Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
  • Post
  • Reply
Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Nessus posted:

It's funny how the deconstructive works have often caught on in the Western nerd landscape when the stuff that plays it relatively straight didn't. Like I guess a lot of it involved toy licensing deals, but Gundam and super robot shows didn't get over: Evangelion did. The magical girl merch train (save for Sailor Moon) didn't, but Madoka seized the brains of many a nerd.

Probably makes it all look way deeper than it actually is.

Very interesting observation indeed. If this works the other way around, I bet there's a fantastic harem deconstruction that never made it outside of Japan.

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Western nerds really, really like grimdark. They think it makes stuff look mature and deep.

I mean, I write a fair amount of grim stuff for my games, too, but it's always about refusing to give in to it. After all, the world being cold and dark is no excuse for you to be. That aspect of the nWoD was probably my favorite part of it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



The thing is, a lot of magical girl shows are dark as hell when you get past the pastel, they just approach it in a way that, yeah, friendship and love and hope actually can save the world.

...the stakes are just, you know, the world. By the end of the season, the villains may or may not have turned every living being on the planet to stone, killed all of your friends or be on the verge of eliminating the concept of happiness from the entire universe.

The girls are just going to be able to fix that.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

The thing is, a lot of magical girl shows are dark as hell when you get past the pastel, they just approach it in a way that, yeah, friendship and love and hope actually can save the world.

...the stakes are just, you know, the world. By the end of the season, the villains may or may not have turned every living being on the planet to stone, killed all of your friends or be on the verge of eliminating the concept of happiness from the entire universe.

The girls are just going to be able to fix that.

I mean, it's been over a decade since I read Sailor Nothing, but that's about how it went, too. They eventually fixed things, grew up, went to college. It skipped the pastel part but if I remember it right, it still kept that core.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





Doresh posted:

Very interesting observation indeed. If this works the other way around, I bet there's a fantastic harem deconstruction that never made it outside of Japan.
It's quite possible that this is an artifact in the case of Evangelion of something legitimately popular being snapped up for an emerging market. Both Evangelion and Madoka are authentically well-made works of animation (if in different ways) which was probably a factor too.

I shudder to think what the inevitable Jojo-inspired games will be like in three or four years.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Nessus posted:

It's quite possible that this is an artifact in the case of Evangelion of something legitimately popular being snapped up for an emerging market. Both Evangelion and Madoka are authentically well-made works of animation (if in different ways) which was probably a factor too.

I shudder to think what the inevitable Jojo-inspired games will be like in three or four years.

Upon seeing JoJo I realized THAT was what my Feng Shui games have been all this time rather than Hardboiled. It was an epiphany.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night10194 posted:

I mean, it's been over a decade since I read Sailor Nothing, but that's about how it went, too. They eventually fixed things, grew up, went to college. It skipped the pastel part but if I remember it right, it still kept that core.

well, like, skipping the pastels is kinda missing the point???

we gots to establish the love and hope and friendship and cute things before they can save the day

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Mors Rattus posted:

The thing is, a lot of magical girl shows are dark as hell when you get past the pastel, they just approach it in a way that, yeah, friendship and love and hope actually can save the world.

...the stakes are just, you know, the world. By the end of the season, the villains may or may not have turned every living being on the planet to stone, killed all of your friends or be on the verge of eliminating the concept of happiness from the entire universe.

The girls are just going to be able to fix that.

You mean like HeartCatch Pretty Cure, which is more or less a kid-friendly version of Persona 4, with a bit of kinda-sorta Hellstar Remina thrown in at the end?

Nessus posted:

I shudder to think what the inevitable Jojo-inspired games will be like in three or four years.

JoJo: The Stand. I'd read it.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Mors Rattus posted:

well, like, skipping the pastels is kinda missing the point???

we gots to establish the love and hope and friendship and cute things before they can save the day

I suppose so. I read it ages ago and I did so with no experience with the original genre, which I still have no actual experience with, so I can't say I'm terribly familiar with the conventions of magical girls.

I was actually pretty surprised to discover how much 'dark' stuff goes on in normal magical girl stuff, as you said.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Doresh posted:

You mean like HeartCatch Pretty Cure, which is more or less a kid-friendly version of Persona 4, with a bit of kinda-sorta Hellstar Remina thrown in at the end?

Or Sailor Moon.

Or Princess Tutu.

Or any other Precure.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


But seriously, on finally actually seeing JoJo (the first two arcs, anyway, I stopped in arc 3 because uggggh Jotaro is awful and Stands suck compared to magic Tibetan breath kung fu) I was like 'Wait this kind of gonzo magical action hero pulp stuff is exactly what I've been doing with FS for years. I have a point of reference. This is awesome.'

Does JoJo get better after Stardust Crusaders, I need to know if I should suffer through it.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.





Doresh posted:

JoJo: The Stand. I'd read it.
I think Jojo's requires a fundamentally narrativist system because the whole conceit is more like a mix of bullshit artist and rock paper scissors than quantifiable power levels. Like sure, some Stands are obviously more generally useful than others, but their idiosyncracies is almost the point.

Night10194 posted:

But seriously, on finally actually seeing JoJo (the first two arcs, anyway, I stopped in arc 3 because uggggh Jotaro is awful and Stands suck compared to magic Tibetan breath kung fu) I was like 'Wait this kind of gonzo magical action hero pulp stuff is exactly what I've been doing with FS for years. I have a point of reference. This is awesome.'

Does JoJo get better after Stardust Crusaders, I need to know if I should suffer through it.
Part 4 starts fully realizing how hosed-up and weird Stand powers can get, as well as having a narrative closer to a Persona game. Jotaro does appear, but he's a supporting character to his uncle, who is 17 years old.

Given the timing, honestly, it would be more accurate to say that many Persona games (especially Persona 4) are based on Diamond is Unbreakable.

Nessus fucked around with this message at 21:59 on Oct 13, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night10194 posted:

But seriously, on finally actually seeing JoJo (the first two arcs, anyway, I stopped in arc 3 because uggggh Jotaro is awful and Stands suck compared to magic Tibetan breath kung fu) I was like 'Wait this kind of gonzo magical action hero pulp stuff is exactly what I've been doing with FS for years. I have a point of reference. This is awesome.'

Does JoJo get better after Stardust Crusaders, I need to know if I should suffer through it.

Part 4 is great, the second half of Part 3 is pretty decent.

I am totally with you on Jotaro sucking, though. Stands get better the longer Araki plays with them, though.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Bear in mind the anime market originally started out in America with an older audience. Not many kids out there willing or able to drop $35 for a single episode of Bubblegum Crisis, after all.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


Night10194 posted:

But seriously, on finally actually seeing JoJo (the first two arcs, anyway, I stopped in arc 3 because uggggh Jotaro is awful and Stands suck compared to magic Tibetan breath kung fu) I was like 'Wait this kind of gonzo magical action hero pulp stuff is exactly what I've been doing with FS for years. I have a point of reference. This is awesome.'

Does JoJo get better after Stardust Crusaders, I need to know if I should suffer through it.

Part 4 is the start of Stands properly turning from punch ghosts into the superpower equivalent of Mornington Crescent.

Opposing Farce
Apr 1, 2010

Ever since our drop-off service, I never read a book.
There's always something else around, plus I owe the library nineteen bucks.

I kind of love how ridiculously stoic Jotaro is literally 100% of the time but he's no Joseph that's for sure.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Halloween Jack posted:

Better than tiger-men with no hands.

Hey, Armless Tiger man worked hard to become a professional Nazi saboteur with only his feet and uncanny ability to disguise himself as someone who wouldn't be called "Armless Tiger Man"

Thesaurasaurus
Feb 15, 2010

"Send in Boxbot!"



Night10194 posted:

Also, snake people with no hands? What the hell is with that.



(That does sound really impractical to play unless you *ahem* handwave it)

e: wait, what happened to Imgur? Why isn't the [timg] tag working here?

e2: VVV okay thanks. Why would they do that. Why.

Thesaurasaurus fucked around with this message at 23:29 on Oct 13, 2016

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Because you're linking to imgur, not the img. Yes, imgur now defaults to not linking to the image directly.

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:

Part 4 is the start of Stands properly turning from punch ghosts into the superpower equivalent of Mornington Crescent.
Yeah if Harvest wasn't attached to Shigeki, it would be one of the most dangerous and useful Stands in the series.

Harvest being 500 roach-sized little dudes in a swarm who follow the commands of a slightly weird teenager.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Chapter 5 Part 3:The Rest of the Cast
So we've gone over Heroes, how about literally everyone else in the Chronicles of Darkness, how do they deal with Beasts?

Poorly
Chronicles of Darkness
As far as Beasts are concerned all primordial monsters are descended from the Dark Mother. This includes the first Vampires, the precursors to the Gentry, and Father Wolf. Obviously basically everyone has problems with this assertion.

quote:

In answer, Beasts point to the fact that human beings have an instinctive response to the supernatural. Sometimes it's very overt and supernatural, as with the Quiescence Curse that Supernal magic invokes, werewolves' Lunacy, or the Disquiet that follows Prometheans. Other times it's more subtle: the so-called "Hunter Response", the fact that most people can't see the gears of the God-Machine, even the general "live and let live" attitude that people subconciously develop. Either way, Beasts believe that points to common ancestry.
Yes, Beasts believe that the gameplay mechanics put in place to facilitate the very existence of any kind of masquerade are what point to a common ancestry. This would almost be meta if it weren't aggressively stupid.

The Crossover Chronicle

Mixed Troupe or Odd One out
When you're making a crossover game you have to decide whether you're going to have a mixed troupe(E.G. a beast, a vampire, a werewolf, and a mage) or be predominately one supernatural type with one exception. The mixed troup allows players to be exactly the kind of character they want to be, but an Odd-Man-Out group has a stronger thematic focus and lets the "off character" be a "proud nail" that underscores it's themes.

Clash of Wills
If two supernatural powers are in conflict, a Clash of Wills occurs. The parties involved roll a dice pool of their supernatural tolerance trait Plus the relevant supernatural stat being invoked with the power. Since beasts don't have any secondary supernatural stats they always roll Lair+their highest resistance attribute. If the characters involves are both physically present and aware that a supernatural power is being opposed they can expend willpower to add dice to the roll. Otherwise the sides just continue rolling until one has more successes than the other. This doesn't necessarily cancel out the opposing powers, just means that one "wins". A Beast tracking a werewolf using supernatural powers to hide his passage would know where he was, but his gift would still effect everyone else.

Beasts in the Chronicles of Darkness

quote:

In any crossover game, a Beast’s primary role should be to subvert, challenge, and otherwise change the narrative. That’s not to say that Beasts should be hogging the spotlight or dragging the story off the rails to follow their own whims; rather, just as a straight Beast chronicle challenges the classic “hero slays the monster” narrative, the introduction of the Children into other chronicles should look at the themes and expectations of, for example, “a vampire story” and cast new light on them. Just as the best monsters of fable tell us something about ourselves, the best crossovers tell us something about our other monsters.
Insert 30 story tall wank emoji here.

Seriously, you don't need a Beast to explore or subvert the themes of a game. And Beasts shouldn't be the Herald that forces you to re-evaluate your character's perspective. Even better they don't even describe what themes Beasts are meant to subvert half the time.

Vampire: The Requiem
Beasts and Vampires are "Twisted mirrors of each other", but while Vampires resist what they are, Beasts embrace it. Beasts can be used as an object lesson to Vampires of "This is what will happen if you give in to the hunger", but some Vampires stupidly think that Beasts are the Heralds of Golconda, and wish to become more like them. Beasts can serve to force Vampires into the more overtly supernatural side of the Chronicles of Darkness, as they are the most "physical" game. As antagonists they cross paths as rival predators.

quote:

One possible pitfall of bringing Beasts into a Vampire chronicle is portraying the Children as "Uber-vampires". They share many thematic elements while simultaneously having few of the Kindred's weaknesses, which can lead to a feeling that Beasts are simply better. A certain sense of inferiority is good if the Beast is in an antagonistic role, but if the beast is meant to be ambiguous, or a PC, this attitude can kill a chronicle. Be aware of this, and be prepared to introduce plotlines that challenge the Beast where she is weak just as often as you play to the weaknesses of her vampire kin.
"Hey guys, Beasts are basically Vampries mixed with Werewolves with neither of their weaknesses, isn't that kind of thematically problematic?" "Yeah just put in a sidebar or something saying to throw tons of Heroes at them."

Werewolf: The Forsaken
Speaking of which, let's address the other Elephant in the room. Why would one of the Uratha willingly associate with a Beast? Honestly they probably wouldn't. And the game agrees with this assertion. The first encounter with a Beast will likely be mistaken for a Spirit-Claimed, and a Beast will likely mistake an Uratha pack for a Hero Band. The one thing they point out that would work is a lone Uratha taken in by a Brood to serve as his surrogate Pack.


quote:

Though they aren’t connected to the Shadow in the same way werewolves are, Beasts cannot help but warp the world on the other side of the Gauntlet by their mere presence. In sating their Hungers, Beasts spawn innumerable spirits: things of greed and destruction, dominance and submission, and fear. Always fear. Just by existing, Beasts create ripples in the Shadow; as their Horrors run wild through the Primordial Dream, the nightmares they leave in their wake seem to follow no vector the Uratha understand.
Yup, the mere existence of Beasts is harmful to the spiritual landscape, and if a Beast somehow actually manages to make it into the Shadow they're surrounded by an essence font of hunger and suffering which both spawns and feeds appropriate spirits.

To clarify, that is probably a very bad thing if you aren't trying to cultivate a war zone or something.

Mage: The Awakening
Mages are the annoying nerds of the Chronicles of Darkness who can't leave well enough alone and will turn over every single rock until they unleash the dread lord of angles and all of reality is consumed. Or something to that effect.

quote:

From a Beast’s perspective, mages are the one child in a family who went to college; she comes to family gatherings with her mind on experiences she can’t share and vocabulary her kin can’t understand. Her family feels threatened, and she feels alienated by their reaction. A Beast who takes the time to explore his Kinship with the Awakened finds they have more in common than they think — a shared fascination with primal symbolism, the human soul, and a burning ever-present hunger. A mage’s addiction to Mystery is just as potent as a Beast’s own Hunger, and both Beast and mage grow more powerful by experiencing the strange and uncanny — the Beast incorporating it into his Lair and the mage adding it to the symbolic knowledge making up her Gnosis.
That's one hell of a tortured metaphor.

I'm not super familiar with the new Mage and there's a whole pile of proper nouns coming up, so I'm just gonna quote this next paragraph.

quote:

Peaceful contact between Beast and mage often hinges on how far the Beast goes in sating its Hunger, and how the mage takes the story of the Dark Mother and an explanation of the Lair and soul. Friendly Mages use baffling terms like “Pandemonic Emanation Realm,” tell the Children stories of the great primal “Aeons” in the far reaches of Astral Space — some of whom match certain descriptions of the Dark Mother — and make theories about the Dragon-like beings who supposedly helped the first mages to Awaken. Mastigos and Thyrsus can even use the presence of a Beast with a kinship bond as a symbol or “Yantra” in their spells. Hostile mages decide that Beasts are a reflection of the World’s Fallen state, or claim that the Dark Mother is the Raptor, the Supernal personification or “Exarch” of humanity’s fear of nature. They become terrible enemies, able to slip into the Lair and wreak havoc with their magic, like Heroes without the self-delusion or reliance on the Beast’s own power. Worst of all are mages who steal the souls of victims for use in experiments or fuel for strange powers; a Beast’s soul is a difficult but prestigious prize for so-called “Reapers.” Due to Beast’s connection to their Lair mages can’t steal the soul of a Begotten just by casting a spell in the physical world. It requires as much ability with the Arcana as taking the soul of a mage, and can only be cast inside the Lair. Despite the risks, some Reapers who learn the existence of Beasts go on twisted safaris into the Primordial Pathways, convinced that they can reduce the Children of the Dark Mother to big game.


What I'm gathering from that is that Mages who are more interested in power can probably use Beasts as helpful knowledge repositories and nice bits of resonance with certain spells, and other "Hostile" mages see Beasts as rightfully horrifying and want to kill them.

Also if Reaper picks up the soul of a dead enemy he heals 50 HP.

Wait no.

Promethean: the Created
Promethean and Beast are both largely about Family. But Promethean is the story about what Family means to an Orphan. The Created are eternally outside of Humanity, and want desperately to be let into the world that Beasts left behind with their eyes wide open. Which might cause some ideological arguments and player discussion. For the Promethean's part, the Refinement of Silver studies supernatural beings and their relationship to humanity and a Beast is definitely gonna help in that regard.

The problem with the Created, however, is Disquiet. A Promethean who stays in one place too long starts to engender feelings of hatred and disgust in the surrounding community. Beasts are, of course, immune to this, but humans aren't. And just because they see themselves as the predators of humanity doesn't mean that they won't take pity on their "little brothers" who are rejected for their "otherness'. Less savory beasts might use the disquiet that a Promethean creates to unleash a massive spate of nightmares that can't be traced back to him directly.

Antagonistically, however, Prometheans might see Beasts as victimizing the people that they aspire to become. And Beasts might see Prometheans as unworthy pretenders to the supernatural community, since they're made by man and not directly descended from the Dark Mother. Then the game says "These Beasts make good antagonists for a Promethean chronicle, Predators 'gatekeeping' to prevent unwanted strays joining their prey." yes, they unironically use Gatekeeping.

Also Beasts love Centimani.

This is also an incredibly bad thing.

Changeling: the Lost
Changelings are all too familiar with monster stories. Seeing as how they spent their Durance in a realm fueled entirely by the narrative logic of Dreams. In Arcadia, the Hero slays the monster. If the monster wins then obviously that wasn't the Hero in the first place. They're not entirely sure how to react when a beast "refuses to follow the script."

For the Beast's part they see changelings as echos of themselves. Ogres possesses the theme of an Anakim, every darkling is an echo of an Eshmaki. But this is an extremely shallow surface level evaluation that you would be stupid to rely on or even try to leverage but it can start a conversation apparently.

And it's time for another quote block.

quote:

The Gentry, for their part, see Beasts as curiosities: they’re born of stories and their lives follow familiar mythic patterns, but they exist outside the Arcadian precepts of fate and time that bind the True Fae’s existence. Theirs is a wary respect, the sort you might extend to a strange animal that might take your hand off at any moment. Some of the oldest parts of the Primordial Dream allegedly hide secret paths that lead to the courts of the Kindly Ones, and Fae hunters sometimes invite the Children of the Dark Mother to join them on their wild hunts.
In their rise to power and eventual Inheritance, Beasts highlight a common fear among changelings: that of becoming the very thing they hate and fear. Unlike a vampire’s Golconda or a mage’s Ascension, most changelings look on the prospect of apotheosis — of harnessing their Wyrd to become essentially True Fae themselves — as a fate worse than death. The fact that Beasts seem sanguine about becoming creatures of nightmarish predation makes them creatures to be feared. On the other hand, Beasts are some of the few beings the Gentry interact with on something like equal terms, and it’s better to have a dragon inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in. Freeholds in or near the territory of known, powerful Beasts sometimes propitiate the Beast with offerings to satisfy her Hunger, in the hopes that she will intercede on their behalf when the Gentry come calling.
Alarm bells should be going off in your head right now. The Gentry Respect And Fear Beasts. Also Beasts with particularly powerful Lairs warp the Hedge like High Wyrd changelings or Gentry do.

Run away very fast.

Hunter: the Vigil

quote:

“If it bleeds, we can kill it,” describes the typical hunter’s view of Beasts. It’s a simplistic, reductive attitude, one designed to insulate them from the idea that they might be killing a thinking, feeling being. In itself, that’s not terribly unusual: any hunter who’s gone after a vampire or a witch has faced the conundrum. The difference is that Beasts know the script: their arguments are less, “perhaps it is you who is truly the monster,” than “what gives you the right to kill monsters?” For hunters used to self-justification and equivocation from their prey, that sort of reversal can prompt some soul-searching.
Except most Hunters would have an answer to that. "This gun", "God", or "Using the Power of Satan a Lucifuge has the right to kill monsters."

Instead of using Beasts as an antagonist in a Hunter chronicle though have you considered using Heroes?!!?!?!?!? They're the dark mirror to Hunters! They should make the Hunters ask hard questions!!!!!! Also Hunters very very rarely turn into Heroes, something about the "Hunter Response" supplanting the normal Hero reflex or something.

Also Beasts can't normally form kinships with Hunters unless they come from a bloodline like the Lucifuge, or are a slasher.

Beasts can form Kinships with Slashers.

I feel like I should just be keeping a tally of reasons why everyone in the Chronicles of Darkness should kill Beasts on sight.

Geist: the Sin-Eaters
When you get right down to it, all fear stems from a Fear of Death. Therefore the Dark Mother is the ultimate psychopomp, not the kindly reaper, but the final terrifying apparition that rips you down into hell. Sin Eaters can make excelent antagonists to a Beast, particularly if they're currently bound to one of the Beast's victims. They can even make decent allies to Heroes.

They can find common ground in their dual-natured souls, and attempting to balance their humanity with the distinctly inhuman other. One thing that's worth noting is that when a Beast forms a Kinship bond with one of the Bound, their corner of the lair takes on an aspect of death. Which is weird because Death usually isn't in the primordial dream. The fear of death is, but when you die in a dream you wake up. Sometimes they even form avernian gates letting some shades from the dark forgotten realms of the great below to come up and start loving up people's dreams something proper.

Mummy: the Curse
To a Beast's mind, mummies are stupidly aloof and ignorant of their role in the tapestry of the Dark Mother. They've lost their own identities behind millennia of amnesia and servitude, gathering artifacts for their nameless masters. Beasts can understand that last bit at least somewhat, particularly those with a hunger for Hoard. Beasts also like that mummies get animal heads when they turn their powers up too high.

One thing worth noting is that any mortals affected by "Sybaris"(which is apparently some kind of magical backwash that Mummies can accidentally dump onto mortals near them when they wake up) are completely worthless as hunting targets, they don't feel terror, they just give in.

quote:

From the Arisen point of view, Beasts are potential allies as long as the mummy can get past some initial misgivings. The artifacts mummies hoard and pay in tribute to their masters often have properties that warp the emotions of mortals; just as Sybaris prevents Beast Horrors from hunting, the fear spread by the Begotten can have unintentionally disastrous effects on what Arisen call “the lifeweb” of geomantically aligned emotional influences. Many Beasts put the Arisen in mind of certain enemies, as well — the chimerical animal-forms of Amhkata, the all-consuming Shuankhsen, and shadowed legends of Ammut the Devourer, a Beast-like monster from the religion of the Arisen’s living days. Despite that, as long as a Beast poses no threat to their purpose, Arisen are happier dealing with the Begotten than many other supernatural beings. The Children of the Dark Mother typically have no use for the mummies’ toys and hunger for more primal sustenance.
I know even less about Mummy than I do about Mage2, but it sounds like Beasts are thematically similar to their antagonist splat.

Demon: the Descent
They don't like each other!!! Since there's no kinship Beasts are usually content to leave them alone. No need to gently caress around with the God Machine when you've got problems enough of your own. Use Demons as atagonists if you want to throw a curveball at the Beasts that just gently caress up everything they're used to. The God Machine can even get at a Beast in their Lair with enough engineered nightmares.

From the Demon's perspective, Beasts are apparently more trustworthy than other Demons or Humans since they can't betray them to a master they don't even know, or be subverted by infrastructure. But there's no kinship so any alliances are tenuous at best.

Sibling Rivalries
"Beasts are family, but family fights"
Why do Beasts Fight?
  • Conflict of Hunger: A Ravager burns a painting that a Collector was trying to steal. A Predator takes out a corrupt politician before the Nemesis can get to him. Basically normal "Too many predators in one place can thin out the prey herd" stuff. It's an easy misunderstanding to fix as long as it doesn't start becoming deliberate. Then party lines start forming
  • Taking up another's cause: Basically having two packs of beast aligned with two ideologically opposed supernatural groups. One of the given examples is a Brood falling in with loyalist changelings that think they're helping Changelings out in the long run by returning them to their Gentry masters and why the gently caress do beasts exist again.
  • The Hive: Only one guy can be the Apex of a hive, quien es mas macho? Alternately several broods might band together to fight an actively tyrannical apex.

Cry Havoc
So what does open war between beasts look like? Well they call in their brood, and any friends of their brood that they can. And then the Authorities start to notice. The uptick in Beast population in a relatively small area increases the impact on the primordial dream and brings a lot of strange victimization in it's wake. The increased police presence makes Feeding more difficult and brings attention from Hunters and Heroes, which makes the other supernaturals in the area nervous.

The concentrated effect on the Primordial dream makes everything worse, as well. In urban areas entire neighborhoods can be posessed of a single nightmare as Lairs are destroyed and shockwaves echo through dreams. These psychic earthquakes also make Horrors restless causing them to burn through satiety and inflict nightmares as if their Lair were 2 higher. More importantly the nightmares that these agitated Horrors create tend to have outs, a weapon that they can grab, an answer to their conflict. An uptick in nightmares also brings with it an uptick in Heroes, or at least properly motivated Mortals willing to fight.

Sample Antagonists
Unfortunately these aren't that good. Honestly they're kind of disappointing.

Adrian King is a ruthless businessman Tyrant who's mad that his birth was apparently an accident and he had the worst parents ever. So now he's an Apex that wants to control everything.

"Nancy" is a nameless namtaru information broker who dresses androgynously because she wants to be a mysterious as possible. Also she pisses off mages and werewolf packs all the time and doffs blame on other Beasts to gently caress them over.

Because.
Seriously there is no reason why the antagonists shouldn't be "Here's an absolutely horrific beast that is murdering a poo poo-ton of people and your Brood should be ideologically opposed to that."

Inheritance
After the Devouring, every Beast hears the siren song of the dark mother. Telling them that there is always more. Telling them that their life has changed and they can never go back, but they can go forward. Those that sing the song back at the Dark Mother can push past the flesh into something more.

The Retreat happens when a Beast dies while separated from their Horror, the Horror becomes free to roam the dream on it's own, a being of ephemeral power freed from the demands of the flesh and knowing only it's hunger.

The Merger happens when a Beast's lair is destroyed and rather than allowing themselves to die they pull the Horror into themselves becoming a physical monster on Earth.

The previous two occasions can happen accidentally or deliberately, but no one can accidentally become Incarnate, that requires a focused and concerted effort to establish your legend across the Dream, to become more than what you are, to become a Myth.

Herein lies the problem. Basically all three of these result in you becoming unplayable. And only one player can really pull this off which has complications for a troupe game. Either things are going to become party antagonistic real loving quick or everyone has to get on board with this being Bob's story now and forever. Even fighting for Apex has a clear winner, there really shouldn't be room for Beasts to cooperate on anything that would be conceived of as a reasonable end goal of an RPG.

The Retreat - The Beast Unfettered

quote:

Sara fled panting through her Lair. She hadn’t been prepared for a Hero to follow her here, into the Dream. She mentally cried out for her Horror, the Great Serpent, but it slept on. She was nothing but a normal woman now. Her only hope was to get away, to come back at the problem another time.
Another arrow punched into her shoulder, hard enough for her to stumble. She tried to raise her arm and found she couldn’t. She reached the Heart of her Lair. She saw the Serpent, curled in a tight ball, oblivious to her. She turned, ready to fight or reason with the silent man behind her. Another arrow hit her, square in the chest this time. Anything she was going to do to him was forgotten in the mind-numbing pain, and she fell to her knees.

True to form, the Hero swaggered into view. Sara’s fear, her defensiveness at her Lair being violated, those were both gone, replaced by a burning hatred. She tried to claw her way to her feet, but the bastard nonchalantly nocked another arrow and let it fly.

Sara drew the last breath from her body, filled with regret and hate. The archer stepped forward, looking around the Heart, pulling a lighter from his pocket. He did not notice the Great Serpent’s emerald eye flick open. He splashed fluid from a bottle around the Heart, never noticing the Serpent sliding into the shadows.

Sarah’s Horror didn’t care. The Heart could burn. It no longer needed the Lair. It slithered out behind the Hero, and when he turned to flee the burning Heart, he found he could not.

The Retreat happens whenever a Beast dies while it's Horror is Slumbering. This can be a willing choice, committing physial suicide for spiritual transcendence. A Beast might rightly believe that they will be more powerful as an unfettered than as a regular old Beast. It could also be accidental, a Hero catches a beast while they're slumbering, or that Werewolf that they killed for horning in on their turf had friends.

Initiating the Retreat
The game hilariously notes that the reason most Beasts undergo the retreat is when they go back to their Lair while slumbering and die to the horrifying death trap that they're no longer immune to. Regardless of the way the character dies, as long as the Beast is slumbering, it undergoes the Retreat.

This is an extended Power+Resistance roll for the Horror that requires 5 successes per chamber in their lair, and requires one turn per roll. The Dramatic failure result "The Beast Dies, and the other Chambers in the Lair remain in place as a grim tomb for the fallen character." implies that the Beast is literally burning up chambers for every roll, but that's not reflected elsewhere in the text. Instead a would-be retreater would probably be best served by collapsing all the chambers but their heart and just getting 5 successes.

A Fleshless Body
The Unfettered are basically spirits, and have Power, Finesse, and Resistance. They are of an effective Rank of their previous Lair, but the spreadsheet for Ranks only goes up to 5, but that still gives them a Trait limit of 15, 45 attribute dots, 50 essence, and 11 numina. Which is pretty damned powerful as far as Spirits go.

They retain their Legend, but lose their Life, and regain willpower as normal. They don't need to sleep so they can't regain willpower through Rest, but they can indulge their hunger like any other hungry Horror rolling Power+Rank-Composure. They don't speak or understand any languages unless they got an Exceptional Success on their retreat roll at creation and chose to retain some semblance of their mortal mind, and even then any understanding is remedial at best. They don't have Satiety as they are their Hunger. Their Ban is their previous Hunger, and their Bane is either the Anathema they died under, or another appropriate weakness. There are also some new Numina that they can pick, including Bane Sense, the ability to Invade Dreams and turn them into horrible nightmares (Denying the dreamer Willpower), the ability to manifest in the Shadow and peer into the physical, the ability to form weaponry out of their body, and the ability to create spiritual gateways to any realm. It also gains two influences related to the reasons for their Retreat, and their former Hunger.


The Mourning Owl

quote:

In life, the Mourning Owl was called Adrienne Cook. She knew misery from a young age. Her parents barely had the money to pay for extra clothes for her through school. College was certainly out of the question. Still, she tried her best to earn a scholarship in order to help her family. When that failed, she worked hard at a menial, minimum-wage job at a local convenience store. That wasn’t good enough, either. College was just too expensive and out of her reach.

Then the dreams started. Falling. Always falling. The wind taking her terrified scream and ripping it from her lips. The ground rushing up to meet her until impossibly huge talons snatched her up. That was when she woke up, every time. Eventually, she finally had the courage to look up, to see what held her in its grasp. A gigantic bird — it could have been an eagle, or a hawk. Adrienne wasn’t so sure exactly, but it drew her in. She felt a connection with the creature. She woke up a Beast.

After a month, she began regretting her existence. Feeding her Hunger for Prey scared her, and she didn’t have anyone else in the area to teach her about what she’d become. Trial and error and instinct only went so far, after all.
She did manage to connect with her Lair and spend some time there. She actually felt good while there for the most part. But she knew she had to return to the physical world. She had a job. A family.

Her fear and depression grew until even her Lair didn’t hold the same comfort it once did. She hit upon a solution. If the Horror was what did this to her, then maybe if she could separate the two again, things would go back to normal. She entered her Lair, sharp knife in hand, and did the deed.
Tragically, Adrienne was so, so wrong about her theory. She died, but her Horror lives on as the Mourning Owl. It roams the Primordial Dream, stealing into the dreamscapes of others and fulfilling its Hunger. Hunt. Feed. Repeat.
What? If she hated Feeding how did she manage to get all the way up to Slumbering? And what insane moon logic made her come up with "If I kill myself in the Lair then the other guy will die instead!" Also not sure how PCs are supposed to interact with this at all.


Greedy Squid

quote:

Wayne Lyle had a relatively easy life. Naturally gifted and talented in both academia and sports in school, he was popular with teachers and his fellow students alike. While it was true that he was sometimes odd and offputting, what others saw as his good points caused them to brush any eccentricities under the rug.

Wayne was plagued by a host of self-doubt, however, as well as by disturbing dreams. In those dreams, he was always in water of some sort. It always gave him the sensation of great depth, and he could never see any kind of coast to swim to. If that weren’t frightening enough, he had the sensation of not being alone — a sense that was confirmed in later dreams where he was pulled under by long tentacles.

It didn’t take long for him to confront and then accept the creature at the other end of those tentacles, and thus realize that he was a Beast himself. Like everything else in his life, Wayne took to his new life with gusto. Unfortunately, he had only instinct to guide him and as such was unprepared when a Hero invaded his Lair. Sure in his ability to take down what he thought was just a regular person who’d found their way into the Dream somehow, Wayne leaped into battle. He was surprised when the spear pierced his chest and hurt even worse than he would have imagined it to.

As his blood poured out onto the floor of his Lair, his Horror broke loose, ravaging the Hero on the spot and fleeing into the depths of the Dream to find things of dream-stuff to hoard.
Again, How did he manage to get to Slumbering and not realize that something was wrong? And the only reason either of these two sample characters failed at all is because they weren't involved with a Brood. Even the storytelling hints for these characters are basically "They roam the primordial dream killing/stealing poo poo." Heroes can't even interact with them in any meaningful way so they just kind of exist forever then?



The Merger - The Beast Rampant

quote:

Eli stood, staring at the darkness, for a long time. The darkness stared back invitingly. Eli took a step, then another, slowly, as if a man in a dream. He supposed that was appropriate.

It was Mia’s hand that stopped him. A Makara of incredible beauty, kin to the Sirens, she was also the only other member of Eli’s
brood who really understood him. He trembled, suddenly unsure if this was what he wanted to do.

“Is this how we say goodbye? With you walking into the darkness forever?” Mia’s tone was curious, not judgmental.

Eli relaxed. “I wasn’t going in. Not yet. I’m just…thinking about it.” The tremble in his voice betrayed him.

Mia chuckled. “You know as well as I do that if you’ve come this far, you’ve already made your decision.” Mia’s voice became more serious. “I’ll miss you. The others will, too, after they’re done being mad and come to understand why you did it like this.”

Eli nodded, and turned to take one last look at Mia. She smiled, then gestured toward the darkness. With a shy, fleeting smile, Eli turned and walked into the gloom. Mia watched as long as she could, until her broodmates’ calls brought her back inside.

In the creeping darkness, Eli cast off his skin. He pulled out his teeth, and ripped off his fingers at the first knuckle. His Horror saw the holes he had made, and filled them — fangs, claws, and coarse black fur grew in.

Eli — what had been Eli — sniffed the air. It was time to hunt.
Note: The Merger is nowhere near as cool as this is, at least I presume because they appear to have forgotten to give it mechanics.

quote:

Over time, they draw the Horror into their bodies, becoming wholly monstrous. This integration of body and Horror is imperfect, however. The Horror's power, made manifest through a Beast's Lair, is more at home in the Primordial Dream, where it can spread and express itself according to the Beast's desires. Being trapped within the Beast's body in the physical world constrains the Horror. On one hand the Beast's Horror still empowers him, giving him continued access to her Nightmares and Atavisms. On the other, his Horror bends inward, twisting his body and crippling his mind. He becomes a monster in truth, chasing his Hunger in its most basic sense even as it acts as a source of power.
One: They switch pronouns in there a few times, which is annoying. Two: It doesn't give you access to Nightmares, it explicitly states as much in two paragraphs.

So how does this happen? I have no idea, the game implies that there's some kind of initiating process but there's no described roll or anything. The Beast just kind of goes "Merger now!" and it happens. His Lair collapses quickly (not so quick as to prevent escape, however) and her physical body warps to suit the newly present Horror. Stripping away their higher reason but leaving base cunning intact.

Effects of the Merger
For each dot of Lair the Beast possesses they can select one option from the following list, and they can be selected multiple times
  • Armor: They gain 2/0 Armor, if they select it twice it becomes 2/2 and effective against firearms.
  • Body Warp: Their body changes to suit their hunt better, getting chameleon skin or supernatural beauty or a tail, etc. Mechanically this is a bonus equal to half their lair to a particular skill roll.
  • Increased Attribute: One of their attributes increases by 1 without being constrained by their lair stat. Though it should in theory represent one of their former lair's traits.
  • Increased Awareness: +1 die to rolls made to avoid surprise or sate hunger as long as they're in their Territory.
Once merged their Hunger increases intensely, they now lose 1 Satiety every 24 hours. They also lose the ability to take sustenance from "Nuanced" expressions of their hunger. Meaning they can't BS their way through a feeding roll, they need to physically intimidate or hunt or kill to stay alive. They still possess satiety conditions but at Satiety 10 they simply go off to nap for a day then wake up at Satiety 9.

Furthermore the Horror in flesh starts to warp the area around their den (yes there are dens now, that wasn't mentioned before) reflecting it's nature. A Namtaru's neighborhood becomes more grotesque where as an Eshmaki's forest darkens substantially. This tends to attract other supernatural creatures either out of curiosity or exploitation. Which at least provides an opportunity for Beasts to interact with them since unlike the Unfettered, they're still physical and still technically Beasts.


Pard
<A low, quiet growl from the shadows>

quote:

Eli Howard grew up knowing what it was like to be poor. He never knew his father; as his mother worked two jobs trying to make ends meet, he barely knew her, either. An only child, he was also very familiar with being alone. As he grew older, Eli explored the neighborhood, finding shortcuts, hidden places, and pathways between them. Other than the elderly who’d lived there their entire lives, nobody knew the area like Eli.

His relationships with other children were strained. They all had both parents and did things with them — vacations, outings, father-son fishing trips. Eli never managed to connect with them, which further pushed him away from people. As soon as he grew old enough, he got a job at a local warehouse in order to help with the bills around the house. Even so, his help came too late for his mother, who managed to work herself into an early grave. Eli was left to his own devices. Rather than bounce around the foster care system, he struck out on his own.

Roughly a month later, he started having the dreams. A large presence, felt but never seen, stalked him through the night. He’d be traveling through a forest, or high grass, and the foliage would rustle and shake as though some sort of beast was slinking through it. Every time, Eli would run, trying this time to shake his pursuer. It wasn’t until Eli somehow realized that each dream was set in the same area he’d just been through that day and that he was the shadowy creature that he went through his Devouring.

Eli tried to reconcile the physical world and the Dream, but it never quite clicked for him. The physical, for him, was real and knowable. The depths of the Primordial Dream were esoteric and unknowable. After much thought in regards to the consequences, as well as what it would mean to his brood, Eli pulled his Horror into his body, destroying his Lair in the process.

He walked into the darkness and made it a part of him forever. Locals know that a monster stalks the night, and they refer to it as “the Pard” (an archaic term for “leopard”).
Good lord every single one of these characters is basically "Grew up in a broken home and became a dysfunctional monster as a result". The storytelling notes indicate that, as a Nemesis, he punishes the rich. By stealing their children and murdering them. Or by destroying their cars, or making GBS threads all over their gardens and ripping their gardener's arm off. You know, reasonable things.

Starless
"The ground ties you down, keeps your eyes lowered. Here, I’m powerful. Here, I’m free."
Rampants are supposed to be barely sentient, so I'm not sure who's supposed to be talking here.

quote:

Miranda grew up on the reservation, feeling constrained the entire time. She wasn’t confined to the area — on the contrary, she’d gone to town with her parents (or alone, when she was older) many times. Still, something she couldn’t put her finger on made her feel restrained and hemmed in the entire time she was home.

It wasn’t her Makah background, either. That she was proud of, and it drove her to study law when she was old enough, in an effort to make things better for her people. In college, though, she realized it didn’t really matter where she was. She still felt she wasn’t fully free. By that point, she’d gotten very skilled at pushing that feeling to the back of her mind and concentrating on the task at hand, however.

The dreams started a few months before she planned on taking the bar exam. She’d wake in the middle of the night remembering little else other than the earth-shattering thunder and a sensation of falling. She started taking sleeping pills in an attempt to not remember her dreams and just sleep through them, but to no avail. It took her several months to make enough sense of her dreams to realize that the monster with the raking talons made of lightning was her.

After her Devouring, Miranda exalted in the new power she’d attained. She went back and finished school, passed the bar, and began practicing law. Opponents in the courtroom backed down before the onslaught of her arguments and the force of her personality. She became known for pressing cases others had given up on. She also became known, or rather, resented, for what they called “Miranda’s superiority complex.”

Miranda continually pushed herself, working on more cases then she should have, not taking vacation, working long hours. Complete burnout was the inevitable result, and Miranda shut down almost her entire life. She then ultimately decided that she’d had enough, and that Merging with her Horror was a way out. If anything was left of Miranda, it would regret the decision made in haste. But now she is only Starless.
Uhh..

quote:

Prior to the Merger, Miranda was a woman of obvious Native American descent. Now, her skin is a shimmering, dark blue. A pair of wings unfold from her back, and electricity arcs across her skin on occasion. She smells faintly of ozone and fresh rain. When she speaks, her voice booms and crashes like the midst of a thunderstorm.
"Woman of color attempts to become more than a stereotype, gets stressed out and becomes a literal living stereotype." isn't exactly an empowering message. She's bound to her ancestral reservation and makes a habit of doing a dominance display over anyone who isn't Makah. Because STEREOTYPES.

We're approaching the character limit so there will be a part 4 going over the Beast Incarnate very very soon.

Up Next: Phenominal Cosmic Power

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



That mass of Mage proper nouns mostly translate as 'ugh'.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I don't think that section was written by McFarland. Like, you can't have them poo poo up the Shadow like that and then turn around and say they're the good guys no really maybe you are the real racist.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



My understanding is that at least the Mage crossover part was largely written by a Mage writer who was under the impression (correctly) that Beasts were basically the bad guys.

Daeren
Aug 17, 2009

YER MUSTACHE IS CROOKED


To translate some of that as a dork who knows too much about these loving games:

Mors Rattus posted:

That mass of Mage proper nouns mostly translate as 'ugh'.

The slightly longer version is:

that Beasts remind mages of dream-gods that claim to be reflections of the plane mages get power from;

that mages can focus and empower appropriate spells with the Beast's mythic nature if they're buddies;

that a bunch of mages look at Beasts, immediately see incredibly huge parallels to all sorts of other evil poo poo they know, and decide to kill them;

and that mages who hunt for souls to become quasi-immortal or use as rocket fuel for magic look at Beasts and see them turn into one of those big cartoon steaks like in Looney Tunes.

Kurieg posted:

Also Beasts love Centimani.

This is also an incredibly bad thing.

Centimani being prometheans who say "gently caress being human, humans are terrible, let's see what sorts of weird bullshit I can do to myself via messing with the occult energy that powers me." They go Cronenberg extremely fast, and are generally very unpleasant sorts of folks.

Kurieg posted:

One thing worth noting is that any mortals affected by "Sybaris"(which is apparently some kind of magical backwash that Mummies can accidentally dump onto mortals near them when they wake up) are completely worthless as hunting targets, they don't feel terror, they just give in.

[...]

I know even less about Mummy than I do about Mage2, but it sounds like Beasts are thematically similar to their antagonist splat.

Sybaris is a bunch of things, but has two modes - Terror and Unease, more accurately summarized as acute and chronic. Terror Sybaris is when the mummy does overt supernatural stuff, starts glowing gold, looks like the beef-jerky husk they are, and everyone hallucinates them to have horrifying, religious-awe-inducing stuff like wings of flame or snakes dripping acidic venom draped around their arms. This isn't what actually gets people, beyond how scary that would normally be - Sybaris itself is an intense, irrepressible awareness of the viewer's own mortality, amplified to a sickening degree. Everything you've ever done will be dust, everyone you know will be forgotten, the stars will one day go out, and the thing in front of you will still exist. "Look upon my works, ye mighty" type poo poo. It makes people flip out and either fight, run, or fall down in worship and beg for mercy, depending on their mental fortitude.

Unease Sybaris is long-term effects from one or mummies being in an area, as their mere existence slowly warps the minds of people to make them more susceptible to religious coercion and being brought into the fold of the mummy's cult. It starts as a vague paranoia and militia-like mindset, and eventually leads to aimless cults springing up out of nowhere as people desperately try to give some meaning to their life and ignore the cold existential dread in their thoughts and dreams. To a sadistic bully like a Beast, these people would indeed probably be pretty unsatisfying, as most victims would just roll over and figure something like this was gonna happen sooner or later.

As for their antagonists, yeah. Their major antagonistic force is an incarnation of entropy, hunger, and destruction called the Devourer, and (spoilers!) a nigh-genocidal mass sacrifice to feed her was what powered the Rite of Return that makes mummies immortal, as well as what collapsed Irem's civilization. Many of the victims of that genocide hang around as the Lifeless, or Shuankhsen, and they hate mummies, as is to be expected. Ammut's a sadistic jackass and has cursed them to instantly die and have their souls eaten if they try to explain the details of their existence, so most mummies aren't really aware of the connection, and more know the Lifeless as a fate worse than death that mummies can fall into if their cult seriously botches resurrection rituals.

Amkhata are kind of dumb. They're basically just weird chimera monsters that feed on life-force and are made when you screw around with ancient cursed poo poo or break a relic. It should still not be understated that looking at Beasts reminds mummies of mindless fonts of endless, indiscriminate hunger spawned from cursed relics, and yet they're okay with this somehow.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


I am 100% down for a Promethian just caving Beast heads in.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



To be fair, mummies are by and large not very bright and are only now starting to question whether maybe this endless and pointless existence defending relicsthat have no use they can remember for a civilization that no longer exists and which they can remember nothing about is kind of dumb.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Nessus posted:

It's funny how the deconstructive works have often caught on in the Western nerd landscape when the stuff that plays it relatively straight didn't. Like I guess a lot of it involved toy licensing deals, but Gundam and super robot shows didn't get over: Evangelion did. The magical girl merch train (save for Sailor Moon) didn't, but Madoka seized the brains of many a nerd.

Night10194 posted:

Western nerds really, really like grimdark. They think it makes stuff look mature and deep.

Alien Rope Burn posted:

Bear in mind the anime market originally started out in America with an older audience. Not many kids out there willing or able to drop $35 for a single episode of Bubblegum Crisis, after all.
I think ARB has the right of it. At a certain point, usually in adolescence, people like the same stuff but they want it to be mature. So you get these middlebrow stories with the same structure and often the same ideology, but dressed up with "mature" themes. This is how we get, for example, a Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon with occasional creepy cybernetic body horror.

Western anime got its start, as far as I can tell, with an audience that was at least high school age. Makes a big difference in what gets over.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012







Chapter 5 Part 4: The Beast Incarnate
We're finally getting into the neat stuff, unfortunately as I mentioned before it doesn't really work in a multiplayer game.

quote:

Nobody ever thinks much of insects, the creepy-crawlies that pervade everything, crawling and scuttling underfoot. But they’re everywhere: one of the most, if not the most, populous creatures on the planet.

Tyler knew all about where insects went, and more importantly, what they saw. He knew, for instance, that a group of so-called “Heroes” were delving into his Lair, a dark and twisting cave system. They hadn’t paid attention to the miniscule creatures scrabbling across the rock walls. Tyler would feel sorry for them, but he wasn’t sure he had the capacity for that any longer. Besides, they were invading his territory. They should know what they were in for.

The Heroes had just wormed their way through a tight crevasse into a slightly larger chamber when Tyler turned the lights out. Yells of anger and surprise turned into screams of anguish as the insects swarmed their victims. Tyler joined in himself, gleefully punishing those who’d dared to intrude upon his ground.

As the last Hero died, Tyler stepped upon the path back to the physical world. As he did, he felt his Horror come with him, tying to him in a more perfect symbiosis. He gasped at the sheer pleasure of it all, of every sense in his body moving to new heights. It felt
wonderful. It felt powerful.

It felt like coming home all over again. Tyler tried to weep, but all that fell from his eyes were the bugs.
See, that's cool and evocative and way better than "one day Miranda got super depressed and turned into big sky medicine woman."

From the moment of the devouring, a beast's hunger drives them, a gnawing persistent force. But for some it pushes more than a simple drive to satiation. To simply be content is not enough. The Horror and Hunger push at the boundaries with a desire to be more than the flesh allows. If a Beast is powerful enough, if their Lair encompasses enough of the Dream, they can cross the final threshold while keeping themselves. They can become Incarnate.

This isn't an easy task, only the most powerful Beasts can pull this off (Lair 8) and they need to solidify their Legend as something bigger than themselves. There are multiple ways to do this but the game offers 3 options.

Subvert the Hero

quote:

In the usual story, a Hero believes himself the central character. The Beast is a simple creature, with easily discernable goals and desires. It is only there for the Hero to kill. Obviously, the tale is about the “good guy,” the upstanding, handsome, proper protagonist. The creature, as the outcast, serves only to validate the Hero’s existence.

Instead, the Beast reminds the Hero whose story it really is. By controlling the meeting from the beginning, whether through sheer power, cunning manipulation of the events leading to the meeting, or taking advantage of openings in an instant, the Beast makes the would-be Hero insignificant in a world he wants to control. In so doing, the Beast shows that she’s the better creature, the one who deserves to live — the Apex.
Mechanically speaking, the Beast must engage a Hero in combat on his own terms. It doesn't matter in what form, what does matter is that the Beast must control the fight from the outset, and the Hero cannot land any lasting damage. Bashing is fine, Lethal is not, and an Anathema spoils the whole affair.

If the Beast succeeds in rendering the Hero utterly irrelevant, reinforcing that their life and story is the one that matters, the Horror leaves the lair and enters the Beast. Unlike the Merger, this is a harmonious existence, the Human and Horror become one. But they're no longer a Beast, and the new creature might not feel anything for its human or supernatural family. It's goals are inscrutable and horrifying.

Control the Hive
If you're at Lair 8 you're probably doing this already. But if not you need to become the Hive's Apex. If there already is an Apex this is simply a matter of killing it, if not then you need to insinuate yourself into the hive and take control.

Spawn Legend
The "Most Complicated" and "Most Straightforward" Method (I take some issue with that last point considering "Completely Dunk on a Hero" and "BECOME THE BEST" are very straightforward compared to this). To pull this off a Beast must feed their Horror in a large, grandiose, and probably Violent manner. They must sow fear in a way that captures the area's imagination for years to come and carves their name into the Primordial Dream with a loving broadsword.

To put it pithily they need to sow a meme and become Slenderman.


Success: The Myth
Once the Beast Incarnates, they establish their Myth, a metaphysical construct that supports the monster they've become. It is their story writ large: the tale that will survive beyond their death. It provides a structure for the Begotten's strength and a buffer and filter so that they can control it. Through the Myth they improve their current abilities and gain new ones.

Adopt the Beast Shape:
The Begotten can, finally, transform into their Horror in the physical world. They can pick 1 trait from a long list for every dot of lair they have (Minimum 8, remember) including flight, Lair dots worth of Armor against all attacks, +Size equal to their lair, extra arms/heads/legs, medusa's gaze, deadly poison, night vision, lair dots in strength, or the ability to heal all bashing and lethal damage every turn unless it's inflicted by their Anathema. That last bit is confusing because

No More Heroes
Heroes can't place anathema on an Incarnate Beast anymore. In fact a Beast can remove all of a Heroes powers just by touching them.

quote:

The Beast Incarnate can remove the Hero’s gifts, granting him clarity and showing him exactly who he is in the scheme of things — an interloper, an intruder in a story that was never his. With a simple touch, the Beast shows the Hero that, no matter how terrifying the nightmare, it’s not his place to end it.
Which is honestly kind of horrifying.

Master of Pathways
They can enter the primordial dream at will no matter where they are and use any primordial pathway.

Satiety
They still must feed, but they're immune to becoming Ravenous or falling into slumber, 0 is Starving, 10 is Gorged.

Legend/Life
The Incarnate replaces their Legend and Life with a single Myth. This isn't an adjective, this is a title describing who they are. They can regain Willpower through it the same way a Beast could their Legend.

Destabilization:
The Incarnate has one weakness, their Myth. They must keep ironclad control over their own story or else they have to abandon it and its power. If something happens that destabilizes their myth two things happen. First they are reduced to a normal (but still very high lair and thus very powerful) Beast, and anyone can place an anathema on them without even really understanding how.

Using the Beast Incarnate
Using an Incarnate as an antagonist is a disservice to both them and the players because a proper Incarnate Beast can straight up wreck an entire Brood without breaking a sweat. Instead if you want to include an Incarnate consider using them as a potential source of Knowledge, or as a pathfinder to places unknown, or even as a mentor to a smaller pack. The idea is put forth that the best way to solidify a Myth is to end it. Typhon is imprisoned forever beneath Mount Etna, but he's imprisoned forever because he's ludicrously scary, particularly what would happen if he escaped. Such a Myth would be immortal, terrifying, and untouchable forever.


Shen Lung
Run little rabbit, run. The chase makes your flesh taste that much sweeter.

quote:

Shen-lung was not always this Beast’s name. He started life as Chen Ling, a son of a librarian and a grocer. Life was not awful for young Ling. For the most part, he lived life normally, as any other kid, with the same problems and successes. The only pressure he had was academic, as his parents both aggressively pushed him to succeed in his studies. He dutifully dove into his schooling, striving to make his family proud.

His sense of obligation to his family was strong, but it didn’t completely mask his resentment. While he applied himself in school, he was much more at home in the forest, in the places where the light and shadow mixed and played. He was always adept at moving quickly and quietly and eventually taught himself to hunt. Chen Ling found that stalking and killing prey came naturally to him.

The dreams always began the same way: Ling Chen alone in the forest, stalking his prey. In some dreams it was a rabbit; in others, a deer. Eventually, he realized that something else was hunting him. He never saw it or even heard it, but he knew something was in the underbrush. The shadows didn’t lengthen on their own. The forest didn’t naturally seem more dangerous and bloodthirsty. No, he was convinced there was a reason, and after a month or so of this recurring dream, Ling-Shen finally found enough strength to find out what it was.

Forcing his way through the grasping branches, he found a dragon, ink-black and sinuous. Somehow he knew he only found the creature because it desired it so. They took stock of each other, the man and the dragon, in a moment that took an eternity. In the end, they found a kindred spirit in one another, one who delights in the thrill of the hunt.

He took on the name of Shen-Lung, an imperial dragon of the rain and storms from Chinese mythology. The newly named Beast tried to find his own way in the world, eventually finding other Children. He even met other creatures that he felt were kin. Despite his dragonish nature, these creatures — werewolves — also took part in the hunt. Shen-Lung found common ground with the wolves, drawing upon their ferocity in combat.
Somehow, it wasn’t enough. He felt that he could do, he could be, so much more. He pushed further and further into his nature, expanding his Lair and strengthening his Horror. He and his shapechanger friends expanded their territory throughout the land. Shen-Lung found other Beasts. He tracked down the most powerful of them, an immense spider-like creature, and issued a challenge to her — relinquish her position and seal off her Lair from the hive, or die. She refused; on the next full moon, she found herself the quarry of the wolf pack and its dragon. Shen-Lung became the Apex and claimed dominion over the region’s
Primordial Dream. In so doing, his body and Horror merged. Feeling the power coursing through his body, complete with the
new sensory information it brought with it, Shen-Lung finally mastered the serenity of the hunt.
Yup, this guy's pretty cool, and since he's the ultimate Apex predator now he only hunts other Beasts, or enemy Werewolves. And they provide information on how to destabilize his Myth as well, either his human parents (Though good luck finding out about them) or his Werewolf Pack, make them turn against him or use their better natures.


Boleslav, the Giant King
You've broken the rules. For that, you pay the price.

quote:

From a young age, Boleslav was a vindictive, cruel child. The other children in his neighborhood avoided him. Without peers to victimize, he moved on to animals. As he got older, he found ways to terrorize adults.

Very few people avoid the consequences of their actions for long. So it was with Boleslav, who was eventually caught terrorizing a neighbor. As it turned out, the neighbor had shown Boleslav up the previous night in the bar, calling him out on a lie. This didn’t sit well with Boleslav at all, who savagely beat the poor man. As his victim lay bleeding into the dirt, many others stood and chased Boleslav from the town, sending him fleeing into the mountains.

While there, he dreamed that he was being chased by a gigantic creature of stone. For the first time in his life, Boleslav knew true fear. He ran, but no matter how far or how fast he fled, the creature was behind him, relentless in its pursuit. Finally falling to the ground from exhaustion, Boleslav tried to fight back as the creature caught him up in one massive hand. His punches, which could break a man’s cheek with one blow, were like those of an infant against his captor. The cold hand of helplessness wound its way around his heart. In an instant, Boleslav saw himself as the villagers and the stone colossus as him.

For most, this would be a revelation toward greater sympathy to others. Not so for Boleslav. Instead, he realized just how much more powerful he could be; he could finally get back at those who’d wronged him throughout his life. He awoke with a new soul as a Beast. As Boleslav learned what he could now do, his sense of superiority was only reinforced. He spent years in the mountains, traveling from village to village and exacting punishment for various infractions to satisfy his Hunger.

Eventually, he returned to his home village. He promptly killed the town leaders, inserting himself as the sole and unchallenged leader. Boleslav’s first order of business was to create a set of esoteric rules and laws that would be difficult for most to untangle. In this way, he had numerous people to punish each day. His typical punishment was an immediate public whipping.

Confining his citizens to the town and punishing them for infractions of increasingly confusing laws was bad enough. Compounded by his nightly terror sprees through their dreams, however, he inevitably attracted Heroes, who decided to take matters into their own hands and slay the obvious monster in their midst. It was hopeless, though; all of the Heroes’ righteous fury was for naught. Their weapons were ineffective; their plans rendered useless. The crude and unintelligent beast they thought they were slaying proved to be far more smart and cunning than they’d given him credit for. After the surviving Heroes made it through several traps and pitfalls to Boleslav’s den, not a single one managed even a scratch. Boleslav ripped the remaining men to pieces with his bare hands. Their remains litter his den to this day.

After that incident, Boleslav’s hold on his town has tightened. He’s found that he has control over the very land itself and can even witness the people within it. Obviously, this doesn’t bode well for the inhabitants, who suffer under Boleslav’s depredations every single day. Sooner or later, they hope, someone will remove the monster from power.

Boleslav is meant to be a ludicrously powerful beast with an extremely small sphere of influence. He can't leave his town because the people might stop fearing him, but the town is isolated and he's kept them from most modern conveniences so they don't understand that there could even possibly be an escape. If someone were to provide one his Myth would unravel almost instantly.



Ultimately the Incarnates are pretty damned cool, and an excelent end game in a single-Beast game that acknowleges it's own monstrosity, but in a Brood game where everyone's lying to themselves about being a good person I'm not sure what kind of end-game the story has.



So what's different?

Well, not much, though there was a section expanding on Beast-Beast conflict, mainly a bunch of stereotypes about how each family fought. "Anakim are direct and to the point." "Eshmaki are sneaky" "Makara are patient" "Namtaru are poisoners." etc. There's a some short stories for each of them but imagine the worst of classic white wolf purple prose and you get the point.

Up Next: A very abridged chapter 6

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



While Shen-Lung is one of the only Beasts I do not immediately hate, he's also, like

not...a chinese dragon...at all???

that's not how chinese dragons do, that's not how stories about them work, they don't fit the Beast framework even slightly

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Like one of the core stories about Chinese dragons is about how a lady raised five baby dragons and when she died they all mourned her so deeply that they came together, turned into humans and buried her with such ceremony that she was made into a goddess for her virtue in raising such excellent dragon-sons.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


So an Incarnate Beast could be the thing from Siren, Datasushi.

Well, that seems like a good place to get enemies from, at least.

LatwPIAT
Jun 6, 2011

Do I need a title?

Kurieg posted:

quote:

The difference is that Beasts know the script: their arguments are less, “perhaps it is you who is truly the monster,” than “what gives you the right to kill monsters?” For hunters used to self-justification and equivocation from their prey, that sort of reversal can prompt some soul-searching.

What's so weird about this is that it's being said as if this doesn't and wouldn't happen in a Hunter game. As if Hunters don't face creatures of the night that will try to argue that killing them prejudicially is murder and morally wrong. If a group of Hunters haven't explicitly been presented with this problem before, you've probably been running Hunter wrong.

What makes it doubly weird is that oHunter had like two entire splats devoted to the concept of asking themselves whether they really should kill monsters.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Most Hunter groups even have an answer baked in, because 'why do we hunt' is kind of the core question of any Hunter group.

VASCU, of course, has the best answer: 'Well, sir, we have a warrant for your arrest, signed by a judge. If you will surrender and let us take you in, this doesn't have to end with anyone dying. Please do not spit fire at us, or we will be forced to defend ourselves.'

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Night10194 posted:

So an Incarnate Beast could be the thing from Siren, Datasushi.

How DARE you sully the name of the greatest horror game of all time by associating it with this trash.

He seems far more Call of Cthulhu, anyway- a terrible monstrous thing from the stars worshiped by a degenerate, isolated cult. Siren 2 has shades of the Abyss from Mage in it, though I won't say any more as Egomaniac may be re-LPing it too.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Mors Rattus posted:

Most Hunter groups even have an answer baked in, because 'why do we hunt' is kind of the core question of any Hunter group.

VASCU, of course, has the best answer: 'Well, sir, we have a warrant for your arrest, signed by a judge. If you will surrender and let us take you in, this doesn't have to end with anyone dying. Please do not spit fire at us, or we will be forced to defend ourselves.'
I'm an unrepentant defender of Because MOUNTAINS OF COCAINE gently caress YEAH.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012






I'm not sure whether I should be happy or disappointed you guys missed my Lucifuge joke.

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."


Mors Rattus posted:

Most Hunter groups even have an answer baked in, because 'why do we hunt' is kind of the core question of any Hunter group.

VASCU, of course, has the best answer: 'Well, sir, we have a warrant for your arrest, signed by a judge. If you will surrender and let us take you in, this doesn't have to end with anyone dying. Please do not spit fire at us, or we will be forced to defend ourselves.'
I love how mundane VASCU makes the supernatural.

"I AM THE IMMORTAL POWER OF DARKNESS ITSELF!"
"Yeah, yeah, tell it to the judge."


Halloween Jack posted:

I'm an unrepentant defender of Because MOUNTAINS OF COCAINE gently caress YEAH.

"Because I've hosed a man that could fly!"

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Nessus posted:

I shudder to think what the inevitable Jojo-inspired games will be like in three or four years.
People keep telling me this about Godlike. What kind of death camps does JoJo's have?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Kavak posted:

How DARE you sully the name of the greatest horror game of all time by associating it with this trash.

He seems far more Call of Cthulhu, anyway- a terrible monstrous thing from the stars worshiped by a degenerate, isolated cult. Siren 2 has shades of the Abyss from Mage in it, though I won't say any more as Egomaniac may be re-LPing it too.

Oh, it's trash, I was more thinking 'Huh obscure mountain village no-one can escape from' and it just popped into my head, you know? I've been writing something for a Halloween one-shot inspired by Siren and so it's on my mind and coloring a lot of stuff at the moment.

Siren is really loving good.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • Post
  • Reply