Being a Beast
Original SA post
I got a very special present this year on my birthday. It wasn't something I asked for. It wasn't something I wanted. In fact it was basically the opposite of those things.
And by the Faustian pact that grants me eternal life I am bound to spread knowledge of this book to the four corners of the earth.
Or something like that.
I wasn't exactly looking forward to reviewing another Beast book, because of the whole "Matt McFarland in all likelihood molested an underage girl" thing. But this is the last book that he directly worked on, and like most gamelines as the game progresses the Developer has less direct involvement, so much of this book was being written by people who aren't him anyway.
That isn't to say he goes out with a whimper, oh no, we should be so lucky.
Children. He'd be a social worker this time.
Yes, it's time for Short Fiction. If it's any consolation I'm reasonably certain that this is a short story written before the Beast Kickstarter was finished as it's an expansion of a story that was included in the Press Release for Beast.
After we're introduced to creepy mc-rape-a-child. We cut to the Teacher's Lounge at a school. Dave, is talking with another teacher about a kid name Richard Fries who lashed out and hurt him accidentally. Another teacher is listening in, a Mr. Miliner who is some kind of nebulous behavior therapist but almost certainly a Hero.
Then we cut to the Cafeteria where we get the bit of text that was included in the press release.
Eve loosened the hoodie. She had pulled it tight around her face, trying to screen out
the world, for all the good it had done. The cafeteria was too loud, and the sounds too
diverse. Boys thumping on tables, high-pitched laughter from girls, the hum of the microphone
that the lunch lady used, in vain, to get them to shut up. Eve stared down
into her juice, and thought of water, the silent, cool, Boundless Deeps. She felt the
cold on her skin, and she was home, if only in her mind.
Something slammed into her back and pitched her forward. One of the
boys — Antonio — was playing catch using a wadded up piece of paper and
had slipped. Eve stood up, wiping juice and the remnants of her lunch from
her hoodie. She turned to face him.
“My bad,” said Antonio. Eve said nothing. Antonio didn’t wait for acknowledgement,
he just turned and went back to his game.
Eve reached out and grabbed him by the hair. She pulled,
using only a fraction of her true strength, and yanked him
backwards into her arms. If we were in the ocean, she
thought, I could crush him. I could eat his skin and liquefy
his flesh in my mouth, and drink him slowly. The thought
appealed, and started to call her home.
Seawater trickled into the room from the corners. No
one noticed. The students chanted “Fight! Fight!” Someone
ran to get the principal.
Eve let him go. Antonio turned, and curled his hands
into a fist. And then he glanced at his forearm, and stopped.
A row of angry, circular wounds had appeared across his arms. Eve
hadn’t touched him there. He looked at her in horror, and she pulled
the hoodie strings tight again. “Don’t touch me,” she said.
Antonio could only nod.
So yes, Kid beasts are a thing again.
I could continue from here but honestly I can't think of a way to make this interesting anymore. Cause we've seen
this before. The resident Hero even uses the same Storm imagery and analogies that the Hero did in the Conquering Heroes short story.
In short, Eve meets up with Richard Fries, which, surprising no one is a Beast. And talks with him about how feeding isn't bad and blah blah blah. They go back to Rich's house to play Videogames, creepy mc rape-a-child follows them to Rich's house and tries to steal Eve's Hoodie. Around this time the Hero shows up, not to kill the Beasts but out of genuine concern for the children cause he saw Matt's stand in following them home. He knows they're probably trouble but they're also children
. Once Rich sees Coffey stealing Eve's hoodie, he punches him in the leg hard enough to shred the muscles out of his left leg, and the child rapist limps away while the Hero stays with the kids to make sure that they're okay.
Heroes portrayed as Sympathetic? Beasts fighting against unrepentant monster beasts? What is this book? Well... it's got a lot of retcons and/or clarifications, changing bits and pieces of beast, in most ways for the better. Particularly in the stuff that wasn't written by Matt. But we've got some "Matt Stuff" to chew through first.
Chapter 1: Being a Beast
The first chapter opens up with some text that I'm almost certain Matt wrote, maybe I've just been reading too much Beast but this reeks of his authorial voice.
You have power, and you have a choice.
You grew up with humans, probably thought of yourself
as one of them for a little while. You’ve seen the way they
work. You watched how people changed when they thought
no one was looking, the things they did when they thought they
could get away with it. Maybe you heard about the underbelly
of humanity on TV, or read about it on the internet; maybe you
experienced it yourself. You certainly felt it, crawling along the
base of your skull, ripping at your eyelids while you slept.
Then, you met your real family.
Humans still look at you like you’re one of them, but
you know better, now. You know better than humans about a lot
of things. And lucky for them, you’re going to be their teacher.
All that’s left is for you to choose your lesson plan.
Jesus Christ Matt.
Will you show people the worst of themselves to remind them of the best?
Will you warn them what lies at the end of the dark roads they’ve chosen? Will
you drop all pretense and just punish?
Whatever you decide to do, you’ll need to do it soon. No matter what you
believe about the potential of your prey, you’re still hungry.
Just imagine my eyes rolling so hard they fall out of my face.
So the first Retclarification, Beasts are born Dormant, indistinguishable from normal humanity except in the way that they dream. Their dreams brush against the border of the primordial dream, which alerts other Beasts to their presence. Usually the 'elder' beast then proceeds to confront the dreamer and usher them through their devouring. In some cases the Beast takes a "Sink or Swim" mentality and just devours them with no fanfare or explanation, with no understanding of their Horror or what has been taken from them the nascent dreamers tend to run away from their Horrors (in most cases the devouring Beast then proceeds to make a meal of the 'weak human') but if they manage to escape from their Horrors and the Beast then they awaken hollow and without their soul. Any beasts in the immediate area will be drawn to these 'half-devoured' as their Horrors desperately want to feed on the person who rejected the call.
In rare cases an incipient beast will find their own way into the dream and find their Horror on their own. So we've got a halfway point between "Beasts are born and only become whole when they find their soul" and "Beasts are made by other Beasts". I don't hate this, I suppose. But don't worry, there's more than enough stuff for me to hate later.
While the process itself may not have been pleasant, meeting
the Horror mind to mind can be a relief. All her life the
Beast has been different; now she knows why. She has an ally
that not only understands her strangeness, but embodies it. Her
Horror will never judge her for the actions she takes or the dark
thoughts she harbors. It encourages her basest desires and her
most vile urges, pressing her to act on them. Why deny her very
nature, when there are so many that need to remember that
there is no way to escape pain and fear? The presence of her
Horror’s mind even when they are parted and in separate worlds
is a comforting thing, and she views all situations both through
the expectations of mortal society and the Horror’s unique
perspective and desires. It is happy to offer her its thoughts
and opinions, eagerly pinpointing prey it covets. In return,
she visits her Lair often to understand herself and her Horror
more deeply, and to learn how to more fully satisfy them both.
Hello again Matt, I was just starting to miss you.
This section is mostly just echoing and clarifying text from the Beast Corebook. Though it makes an effort to distinguish between Beasts who view their Horror as a part of themselves and those who view their Horror as an unwelcome passenger. Those who view their horror as a missing piece of themselves find it difficult to separate what their Horror wants from what they want. When their horror is gorged they find it hard to motivate themselves to do things, when it's starving they're irritable and tense. And those emotions become impossible to ignore once they assume their Horror in their Lair. Those that separate their perceptions from their Horror can resist these sensations, but they're also rarely if ever at ease since their Horror rankles when it's desires aren't met.
It's impossible for a Beast to not enjoy the act of feeding. Feeding draws their horror to the surface and while it shares their flesh they feel it's contentment in the act. But before and afterwards? That's up to the individual beasts. More often than not a Beast gets a rather flexible moral code, the hungrier their Horror is the more willing they are to do horrible things to feed it. If they don't, their horror will go out feeding on it's own which will cause it's own issues.
While Beasts often try to rationalize their feeding, they
all learn one thing early on: the Horror doesn’t care. It feels
no need to justify its hunger, suffers no guilt from sating itself,
and has no qualms about tormenting the same target again and
again until he is nothing more than a broken husk. The Horror
only hungers and pushes the Beast to do whatever she must.
It has no context to even consider consequences as they relate
to the Beast’s life, leaving the Beast herself to figure out how
to feed without getting caught, or suffer whatever punishment
she might incur.
Of course, this is usually why a Beast tries to direct her
Horror, feeding it herself. If the Horror finds a reliable source
to keep itself fed and returns there again and again, it may
very well give rise to a Hero, who inevitably targets the Beast.
Even then, the Horror has little care, relying on the Beast to be
able to fend for herself. This kind of repeated feeding can also
reveal the Beast’s true nature to those close to her, resulting in
broken relationships and isolation. While the Beast may feel
these losses keenly as her social network collapses, the Horror
has no sympathy. The Primordial Dream is far from a peaceful
place, the strongest are the ones that survive, and it has no
purpose for a host without the will, strength, and drive to live.
Yes, Heroes are Made, not Born again. Which was another one of my major complaints with the beast Core. There can be optics issues about people being persecuted for being what they are, but considering the people are literally monsters
it's easier to swallow as long as they don't lean too heavily into the race and gender imagery.
Beasts trying to cling to a moral framework will try to only feed from people who 'deserve it', people who are rich or have power, trying to bring them down to the same level as everyone else. On the other end of the spectrum are the people who were horrible monsters before they were devoured, and use their horror as an excuse. "Oh i never would have done this if my soul wasn't replaced by a dragon" she says while sucking the marrow out of your leg. Even rarer are the Beasts who still consider themselves human, and instead choose to feed exclusively from supernatural creatures.
Atavisms & Nightmares
Not much new here on Atavisms, but there is some interesting stuff for Nightmares.
Nightmares, while useful, is a largely uncomfortable experience
for most Beasts. Accustomed to being the ones that teach lessons,
learning new ones places them in unusually vulnerable
positions. In order to truly command a Nightmare, the Beast
must understand every facet of it. To do so, he must suffer
through its effects until he can pinpoint not only the reason
humanity reacts to it so strongly, but how his Family can express
it in a meaningful way.
For many Beasts, learning new Nightmares is an experience
that closely relates to their Devouring. Only by confronting
and overcoming the experiences that torture them they learn
enough to unleash it on others.
I don't hate this, Beasts having to confront their own weakness to grow strong is a good storytelling hook.
The new stuff here is information on Brood Lairs and Hives. Creating a Brood Lair is an expression of ultimate trust, as horrors can access any chamber that they have access to via the Burrows, and shared lair trait immunity can be revoked if a Beast is feeling threatened. Similarly, when an Apex changes every beast in the hive knows
something happened as their Horrors react to the change. The hive shifts as the old trait is removed and the new trait is added, the familiar changes and most Horrors see this as a threat.
Heroes don't understand the power that allows them to place anathema. They don't even know that there's a power there to tap in to
. Within their narrative they're uncovering a Beast's long hidden weakness and exploiting it. And that's what pisses off Beasts the most, not that they're being made weaker, but that someone who doesn't know what they're doing is wielding the power of the primordial dream like a blunt instrument, and the primordial dream is more than happy to oblige.
That's the last bit of treading old ground, so Next Time: Matt's Last Gasp
Fuck You Matt
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 2 Part 1: Fuck You Matt
This chapter doesn't have the best layout, this book introduces two new horror families and two new hungers, and discusses them throughout chapter 2 but doesn't actually give them their introduction and description until the end of the chapter. So I'm skipping ahead to go over that and then we'll discuss what I skipped next time.
Also as evidenced by the way I titled this update, things are going to get worse before they get better.
So let's start with Families
Inguma: Nightmares of the Other
Yup, they're the nightmares of scary brown people.
Technically they're the fear of anyone who doesn't belong, of the "outsiders", but you cannot have straight up literal "Fear of the Other" in TYOOL 2018 without espousing images of black people and muslims.
An Outsider projects a sense of wrongness wherever he
goes. He may look like he does not belong at all, flouting common
dress or custom with little concern about the perception
of rudeness. He may look like a respectable member of
the community and avoid attracting undue attention
to himself, but no one immediately knows who he is
or where he comes from. An Inguma could live in an
abandoned shack just outside of town or the house next
door. He can easily drive a Prius or a van with no windows.
All the same, mothers hide their children and grown men
lock their doors, glaring through the windows at his
passing. Deep down, they know that because he is
here, something terrible is about to happen.
I dislike this because in an ideal world, beasts are supposed to teach lessons, change people minds. But this is just preying on prejudices, and reinforcing stereotypes because something terrible is
going to happen. The example nightmares and feeding methods all sort of tread on ground that's better covered by the other families, and "This is done better by other members of the splat that does things worse than other splats" is a terrible place to be.
The example characters are a gate attendant at an airport. A disabled homeless vet. A Pickup Artist. And a efficiency consultant that suggests sweeping changes that are nonetheless correct. Maybe two
of those actually have anything to do with "outsiders".
In dreams, well...
Dreamers encounter the Inguma in as many ways as they can
imagine outsiders who make them feel the slightest bit of unease.
A dreamer could find herself pursued by a textbook example of
the most terrifying terrorist group of the day, trapped directly
in harm’s way when the terrorist creates maximum carnage. He
could come home to find a stranger present and receive an earful
from his family for not recognizing his favorite cousin, who then
turns his whole family against him. The Outsider could be the
lover of an unfaithful husband, showing the dreamer just how
inadequate she is as a wife, unable to compete with the woman
draining her husband’s life away with every tryst.
In these dreams, the dreamer almost immediately notices
the Outsider is not who she seems. He could a flash of some
decidedly inhuman trait, like a patch of scale, blackened eyes,
or needle teeth. The Inguma could also not appear monstrous
in body at all, but the dreamer witnesses the Outsider committing
some sort of heinous act that no one believes her
to be capable of doing. The dreamer can never convince his
loved ones of the Outsider’s threat, even if he is absolutely
right about her nature.
Mechanically, their birthright allows them to infiltrate groups easier, and evade detection by people looking for traitors or spies.
*Deep all consuming sigh*
Vampire: So you really do think that Carly Simon song was about you? You must be honored. What was she like back then, anyway?
Werewolf: For all their strength and bluster, without their pack they are nothing, and I never let them forget it.
Mage: With great power comes great paranoia.
Promethean: Nothing I could ever do could come close to their plight.
Changeling: No matter how hard they try to blend in, they must always run. Clearly, they need me to intervene, if only to show them how to use their gifts to their advantage.
Mummy: They’re almost older than I am. Almost.
Demon: I have never spotted one, and yet I hear stories of glass and clockwork and intrigues beyond mere fleshy design. They are entirely too good at hiding, but they cannot evade me forever.
Other than the Vampire one being sort of funny, the Changeling one is bad.
Talassii: Nightmares of Confinement
Time to break out the quote tool.
The Begotten do not always fully understand each other, but they understand the Talassii least of all. Reclusive by nature, the Captors have borne the sting of a single Hero’s curse for millennia, branding them as kidnappers at best and rapists at worst. The Talassii may kidnap, but they truly excel as jailers.
The Talassii’s current name stems from Talassius, who led the raptio, or forced abduction of women, against the Sabines in early Roman legends. In that context, the cry “Talassio!” meant “for Talassius,” identifying who a particular abductee was intended for. While the Sabine women were not sexually violated, they were seduced into marrying their captors with promises made by Romulus himself. Still, by the time an imprudent brood of Captors indulged their Horrors and re-enacted the rape of the Sabine women on a band of Heroes, the word “rape” meant sexual violation as well as forced abduction.
"We're rapists by the original latin definition of the word." Is right up there with "Technically I'm an ephebophile" in "Things that aren't actually a defense of your actions."
See: the Talassii embody the fear of imprisonment, and they're really really good at it. And that's actually a good
idea for a new family that the other families don't really cover. But
their entire family line was apparently cursed by a Hero so that they're SOMEHOW
compelled to be rapists.
The text implies that this has something to do with whenever they use atavisms or nightmares, or when they're hungry. But the only references to the Talassii curse are in chapter two and the authorial voice takes such a hard left turn in chapter three that I can only presume that Matt was dragged kicking and screaming away from his keyboard the minute he put "They're rapists but it's not their fault!" to paper. Note that since there are no mechanics
in chapter 2 there are no mechanics given for this magical rape compulsion, so outside of me documenting Matt's insanity for all to see I'm choosing to see the Talassii as "jailers" and ignoring the "cursed rapists" part.
I'm going to quote one of the example characters here because I seriously have no idea what he's going for.
He cries again, sobbing and reaching out from his car seat while they’re stuck in traffic. He holds out the book his mother has read for him thousands of times before. He wants her to read it again. “Not now, baby,” she says, but he doesn’t understand yet. He can’t hear the strain in her voice, only her telling him no. He screams, and she cringes. Reading the story book will make everything better. She wants him to be happy, doesn’t she? Doesn’t Mommy love him? He just doesn’t understand why she would say no. He just wants her to read to him. That’s all.
What the fuck does this mean? Why is this here? Is the Beast the mother? Or the child who is so young they're sitting in a car seat and begging to hear stories? Where's the imprisonment? Is Matt implying that having children is imprisonment? What? Why?
Vampire: They keep hooks and chains in their blood that latch onto their thralls like nearly nothing else.
Werewolf: They are not pets, no matter how nice you make the collar.
Mage: One of my Kin is an Awakened escape artist. I cannot appropriately quantify how much pure, unmitigated glee this challenge has given me.
Promethean: They likely won’t understand what they’re giving up until they’ve walked into that cell, locked the door, and thrown away the key.
Changeling: At least they understand the inherent lie to their freedom.
Sin Eater: They call themselves the Bound. They have no idea what they’re talking about.
Mummy: You know, I wish they would get out more. I could learn so much from them.
Demon: I wonder how long I could keep one in my basement...
The Mage one is hilarious but otherwise.. why?
Alright, now that that's done... let's go over the new hungers.
Whispers: Hunger for Secrets
A secret's not worth keeping if it isn't dangerous. Whispers feed not from knowing secrets, but from their target knowing that they know, or from revealing a particularly juicy secret. The subjective value of the secret is worth more than the objective value. A small kink can hold more weight than the blackest crime depending on the victim.
Beasts with this hunger tend to find jobs that facilitate their hunt, it's easier to snoop with a badge or a press pass. But cyber-espionage is just as useful. That said, they are supernatural monsters with ties to other supernatural monsters, there are other, more fun ways to uncover secrets. The "lessons" they teach are rarely as trite as "never keep secrets, lying is bad" but more "obsessing over a kept secret can be more ruinous than the secret itself."
The example characters are a cold reading psychic who only brings her supernatural powers to bear against skeptics, a private eye, a socialite that slips into social circles to uncover gossip, a Makara who goes after mages exclusively(this one's pretty hilarious), a white collar crime attorney that only takes cases when their client's assuredly guilty and part of their payment is making them tell the truth (To the senior partners, let the district attorney do their own legwork), A blogger, and.. uh..
The Shackle Dragon lurks beneath the shadow of your sins.
Know its passage by the scraping of its chain-link tail. Know its
purpose by the locks that clang against your door. Shut your
mouth if you hear the rattling — it loves to eat loose tongues.
The Shackle Dragon doesn’t quite remember what it is to be
human anymore, but its lizard brain knows that knowledge is
power. Mortals will do anything to hide their secrets, and those
the dragon chains are harbingers of its Legend, at least until
they find it better victims.
The shackle dragon?
I don't mind this hunger, it feels a little out of place but it's not really treading old ground.
Enablers: Hunger for Transgression
So yeah, tempters.
The book is quick to point out that they feed off of transgression, and they enable that transgression. But they don't trick. Fooling someone who keeps halal into eating pork isn't a transgression, it's just being a jerk. They prefer religious victims but the principles they force people to violate must be important to their sense of self. So deacons rather than Christmas/Easter Catholics.
Oh and the lessons they teach are "The truth is in the middle."
Okay, example characters are someone who tests the faithful regardless of their faith(They were empowered by A god, they're not sure who, so why not all of them), someone who runs a Multi Level Marketing scam(?), someone who infiltrates cults and deprograms the faithful, a selkie who demands increasingly high prices for sex, a scene kid who spreads false gossip, a fixer who will do anything so long as you pay his price of debasement, and..uhh..
Molosh has a key. The man behind its lock wants out. Molosh cages him against his will, or so the man claims to people the Beast invites to view his cell. But, says Molosh, he’s dangerous. A psycho killer. His empathy is an illusion to lure in bleeding hearts...and on that note he offers them the key. A few find the choice comes easy, or decry it as a trick, but many agonize. The actual choice makes little difference to Molosh. He set himself free a long time ago.
I don't even fucking know anymore.
Next Time: the rest of chapter 2, by which I mean the first part of chapter 2.
Skipping through the rest of the septic tank.
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 2 Part 2: Skipping through the rest of the septic tank.
Honestly I've spent too much time trying to figure out how to go over the rest of chapter 2. When honestly the best way to go over it is to just not.
It's not that good. It's basically a list of all of the families and hungers, giving a brief vignette of a stereotypical devouring for a member of that splat, stereotypical horrors, stereotypical feeding methods, kinships they stereotypically pursue, how they stereotypically feel about the various inheritances, etc. The kind of stuff you'd expect to see take up an entire chapter of "Familybook: Anakim" squeezed into 3 pages. The only thing worth commenting on (for values of commenting) are that Matt of course spends way
too much time and effort talking about the Talassi. Their section opens up with a Talassi tying up a hero and explaining to them that they're not
a rapist and that they're going to let the hero live so that they can go tell all the other Heroes how much they're not a rapist. Talassi kinships are also creepy and dumb. Because the "predatory nature" of most other monsters feeds into their rapist nature. They also love the "vulnerability" of changelings. They do love making kinship with Prometheans because they aren't human enough to twinge their molesto-sense so they can actually be friends with them.
Then we get to inheritances...
To further compound the issue, the frustration the Talassii
curse causes feeds into itself all too easily. Finally, the Captor
snaps, letting her Horror do its worst. It feels so easy and natural
to do it, and she keeps doing it, over and over again. She slips
into the poisoned narrative, and when she realizes how far she
has come, her anger pushes her the rest of the way through the
Merger. Whether that anger stems from falling victim to the
stigma or from trying to fight what feels so good to her now
matters little. She becomes the predator the world expects to see.
Matt is human garbage.
There's also 3 pages going over the different satiety conditions and how to game them for maximum XP.
So that's fucking done.
Next Time: Now that Matt is gone, what do Beasts become?
terrifyingly misses the point again and again
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 2 Part 2
As I mentioned last time, we're going back to the start of chapter 2, because this book is poorly laid out. Especially so because the stereotypes and descriptions for the new hungers and families comes before
the families, hungers, and inheritances they're describing.
They're also fairly redundant, as they're retreading old ground that was covered in the core book. It also rather terrifyingly misses the point again and again as they pull out old chestnuts like "Beasts love to pal up with Prometheans because all the people around them are terrified all the time and who needs to be a shitty old human anyway?"
Also Art like this is here because?
I mean it is in a section describing Namtaru horrors but What namtaru has a horror of "Nosferatu in blue jeans and a T-shirt?"
I've already covered the stuff in the families section for the Talasii and Inguma so we can move on.
The next section of chapter 2 talks about Hunger, more Mechanically than thematically. It gives helpful hints like "Don't pick a hunger that you aren't equipped to actually pursue." And "Don't pick one that you're so hideously overqualified for that feeding takes 5 seconds because that's basically all the game has." Which is refreshing in it's honesty.
Which is why this starkly honest description of what to do when you're Ravenous is kind of terrifying.
There’s no getting around it: Being Ravenous is not good. You can’t use Nightmares. Regaining Willpower is complicated. You take damage every day, and you can’t heal it without help. Further, normal, low-intensity feasts won’t grant you any Satiety at all. If you get to this state, you need a plan. And, if you were smart, you made it before you got here. So, what do you do?
First, go berserk. Hit up one or more opportunities for low-rent feeding, if you can get away with them. You don’t need grand schemes. You just need to smash the nacho machine at the local convenience store, steal all the coins from a fountain, or run over someone’s dog. Why do you do this? One, it’s good roleplaying your character’s desperation. Two, you get a Beat every time you have a Feast with Satiety potential too low to help you.
I feel like this would be a good opportunity to engage with, you know, the moral ramification of this? "Kill someone's dog for some free XP, Pomaranians are worth double!" sounds like something you'd read in a satire
of a horror game.
Second, don’t go to sleep. For one thing, it puts you closer to taking unhealable lethal damage. For another, your Horror is going to start rampaging around and potentially spawning Heroes. If you have the Relentless Hunter Atavism, then you’re good to go. For everyone else, caffeine is easy to come by. If you manage to pick up and resolve the Fatigued Condition, at least you get another Beat out of it.
Sing it with me everyone. "Beasts don't make Heroes anymore!"
Finally, you commit that big score to get yourself into a better Satiety Condition. You need to build up factors until you’re going to roll at least eight dice. The easiest way to get there is to kill somebody, for +4, but study the chart on p. 108 of Beast: The Primordial for other clues. Alternately, if a Hero’s been getting you down, just kill them. That automatically raises you to Satiety 1.
"Just fucking kill somebody already."
The write ups for the remaining hunger conditions are similarly gamified. Straight up telling you "Plan some safe 'risks' ahead of time when you're starving to get some easy XP." "Don't feed if you're above 5 Satiety unless you actually want to go into slumbering." and "Waste Satiety on nightmares for some free beats if you're too high"
Hell the write up for Slumbering has this little chestnut.
You still have no Integrity equivalent, so you may continue to be a Nietzchean monster, beyond good and evil. However, you might also choose to have your character attempt to live a normal life for a while. This is a chance to answer an important question: Is your character a monster because of their Horror and their Hunger? Or would she find human moral conventions an intolerable prison even without the touch of the supernatural about her?
"Yeah you're a goddamned monster" would be another breath of fresh air were it not followed by the book climbing straight back up it's own ass about how the various hungers sate themselves and what thematic resonances they have and how kinships play into it and how great it is to subvert the other gamelines themes in advancement of your own.
"You have a hunger for secrets? Vampire, Mummy, and Demon have veritable smorgasboards of ways to ruin everyone's day."
Are you a ravager?
Just destroy a Promethean's entire life
While it’s a subtle disturbance and may not be enough to satisfy a more violent Beast, Prometheans as a whole spread discord simply by interacting with the mortal world. Their uncontrollable spreading of the Wasteland wherever they roam makes a Ravager’s job easier, but often denies him a hearty meal, offering instead something meager. It’s easy enough for Ravagers to stir the pot when a Promethean is around, but they walk a thin line; bringing too much attention to the unnatural member of society may expose them and bring the community together as they attempt to drive the intruder out. Of course, if the Beast doesn’t particularly care for the Promethean, she may be perfectly content to orchestrate the destruction of the Promethean’s life, driving her to lash out with her Torment or finding ways to keep her in one place, simply to see what happens when things go too far. Upsetting the delicate balance of a Promethean’s life is a simple task, but the sheer scale of the consequences means a satisfying meal for the Beast.
Of course, in a tight-knit group like a pack, some of the heartiest meals can came from disturbing the close bonds among its members. Often the last thing a Ravager can accomplish before she chooses to move on, the implosion of a werewolf pack, or even just the ousting of one of its members, is no small task. This is the kind of plot the Beast seeds over months or years; it’s in her best interest to flee shortly after she accomplishes her goal. While satisfying, meddling with the dynamics of a werewolf pack is incredibly dangerous. If her attempt fails and her treachery is brought to light, she can count on the entire pack turning against her in an effort to bring her down. While winning the fight would also provide a substantial meal for her Horror, a pack of werewolves looking to wipe her out stands a good chance of succeeding.
Or a werewolf pack, for the evulz.
Or if you have a hunger for transgression you c-
OKAY FUCK THIS NOISE
Changelings understand transgression all too well. The True Fae twist their victims into mockeries, forcing changelings to transgress against human morality as playthings and hunting dogs, or slaves to any manner of grotesque desire. Enablers must respect these traumas if they want Kinship, and thoughtful Beasts find that harvesting Glamour for them makes a good ice breaker. Enablers are experts in emotional manipulation — sin so often leads to guilt, joy, dread, and anger all at once. With a few well-placed Nightmares, the Lost may reconsider their stance on deals with the devil.
That's enough of this chapter.
Next time: Chapter 3, When Beasts have Babies it's exactly as creepy as you think it should be, but it's on purpose.
Unleashing the Horror
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 3 Part 1-Unleashing the Horror
Hey kids, did you want new rules and mechanics?
Well too bad, like a disappointing Santa Claus this is more about what I have extras of than what you actually want to sit down while I open up this disgusting fleshy bag of gifts.
have a few interesting Atavisms, mostly revolving around their ability to infiltrate socially. Alien Mindset
makes it nearly impossible for people to follow your thought process, either through social maneuvering or skills. At low satiety you can give people false information about your Legend and Life, and with a Satiety expenditure you can just gain a new hunger trait for a scene if a particularly juicy target arrived and you want to get in on that action. Doppleganger
lets you grow and/or craft a duplicate of a person that lasts as long as they remain in your possession and unconscious. The doppleganger has all the skills/traits/memories of the person but is unswervingly loyal to you. With a satiety expenditure you can put your horror into the Dopple to control it directly(but you don't have the ganger's skills or traits), alternately if you're in your lair you can instead teleport to and viscerally explode out of said doppleganger. Enemy Within
lets you transform into a copy of someone, if you expend satiety your copy is so good it has your target's DNA and can even fool them.
have... uhh, one very very very good power, and some other ones. Caught in the Webs
is ridiculous. With a thrown or touch attack you gradually ensnare someone in something
that varies from Beast to Beast thematically. This reduces their dexterity by your lair/2(rounding up and stacking), if it hits zero they are now immobilized. This is a ludicrous combat power, particularly if you can do this while remaining unseen. At low satiety they inflict bashing damage for even trying to do anything while ensnared, and with an expenditure you just spray webs out everywhere around you. Crushing Coils
gives you an iron grip. So long as nothing opposes you you can hold onto anything forever. At low satiety you can hold onto anything even if doing so would violate the laws of physics and/or the structural integrity of your fleshy body. Grab onto a speeding car? Doable. Replicate the helipad scene from Winter Soldier? Doable. Keep two train cars coupled with your butt cheeks? Why the hell aren't you doing it already? Illusion of Safety
lets you supernaturally case a joint just by looking at it for a few seconds, and gives you a bonus to infiltrate it. Low satiety allows you to make it more difficult for other people to escape once you're inside an area, and an expenditure lets you turn an exit into a portal to your Lair.
The rest of the families get two each. Anakim
gets a power that lets them attack people by punching the ground or make rock arms out of the ground to punch people for them. They also get a weird combo platter power that lets them automatically intimidate people by beating them in any opposed contest, scare his allies into doing better(and also giving them an integrity break if they do TOO well), or just scare everyone in the room. Ugallu
basically get 3.5's spring attack feat. And ability that allows them to strip away armor/natural armor in combat, as well as excel in social maneuvering. Makara
get a power that lets them eat basically anything, including people if they're at low satiety. The wording is really weird such that if they actually manage to swallow a person at low satiety they're just... swallowed. Proably dead. With a satiety expenditure they split themselves vertically into a giant mouth with arms and legs that actually does have an escape condition if you get swallowed (but it's easier to swallow someone) so I have no idea. Their second power gives them a lot of defensive power, because somehow you're manipulating the currents or something? Eshmaki
can either snuff out all light around them(and at low satiety redirect the light directly into the targets eyes?) or eat someone's shadow to become it. If they're aware of this happening they can try and disrupt the beast but the only thing that can harm a shadow beast is fire. Otherwise you're just.. their shadow. You can use nightmares on the person who's shadow you are without eye contact(because you don't have eyes) and at low satiety you can use atavisms? Somehow?
however won the fucking Atavism lottery. Skin Deep
lets you shapeshift out things like claws, gliding wings, armor, etc. This is explicitly an action of the primordial dream and will just straight up inflict a breaking point on mortals(and thus will trigger Heroes who can track you) but it's pretty ridiculous.
That's their least powerful addition this time around.
Plague Bearer Atavism posted:
Namtar — for whom the Namtaru are named — commanded 60 diseases to infect his victims. Modern-day Gorgons believe Namtar aimed low. These Namtaru collect diseases they’ve sampled through touch, taste, or scent, and distill them to deliver via this Atavism.
Dice Pool: Strength + Medicine – Stamina
Action: Instant (normal effect and Satiety expenditure) or Reflexive (low Satiety)
Normal Effect: With a touch (and a successful roll), the Beast infects her victim with a non-fatal disease. If in combat, the victim suffers the moderate version of the Sick Tilt. Outside of combat, the victim suffers a disease (Beast: The Primordial, p. 171) with Severity equal to Lair dots that inflicts bashing damage equal to Lair dots at an interval of (12 – Lair dots) hours. The victim must achieve (Strength + Lair dots) consecutive successes to overcome the disease. The Beast can infect a number of victims equal to her Lair at once.
Low Satiety: A miasma of sickness surrounds the hungry Beast. Anyone who comes within (Lair dots) yards must succeed in a Stamina + Resolve – Lair roll or suffer disease as per the normal effect. In addition, victims gain either the Confused, Fatigued, or Lethargic Conditions from the rapid onset of symptoms. If a character remains near the Beast longer than (Stamina) turns, she must test for infection again. An exceptional success renders her immune for the remainder of the scene.
"But Kurieg", you say, "that doesn't seem very powerful."
Motherfucking Satiety Expenditure Baby posted:
Satiety Expenditure: The Beast unleashes plagues of potentially biblical proportions. Everyone within (Lair dots x 10) yards of the Beast must succeed in a Stamina + Resolve – Lair dots roll or gain the Pestilence (Asymptomatic) Condition. The infectious zone moves with the Beast for the remainder of the scene. Supernatural creatures are immune to infection.
(SYMPTOMATIC OR ASYMPTOMATIC)
Your character carries a deadly disease, of which he may be unaware. Those with the Symptomatic version are clearly sick and infectious, suffering a disease inflicting lethal damage equal to the Beast’s Lair dots, with a severity equal to the original Beast’s Strength + Lair dots. Characters without precautions or protective gear who spend more than a few minutes with the infected must roll Stamina + Resolve – Severity, suffering the Symptomatic version on a failure, and the Asymptomatic version on a dramatic failure. Success protects the character until re-exposed, whereas exceptional success renders the character permanently immune from the disease.
Possible Sources: The Plague Bearer Atavism.
Resolution: The character receives intensive medical care and aggressive cocktails of drugs. He makes a weekly extended Stamina + Resolve – Severity roll, requiring 10 + Lair dots successes. The cure impacts the character’s body. Each time the player rolls, the character suffers one point of bashing damage on a success, one point lethal damage on a failure, or one point of aggravated damage on a dramatic failure as his organs begin to fail. He avoids further injury on an exceptional success.
Beat: An Asymptomatic carrier gains a Beat if he voluntarily surrenders himself for treatment. A Symptomatic sufferer gains a Beat if she survives the treatment.
I applaud the restraint of whoever wrote this power for not just putting "USE THIS IN AN AIRPORT" in 72pt font across the page. The satiety expenditure on this power is ridiculous. And is like, permanent feeding opportunities for a very very long time as your new black death works its way across the nation.
To be fair, I'm not really a fan of nightmares. They roughly fall into one of a few groups, either "This is something you use in combat", "this is something you use to make social maneuvering a joke", or "This is just an incredibly dickish thing to do to somebody." Though several of their exceptional successes have "This fulfills your feeding condition" you usually don't want to feed at high satiety, unless you spend down to starving after you invoke it i guess?
This Is Due Tomorrow
You knew the assignment was easy, that you could definitely get this done. Now you’re stuck. Every time you look at that damned empty space where your work should be, you can feel the anxiety crawl down your spine. Whatever you create will be worthless and you’re never going be able to make this up with what little time you have left.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Satiety vs. Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The Beast chooses a project or an action that the victim would normally have to complete for their career or daily life. For the average person, these are projects like account reports or a university thesis rather than defusing bombs, unless the victim happened to be an EOD officer. Any attempt the victim makes to finish the project costs one Willpower.
High Satiety: Every impediment is worse than the victim originally thought. Even a simple setback makes it feel like it would just be better to start it all over again. Any failed rolls relating to fulfilling the project on the part of the victim count as dramatic failures.
Satiety Expenditure: Feeling the panic well up inside of her, the victim focuses on distracting herself from the feeling
of impending doom hanging over her. She gains the Fugue Condition with the triggering event of trying to finish her
Exceptional Success: The victim gains the Shaken Condition.
I'm in this photo and I don't like it.
I'm really struggling to figure out how to use this in a way that isn't just "Fucking with the normies."
We’re Going Down!
She was handling just fine a second ago but now she’s throwing warning alarms you’ve never even heard of! You can feel the stupid ape brain inside of you insisting people were not meant to go this fast. Now all that’s left to do is scream as your metal coffin goes plunging into the broken earth.
Dice Pool: Presence + Satiety vs. Composure + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The victim is frozen in place with terror as the vehicle swerves out of control. The player must make a reflexive Resolve + Composure roll to attempt to prevent the vehicle from crashing. Even if the roll succeeds, the victim still receives a –2 penalty to all actions relating to operating a vehicle.
High Satiety: Something about the brakes sticks a little bit and the steering wheel always turns a little to the right if the victim doesn’t pay attention. All of the victim’s failed Drive rolls are treated as dramatic failures.
Satiety Expenditure: The victim unconsciously keeps his foot on the gas pedal even as the wall, truck, or pedestrian comes rushing up to meet him. The victim reflexively attempts to accelerate every turn as long as he is at the controls of the vehicle.
Exceptional Success: The victim can’t attempt to bail out of the moving vehicle without succeeding on a reflexive Resolve + Composure roll.
Yeah, it seems like an okay power until you remember that you need to make eye contact or touch the person to use nightmares.
Compare these with
Family is Forever (Vampire)
You know what they say about blood being thicker than water. You also know that just because you have to be polite doesn’t mean you have to particularly like this asshole. Something about them drives you up the wall but you can’t just put them out.
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Satiety vs. Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The victim becomes convinced that they’re in some way distantly related to the Beast. No matter how vague the details are, the victim’s subconscious fills in the gaps to make the cover story seem true. The victim gains the Leveraged Condition.
High Satiety: The Beast gains access to a number of the victim’s Social Merit dots equal to the Beast’s Satiety at the activation of the Nightmare. She cannot partially access flatrate Social Merits (such as True Friend) if she doesn’t have the requisite number of dots, but may partially access scaling Merits like Resources. For example, a Beast with 7 Satiety using the Nightmare on a victim with Contacts 5, Resources 4, and True Friend could gain access to Contacts 5 and use the remaining dots to access two of the victim’s Resources, but not True Friend. She could, however, use Contacts 2, Resources 2, and True Friend.
Satiety Expenditure: The Beast may make requests of her “family” that would normally require blackmail or weeks of cajoling. The Beast may spend multiple points of Satiety while this Nightmare is active — for every point of Satiety spent, open one additional Door against the victim.
Exceptional Success: The victim may be irritated by the distant “family” member, or even hate them, but them but turning them away seems unthinkable. The victim gains the Guilty Condition if they refuse a request of the Beast.
I mean, yes, this is a kinship nightmare, but this is pretty powerful. Particularly the High Satiety version as you can basically just walk around using it on strangers and force them to buy shit for you with their resources.
Your Struggle Won’t Matter
Nothing you do is going to matter. Everything you sacrificed to get this far was a waste. Systems are self-perpetuating, and your little temper tantrum isn’t even going to turn a head. Someday you’re going to be dust and the status quo will be still be here, a monument to all the people it crushed underfoot without even noticing.
Dice Pool: Presence + Satiety vs. Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance
Normal: The victim gains the Beaten Down Tilt. If the victim normally would not be able to gain the Beaten Down Tilt, he instead take a –2 penalty to fighting back.
High Satiety: The victim feels the futility of his actions pulling him down into deeper despair. Every attempt to prove his attacker wrong with words or actions just seems to make him seem that much stronger. The Beast regains one Willpower when the victim spends a point of Willpower to fight back.
Satiety Expenditure: The Beast may spend multiple Satiety on this effect. For every Satiety spent, the Beast reduces one attack by the victim to a chance die.
Exceptional Success: Forcing the victim to surrender (Beast: The Primordial, p.163) in the Beast’s presence counts as fulfilling the Beast’s Hunger.
At 9 satiety you're rolling a minimum of 10 dice against the average person's 2 or 3. The only way to resolve Beaten Down is to give the beast whatever he wants(and stop fighting for the rest of the scene), and you need to spend a willpower point to take any kind of aggressive action until you do.
There are some alternate birthrights!
Remember? Beasts have birthrights?
It's super fiddly, I don't feel like describing them.
Because these are WAY more interesting.
You can do the horror movie villain thing of being able to call any person you've ever directly sensed in some way. You can even call dead phones, broken phones, or completely non-functional children's toys. It costs a point of willpower to use unless you're calling a member of your brood (and also has 3 dots in other merits as prerequisites).
You've created a horrorspawn! I'll describe them later.
You have a car that's been specialized for pursuit, it's more durable, faster, and safer than any other car so long as you're driving it.
Your horror is so powerful it gains an essence pool and numina. Also if you ever undergo the Retreat your horror is probably going to be "particularly troublesome".
You've experienced Guidance and can now perform Obascus Rites! I'll describe them later.
You have a cult that worships you! They can do a whole bunch of things and are amazingly helpful but if you abuse them you risk turning them into a circle of Heroes that know all your darkest secrets.
These are REALLY interesting
SOMEHOW your lair is connected to the information systems of the mundane world. You have phone, television, and internet access. One of the suggested uses of this merit is running a pirate radio station out of your lair which is goddamn amazing
and deserves to be in a better game than this.
You can connect your lair to a room for a long period of time, and so long as it's connected anyone who tries to leave said room will be transported to your lair. This is dangerous because, well, ANYONE, heroes included.
Your lair chambers are huge and take longer to traverse and collapse.
Each dot in this represents 2 dots in some other merit that exists within a chamber of your lair. Alternately you can use one dot to turn a chamber of your lair into mordenkainen's magnificent mansion.
Know Their Falseness(**)-Changeling
You can make binding oaths with people and know immediately if they break it. Gaining +2 on the first 3 rolls to punish them for it.(doesn't work on Demons, obviously)
You can halt your biological functions and walk around like a corpse, or lie around like a corpse. You appear dead to any casual observation but an autopsy will probably make you actually dead.
Look Between Worlds(**)-Ghost
..how do you get family ties with a ghost? uhh... well.. now you can see ghosts? And ghosts can see you?
You gain fangs that you can use to bite people and drain blood. You don't have the whole "inflict your victim with ecstatic lust" thing and you don't have a blood pool, but a point of blood will sate your need for food and water for a day and it's definitely one hell of a way for a Predator to feed.
Scent Your Prey(*-**)-Werewolf
You have werewolf senses, one(or both) of enhanced hearing or smell.
Scour your Body(**)-Mage
You can reduce one of your physical attributes by 1 and take a point of lethal damage to use an atavism or nightmare as if you had spent a point of Satiety. Why on earth would you do this.
If you're looking at a mirror while opening a primordial pathway you get +1 die and can just.. go to your lair rather merging a physical location with a chamber. doesn't seem worth 3 dots to me.
You leave no forensic trace of your presence. People with eyes and Cameras can still see you. "This merit is quite useful to Beasts who leave a trail of crime scenes in their wake."
Next Time: This fantastic sidebar (amongst other things)
Beasty Babies will make your nightmares come true.
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 3 Part 2-Beasty Babies will make your nightmares come true.
Chapter 3 has two bits of rules left, Obascus rites, and Horrorspawn. Both of them are decidedly not good or nice things.
Beasts know that the Dark Mother exists, she has a home(and it's a real place that Beasts can go to, also it hates
them, more on that in chapter 5). But they don't really know how she feels about them in any real fashion. They may choose to believe that she likes them, or cares about them, but it's basically religion.
So beasts invented Obascus Rites, which are literally
The book freely points out that Beasts already have enough unique sets of powers, and are frankly powerful enough already. So Obascus Rites are meant to be a party thing. You need several people to even pull them off. And the book suggests that you will probably only ever have one ritemaster in a group but there are more rites than any one person can learn and they use an absurd variety of skills. If this is a system that you actually want to engage with I would imagine you'd probably have 2 or 3 party members putting points into it. They can do some crazy bullshit things but you need to have the entire party on board to use them (and for some of them you need several NPCs, the Apex, or even an entire hive involved).
And to even become a ritemaster, you need a merit, and to take the merit you need to undergo communion. Communion is a willing thing, you can choose to have the condition applied to you when you take Agg damage from an Anathema, are the victim of a supernatural efffect with a exceptional success, or establish family ties with a specific type of supernatural creature for the first time. This gives you -2 to all mundane skill rolls and defense, but +2 to use atavisms and nightmares. It resolves when you next go to sleep and you wake up knowing a new rite.
Rites use your Horror's Finesse or Power, and the lower of your character's Occult or whichever skill is used in the rite in an extended test. These rites also tend to have hefty penalties, requiring you to take advantage of trappings. Such as Having the hive's Apex around, having assistants, having your entire brood present, having beasts from different families, having beasts from different hungers, having cultists, having proper regalia, etc. which negate a penalty each. The most powerful rites impose a hefty -8 penalty so you really need to play to your strengths. And every rite needs to take place in a temple (except for the rite that allows you to establish a temple). This is literally Beasts backwelding a religion onto their own origin stories, perhaps the most frightening thing is that it works
There are a few rites that stand out. Blood Offering
has you sacrifice a human to get a collective prophetic vision from the Dark Mother. The game does point out that this is, ya know, Evil.
I'm not sure if this sidebar is saying "You know, maybe Beast isn't the game for you." or "Maybe Beast isn't for
you." The game has abandoned some of it's geek social fallacy nature, but not all of them.
Night of Revels
can only be performed just after sundown on either Halloween or any other "Dark" holiday, lunar eclipse, what have you. The rite identifies one person who has in some way offended the Dark Mother, and who she demands be destroyed. They do not need to be killed, and probably shouldn't be as that cuts short the Dark Mother's fun, she wants their life utterly laid waste, their secrets revealed to all, their possessions destroyed. They should be fed on multiple times, get multiple breaking points inflicted upon them. If the person in question is driven to ruin and madness through the most creative and hilarious means avaliable the dark mother is satisfied and the group gets... the ability to reroll one die roll with a +2 bonus within the next lunar month. Which doesn't seem commensurate with the work involved, other than Beasts using the rite as an excuse. Which is honestly probably the point.
Folie a Deux
lets you inflict an appropriate mental condition on the mortal population of a hive with less Composure than the ritemaster's Lair. You can also use an appropriate Nightmare (Like This Is Due Tomorrow) if you get an exceptional success on the rite. In either case this lasts a lunar month. Kingdom of Nightmares
causes the physical area of the hive to become inescapable by mundane means. It lasts between sundown and sunup, or vice versa. Reality makes flimsy efforts to justify the issues that occur but roads will literally twist in on themselves to keep the victims trapped.
Finally Restore the Heart
isn't a rite to bring back the dead. It's a rite to bring back people who didn't die when they should have. It allows you to put the horror of a Beast that has undergone the Retreat or Merger into another human. This doesn't bring them back from the dead. The resulting beast still has the human's memories and personality, but it has dreams and occasional recollections of their former life.
In summation I can't really find a good use for Obascus Rites for players beyond just wanting to be horror movie villains for a while. Though it's very very good at doing that. It's also good at, you know, a thing for villains to do, and your party to stop, if you want to use Beasts as the antagonists to literally anyone else.
Sometimes, a Beast requires the help of someone she can really trust, someone who truly understand her and her Hunger. Sometimes, one of the Children needs a servant who won’t ask questions and acts on the spirit of her orders in ways that she can’t even express. Sometimes, too, a Beast get lonely, and wants the companionship of a monster like her. In these situations, a Beast might choose to create, nurture, and love a living nightmare.
In exploring her Horror, a Beast finds she can pull pieces of the nightmare attached to the Horror into the world as a creature. Beasts call these creatures Horrorspawn, because creating them resembles more of a birthing process than simply cutting a piece of her Horror away. The creature that results is still part of the Horror, but is capable of functioning independently.
Horrorspawn are loyal minions created from the Beast's horror. They will follow any direct command from the Beast to the best of their abilities, and the beast can even see through it's eyes and give it commands when it is not nearby. However, once those orders are complete it reverts to it's base instincts, AKA the horror's base instincts. Which can be problematic. Even more problematic is the fact that Horrors don't know how to have children, so Beasts had to get "creative."
There are two ways to make horrorspawn. The first involves creating a nightmare within a sleeping human and twisting it towards the ends of making a Horrorspawn, have the horror lay eggs, shed it's skin, leave a trail of viscera in it's wake. But normally at the end of the nightmare the horror would absorb these pieces of ephemera back into itself, the Beast must fight with the horror to keep something separate, and then incubate it within themselves or their lair.
Oh yeah, the other way.
Without its human counterpart, a Horror does not reproduce in any kind of sexual manner. Horrors come into being through the primal fears of man, and have no need for gamete production or sexual organs, and they have no gender. All this comes from the Beast. While merged with her Horror in her Lair, a Beast can mate with another Beast, or Horror, with the intention of creating a Horrorspawn. This method is by far the easiest, as the Beast’s human biological imperative for sexual reproduction imprints upon the Horror and gives it a narrative to follow. The Horrors mate, a seed breaks away and is now ready for germination. Either or both Beasts involved in the mating can spend Willpower to create a Horrorspawn during the act. The Beast may host the seed within herself and germinate it that way, or she could place it somewhere in her Lair to grow, allowing her to leave it there while she returns to the physical world.
Once the horror is complete, a problem presents itself, as a fragment of the horror, it lacks a physical body. Beasts can provide one, of course. A corpse will do, or an animal. Or they can use a living victim and get satiety out of the process if they want to multi-task. Unless the Beast instructs it not to the horrorspawn will warp whatever body it is given to match the horror which gave it life, but if you give it an elephant corpse it will create a larger body than a human one. The more powerful the Horrorspawn the faster they burn out the body, with the weakest being able to keep a body going for a month, but the most powerful burning out a body in 12 hours.
Why make horrorspawn in the first place? Well, for one, a properly built Horrorspawn can be quite a combat monster. Two, a horrorspawn can help a Beast Feed. Horrospawn have their own satiety rating which is capped by the Beast's satiety, and if a Horrorspawn feeds it will allocate extra satiety to the beast who spawned it in order to increase it's own cap. Conveniently if you have more than one Horrorspawn your maximum satiety is decreased by 1 per extra. So if you have two Horrorspawn you are never at risk of going into Slumbering. If a beast uses horrorspawn to help while it feeds, the Beast instead gets +2 to it's satiety potential.
There are some drawbacks to having Horrorspawn though. If you interact with them too much you start to lose touch with your human side. If you spend two days interacting(Giving orders to, feeding, etc) with your horrorspawn it starts to stoke your hunger, making you waste satiety. If you spend a week interacting with your horrorspawn you lose all your family ties conditions and any social maneuvering progress you were working on. However if someone was trying to maneuver you they face an additional door.
If you don't spend enough time interacting with your horrorspawn it will start to seek out on it's own. It has twisted views of the Beast's aspirations and personal relationships, mainly in that the only way it has to express them is through Hunger and Feeding. Absent specific feeding instructions a Horrorspawn will seek out your friends and enemies to feed on them, preferring anyone with family ties or an open door to the Beast. If you avoid interacting with a Horrorspawn for over a month it will take on a life of it's own, and possibly some chambers in your lair, making your life hell until it is either killed or it's lifespan runs out.
However if the Beast
dies it's a different story. Should the beast die in the physical world the Horrorspawn will be set loose to do as it wants. With nothing but the Beast's memories to direct it, it will feed on those closest to them. Should the beast die in their Lair, the horrorspawn will try to take the place of the horror. The more potent the Horrorspawn(and the more horrorspawn you have) The more days of borrowed life the Beast has. For that time the Beast wanders around as a soulless husk, trying to gather enough Satiety to replace the Horror permanently. However they're never quite the same, almost as if they've been lobotomized. Most fully embrace their hunger, being incredibly obvious in their feedings and eventually undergoing the Merger if they don't get killed by a Hero first.
Up next: Beast society, in that they actually decided to create Beast social structures, who knew.
In the Company of Monsters
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 4 In the Company of Monsters
So this chapter is rather vaguely about beast society, and it's really not organized well, at all, it's also of incredibly questionable use before it gets to actual material.
Seekers of the Dark Mother
These are the beast groups vaguely organized around shared viewpoints of the Dark Mother.
The Aethenaeum of the Dark Mother
This is the one that gets the most page space, being a creepy dark mother lore repository hive made out library rooms from pripyat, the library of Alexandria, and Centralia Penslyvania. It's meant to be a place for anyone, beast or not, to go if there's some information they require on one topic or another. And thus it actually has NPCs described and some artwork.
Beasts unified by their believe that they think overarching beast societies are stupid.
No seriously they're a society of beasts who think beast socities are dumb, and that true enlightenment is a personal pursuit.
They have barely half a page of text devoted to them.
The Guardian Beasts
Beasts who view the dark mother as the universe's ultimate abusive parent, and think that the other Beasts are trapped in a self-destructive perpetuating cycle trying to appease the dark mother and have devoted themselves to preventing her return at any cost.
The fact that they get even less pagespace than the empusae
should tell you everything you need to know about how much the book cares about those who point out the game's flaws, even from within.
Some Beasts pursue knowledge for its own sake, the mere act of learning a thing — something about themselves, something about the Dark Mother, something about their other kin and the oddities of their existence — more than sufficient justification for the effort. Some Beasts accumulate enormous libraries of artifacts and lore culled from both human and nonhuman cultures the world over, searching for some lost bit of fluff or some potentially nonexistent bit of ephemera that will finally cause everything to make sense, to make themselves completely whole. Some Beasts are complete idiots because, in this world, knowledge is more than merely power, it is the potential for a dominance so absolute as to remake the world itself in one’s image.
So yeah these are the "Blatently predatory and most sleekly amoral" of beasts, who see themselves as the ultimate apex predators above all other supernatural creatures (and humans, of course). The purpose of their existance is to dominate everyone and everything below them. Somehow there's an entire culture of these beasts who think that they and they alone belong on top?
They have more words given to them than the Guardian Beasts but it's still barely more than half a page. I have no idea why they felt the need to specify "Some beasts are mean and only want to be the top dog" but, sure.
Cults of the Incarnate
Unsurprisingly, beasts tend to gather in abundance around those who have become Incarnate. Some Incarnate beasts drive them away with fang and claw, some take them under their wing temporarily to teach them. Others deliberately draw Beasts to them in order to create a cult of personality to enhance their own legend.
The Old Man of the Mountains
One of the oldest and most powerful of the Incarnate, whose cult is also widespread and influential among the farflung broods of the Children, resides in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. In fact, he has dwelt there since before the nations that now envelop his enormous Lair even existed, since tales were first told of child-stealing wild things living in the mountains and forests, and whole cultures gave his legend their own name. Sásq’ets. Ts’emekwes. Stiyaha. Kwi-kwiyai. The modern obsession with the fact or fiction of his existence has spawned hundreds of films and thousands of books, podcasts, and reality-television shows, a project attempting to scientifically identify and map his theoretical genome, and internet message board flame wars legendary for their length and ferocity. His name graces music festivals, consumer goods, and more “no shit, there I was in the woods” stories than could ever hope to be codified or proved. He is, quite literally, the first cryptid, the unknown monster whose legend encompasses both the wise and gentle spiritual guide of modern earth-based religions and also the indie filmmaker shredding found-footage gore of straight-to-DVD horror flicks.
I'm not sure why this is in the "Cults of the Incarnate" section because, well, he doesn't have a cult. He literally lives alone on the shore of a lake in central Washington State and is perfectly willing to treat with any Beast who comes in peace, and he's strong enough to instagib anyone who doesn't.
Our Lady of the Waters
She's sort of the Old Man's sister, a beast who lives in the water, any water. She travels the world nurturing younger broods of Beasts. So finding her is basically impossible, and earning her patronage is difficult, and she's perfectly willing to kill anyone who fails her tests, because sure.
The Guardian Beast and the Hero Who Protects Her
I'm doing to do the best I can to summarize this thing without just quoting the whole thing.
Syenah Ardalan is a Kurdish national who was driven out as a child during the Iraqi invasion. She and her family(sans her mother) fled to france where she went through medical school and came into her Beast Nature during her third year. She joined doctors without borders with the numbers filed off and went to Kurdistan to help people and quickly the local beasts flocked to her because she's super nice and such a strong force of personality, and lo and behold there's an evil beast there. So she fights the evil beast but they're interrupted by a Hero and the evil beast gets away in the confusion.
In a surprise that literally everyone should see coming, the Hero is actually Syenah's mother and since Syenah's so nice
her mom doesn't kill her and they kill the evil beast and Syenah incarnates and both her and her mother travel the world healing people and killing mean beasts because THEY ARE THE MOST PERFECT SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES FREE OF ALL BLEMISHES.
The Hungry Lover
So we follow up with a young japanese woman who was starved for attention as the second of three siblings. Was committed to a mental hospital when her Horror started manifesting, then slaughtered her way out after she actually became a Beast. She found a brood who gave her love and affection for the first time in her life and she decided, quite reasonably, to never lose it again
. She killed the apex and has basically turned the Hive into a cult that has the sole purpose of praising her and lavishing her with affection, anyone who doesn't is killed by a faceless young girl in a bloody kimono wielding a scalpel.
The Shadows at the Edge of the Fire
This is a crippled beast who managed to incarnate by spreading a creepypasta ARG across the internet then pulling the whole thing right before it finished. Anyone who managed to save any of the valid information found themselves killed by his horrorspawn, and thus he managed to create a self perpetuating slenderman-ish legend that catapulted him to Incarnate status.
The Culture of Lessons
Seriously? We're doing this again? Great.
So, basically "Beasts teach lessons to make what they do palatable to themselves, as horrifying animal monsters wouldn't bother teaching lessons." and "Beasts use lessons as a framework to build their own legend, and thus incarnate."
This is followed up by 3 examples of feeding, the guy who doesn't use lessons doesn't feed very well and the ST is encouraged to fuck with him extra because he's not actually engaging with the game. The guy who uses a bit of lessons feeds well. The guy who spends six months of game time building a machivellian scheme that unmakes a man's life to the point that he kills himself feeds very well
. But, again, I'm not entirely sure how you're supposed to do this in game as no one really wants to sit around hearing someone describe their murderboner fanfiction.
Cults and Cultists
Cults help Beasts feed. Whatever else they do, they aid the hunt. Beasts like to dress that up with pageantry, but the most sincere monster still concedes that the feast is paramount. Cults that ignore this truth don’t last long, and neither do their Beasts. Then again, if it were just about hurrying the next meal, Beasts wouldn’t bother with all the effort. Ritualism gives feeding purpose. It refines Hunger into something more sophisticated than a monster’s appetite.
Often, it’s about touchstones. Beasts grow alienated from humanity at the top of the food chain, and cults offer a closer connection. This isn’t without mythical precedent. Long ago, goblins called domovoi enjoyed such relationships with the Russian people. Each home was a cult in miniature, with families offering gifts to the domovoi in exchange for chores and good luck. Without these creatures, households would fall into irreversible decline. However, if Beasts don’t care about mutuality, then cults can at least provide safety. The Cyclopes of ancient Greece were patrons to smiths, and used cult-like guilds to amass wealth and arms to war on Heroes. Their disciples wore eyepatches as emblems (and prudent tools) of their worship.
Giving your cult a legitimate innocuous front is useful, but not necessary. Surrounding your cult with humans who aren't in the know about what's going on makes it more difficult for Heroes to track them down, but some heroes aren't too concerned about liquidating human resources.
One of the uncomfortable truths of the Begotten is that their lessons are cultural, not inherent. Better, then, to solidify their teachings with more humane teachers. These cults give context to their Beasts’ victims, even recruiting prey who take the lesson well. Heroes find this difficult to deal with, as it puts lie to the idea that the Children are purely destructive. Smart Heroes undercut lessons with their own helpers. Daring ones infiltrate, and sow doubt directly.
This book is seriously making me feel unclean.
Some Beasts build their cults around occult study, either researching human nature in order to figure out how to expand the Lair, or diving into the maw of the strange for it's own sake. Other beasts build cults simply to be adored and play god. Or to pave the road to their own inheritance.
Collector cults are sacred thieves, stealing for their god. Enabler cults are dens of sin and excess, the really successful ones create a closed loop of temptation and transgression. Nemesis cults hide in plain sight, worming their way into police departments, gangs, religions, revolutions, any group with authority over others and a need to punish. Predators build bloody cults based on instinct or strength, hunt clubs or survivalists cliques are common but some seek the most dangerous game. Ravager cults are fight club, literally Fight Club, the description given is the plot of Fight Club with some paint over the rough edges. Tyrants don't feed off their own cult members, that would be gauche, instead he feeds on other cults or religions, proving his
religion's strength over theirs. Whisper cults are either greco-roman mystery cults or pyramid schemes based around some 'sacred secret.
The cult's inner circle is made up of people who are adjacent to the inner dream. In the past they would have been the companions of Heroes, but since Heroes have abandoned the cycle of Lessons, Beasts have been able to hijack them for their own purposes. Within the orbit of the Beast, their horror takes precedence.
Beasts cannot lead cults directly, they're a living nightmare and something slightly more human needs to serve that purpose. Heralds are humans gifted some portion of the Beast's power, in a gruesome ritual in the heart of the Lair, the beast inflicts some injury that causes them to bleed. This opens them up to the horror both figuratively and literally as their soul shifts to house the Beast's Legend.
Heralds are human characters with some changes. They gain Unseen Sense: Primordial dream for free. They have a Legend and Life rather than a Virtue and Vice, the Legend must be the same as their Beast's. They're immune to a Beast's minor lair traits and can gain immunity to Major traits with merit dots, of which they gain 10 for being a Herald, and they are required to buy at least one Advanced Merit (They can buy other merits with these dots too). The advanced merit they buy warps them physically in some way that's in line with their Beast's horror.
The Breaking Point.
If a beast pushes a cult or Herald too far, it can fracture or break. Cults have an integrity rating, and roll the Beast's resolve+composure for breaking points. Lost points can be bought with XP by either the Beast or his Herald. On a dramatic failure the beast loses a primordial cult benefit as one of his cultists becomes a Hero.
If a herald
dramatically fails a breaking point they become a hero, taking their own Legend but retaining all other benefits, as well as half the Beast's purchased primordial cult benefits. The Beast must create a new Herald within 10-Lair days or the cult disbands.
The Dark Mother
She's Evil and Spooky! The different Broods interpret her differently in line with their own appearances! You can commune with her and she'll either grant you a boon or be mad at you depending on her(Read: the storyteller's) whims! Have we mentioned that she's evil and spooky?
Next Up: Chapter 5 and the end of the book.
The Legend and the Dream
Original SA post
Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 5 The Legend and the Dream
The strange, surreal, and deadly paths through the Dark Dream feel more like home than anything ever has to a Beast, and the Lair she carves out for herself there is the legacy she leaves. Her Legend, the story of her terrible existence, spreads through the Chambers she claims, each marking her finest moments of triumph and conquest. As her power grows, the Beast and her Horror crave more. The answers lie deeper in the Primordial Dream, perhaps even in the mind of the Dark Mother herself, waiting to be shared. She seeks them eagerly, fettered by one concern.
Is her Legend truly worth telling?
No! The world would demonstrably be better off if they were dead in all likelyhood.
Oh wait they weren't expecting me to answer that question.
The Lair is a beast's greatest asset. It's their personal corner of the Dark Dream and it can be used for all sorts of things to make their lives easier. Depending on how wide a Beast has ranged and what chambers they've created they can use their Lair to travel extremely long distances in very little time at all. A lair can be used to hide some incriminating evidence (like a corpse) but not others (The blood on your hands from said corpse), alternately you could just dump pursuers in your lair for your Horror to take care of.
The book has some new lair traits such as eldritch geometry, mirrored walls and the like.
The Primordial Dream
Despite it's name the Primordial Dream isn't a dream at all, it's formed of the terrors of waking humanity. What supernatural powers are capable of detecting as a 'soul' are actually all fragments of a single human ur-soul that connects all human beings, and delves deeper beyond reality to eventually join up with everything else
. The Primordial Dream exists at the periphery of the gap between the collective human soul and the 'souls' of other animals, the soul of the world, and the soul of everything else. 'above' the Primordial Dream is the Bright Dream, the realm of stories, emotions, and concepts. Above that are everyone's individual soul realms before you reach the waking thoughts of humanity.
It's very rare that anything can reach deep enough to actually effect the dream, very few people 'dream deep' enough to affect the primordial dream. Change occurs within the primordial dream in one of two ways. Either a beast creates an exceptionally powerful nightmare, pulling so strongly on the Primordial Dream in the process that it creates a chamber echoing the shape of the physical location where it happened. The other way is a Human(or human adjacent being) is shaken to the very core with a traumatic experience. Anyone in that person's soul or in the primordial dream experience the new chamber ripping itself into existance in a violent fashion that can actually cause damage to them.
Unless a Beast claims the new chamber, it'll eventually dissolve back into the dream, leaving some signs of itself until it is overwritten again. Stronger traumas leave more long lasting chambers. Beyond these nascent chambers the dream itself exists as a vague fragile version of the real world, a Beast(or some other dream traveler) can theoretically leave a chamber in their lair to explore the reflection of the area around it's physical version within the Dream, though anyone in these areas feels watched
There are two 'borders' to the Primordial Dream, The Dawn
and The Mists
The Dawn is the border between the Primordial Dream and the Bright Dream. As you approach the Dawn the dream becomes more 'real' and astral reflections of people and animals start to populate the dream. The closer you stray to the Bright Dream the less the dream reflects reality. It is possible for a Beast to create a chamber out of the Bright Dream if someone suffers a breaking point out here, which would let a beast populate their Lair with astral reflections if they wanted.
The Mists is 'below' the Dream, and some theorize is the place where all dissolved chambers go. It's where untethered Horrors roam, waiting for a devourin. Beasts can theoretically delve into the mists and find a a chamber from a dead beast or one that has dissolved away from the Dream, with varying states of success depending on how much of an idea they have of what they're looking for.
The Bright Dream
The bright dream is a realm of thought, story, and emotion. To most Beasts it's a realm of sensory overload compared to the forboding quiet of the Primordial. Each concept shared by more than one person in the real world is represented somewhere in the Bright Dream, connected by threads of association. One can leave the City of Death by wandering out into the desert and will find Deserts, a particular desert, or Loneliness.
Successfully navigating this web of themes towards "Fear" will eventually lead you back towards the dream, whereas the "far" end will lead towards individuals personal souls, containing realms of their memories, virtues, and vices. If the Bright Dream is claustrophobic to beasts, these areas are downright oppressively small. You are under constant deep scrutiny by the dream itself as the astral inhabitants of the dream will attack you (Because Inception, probably), but if a Beast can open up a primordial pathway from here back to their Lair they can basically airdrop their Horror on someone.
The Cave and The Mother's Land
If you travel deep enough into the mists you can eventually find the most primal foundation of humanity's soul, The Cave. The stony ground of the mists rise up into a cliff, and set into this infinitely high edifice is a ragged cave mouth. Within sight of the cave, two things become apparently. Anyone breathing in the mists in or around it become capable of understanding any language ever known to a human being, living or dead. Beasts feel a transition similar to that when they pass into a chamber but much much stronger.
Within the cave every surface is coated in writing, from modern graffiti to older and older examples until the markings give way to cave paintings and simple bloody handprints. Past the exit you are in the mother's land, the soul of the Earth itself. It's a wild untamed landscape devoid of the impact that humanity has ever had on it. Everything is large, solid, and feels more real than reality. However it's not just a nature lover's paradise, this is where Horrors are born. Dreamborn(also known as Goetia) formed out of base animal terrors dwell in the shadows between trees and beneath the waves of this place. They are unborn larval Horrors. Sometimes Beasts will encounter them being drawn by some unknowable instinct towards the cave and up into the Primordial dream, absorbing human legend as they travel the cave and surface through the Mists. This is also where this book attempts to salvage the Insatiables from Conquering Heroes by stating that Insatiables aren't actually born of the Dark Mother's edgy dark super lover and are just infant Horrors who devour a host without figuring out how to properly embody a human fear.
Beasts are primordial, but they are still creatures of human
fears, their horror has been pressed on and shaped by the pressure of the human soul, and absence that pressure it tries to escape them like air into a vacuum. Travellers in the mother's land feel themselves being consumed by it, their individual sapient existence fading away until they vanish from the Land, waking up wherever they first entered the dream feeling like they were just consumed by a Horror. Some delusional beasts believe that this is the Dark Mother personally devouring them and they will offer themselves up repeatedly to feed her.
Mechanically this is not a place supernatural creatures want to be. Every hour you spend in the Mother's Land you roll your supernatural power stat/resistance trait +2 and apply successes
as lethal wounds to your dream health, the more powerful you are the more danger you are in whereas normal humans just roll 2 dice. People who are killed in this way wake with the soul shocked condition and lose a Willpower dot
(Which can be bought back for 1XP). Beasts also lose a chamber from their lair. Mages suffer a Paradox Condition, Changelings lose all their current oaths. Mummies immediately die and enter a new death cycle. Vampires awaken in Frenzy. Demons and Promethean do not belong here
and use Cover/Pilgrimage instead of their power stat. And will lose a dot of that trait instead of willpower.
Werewolves are perfectly fine in the Mother's Land and entirely immune to it's effects. If anything they probably feel a supernatural compulsion to point at any nearby Beasts and nelson laugh.
The Inheritances in the Beast Corebook focus primarily on what happens to the Horror, it either enters the physical world, fucks off into the astral, or ascends into near godhood with the Incarnate Beast.
But what about those Beasts who hate what they've become, and want to go back? Well, there are other inheritances, though the Dark Mother isn't exactly champing at the bit to tell Beasts about them.
Divergence - The Beast Divided
Divergence separates the Beast from her Horror. Divergence is simultaneously a merger and severance of body and soul. Before, the Horror always watches over the Beast; afterward, Beast and Horror are forever apart. Though they’ll always share a connection, the Beast never again feels the Horror’s Hunger, and the Horror need never wait for permission to be fed. Divergence is attractive to these Beasts who want respite from the Horror’s constant Hunger, but aren’t prepared to destroy their soul for this peace.
To undergo Divergence, a Beast must starve themselves until Ravenous, then travel to their lair to become one with their Horror, and force it to stay
hungry. Each day that they stay in this state they spend a point of willpower and suffer a level of lethal damage, if they're still alive when they spend their final point of Willpower, the process begins. The horror tears itself away, operating on survival instinct and begins feeding on the Beast itself, in return the Beast must feed on the horror, consuming it's corpus to replace the flesh the Horror eats. This cyclical consumption can take moments or hours, but once complete the Beast has become suffused with the Horror's spirit, as it has become a creature of Flesh.
Roll Resolve+Power to determine if you survive this process. Failure means one side killed the other and will linger for a few days before it dies as well, Dramatic failure means you fucked up royally, reducing all your stats to 1 and basically praying for death. Exceptional Success lets the Beast keep a single atavism as the Horror keeps a single Nightmare.
Divergence isn't a free release from hunger, as the beast sacrifices power for Freedom. They lose control over the Horror which is now free to pursue it's own alien goals with no remorse, guilt, or empathy. The Beast loses all Atavisms, the Horror loses all Nightmares. The Horror isn't very happy with the Beast, it won't KILL the beast(it can't without killing itself) but it can wound it non-fatally. The Beast draws from the Horror's satiety(which annoys the Horror). And the Horror itself is a Storyteller monster, it can physically leave the lair either in it's monstrous form or as a copy of the Beast, and tends to draw the attention of Hunters, not even heroes, as it's not exactly subtle.
Erasure- The Horror Eliminated
When life as a Beast is unbearable, some seek solace through extreme acts of feeding, pushing the Horror to slumber and leave them in peace. This temporary solution isn’t enough for all. Some commit suicide, either killing both human and Horror, or pursuing Retreat or Merger. In any case, the human aspect of the Beast is gone and only the Horror remains.
Other Beasts want solace from the Horror, but selfishly intend to cling to life. These Beasts follow the path of Erasure, hunting for the means to murder their Horror while saving themselves.
I love that it says "Selfishly intend to cling to life", somewhat acknowledging that Beasts are monstrous as shit.
First, the Beast needs to procure a spare replacement soul, this almost assuredly requires the assistance of a Mage or some other supernatural creature, once they have it they must spend a dot of willpower to attune it to themselves and keep it close at heart. Then they need to kill their Horror.
This presents logistical difficulties as a beast will automatically merge with their Horror when they enter their lair unless the Horror is slumbering, and entering a lair while it's slumbering means the Beast is vulnerable to their own lair traits. Even if they are capable of making it to their heart, they now need to deal a devastating enough blow to their Horror to kill it in one shot, as if it wakes up it will immediately merge. Thus Beasts either engage the help of other Beasts(who are probably not inclined to do it in the first place) or, say, Werewolves. Truly desperate Beasts will enlist the help of Heroes who are willing to accept the narrative of the horror possessing a poor innocent human and forcing them to become a monster. Either way once the deed is done, the horror fights back, trying to drag the Beast with it into the abyss. There's a contested roll with Lair hindering the Beast and Satiety hindering the horror (Stronger Horrors are harder to kill, but a slumbering horror can't fight back). If the Horror wins or both fail, everyone dies. If the Beast wins they 'survive.'
Their link with the Primordial dream is shattered and everyone in the lair needs to GTFO immediately or get lost within the primordial dream. Beasts retain whatever satiety they had when their horror died. They lose all their atavisms(Unless they succeeded with an exceptional success), but so long as they have Satiety, they retain their birthrights and Nightmares. If their Satiety ever reaches zero they lose those last traces of their Beast-ness. Beasts can never again feed, but they can regain Satiety by literally feeding on other beasts, taking one satiety from them per point of lethal damage inflicted. They are also persona non-grata in any other Beast's lair, unless the Beast is present to control it a Horror will attack an Erased beast with lethal intent. Also they can never become a Beast or Werewolf or anything else as the Dark Mother refuses to bless such an ungrateful child. (though Demons and God-machine weirdness can do whatever it wants).
Inversion - The Hero's Rebirth
Perhaps the most insidious form of Inheritance is Inversion. The Inverted turn their pain into punishment toward their former cousins. A Beast who pursues Inversion is disgusted by his own existence. The Devouring was a lingering trauma; his existence as a Beast an ongoing nightmare.
Though a prospective Inverted loathes his existence, he’s not suicidal. He blames the Horror for the pain, but understands it is merely an extension of the Dark Mother, for whom he reserves his true hatred. As he has no way of confronting Her directly, he turns to slaughtering Her children, hoping to draw Her out for a final, Heroic, stand.
The path to Inversion is much like the path of Erasure, but the Inverted has no desire to return to simple, weak humanity. The Inverted needs a tiny portion of his Horror to retain the smallest connection to the Primordial Dream.
Unlike Heroes, the Inverted don’t feel disturbances to the Primordial Dream as a sense of unease. They know what causes disturbances, and they know how to find them. The Inverted’s crippled Horror reaches out towards the presence of its former siblings.
And finally we get to the point that compelled me to actually finish this book rather than leaving it unfinished. The Inversion. Beasts who hate what happened to them so much that the only escape is to murder every other Beast.
First the Beast needs to undergo a spiritual journey exploring the link between Beast, Dream, and Heroes. Through this they understand how and why Anathema tear at Beasts, though they can't place it on others, they eventually learn how to place one on their own Horror to hurt and slice away at it until it's almost dead. An Inverted's Anathema is always a physical object that must be crafted by their own hands using the dark secrets they uncovered.
To discover their anathema a Beast must leave the safety of their lair and travel toward the Bright Dream, to study the impact of their actions on the thoughts and emotions of those around them. From their closest human friends to the checkout operator where they do their weekly shopping. Though it can't be seen in the waking world, the Beast's story changes everyone around them, and understanding these changes show them the shape of their anathema. While this should be explored through storytelling, mechanically this is an extended Intelligence+Occult roll requiring 20 successes, each roll representing a week of daily exploration. That said, the Horror grows uneasy and restless, poking at the Beast to understand what they're doing. Contact with the Horror weakens the beast's ability to find their anathema. Until they reach the required number of successes, using a birthright or atavism or merging with their horror subtracts successes. Failure on a roll inflicts the beast with the Abruption condition or requires them to abandon their quest entirely, as the Primordial Dream itself rails against their audacity (Abruption falls off at the end of a scene anyway so... this isn't really a punishment)
Once you have discovered how to make your anathema, you must gather the materials and craft it with your own hands. It requires (often rare) components, but crafting it is surprisingly simple. Once the beast finishes the weapon he must engage the Horror in combat, he will not merge with the Horror so long as he holds the weapon. Should the Horror win, it rolls to undergo the Retreat, if the Beast wins, they pin the Horror to the floor of the Lair with the anathema. The Anathema cannot be removed by anyone except a Hero, and doing so instantly kills the Horror and the Inverted.
The Inverted lose their satiety pool and conditions as their horror is beyond feeding. But they keep their birthright, atavisms, and Nightmares. Their lair persists, and they maintain immunity to their lair traits. They can track Beasts with a perception roll, though any survivors of their Attacks gain the ability to do the same. And they can place Anathema on Beasts with the caveat that they suffer the same Anathema until their quarry is dead.
The book closes out with an exploration of the Incarnate beast and mechanics for how to properly represent the quest for Incarnation, but I'd rather end on a high note. Because I am finally free. Beast is gone forever.
Please sweet OPP let Beast be gone forever