moment for future developers to avoid.
That point would be when they said "hey, let's make an RPG where you abuse people for their own good".

MJ12
Apr 8, 2009



Luminous Obscurity posted:

One of my favorite bits of the whole Beast thing was back when the Kickstarter was still going. OPP dev David Hill made a post about pitch season and gave an example of a pitch that got passed over in favor of Beast and it played off similar themes of social justice and oppression but was way more tasteful and interesting.

Tell me more about this pitch. This sounds intriguing in a what-could-have-been way.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Evil Mastermind posted:

That point would be when they said "hey, let's make an RPG where you abuse people for their own good".

Yeah, it's not like there's some big mystery of where this shitpile went wrong.

Rand Brittain
Mar 24, 2013

"Go on until you're stopped."

Evil Mastermind posted:

That point would be when they said "hey, let's make an RPG where you abuse people for their own good".

Except that they added that part in later and it was still... the way it is... before that.

Maxwell Lord
Dec 12, 2008

I am drowning.
There is no sign of land.
You are coming down with me, hand in unlovable hand.

And I hope you die.

I hope we both die.


:smith:



Grimey Drawer

The thing is, I'm sure a game where the monsters are misunderstood and their killers are the real monsters could be done. This is just ineptly done enough that it comes off really creepy.

Like just say "the Beasts never kill anyone or do irreparable harm", yay, they're fixed. But he has to be edgy.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Maxwell Lord posted:

The thing is, I'm sure a game where the monsters are misunderstood and their killers are the real monsters could be done.

It's called Promethean, though if the killers are simply affected by Disquiet it's not anyone's fault.

Roland Jones
Aug 18, 2011

by Nyc_Tattoo


Daeren posted:

And/or self-admittedly abused, self-loathing, and seriously messed up people self-identifying with the beasts, which was upsetting on basically every level possible.

I remember the person you're probably thinking of in particular; if nothing else I hope someone guided them to Promethean because it hits everything they said they identified with Beast for without being completely reprehensible in the process.

Also yeah, nth-ing the repeated refrain of seeing an abuser (in this case my child molester cousin) in the Beasts and seeing myself/other victims as the people the book says deserve it when I read that terrible book. Which I actually brought up during the initial Beast criticism; I was resoundingly ignored (except by the person above, who did try to acknowledge what I said but was still too tied up in seeing themselves in Beast and whatnot), so, yeah.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20
:blizz::gamefreak:


Maxwell Lord posted:

The thing is, I'm sure a game where the monsters are misunderstood and their killers are the real monsters could be done. This is just ineptly done enough that it comes off really creepy.

Like just say "the Beasts never kill anyone or do irreparable harm", yay, they're fixed. But he has to be edgy.

One of the hungers is literally "Killing people", that's a huge change. Also "This entire splat never kills people" doesn't really fit into the WoD either? The problem is "These beasts kill people but it's okay to do this."

Luminous Obscurity
Jan 10, 2007

"The instrument you know as a piano was once called a pianoforte, because it can play both loud and quiet notes."


MJ12 posted:

Tell me more about this pitch. This sounds intriguing in a what-could-have-been way.

It was called Fury: The Scourge. The PCs were Furies, people who were suffered some kind of great injustice and took revenge and as a result this giant cosmic spirit of justice empowered them to battle injustice. In practice though its basically people being given superpowers and hitlists of people who broke any and all manner of archaic laws so while you might have to go kill a serial killer, you also might have to torment someone who hasn't finalized their divorce so they're technically an adulterer or something. If you stand your ground against the cosmos, Bad Stuff happens with the severity depending on the degree of your disobedience. You group up so you can fight more injustice, but also so you can "cover" for each other. So like say you have to go kill somebody. You might hate killing, but one of your buddies can stomach it, so they can go kill the guy instead of you and cosmic justice doesn't go bananas on everyone.


It was basically an anti-revenge fantasy


edit: Found it! Keep in mind its literally an internal document written just to pitch an idea so its a little rough around the edges

Luminous Obscurity fucked around with this message at 02:34 on Apr 30, 2016

Valatar
Sep 26, 2011

A remarkable example of a pathetic species.


Lipstick Apathy

Plus, and let's be honest here, the fact that Beasts would go around ruining other peoples' poo poo for no good reason could've gone under the radar except the book makes them so :smuggo: :smuggo: :smuggo: about it.

That's the part that also bugs me about the current social justice idiots, the same as it did for animal rights idiots, abortion clinic vandalizers, and pretty much every other radical group that's far up their own rear end. The part where they're "we just (doxxed someone who disagreed with us/released ebola monkeys from a lab trying to save people from a terrible disease/set fire to an abortion clinic) woo, go us!" and are all back-patty about it like they actually did some good instead of just dicked over other people who probably didin't deserve it.

A lot of the other WoD protagonists dick people over just as hard as Beasts, if not harder. But they're not usually self-congratulatory shits about it. While you could have a vampire who only feeds off of criminals and thinks they're being Batman, vampires as a whole don't try to frame their victims as deserving to be murdered. That's what sets Beasts apart, and I think that deep down that's what's provoked the response from people.

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Has Not Actually Done Cocaine


Luminous Obscurity posted:

It was called Fury: The Scourge. The PCs were Furies, people who were suffered some kind of great injustice and took revenge and as a result this giant cosmic spirit of justice empowered them to battle injustice. In practice though its basically people being given superpowers and hitlists of people who broke any and all manner of archaic laws so while you might have to go kill a serial killer, you also might have to torment someone who hasn't finalized their divorce so they're technically an adulterer or something. If you stand your ground against the cosmos, Bad Stuff happens with the severity depending on the degree of your disobedience. You group up so you can fight more injustice, but also so you can "cover" for each other. So like say you have to go kill somebody. You might hate killing, but one of your buddies can stomach it, so they can go kill the guy instead of you and cosmic justice doesn't go bananas on everyone.


It was basically an anti-revenge fantasy


edit: Found it! Keep in mind its literally an internal document written just to pitch an idea so its a little rough around the edges

Might have to borrow some stuff from that if I ever do anything with my Toku fan-splat idea

unzealous
Mar 24, 2009

Die, Die, DIE!



Part 1: An Introduction
Chronicles of Darkness is the newest edition of the World of Darkness setting, renamed to keep it distinct from Old and New World of Darkness. A game about horror and personal stories and about mundane people trying to do the right thing, or at least whatever it takes to survive. The book itself starts with a short story called Apt. 3B.

In it two girls have ventured into the basement of their apartment complex looking for their friend who had gone missing and run into...something. Something that resembled one of the other tenants, an aging woman named Mrs. Luz. But as she gives chase she resembles less the elderly woman they knew and more an amorphous mass of writhing flesh, the wrinkled features on her face mere facsimiles made through twisted skin and shadow. The creature captures one of them and demands that the other tell her father not to sell the complex.

quote:

The folds of Mrs. Luz’s face rearranged into something that might have been meant to be a smile. “Good girl. You will take a message from me to the man.” Dawn was shifting, very slowly, in Mrs. Luz’s grasp. She caught Ximena’s eyes again and stared; gesturing slightly to the left with her eyes. Dawn was angry, not scared, so she must need time.
Mena paused and tried to catch Mrs. Luz’s eyes. “What man?”
“To your father, stupid child. Tell him he mustn’t sell my home to the hollow men who have been creeping around here at night. I’ll kill as many of you as I must to drive them off, but it can all stop if he promises not to sign anything they give him.”
“Hollow men? The lawyer, you mean? Papi said he was a real estate investor.”
“Nonsense words. He is an empty thing that traded favors for a face and a name, and the men he speaks for don’t even have the grace to cast a shadow. They are hollow men and they must not be allowed to put their clockwork...”
Mena interrupted her, angry. “Wait, you’ll kill as many of us as you must? What did you do with Jenna?”
“The soft, pink one? She was oily but toothsome. You, I suspect,” and she shook Dawn again, who struggled harder this time, palming something, “will need to sit a few days before you are soft enough for my old teeth.”
The girl at death's door manages to empty a can of paper spray in it's face and kick free and together they flee back down the hallway. They break into the trash compactor room and one of the girls acts as bait while the other stands by the controls. She taunts the creature and dives out of the way at the last moment as it lunges at her. They slam the door closed behind it and turn it on.

quote:

“Do… do you think she’s the only one?”
Late that night, they were crammed head to tail into Dawn’s twin bed, reminding each other that it really happened.
“What would you do if she wasn’t?” Ximena swallowed hard.
“Well, maybe we should look for them. Maybe they’re not all mean and crazy like Mrs. Luz. Maybe there are some nice ones who could, like, use a friend or something.”
“Do you really think anything like her could actually be friends with us?”
“Well maybe we should look anyway. We’ve already fought one, right? That makes us practically qualified to find – fight – monsters.”
“I’ll think about it,” Dawn paused, “But you can’t tell anyone else. Especially not your little brother. He’s got a big mouth, and you never know who might be a… monster.”
The next week was weird. Once the court gag order was lifted they could talk, a little, about what had happened. The official word was that a homeless woman had snuck into the basement and attacked the girls while they were cleaning. They ran away, and in her pursuit she hit her head so hard on the concrete steps that it broke her nose and cheekbone, accounting for the corpse’s unusually distorted and swollen face. Unrelated, Mrs. Luz, the longest-lived tenant of their building, died of heart failure. She left no next of kin.

And that illustrates the kind of story you might run. People facing something horrible and doing what it takes to survive. They didn't get glory or riches out of it, they barely escaped with their lives, and now they know something that will likely haunt them for the rest of their lives.

The book continues with a basic introduction, and advises running sessions like episodes of TV drama like Pretty Little Liars or Breaking bad. Good advice as far as I'm concerned as these shows serve as good examples of pacing, character conflict and story structure. It also lists other books and movies that would serve as a good example of what the system was made for, like True Detective, The Terminator, Warren Ellis' Fell and of course The Crow. Before the first chapter there's also a glossary describing terms you'll find in the book, and I believe this is probably a good point to describe how the Storyteller system generally works.

The Storyteller System

The Storyteller system is the resolution mechanic for Chronicles of Darkness, World of Darkness and Exalted, though each have been changed slightly over time. It's how you determine whether or not you succeed in any given act, whether it be scaling a barbed wire fence, trying to convince the bouncer you know the owner, or recalling the meaning of a strange symbol carved into a doorframe.

When you perform an action where there's a significant chance of failure or you're performing an action under stressful circumstances you're going to have to roll for it. In this game this takes the form of dice pools of d10's. Most rolls are going to consist of an attribute, a core aspect of the character ranging in value from 1 to 5, and a skill, a learned ability or knowledge similarly ranging from 1 to 5. You'll add these two numbers together and roll that many dice. Successes are achieved on an 8, 9, or 10. On a 10 it counts as a success and you get to reroll the die potentially garnering additional successes. If you roll another 10 it's another success and you reroll again. This means that if you're rolling 3 dice you can generally hope for a single success, which is all that's needed for most tasks. The only time you'll really need to count your successes is during contested actions, where two characters are rolling against each other, like during a chase or attempting to mislead or misdirect someone. In these situations both actors roll their dice and whoever rolls more successes wins. Unfortunately for the life of me I cannot find what you do if you tie. I believe rerolling is the accepted solution to that eventuality.

If you manage to roll 5 successes, either through luck, a massive handful of dice, or a mixture of the two, you get an exceptional success. This allows the character to succeed far beyond what they had anticipated and generally make their life much easier. The Storyteller (ST) can levy a bonus or penalty on this dice pool based on how difficult the task in question is, ranging from +5 to -5. In these cases the numbers refer to how many dice you add or subtract from a given pool. The player can also gain bonuses from equipment which will be discussed later. If this penalty would reduce your die pool to less than one you can still attempt the action but you'll roll what's called a Chance Die. It's a single d10 that will only succeed if you roll a 10. 8 or 9's won't be enough for this. This is also the only time rolling a 1 is important in the game. If you roll a 1 on a chance die you suffer a Dramatic Failure. The ST get's to dictate what happens which is generally worse than simple failure, things go wrong in terrible ways and situations get awkward and complicated in a hurry. Guns jam, tires blow out or you twist your ankle running from the terrible monster of flesh and gears when you encounter a dramatic failure.

Character Creation
The top of the character sheet looks like this.


You have your standard information, name and age. Chronicle is the name of the campaign should it have one, and faction is the prime group you belong to in the game which could be anything from the Police, the Cult of Flesh or the Home Owners Association depending on the campaign being run. Most important is the concept. This is what you think of when you think of your character. A few words or even a short sentence that encapsulates how you see your character. While not mechanically important it helps guide what decisions the character would make and how the character is built.

So what kind of character concept do you want to see built?

unzealous fucked around with this message at 03:41 on May 7, 2016

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Bendigeidfran
Dec 17, 2013

Wait a minute...


unzealous posted:

So what kind of character concept do you want to see built?

How about...a neurotic public defender who can't get over her wrestling glory days in high school. She's convinced her client isn't human, but the prosecutor isn't either so it's a wash.

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